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DIY Laundry Soap – Huge Money Saver!

I really dislike spending money on things.

Well, actually.. I take that back. I love spending money on clothes, home furnishings, and kitchen gadgets.

But I don’t like spending money on things that get consumed, and in turn have to be bought again.

Enter my love for all things frugal, and of course, ALDI.

(But that’s a different story, for a different day.)

Laundry soap is one of those items that you always need on hand.

Ever run out when you (or one of your children) need something washed?

Side note: Is it only my children who fail to put their dirty clothes in the laundry room, only to remember mere hours before their basketball games? That jersey isn’t going to wash itself!

Alright – I’m done airing my dirty laundry. (See what I did there?)

This DIY laundry soap recipe is quick, easy, and most importantly, CHEAP. I also love how I can easily keep an eye on how much is left, unlike those colored liquid bottles where you can’t see anything inside.

See how easy it is to make in the video below!

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 bar Ivory Soap (Shredded)
  • 2 cups Oxi Clean powder
  • 2 cups Borax
  • 2 cups Arm & Hammer Washing Soda
  • 1 Cup Scent Booster of your choice. (I usually use the Lavender Meijer brand)

This stuff is so much cheaper than the laundry soap you buy at the grocery store – and it lasts so much longer!

Have you ever made your own laundry soap? I’d love to hear your experience!

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March (early) Stitch Fix Unboxing

You guys – My March Stitch Fix box came early!

I really love getting packages in the mail, and when I know the package just might contain an article of clothing that I may fall in love with – I’m downright giddy.

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Not familiar with Stitch Fix? Check out this post for an overview of how the process works.

Being a working mom leaves me with little to no time to shop for myself!

Enter, Stitch Fix.

I’m *officially* hooked.

This box is SO much better than my last box.

I requested that my stylist include spring transitional pieces in this box.

Watch the video below to see how she did!

 

 

My box included the items below.

  1. Staccato – Marabell Open Cardigan: $48.00
  2. Skies are Blue – Kirkpatrick Cold Shoulder Top: $58.00
  3. Skies are Blue – Reginald Crochet Detail Top: $54.00
  4. Pistola – Livca Cuffed Crop Skinny: $78.00
  5. Diba – Lili Perforated Bootie: $89.00

So – want to know what I decided to keep?

After trying everything on, I am IN LOVE with the Staccato Cardigan and the Skies are Blue Crochet Detail Top. I’m also pretty darn sold on the Diba Booties.

The Cold Shoulder Top didn’t work for me as I suspected.

The Crop Skinnies didn’t make me look like a model. Also as I suspected. They are very simple jeans with no detail – I know I can find something  similar from Old Navy or Kohl’s at a much lower price. Those are getting sent back too.

This box was definitely one of my favorites!

If you haven’t tried Stitch Fix yet – give it a go!

If you absolutely hate it, you’ll only be out one $20 styling fee. But, I bet you’ll get at least one or two pieces you will just fall in love with!

 

 

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Ensalada Jars

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Like most people, I don’t really like to venture out of my comfort zone.

When I try new restaurants, I typically have two or three “safe” items that I know won’t let me down.

Grilled chicken with steamed veggies, chicken quesadillas, or a taco salad.

And *almost* always, the taco salad takes the cake.

There’s just something about the flavors of a taco, without the guilt of the tortillas and sour cream that wins me over.

 

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So, naturally, when coming up with lunches that I could prep for the entire week – taco salads just kept creeping into my mind.

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As with most salad jars – the key to keeping your salads fresh all week long, is in the layering. You always want your dressing on the bottom, followed by your meat and fruits/veggies, then cheese, topped with your greens.

When you’re ready to enjoy, dump the entire jar into a bowl or plate. Everything dumps out in order with your greens creating a bed for the rest of your toppings!

Salad Ingredients

  • Chopped Lettuce
  • Cooked Chicken (Taco seasoned ground beef/turkey would be good too.)
  • Corn, 1 can drained
  • Black Beans, 1 can drained and rinsed
  • Cherry Tomatoes, halved
  • Shredded Sharp Cheddar Cheese
  • Tortilla Strips

Dressing Ingredients

  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. minced garlic
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1/4 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper
  • 1 tbsp. taco sauce (add more or less to taste.)

Instructions

  1. Combine dressing ingredients in a small bowl. Whisk together.
  2. Place 3-4 tablespoons of dressing in the bottom of each mason jar.
  3. Layer in the rest of the salad ingredients in the following order:
    • Meat, beans, corn, tomatoes, cheese, tortilla strips, and lettuce.
  4. Make sure lettuce is packed in tightly, completely filling the jar.
  5. Screw on the top and jar lid to seal your salads.
  6. Refrigerator for up to 4 days.
  7. When ready to eat, dump into a bowl or plate – stir, and enjoy!

