October 19, 2014

Freezer Cooking: Pork Roast

Hello thrifty readers. Sorry it has been so long since I have posted. Being a teacher, mom, and wife limits my time. I still try to save money wherever I can and so when Harris Teeter had pork roast on sale last week, I snagged one for for freezer cooking.

Yesterday I cooked the pork roast in the crock pot for about eight hours. Normally I would season it with cumin, garlic, onions, and other yummy Mexican flavorings, but I plan to use this one for sandwiches, burritos, and egg rolls. I only seasoned this roast with salt and pepper.

The Thrifty Mommy freezer cooking pork roast

Last night I removed the pork from the crock pot. It was so tender that it came apart in pieces. I let it cool for a little while and then pulled the pork apart. As you can see, there was enough to fill a 9×13 dish.

The Thrifty Mommy freezer cooking pork roast

 

I separated the pork into three freezer safe containers. I probably could have stretched it a little further for four meals, but my kids are growing and eating like crazy! They are eating like little adults right now. Plus, I like to have leftovers for work lunches.

Cooking this pork was so easy to do. It didn’t take long at all. Let me tell you though, it will save so much time on weeknights. It will be nice to put a container of this in the refrigerator to thaw and then come home with some of the work already done. I’m looking forward to dinners of burritos, pork sandwiches, and egg rolls. Yummy!


Karen

March 23, 2014

10 Tips for Dry Skin and Eczema

During the winter months, the indoor heat and outside cold air can dry out your skin. Although spring is officially here, many of us suffer with dry skin and eczema all year long.  I have suffered with eczema and dry skin for over 20 years and have learned some tips along the way. Some of these may help you.

10 Tips for Dry Skin and Eczema from TheThriftyMommy.com @thriftymommy

1.  Moisturize frequently. It’s best to moisturize your skin within a few minutes of taking a shower or bath. This is because your pores are open and absorb the lotion. Moisturize troubled places throughout the day.

2.  Use a humidifier. Heating systems blow hot dry air throughout our homes and work. Humidifiers help replace some of the moisture in the air, which will prevent your skin from drying out. Remember to clean your humidifier each week with vinegar.

3. Use fragrance free laundry detergent and fabric softener. This includes for your clothes, sheets, towels, or anything that touches your skin. Fragrances and chemicals can irritate sensitive skin and cause eczema to flare. Many times I will use vinegar for my fabric softener.

4. Carefully choose hand soaps. Many soaps today are antibacterial and harsh on sensitive skin. Dial, Softsoap, and many others cause my hands to crack and bleed. I do not use antibacterial hand soaps and I have not seen a difference in how often I get sick. The key is to wash your hands properly. Many times I will buy Ivory, Dove, Softsoap Cashmere, or something mild and dilute it into a foaming hand wash container. Undiluted soaps are thick and difficult to remove from your hands, which will dry them out further.

5.  Do not hand wash dishes. I put as many dishes in the dishwasher as possible and the other items I wash by hand. Try to use a mild dish detergent for dishes that you must wash by hand. I like to use Ivory or Dawn with Olay. I have tried two bottles of Seventh Generation and both bottles caused a bad break out on my hands. Green products are not always better for skin.

6.  Avoid super hot showers and baths. I’ve always enjoyed a really hot shower. The intense heat breaks down the lipid barriers in the skin. Instead, try a warm shower and try to limit time in the water. This one is the most difficult for me to follow.

7.  Use mild cleaners. When I had children, I decided to let go of the harsh cleaning chemicals in my home. I couldn’t bear the thought of my little ones crawling around on floors cleaned in chemicals that could be harmful to them. I decided that for most of my cleaning I would use vinegar and water. After making the switch I noticed that my skin started to look better. The chemicals I was using to clean my home were causing eczema flare ups.

8. Consider herbal or natural remedies. Several years ago, I have a terrible break out on my hands. I had blisters on my hands and couldn’t figure out what was causing it. (I later found out that my husband had refilled the bathroom soap and it was a soap that I was allergic to.) I went to the health and herb store and the owner recommended that I take sulfur tablets. After just a few doses of sulfur, I noticed a dramatic difference in my skin. I don’t take it everyday, but it is something that I use whenever my skin gets out of control. Some folks like to take Vitamin E or Cod Liver Oil for their skin. Consult your doctor or local health store.

