Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Amazon Subscribe and Save- Updated August 28, 2013

We all want to save money and remove stress from our lives (right?).  One of the ways I do this is by shopping through Amazon Subscribe and Save.  Not everything is a great deal.  But there are some REALLY great deals.  Especially if you clip a coupon.

Subscribe and Save are groceries or other items that are shipped right to your door (for free!).  If you order more than 5 items a month, you get a 20% discount.

I compare the prices to what I am being charged at the store and everything I buy via S&S beats Wal-Mart and Target, the two stores I shop most often.  If I get a coupon, SCORE!  Plus, I don't have to schlep it all to the car and then into the house in the Texas heat.

You can find out if an item is available for S&S by looking at the right hand side of the page, there you can choose how often you would like a delivery and how many units you want.  Don't forget that you will save 20% later!

Here are some things that I have shipped to my house through Subscribe and Save:


Elnett hairspray.  (This is the BEST hairspray I've ever used and it lasts forever.)

Pantene Ice Shine Shampoo and Conditioner

Huggies Wipes 600 Count

D-Mannose Capsules (I use these supplements to help keep UTIs at bay)

Tampax Pearl

Crest 3D White Toothpaste  (I get asked nearly every day if I whiten my teeth- I don't- this is all I use!)

Pantene Pro-V Split End Fixer

NOW Foods Almond Oil

Old Spice Men's Deodorant

NOW Foods Lavender Oil (I get the 4 oz size)

NOW Foods Peppermint Oil

NOW Foods Tea Tree Oil


Seventh Generation Dish Liquid Free and Clear

Downy Unstopables Scent Booster


Angel Soft Toilet Paper

Cottonelle Toilet Paper (I know, more TP but it was a great deal with the coupon, and variety isn't a bad thing!)

Swiffer Dusters (I love these!)

Dr. Collins Eco Toothbrushes


Clif Crunch Granola Bars, white chocolate macadamia nut flavor

Clif Crunch Granola Bars, blueberry crisp flavor

Reese's Puffs Cereal

Annie's Homegrown Organic Ravioli 

Nutiva Organic Coconut Oil

Gluten Free Bisquick Baking Mix

Chewy Granola Bars, peanut butter chocolate chip

Barilla Mezze Penne

Peter Pan Honey Roasted Peanut Butter

V8 Fusion Juice Boxes

Amazing Grass Superfood Powder (this was recommended to me by my Aunt, who says it is great in smoothies and gives her lots of energy- it's true, I love it!  We get it in all three flavors)

Almond Nut Thins

Suddenly Pasta Salad

Golden Crisp Cereal

Moist and Meaty dog food

POPChips Variety Pack

Juicy Juice

Nylabone Dog Bones

Whole Grain Goldfish

There are SOOOOO many other great deals depending on what you need!  What are your favorite ways to save money on your grocery bill?  What do you purchase most often on Amazon?

PS.  I do not have all of this delivered every month.  I stagger it based on how much I will use over the course of time.  What I love about S&S is that I can always cancel or delay an order if I won't need it as soon as I thought.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

13 Uses For Tea Tree Oil

This past year, a good friend of mine introduced me to using essential oils for natural remedies.  (You can read her new blog here- she has just started a new adventure in farm living!)

Since then, I feel like I am surrounded by the benefits of essential oils!  So many friends have told me that EOs have kept them from the doctor time and time again.  The cost of the oils is definitely offset by the savings from costs of medications and dr visits.  I now use them daily.

Personally, I use lavender, peppermint, almond and tea tree.  I hope to add more to my life as I find out the benefits and have need.  The best brand that I have found is NOW Foods and I buy all of mine on Amazon. I added links to the names above for easy shopping.  I have them auto shipped to my house and save 20% by doing so!  These are the best deals I have found on good essential oils.

I recently read this short and informative article on 13 uses for tea tree oil and I had to share!  It's a great way to get started.  I hope to post more about the oils I use because they are SO awesome.  (I do NOT recommend using canola oil on your skin like step #2 advises.  Try olive oil instead.)

What is your favorite way to use essential oils?

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Degrees Of Separation

I was browsing a college catalog.  Trying to figure out what to do with my life.

