Wait!! Don’t Call the Plumber… yet

drain

Do you have slow drains? Who doesn’t at one point or another have a sink, tub or shower that starts to drain slow? If you are anything like me you don’t want to spend too much money fixing the problem. Drain cleaners are not only expensive, they are bad for the environment and sometimes bad for your plumbing.

Before you try anything else, I suggest you put a tea kettle or large pot full of water on the stove and get it really boiling. Remove sink or drain stoppers. Take your boiling water and slowly pour it down the drain. This may not work with the first pot of boiling water or it may. I always boil a large pot of water and repeat the process three times just in case I have a really stubborn drain.

Did that work? Don’t fret if it did not! There is another way. You will need baking soda, a rag or some sort to stop the drain, vinegar and another pot of boiling water. For this method, remove drain stoppers, pour about half a box of baking soda into the drain, follow with 1/2 cup vinegar, and IMMEDIATELY stop the drain with the rag. Leave this to work in the drain for about 30 minutes and then slowly pour your pot of boiling hot water down the drain.

These methods should work well and once you have got your drain working as normal I recommend at least using the boiling hot water method on a regular basis to prevent future problems. Once a week or once a month are both good schedules.

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The Hydrangea Incident

Towards the end of last summer, on a day much too hot, I decided to move a well established hydrangea from one end of the yard to the other. When I started it seemed like an easy enough task that I could complete in about an hour…

I dug my new hole first. That was definitely easy. Then I pruned back the hydrangea, being careful to keep each and every shoot possible to make a cutting to root a new bush. I have 18 to 25 tiny hydrangeas. Next, I began to dig up the hydrangea.  Oh boy! It was starting to get hot out and this hydrangea had to be laughing at me. By this point the root ball, I’d rather call it a snarl or snag, was difficult to determine its size and whereabouts and add to that I was digging on a slope.

Ok, now after many breaks for myself and for my children I finally chopped through what I had decided was a very unnecessary portion of the root to free it from the ground and get it planted into its new home. By this time I am exhausted and when the hydrangea mocks me again by not fitting into its new hole I break off another piece of root.

If you would like information on hydrangea propagation check out www.hydrangeashydrangeas.com.  I did not use rooting hormone or tent with anything.

When my husband got home from work, immediately after I finished this project mind you, he was certain beyond a doubt that I had killed the hydrangea..

Every one of those nursery pots has a live hydrangea.

I can use them in our landscape or sell them later on!

Who’s laughing now…

Oh! The Shutterfly Photo Book Deal!

I almost forgot! I was able to get a 20 page 8×8 hard cover photo book for my son for FREE all I had to pay was $7.99 shipping. I put a few of his favorite things he did leading up to his birthday this year.

It is a great idea to keep an eye on the Shutterfly site for deals and to check those emails they send out regularly for amazing coupon offers.

photobook

Click here to view this photo book larger

Visit Shutterfly.com to create your own personalized photobook.

http://share.shutterfly.com/action/welcome?sid=0RZuGTlqyaMLe&cid=SFLYOCWIDGET

Saving Money with Baking Soda: Shampoo!

Maybe I did this backwards! I started using Apple Cider Vinegar Conditioner a month or so ago when I ran out of store bought conditioner. Well, I ran out of store bought shampoo three days ago and I am now using a baking soda and water mixture to wash my hair.

I love it! Now my hair is even more easier to deal with! Again, I am using a dollar tree spritz bottle to make the shampoo formula. Almost any small bottle will do, I am not using the nozzle for either the shampoo or conditioner. I find it easier and less time consuming to pour evenly over my hair.

The Shampoo Recipe:

  • 1 Tablespoon Baking Soda
  • 1 Cup Warm Shower Water

This is more than enough to wash my hair thoroughly, my hair is straight and shoulder length. That’s it and my combs through easier than ever! It is clean and feels amazing. Not to mention looks amazing!

The Circus Party

In my previous post, The Circus is Coming!, I listed the majority of the costs involved with this party. While others tend to go a smidgen overboard with children’s parties, I don’t. I realize that I need just enough to get their imaginations going and that is how far I go. Although, some would say I go overboard anyway. This party did end up costing roughly $180. That total does include things I will be reusing and re-purposing around the house, for other parties, and using in my childcare.

What wasn’t mentioned

  • Plates $1.00
  • Napkins $1.00
  • Forks $1.00
  • Cake $31.99
  • Admissions $15.00
  • Nickels $35.00 (for our family and all attendees!)

The cake was too large!! Apparently, nowadays when people don’t RSVP at all that does mean that they will not be showing up. Hey, we have some extra cake around to enjoy. We could have gotten away with a quarter sheet instead of a half sheet. Next party I will remember this.. so if I invite you an you don’t RSVP and you plan on showing up don’t count on having a treat bag or any cake!! Just kidding!

The cake topper was great for the kids. Did I mention I won that from Liz Marek of Artisan Cake Company. My son loved it when he saw it. I wish I had a picture to share of that look when I first showed him Marty. He was in shock and wanted to know if it was for him and if I had gotten it for him!