9.  Know your triggers. For some people, it is chemicals. For others, it is animal hair. As you live with dry skin and eczema, you will learn the things that aggravate your skin. Do your best to avoid those triggers.

10.  Seek professional help. For the most part, I have learned to keep my eczema under control. There have been times when I needed extra help from my doctor. Sometimes a prescription is necessary to keep skin calm. I keep prescription medication at home for bad flare ups.

These are just a few ways to help severe dry skin and eczema. Stay tuned for a list of my favorite products.

How do you deal with dry skin and eczema?

image (c) Karen Weideman


Karen

March 9, 2014

20 Ways to Save Money on Groceries Without Coupons

Since returning to full-time teaching a few years ago, I am not the couponer that I used to be. I enjoy using coupons and saving money, but I don’t have much time to match up coupons and sales.  I am still saving a lot of money though and I’m definitely getting my groceries for less money than I would if I shopped primarily at a discount store such as Wal-Mart.

Today’s shopping trip is a perfect example of such grocery savings. My grocery bill before deductions was $251.86. After the sales and savings my bill was $121.43. That’s way more than I normally spend, but I did stock up on some great deals including fish, six bags of Carribou coffee, four jars of peanut butter, and lunch meat. The coffee alone would have cost over $60.

harris teeter feb 17

We could all use some help in cutting our grocery bill so here are some ways to save without coupons:

1.  Use the buy ahead principle.  I am a firm believer in the stockpile shopping method. When things that I regularly use go to rock bottom prices, I buy extra and save it to use for later when the prices are not as low.  Many food items are at their best prices during specific times of the year. For instance, I know that in November and December, I need to stock up on cream of mushroom soup, cream of chicken soup, and chicken broth.  In January, I usually stock up on soup supplies and canned beans.

Each week, I scan over the sales flyer for Harris Teeter and I plan to only purchase the sales. Of course, I have to buy a few items each week that are not on sale, but those items are few and far between.

2.  Get rainchecks for out of stock sale items. As I mentioned above, my grocery bill today before savings was $251.86. After sales and rainchecks, my total was only $121.43. Rainchecks were a big contributor of the savings. Most rainchecks don’t expire and they allow you to purchase sale items when you need them. This saves room in your cabinets. Rainchecks also give you some extra time to plan ahead and look for a coupon.

3.  Compare prices. Sometimes the generic isn’t cheaper. Pay attention and take a few extra seconds to compare prices on name brands and generics.

4.  Compare price per unit. The larger quantity may not be the best deal. It’s best to compare price per unit.

5. Make a plan. Look through the sales flyer and begin to make a plan of the things you need and the things you want to purchase while they are on sale. Making meal plans saves time and money. I’m guilty of not making meal plans. My pantry and freezer are usually pretty well stocked though, so meal planning does get easier as you build a stockpile.

6. Use what you have. Take a look in your cabinets, freezer, and refrigerator. Make a plan to use the things that are going out of date. If you have a lot of beans and tomatoes, consider putting chili on the menu. If you have hamburger and noodles, put spaghetti on the menu. Then you will just need to pick up a few extra things to complete the meal.

7. Use your leftovers. My hubby and I are known for getting creative with leftovers. One night I made a tenderloin and we had some meat leftover. We took the leftover tenderloin and added it to some scrambled eggs and cheese for breakfast burritos. We froze the breakfast burritos to make mornings easier with the kids. I also like to freeze lunch size portions of spaghetti, chili, and soups to use for my lunches at work.

8.  Look for food mark downs.  I always check for produce and meat mark downs. About a month ago, I scored a $15 fruit, veggie, and cheese tray for only $1! I was so excited! The tray was going out of date that day but trust me, it was good for several more days. Today we bought some lunch meat that was marked down half price and also got a few packs that had store coupons attached.  Sandwiches and homemade lunchables are definitely on this week’s lunch menu.

9.  Buy in bulk. This tip may not apply for everyone, but for families this tip is usually a great idea. My pantry and fridge are running low on lunch items so it is definitely time for a trip to Sam’s Club. When I see kids at school purchasing chips for 75 cents per bag, I want to say, “That costs 25 cents at Sam’s.” I’ve had more than one conversation with my children about why they aren’t buying snacks at school.