Me: "Hey John, there are so many degrees available!"
John: "Mmmhmm."
Me: "I will read a list of all the ones I think are interesting and you give me feedback on what you think of them for me.  Ok?"
John: ""
Me: "Okay!  Accounting!"
John: ""
Me: "No to accounting!
John: "That's what I thought."
Me:  "Railroad operator!"
John: ""
Me: "Firefighter."
John: "No."


In the end "we" found quite a few things that I might actually be good at.

Monday, August 12, 2013

A Simple Compliment

I used to be a serial store complainer.

I am not an unkind person but I never hesitated to call or go in and say "This is the problem I had in your store today."

Fast-forward to a few years ago, and little ears and eyes and hearts began following all I do.  Every phone call to a restaurant or a store was being monitored by my little sponges and I thought, "How often do they hear me call an establishment with compliments?"

So I made a decision.  Every time I had great service, I would call or email.  I would compliment more businesses than I criticized.

The first time I tried this out, it was a fast food restaurant.  They actually got my order wrong, but the man at the drive through window had been very friendly.  I pulled out my phone and dialed the number on my receipt.  I said "May I speak to a manager please?"  The woman sounded stressed immediately, and on guard.  She said "I'm the manager, what's wrong?"  I said "Nothing's wrong, I just wanted to compliment the young man at the window, he was very friendly and is an asset to the restaurant."  She perked up and said "Oh!  Wow, thank you for calling."

I bet people get tired of getting nonstop complaints.  This is a small way I have found to grow a bit, set a good example for the littles and maybe make someone smile.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Easy Homemade Laundry Detergent Recipe

***Updated January 2014 with AWESOME NEWS!

This recipe is soooooo simple.  Get a container.  I found a dry goods container with lid at Walmart for less than five bucks!  Everything pictured above is available at Walmart, except for the 2 containers of "Oxyclean" which I got from Dollar Tree.  The Downy is optional, it adds scent.  If you don't want scent, skip that ingredient!

The last batch I made lasted me from October 2012 to June 8 months- and I spent less than $20 on the ingredients, and my clothes are clean and fresh.  

You'll need: 

2 boxes Borax
2 bars Zote soap***
1 box baking soda
1 box Super Washing Soda
2 containers of Dollar Tree "Oxyclean" (save the scoops inside, you'll want them later!)
1 Scent addition (Purex crystals, Downy unstoppables, Gain, etc)  OPTIONAL
Cheese grater***


1.  Unwrap Zote soap and leave out to dry for 24 hours (this makes it so much easier to shred).***
2.  Mix all dry ingredients together.  I used a paint stirrer, but anything will work.
3.  Using a cheese grater, grate the Zote soap.  ( I got a grater at Dollar Tree that I keep in the laundry room and use only for making laundry soap). ***
4.  Stir again and you are done!

I use the "Oxyclean" scoop to measure my soap and use two scoops per load.  I wash most of my laundry on 'cool' and have no problems with the soap bits not melting.

***The Zote soap is now available in AFFORDABLE AND EASY flakes!  PRAISE GOD.  When I saw this box at Walmart, I danced.  Literally danced.


Monday, August 5, 2013

Finding The Joy

A question was posed recently that got me thinking: is happiness a choice?

I struggled with this question. I think I have my answer. It may change in a year or six months or five minutes, but I think it's this, at its most basic...

Sometimes you don't have to find the joy, life is great and everything is sparkly and joy abounds. You see everything grand, right in front of you. You don't have to choose happiness, you are there. You are Julie Andrews twirling on a mountaintop like a lunatic happy. The sun is shining and your kids are healthy and happy and life is GOOD.

Then sometimes you pause in the middle of a storm and have to look for the ray of sunshine. Your son is in the hospital. Someone you love has hurt you. You're exhausted. And in these moments, when you search for the joy, you find it in your daughter's little nose (perfect for kissing!), or the feel of a dog rubbing up against your leg. The smell of a new candle. Your son's sparkly blue eyes. Your husband bent over a game with your kids. A flower that has just bloomed. A really crisp, juicy apple. Life is GOOD because these things were always there. You just had to look for them and at them and stop looking at the problem as making your life BAD.

These things are there in rain or shine, but sometimes we have to push aside some clouds to see it all clearly.