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4 Ways to Make Busy Weeknights Easier

4 Ways to Make Busy Weeknights Easier

We all have busy weeknights. Work, school, activities, appointments, etc. There are ways to make busy weeknights easier, yo make it go smoother and with less stress. Here are some of those ways.

Routines

When my children get home from school they know a snack and then homework come first. Then they get to play, have dinner and after dinner chores. We have a routine. They know what comes next so they’re not always asking. You know what comes next so you don’t need to think about it. Plan once and follow through makes evening easier. It becomes a habit and builds good habits in your children too.

Dinner

Dinner

Always know what you’re having dinner by breakfast time at the latest. This is one of the biggest ways to make busy weeknights easier. I really try to menu plan and pull it out the night before. I start everything I can by breakfast that morning. Put supper in the crockpot and when your husband or children get home the house smells wonderful. If it’s a quick meal put it all together in the fridge so you don’t spend time looking for ingredients. I loved this Youtube video from At Home with Nikki where she shared her fridge tour and had a container in her fridge she prepped each night for the next night.  If you do forget keep list of very quick meals you can make in a hurry. Our standby is a breakfast meal with eggs and potatoes. I keep a short list on the inside of my cupboard.

Activities, Appointments, Etc

With children in school, most of us have days of running. Sports, after-school clubs or just dr. appointments, there seems like too many days in the car and instead of at home.  You can still plan ahead. Most of these are recurring so you know these need to be crockpot or sandwich night. I always have a book with me. If I have to wait and it’s near any errands I need for the week, I do it then. I’ve also listened to reading or helped with homework in the car. Make your time do double duty when it can.

Prep Ahead for the Next Day

After dinner and chores, we get ready for the next day. Check all backpacks. Look at eh calender for the next day including what is happening at school. Lay out clothes, anything that needs to be brought gets set out. I put anything I have to bring in my purse so I don’t forget it, if it’s big it goes in the car early.  The children put theirs in their backpacks. Go through showers, if we tried to get ours all at once someone would have cold water. Then we finally get time to relax.

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Pretty Paris Organized Bathroom Under $50

Pretty Paris Organized Bath under $50

I recently did a mini redo on our master bathroom and reorganized it. I found a Paris theme shower curtain and wanted to make it a feel similar to a hotel. Nice fluffy towels, yummy smelling candles, even Parisian music on Pandora.  So step into my organized master bathroom and enjoy.

Sink Area

Our bathroom has the sink area separate from the rest of the bath. When you walk into our room to the right is the bedroom area (which I am working on now) and straight ahead is the closet area and sinks. We have a double sink and we live in a rental so I can’t replace anything that’s not cosmetic.  Opposite the sink area are our 3 closets; his, hers and extra stuff. Under the left sink, I have tubs for allergies, first aid, cold and flu, sunny- which is sunscreen, bug spray- what you need for sunny days.  Also, I have a bag of elastic bandages, another tub of bandages from wound care and teeth supplies. Almost all of the containers are from the Dollar Tree or from other places in the house.  Under the right sink is toilet paper and a box of extra shampoos, conditioners, body wash, etc.  We buy it by the case so my stockpile of tp goes up and down.  We have our electric toothbrushes and water pic stays out on the counter and shelf. I don’t really like it but they need to be plugged in. I have very few things in the medicine cabinet since most things are stored in tubs. Extra razor heads, open toothpaste. I decanted the mouth wash in a pretty bottle, the same with q tips and cotton balls.  A little picture and a pretty hand towel complete this area in our organized master bathroom. I also put some pretty wrapping paper in the cabinets and medicine cabinet. I love to open closets and cabinets and see pretty paper looking back.

Main Bath Area

This area has the shower/bathtub and toilet area. We put a small rack in the toilet and I set it up like a hotel bath. Pretty stacked towels, candles, bath salts, and body brush for dry skin brushing. I found a few cute pictures on clearance, the 2 small ones I for 29 cents each!! I love his and her towels, along with the thick fluffy ones from Kohls. We did switch out the apartment shower head for this double shower head. We just saved it and will put it back on when we move. I also have a shower curtain hanger that holds shampoos, etc. And a hanger over the shower heads.  The mat I also got on clearance for under a dollar. I love all the sparkle and the muted colors. We have a small Paris them basket for dirty clothes that sits on the shower stool when it’s not needed. Which I hope is more and more.