10.  Cook in bulk.  It’s almost as easy to prepare two lasagnas as it is one. Just make an extra, don’t bake it, and freeze it for later. I also do this with chicken pot pie. Another favorite is to cook some Mexican style pork or chicken in the crock pot, shred it, and freeze dinner portions to use later for burritos, tacos, and quesadillas.  I wait to do this when I find meat at a stockpile price.

11.  Avoid convenience foods.  It might be nice to save some time, but those prepackaged and pre-cut foods can really add up. Take a few minutes to bag up a bunch of snacks for the week and you can save big.

12. Don’t be brand loyal. I have tried many different brands over the years and I can say that there are very few that I am loyal to. You can find savings in trying other brands that are on sale.

13.  Eat before you shop. If you are super hungry when you shop then you might find yourself spending too much money. Thankfully, Harris Teeter has a few samples in the store so it keeps me from feeling so hungry when I’m shopping.  😉

14. Skip a week of shopping. If you have been using the stockpile shopping method, your cabinets are probably looking great. As difficult as it is to pass up a good sale, sometimes I skip a week of shopping to save money. We use what we have at home and avoid the grocery store.

15.  Give foods more than one purpose. If you are going to have cole slaw with your barbeque sandwiches, plan to have cole slaw the same week with another meal. That way you aren’t wasting ingredients. It also saves prep time in the kitchen.

16.  Keep a list of target prices. You can keep this on your phone or in a small notebook in your purse. Keep a list of items that you regularly purchase and the target price for stockpiling. In an old post about grocery shopping, I wrote about keeping mental notes of these things. Someone teased about it and said there was no way to remember target prices. I honestly don’t keep a notebook of prices. I know that $2 per lb is my target price for boneless chicken breasts. I know that 50 cents per can is my target price for canned beans.  If you need to write it down then do so. Knowing your target prices will help you to know when to buy extra.

17.  Check your receipt before you leave the store. We get overcharged so many times and most people don’t even notice. I was overcharged today. Thankfully I checked my receipt before leaving the store and I was refunded $2.

18.  Avoid sodas, juices, and boxed drinks. We drink a lot of water at our house. We have a water softener and a water filter so we drink it straight from the tap. I have seen people spend half of my grocery budget on drinks. Those drinks add up very quickly. If you don’t want to cut out pricey drinks, budget how much you will spend on them and look for sales. I did buy one 12 pack of sodas today but they were on sale and the 12 pack will last me a few weeks.

19.  Sign up for store sales and emails. Many stores have some sort of extra savings available for customers that hold a special card or for those that sign up for their store emails. I have signed up for Harris Teeter’s eVIC and each week they send me an email with sales that are loaded to my card. Many times (but not always) these are items that I regularly purchase that are offered at discounted prices. Sometimes it might be a sale on milk or bread. Other times it might be yogurt, ice cream, or cat food.

20.  Look over your cart before checking out. Did you make too many impulse purchases? Do you have too many snack items? Sometimes it’s easy to put something in the cart but we don’t realize how many unnecessary items we have.

I know that there are many other tips for saving money on groceries such as gardening, canning foods, eating simpler, etc. Please leave your money saving tips in the comments.

Image by Karen Weideman. The image shown above is not from today’s shopping trip.


Karen

August 14, 2013

Ways That We Save Money Each Year

Sometimes when I see the way the rest of the world lives I wonder how they afford it. Sometimes I wonder what they think of me. I don’t drive a nice car. I don’t have fancy clothes. I try not to think about it much. I’m not living my life for them anyway.  It is very apparent though that there are some things my family does to cut back on expenses.  Sometimes we do these things just because we can and because we like to save money.  Right now though, many of these are necessities to getting by every month.

Some things on this list may seem crazy to you.  That’s ok.  I was considering a few titles for this post.  One had the word “crazy” and another had the word “extreme”.  I don’t think these are extreme or crazy so those didn’t seem to fit in the title.  Perhaps these items will make you think and wonder if you could do one or two of these to help save your family some money.

ways our family saves money

We don’t make coffee runs. I enjoy my coffee just as much as anyone but I just can’t justify spending that kind of money on an indulgence.  Coffee can cost $2-5 per cup. I can make a lot of coffee at home for that price. I know of some folks whose coffee habit cost them over $100 per month. That’s a lot of money!  I don’t mind getting a coffee treat every now and again, but these treats might be once a month. They are certainly not a daily habit.

