Fist Full of Frugal

Everything from politics to pizza

I am NOT cheap!

I enjoy my adventure into being more frugal. Reading others blogs and learning from their ideas and experiences is almost a pass time for me. Although I take pride in my attempts to be more frugal, I in no way think I am cheap. (As I was called by a person a few days ago.) I will pay for quality. The saying ‘you get what you pay for’ is completely right. I enjoy looking for better prices, reusing, and recycling. I enjoy a more frugal life style, not a cheap one. I understand that most see the two words as being the same thing, but cheap to me is someone who just wants to hoard away every penny they make. Being frugal is someone who does find bliss in a good deal, but also finds joy in a healthier, more natural lifestyle.

In my frugal endeavors I try to find as many purposes for one item as I possibly can. I just see that as being a responsible parent. The less waste my generation has, the better quality of life my children’s generation can have. The more I teach my children about being frugal, the better I feel about my life. Being frugal to me means more about preserving as much as possible.

So, I’m not cheap. I am frugal. I enjoy saving a few extra dollars every now and then. That doesn’t make me cheap. Making my own cleaning supplies, laundry detergent, and meal planning doesn’t make me cheap. It means I am a frugal mother to the best children this mother could ask for. I teach them about recycling and reusing to help the environment. It’s not like they can go buy another one when they are in their 20’s. This world is the only one we get, well as far as I know. So being a little frugal makes sense to me.

Now I’m not trying to knock the people who buy their cleaning products and don’t take the time to meal plan. That’s their choice. I just believe it’s a better way of life for my little family. I enjoy doing these things. I know its not for everyone, some people out there enjoy their shopping trips. Most people don’t take the time to make something they can just run to the store and buy ready to use. It’s simpler, and I can’t knock that. Being frugal isn’t easy sometimes, but with the money I save I’m able to take my kids out to do what we call fun. We are a family with a very fixed income. We can’t do a lot of extravagant things, but if I can save $5 here and $10 there, then that will add up. We can afford to go out to a nice park. (We don’t have a nice park close to home.) We can afford to go out to a nice dinner at our favorite restaurant.

Being frugal is how we afford to not be cheap, I guess that is the simple point I’m trying to make here. So the next time someone tells me how cheap I am, I’m just going to direct them to this post. Because I am not cheap. I am FRUGAL! An awesome frugal parent, if I do say so myself…rant over.

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What I believe…

I have seen a few post in the last couple days where mothers tell what they believe is best for their children and their future children. I think these are amazing reads to see what everyone thinks is best for their children and to see the different point of views. I have read three very different ones thus far, all three of them have the same basic views, but the more in depth you read the more you understand how every parent is different. I have decided to do my own list of beliefs, in what I think is best for my children.

I believe breast is best, even if I was made to think that I was unable to breastfeed my first two children due to lack of supply.

I believe circumcision is wrong and is a violation of a boys/mans right to chose what happens to  their own body.

I believe the cry-it-out method is wrong and can potentially be harmful to a child.

I believe co-sleeping is something that is right for some children and not others. My three year old still loves to sleep in mommy’s bed, my 1 1/2 year old would rather sleep in her own bed. It’s their choice in what they want to do.

I believe new mothers know what is best for their children and should be supported by all those involved.

I believe in doing research. To understand what doctors are wanting you to do, to understand what your family is wanting you to do, and to understand what you really want to do for YOUR family.

I believe children are people to and deserve to be treated as such.

I believe proper nutrition is vital for a child to thrive physically, mentally, and emotionally.

I believe if we take the time we can learn just as much from our children as we teach them.

 

This is what I believe. I’m not saying I’m 100% right or wrong. I’m not trying to tell anyone what to believe or how to raise their child. I have researched everything time and time again. I continue to research everything on a daily basis and keep myself informed. I believe somethings now that I had never even thought about while pregnant with my first daughter. Same goes for my second daughter, I am still a good mother, at the time I was just uninformed.