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GROCERY SHOPPING SANITY SAVERS: Week 3 – Shipt!

gsss-logoGrocery Shopping – ever feel like you just don’t have the time?!

You and me both friend, you and me both.

Luckily, I’ve found a way to flat out avoid the grocery store. Joining us for the first time? Check out my other tips on how to save your grocery shopping sanity below!

Last December I heard of a company called Shipt. Shipt is a grocery delivery service where you can order your groceries online, and they will bring them right to your front door.

You read that right – You don’t even have to step foot in the grocery store. It sounds too good to be true, but it’s legit you guys!

I don’t use it often, because I love hunting for a good deal and using my coupons. However, on the weekends when we go out of town or just have a million things going on, you better believe I pull Shipt out of my back pocket and have someone else do the grocery shopping for me!

Watch the video below to learn more about Shipt, AND get an introduction to our next series!

Get the recipe for the Harvest Apple Salad Jars here.

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Harvest Apple Salad Jars

img_1015One thing I’ve struggled with for as long as I can remember, is remembering to pack a lunch for work!

I make sure my kids have their lunches packed, my husband has the basics to make a sandwich, and then lunchtime comes while I’m at work and guess who doesn’t have anything to eat? Me.

I know if I wait until the morning, or even the night before to pack my lunch, it just isn’t going to happen. I get busy! And I get lazy! I’m definitely not ashamed to admit that!

However, I’ve found if I prep lunches for the whole week in advance, it really gets me on track.

These Harvest Apple Salad Jars are one of my favorite go-to recipes! I make them on Sunday evening, and every morning I have a fresh salad waiting for me in the refrigerator. I throw the jar in my bag, stash it in the refrigerator at work, and come lunch time I have a healthy and easy meal ready to be eaten. I just dump the jar into a bowl or onto a plate, give the salad a stir, and enjoy!

Watch the video to see how easy these are to make!

Salad Ingredients

  • Chopped Lettuce (I use about 4 cups of romaine)
  • Cooked Chicken (About 6-8 ounces of whatever you have on hand)
  • 2 Apples, diced
  • 1 Cup Dried Cranberries
  • Crumbles Feta Cheese
  • 1 Cup chopped walnuts

Apple Cider Vinaigrette Dressing

  • 3 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 Teaspoon onion powder
  • 4 Teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 4 Teaspoons Honey
  • 1/2 Teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 Teaspoon pepper

Instructions

  1. Combine dressing ingredients in a small bowl. Whisk together.
  2. Place 3-4 tablespoons of dressing in the bottom of each mason jar.
  3. Layer in the rest of the salad ingredients in the following order:
    • Chicken, apples, cranberries, feta, walnuts, lettuce.
  4. Make sure lettuce is packed in tightly, completely filling the jar.
  5. Screw on the top and jar lid to seal your salads.
  6. Refrigerator for up to 4 days.
  7. When ready to eat, dump into a bowl or plate – stir, and enjoy!

 

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GROCERY SHOPPING SANITY SAVERS: WEEK 2 – MEAL PLAN

Hello Again! Ready to hear my next Grocery Shopping Sanity Saver?

(If you missed it – check out part 1 of the series here.)

So, we’ve talked about where to shop to save your sanity. Now, let’s talk about how to shop.

You’ve GOT to have a plan.

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I’m too embarrassed to say how many times I have walked into the grocery store with this great idea of just “winging it.”

Want to know what I would end up with when I got home?

All sorts of things that I couldn’t make a complete meal out of, and Oreos. (Some days I’d like to make a complete meal out of Oreos, but when feeding a family, I suppose that’s frowned upon.)

Watch the Facebook  video below to see my simple way of meal planning. (Make sure you like the Facebook page too!)

There are three tools I use on a monthly and weekly basis to save my sanity while grocery shopping.

  1. Monthly Meal Planning Calendar
  2. Meal Options List
  3. Weekly Meal Plan – Grocery List

 

First things first. I like to list out all of the meals our family eats on the Meal Options List. Personally, I group all of the meals into different categories that relate to my family.

  • Slow Cooker – for when I need dinner done when I get home.
  • Quick & Easy – for when my dear husband needs to make dinner on his own.
  • Adults Only – for when we can indulge in the things our kids won’t eat.
  • Cleveland Meals – for when my husband is out-of-town, and the kids and I get to indulge in the things my husband won’t eat.
  • Empty Calendar – for the rare days when I get to be home early, we have no sports practices or games, and I can take my time cooking. (These are the days when I crank up the dinner party station on Pandora, pour a glass of wine, and sometimes always find myself dancing in the kitchen. My favorite days to cook dinner!)