We don’t have a car payment. You may be wondering how in the world I can have three cars in my driveway and no car payment.  I have always been a frugal gal, but about 7 years ago my hubby and I took Financial Peace University classes at our church.  We sold our van.  Actually we paid the dealership $1,000 to take it back. Yes, that hurt.  Since then we have been buying used vehicles. It doesn’t matter if it’s a $700 car to get us by for a year until we can afford something better or a $3000 vehicle that we can drive for a while, we pay cash.  Some people say that they want a car that they don’t have to worry about or they say they can’t afford to make repairs.  If I’m not paying $350-500 per month in a payment, I can easily justify making some repairs from time to time.

We limit hair appointments.  When my hubby was in the Marines, he got plenty of experience cutting hair while on ship.  He cuts his hair and my son’s hair.  That alone saves us about $200 or more per year.  I also limit my hair appointments.  To be honest, I don’t go to the salon as much as I would like.  It makes me cringe to spend that much money on my hair.  I have longer hair so I can get by without making frequent visits to the salon.  If you have a regular appointment scheduled for every six weeks, maybe try to go seven or eight weeks and see how it goes.  You might be able to go another week or two which will save you money over time.

We don’t get manicures and pedicures.  While nails look attractive, I can’t really spare an extra $40 for my nails to look good.

We don’t smoke.  Smoking is an extremely expensive habit. Enough said.

We haul off our own trash.  When we lived in the city, it was nice to roll our trash out to the curb every week and not worry with it.  Of course, we paid for trash removal in our city taxes.  Now that we have moved to another part of the state, they do things differently around here.  In some areas you pay per bag.  We just decided to make trips to the landfill.  Every two or three weeks my hubby and son haul off all of the trash and recycling.  I’m guessing that this saves us about $50 per month.

We do our own yard work.  Well, actually, my hubby does the yard work.  🙂  He mows the grass, uses the weed eater, puts out grass feed, and whatever else needs to be done.

We drink water. When we go out to eat we always order water. The exception is if the kids’ meals come with a drink.  Think about it — If your family of four goes out to eat and orders four drinks, that will cost you around $8. There’s quite a bit of savings for choosing water.  Even at home we drink water. Sodas and sugary drinks aren’t good for us anyway.  We have a water system in our house and another filter on our refrigerator so we just drink it from the tap.

We pack our lunch. When I was in college and worked at a restaurant, I would see people that came in to eat lunch every day.  Every day!  Eating out every day is so expensive. I’m not saying I don’t like to eat out. Trust me, we like to eat out.  When we do, it is using coupons, sharing meals, or as a treat. It is not an every day thing. I have also seen people eat in the school cafeteria every day.   Those $3, $5 or more each day add up quickly.  I try to pack leftovers, a sandwich, and I try to keep things like peanut butter and hummus at school for those days when I’m extra hungry or I don’t have time to prepare something.  You know what?  I’ve heard Dave Ramsey say he also packs his lunch.  He can afford to go out to eat and chooses not to because it’s not a frugal option.

We limit costly entertainment options.  I can’t even tell you the last time I went to the movies.  It’s not that I don’t enjoy going to the movies. I just can’t see paying such high prices just to watch a movie.  We have learned to look for free and cheap events in our area.  Whether it be a trip to the beach, a museum, state park, parade, or a festival, we find things to do.  I look online for happenings in our area.  There are also free pamphlets and papers listing events. Do a google search and see what you can find.  These kinds of events are more memorable for our children and are certainly better for our budget.

We don’t have a dog. I know that dogs are like a part of the family and if I had a dog, I certainly wouldn’t get rid of it just to save money. But I don’t have a dog and right now another animal is not on my list of priorities.  Dogs are expensive — the shots, deworming, medicines, vet bills . . . whew I am seeing visions of dollar signs.  I love animals and I have two cats. This is just one of the things my husband and I have agreed not to spend money on right now.

