10 More Easy & Frugal Homemade Gift Ideas

Last year, I shared a few ideas for homemade baked goodies for Christmas. Here are a few more homemade gift ideas from around my blog {and elsewhere}, too! I know it can be difficult to navigate blogs sometimes so I thought it might be helpful if I put them all together in one post!

1 – I’m passing this out this year – Homemade Laundry Soap. I’ve been making my own laundry soap for a long time now, and am very thrilled with it. It’s super easy and very frugal! It only has 3 ingredients: washing {or baking} soda, borax, and Ivory soap! And a little bit goes a long way. I love the soap dressed up in a mason jar with a fun bow!

2 – Another great, frugal gift in a jar is Citrus Infused Vinegar Cleaner! I made this last year and love it, too! It’s a great way to use up some of those citrus peels I know I have an abundance of this time of year. I not planning to give this out this year, but it is in the back of my mind for another easy, frugal, useful gift to give!
Continue reading “10 More Easy & Frugal Homemade Gift Ideas” »

Grocery Shopping Update – Non-GMO Shopping Challenges

Last week, I shared my decision to take my family gmo-free. Even though I have paid some attention to the gmo issue in the past, I took a good hard look at all of the food I buy and decided to make even more changes to reduce the number of gmos we consume. We are now half way through November and I thought I’d share with you what has changed about the way I grocery shop.

Grocery Shopping Update – Non-GMO Shopping Challenges

How I grocery shop

It might be helpful to explain how I normally grocery shop to show you what’s changed. I normally do one big Costco run each month. I also generally order each month from Azure Standard.  {If you haven’t heard of Azure Standard, here are my tips from ordering from them! It’s an awesome company and they deliver wonderful food to my area once a month.}

Additionally, I make weekly run(s) to grocery stores when I’m in Muscatine where I work out and take my kids for a lot of homeschooling activities. I normally shop at Aldi, but since I made this decision to go non-gmo, I’ve been going to HyVee a few more times because they have a bigger health food market for a larger selection of organics.

I buy the bulk of my groceries from Costco and Azure Standard, and then I fill in with fresh needs (milk, veggies, and fruit) once a week or whenever I make local runs.

What I bought and how it’s different than before

Grocery Shopping Update - Non-GMO Shopping Challenges
Continue reading “Grocery Shopping Update – Non-GMO Shopping Challenges” »

Happy {Birth} Day and Another Homebirth Story ~ #2

Happy, happy birth day to my sweet son who turns 9 years old today. I guess at 9 years old, a person is halfway to adulthood already??  What a scary thought, my friends. <3  I’ve shared two of my birth stories already (number 1 and number 3), and each year on the other two kid’s birthdays, I mean to share their stories too. But then the time comes and goes without me sharing. So, today, I’m sharing another birth story because one of these days, I am going to forget all of the details. I’ve already forgotten so much that I had to look up what time he was born! Scandalous…

happy birthday
All four of my babies have been born at home. Home birth was so important to me that we paid thousands of dollars out of pocket the first two times around because our military Tricare insurance wouldn’t pay for them. I taught extra community college classes to cover the cost and we just bit the bullet and paid. I wanted quiet, peaceful, intervention-free births – preferably in the water. I wanted to be able to eat and drink as I saw fit. I wanted to labor, where and how I felt the need. I didn’t want to be hooked up to monitors and I certainly didn’t want any pitocin or epidurals or any of that nonsense. I didn’t want a stranger delivering my baby – I wanted a calm, capable, loving midwife to catch my children. That’s why we opted for homebirth. My first two babies were caught by the most awesome midwife Colorado has ever had. I hope the women she works with now know what a blessing she is to the natural childbirth movement. Tracy, thank you from the bottom of my heart.
Continue reading “Happy {Birth} Day and Another Homebirth Story ~ #2” »

Changing the Way I Grocery Shop

My grocery shopping habits have changed a lot of the years. I’ve gone from shopping primarily in military commissaries to shopping on the economy; from shopping many times a week to once a month and back again; from having plenty of money to grocery shop, to having very little money to spend; from using a lot of coupons, to using very few; and finally becoming very picky about ingredients. That leads me today to admit to you that I am changing the way I grocery shop even more now.

Fullscreen capture 11112014 74229 AM

Changing the Way I Grocery Shop

While I have long tried to avoid many food ingredients like high fructose corn syrup, artificial sweeteners, and artificial colors, I have not avoided them altogether. More so, I’ve shopped by the philosophy everything in moderation – trying to make sure that I counter balance bad stuff with good stuff. I didn’t stress about buying a few products with ingredients I wasn’t thrilled about because compared to the carts I often see filled to the brim with processed crap, my cart still looks pretty darn good – filled with whole grains, dairy products, and fruits and veg.
Continue reading “Changing the Way I Grocery Shop” »