Thursday, July 27, 2023

Back to School!


It's back to school time! Time to get all those school supplies ready!  Ok, I have always enjoyed back to school shopping; all through my school years, and as a teacher and even still today.  But, there are many ways to save during school supply shopping time.  Here are just a few ways we save each school year. 

1. Check what we have first 

Every year we go through our box of school supplies that we had from the year before. Yes, we have a box, and after this post you are going to want to start a box too! It's really simple, find a small box and a space where you can keep it.  This will be used for all the extra school supplies I'll talk about later.  So, anyways we check the box to see what we already have that we don't need to buy more of.  For example, erasers, pencils, glue sticks.  

2. Make a list for each kiddo of what they need from their school list (after you've checked off what you already have) 

This is key! Either mark off on their actual list what you already have OR make a new list.  Otherwise when you get to the store, theY are going to want said item you already have or you are going to forget and buy more than you need of something that won't last, you know the fun folders or something like that. Believe me, I've been there! 

3. Buy extra 

Ok, now's the time to buy extra.  Think about the whole year, our teachers always put an extra folder on the list and I add at least one more.  I know one of my kiddos, she is hard on her school supplies.  These weeks when they are on sale is the time to buy them, otherwise mid year I'm going to need to replace a folder at full price! What!? No thank you.  So buy extra, whatever they don't take to school goes in the supply box, when they need more you go there first. At the end of the year whatever you didn't use, save for the next year.  Prices usually go up a bit each year, as we've seen these last couple of years, and guess what buying extra the year before saved you having to pay that increase!! It does add up! 

Some things we buy extra of: 

  • notebooks
  • folders 
  • glue bottles
  • glue sticks 
  • erasers (I buy the big pack and split it up, then buy another pack for extra)
  • pencils   
  • pens 
  • lined paper 
So as you are preparing to get those school supplies.  Remember to think ahead: 
1. Retake stock of what you have
2. Make a List 
3. Stock-up! 

Happy school shopping! 

Thursday, July 20, 2023

Landscaping ideas

 Looking for ways to improve your landscaping, but don't want to spend a lot?  Recently, I wanted to update our front landscaping, plus I wanted to have flowers available for our pollinators.  I've really been working hard to try and include more flowers in our yard and garden.  There's such a need for those pollinators that I want to make sure they have a place.  So much that I made space in my garden this year for flowers.  It works two-fold, it's great for them + they help your veggies and fruits grow! If you're interested in more of that you can check out my post "Grow your own flower garden"

But, anyways I was looking for ways to add more flowers and make our front yard look better.  I have two big pots that sit on my porch, that were a lime green color.  I knew I wanted to spray paint them yellow, I liked the yellow against our blue house. 


 So after talking this over with a family member, she mentioned getting more pots and placing them around the house with flowers in them.  I thought this was genius.  A great way to add some color.  Plus I knew I could save by doing a couple things;  

1. Shop end of season sales 

    Plants ~ I recently bought the plants in the new picture for 25 cents/piece.  They were originally over $2 a piece.  Now, they won't come back each year because they are annual, but for $1.25 I still have the rest of the Summer and the Fall to enjoy them.  

    Pots ~ Now that I know what I want to add to our yard, I can buy pots at the end of the season as well.  Those big plastic pots aren't that expensive to start with, but when you need a lot it adds up.  Plus, why not wait until you can get 2 or 3 for the price of 1 originally. 

2. Spray-paint pots 

Then, once you've got your pots you can spray paint them to all match! Especially since you are waiting to buy them at the end of the season, you might not get all the same color.  But, that's ok, because you can buy a couple cans of spray paint and paint them to match. Spray paint isn't that much and they make it now with primer + paint in one. 

Now, I know spray paint is not the best for the environment.  I use to spray paint all the time; however, as I've become more environmentally friendly, I only use it here and there.  For example I made one can work for my two pots.  I could get more and go over it better, but I decided that was enough to make the difference I wanted and I wasn't using two cans.  So with that, this is totally an option you can take out.  It would just take you longer to maybe find matching pots or you cold go for the eclectic look of mismatch pots.  

I am hoping to find a bunch of white pots to put around our house for the flowers.  I'll keep you posted. 

Thursday, July 13, 2023

Homemade Scavenger Hunts

    Summer is the time for traveling.  And traveling with kids can be an interesting combination.  A while ago I posted about our busy folders that we use for church and traveling.  If you missed it you can check here: Busy Folders . Recently I added a homemade BINGO/scavenger hunt to our busy folders and wanted to share.  

Have you tried BINGOS/scavenger hunts while you travel yet?  They are so fun and they really work great for all ages.  It's a fun new twist on the old games we used to play, you know before DVDs in the car. 

You can search Pinterest for travel scavenger hunt ideas or even download printable ones, or you can make your own.  

