Wordless Wednesday: Homemade Christmas Gifts

My aunt shared this fantastic idea with me earlier in the month. I HAD to do it!

My aunt shared this fantastic idea with me earlier in the month. I HAD to do it!

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Super cleaner!

This post is how I know I’ve totally officially gone 180* from my laid back partying drinking days.

Vinegar is my new favorite cleaning solution. I’m honestly excited to use it again.

Have you seen this stuff in action? HAVE YOU?! It’s insane! I don’t know how I didn’t know about this before…

I’ve had so many issues trying to find a good cleaning solution for my kitchen floor. It’s a really pocky linoleum floor that just loves to collect dirt. It always looks filthy even though I mop the floor pretty often. As a type A obsessive cleaning/organizing kind of person, this doesn’t go over well with me. I can’t just let it go. I know, with a husband, three kids and a dog I shouldn’t even fight it. But I just can’t help it. I hate it.

A while back my Mom told me to run vinegar through my coffee machine and it’ll clean out all of the yucky gunk and make it flow faster. The stink of hot vinegar is so sharp it’ll make your eyes water, but getting free flowing coffee faster in the morning was absolutely worth the suffering. Then a couple of months ago I walked into my in-law’s house to the smell of vinegar and found my MIL wiping down her floor with vinegar. I hadn’t even thought of this!! Genius! I’m probably the last person on the planet to figure this out, but I still had to rave about it now that I’ve finally done it.

It was so incredibly easy and fast to clean the floor. I took a bristly scrub brush (like what you’d use to scrub fingernails or vegetables), a squirt bottle, a sponge and a bucket of hot water. I filled the squirt bottle with vinegar and squirted as I cleaned. I figured it’s less wasteful and stinky this way. I didn’t have to wait for it to soak in or anything, I scrubbed right away and almost immediately the dirt came out. Then I wiped the muddy water away and rinsed over that spot with fresh water with the sponge. Voila.

For the first time in years my kitchen floor was literally sparkling and my Type A was satisfied.
(and now that I think of it, I don’t have to worry about the harsh chemicals from cleaners bothering the kid’s skin now either! Win/win!)

Clean enough to eat off of!

Check out my guest post!

A good friend of mine and fellow Mommy Blogger Little Mama Jama recently asked me to write a guest post for her blog. She wanted a blog about five out-of-the-ordinary DIY tips that she could share with her readers and fellow parents. I was ecstatic to help her out since I’ve become something of a DIY addict myself in the past few years. Together with my DIY expert Husband, we came up with what we thought were five well rounded ideas to save money around the house, find a hobby and/or express yourself. (Ok, husband didn’t really care too much about the ‘expressing yourself’ bit…)

I hope you enjoy it!

My Five Nifty Thrifty DIY Ideas 

mix it, mash it, smash it – SAVE IT!

I’ve been falling behind in a lot of different areas of my life lately.  Almost a month ago Peanut had surgery, and as you may or may not remember, I got a nasty cold.  Well that bad boy never went away.  In fact, I’m pretty positive it turned into Bronchitis because I’ve had a mild fever and a rampant cough ever since then.  I’m coughing so hard I’m gagging and gasping for air.  It sucks.  For awhile the fever was worse and I had next to no energy to speak of.  This left me totally drawn out and barely able to keep up with the kids.  For awhile our house was an absolute pigsty.  I just didn’t have the energy to pick up after everyone and cook and clean up to my usual standard.

Not only that, but I just didn’t have the incentive to continue moving forward with the girls spoon-feeding.  Doing all of the usual “moving forward” things with one baby is enough to wipe you out, but with twins… pfffff.  After a lot of careful thought and consideration, (NOT!) I gave the baby spoons the middle finger.  That, and unknowingly, my memory.  I have forgotten to schedule follow-up appointments more than once for Peanut’s casts, I’ve forgotten to write down thing on the grocery list, I’ve forgotten to brush buddies teeth or put him in his overnight diaper more than once.  Thankfully we had our little potty training expedition so his bladder control is greatly improved overnight.

I’ve also forgotten, up until recently, to tell husband (aka: errand boy) that we need to go up a diaper size with the girls.  A jumbo size box of 96 diapers is gone in a little over a week.  They’ve probably needed to go up a size for like 3 weeks now.  I finally recently remembered to tell husband that we need to go up a size… after multiple boxes. *sigh*

The diapers thing reminds me of another point.  You know what else doesn’t sit well with me?  The cost of twins.  It’s insane!  I’m beginning to understand why Jon and Kate Gosselin sold their lives to the public.  (Ew… I can’t believe I just said that, but there it is.)

As you can imagine, with twins, you go through things pretty fast.  Like I said before, a jumbo sized box of 96 diapers is gone in a little over a week.  A 16 oz. (1 lb.) box of rice cereal goes in about 3-4 days.  A 40 oz. (2 lb. 8 oz.) container of formula is gone in a little under a week.  You get the picture.  Twins are a time and money vacuum.

