Friday, August 28, 2015

9 Awesome Ways to Use Baking Soda + One WEIRD Trick!!!

When I first moved into my duplex, my friends threw me a "moving in party". They gave me towels, spices, canned goods, coffee...and a BIG bag of baking soda! I was SO excited! Everyone else at the party was puzzled why baking soda excited me so much. Truth be told, it can be used in place of SO MANY things. It's mind boggling how diversive baking soda can be! And no, Arm & Hammer didn't ask me to write this post. I just love them that much. ;)

So without further ado, here are my tips:

  • Face Wash: You can easily replace face wash with baking soda. Simply rub equal parts of water & baking soda into your hands. Pat it into your skin, and let it soak for a few seconds. Rinse off, and you'll be amazed at how smooth your skin feels!
  • Shampoo: You can replace shampoo with baking soda! I did this for YEARS (and still do it from time to time). It makes your hair super soft, shiny, and does a great job of removing oil. I use the same paste method used above and evenly rub through my hair.
  • Toothpaste/Teeth Whitener: I love to mix baking soda & oral Peroxide to whiten my teeth. I know many people like to use just baking soda when brushing their teeth.
  • Grease Remover: If you have a pan filled with yucky grease or burnt leftovers, let it soak in hot water & baking soda. Give it a few minutes, and it should come loose.
  • Rash Soother: If you have rashes, or itchy skin, take a baking soda bath. It helps relieve bumps & itches!
  • Laundry Detergent: If you read my post form yesterday, you know that it can be used to make homemade laundry detergent. However, in a pinch, straight baking soda can be used to wash your clothes. Mix 1/2 cup of baking soda & 1/2 Cup vinegar and add it to your cycles. Tip: Make sure your washing machine can handle that first!
  • Best Sweet Tea: Did you know that smooth sweet tea can be made by adding baking soda? Yep. I think this is the WEIRDEST trick ever, but I tried it and it works. For a gallon of tea, add just a PINCH of baking soda. I'm talking 1/16 of a teaspoon or less. 
  • Carpet Cleaner: If your carpet is looking dingy & stinky, sprinkle baking soda around. Vacuum away and voila!
  • Drain Cleaner: Have stinky drains? Pour baking soda down the drain & run hot water for a few seconds. It should help ease the smells & help clean at the same time.
What are your favorite baking soda tricks?

Thursday, August 27, 2015

DIY: 3 Ingredient Homemade Laundry Detergent

I was seventeen years old when I had to stop using our laundry detergent. My skin was super sensitive, and even with a second wash cycle, it still made my skin itch. So, I started buying the hypo-allergenic solutions. Then, I moved out on my own, and decided it was time to find a much cheaper alternative. I've tried every diy laundry detergent out there (or at least it FEELS that way). The most recent recipe I tried (as in last week) has been my favorite by far! Even my husband loves it because it smells great!

3 Ingredient Homemade Laundry Detergent

4 lb. Borax
4 lb Baking Soda
1 Large box of ZOTE pre-grated (you could always grate yourself...but this was a HUGE time saver)

In a very large bowl or buck, you will want to mix equal part of the baking soda & borax. Then slowly stir the zote into the mixture. Mix evenly. Store in an air tight container. Personally, I add 1/8 to 1/4 cup of the powder to my load depending on the level of soil.

Do you use homemade detergents?

Linking Up: Hearts for Home | House to Home |

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

11 Steps Towards A More Simple Lifestyle

Choosing a more simple lifestyle did not come naturally for me at first. It has taken years (of hard work & mistakes) for me to find a happy balance for our home. I think one of the key things to remember when trying to simplify your life is that...

  • A simple ifestyle will mean something different for everyone.
If you keep that in mind, and don't compare yourself to other families, you'll have a better chance of staying focused on your goal at hand.

With that said, I wanted to share ways I've personally simplified our own life. Not because my way is perfect, but in hopes that it may encourage you to see if some of these areas will help you along the way!

  1. Social Media: This was a HUGE time waster and distraction for me. I decided to narrow my social media down to two outlets, and to completely shut my personal Facebook account down. It has made a huge impact on my life.
  2. Clutter: I've learned to control "clutter" around the house by keeping baskets available for items that seem to pile up. We have a basket for mail, toys, current reads, etc.
  3. Clean Out Closets: This one may seem obvious, but for me, it took a long time to part with my personal collection of books. I've been a book hoarder for as long as I can remember, and I was proud of what I had collected over the years. However, I decided this was the year to part with over 70% of my collection. I now have tons more space in closets where those books no longer take up room. It was very freeing for me personally.
  4. Family Calendar: We keep a family calendar on our fridge to keep track of outings, events, meetings, etc. That way, we all have access to what is going on by a weekly basis. It has really help curb miscommunications.
  5. Stand By Meals: Another way that I've learned to simplify my life, is to keep stand by meals on hand. I also like to keep a stock of "side dishes" handy. This includes ingredients for mashed potatoes, frozen veggies, and other canned goods.
  6. Freezer Meals: I tend to be off again, on again with freezer meals. They are a HUGE help during the busier seasons of our life. If I know we will have a lot going on, I will double batches or make casseroles to store in the freezer.
  7. Quiet Time: I try to set aside quiet time every day. Am I always successful with this? No, but I try my hardest. It's amazing how a few minutes of prayer & reflection can clear your mind.
  8. Junk Drawer: I think it's important to have a "catch all" drawer for items that may not otherwise have a place. I keep a couple of drawer organizers (purchased from the dollar tree) to keep contents in a somewhat organized fashion. This is the place we store pens, tape, scissors, sticky notes, rubber bands, etc.
  9. Clean Car: There are few things that stress me out like a dirty car. I like to clean out my car once a week. 
  10. Fresh Air: Take time to make sure the air in your home is fresh. I like to open windows, and light candles. 
  11. Planner: I bought an old fashioned planner the other day to start keeping track of "little things" that I want to get accomplished each day. It's always a great way for me to keep up with doctor visits, birthday's etc. 

