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JessLee's Money Saving Blog

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DIY liquid Castile soap!

Posted on July 16, 2014 at 8:20 PM Comments comments (0)

Do you love Castile soap, but not the price tag? Me too! A 32 oz bottle of dr. Bronners organic can cost $17! We go throughout a lot of Castile soap in my house. I use it for body wash, in my laundry, cleaning products and as shampoo. I have figured out a way to make your own at home and save tons of money!  It's very quick and simple.


Items you will need are

a big sauce pot

stove

cheese grater

spatula for stirring

large bucket to hold the finished product (I use a 2-3 gallon bucket)


Ingredients

1 bar dr bronners Castile soap

1.5 gallons water


Sounds pretty simple already right?

First you need to start the water on the stove. Put all the water in your pot and bring to a boil.  While that is coming to a boil, use your cheese grater to shred the bar of soap.  Put all the soap into the water and melt into the water. IMPORTANT! The soap must completely dissolve into the water!! Do not allow any chunks to stay!  When it is done, allow to cool for a while and then Put into a container for storage.  TaDa! You made liquid soap!!  I kept my old 32 oz bottles and just keep refilling them.

Sometimes when I go to refill my bottles the soap is kinda solid, so I take my hand mixer, add a little hot water and whip it to make it liquid again.  If for some reason the smell isn't strong enough for you, you can put some essential oils in it. :-) I love lavender, tea tree and peppermint together. (It also helps to deflect lice if you have school age kids)


i hope you enjoy making this and saving money :-)

thanks for reading and God bless

JessLee

All purpose spray cleaner

Posted on July 8, 2014 at 3:40 PM Comments comments (0)

Have you ever actually looked at those "all natural" "safe for babies & pets" cleaners? Most of them have ingredients you can't even pronounce, and forget knowing what the specific item is.  I like to make my own for this reason.  I have a few different recipes that I use, and hope that you enjoy them too. These are safe and natural, and most of the ingredients are or can be organic very easily. 


The most easy one I make is just water and vinegar. I do a 50/50 ratio.  I promise you that your counters will be clean, and they won't smell like vinegar in just a few mins.  The smell doesn't stay, but the vinegar cleans and disinfects the counter tops, and what could be more easy?  Just put it in a spray bottle. You can use an old spray bottle or go buy a new one at the dollar store.  

Another thing that you can do to this recipe is add 10-15 drops of your favorite essential oil. I sometimes do a citrus blend of lemon, lime, orange, grapefruit and tangerine. It smells so good.  I also like to mix up peppermint, lavender and tea tree.  Mix and match what scents you like.  

The last one that I use from time to time is 50/50 water and vinegar and then I add a few tablespoons of Castile soap.  I make my own liquid Castile soap, so it's pretty cheap for me.  I will tell you later on how you can make over a gallon of Castile soap for under $5, so stay tuned.  If you find that the Castile soap doesn't have enough of a scent, you can add a few drops of essential oils as we'll.  just put in a squirt bottle a your done.

It is quick, simple, easy and cheap to make your own cleaner. I hope you enjoy mixing and matching scents to your style.


thank you for reading and God Bless

JessLee

Old Mc Donald had a farm............

Posted on June 26, 2014 at 11:55 AM Comments comments (0)

oh there is nothing more cute than a baby animal.  Who can resist a fluffy baby chick or duck.  I know I can't, and I have come home with far many more animals than I had promised my husband.  My kids love the baby animals too.  We call our daughter the "chicken whisperer".  That girl can catch any bird when no one else can.  Even our meanest rooster we had last year she could grab and hold with no problems.

That being said, we obviously have farm animals at  home.  We currently have 2 dogs, 2 goats, 1 turkey, 3 geese, 3 ducks, 12 roosters, and 15 hens.  Oh and don't those baby roosters LOVE to crow right outside my window at 4:30 AM EVERYDAY!! But thats the price you pay for having so many roosters.  They are just so cute, I can't help but love them.

We originally only had chickens, and for that we only had hens for eggs.  We got into all the other animals last year.  We got turkeys, meat chickens and ducks last year for meat, and the goats we got for brush control.  A word to the wise, do not let your goats go free.  They will eat your garden (yes, I learned the hard way).  We put them on dog runners so that we can move them around and they get fresh grass that way too.  