We constantly look for good deals.  My husband and I tend to be conservative on our purchases. Rather than going out and spending $200 on a camera we see in store, we’ll spend two or three hours at home reading about the camera and looking for reviews. Instead of buying our clothes full price we shop the clearance racks or look for great sales.  I just shopped a back to school sale on a tax free weekend and used a $10 coupon and bought myself some shirts for work.  I try to know the cycles for when items are at their lowest prices. For example, I know that Target has deeply discounted toys twice each year.  I know that November and December are the months when cream of mushroom and cream of chicken soups will be the cheapest.  We try to be good stewards of our money and make it go the farthest that we can.

We don’t have the latest in technology.  In fact, I don’t even have a smart phone. I just can’t see spending $30 or more each month. This equals almost $400 per year!  We don’t have iPads or iPhones. My son just recently got a used DS. haha. Contrary to what many people think, technology is not a necessity.  It’s not air and water.  If your job requires you to have a smart phone, then so be it. Checking facebook, twitter, and email on the go is not essential.

When possible, we buy used.  This can include toys, furniture, bicycles, etc. (The exception is used mattresses.)  Some of my favorite pieces in my home are used.  I like the thrill of finding a unique item.  I am also teaching my children the value of buying used.  A few years ago my daughter wanted some Polly Pocket toys.  She went to Target with her birthday money and came home with one small toy for $14.  She was sad at how little she got for the money.  I told her I would look online to see what I could find.  We ended up finding a big box of Polly Pocket stuff – mall, pool, clothes, dolls, etc for $40.  The cost of these things would have been over $200 new.  My children have learned that they get more for their money this way.

We pay cash. This is probably the biggest way that we save money.  We just moved into our new home seven months ago. I would love to have new blinds and curtains throughout my home. New wall hangings, shower curtains, rugs, I could go on. If I just swipe that credit card I can have it all now.  The problem with that is, there comes a day to pay our debts and with interest.  I choose not to be in bondage of debt.  Sure, I would really like to have those things but for now, I am trying to be thankful for all of the other wonderful things I have and know that in time I will furnish my home.

I know that these tips may not work for everyone but they help my family out tremendously.  I’m estimating that these things alone keep my family from spending over $10,000 each year!  In what ways does your family save money?

image source: kwod from sxc.hu


Karen

July 28, 2013

Bugs in My Yogurt?!

While talking to my mom tonight she told me to check my yogurt. She said she was watching Dr. Oz recently and he said that yogurt companies have been using bugs to color their yogurt red.  WHAT? Say that again. It’s called carmine.

I opened my refrigerator. I checked my cherry yogurt.  No carmine. I checked my blueberry yogurt.  No carmine. Whew! I told my mom I didn’t have any carmine. I got off of the phone with her and kept looking in my refrigerator.  I found a strawberry banana yogurt. Oh goodness . . . colored with carmine! 

yoplait yogurt 1

After this discovery, I did a little reading online. According to the Huffington Post, Dannon is under fire for using carmine. What about Yoplait? That’s where I found the carmine in my fridge.

yoplait yogurt 2

I’ve heard of people eating bugs. They’re low in fat and high in protein. But shouldn’t I know if I’m eating bugs? Instead of saying “colored with carmine” it should state “colored with insects”. Did they not think this would come out? It seems like they are really hurting their integrity here.

I know I should spend more time reading labels. I am a busy working wife and mother. I just figured if I were buying a popular name brand like Yoplait or Dannon I would be getting something trustworthy.  And why would yogurt with fruit in it need to have some sort of food coloring anyway?

Cracked.com reports that if you’ve eaten anything red recently then there’s a strong chance it was made with carmine, which by the way, is ground up insects.  It’s also important to know that these insects may not labeled as carmine.

“Carmine can also be identified on food labels as Crimson Lake, Cochineal,  Natural Red 4, C.I. 75470 or E120. We mention that because we’re guessing you’ll  want to check for it in the future after reading this.”

If any of this interests you then check out this article from Cracked.com, 5 Horrifying Food Additives You’ve Probably Eaten Today.


Karen

July 25, 2013

How to Save Money on Laundry

We all have laundry to do. Some of us have more laundry than others. Regardless of how many loads you wash each week, there are some simple ways to save money while doing laundry.

