Living on the cheap: homemade body scrub

Well…Pinterest strikes again. The other day I saw a recipe for homemade body scrub using coconut oil and brown sugar.
Well…that sounded like the easiest DIY ever, and I already had both of the ingredients. I wrote in my stretch mark post that I have been using coconut oil as moisturizer already, so I figured why not add this to my list of reasons to love coconut oil.

Instead of making a batch to keep in a jar in the bathroom, I decided to just make enough for one shower. I didn’t measure, just messed around with the amount of sugar in the coconut oil till I thought I had the right consistency.

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I started with a dollop of oil…probably a little more than a tablespoon. Then just started adding brown sugar. I used a 3 ounce beer tasting glass…perfect size. Stirred it up with the spoon and…voila!

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I used it in the shower this morning after making it, and man is it awesome! A little goes a long way and my skin is so soft and moisturized! I normally have to put lotion on after a shower…but not after using this, not even on particularly dry spots like my elbows!

I always want to buy body scrubs in the store, they smell so good and leave my skin so smooth, but I can never justify the expense or how little product I get. This is the perfect solution. Plus… It’s edible!

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Living on the cheap: homemade laundry detergent

So, as I have mentioned before my husband and I used to have two incomes and now we have one. In my perusing of frugal living blogs and pinterest, I came across several posts about homemade laundry detergent. I will admit, I was skeptical, but after reading lots of testimonials…I thought I would give it a try. I went to the store and gathered three simple ingredients: Fels-Naptha soap, Borax, and washing powder.

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I grated the Fels-Naptha by hand…hard work! Next I added 1 cup of the Borax and 1 cup of the washing powder to the bowl with the grated soap and started to stir to incorporate. This was also easier said than done, so I got out my food processor, dumped the whole mixture in and gave it a whirl.

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I put the mixture into an empty canning jar and set it on the shelf above my washer and dryer. With this soap you only need one to two tablespoons depending on the size of the laundry load.
My total investment was about seven dollars. The washing powder and borax will make at least 8 batches of detergent. One bar of Fels-Naptha costs one dollar… So I should be able to make seven more batches for seven dollars total. I will keep track of how many loads each bath makes but I think the cost will come out to about 5 cents a load. 15 cents per load less than the detergent we were using before. And with the increased laundry due to cloth diapers and other baby related things, I hoping it will feel like a significant savings.

Baby To-Do List

So, this morning I was reading Kath’s post on what she needs to get done before her baby comes.

And, I’m not going to lie, I had a minor freak out. I am 35 weeks pregnant, and that means full term in just two measley weeks. While I have NO idea at this point if the baby will come early, on-time, or late, I realized….two weeks is NOT far away. NOT FAR AWAY AT ALL!

So I got out my baby to do list…which I haven’t looked at in a few weeks- and realized that I could put a strike through a few things!

We painted the baby’s room last weekend:

And, I think we have everything we need for baby, aside from the cloth diapers. My in-laws came last weekend and brought a bunch of stuff with them, hand-me-downs from my nephew, as well as a few remaining shower gifts.

I got to thinking about it today, and the ONLY things that are absolutely 100 percent imperative that we do before we can bring the baby home are: pack a bag for the hospital, for me and baby, and install the car seat.

Thinking that way, really took a load off!

The things that I WANT to do before the baby comes home are:

  • move the crib into the nusery (it’s currently in the kitchen–long story)
  • hang the curtains we ordered
  • secure the changing pad to the changing table
  • order, recieve, and prep cloth diapers
  • order and put up vinyl decals on the babies wall.
  • hang the bunting from my shower on the wall
  • make the baby a mobile
  • put together the bouncer
  • put together the bassinet (this literally takes one minute, but I am missing a part, needs to be sent from Idaho).
  • make cloth wipes
  • wash all of the blankets we have recieved as gifts
  • purchase a nursing tank
  • nursing bra
  • postpartum care for me (pads, witch hazel, stool softeners etc).

Even though those are all doable, and some of them are on the list for this weekend, it makes me feel better knowing none of them are do or die. I have already washed all of the receiving blankets, the cloth diapers I have, baby clothes  through three months, towels, wash cloths, changing pad cover, and my moby wrap. We also already have the crib and changing table put together, the toy/bookshelf set up in the nursery, and the swing cleaned and put together.

Whew. Ok. I feel better. I feel more prepared. At least in the details. Prepared to give birth? That is a whole other can of worms. Prepared to parent? Terrified.

 

 

But What About the Poop?

So, my husband and I plan on cloth diapering. Ok, I knew that in the event that we ever had a baby, I would want to cloth diaper. When the time came, my husband was, much to my amazement, on board. I “know” lots of people on the internet who cloth diaper, but only a handful of people in real life. I’ve had my family give me all the usual reactions, smirks, telling me that it will be harder than I think, and of course, the question, what about the poop? Well, technically the directions on a package of disposable diapers tells you to dispose of any solids in the toilet. I think it might be illegal (I could have also made this up) to throw human waste in the regular trash. Maybe not illegal, but you aren’t supposed to.