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Dinner?

How many of you prepare your food for the week on the weekends? Make a few large meals and freeze them? I have been thinking about starting this. On Sunday afternoon make a few meals and stick in the freezer just in case I am not home in time to prepare a good healthy meal for my family. I am at a loss on what I should make though. I have been using the crock-pot a lot lately, that helps out a lot when having one meal for the next day done. (Cheesy chicken and potatoes are cooking in it right now.)

Some ideas I have been thinking of trying, cabbage rolls, stuffed peppers, stuffed mushrooms, roast, mac n cheese bake, vegetable soup, chili. Stuff like that. I also think it would save time to precook some other foods, such as bake some chicken to stick in the fridge to have on salads or to eat by itself as a snack. Same with ground beef. Have it already cooked to save time while preparing meals.

Something else I have been doing to save time preparing meals is have chopped onion frozen in the freezer. When I get home from the grocery store I go ahead and chop an onion, a bell pepper, some celery, anything that I use on a regular basis and put into containers and freeze to have ready to pour into soups or stews. Or even saute to go on burgers. It may not same much time, but the hassle it saves is nice, too.

There is always the quick salad for dinner, which I am fine with any day of the week. My husband on the other hand has been brain washed to believe that he has to have so much meat at every meal. I am working on getting him to understand that protein can come from vegetables as well. I’m not sure if it is sinking in or not, but I will keep pushing that idea that a large salad can be just as satisfying as some chicken or beef.

 

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Pumpkins.

The best food of Autumn? My vote is for anything pumpkin! Pumpkin pies, pumpkin cookies, pumpkin chili. If it has pumpkin in the title I am willing to try it. I absolutely love pumpkin. I even have my own little recipe for white chocolate chip pumpkin cookies. (Add white chocolate chips and 1/8 tsp. cloves to any pumpkin cookie recipe. I’m not very complicated.)

Not only are they wonderfully tasty, the are full of vitamins and have many health benefits. Plus it keeps your skin looking young and healthy.

Autumn in my house means using pumpkin. The smell of pumpkin is an aroma that I look forward to all summer long. I haven’t made it to the farmers market yet to get me come fresh pumpkins yet, so no wonderful smells and taste, but it is a trip that I have planned for me and the girls this weekend. Soon to follow that will be the smell of fresh cookies and bread, and possibly a nice warm pie to enjoy with some fresh whipped cream.

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Where has the time gone?

Only 7 weeks left until Miss Maggie is due to arrive. I just can’t believe time has passed this quickly. The leaves on the trees are already changing. It will be snowing before we know it. I can’t wait until the smell of pumpkin pie, pumpkin bread, apple cider fill my home with their delicious aromas. Autumn is my favorite time of year. I love the idea of all the fall colors and recipes. All the comfort food that makes me wish I could never get full. Or have to worry about all the wight that will have to be shed come spring. (Not that I wasn’t already worried about that with baby on the way.)

I literally have nothing ready for the arrival of this baby. I have my plan wrote out on what I would like to have done, but that is all it is right now. A plan wrote out on some old notebook paper that has yet to make it anywhere near being started. I love to make plans and for the most part stick to them. I love to see them wrote out and have everything organized before I start. I have just had no get up and go to accomplish anything. I planned on having the baby bag and my hospital bag packed by the end of this week. (Mostly because I was in labor packing my bag the last time.)

I guess really when I say where has the time gone, I mean it literally. My babies are turning into big girls who are trying to be more self reliant, which is nice don’t get me wrong. I still feel like I’m a little broken inside every time I hear ‘Don’t need help, Mommy.’ The going to the potty by their selves, and the opening the fridge to get there cups out on their own is nice. My oldest dressing herself and picking her own lunch. It is all nice, less work on me. Although I feel like I should still be able to cuddle them like I did when they were itty bitty. It amazes me they are already just so grown. I don’t know where the time has gone. Soon to have three daughters, when yesterday it feels like I was holding the first one for the first time.

