Saturday, February 27, 2010

Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss and Shoplifting

It always seems to be raining this month on my days off. On this rainy day, we went to Lakeshore Learning for a Dr. Seuss birthday celebration. Luckily, this event was inside and we were able to stay out of the rain. The best part, it was FREE! Lakeshore also has craft time every Saturday.

My oldest daughter, 5, was more excited to play with the toys on display than to participate in the crafts and story time. If that was what was going to make her happy, then so be it. She did make an aquarium craft (based on the story of one fish, 2 fish, red fish, blue fish) got her face painted with cat whiskers and ate cake. Besides being turned down from everything she wanted to buy, she had fun.

I didn't think my youngest daughter ,2, would participate in anything; but I was wrong. She was the one who wanted to make all the crafts. She really enjoyed using dot paint to make a hat and decorating her aquarium with fish stickers, shells, and sequins. She loves to put gobs of glue on the paper and just leave it. Thankfully, the glue bottle was almost empty so it was a little harder to use so much glue. She even got her 1st face paint with the cat whiskers! I didn't think she would even sit and let them do it. While I shopped, she got to play with toys and eat her share of cake.

On the way home, I noticed a tag on the recyclable Lakeshore bag we had. My husband was carrying it in the store to hold all the crafts; so I assumed it was a give away. In the car, I asked if it was a give away and he said "No, I thought you bought it". Yes, I accidentally shoplifted for the 1st time. And yes, while shoplifting is a way of being frugal; those are not the rules for this frugal fun challenge! Sorry, Lakeshore. Next time I'm in the area, I will return the bag to you or pay the $1.50.

Happy Birthday, Dr. Seuss!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Celebrating Valentine's Day

I had to work on Valentine's Day; so we celebrated on Saturday instead. I told the girls they could go to McDonalds as a special treat for lunch or dinner. My oldest said, How about breakfast? I agreed to breakfast. Both girls were so excited. It was like Christmas morning to them. I don't even remember the last time I went inside a McDonalds for breakfast. They received McDonalds gift cards; so their breakfast was free! The girls loved their pancakes and egg breakfast but were anxious to go to the play area.

For the frugal fun challenge outing, I chose to take them to the Japanese American Museum. They had a Valentine's event where kids got to decorate a cookie, make a tissue paper flower, create Valentine's Day cards, learn to make an oragami heart, listen to a Valentines' Day story and eat a delicious cupcake. Everything was free and the kids had a fun afternoon outing.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Homemade Peanut Butter

More time than normal was spent at home on Saturday due to the rain; so I decided to make some homemade peanut butter. I happened to have all the ingredients to make it; which was all of 3 ingredients - peanuts, vegetable oil and honey. I dug out the food processor, dumped in the ingredients and in less than 10 min. I got peanut butter! I didn't think it was that easy to make and wasn't sure how good it was going to taste. I asked my husband to try it and he was a little hesitant; but said "Hey, this tastes like Peanut Butter"!

The girls and I eat PB&J all the time; so this recipe will hopefully be used a lot. I have not tried it in the girls sandwiches; so I hope they like it.

Peanut Butter
2 1/2 cups peanuts
4 tablespoons oil ( Vegetable, Canola - NOT Olive)
2 tablespoons honey (For me this is optional)

Put peanuts in processor until they are well grounded.
Slowly add oil and mix well.
Add honey and mix again. The honey thickens it.
Pour into a container and refrigerate. If it becomes too thick, add more oil.

Home Depot

It was a rainy Saturday, so the challenge of finding indoor family entertainment was even more difficult. It happened to be the 1st Saturday of the month. On every 1st Saturday of the month Home Depot offers a FREE kids workshop. From 9-12pm your child can build something from one of their pre-fab kits.

We normally make it a family outing; but because of the rain I stayed home with the 2 year old while the oldest daughter and daddy had fun building a toy car display together. Toy cars are almost non existent with 2 girls; so she decided to make it more useful in her playmobil sets.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Homemade Laundry Detergent

One of my first products I made was homemade laundry detergent. I started making it because my daughter was constantly itchy in some areas and nothing I changed to seemed to help. I changed her bathing soap, stopped using bubble bath, lotions and nothing worked. I then thought that maybe the store bought detergent may be the cause. I found this laundry soap recipe and her itching had completely stopped. This not only helped my daughter; but it cleans our clothes, does not use harsh chemicals and it saves me a lot of money.

Heavy soiled clothes will need extra attention. Use the Fels Naptha bar and scrub clothing using water to make a lather, then wash. The process may need to be repeated if needed. Fels Naptha works great for removing stains. No need to buy stain removing agents which can save even more money.

This recipe is very easy and it only costs about $.05 per load compared to $.15-.30 a load using store bought detergent.

Powdered Laundry Soap

1/2 bar Fels Naptha soap
1 cup Washing Soda (Not Baking Soda)
1 cup Borax

Grate 1/2 bar (I use the small holes in my cheese grater)
Mix all ingredients
Use 1-2 tablespoons per load

Please note: You will not see any suds in your machine, so don't think you need to add more.
Makes about 40 loads

The Challenge

The frugality mostly started because I just wanted to save some extra pennies, cut down on the grocery bill while being a bit health conscious and go on inexpensive family outings.

I have always been a person who enjoys creating things; so I started discovering how I could make my own products. These products have helped save money and are healthier than store bought products. I am always looking to challenge myself to not buy 'that item' at the grocery store; but make it myself.

I am a mom of 2 young girls and entertaining them can be expensive. Staying at home all day on the weekends is not the norm at our house. I try to find at least one place to go to get out of the house. Finding FREE family outings have become my weekly challenge.

These challenges have changed how I live for the better. No matter what our income, I will hope to continue to be just as frugal as today.