For our drive down to Texas, I knew we’d be in the car all day, long enough for all 3 meals to be on the road….which could mean a lot of eating out and grabbing snacks at gas stations. That’s always been a weakness for us on road trips, but I determined to fight that temptation and take meals, snacks and drinks. Unfortunately on the drive down we did end up buying the kids some Gatorade and I had underestimated how much water we’d drink, so we bought some bottled water too. But no food was bought on the drive down (we did get some on the drive back though).

So what did I pack?

  • Quiche cups for breakfast. This was basically just eggs, milk, sausage, spinach and seasonings baked in a greased muffin pan. The only problem with these is we had to eat them cold, but other than that they were an easy to eat breakfast full of protein! And if you have a microwave, you could always heat them up before heading out the door.
  • I made a double batch of pizza muffins, much to the delight of the kids. They made a perfect lunch and I plan on making these in the future when we do more traveling. We just skipped the pizza sauce for dipping…I didn’t want to deal with that mess!
  • Wrap makings - Okay, I must confess we didn’t eat these on the road, but all the ingredients came back home with us and made for some quick meals after we got back. Instead of the wraps we just had snacks and more pizza muffins for supper. I packed wraps, lettuce, salami, cheese, and my favorite wrap filling….hummus! Wraps tend to hold together better than sandwiches, making them a nice choice in the car.
  • Snacks: Chips, grapes, apples, veggie sticks with hummus, animal crackers, raisins, almonds, peanut butter popcorn and gum. I know that sounds like a lot of snacks, but we didn’t eat them all in one day, and like I said, I was trying really hard to help us avoid buying overpriced junk food at gas stations.
  • Drinks: Water, juice pouches and homemade ice-coffee.

If we had bought 3 meals on the road, plus all our drinks and snacks on the way it would’ve cost way more, taken more time and been less healthy. Also when we did stop we were able to let the kids play instead of making them sit down in a restaurant, believe me they needed to run around!

What are your favorite foods to take on road trips?

Amy

I was rather appalled as I was tallying up October’s expenses and our grocery bill was higher than it’s been in a LONG time! Not sure why, I guess when you don’t keep on top of things, they can easily add up without even being aware of it. So this week I’m making our menu plan based almost all on what I already have around the house (thankfully their’s plenty here). I only spent $36 on food at the grocery store this week.

 

Breakfasts: Coconut granola, oatmeal, toast, eggs, fruit or smoothies

Lunches: Leftovers, burritos or sandwiches (egg salad, chicken or grilled cheese)

Suppers:

  • Vegetarian stuffed peppers & sauted spinach
  • Chorizo, egg and cabbage burritos with corn tortillas
  • Sausage barley stew and bread
  • Chicken quesadillas, chips, pomegranate and steamed broccoli
  • Lentil soup and bread
  • Oven roasted chicken, mashed potatoes and some kind of veggie
  • Leftovers

A couple of years ago I began dabbling in the world of baking soda and vinegar as cleaning products, but didn’t get into it whole-heartedly. Then when we moved here I didn’t bring any cleaners with me and thought it’d be the perfect time to see how long I could go without buying any cleaners….well we’ve been here going on 9 months, and I’ve purchased almost none! So what have I been using the last 9 months? I’m glad you asked! :)

Vinegar

You can buy a nice big jug of distilled white vinegar for just a couple bucks.

I use it for:

  • Cleaning mirrors and windows, just keep it in a spray bottle for easy use.
  • Sometimes I clean my floor with just hot water, but sometimes I use vinegar too.
  • Pour some baking soda, vinegar and then hot water down a slow drain to help clear it out.
  • Use in place of fabric softener.

 

Vinegar makes great window/mirror cleaner!

Baking Soda

I like to buy the larger boxes of baking soda and use it not just for baking, but also for cleaning!

It works great on:

 

Keep baking soda in a spice jar for easy use.