I hope you enjoyed this tour and it gave you some ideas. Do you have an area hard to organize?

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4 Ways to Do Laundry Cheaply without Soaps or Chemicals

4 ways to do laundry without soaps or chemicals

I love seeing piles of clean laundry. But I don’t love the high cost of soaps, or the way some of them make me itch or sneeze. I made my own for a while, but if I ran out we had to buy them. Then I was back to itching and sneezing. And that doesn’t even include the cost. I do 2-4 loads every day. It adds up. So I learned 4 ways to do laundry cheaply without soaps or chemicals.

Washer Balls

Washer balls are great!   They are way cheaper than soaps.All you have to do is charge them in the sun a few hours every month, or in our case about a week. I use 2 for extra large loads.  This saves me so much money doing laundry for a large family. We also have several people that have allergies to a lot of laundry soaps so this works great for us.

Wool  Dryer Balls

Wool dryer balls work by fluffing your laundry as it dries. No static cling, no odors. I know, I know some of you like the odors. Just put a wash cloth in the dryer with a few drops of your favorite essential oil. You can make your own wool dryer ball but trust me, it takes a loooonnngg time. And while not hard to make it is time consuming and doesn’t save you very much money at all.

Hydrogen Peroxide and Baking Soda

My secret weapons for getting out stains and smells  are hydrogen peroxide  and baking soda.  Sprinkle baking soda in stinky laundry. I also use a spray bottle with hydrogen peroxide. Now test on fabric first. But really good for fluid stains. Best thing around for baby clothes.

4 Ways to do Laundry Cheaply without Soaps or Chemicals

So this is why I love doing laundry this way. No chemicals, no more buying soaps or  fabric softeners. No itching, or sneezing. And it saves a lot of money.   I hope this have helped you with different ways to do laundry.

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25 Ways to Save Money on Food

25 ways to save money on food
1. I plan my menus on what I found on sale last week and not what I am planning on buying this week. I keep my freezer and pantry stocked with rock bottom prices to save money on food.

 
2. I try never to buy anything that is not on sale. Obviously, it’s not possible with everything but it is with most items. For example, last week one of my favorite stores had cottage cheese 1/2 off. I stocked up enough to last a while. Another store I know has pasta on sale about every 10 weeks. I buy enough to last 10 weeks and don’t buy it in the meantime.

 
3.I use coupons on things we use regularly or things that are free or almost free. I also use online coupons such as Ibotta.

 
4. I don’t use coupons on things I wouldn’t normally buy anyway just to try them or use a coupon.

 
5. Make most things from scratch. I think the only thing cheaper to buy in a mix is mac and cheese but it doesn’t have much cheese in it. In everything else it is both cheaper and more nutritious to make it yourself.

 
6. Shop more than 1 store. It is much cheaper to buy the sales and loss leaders at more than one store than everything at one store.

 
7. Use an Aldi’s is you have one. They rarely run sales but their prices are low all the time. Also look for specialty stores such as mexican, chinese; they have food there cheaper than in a regular grocery store.

 
8. Try to find a discount or salvage store in your area. We have a dented store that i get great buys at. I have bought yogurt for $2 a case, chocolate chips for 50 cents a bag, and many other great deals.

 
9. Do ahead for the week. I cut as many vegetables as we will eat all at once. I brown hamburger ahead of time and bag it. Make an extra casserole and freeze one and cook one.  When you make soup or stews make extra.

 
10. Make over leftovers. We had beef stroganoff Saturday and I had noodles left so I added a little browned hamburger, beans and spices and made goulash today for dinner.

 
11. Have dessert infrequently. It isn’t that good for you and sweets are usually costly.

 
12. Grow your own fruits and vegetables. We always have a garden and we have fruit trees. It saves on our grocery bill and I know what is in our food.

 
13. Glean or let the word out you will take extras. My father-in-law has a friend who loves to garden but doesn’t use much himself so he gives a lot away. I have seen other do the same, they want someone who will take it and put it up.

 
14. Can, or freeze your food. We can a lot in the summer of fresh produce so we have it in the winter. Talk to your children about being ants in the summer and preparing for winter. It is a lot of work but so worth it.

 
15. Eat soup at least once a week. Soup is a cheap meal and you can make many different kinds from all sorts of leftovers. With a loaf of hot bread it makes a feast.

 
16. Make your own bread. I can’t believe how high bread has gotten but it can still be made more economically at home. I see bread machines all the time at Goodwill too.

