Friday, April 15, 2011

Upcycled Bibs

Sometimes crafting out of need is a good thing. Our little one has had access to lots of great hand-me-downs from his brothers and friends, but the bibs we have left are shot. So I took an hour one night to make some to meet the need.

old t-shirt
scraps of thin fleece
random buttons
pattern made from tracing a full coverage big

Getting to work...
One of the finished bibs
While they aren't going to win any baby style points, they are quite functional and the fleece is very stain resistant which is a bonus in my books.

Of course, use your safety common sense with buttons and babies. As they go through the wash, I ensure that the buttons are still fully secured and won't be a choking hazard.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Living Room Mini-Makeover

After living here for seven years, I'm ready for some simple and inexpensive updates. Last month I wanted to lighten up our living room, so it was out with the old....

and in with the new....

The new curtains are drop cloths I picked up compliments of a Plastic Jungle giveaway I was blessed to win via Half Pint House. I washed them up on hot with lots of fabric softener and sewed casings for the rods to slip through. They are not perfect as the dropcloths were not exactly the same size or the same weight and a couple had flaws, only visible after I had washed them. But I think the change opens up the room and the neutral tone will allow for other little updates down the road. Because at this stage in life, time and money just allow for incremental changes, not whole room makeovers done in a day. Next step: blue accents. Further down the road: one really comfortable couch.

Friday, April 1, 2011

March Grocery Check-In

This is not the most riveting post you'll read all day, but I've decided to keep a clear log of my grocery shopping activities in hopes of improving that area of life this year. The last few months have been eye-opening and I hope by the end of the year I will see some progress.

3/4 - Costco - $94.30
5 lbs. organic frozen green beans
1 bucket animal crackers
75 ct. Good Earth tea
3 ct. English cucumbers
1 large can tomato sauce (gallon?)
3 lbs. bananas
4 pk. large jars organic applesauce
8 lbs. butter
1 package deli ham
2 large bags tortilla chips
1 lb. organic spring mix
3 bunches celery
1/2 gallon organic half & half
5 pk. avocados
33 oz. sulfate & paraben-free shampoo - This is the Kirkland brand and I think it has been good for my hair. **

3/5 - King Soopers - $7.74
2 - 24 oz. cartons cottage cheese
1/2 gal. organic whole milk
2 deodorant
1 bodywash
1 toothpaste
8 lbs. sugar

3/5 - Safeway - $30.77
12 boxes of non-sugary cereal
4 boxes Simply Fruit roll-ups
3 lbs. cheese sticks
3 packages breaded fish
2 cartons ice cream

3/5 - Whole Foods - $11.76
1 organic green leaf lettuce
1 carton organic chicken broth
9.5 lbs. organic apples

3/7 - Safeway - $13.27
8 boxes cereal
3 individual size frozen Asian entrees
1 bunch of bananas
32 oz. yogurt
4 100% juice cranberry concentrates
1 individual CPK pizza
1 family size bag chimichangas
2 rolls Mentos (free)
1 box flushable wipes (free)

3/10 - Costco - $15.45
2 gallons milk
18 ct. Yoplait
2 jars pumpkin maple butter

3/12 - Whole Foods - $9.10
organic apples & minneolas - $1/lb
1 bakery cookie - We were on a rare date.

3/15 - Costco - $22.53
4 gallons milk
9 lbs. bananas
18 ct. Yoplait
1 lb. organic spinach

3/17 - Safeway - $19.42
6 boxes cereal
8 boxes simply fruit roll-ups
6 baby food 2-pks.
15 jars baby food
1 canister DHA rice cereal

3/21 - King Soopers - $16.51
12 boxes pasta
1 cherry pie - marked down to $1.49
1 package bakery cookies - marked down to $1.49
4 - 16 oz. cottage cheese - marked down to $.59each
2 - 12 pks. soda - marked down to $1.19 each
3 - 32 oz. yogurt
3 - 4 pk. yogurt

3/21 - Costco - $116.92
all were items were on coupon except for the water bottles & sweet potatoes
96 oz. honey
72. oz. chocolate chips
400 ct. beverage napkin
32 - 14.5 oz. cans organic diced tomatoes - stocking up for the year
40 ct. Rice Krispie treats
212 ct. size 3 diapers
900 ct. baby wipes
3 stainless steel water bottles - $6.97 total
10 lb. sweet potatoes

3/22 - Costco - $16.75 - Having a sick baby necessitated going to the pharmacy for a prescription and finding a quick dinner.
1 rotisserie chicken
2 loaves sourdough bread
2 ct. infant pain reliever

3/26 - Safeway - $32.54
2 bags Doritos
1 hot sauce (free)
2 bags Wheat Thins
1 kleenex hand towel
4 lbs. frozen vegetables
4 Grands biscuits
3 Freschetta pizzas
3.75 lb. green grapes
1 4-pk. yogurt
8 oz. bag pistachios
1 lb. beef franks
3.7 lb. lean ground beef

3/26 - King Soopers - $28.04
5 lb. clementines
3 lb. Smart Balance sticks
39 ct. Band-Aid
3 lb. brown rice
18 boxes pasta - most whole grain, at 49 cents/box this is likely one of the lowest prices of the year so stocking up seemed prudent
1-2ct. Dole fruit crisps
3 - 4ct. yogurt
1 - 24 oz. yogurt
4 - 32 oz. yogurt
1 small pack Skittles

3/27 - FarmCrest -$12.00ish
4 gallons milk

3/30 - World Market - $25.96*
8 - 12 oz. bags whole bean coffee
*This was a one-day sale, otherwise I totally would have delayed this purchase. This amount of coffee will last us a good long while.

total for March = $473.06

A few realizations in reviewing purchases for this month.
1. I'm still shopping too frequently.
2. I need to keep at least a couple easy dinners in the freezer for days when there are sick kids and other extenuating circumstances.
3. I am spending more than I think I really need to because we are budgeting more than the bare minimum. We do use a cash budget for groceries but whatever cash we get out of the bank does get spent. If I want to spend less, I need to have less cold hard cash in my hand when I am shopping, plain and simple.

I'll keep plugging along.
- - - -
**Very much off topic, but I just wanted to mention that as I post about grocery shopping here, that is only a sliver of what is happening frugality-wise in our home. Yes, I spent about $9 for a really big bottle of good shampoo. And yes, I likely could have picked up some acceptable shampoo for pennies if I still played the drugstore game. But I get about 3 haircuts per year at a place like Supercuts, with coupons whenever possible. So I'm spending at most $45/year on haircuts, not $45 for a haircut and style every 6 to 8 weeks. Every person and family needs to go with what works for them in that season and with the resources they have available. So all that said, I won't feel the least bit guilty for that $9 bottle of shampoo.