Saturday, May 31, 2008

Book Review- The Tightwad Gazette

The Complete Tightwad Gazette
LOVE this book! It's one of my favorite resources for frugal living. There are tons of ideas for saving money and reusing/fixing items you already have in your home. There are also tips on hardcore yardsale-ing, gardening, cheap meals, etc. This is a must-have for anyone who is trying to stretch a tight budget!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Cheaper greener tips for today!

*Carpooling-- Do you commute to the office? See if you can find a friend that lives nearby to carpool with. Another option for some people is to telecommute one or two days per week. Especially with gas prices the way they are, this can make a huge difference in your budget! On a smaller scale, how about carpooling to the grocery store with a neighbor? Perhaps someone who is elderly and doesn't drive would pitch in for gas money to run errands with you. It doesn't hurt to ask!

*Unplug your electronics chargers when they are not in use! Even when you are not charging something, these will suck electricity when plugged in.

*Only run dishwasher/washer/dryer when they are full. This saves on water, electricity, and detergent. Also, try this homemade dishwasher detergent: mix together equal parts borax and baking soda in a clean jar. Use 2 tblsp. per load (put in the bottom of DW).

Monday, May 26, 2008

Rave review for our Ergo

We got A LOT of use out of our new Ergo baby carrier this weekend when we took a trip to Philly. Oliver was a happy little boy riding around on mama and daddy. The snap on hood is great for when baby is sleeping and Karl (who has back problems) carried Ollie for several hours at a time without getting sore. Love it!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Look what I made!- Homemade laundry detergent

I just made my first batch of homemade laundry detergent! Here's the recipe:

1 C. Fels-Naptha soap, grated

1/2 C. Borax

1/2 C. Arm & Hammer Washing Soda

Use 1 tablespoon per load, so this recipe makes enough for 32 loads.

It cost me about $1.00 in ingredients to make this, so that works out to be about .03 per load--not too shabby! Even the cheapest detergents you can buy at the store cost at least 3 times that. I'll let you know how it works!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Read to your baby!

Just wanted to send out a reminder to all you mommies out there-- it's never too early to start reading to your little one! Ollie especially likes books with soft pages and textures so he can grab on and stick them in his mouth. Have a wonderful day!

Monday, May 19, 2008

Cheaper Greener Tips for Today!

*Go Yardsale-ing! Everyone loves a good yardsale, and that season is upon us--here are some tips to make your yardsale experience more enjoyable and efficient:
1-CHECK YOUR LOCAL PAPER for yardsale locations for the upcoming weekend and plan a route so that you won't be backtracking and wasting gas.

2-MAKE A LIST of items you are looking for and approximately what you are willing to spend on them (remember- a bargain isn't a bargain unless you have a use for it and a place to put it). Also keep in mind that if you are looking for clothing for a child that is not with you or furniture for a certain space, it is a good idea to write down measurments and bring a tape measure with you.

3-HAVE SMALL BILLS AND CHANGE on hand because it is easier to haggle if you have exact change for the price you are willing to pay.

4-WHEN YARDSALE-ING WITH CHILDREN, give each child a set amount of money ahead of time. This will alleviate the "mommy-i-want-that" and will teach them a lesson in budgeting and counting money.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Great website

Found this great website and wanted to share:

Lots of green products and ideas to fight global warming!

Cheaper Greener Tips for Today!

*Loaded baked potatoes make a great inexpensive lunch or dinner and you can top them with almost anything! To save energy (and not heat up your house in the summer), wrap washed potatoes in foil and pop them in the crockpot on low for 4 hours. Some of my favorite toppings are: edamame and shredded cheese, vegetarian chili, black beans and salsa, or for meat lovers- chopped ham, green onions and cheddar.

*Purchase some inexpensive cloth napkins. If you usually go through a package of napkins each month, that's around $30 per year--cloth ones will pay for themselves pretty quickly! And while you're at it, buy some microfiber towels to have on hand instead of using paper towels. Microfiber soaks up more liquid than cotton and they also pick up dust and dirt really well.

*Clothesline season is here! Hang your clothes and you can save up to $60 in just one season. (Not to mention the CO2 saved by not running your dryer as much) Put up a clothesline or drying racks in your basement and save even more year round!

