Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Stenciled Library Book Bags

I challenged M1 and A2 to read 9 large books this summer, a book a week. I gave them each a list of "twaddle free" books from a Christian Home-school mama. The books on the list are long books, age appropriate subject and reading level and most importantly, educational!
Each week we head to the library! The girls have to check out 1 large book and then they can pick however many "easy books" they want. The library also runs a summer reading program so the girls are reading and doing 1 paragraph summaries to earn tickets to win a bike.

With all the library books coming and going from our house we needed a way to carry them all as well as a safe place to keep the books in the house!

Enter: Our library book tote bags!

Freezer paper is crazy easy to work with! You can do this project without an eClips or other die cutting machine, you would just need to cut your stencil with an excto knife.

You need:
Freezer paper, you can find this at your local grocery store, around 3 bucks for hundreds of feet!
Canvas bags (8.99 for 3 at Joann's)
Fabric Paint, 1.99 at Joann's each
Paint brushes
Iron and Ironing board.

I own an eClips, its amazing! It comes with a program that allows me to create anything I want on my computer and then cut it out.

I created the stencil for each bag on my computer.

Then I loaded freezer paper into the machine on the sticky mat and in the words of Dave Coulier "Cut It Out!"

After its cut you remove the OUTSIDE of the image, carefully, that's your stencil!

I totally forgot to take a picture of me ironing .. maybe because I was ironing. But you place the freezer paper SHINY side DOWN! You iron it on and it magically sticks! And if you get it wrong, you can peel it up and iron it down again! Its really hard to mess up this project.

You want to put something inside whatever you are painting. I used the front of cereal boxes. It will stop the paint from soaking through.

Now its time to paint! I used those cheap foam brushes (catch them on sale 20 for 1.00!) You want to dab on the paint, or at least brush from the stencil inward, don't push the paint towards the paper edge, it will cause the paint to seep under the stencil and your lines wont be crisp.

Once you are done painting, remove the freezer paper right away, DO NOT let it dry! It will be very hard to peel off and you also run the risk of peeling off paint. So, still wet, peel it off. Careful not to let the painted on stencil touch your fabric as your peel. The peeling is my favorite part .. instant gratification!


Allow to dry for 24 hours, but they really are dry in just a few hours. If you use fabric paint they are fully washable and usable the next day. This project is pretty easy, with my help M1 and A2 made their own bags, the one I made will hold books for the little ones B3, A4 and M5.

I already owned the freezer paper, paint brushes and black paint. I got the pink, gray, teal and brown paint on sale 25% off and used a 40% off coupon on the tote bags. This whole project cost $11.69. I saved $5.40 with coupons and sales!!

I am linking up to these parties:

Monday, July 30, 2012

Everything but the kitchen sink...

That's how I clean my house, everything but the kitchen sink. I really hate my sink, who puts a white porcelain sink in a kitchen? The silly thing is doomed to be nasty dirty, what with all the food gunk and sippys dumped into it daily. But alas .. clean it I must. So now every few days I give it a good scrubbing, especially now that it doubles as a spa for M2, my youngest. (wow, when I said I clean it every few days .. makes it sound like I only clean it every few days! I clean my sink daily, but every other day I scrub it with my magical cleaner)

Enter Bar Keepers Friend!

I don't know what it is, some magical white powder that makes my sink bright white. Ok, not bright white but a lot less dingy then it was, it is over 60 years old you know.

And its easy, wet the sink, sprinkle on, let it sit maybe 5 mins, little elbow grease and a good rinse and its done! This cleaner is awesome, it even removes the gray scratches my metal pans leave when I put them in the sink!

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Coupon Shopping 7/28

Did you check out the deals for the week that I posted Sunday?
Did you score any awesome deals?

I jumped into Wegmans today for a few things after I went grocery shopping at Aldi.