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Simple Crockpot Chicken Tortilla Soup

Yesterday, I went grocery shopping early in the morning. There was a crisp coolness in the air that just screams FALL IS COMING. I get excited just typing that! Ha. Needless to say, I kicked my dinner plans to the curb and opted for a comfort crockpot recipe: the world's easiest chicken tortilla soup!! If you are a fan of soup & Mexican food this should be right up your alley. The best part is that this recipe is so customizable! You could easily add/subtract ingredients to fit your taste buds. 

Crockpot Chicken Tortilla Soup
Serves 2-4 People

2 Chicken Breasts
1 16 ounce can of Rotel (do not drain!)
1 Cup Corn
1 Cup Water
1 Chicken Bullion 
4 Tablespoons Sour Cream
avocado, sliced
Tortilla Chips

Add chicken, rotel, corn, water and bullion. Let it cook on high for 3 hours. Add 4 Tablespoons of sour cream, and stir until melted. Let it cook for another 1-2 hours on high or until the mixture has thickened.  

Add tortilla chips to your soup bowls, diced avocado, and pour your soup on top. Then top with cheese and sour cream. Enjoy!

Note: If you are not into spice, I highly recommend buying a mild can of Rotel. 

Monday, August 24, 2015

Target Deals: Baby Stuff! 24/15

If you are new to the world of target, you may want to start with my blog post here. Enjoy!

Here are some great baby deals going on right now:

Kadoo Flushable Wipes
20% OFF via Tagret Cartwheel

Gerber Graduates My 1st Puffs
20% OFF via Target Cartwheel

Gerber Graduates Pudding Grabbers
20% OFF via Target Carthweel 

NUK 3pk 10oz Bottles
20% OFF via Target Cartwheel

Toddler Girls Dresses
20% OFF via Target Cartwheel

Burt's Bees Baby
30% OFF via Target Cartwheel

Menu Plan Monday! 24/15

Oh my, have I slacked with menu planning. I see a HUGE difference between menu planning, and just flying by the seat of my pants. I'm learning the hard way that the later costs me more stress and mula in the long run. To get myself back on track, I thought I would start creating my menu plan then sharing it on the blog. ;)

  • Breakfasts: Eggs, Oatmeal & Granola Bars
  • Snacks: Traditional Pumpkin Bread, Homemade Lattes  

  • Monday: Crock Pot Chicken, Mashed Potatoes & Veggies
  • Tuesday: Dinner at Friends
  • Wednesday: Hot Dogs & Veggies
  • Thursday: Corn Chowder & Biscuits
  • Friday: Grilled Cheese & Soup
What are some of your favorite crock pot dishes? I need to start using mine more. It really helps take a load off when it comes to dinner time.

Linking Up: Menu Plan Monday

How To Resell Yard Sale Items for Profit

I enjoy earning extra money--especially when it benefits my family AND I can have fun while doing it. The best part is that it takes very little time, and it's something we can do together as a family (sometimes...not always). I've tried a variety ways of earning extra income by reselling my yard sale finds. Today, I'm going to focus on reselling my finds via ONLINE yard sales. Yep, from one yard sale to another.

Thanks to social media sites Online Yard Sales are dime a dozen. There are usually local sales, regional sales, and even state-wide yard sale sites that are available via online. I use Facebook as my method with my non-personal account. Basically, I have facebook, but I don't add friends, and never use it to "browse". It's stricly for buying and selling on the sale sites, and keeping up with coupons that are available via fan pages.

Currently, I belong to about 7+ yard sale sites, but keep 3 local sales at the top of my radar. I've learned to watch what items sell the best, then keep my eye out for those very things at yard sales. In my experience there are several things that ALWAYS get lots of bids:

  • Quality Name Brand Children's Clothes: Think Gymboree & Baby Gap. Also, make sure they are in season. Out of season items don't tend to sell as well.
  • Boutique Baby Items: Outfits, Bows, Bibs, anything that has a boutique name will usually sell very fast and at a decent price.
  • Good Condition Children's Shoes: This one surprised me, but shoes usually sell within minutes. As long as they are in good condition. Also, boots seem to be the most any time of the year.
  • Hard To Find Toys: Be it vintage, or super popular (PollyPocket, Little People, Legos etc.)
  • Book Series & Hard to Find Titles: I've noticed that book series always sell, as well as hard to find titles. I've had luck selling Harry Potter, Twilight, and I Spy books.
  • Organizational Supplies: I found a Container Store basket set for a $1, and re-sold it for $4. Simple things like that can add up fast.
When buying these items at yard sales, make SURE you are buying at yard sale prices. Here's an easy example: I found a brand new pair of furry toddler boots. They were in perfect condition, and were only $1.50. I knew right away they would sell quickly, plus I could easily mark the price up to $5. They sold within 30 minutes, and had 3 back up offers.

One way to see what items are going for is to look them up on Ebay & Amazon. Then sell the items for $1 to $2 cheaper than the going "used" item price. It's an easy, simple way to know you have a fair price set for the items you are selling.

Do you have luck reselling yard sale finds? Share your tips below!