My cutie boy

Just thought Oliver was looking particularly cute today and wanted to share this photo!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

I just watched "The Story of Stuff" and was inspired to share it with everyone. Here it is...

I really do believe that each one of us has the power to make a difference and leave behind a better, cleaner earth for our kids and grandkids. I'll post more later, but for now, watch "The Story of Stuff" and let me know what you think.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Article to share

Check out this article on parenting and environmentalism. I thought it was pretty interesting.,9171,1738629,00.html

We're off to see our friend Kelly's new baby today. Little Delia was born last Tuesday and weighed a whopping 9 lbs. 11 oz.! Can't wait to meet her :) I'll post a photo later.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Discount code for

Just thought I would share. has cloth diapers now! You can use this code "stefblog" to save $5.00 off your first order. Enjoy!

Cloth diapering-- the good, the bad, and the downright stinky

So we've been cloth diapering since Ollie was about 3 weeks old... which was about 4 months ago. Surprisingly, it wasn't all that difficult to get Karl and the 2 grandmothers on board. When I showed Karl the hard numbers on what it would cost to use disposables, he gave me the go-ahead to buy whatever cloth diapers I wanted (within reason of course). Here are my calculations (the economist in me just loves this crap--pun intended...LOL):

2.5 years of diapering = 912 days

Babies go through an average of 8 diapers per day, so

8 diapers per day x 912 days = 7296 (wow that's a lot of diapers!)

Disposable diapers cost about .25 each and if you can get cheap ones to work for you without leaks it's more like .16 each (let's take an average- .20 each)

.20 per diaper x 7296 diapers = $1459.20!

Let's take disposable wipes into account as well.

These cost about .04 each, but some diaper changes require more than one, and they come in handy for messy hands and faces too. So let's estimate that you use 1.5 wipes for every 1 diaper.

This works out to about 10,944 wipes

10,944 wipes x .04 each = $437.76

Add those together and your total for 2.5 years of using disposable diapers/wipes is $1896.96!

Besides the extra costs for electricity, water, and detergent, you can cloth diaper (and wipe) a baby for anywhere from $50 (for those super-frugal resourceful types) to $1500 (for a gorgeous stash of designer dipes).

Not only are cloth diapers and wipes cost-effective, they're healthier for your baby's bum and for the environment! I'll post articles on those topics at some point.

*getting down off my soap box now*

I look forward to sharing our cloth diaper experiences with you all!


I am a stay-at-home mom with a degree in Agricultural Economics (the Ag. part comes in handy for gardening, and the Economics part for money management). I love my family and am learning to put my worries aside and just enjoy being a mommy and a wife. Call me crazy, but I actually enjoy the challenges of stretching paychecks, cooking from scratch, and cloth diapering.

Karl is my soulmate--plain and simple. We will be celebrating our 2 year wedding anniversary on July 22, 2008 but we have been together since high school. Karl sells cars and has been blessed with a job where he is happy and treated fairly. He is a great daddy to Oliver.

Oliver "Ollie" is our cute-as-a-button little boy. He was born on December 22, 2007 after 28 hours of labor (which was hell but I would do it all over again in a heartbeat!). He is a delightful little guy and I love seeing him discover new things every day. I had no idea what I was in for when I joined this club called "motherhood." Half the time I find myself tripping over my own feet... I think I still have much to learn.

Last but not least (ok, well technically she is least but we still love her) is our loyal pup, Mazi. She is a one of a kind Hungarian Vizsla with TONS of personality! She drives me up the wall but I couldn't imagine life without her wagging tail and soft floppy ears.

To blog or not to blog...

This blog has been a long time coming. I have actually been thinking about things I could write about when I'm in the shower, going to sleep, waking up, nursing Ollie... I've decided that writing is probably the best way to keep my sanity while staying home with a baby (maybe now I can get rid of the "Elmo's World" theme song that is perpetually stuck in my head). I have so many thoughts floating around that just need to get out-- and here is my chance to evict them.

I hope you enjoy reading about my stuggles and triumphs while I'm elbow-deep in baby poo or potting soil letting the dust bunnies float on by. In the coming days, weeks and months you can read about everything from cloth diapers to buying a house (I hope) to finding calm amid the chaos.