Farming with a lot of animals can get expensive, so you have to know what you can give your animals.  My mother and I sprouted wheat grass and barley over the winter for the chickens, and our egg production didn't slow down too much over the winter.  It was great to be able to have eggs all winter. (we eat a lot of eggs)  The birds loved it and 2 - 50 lb bags lasted almost a whole year!!  We did give them layer pellets as well, so this is just a suppliment not their main meal.  Also over the winter we give them oyster shells and grit in their food since they are not able to scratch around outside.  I usually throw the oyster shells with their cracked corn outside.  My birds also get all the veggie scraps and fruit scraps that we don't eat.  They love watermelon, lettuce, carrots.  They will eat it all!! The only things that I know of that you should never feed chickens is potatos, and citrus.  I have fed them these in the past before I knew this and had no issues, but I stopped because I don't want to cause any issues either.

Something else you can do for your animals is go to a bread store outlet.  Most of them have what they call bird bread.  It is like their day old bread.  The local bread store here sells a flat of bread for $2.  My animals love their bread treats.  Also some grocery stores do sell their "less than perfect" produce for little to nothing to farmers.  And dont be afraid to ask if there are any ripped bags for a discount or free where ever you buy your animals grain.  We got tons of free grain last year due to a pesty chipmunk at the hardware store that we buy our food at.

Another reason why we have chickens is they love to eat bugs.  Living in New England, we have lots and lots of ticks and those chickens love to eat them.  One of my moms chickens actually ate a snake last summer. (yuck and yeah at the same time)

Wrapping up, farming can be done on a budget, you just have to know what to look for.

Thank you for reading and God Bless

JessLee

Reuse Reuse Reuse!!

Posted on June 26, 2014 at 11:55 AM Comments comments (0)

ok, Don't be scared, we are not going reuse desposable items.  However we are going to look at things that are normally desposible and see their reuseable choices.

Not quite a year ago, I decided to take on a challenge of trying to use anything and everything that was available in a reuseable form.  I have only bought 1 roll of paper towels since last summer, and it was because we were in the car traveling and we needed something to wipe up our hands with.  I haven't bought throw away napkins in an even longer time.

I went to the dollar store and bought some extra hand towels to use as "paper towels".  We use them for all spills and to dry our hands off after washing instead of throwing away a paper towel everytime.  I also, very luckily, went to Bed Bath and Beyond looking for cloth napkins, and found them on the clearance rack, and BONUS i had a coupon for $5 off a $15 purchase!! I got some very nice, thick cloth napkins for under a dollar a pc!  Ok, here is one my husband has an issue with, so we do buy tissues still, but I did buy hankercheifs, and I do use them, but he refuses, and our daughter gets bloody noses frequently (we are already working with a ENT on this) and I wouldn't want her to use a hanky on that.

So, now you know what we've changed, let me go into a little more detail now as to how we have done and how things have changed.  I stopped working last fall, and I knew we were going to need to cut corners somewhere and this just seemed to make sense to me.  We were going through about 3-4 rolls of paper towels a week.  That can get quite costly!  We always had them right behind the sink, easy to grab and use when in a pinch.  The day I put the papertowel holder away, my husband had a hard time with it.  We had always had it there, and it was the "norm" at the time.  It took the kids a while to get use to it as well.  I was pretty gung ho about the whole ordeal, so it didn't bother me a bit!

A few weeks into the "no papertowel" time in our lives, we realized we needed something to clean with besides hand towels.  They were a little too big to be washing windows with and such, so I went and purchased what I call "rags" to the kids, but they are small dish towels, about the size of a wash cloth.  These work perfectly to wash windows and to clean the counters with.  We have different draws for the hand towels, rags, and cloth napkins right in the kitchen.  My kids help clean the house, and it only took them a week or 2 to get use to the new way of doing things.  They thought that it was nasty to clean with a reuseable rag, but I showed them that we clean them and it is no different than them getting their clothes dirty and us washing them.

Another thing that we used a lot was baby wipes!! We went through a ton of those every week.  We used them from everything from wiping down a small mess to cleaning our hands and face in a race out the door.  I have found a great way to make your own at home.  My kids had tons of those dollar store "majic towels" that they sell with characters on them.  They have outgrown them, and so they were just sitting in the closet not being used.  What I do now, is I have an old baby wipe container that I fold up the wash cloths in and then pour a mixture over to make them into reuseable baby wipes.  The one that I like best is I make 2 cups of tea (any herbal will work, I like peppermint or chamomile) then add either 2 tbs of olive oil or lanolin, and a few drops of your fave essential oil.  They work great and smell great.  They are so much more inexpensive as well.  Now, this is not what I use for cloth diapering baby wipes.  Check out the Cloth Diaper part of my blog for more info on those.