So we were able to have a wonderful party location, decorate, have cake, make our own custom treat bags and custom invitations…most importantly have a great time and celebrate a birthday.. all for about $180.

My favorite part about it all – The mess wasn’t at my house!

 

 

The Circus is Coming!

My oldest son is turning 5 on Saturday! We are planning a carnival/circus themed party that we will be having at Electric Castle’s Wunderland Cinema & Nickel Games. Choosing to have the party here turned out to be a real bargain! Children 5 years and under receive free admission and for adults admission will be $1.75 each. All the games take nickels and we will be providing $2 for each child that attends. Comparing this to the bouncy facilities that cost about $8-14 per person for two hours without add-ons like treat bags (that are filled with non-theme related junk).

afro circus marty pauls fav

The cake, which we are purchasing from Safeway, will be topped by Liz Marek of Artisan Cake Company. Earlier this year I participated in a giveaway on Artisan Cake Company’s FaceBook page and won a free custom cake topper no larger that 6 inches tall and 6 inches across. My son had no problem deciding on Marty, from Madagascar 3, doing the Afro Circus song and dance! It was a little difficult for me to find a suitable picture to send over the Liz.  We cannot wait to receive our delivery of Marty!

Well intended as I always am, I waited too late to really plan out fancy invitations. Instead, I used what I had on hand and some things I lucked out finding at the Dollar Tree.  The card stock I used is Recollections Primary Cardstock Paper 50 sheets for $2.00 purchased at Micheal’s. The raffle tickets I picked up at the Dollar Tree.

For the envelopes and treat bags I found popcorn bags at the Dollar Tree. After using Publisher to quickly put together the invitations, cutting, folding and gluing the tickets on, I opened up ten of the popcorn bags to make twenty basic envelopes. The popcorn glued to the outside of the bags was found by searching google for pictures of popcorn cutouts. I used paint and word to fill an entire page with popcorn. The coloring of the butter was done by my son and myself. For the invitations already given out I used the popcorn for the recipients name, each letter in the name had its own kernel.

Of course, now I hop on amazon to complete the theme. I will list out what is from amazon.com now.

 

We purchased a disposable helium tank at Micheal’s with a 40% off coupon was $19.79. And the banner flags are from the Dollar Tree. The Animal Crackers were not the best deal, I paid $1.25 per box at Safeway and went ahead and purchased 20 boxes!!

There is more to come! Stay tuned for the party! 🙂

 

 

Thrift Store Style Board

Back story.. After two kids, what I consider major and abrupt weight loss and the desperate need to update my wardrobe I pledged to myself a clothing allowance.. I know, I know sounds funny, but I have this list called priorities and previously clothing for myself wasn’t making the cut. I had clothing, albeit not very appealing, but it did the job…

Inspired by A Thrifty Mom’s Fashion Style Boards and her copy cat match-ups at Amazon.com. My favorite boards and favorite finds from A Thrifty Mom’s style boards are actually a few of her first to be posted. If you choose to go take a peek, I do suggests checking out all of her great fashion style boards (for women and men too!).

This is one of my favorites.

copycat-style-match-for-less

Unfortunately, I still felt that the prices for items I wanted was adding up to way too much.. Over $300 was in my Amazon.com cart at one point(for about two or three complete outfits, a couple scarves, a necklace, a basic top or two and two pairs of boots).. Alright, I leave all these wonderful items in my amazon.com cart and one Saturday morning I head to my local Goodwill.

I saved the fashion style boards from A Thrifty Mom and specific pics from Amazon.com that I liked the most to my phone, just in case I needed to reference them for inspiration while shopping.

I spent 2 hours at Goodwill, constantly in and out of the dressing room (so much the lady thought I was stealing stuff). It was my last trip to the dressing room, I had found a wonderful Calvin Klein dress to try one with a wide belt. I asked the attendant if I could take the belt inside and have it counted with my six item limit, she agreed. I tried the dress and belt on and they looked fabulous together. On my way out of the dressing room I dropped the belt, without noticing, on the floor of the fitting room. The attendant immediately started to rifle through my cart and my items I had just brought out of the dressing room. She was asking me what I had done with the wallet I took into the room. I had no idea what she was talking about. Then she said it was a red wallet. OH! You mean that belt I really want and now I cant find it. I said to her, maybe I dropped it on the floor in the dressing room. I actually had to repeat that a couple of times before she would re-open the room to look. She retrieved the belt for me and I headed for the check-out line, leaving her behind and probably embarrassed.

I leave spending $101.50 and get 3 cardigans, one pair of black skinny jeans, one amazing skirt, one hot dress, two belts, 1 pair of flats, a purse and 4 tops.. all of which interchange with each other. There was one more item in my total, a game for my son that cost $2.99.

I did end up buying one pair of boots off of amazon.com for 28.99. Shopping for used or new donated shoes isn’t something I have the patience for.

The jeans aren’t pictured here because I can’t seem to take a picture of myself wearing them! My favorites on this trip were the black Calvin Klein dress and the grey skirt. I hope that this inspires you to go make some excellent finds at your local favorite thrift shop!

Now if anyone has tips on how I can take better pictures, please let me know! 🙂