Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Reusable Roundup!

As a frugal mama who also likes to reduce unnecessary waste, I have slowly replaced everything disposable with a reusable option. So far, here is what we use (and reuse)!

 Cloth diapers and wipes. Detailed posts on this coming soon!:

Facial tissues out of cut-up t-shirts that are getting too worn to wear. I found a pretty box from a Christmas present I got this year and cut a hole in the top large enough for us to grab tissues out:

Here they are all washed and ready to use. And oh-so-soft:

 Cloth wipes for messy hands and faces. I just cut flannel receiving blankets into the shape of wipes. I like to use separate wipes from the ones we use for bottoms, so these get thrown in with the regular laundry.

No more paper towels! We still use the occasional paper towel for really gross or greasy messes, but for the most part we use kitchen towels. Some of our kitchen towels are white burp cloths from when the kiddos were babies (think Gerber prefolds- not thick enough to use as diapers, but perfect for the kitchen). We also use smaller washcloth style rags to wipe the counters down after spraying them with vinegar and essential oil. No more expensive clorox wipes or kitchen cleaners! For dirty jobs like floors, bathrooms, and dusting, we have a stash of plain microfiber cloths under the kitchen sink: 

Cloth napkins! I keep these in a basket in the corner of the dining room for easy access. The basket that I got for $1 at Goodwill Outlet. Score! These napkins go with us in school/work lunches, too:

 Good old-fashioned handkerchiefs. Hubby and I both grew up with our Dads using these, so naturally hubby uses them, too. Now when they become threadbare, I sew a few more from a large white sheet that got a hole in it. We won't have to buy hankies for years, now:
 Ok, so I admit this might not be for everyone, but I find them to be comfortable and easy. Cloth pads/liners, which I just throw in with the diaper laundry. No more running to the store at the last minute for unmentionables ;)

Do you have any other items to add to this list? If you do, please share them!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

It's All in the Jeans

Ever wonder what to do with those jeans that are getting a little too worn to wear? I try to get creative with things, so as not to waste them. I have also been building our cloth napkin stash so that we don't need to buy paper napkins. This project killed two birds with one stone!

Recently, when a pair of David's jeans wore thin in too many places, I took them and laid them flat on the ground. I cut the seams off each leg of the pants, getting as close to the seams as I could. Then I cut it into pieces of appropriate napkin length (this will be personal preference). I ended up with about 4 napkins from each leg; two from the front and two from the back. With each napkin, I turned it over, folded the edge down one time, and zig-zag stitched around the edges with my sewing machine. If you wanted a nicer finish and your machine could handle it, you could certainly fold the edges over twice. I didn't want to risk damaging my machine and we really don't mind the fraying for everyday use, so I just decided to fold it once. No pinning necessary, either. Just fold and sew!

Here is my neat little stack of napkins:
Mission accomplished!

Monday, January 14, 2013

Re-purposing Glass Jars

One of my favorite things to do is find a way to re-use jars that used to hold food. It seems such a waste to throw a perfectly good jar in the recycling bin when there are so many things you can do with them! I have found uses for all shapes and sizes of jars. 

One thing I had plenty of was baby food jars left over from when the kiddos were small. I have used them for various things, such as beads, thumb tacks, small nails, and more. But my all-time favorite project was this spice rack. I love buying bulk spices at WinCo, so the small fruit and vegetable jars worked really well to hold them. The added bonus to using baby food jars is that the lids are metal. I made my way to Ikea for some magnetic knife racks and... voila! My spices are not only practically placed and accessible right next to my stove, they are also attractive. I love how they are all so colorful. They do have simple masking tape labels on them, but I know the look of my spices so well now that I can just look at it and know what it is. The best part? I am saving cupboard space! A necessity in a small kitchen with no pantry.

How do you organize your spices? Please share!

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

A Frugal Fourth Birthday.

My daughter turned 4 on Monday, so we celebrated her Birthday over the weekend. When I asked her what kind of party she wanted, we settled on Strawberry Shortcake. It's one of her favorite shows to watch, and we both thought it would be cute. If you know me at all, you know I love the challenge of spending as little as possible on Birthday parties, but still making them fun. Here is what I came up with!

We put up red balloons and pink streamers from the grocery store.
 For their activity, I found some free printable coloring sheets from various websites that they were able to color and cut.
 I scored when I found this free printable banner online. I used cardstock leftover from our homemade wedding invites, and strung it up with yarn from my craft shelf. The number 4 I printed on cardstock as well, then colored it with marker. The pictures on either side are cut out from the cover of an old strawberry shortcake coloring book.
 For the cupcakes, I printed tags I found online and taped them on colored toothpicks. The frosting is homemade and the cake mix was from Gleaner's. I blended some defrosted cherries in with the liquid for the cake mix. They turned out moist and delicious!
The other online printable I found and printed on the cardstock was a pattern for a birthday hat. I used the colorsaver setting on the printer to save on ink.
Charlotte had a wonderful Birthday party for very little out-of-pocket cost! One happy girl and one happy mama :)

What are your favorite frugal party ideas?

Thursday, January 03, 2013

A Beautiful New Year

Has it really been a year since I last wrote? I find that (most days) I write in my head, but the ideas never make it onto the page. Nevertheless, here I find myself catching a quiet moment. The last year has been good to us.

A Spring filled with Bible study, Dorothy finishing Kindergarten, and our family finding a new church. Oddly enough, we weren't even searching for one, but we absolutely love where we are. It's such a loving, faithful group of people.

A Summer filled with gardening, camping, William turning 2, Dorothy turning 6, and finally finishing the coop and buying chickens. As of now, we have 3, but soon we'll get a permit for 3 more so that we can keep them for a friend.

A Fall filled with canning, apple picking, cider making, baking, getting a small dog, and Dorothy going to first grade. Also this Fall? I began the Doula Practicum at Birthingway College of Midwifery so that I can finish my certification and work as a doula. I am so thrilled with how it has been going, and can't wait until March when I will be finished certifying and able to launch my very own business. A business doing something I love!

Now here we are. It's Winter again. We just had an amazing Christmas filled with family, friends, and thankfulness. I am excited about this year and all that God has in store for us. I don't normally make resolutions, but this year I do have some goals. Here they are in no particular order.

~Create a website for my doula business.
~Create an Etsy shop for my crafty things and art.
~Launch my new business as a doTerra essential oil consultant. I am really excited about this one, since I think it will really compliment my doula practice.
~Focus on my health. Get regular sleep, exercise, cut out sugar, and take some time for relaxation.
~Research and prepare curriculum for homeschooling the kids. Starting in the fall, I will be teaching my children at home. Dorothy in 2nd grade, Charlotte in Pre-K, and William doing some beginning preschool activities.
~Finish organizing and getting rid of things in the basement (this is my laundry area and where we will do school next fall.
~Live in the moment, appreciate my blessings, and love/serve people to the best of my ability.

Do you have any goals for the New Year?