I know it sounds hard and sounds like a lot of work, but when you have a single family income with 4 people (almost 5) any little bit helps.  I even try and keep my old yogurt containers (we buy the big ones and put them into tupperware to bring places to eat in smaller amounts).  i reuse them with farming and giving the animals our veggie scraps, and I also use them to put our compost stuff in for the kids to bring to the big compost bucket outside.

Once you get started trying to live more frugally, you will find new uses for a lot of different things.  I even keep my egg shells for gardening, and to give back to my chickens.

I hope you have gotten a little more info on reusables instead of disposables and maybe even going to give it a try.  I can help you in any way that I can to get you started.  It honestly doesn't take that much to get started (if you go to the dollar store and not kohls to get your hand towels, "rags" and cloth napkins). It can be done on a budget, and it just may be that you buy a few pieces at a time until you get your stock up.  Another great place to look for hand towels and cloth napkins is YARD SALES!! and they are in full swing right now.  

Good luck, and let me know if you took on the challenge and how it went.

Thank you for reading and God Bless

JessLee

Strong Willed Children

Posted on June 24, 2014 at 1:10 PM Comments comments (0)

Do you have a strong willed child? Oh I do! My 6 year old daughter loves to push the limits at home and at school.  Now my kids go to a private Christian school so I know they don't usually do this in public schools at this young of an age, but there was a time where my daughter was bringing home a demerit every day, and sometimes 2!! It was a very hard and stressful time for her and my husband and I.  We tried a lot of different things including taking all of her toys out of her room (yes ALL! Not just the ones she played with. Her toy box was empty and her teady bears off her bed!) she would get a bag of toys back at the end of the week if she didn't get a demerit.  She said she didn't care. Ugh, so we tried a more positive approach by giving her something little on the days she didn't get a demerit, that worked a little, but didn't really make her turn around 100%.  Our last thing we did, was I quit my job to stay home with my children.  I was working full time and my kids were going to my mothers and mother in laws while I was at work. We all have different ways of dicipline and different things we say not to do.  

Being home gave my daughter consistency she needed and started to help, then she would have behavioral issues again, and then get better.  I finally resorted to taking her off of wheat and sugar and her teacher said she noticed a huge improvement.  She went a whole month without a demerit!  That was huge.  She still has outbursts here and there but we are on the road to recovery.  Now that they are on summer vacation, she is just relaxing and having fun.  I do make my kids do summer school work and read daily, so she isn't getting use to not doing things, plus I have my kids help with household chores.  She needs this kind of structure, and she is doing much better.  Time will help to.  It isn't an overnight transformation I can definitely tell you that, but she is a work in progress :-)

Do you know Christ?

Posted on June 23, 2014 at 4:15 PM Comments comments (0)

Have you ever though that there was something more to this life? Well, take a look around you? Does evolution seem right to you? Do you really feel you came from a monkey? I don't know about you, but when I look around I don't see a bunch of mistakes that happened over millions of years making everything we see today, I see that there had to be a creator to make everything perfectly the way he wanted.  Everything goes together to work for a cause. Mammals need oxygen to live while plants need carbon dioxide.  Mammals breathe in oxygen and breathe out carbon dioxide while plants breath in carbon dioxide and breath out oxygen.  Wow, does that sound like an accident to you?  

Just like God created the earth and universe, he created you and me.  He knew he was going to create you from the very beginning. He knows more about you than you do.  He knows where your going, where you've been, and even how many hairs are on your head. Wow, isn't he amazing!  

Did you know that the God of everything sent his son to come to earth to die on the cross to take away our sins?  Yes, we are all sinners.  We are all born with a sin nature.  The Bible says "for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" Romans3:23.  Don't believe your a sinner? Think about the 10 commandments for a minute.  Have you ever lied? Even a small little lie that never hurt anyone? How about steal? Even if it was just a pen from work? We all have.  It also says in John 3:16 "for God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believeth in him, shall not perish, but have everlasting life."  Everlasting life, yes eternity with Christ.  Sounds like it would be a hard gift to get huh? But he made it so simple.  Because Christ died for our sins, all we need to do is pray to him and tell him that we want him to be Lord of our life, thank him for dying on the cross and saving us from eternity in hell.  Ask him to forgive you of your sins and guide you in life to be what he wants you to be.  It really is that simple!  He loves you more than you will ever know, and is just waiting to be asked to enter into your life.  