Time just seems to fly by anymore. Kids being born, growing up, people you love passing on. It all feels like it’s going to fast and there is n’t a thing I can do to slow any of it down. One of the most important men in my life passed away on Sept. 5th. My grandfather. He was one of those people who I thought would always be there. You know the people that are in your life that you always have there when you need them, and when you least expect it they’re gone. Time takes away everything in the end I guess. He was an amazing person that had a sense of humor most people would never understand. Always picking on someone, trying to get under their skin. Time takes away everyone eventually. There is no way around that it just seems wrong that he will never meet this baby that is coming or he will not get to watch the girls grow up that way he was there as me, my brother, sister, and our cousins grew up. Nearly every holiday, random weekends, rode with me while I worked, he was always a part of my life.

So, where has the time gone? I guess that is a question that is already answered and then again will never really be answered. Time has to keep moving forward. There is no way around it. We can’t stop it, can’t go back, we just have to take the good with the bad and keep pushing threw it.

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My Own Home

My posting lately has been far and few between. I have a list a mile long of things that I want to put on here, but I have problems finding the time. I post four times as much on my Facebook page about my frugal findings, because it’s so easy to hit that ‘share’ button. I have been looking into houses made from recycled materials. (Plastic bottles, old tires, straw bales.) I find the ‘living off the grid’ idea very interesting and would someday like to be able to say that this is how I will be living. I have plenty of plans on what kind of home I want. I would love to have the solar panels and my own water well. I will most certainly NOT miss the bills that come along with living in society.

Something else that I live about the idea behind living off the grid, if I have a way to eliminate two bills a month then I have that much extra money. Considering out water bill isn’t much over $15-$20 a month that may not seem like much but in 12 months that’s $180 plus saved. Then you have to figure in the electric bill I won’t have to pay. Which has been running close to $100 a month thanks to needing the AC because of the awful heat. That’s $1200 saved in a year. That is pocket money. I can use it for all of the other seemingly silly ideas that I have. 

Something else that I love about building my own home is I can put it to where I never have to worry about neighbors. Not that I don’t like to be around people. I just really enjoy my privacy. I like being able to listen to my music as loud as I want, to not have to worry about new people moving in, not having to worry about them parking to close to the road and being in the way of me getting home.

This isn’t the blueprints on how to build your own home, those will come later on when I get everything figured out for my home. Right now I’m just daydreaming and saving my pennies to buy the needed major supplies. 🙂  

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Happy World Breastfeeding Week!

Just like the title says I want to say Happy World Breastfeeding week to all the breastfeeding mommy’s that read my blog. Whether you EBF, pump, or supplement, you are doing what you can to feed your baby and giving them the best start in life that you can. Even if it is only for a week, a year, or five years. Whether you made it to the goal you had set for yourself or you had to give it up a little early. If you nurse in public with a cover or without. You are all amazing mommies! 

 

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Making New Stuff.

My last post was a short on what I have plans for making in the future out of old crap that would otherwise just be thrown away. I got to thinking about some of the things I have made in the past. Mostly toys for the girls, or gave them things like paper towel rolls to play with and magazines to cut up and glue the picture to construction paper. Mostly craft projects, the ones that will occupy them for a little while so I can clean up the house or start dinner. One thing I did was fill a old soda bottle 2/3 of the way full with water added a little vegetable and some glitter. Then I let them pick which small ‘waterproof’ toy they would like in it. Super glue the lid on and let dry. Every time the bottle is dropped, shaken, thrown, or rolled the little toy inside goes for a ride through the glitter. They really enjoyed playing with them.

Using old magazines to teach numbers and letters. Cut out a bunch of random letters and numbers from old magazines that you just plan on throwing out otherwise. Then give the kids a glue stick and some construction paper. Tell them to find a letter and glue it to the paper, same with the numbers. They learn and get to have fun making a mess on the kitchen table. Or use the old magazines to let the kids pick which pictures they like and make a collage. They make nice gifts or refrigerator art.