 

save money on laundry

 

1.  Wash in cold water. Most all of your clothes can be washed in cold water.  I do wash my sheets in hot water since this helps to kill dust mites and germs. Unless your clothes are really dirty or greasy, usually cold water will do just fine.  Save money by not heating up the water. 

2.  Don’t buy “dry clean only”. I used to have some dry clean only clothes. I found that I wasn’t wearing them because I didn’t want to pay the money to have them dry cleaned. I tried hand washing some of them but they shrank. It is becoming easier to find nice clothing that is user friendly. Just pay attention to the tags.

3.  Treat stains properly and quickly.  I have a few go-to stain removers at my house. They work for just about any kind of stain.  Every now and then we encounter something unexpected. I just use google to see what others are saying works on the stain. This was especially helpful when one of my children, who was a toddler at the time, drew on our couch.  Be sure to treat stains quickly and don’t put stained clothing in the dryer. It is easier to treat and release the stain if it is not set in with heat. 

4.  Use white vinegar for your laundry softener. I wrote about using white vinegar a few years ago in my post 30 Ways to Clean with Vinegar.  I rarely use laundry softener but I like to use vinegar because it doesn’t leave a waxy finish on clothes.  Plus, it is inexpensive.  You can pick up two gallons at Sam’s Club for less than $4. 

5.  Line dry your clothing. When I was growing up we didn’t have a clothes dryer. My mom hung everything on the clothes line. I’m not willing to give up my dryer but I do try to air dry some of my clothing. Avoid line drying when the pollen count is high. 

6.  Adjust the water level.  Many newer washers adjust the amount of water to the size of the load.  If your washing machine doesn’t do this automatically, be sure to use the water level knob to adjust the water.

7.  Make your own detergent or shop wisely.  I confess that I have never made my own laundry detergent.  A quick internet search is sure to find you at least 10 different recipes.  I usually buy my detergent on sale and with coupons. Sometimes I am lucky enough to get the detergent for less than $1 per bottle.  I keep saying I’m going to make my own detergent. Perhaps some day I will. Until then, I’ll keep finding deals.

8.  Clean the dryer’s lint filter. Keep the lint filter clean so that it doesn’t take longer to dry your clothes.  Also, every few months it’s a good idea to clean the lint from inside the dryer. Some people run a vacuum hose down inside the dryer. I have seen special kits at home improvement stores. Also, check the outside vent. One day my dryer wasn’t drying my clothes. The outside vent was completely clogged. 

9.  Don’t iron. I’m not a fan of ironing so this one is good for me.  As soon as my clothes are done drying I take them out, shake/snap them out to be straight and lay them out flat on my bed and then put them away. I don’t want any wrinkles to set in. You can also pick out your clothes and hang them in the bathroom while you are showering. This will help to remove some wrinkles. 

10.  Use less detergent. Many folks use too much detergent. I have seen people fill the cap all the way to the top.  Look at the back of the bottle to see how much you need. Generally, you can use less than is recommended on the bottle. I usually use 25% less than recommended and have never had a problem. I have even washed some clothes without detergent. They say that the clothes agitating in the washer is what cleans the clothes. You might want to give it a try.

These are just a few ways to save. How do you save money on laundry?

 


Karen

July 14, 2013

Inexpensive Tips for Treating Sunburn

Although I am an avid sunscreen wearer, some how each year I end up with a sunburn.  Whether it is due to an unexpected outing or underestimating exposure to the sun, sometimes sunburns happen.  Although home remedies will not undo sun damage, they will help to relieve some of the pain and help the skin to heal more quickly. 

Here are some inexpensive methods to try at home. 

 sunburn

 

Take a bath 

Take a bath in oatmeal.  Put some oatmeal in a cheesecloth or sock and tie it shut.  While in the bath, squeeze the oatmeal milk on your skin.  (I also use this remedy during the winter months with my eczema.) Or instead of using oatmeal, try a bath with baking soda. Add a few heaping tablespoons to the bath water. Be sure to use warm or cool (not cold) water so that you don’t send your body into shock.  Also, try to air dry so that you don’t wipe off the oatmeal or baking soda. 

While a cool bath may feel great to your skin, avoid soaking for too long which can further dry out your skin. 