 
17. Rotate a lot of the same meals. Our lunches and breakfasts from week to week don’t vary much. We have the same meal for lunch every Monday, the same on Tuesday. This way you don’t have to stock your pantry with as many different items.

 
18. Make dinner fun. No, it doesn’t really save you money but a frugal meal with lots of love is better than a gourmet feast with strife. Candles add a lot of atmostphere without a lot of cost.

 
19. Involve your children. Sometimes they can turn their nose up at food but if they help prepare it or better yet grow it they will be thrilled to taste and share it.

 
20.Buy in bulk, if you will use it. I bought 150 lbs of potatoes last week when they were on sale. Also, GFS sells gallon cans, meat they will slice and you can prepackage it at home. I buy meat on sale in bulk and package it in meal size freezer bags.

 
21. Once a month cooking saves both time and money.  When I buy meat in bulk and prepackage it, a lot of times I dump different marinades in each. Then they are ready for the grill or crockpot.

 
22.Buy spices in bulk. Frontier herbs sell by the pound but if you only want a little a lot of health food stores sell small amounts. One near us will let you buy 50 cents of any spice. That way I can try a small amount of a new spice.

 
23.Spend as little time in the grocery store as possible. The longer you are there the more you will buy.

 
24. Try and make it at home. If you love Red Lobsters biscuits try and look on the web for a comparable recipe. You can find so many recipes that are makeovers of restaurant meals. It is definitely cheaper to stay home.

 

 

25.Look for markdowns. I stopped in yesterday at GFS and they had their holiday fresh turkeys marked down for 99 cents a lb. Different stores have them in different places so you have to check and find out where they are. Most stores mark down in the morning but we have one near us that does it at night. You can save  a lot of money by asking the butcher what time they sell mark downs.

 

What tips do you have to save money on food?

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4 Tips for School Day Mornings

 

4-tips-for-school-day-morningsWhile at my physical therapy appointment, we were talking about about school day mornings. She was saying about how difficult is was to serve breakfast at 2 separate times and get herself and the kids out the door on time.  I have children in 3 different schools, all with separate times.  We do not serve 3 separate breakfasts.

The Night Before

All great morning routines start with a great night time routine in place. At least a little. Backpacks and shoes need to be in their proper places. My son hangs both his backpack and jacket on hooks on the side of the shelves in his room. The girls stow theirs in their closet. All papers need to be signed the night before and any thing needed in their back packs. Clothes need to be laid out for the next day. Bedtimes need to be observed. We have 2 times we count down to. Each of them have separate times based on age but all of them have 1 time to be in bed and they get an additional 1/2 hour to read before lights out. This keeps them reading, because what child doesn’t want a later bedtime. It also gives them time to slow down.

Rise and Shine

All the children get up at the same time.  No matter what time they go to school they all get up at the same time. I usually get up at least an hour before the children. (Unless sick or recuperating.)  I have time to dress, quiet time and make my bed before they even get up. I can get them ready without it but I am not nearly as cheerful. My children all have their own alarms and get themselves up. Toward the end of the week I sometimes hear the alarm go off a little    lot longer than normal and I have to go in and prod    encourage them to get out of bed.  Then they have to get dressed, brush teeth and hopefully make their bed. I’ll be honest, their beds don’t get  made nearly as much as I would like.

Plan Ahead for Breakfast

Then they need a good healthy breakfast to eat. I try to freezer cook ahead of time so the days that are busy, I’ve fallen behind or just chaotic are covered. Mornings fit all 3. This is not to say I never cook breakfast but I try to prepare for the mornings I don’t want to.  I have made quiche (or any other breakfast casserole)  in the freezer and I put it in the oven as soon as I wake up, then get ready. I have assorted muffins, (pancake, blueberry, egg, banana, etc) that they can pull out and are microwaved. Waffles can be put in the toaster or boiled eggs in the fridge. I also have mini mixes that just feed one that you can make in under a minute. I have also done crock pot meals for breakfast. Egg casseroles, different flavors of oatmeal, tapioca, “fried potatoes” with eggs. Preparing ahead makes breakfast a snap.

Out the Door

Watch the clock to make sure no one is late to school. We also have an app at our school and it emails you when the bus is near. Have everything together to make getting to the bus stop easy. Then I have time for a cup of tea and a chat with my youngest daughter whose bus is later than the rest. What have you done to make school mornings easier?

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