Some of our favorite themes and ideas include: 

Fall ~ colorful trees, leaves

Easter ~ flowers, crosses, Easter eggs, bunnies 

Christmas ~ Christmas lights, Christmas trees, manger, snow,  Santa 

Summer ~ flowers, trees

Special places ~ We travel to a couple different cities often and there are certain things our girls want to see.   I include these on the scavenger hunt list as well.  They make for easy spots to mark to keep it going and not drag on. For example, when I was little and we traveled to Missouri and my sister and I always watched out for the green bridges. So if you have a normal route you can think of places to add, this makes it more personable. 

Items you could include on all or a basic list: red car, motorcycle, semi, street lights, highway sign, speed limit sign etc.  I have included our Christmas and general one for you to use.  Just click on the image and right click to save then print. 

Tips and Tricks: 

Pictures for younger kids vs. words 

Markers to cross off the items 

Going further: 

If you want them to be reused; print on cardstock and laminate or use dry erase pockets.  Then use dry erase markers & a reusable towel. This is great for themed scavenger hunts like; Christmas, Thanksgiving, Easter etc. 

Thursday, July 6, 2023

10 things you can swap to reusable and save money

 There are so many ways now to save money and help out the planet.  Recently, I've been trying to less my carbon footprint a little more each month. I wanted to share with you 10 changes I've made that are not only helping our planet, but also helping my budget too! 

     This post includes affiliate links, which means if you click on the link I get a portion of any sales at NO COST to you.  See my disclosure page for more details. 


1. Reusable cotton swabs/q tips ~  

Have you heard of Last Object? They have many ways to change your one use objects into reusable objects.  Plus, it does save you money.  Check out my post Last Object Post on cotton swabs vs their last round to see. And make sure to check out their other items too; last swab, last tissue and more! 

2. Silicone bags ~ 

While, I've been one to wash out my plastic bags to reuse them over and over again, I do really like these new silicone baggies.  You can find them almost anywhere now.  They work great for traveling, freezing & storing. They hold up great and are an easy clean out.  You can spend as little as $5.00 for a couple which makes them pretty affordable. 

3. Silicone muffin cup liners ~

Oh my word, these are probably my favorite new item I've gotten this year! They work great, easy clean-up and you can get them in all kinds of fun colors! Check out my recent post I did about them here: Silicone ~ Mats & Cupcake liners

4. Silicone mats ~

Probably 2nd to the silicone cupcake liners for me.  I use these all the time for baking! Makes cleaning the pans a breeze!

5. Cloth napkins ~

Seriously, cloth napkins are really something to get on board with.  You can buy them already made or you can buy a pack of flour sack towels and cut them to your desired sizes.  But really, throw them in with your towels when you need to wash and that's it! If you are concerned about stains get white ones and you can lightly bleach them when needed.  

6. Rain barrel/water from dehumidifier ~

   If you have a garden, watering it can add up.  Invest in a good rain barrel and let nature help take the toil off the water bill.  For indoor plants you can use your dehumidifier; rather than dump that water down the drain, use it for your houseplants.  Don't use the dehumidifier on your garden because you aren't supposed to ingest that water and the plants that you will later eat, will absorb the water. So Rain Barrel = garden & dehumidifier = houseplants. 

7. Reusable paper towels ~

Have you hopped on the reusable paper towel train yet?  I've tried a few different "paper towel" like items.  I like the Norwex counter cloths for kitchen spills.  I bought Swedish dish cloths for everything else.  They hold up well.  I use them a lot in the kitchen for small things, but I don't like them for spills, I feel it takes them a long time to absorb.  I use them for my fruits and vegetables to soak up extra condensation in their containers OR after I wash them.  

8. Reusable swiffer rags ~

Did you know you can make your own re-usable stiffer rags? You can also buy them if you want, just search reusable swiffer rags on amazon.  I haven't purchased any, but use ones I was gifted that were made. They work just as well and I'm not throwing them away after each use. 

9. Misto/Evo oil sprayer ~

So while I've been trying to throw less away, I was talking with someone about how I wish they made a sprayer you could reuse with your own oil.  Then one day when I was checking out a recipe the author mentioned using the Misto Oil Sprayer.  It is awesome! All you do is pour your oil of choice inside, pump 10-12 times and spray.   I've used it over and over and I'm no longer throwing away the spray canisters.  Plus, I can buy my oil on sale or in bulk and save rather than pay for convenience. 


10. Reusable pads/menstrual cups ~ 

If you want to stop throwing away those single use tampons check out my post on Female Products

If you are wanting to stop throwing away pads, check out this Etsy shop: ARYAcreations.  I recently bought some reusable pads from her and really like them.  You can also make your own, there are many patterns out there, but if you aren't a great sewer this a great place to purchase them.