Apply a cool compress

Apply apple cider vinegar to the burn with a cottonball, or make a cool compress.  Keep the skin moistened.  This remedy will help prevent blistering and peeling. Or soak a washcloth in baking soda and water or oatmeal and water and apply as a compress.

If you don’t have vinegar, oatmeal, or baking soda, use cool water to help relieve discomfort.

Moisturize

Your skin is already dry from the sunburn and the baths and compresses are causing it to dry out more.  Help prevent dryness by applying moisturizer after baths and compresses.  You might even try cooling the lotion in the refrigerator.  You might want to wait a day or two to stay applying moisturizer so that the lotion doesn’t trap the heat against the skin.

Apply aloe vera

Aloe is effective in relieving pain and inflammation. Cut open the leaves and apply the gel directly to the skin. Check your local grocery store or nursery for aloe plants. Apply the aloe several times per day.

Drink water

Drink water to replenish fluids and help skin heal. 

Take an over the counter pain medicine 

Try ibuprofen or aspirin to help with the pain. Be sure to take it with food so that you don’t get an upset stomach. 

Apply milk

Some people find that applying milk or yogurt to a sunburn helps ease the pain.  You could apply it with gauze or a cloth.  I have never tried this method but am curious to know if it works. The tannin in strawberries is also helpful so perhaps you could try using strawberry yogurt.

Brew black or green tea

Brew some tea and let it cool.  Put it in a spray bottle and spray on the sunburn, apply it as a cool compress, or apply wet tea bags.  You can also take a bath in brewed tea once it has cooled.  The tannic acid in the tea helps relieve the burn. 

Apply Vitamin E

Break open Vitamin E capsules and squeeze onto your skin to promote healing.

Apply potato slices

Apply sliced or grated potatoes directly to the skin. The starch helps draw the heat out of your skin.

I’m sure there are many other home remedies. Which methods have you tried? Which are your favorite?

This post is for informational purposes only and should not be substituted for a doctor’s care. If your sunburn is accompanied by fever or chills, you may need to see a medical professional.

image sxc.hu/zulema011


Karen

July 12, 2013

Laundry Tip: How to Keep Up with Kids’ Socks

There seems to be a common frustration with those that do children’s laundry — some how the socks get lost during the washing process. It has been suspected that maybe the socks are so small that they get sucked into the hose and washed down the drain. Maybe they get stuck on a towel or inside of a pants pocket. Regardless of how it happens, it is aggravating and costly to replace socks.

kid socks 1

This really is a simple tip but it will help you to keep up with the socks while saving some sanity. All you need to do is put the socks inside of a zip up laundry bag.

kid socks 2

Zip up the bag, throw it in the washing machine, then into the dryer.

kid socks 3

Open up the bag. Ta-da. All of the socks are still there!

Some other tips to try –

1.  Have a bag for each child to make for easier sorting.

2.  If the kids are old enough, have them put their own socks into their bag before collecting the laundry.

3.  You may be concerned about the socks not getting clean inside the bag. I never had a problem, but if you’d like, you can get the sweater bags which have larger holes.

What tips do you have for keeping up with socks?


Karen

July 9, 2013

Inexpensive Girls’ Night Out Ideas

Laughter is a fantastic stress reliever. Having a girls’ night out is a great way to laugh, relieve stress, and feel refreshed again. As tired mommies, we all could use a little outing with our girlfriends from time to time. Getting coffee, going to the movies, and eating out with our friends can be very costly. Here are some inexpensive girls’ night out ideas that won’t break your budget.

inexpensive girls night out ideas

Host a movie night. Rent a dvd, watch a chick flick or something funny. I have tons of romantic comedies in my house. Perhaps everyone could bring their favorite movie from home and you could vote on which one(s) to watch. Pop some popcorn and have a few other snacks. This is much cheaper than going to the movies and you can pause for more snacks or potty breaks.

Plan a theme night. Perhaps someone in the group has a fondue fountain. Each person in the group could bring something that they like to dip. These items are usually inexpensive. Some ideas are bananas, strawberries, oreos, marshmallows, gummy bears, pretzels, rice krispy treats, and pickles. Or you could have an ethnic food night such as Mexican food night or Indian food night and everyone could bring their favorite dish for the theme.