Anyway, for THOUSANDS of years women cloth diapered, because it was the only choice. Don’t get me wrong, I realize that disposable diapers make life much easier, but two main things about cloth are important to me:

1) the cost savings over time–a family will typically spend 2000-3000 dollars per child for diapering years

and

2) how much better they are for the environment. We’ve all seen pictures of the great pacific trash island right? Disposable diapers do not bio-degrade.

I am due in a little over 5 weeks (oh dear lord) and as of now, we only have 9 diapers. 9 is not going to cut it. I would ideally like around 18 to 24 diapers.

The diapers we have now are:

– 3 little gpants in size small.

These are for babies 8-14 pounds. They have a snap in plastic liner that come with the outer shell, and then you buy the inserts seperately. I recieved one as a gift, and purchased two more, with 6 inserts. I am confident that our child will come out weighing between 8 and 14 pounds, so I’m hoping that these will be useable as soon as we get home from the hospital.

-3 bumgenius 4.0 one size

I have two of the black print, and one of the yellow. These were a gift from my cloth diapering best friend. These are pocket diapers, and in theory fit 8 pound babies through potty training. I’ve read lots of things that say they are better suited to 10 pound babies. My baby might come out weighing 10 pounds…we’ll see!

-2 Marvels Kissaluvs all-in-ones one size.

These were also a gift, from my registry on diapers.com.  Here is a tip, if you don’t have cloth diapering friends, don’t register for cloth diapers, people will not buy them for you. Or maybe ONLY register for cloth diapers. Ha. I have this exact diaper pictured, but what I didn’t know (because I didn’t do SUPER thorough research) is that this diaper does not have a water proof cover. D’oh. It’s an all-in-one diaper, so other than needing an outer shell, it’s just like a disposable diaper, no stuffing, no un-snapping an insert. And the part that goes against the baby? SO SOFT.

And I have one, one size diaper that my very crafty, cloth diapering best friend MADE for me.

I plan to order 12 more diapers, from www.cottonbabies.com. Right now, my plan is to order the following from them:

6- bumgenius 4.0 in various colors

6- fuzzibunz one size diapers.

1 diaper pail liner

and 1 cover for my two kissaluvs.

I don’t really have a reason for getting 6 of the bums and 6 of the fuzzibunz, just that I think I might like them for different things. I’ve read several posts from different bloggers who use ONLY bumgenius or ONLY fuzzibunz, but part of me is afraid to put all my eggs in one basket so to speak.

Also, I would like to use cloth wipes. I can’t decide if I should just make them myself, or buy them from Etsy. I’m pretty sure they can be made by cutting and hemming flannel. Anyone know?

DINK no more

Have you guys hear the acronym DINK? It stands for Dual Income No Kids. And let me tell you, it’s the life. But, for me and my husband, this month that all changes. In April we will be SINK (what a terrible acronym!) Single Income No Kids, and by May we will be Single Income One Kid! Aagggh!

While my husband’s promotion and transfer to Wyoming were a good move for our family, and for his career, we have learned it is going to require a little bit of a financial change for us. I looked for jobs in Wyoming, looked and looked and looked. To no avail. Everything is either in an oil field or a mine (not the ideal situation for a pregnant lady eh?) or only pays 10-13 dollars an hour. I would like to state that I am not above a 10-13 dollar an hour job, in fact, I almost accepted one or two. Until I found out the cost of day care in Wyoming. Wyoming is surprisingly expensive. I know other “middle of the country” states that have a much lower cost of living, but not Wyoming my friend, not Wyoming. Infant childcare, in this town, is aproximately 1000.00 a month. ONE THOUSAND.  I realize that there are other places in this country where that is a normal, or even low-ish type number. But when the jobs pay 13 dollars an hour….how does one swing a grand a month?

Our financial situation is complicated by the fact that we chose to not sell our house in Idaho before moving. And by chose, I mean…couldn’t. At least, not for what we owe, thank you bubble/recession housing market. Don’t tell my husband but I should have listened to him when he said we shouldn’t buy a house in 2008. D’oh. But, it is what it is. The reason we lived apart from October through February, was so we could sock away enough into savings while we had those two good paying jobs, to be able to supplement our monthly needs with our savings account. It is a little depressing to have our savings account be at an all-time high, only to know that it is slowly going to dwindle until my husband’s bonus comes in November.

So, all of that being said….we are on a strict budget. Which, we have been on before. It’s not like we graduated from college making our 2011 Income. Ha. I worked as an AmeriCorp member for two years, which if you know anything about that program, means we were WELL under the poverty level. But we have gotten used to our cushy life, with the ability to spend our disposable income, pretty much how we see fit. We weren’t rollling in it, and we weren’t extravagant, but we didn’t have to worry. No, we worry. Or I worry.

So, I have been voraciously reading frugal mom blogs, and trying to figure out if there is a way to coupon with out becoming a crazy hoarder. Also, why are their never coupons for the food that I want to buy? I don’t want to buy 10 boxes of hot pockets for 10 dollars. I want fresh fruits and vegetables! Don’t get me started on the food system in this country, that is a whole other can of worms.

So, I am going to add a feature to this blog, about money. Our budgeting strageties, how I shop, how I clean, and well…hopefully how it is all successful!