8 Italian Ice boxes, 1.00 each
6 Stayfree, FREE
6 Carefree, FREE
8 boxes of yogurt, .50 cents each
2 cans of Wegmans Infant Formula, FREE (will be donating these to Teen MOPS)
2 Dr Scholl's For Her inserts, 3.29 each
Pork Shoulder 1.29 lb, total cost 11.00, this will make 2 dinners
3 lbs bacon, 10.99 <-- fabulous price on super yummy bacon!!

Spent a whomping 40.47!! Half of that was just on meat that I did not have a coupon for. Speaking of not having a coupon .. I am going to keep my receipts.. who knows, I might find a rebate later for that meat!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Thrifty Friday!

Yesterday a fellow mom and I went to a $1.00 summer clearance sale at one of our favorite consignment shops, Rumpelstiltskins. I love consignment shops because they are good quality clothes, I don’t have to look over the whole outfit for stains or rips, I love thrift stores because they are cheaper, but I have to spend lots of time checking each item… so clearance sales are a WIN WIN!!

3 pairs of 4t pants

1 pair of 4t capris

4 summer dresses, 4t

1 summer shirt, 4t

1 4t Gymboree rain coat

2 skirts, 18 months (the teal and yellow one is NEW WITH TAGS! Retails at target for 7.99)

2 tank top and capris sets, 18 months

2 dresses 18 months (this blueberry dresses is my favorite thing I bought, I cant wait until Maddie fits it!)

4 tank tops size 10/12 (the purple sparkly one is Wet Seal, NEW WITH TAGS! Retails for 19.99)

3 skirts, size 10/12

2 pairs of size 10 capris

1 pair of Gymboree jeans, size 10

2 rompers size 9 months

1 tee shirt, size 9 months

1 onsie dress, size 9 months

1 pink and brown 2 piece set, 9 months (NEW WITH TAGS! Retails for 14.99 at Babies R Us)

The 3 new items I got alone would retail for $42.97, but I spent $31.43 on ALL OF IT, including tax!

Yep, everything I bought was $1.00. If I had to pay retail for all these clothes, Gymboree, Gap, Old Navy ... I am sure it would have been over $300 bucks!

Yes, I bought things that cant be worn until next summer.. BUT I am not one to pass up Gymboree jeans, which retail for 33 bucks when I can score them for a buck a pair. DUH!

My girlfriend scored awesome deals too! She picked up a diaper bag for a buck .. looked it up online, that silly thing retails for over 120 bucks! WOW!!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Homemade Laundry Soap

I make my own laundry soap. Not because my kids have sensitive skin, not because I hate chemicals and want to "go green" but simply because I am CHEAP! Laundry soap is crazy expensive and we use A LOT, have I mentioned we are a family of 7?

I have adapted this recipe for my family, I use more Fles Naptha then other recipes, we have lots of stains, I use less water to fit more concentrated soap in a smaller bucket and I use less when I wash my clothing. I also now melt Purex Crystals into my soap for smell, homemade soap has a smell, but it’s only in the soap and the clothes end up free of smells, but I like my clothes to smell good.

To follow my recipe you will need:

1 bar of Fles Naptha (1.29)

1 Cup Borax (.04 cents an oz., use 8 oz. = .32 cents)

1 Cup Washing Soda (NOT baking soda) (.06 cents an oz., use 8 oz. = .48 cents)

1 Cup Purex Crystals (you can leave these out) (.21 cents an oz., use 8oz. = 1.68, but I got mine free with coupons!)

1 bucket

Let’s start with my bucket. I was walking through the bakery at Wegmans and saw them throwing away this HUGE white empty frosting bucket.. I said HEY! Can I have that?!?! Score: free bucket. I have a friend who uses a recycled cat litter bucket, you can buy a bucket at Lowes or maybe you have one lying around. Any bucket will do. I used to make my soap in old laundry bottles, but I like the bucket better.

Grate the Fles Naptha with a cheese grater, the warmer the soap the easier this is, but its not hard even cold. Melt the soap over medium heat in 8 cups of water. Once the soap has melted dump in the borax and washing soda and stir until dissolved. (you can add the crystals at this point if you are using them) DO NOT boil once you have added the borax and washing soda, it will bubble over, it will be a mess, trust me.