Just think about this for a little and see how you feel.  If you feel a tugging on your heart, don't push it aside, talk to Jesus and invite him in.  If you feel he is calling to you, don't put it off because you don't know your future and don't know what will happen to you even in the next 10 mins! This is not something that you want to put off for years, because tomorrow is not promised to any of us.


i will be praying for you, and if you do come to Christ, message me so that I can pray for you.

i hope this made an impression on you. Thanks for reading and God bless

JessLee

Daily Chore Charts

Posted on June 23, 2014 at 4:05 PM Comments comments (0)

Ugh the dreaded household chores. Who likes them? Not me! I am the type of person that overwhelmed when there is too much to do.  Since becoming a stay at home mom, I have been trying and trying to figure out a good schedule for cleaning for me and my family, and yes the kids do their fair share of chores in my house.  Each of us have our daily list of chores which include cleaning bedrooms, making beds, brushing teeth, taking showers, feeding animals, taking vitamins ect.  Then we each have a lots of chores for each day of the week. For example on Mondays I do all the laundry, change all the hand towels in the house and sweep the floors. My son empty the trash, dust the piano, and help cook dinner. My daughters chores on Monday are clean the toilet, and wash the windows, mirrors and front of the washer and dryer. 

How we keep track of our chores is we have on our fridge our everyday chores, and then we also have our days of the week chores that we change out every day. It's nothing fancy, just computer paper with the day of the week on it and pictures of what chores they are doing that day.  By the end of the week everything has been done at least once and that means Saturday mornings aren't just chore day.  My kids know what they need to do every day and I don't have to tell them.  We just all know what needs to be done before we have any fun time or go anywhere. It works for us, maybe it would work for your family? Try it out and see. It has definitely changed our way of living :-)

New to cloth diapering....... here we goooooooo

Posted on June 23, 2014 at 1:25 PM Comments comments (0)

Alright, so I have never cloth diapered before.  This will be my first attempt as we are trying to be more natural with our kids and also it is a lot less expensive to cloth diaper than it is to use disposable diapers.  Not to mention that disposable diapers contain lots of chemicals and are bleached.  Not good for babys bumm.  They have actually linked the chemicals to a higher rate of UTI infections in babies.  I know it sounds nasty to wash pee and poo in a washing machine, but breast milk is water soluable, so it actually isn't an issue at all.

It is so hard when you are just begining to CD (cloth diaper), especially if you have never done it before or never seen it done by someone close to you.  I had no idea where to buy diapers, what diapers to get, and the list of questions goes on and on and on.  

After watching many many youtube videos, I finally decided to get the pocket diapers. They seem to be very versatile because you can use it as a cover or stuff it with your absorbent material.  I bough porbably 2 dozen or more of the one size pocket diapers.  The problem with the one size pocket diapers is that they don't fit newborns very well from what I have heard, so I went online and found a pattern for a newborn cloth diaper cover, and newborn prefold diapers.  I made about a dozen covers and a couple dozen prefolds.  I made the prefolds out of receiving blankets I purchased at a yard sale for $0.25 a pc.  Each blanket made 2 prefolds.  LOVE IT!!  I also went to ebay and bought a couple snappi's and some safety pins to keep them in place.  Not sure which I like better yet since I am still pregnant, but my due date is officially within the next month! so I will know in a few months which I prefer.

I also read that you can't use regular diaper rash cream, so while searching for that I found out that coconut oil works great for diaper rash and is CD safe! That was great news, not to mention it also works for if your breastfeeding instead of using other nipple creams.  For the diaper rash cream part, you can actually add essential oils such as tea tree as well which is an antibacterial and can also help.

So after deciding to CD, I read a lot of CD families use Cloth Wipes (CW). I got a little nervous becasue after seeing the price of the diapers, I was thinking "how much is this going to cost?!?!"  Well it turns out, you can make your own wipes out of flannel, cotton or fleece.  I made some out of flannel first, and I don't have a surger, so I attempted to do a fake surge on some, and then I also made some that were double lined so I didn't have to worry about fraying.  I also went to walmart and bought a few yards of tan fleece and cut it all up to make some wipes, because fleece doesn't fray, so those were so easy to make.  Just cut and go.