Old CD cases make great portable wipe boards. Just remove the music information and stick in a white piece of paper to both sides, glue shut and keep dry-erase markers handy. Good for long car trips or ‘gifts’ for when they have earned a reward. Add a few stickers to the paper on the inside to make it a little more interesting.

Old DVD cases make great mini art cases. Take out all of the movie information and cut some white paper to fit inside of the case. Then make a pouch on the opposite side that you plan on putting the paper in. I just used some paper and tape. Find a few old small markers, broken crayons, or coloring pencils and stick in the pouch. Put the paper in on the other side and it’s ready to go. Another great activity for long car rides.

Using old pasta sauce jars for leftover storage. The glass jars are easy to see just what’s inside and your less likely to forget it’s there. They are also easy to clean and don’t stain like the plastic containers that you buy. You can also use the old jars to store craft items like beads. Or to hold broken crayons until you have enough to melt down into jumbo crayons.

Use old paper product rolls to store extension cords and to wrap Christmas lights around. Or set on on the bathroom sink to store bobby pins, hair ties, and mini clips. You can also tape up the ends with some dry beans or rice inside to make noise makers for the kids.

Old tissue boxes are great for storing grocery bags until your ready to reuse them, and makes for easy grabbing as well. Tissue boxes can also be used to store rubber gloves. Another great thing you can do with them is wrap rubber bands across the box to make a ‘guitar’ for the kids to play with.

Old baby wipe containers can be used for many things. Put your yarn inside to dispense without knots. Make a quick first aid kit to keep stashed in the car or in the house. Use them to dispense grocery bags or dryer sheets. Use as small gift boxes. Or make a bank for the kids. (Works best if the slot in the top isn’t big enough to fit small hands.) Use as bins around the house to keep small objects in.

There are plenty of things to do with all the old stuff you have laying around. If all else fails look into recycling instead of just sending everything to the landfill. This way the old stuff really does make something new.

 

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Making New Things with Old Stuff

I look at all of the things that get posted on facebook and pinterest and see all these uses for making things out of old stuff. I love the idea behind it, recycling. Instead of throwing these things away finding away to make it useful again. Somethings I have thought of and have on my list to do is what this post is going to be about. Some of them you will find on the internet and some of them have not been tested yet so I have no idea if they will work yet or not.

-Old pallet boards. I want to use old pallet boards to make shelves in my girls room. Just pick up some locking hinges at the hardware store and use the wider boards to make a collapsible shelf on the wall. Used for books, toys, treasure boxes, anything like that.

-My next idea for old pallet boards is to use to re-panel a wall. Instead of buying wood wall paneling, I want to take apart old pallets and place directly on the walls. Just matching the odd sized boards to make a odd, yet wonderful looking room. This is another simple plan, but it’s a lot cheaper then buying the panels at the local home improvement store. Since most factories will give you the old pallets for free just to get rid of them.

-One more use for the old pallets. The pallet stacked furniture. Stack three to four small pallets, securing them together and then making a padding for the top. This as a over sized chair for the girls. It’s cheap and they can paint, or color it anyway that they would like. I also have seen a stacked pallet couch and the pallet coffee table. I also think those are wonderful ideas given the price of furniture these days. If you can make your own that looks great for next to nothing then why not try.

*Next up on my reused new things is the old wooden spools. These alone make a great table for the picnic area. Two of the smaller ones with a top cut and for them and painted as bed side tables. They are easy to move and easy to clean. Also as a extra bonus can be painted to match furniture you already have. These are not as easy to get a hold of as pallets so I don’t have many ideas on what to use them for.

-Now the ideas that I haven’t seen, but just think will make a nice addition to what we already have going on. I want to put a little paint in old water and soda bottles, give them a little shake to get the paint running down the sides, let them dry, then string together about eight or so per row. These I want to try to make a sun-catcher type curtain out of. (For the girls room of course, and maybe my small kitchen window.) I think the different colors of paint will catch the sun nicely as it shines through the windows. It may not work like the picture I have in my head, but it will make a fun project to do with the girls. Might even be brave enough to add some glitter.