To your bucket add 2 gallons of cold water.

Once the soap mixture has melted and is all dissolved add it to your cold water bucket and stir.

Then you snap on the lid and let it set. For 24 hours. Each time I made this soap it looks slightly different, do not panic, anything from a thick gel to “egg drop” soup is normal.

We have an HE front loaded, this soap is low suds so it’s safe for HE machines. I use about ¼ cup in each load. This makes enough soap for 160 loads using ¼ cup. That’s enough for about 4 months in our house.

The price? Well 1 “batch” will cost me $2.09 (remember the crystals were free, but even at full price it adds 1.30) for 160 loads is a penny a load! Tide .. you know, the fancy expensive laundry soap will run you about .30 cents a load regular price.

Oh .. and if you think it takes to much time and work to make the soap, it just took me about 20 minutes from start to finish to make 4 months worth of soap. That’s the same amount of time it takes to drive to Wegmans and buy 1 jug .

Saturday, July 21, 2012

No Coupons? No Problem!

Today's shopping trip was one of those rare occasions where I did not use a single coupon! BUT .. I have a rebate!

Tops was running one of their special Meal Deals, buy the meat get x amount of free things. I follow the prices on meat at Tops and I know they RAISE the price for these sales. I think its pretty lame of them.. but I guess I shopped there, so it worked. Had I not had the rebates I would not have done this deal!

Family pack of Chicken 3.99lb! Average price 18 bucks a pack! OUCH, that’s double the everyday price at Wegmans!

Buy the chicken and get:

Sweet Baby Rays BBQ sauce

A box of pasta

Pasta Sauce

Baked Beans

Mozzarella Cheese


Garlic Bread

2 Liter of pop

Tub of Ice Cream

So after spending 18 bucks on Chicken, I scored another 20 bucks worth of free things.

Last week at Tops I found a rebate for Magic Hat beer; NY is a no beer purchase required state, so I can do the rebate without buying the beer! The rebate wants you to buy at least 2 of a long list of ingredients for summer cooking, spend at least 9.01 and get 9.00 back. Chicken and cucumbers are both on the list of ingredients! So now my 18 dollar pack of chicken is just 9 bucks, the price at Wegmans, plus the free things! I did that deal 3 times.

Mayo and heavy cream were both on the ingredient list as well. We always need mayo and the heavy cream is for homemade ice cream! (so was the candy!!)

So, I spent $86.49, but I will get back 5 rebates for 9.00 each for a total of $45.00 back, knocking my actual price to just $41.49!

And that’s how you shop without coupons J

Friday, July 20, 2012

Thrifty Friday!

Well today I went to several yard sales as well as a VIP preview sale at a local Consignment Shop.

I scored:

15 Pairs of shoes

11 Dresses

36 shirts

5 outfits

1 skirt

1 pair of jeans

1 bathing suit

1 rain coat

For just $47.50!!

That's about .65 cents per item, shoes and cloths! I am sure the retail value of the clothing is at least $500 bucks!! Its hard to see everything .... the black boots are Justice, brand new with the tags still on them! All the clothes are Gap, Target, Children's Place and Carters, nothing from Walmart! The Consignment Shop posted on their facebook page the first 10 people to call could come in after closing and shop! Everything under 10 bucks was just 1 dollar! Everything over 10 bucks was 75% off! The yard sale was fill a bag for 5 bucks … I love those types of sales! I also found 4 picture frames that I need for MOPS this year for just .25 each.

I have also been on the lookout for a wooden highchair. Something that will blend in with my kitchen and not stand out like the crazy bright monstrosity that we currently own. Today I found a white wooden highchair for 15 bucks! While 15 bucks was a great price, it never hurts to ask if they will go lower, and they did! 12 bucks later I was walking down the drive way singing in the rain, with an awesome highchair in my arms! Overall an awesome shopping day!