The journey of a Christian wife, stay-at-home mom, quasi-tree-hugger, and cheapskate to find ways to "CHanGE" her life to be Cheaper, Healthier, Greener, and Easier. Constructive feedback always welcome!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Cheaper, Healthier, Greener: Making Breastmilk Soap

In reality, I'm just posting this so I know where to find this later. Life with 2 kids is pretty hectic, so I don't have time to do a lot of updates on here. But I thought this sounded intriguing and a good way to use some of my freezer stash.

Life in the Fast Lane: Making Breastmilk Soap

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Update on Bottle Buyback

(See this post for reference.)

Today I had a wonderful present in my email inbox--my $50 voucher for Ecomom for shipping them Dot's old plastic baby bottles and sippies! I'm using it towards accessories for the stainless-steel bottle I got for Sonny as well as some toiletries for myself. Free shipping, too!

The deadline for submitting your packages has been extended from August 31 to September 15. Not sure if they have to be received by then or just postmarked. Great opportunity to get some free eco-friendly items less the cost of shipping them (for me, about $12). Act today!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Healthier, Greener: BPA Bottle Buy Back from Ecomom!

I have a box of Avent baby bottles left over from Dot's babyhood. I think they're from even before Avent started advertising that their bottles are BPA-free, so I'm not sure if they have BPA or not. Back then, I had no idea that BPA even existed or why it was a bad thing. Now I'm looking to switch out to glass and stainless-steel bottles for Sonny. But I was wondering what in the world I was going to do with all of those plastic bottles, and how I was going to find the money for the Greener alternatives.

Wonder no more.

I found this link today to the Ecomom BPA Bottle Buy Back. You send them your plastic baby bottles and sippy cups, whether or not you know if they have BPA in them, or even if they claim to be BPA-free, and they'll send you a $2 voucher per bottle or cup, up to $50. This voucher can be used on their website towards other products. Granted, you'll have to pay for shipping to get the bottles there, but if you do enough of them, it may be worth the effort. Believe me, I've tried to sell Dot's old beginner plastic sippy cups on Craigslist, and I've had no takers. Anything I can do to get a couple of bucks for them would be great, especially since I would rather not use them again!

I plan on using my voucher towards the purchase of glass baby bottles (probably the Lifefactory ones with the silicone sleeve) for around the house, and stainless-steel ones for when we're on the road. Combine the voucher towards the discounted ones available on Plum District, and hopefully I'll be snagging an awesome deal!

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Cheaper?, Easier: Cleaning Stored Baby Clothes

This week, we found out that we're having a baby BOY! Since I'm only in my 18th week of pregnancy, we're getting a bit of a head start in switching out Dot's girly baby stuff with gender-neutral and/or boyish stuff. Not only are most of the clothes the wrong gender, but also the wrong season. We have clothes for a baby girl born in the spring, and this time we're having a baby boy in the winter. -I've already started trying to sell her girly cloth trainers (one out of 3 sold thus far) and Boppy covers (one offer to trade for boyish covers thus far, still waiting to see if it pans out). Today I tackled a bigger project--the baby clothes.

Lots and lots of baby clothes. Four boxes worth as well as a box of bibs and burp cloths. And that's just from Dot's first 6 months.

I sorted everything into 4 piles: Keep (the gender-neutral stuff as well as Dot's coming-home outfit), Give Away (Huz's cousin is about to adopt a baby girl), Sell Now (stuff I could argue is fall clothing despite it being worn by Dot in the spring and summer), and Sell Later (stuff that is undeniably for spring and summer). I plan on consigning the Sell Now pile in the next few weeks and the Sell Later pile in the spring.

Now came the next hurdle: cleaning the icky yellow stains out of the stored clothes. Despite my best efforts to wash them before putting them away, 3-4 years of attic life has taken its toll. Most of the stains are probably from drool or spit-up milk; surprisingly, I didn't find any poop stains. Guess I took care of those at the time. I decided to focus my efforts on the Give Away and Sell Now piles as a trial run. But how was I supposed to get those stains out?

I found this blog with good instructions on how to do so. Here's more precisely how I did it.

1. I put 2 scoops of OxiClean powder into the washer, added the clothes, and poured a small amount of detergent into the dispenser. I set the washer to Soak, No Spin. Maybe it's because I have a front-loading, HE washer, but I don't have the option to soak overnight like Bettijo does. It just soaks and occasionally agitates for 41 minutes. This part worried me at first; I was afraid the clothes wouldn't soak long enough.

2. When that cycle was done, I poured the regular amount of detergent into the dispenser and filled the fabric-softener dispenser as much as I could with white vinegar (something I do anyway). I put the washer on Heavy Soil with an extra rinse.

3. I inspected the clothes as I pulled them out of the washer. The stain-free clothes went into the dryer or were hung to dry inside. The stained clothes went outside to sit on our sunny front porch for a couple of hours. This part is different from Bettijo's as I didn't rewash anything that was still stained.