At the beginning of each month, I print a blank Monthly Meal Planning Calendar, and start by filling in what we’ve got going on that month. I don’t write everything – you’ve got to save room for what you’re planning for dinner that day. I write in the things that tell me which type of meal I’ll need for that day. Husband’s out-of-town? I know I need a Cleveland Meal that day. Kids are sleeping over at Grandma’s? I get to pick something from the Adults Only group. Double header basketball games? Definitely going to need a Slow Cooker meal.

Then – I go through and pick meals off of the Meal Options List and fill out what we’ll be eating for dinner each night. Friday’s are almost always reserved for Pizza at our house! My favorite things about planning out the entire month are 1) It keeps us from eating Tacos every single week, and 2) I can watch for deals on grocery items I know I’ll need throughout the month.

Finally, each week I print the Weekly Meal Plan – Grocery List. I refer back to my Monthly Meal Planning Calendar, and transfer what I planned for each day at the beginning of the month, over onto the weekly sheet. I pull up any recipes on pinterest or consult my trusted cook books, and jot down any ingredients I need to pick up that week. Lastly, I add to the list any other items we need. (Breakfast stuff, kids lunch items, home goods, etc.)

Having a plan helps save time in the store, and sets me up for a successful week of dinners.

Want to try the sheets/lists I use for meal planning? Click the “Follow” button on the right side of the screen and fill in your email information. Shortly after, the PDF versions of each document will arrive in your inbox!

I’d love to hear how you prepare for a trip to the grocery store! Share a comment with your tips!

 

 

 

 

 

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February Stitch Fix Review

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I can’t believe it’s already February. 2017 is going to *fly* by. I can just feel it!

I’m so so so excited my monthly stitch fix box came yesterday!

The more I use this service, the more I fall in love with it. As a busy mom, shopping for myself isn’t super high on my priority list. (Anyone else feel like they buy new things for their children 100x more than they buy things for themselves?)

If you’re new to Stitch Fix, let me explain a few things for you. If you’re familiar with the process, skip down to the video below to see what I got in this box!

What is Stitch Fix?

Stitch Fix is a personal stylist service that works kind of like a subscription box. A professional stylist takes information you give them about yourself, and hand picks 5 pieces of clothing and accessories tailored to your style. Buy what you like, and easily send the rest back. Easy peasy.

How does it work?

You’ll fill out information regarding your size, fit/cut, style preference, and desired price point. With this information, Stitch Fix will put together a style profile for you, and they’ll use it to pick out pieces of clothing and accessories they think you’ll love. You can also link a Pinterest board for your stylist to see what kind of pieces you love! Any time I see an outfit I like on Pinterest, I pin it to my “Shop till you Drop” board – to give my stylist some inspiration. Pinsperation, if you will.

  •  Pick when you’d like to receive your “Fix.”

Some people set it up to automatically come every two weeks or every month, while others (like myself) choose to request a box manually. There is a $20 styling fee – but that will be applied to any pieces you choose to keep.

  • Try on everything in the comfort of your own home.

Each box, or “Fix” as it’s called, will arrive at your doorstep with 5 pieces inside. You’ll also receive a styling card giving you tips on how to wear each piece. (Super helpful for the style challenged like myself.) Try things on, have a mini fashion show, and decide what you’d like to keep.

  • Purchase the items you’d like to keep – send back the things that aren’t your cup of tea.

Take three days to decide what you want to keep, and what you’d like to send back.  Log into your account and select the items you’re purchasing.**If you keep the whole box, you’ll receive 25% off each piece!** Place the items that you don’t want inside the pre-addressed, prepaid envelope and place in any USPS mailbox. (Our mail carrier will take it right from our mailbox.)

  • Leave Feedback

This is in my opinion the most crucial step to getting items that you love. If you’re sending something back, tell your stylist exactly why. Size, color, pattern, fit, price… anything. The more your stylist knows, the better.

Ready to see what I got in my fix this month?

Here’s what I got:

 

  1. RD Style – Annaway Cable Knit Sweater: $68.00
  2. Market & Spruce – Wilco Solid Quilted Vest: $68.00
  3. Skies are Blue – Frankie Lace Detail Blouse: $48.00
  4. Skies are Blue – Lawler Two Pocket Top: $58.00
  5. Just Black – Adorra Skinny Jean: $88.00

So – What did I end up keeping?

I only ended up keeping the Annaway Cable Knit Sweater and the Wilco Solid Quilted Vest.

I didn’t love the way the blouse looked, the plaid shirt was way too similar to something I already have, and the skinny jeans didn’t fit right.

I filled out my measurements over a year ago now, and should probably go in and update them. And exercise more.

I’d love to hear your feedback you guys. Have you tried Stitch Fix? What do you love and not love about it?