Wednesday, November 24, 2010

An update on the Kinect

Well, we didn't get it :(  We almost bought it and then The Hubbs started reading about the space needed for each "player".  We would have to move the couch totally out of the way for us to use it.  It wasn't worth it at all.  So, my mother-in-law "bought" me 5 workout DVDs on and we've been using those.  Just last night The Hubbs and I did The Biggest Loser's Cardio Max and it was a great workout :)

So, it saved us $150+ in the long run and I'm happy with the decision.

Have a wonderful and happy Thanksgiving everyone :)

Monday, November 22, 2010

How organic is your milk?

Check out this study done on dozens of organic dairies across the US.  You'll see the score difference between a family farm and a factory farm.  Spokane Family Farm isn't on there because they are not certified organic.  I'm glad they're not CO because with it come some rules that are harsh when a cow gets sick.  They law requires them to kill the cow.  At SFFs this is not so, they treat their cows like family.  So, anyways, as you can see Costco and Horizon organic milks rate at the very bottom for their factory farming ethics.

Here is an article I found about SFF

Friday, November 19, 2010

Soapy soap soap

Around here we used to buy Softsoap at Costco for no other reason than it was there and we needed it.  We had the little bottles and would refill when needed.  I personally didn't like the soap, but couldn't ever find a decent replacement and honestly I never really looked.  I thought all liquid hand soap was the same.  Then I heard about Dr. Bronners!

For the past few months (while the last bottle of Softsoap was being finished up) I have been experimenting with Dr. Bronner's liquid soap.  I LOVE this soap and a little goes a long way.  I bought 3 new foaming hand soap bottles and poured out their contents (the Method brand bottles are best).  Then I filled them with 1/3 Dr. B's liquid soap (we got the almond scented one) and the rest with water.  The foam is awesome and actually The Hubbs and I use it as our body wash instead of bar soap in the shower too.

Currently, for the kids, we're finishing up our last bottle of Avalon Organics Baby Wash, which we've used from day one with our oldest.  It's smells awesome and doesn't have the icky chemicals and it makes a nice bubble bath too.  However, I'm going to switch to the Dr. Bronner's Baby Mild liquid soap and make another foaming pump for their baths. 

Because I love a good money savings break down, here it is :)
Softsoap Refill, 56oz / $6.89 = $.12/oz
Dr. Bronners Almond, 128oz (gallon) / $35 (I bought at a local store during a BIG sale) = $.27/oz

1 foaming bottle holds about 9oz and I use 3oz of soap per bottle.  So, this means that 1 bottle uses 3oz of soap compared to 9oz of the Softsoap.  This means that even though Dr. B's is more expensive up front, it's actually cheaper in the end at $.09/oz

As for the safety of the soaps, rates TONS of body care items with 0 being the best and 10 being the worst...
Softsoap rates at 6
Dr. Bronner's Almond rates at 2
Dr. Bronners Baby Mild rates at 1

Monday, November 15, 2010

A catch-up of sorts

The last month has been a whirlwind filled with good and bad.  Today was the cherry on top when I had to go the dentist for an emergency.  Well, that wasn't in the budget, sigh.

Slow season is officially upon us, however, we did finish our Christmas shopping 2 weeks ago.  We didn't go hardcore Compact, mainly because my husband didn't want to.  Out of the total number of presents purchased/made about 25% were bought new from a store.  The other 75% were bought 2nd hand or from etsy/hyenacart/made by me.  Most of the items we purchased new ended up being cheaper new, instead of buying used.  For example, I had been watching some used board games on eBay, but with shipping they came out to be more expensive than at our local game shop.  I'm not the kind of person to buy something used even if it's more expensive.  I have a budget to look out for, ya know ;)

Miss A's birthday party is this coming Saturday and we're throwing a pancake party.  I've been adding up the costs in Excel and here's how it breaks down:
75ish homemade pancakes = $10
Toppings = $6 *I have most of them on hand already*
Milk = 3 gallons = $10 *would be $15 but I have a free gallon next trip*
25 Paper plates & cups = $6
Favors = Free courtesy of my MIL

Grand total = $32 to feed 23 people (14 adults + 9 kids)

Compare this to the $9.99/per child price tag and we're at $100.  This does not include feeding the 14 adults.  So, it's way cheaper and less crazy to say the least.  I always enjoyed it when my mom threw a "home" birthday party for me when I was little.  A little imagination will go along ways. 

O, and I almost forgot.  Since everyone will be eating pancakes, I asked that everyone wear their PJs.  Too fun!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

A rough 2 weeks

So, I haven't posted much and probably won't for another week or so.  Last week my son had a viral GI bug that caused diarrhea for 6 days.  This morning I got a call from my mom with some bad news.  My grandma (my mom's mom) fell last night while on vacation in Hawaii.  She broke her hip and is now in the hospital for who knows how long.  She's in pretty good health otherwise for 76 years.  This means that Miss A's birthday party is up in the air.  My mom may be flying to Hawaii to stay with my grandma because the friend she went with can't stay.  I'm sad that my grandma is in pain and I'm even sadder that she can't make it to Miss A's 3rd birthday party.  They truly love each other and A will miss her dearly at her party.

Well, it looks like we'll be planning a trip over there before Christmas to see her :)

Monday, November 1, 2010

Synthetic motor oil

I'm a bit of a car girl.  I've always liked being out in the garage and changing my own oil and doing basic maintenance, etc.  When I was 15 and going through driver's ed, our teacher said we had to learn to change a tire.  Well, my dad decided I would learn on his Ford Ranger and I realized changing tires is dirty and hard work.  I've only had to do it a one or two times since then and I'm thankful.  I'm also thankful for the skills my dad taught me to maintain a car, it has come in very handy as it makes me feel useful in the garage.

Recently I was at a Mindful Mamas meetings and we got to talking about synthetic motor oils and how they're better for our foreign dependence on oil because they're not made from oil.  While I agree with this, I also don't like all the chemicals that are produced for synthetic, but it seems six one half dozen the other, right?  So, I started researching synthetics and found out that they last much longer than conventional motor oil but are pricier.  So, I did the math...

O'Reilly parts store:
Castrol Syntec $5/quart (on sale, reg. $8/quart) = $25 for my SUV
Lasts about 7,000 miles
= $.0035/mile

Castrol GTX $3/quart = $15 for my SUV
Lasts 3,000 miles
= $.005/mile

So, it's cheaper to use synthetic + it's better for your engine :)

Are you willing to switch to synthetic?