Two hours later, the stains were completely GONE. As in, I couldn't see where they originally were. And that funky sour-milk smell was gone. There is one bib that couldn't be salvaged; it appears to have a chocolate stain on it (have no idea about that one!), so I gave it to Dot as a plaything to supplement her current "I'm a baby" stage. (Don't ask.) The sun-dried clothes went into the dryer on No Heat for about 15 minutes to soften them up from that crunchy stage.

Now I'm thrilled that I don't have to toss a bunch of clothes; I can now try to consign them as the sales' rules state that the consigned items must be stain-free.

I'm not sure if this will be Cheaper. I'm hoping to take the proceeds from the sold baby-girl clothes to buy baby-boy ones. If I make a decent profit at the consignment sales, my net loss won't be much. I could even hope to come out even.

How is this Easier? The process followed here sure was easier than trying to take pre-treater to each and every stained piece of clothing!

Unfortunately, my Sell piles together are about twice as big as my Keep pile. We personally tried to buy gender-neutral stuff for Dot when she was a young baby, but a lot of her presents were quite girly. So I have a lot of work ahead of me.

As a side note, this baby is currently being called Tiny Tim thanks to Dot. So maybe his code name on here will be Tim. To follow my current pattern, he would be Sun. Let me think about this one a bit longer...

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

MIA...but for a good reason...

Sorry about the lack of posting lately. I haven't had too much inspiration, and I've been bad about sticking to my own resolutions for change. Part of that is because we have a big change of another type headed to our household around the holidays. I'm pregnant with baby #2! I may do some posts soon about my cloth-diaper stash and why I plan to breastfeed like I did with Dot, but for now, I have quite a few other priorities that unfortunately may take away from this blog. If you're willing to hang in there, thanks so much!

Friday, May 4, 2012

Cheaper, Greener: Homemade Furniture Polish

The need arose for me today to polish our kitchen table. I've been a Pledge user for years, but I started wondering what exactly was in it. So I stopped by the website for SC Johnson, who makes Pledge. Here are the ingredients, taken directly from this website.

- Water
- Isoparaffin
- Dimethicone
- Polydimethylsiloxane
- Octylphosphonic Acid
- Nitrogen (propellant)
- Polysorbate 80
- Sorbitan Oleate
- Aminomethyl Propanol
- Fragrance from SC Johnson Fragrance Palette
- Proprietary Thickening Agent
- Methylisothiazolinone

Besides water, can you tell just by looking what any of those ingredients do? Nope, I can't either. The website does explain what each ingredient does, but really? Isn't there something simpler I can use to polish my wood furniture? I made a vow after I ran out of my current can of Pledge that I would research cheaper homemade solutions with ingredients that I recognize.

Here is a recipe that I found from DIY Life that worked well.

- Juice of 1 lemon or 4 tbsp of bottled lemon juice
- 3 tbsp water
- 1 tbsp olive oil (the website says 2, but 1 is fine)

That's it. Simple, huh? The website says to put into a spray bottle and shake well, but I just mixed it in a bowl and dunked a microfiber cloth into it, then used the wet cloth to polish. It worked beautifully. My table and chairs are nice and shiny instead of the dusty mess caused by home renovations. It doesn't go terribly far, but it was enough for a table and 5 chairs, polishing the entire chair (not just the seat). And you don't want to make a huge batch of it for future storage as the olive oil will go bad. Just make as much as you need for the next couple of days.

Cheaper? I would think so. If you can get the olive oil for BOGO, then I would say yes. You're just using a tablespoon. And a bottle of lemon juice lasts me forever. Unless you're just an amazing coupon whiz and can get Pledge dirt cheap, this would be less expensive.

Greener? Definitely. This doesn't leave much of a smell, and if it does, it's just juiced lemons, not an unknown chemical. There's also no can to toss; you can keep refilling a spray bottle or bowl. Olive oil and lemon-juice bottles can be recycled, and lemons have all sorts of uses creating zero waste; I'm not sure about Pledge cans.

Easier? In most cases, yes. These are ingredients that most people have on hand, so there's no special trip to the store if you need to polish your furniture that urgently and are out of store-bought polish. But you do have to take the time (a whole 5 minutes) to create the solution.

I'd say give it a try!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Site Maintenance: New Feature!

I've added a Twitter feed to the sidebar so that I can post quickie deals as I come across them because not everything is worth a whole blog post. For example, today I posted a link to a coupon for a free piece of clothing at Sears Outlet, but it's only good for today. You can just follow my Twitter feed if you use RSS and don't come to the website regularly. I've tried to get it set up so it automatically feeds to Facebook as well, but it doesn't seem to work right for whatever reason, so I'll keep working on it so that if you don't tweet, you can follow my fan page on Facebook for the quickie deals as well. I'm not sure how often I'll post them, but hopefully it'll be more often than I blog because I can do it faster. See you around!