Have a tea party. Get out the tea cups and china. Everyone can bring a finger food or you can provide some inexpensive homemade treats such as brownie bites, cucumber salad, pasta salad, pimento cheese sandwiches, etc.

Have a cookie/dessert swap. Everyone can bring their favorite dessert. It’s important to bring enough to share at the get together and enough to swap, along with a recipe for each person. Be sure to have goodie bags or boxes so that everyone can take home some samples.

Host a coffee night. My hubby and I read recipes and practiced making our own coffee drinks at home.  His favorite drink is a caramel frappuccino and mine is a caramel macchiato.  Set up a coffee station, play some relaxing music, and serve some yummy desserts such as coffee cake.  

Search for free and cheap local activities. During the summer, many communities offer movies and music in the park. It’s a good idea to bookmark your city’s webpage or like them on facebook. This will help you to stay up to date on local happenings.  Find something interesting, talk to your girlfriends about it, and agree to attend a free local event together.

Have a nail party. Give each other manicures and pedicures. Soak your feet in a foot spa. Enjoy a paraffin wax treatment. Each person can bring something to the party.  Everyone will leave feeling great.

Technically many of these are girls’ night in activities, but I call them girls’ night out because it involves getting together with your friends and getting away for just a little while.  😉

 

What inexpensive girls’ night out ideas can you share?

image courtesy of Artizan007


Karen

March 10, 2013

How to Decorate Your Home on a Frugal Budget

Everyone wants to have an attractive home. If you’re like me, you’re on a strict budget.  Most of us cannot afford to redecorate our homes. Here are some tips for furnishing and decorating your home frugally. 

our old house

1.  Shop yard sales and thrift stores.  I’ve been doing this for years.  A few years ago I was at a yard sale and found a really nice living room couch and oversized chair.  The person I bought it from had only used it for one year.  She paid $1200 for it and I got it for only $120.  Sometimes you can find some really unique items by shopping this way.

2.  Check Craigslist.  You just never know what you’ll find on Craiglist.  Before purchasing our last home, the home inspector found some issues with the bathtub.  My husband found a brand new tub with jets on Craiglist for 1/5 the price.  It was one a contractor didn’t use.  Another great find was a HE washer and dryer. We got an almost new set for 1/4 the price.  The owners were moving to Hawaii and it would cost them more to have it moved.

3.  Think paint.  Paint is one of the least expensive ways to add warmth and color to your home.  It really is amazing how $30 in paint can transform a room.  

4.  Repurpose what you have.  Paint that old lamp or picture frame. Change your night stand into a bookshelf.  Recover your old pillows with fabric. Use a sheet for window treatments. 

5.  Get an outside opinion.  It helps to ask someone else’s opinion for ways to help your decorating space.  Many times friends will see things you didn’t see and have ideas you had never thought about.  They may suggest moving a piece of furniture or changing a wall hanging.  Those small inexpensive tips can make a big impact.

6.  Borrow furniture.  When I first got married, I didn’t have any living room furniture.  I ended up borrowing some things from my parent’s house.  All you have to do is get the word out to friends and family that you need some items for your home.  Some people have things in their basement that are just sitting around collecting dust.  Some will let you borrow things and others will just let you have the stuff. 

7.  Be patient.  You can’t expect your home to look perfect right away.  It takes moving things around, searching for deals, and tweaking things a bit.  It will all come together eventually.

8.  Bring in nature.  Consider filling jars with shells from the ocean.  Fill a vase with twigs.  Put some pinecones in a basket.  There are many things that we can use from outside.

9.  Do it yourself.  I am not one for creating things but if given an idea, I can usually duplicate it.  Thanks to pinterest, there are thousands of ideas at your fingertips.  I have pinned many ideas for future use.  Be sure to check out my boards “For the Home” and “DIY and Crafts”. 

10.  Update out of date pieces.  Our last home was one of my favorites.  It was loaded with charm.  The problem was that the fixtures were outdated.  Everything was brass.  We didn’t have the money to purchase all new lighting and bath towel bars so my husband gave everything an inexpensive update with bronze spray paint.  You can check out pictures of our chandelier makeover.

What tips do you have for low cost decorating?

image (c) Karen Weideman


Karen

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