This brings me to my next point.

Baby food.

I can’t avoid the spoon feeding forever.  It’s about a dollar to buy a container of pre-measured, pre-mixed baby food.  It’s a little over a dollar to buy the organic kind without so many additives.  They’re basically supposed to be good for one meal each.  That can get pretty expensive.

Since there’s seemingly no end in sight for this sickness, and the girls are falling farther behind I figure I should be kicking it in gear now and starting the girls on baby food.  This, unfortunately, means I have to take the baby spoons back out.  I know it’s not a huge deal if I don’t start the spoon-feeding even for another couple of months, but the longer I wait, the more the girls can fight back.  It’s just easier if I get them used to it now while they’re defenseless and only have their voices to fight me with.

This morning I woke up feeling pretty good so I decided today was the day I’d attack the baby food project.  I decided this week that I want to try to make their baby food to try to save some money and give them something a little more nutritious.

OMG!  It was so easy I don’t understand why I didn’t do it with Buddy!  Let me put it this way.  If you can push a button, you can make your own baby food.  Seriously.  You don’t need a fancy baby food mixer or any of that crap you always see.  I just got out my blender/food processor and went to town.  I peeled and sliced (ok, so you do have to do more than push a button…) a couple of fruits and veggies, threw them in the food processor for about 15-30 seconds, dumped that in the blender added some pedialyte and blended until it was smooth.  Done.

I did that with 3 golden delicious apples and I have probably 10 servings or more.  The same for the pears, squash, zucchini, bananas and so on.  I can’t believe how much money we just saved.  Now I’m just going to label and date them and store them until I’ll use them.

I was feeling so good I even made pumpkin seeds for a snack for Buddy!  Overall it probably took me a total of 1 1/2 hours.  It’s a little time-consuming, but so so worth the save!  Hopefully this little boost in energy today is a sign of good things to come and I’ll be on my way to recovery!

Major savings on glasses

If you’re like me and refuse to spend an arm and a leg to get prescription glasses or contacts I have something you may (will) like.

Zenni Optical.  http://www.zennioptical.com/

Most health and/or vision insurance will cover either glasses or contacts each year.  If your prescription changes and you have to buy both at once, that leaves you to have to buy the other out-of-pocket at a very large expense.  Neither are cheap!!  Zenni Optical was referred to me by a acquaintance and I couldn’t believe my eyes.  they’re a website that sells prescription glasses at a ridiculously amazingly extraordinarily low price.

They’ve got 3000+ pairs of glasses for your purchasing pleasure, ranging from $6 to $46.  Even the most expensive glasses are cheaper than name brand.  Shipping is a flat rate of $5.  You can get prescription sunglasses, glasses, and goggles.  Yes, you heard me right… goggles.  They come in acetate/plastic, titanium, stainless steel and many more.  There’s even holiday themed glasses for you cooks who love to deck yourself out in christmas/Halloween/red, white and blue gear.  I would too for $10!

If you’re worried they don’t provide for your nearly blind eyes because your prescription is so ungodly high, no worries.  Mine is -6.75 and I’ve never had a problem.  They provide prescriptions as high as -20.  No joke.

They provide all of the special services most people need like high index lenses, clip-on shades, anti-glare coating, single/bifocal/progressive lenses, transitions, polarized, lens tinting and so on..  This though, is where they’ll get you with prices if you get too out of control.  High index is an additional $20-$80.   My lenses are usually really thick but I get mid-index for free and it makes a pretty big difference where I don’t care about the lenses.

All you need to do is get your newest prescription from your eye doctor, making sure to get your pupillary distance and any astigmatism corrections.  You pick out the glasses you like, and start entering all your prescription numbers.  FYI, you can measure the pupillary distance yourself too.  It’d be best to have someone else do it for you so you know it’s accurate.  You measure the distance in millimeters from the center of one pupil to the other.  They also explain everything to you on the website too if you’re unsure about anything it’s asking for.

If you’re not sure how the glasses will look on your face, you can just upload an image of your face onto the website and click the “try on” button for the glasses.  You can see how they look on your face!  (I would suggest editing the picture and cropping it down to just your head so the size is big enough.  The first time I tried it my head was too small.)

Still not convinced?  Think they’re cheap and gonna fall apart easily?  Husband and I have had our glasses for a year now.  That’s WELL worth the $10 we spent on them in my opinion.  Plus, frankly, if they do break, they were only $10.  We just bought 2 more pairs of glasses each.  I personally think there are styles for everyone too.  There’s a ton of cute ones, durable ones, metal and plastic.  all different shapes and sizes and styles.  I promise you you’ll find one you like at a reasonable price!