– Next thing I want to try is to make our own picture frames. I’ve seen the drift wood picture frames and the leather ones. I want to use the old stained baby clothes that will never be wore again. Cut them into strips and braid them together to make them secure. Then sew together the four corners. Next either add magnets to the back to be used on the fridge or make a little wire hanger to hang on the wall and then secure the picture in the frame. I plan on doing this by using the odd pieces of fabric and gluing them to the back side of the frame for the photo corners to be slipped into.

-I also want to use small broken glass to make fridge magnets. Just glue magnets bought from the craft store to broken pieces of glass. It’s simple and cheap and if you have lots of different colors, pretty.

These are not complicated ideas. I am really a simple person. The easier something sounds the more likely I am to try it. I know there are more make at home things that I have planned, but my mommy mind is always forgetting something when I go to type it down. So there will be another post about making new things out of old stuff, and maybe even another after that. As the renovations to my little house continue on I’m sure there will be plenty of new ideas to add.

 

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Daughter #3…

As most of you already know we found out a while ago we are expecting daughter number three in November. I have been doing all the reading like I did with our first too, but reading different peoples opinions. I was never one to be anti-formula. I formula fed both of our daughters and followed what WIC told us they needed, both are up-to-date on shots. Everything the normal parents did for their children. Or at least that is what I thought normal parents did. Boy was I wrong. I know it had felt wrong giving my then one year old cows milk and then even worse when she started having allergic reactions to milk. I made the switch to soy after a nice battle with the WIC office. She improved a lot. (She has been soy formula as well from two months old, she was breast feed before that.) I never had the support to breastfeed my babies, and you hardly hear of women around here breastfeeding and if they do it’s just the first month or two and then they are told they have to supplement “because the baby is not getting enough.” Turns out that at 6 weeks is when babies go through a normal growth spurt and need to feed more often to get your breast milk to change to their needs.

I have told myself again and again with this one and the babies I may have after this one that I will under no circumstances use formula. I have been told that I can’t know that for sure or that I will have to supplement for the baby to get ‘everything’ she needs. I know better there is plenty of support for EBF mothers and there are breast milk banks in case I am unable to produce enough milk for my baby. In the worse case I can find some fresh goat milk for my baby. Also when I hear a person tell a new mother that she has to supplement to make sure the baby gets all of the vitamins he/she needs is makes me cringe. Breast milk is made for your baby based on what your baby needs. Formula was a good thing in it’s time, don’t get me wrong. There was a time when breast milk banks didn’t exist, when you couldn’t look for another breastfeeding mother on the internet to help you feed your baby, but now there is ways to feed your baby without having to give them formula.

I’ve done been told that I am crazy for thinking that it is okay to feed my baby another persons breast milk, but I don’t see the problem. It’s perfectly okay to feed them milk from a cow, processed milk from a cow, but it’s seen as strange to use milk from the same species? That makes absolutely no sense to me what so ever. Things that should be common are deemed as strange, weird, or crazy. While things that should be seen as strange, weird, and crazy are seen as normal and accepted in society.

I have a strong opinion about this because it makes so much sense. It shows how my generation is so brain-washed into believing all the media and things that are forced into our minds from a young age. It sickens me to hear someone tell a breastfeeding mother that she needs to feed he baby in a dirty restroom or to go to her car, because what she is doing is indecent. A nursing mother should be shown some respect and should not be given a second glance when she tries to feed her hungry baby in public. I will continue to support every breastfeeding mother I see and hope that when the time comes that my baby is hungry and I have to feed her in public that I am shown the same support. I know there will be people bashing me in my decision, but it’s not one that I plan on changing any time soon.

I know this post is not very frugal, but just think of all the money I am going to save not spending it on formula! 😉

 

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