I will go into more detail in later blogs.  I think this was a good intro for now.  I will talk with you soon, and as always thank you for visiting and reading.  God Bless

JessLee

Laundry Soap

Posted on June 23, 2014 at 8:30 AM Comments comments (0)

Hello Everyone,:D

The question I get asked about the most when I get to talking about making my own cleaners is "how do you make laundry soap?"  Most people say they don't have enough time and patience to make it, but honestly, it only takes about 20 mins to make and it lasts my family of 4 about a year! The best part, though, is that it only costs $2-$3 to make 10 gallons of laundry soap!!  This laundry soap is unscented and is great for everyone from from babies to grandma.  I add a little bit of my favorite essential oils to my loads.  I like to add peppermint, orange,lavendar or even tea tree oil.  I only add 4-5 drops per load and it works great.  I also add baking soda and vinegar to my loads as it is a great fabric softener.  And I know the next question you have and the answer is NO! Your clothes will not come out smelling like pickles lol.

Alright so to make this laundry soap you only need 3 ingredients to buy at the store

1 Fels-Naptha soap bar

1 Cup - Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda*

½ Cup Borax


This is such a super simple task, you will probably kick yourself in the butt when you see how simple it is and ask yourself why it took you so long to do it!!

Ready, here goes

Grate the bar of Naptha soap with a cheese grater.  Put it into a pot with about 4 cups of water (i just use my tap water).  Slowly melt the soap into the water.  Stir occasionally.  While the Naptha soap is melting,  get a 5 gallon bucket ready.  Add the Washing soda, and borax into the bottom of the bucket and add HOT tap water to it.  What I do is fill the bucket about half way, and stir the washing soda and borax into the hot water to disolve.  When the naptha soap is melted completely, pour the contents into the bucket, while still hot, and stir well.  Fill the rest of the 5 gallon bucket with HOT tap water.  Stir again, and put cover on.  Let set overnight.  This laundry soap is now done.  It is also a concentrate, so you actually are getting 10 gallons.  

What we did at our house is got a funnel and a ladel and figured out how many ladels fills up our container to halfway, and then just fill the rest with HOT tap water and shake it to mix them together.  We used an old laundry soap bottle so it is easier to dispense into the washer.

Now another question you may have is "is this ok for a HE washer?" and the answer is definately yes!  I have an LG steam and have been using this stuff in it for years with no problems what so ever.

The only issue I have had with this laundry soap, is it starts to congeal on top into a hard blob.  What I do to fix this is I take my hand mixer and mix it together on top of the bucket.  It works great and makes it so you don't get clumps.

I hope you enjoy your new found money saving tip on laundry soap.  Feel free to ask any questions you may have or suggestions you have come up with for it.

Thanks for reading & God Bless

JessLee

Welcome

Posted on June 23, 2014 at 7:40 AM Comments comments (0)

Hello Everyone and welcome to my money saving tips blog,

I hope you enjoy reading as I teach you things I have learned in the past about how to save money and live on a budget with a family, kids, farm and life.

I will keep the welcome blog short (I hope) becasue i can expand on my thoughts in each section.

A little about me...........

My husband and I have been married for over 10 years.  I asked Jesus to be Lord of my life as a small child.  My husband did also as a teenager.  We have 2.5 children.  We have a 9 year old son, and 6 year old daughter with another little girl on the way.  Our two oldest children have also asked Jesus to be Lord of their life and are loving learning about God and the Bible.  We couldn't be more blessed.

Our son has a severe peanut allergy which makes it so we read food labels and are always looking for new ways to make our meals and save money because organic foods are more expensive.

We do have a small farm with 27 chickens, 3 ducks, 3 geese, 2 goats, 2 dogs, and a turkey.  We eat our own eggs from our free range hens, and raise most of our own meat (and hunt the rest).  We also organically grow our veggies, and we live next door to an apple orchard where they grow organic apples!  I enjoy canning and freezing foods so that I know what we are eating.

Ok, I think I've said enough for this Welcoming blog.

Please follow the sections that interest you and feel free to contact me with questions because I may just overlook some things, or get new ideas I can pass along to the readers. :-)


Thanks again and God Bless

JessLee


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