Keeping baking soda in a spice bottle makes it easy to sprinkle around for cleaning!

 

Disinfecting Wipes

Disinfecting wipes are really the only store-bought cleaning supply I have right now (not counting dish soap). I know they’re not the most frugal choice, but they come in handy, like when we were chopping up meat from an entire deer on our kitchen table! I’ve been reading about various DIY disinfecting wipes and if I do try it, I’ll have to make a new post! :)

Any recommendations on homemade disinfecting wipes?

This post is linked at Frugally Sustainable and A Blossoming Life.

 

 

 

 

Amy 

 

I don’t know about you, but I love seeing cheap outfits other people wear, so I thought I’d share a couple of my favorite frugal outfits that I wear a lot.

Outfit #1

Shirt: Under $4 at a consignment store.

Jacket: $3 clearance rack at Wal-Mart.

Jeans: $0 from the mission barrel* and they’re my favorite pair of jeans!

Necklace: $4.50 from Goodwill.

Crazy-socks: Gift from my mom. :)

Sneakers: $70? I can’t remember the exact price, but it’s the most I’ve ever spent on shoes for myself. They’re good quality, so hopefully they’ll last longer than my cheaper sneakers did.

Outfit #2

Shirt: $7 clearance rack at Wal-Mart

Skirt: $12? I can’t remember the exact price, but I remember it was on sale at Old Navy and then I used a $10 gift card I earned from swag bucks.

Leggings: Don’t remember the price. I probably got them at Wal-Mart or Target.

Earrings: Gift from my mother-in-law and they match this shirt perfectly! (Sorry you can’t see them in the picture).

Shoes: $? I don’t remember how much I spent on them, but I did spiff them up with a sharpie right before this picture!

Gracia’s Outfit

Red dress: Christmas gift.

White stockings: $? probably from Wal-Mart.

Black shoes: $0 from the mission barrel*.

* The mission barrel is a place here on campus for us students and staff to exchange things.

Talk about a fashion statement!

This post is linked at The Peaceful Mom and A Blossoming Life.

As you may know if you read my blog much, I’ve started making my own powdered laundry detergent and one of the ingredients I use is a bar of fels-naptha soap found in the laundry detergent isle of Wal-Mart and probably most any grocery stores.

You may (or may not because I don’t recall mentioning it on the blog) know that Cameron works 2 afternoons a week at our on campus garage where he fixes things on the training center’s vehicles (don’t ask me details, car stuff is all over my head). But what I do know is that he comes home with some very dirty jeans. I’ve had a bad habit of throwing the pants into the laundry hoping that the grease and grim will just come out in the wash and all will be fine. Well….that doesn’t usually happen, and then I of course have to make things worse by throwing them into the dryer which bakes the lovely stains in even more.

Finally the other day Cameron decided to scrub some of his grimy clothes with fels-naptha before they went into the wash, and guess what? It really did get the stains out! Now I’m not sure if it would work on his clothes that have been stained awhile and dried in the dryer and all, but it really does work with fresh stains and you don’t even have to scrub that much! It also helps with t-shirt armpits laden with sweat and/or deodorant.

Is fels-naptha a better economical choice over other stain removers? I walked down the laundry aisle and came out with these figures:

  • $6.86 for 1.59 oz. Tide Stain Eraser To Go- This had 16 little individual erasers in it.
  • $2.94 for 0.338 fluid oz. Tide Pen To Go
  • $2.98 for 14 fluid oz. Shout Advance Gel Spray
  • $2.96 for 18 oz. Shout Advance Foam Spray
  • $.97 for 5.5 0z. Bar of Fels-naptha
I didn’t actually sit down and compare the unit prices for all of these, it seemed to intimidating with some being in ounces, others in fluid ounces, and then how do you compare bars to sprays to pens to erasers? But if you look at the numbers overall, you can see that the fels-naptha is a pretty good bargain. Plus the fels-naptha only has a wrapper that needs to be thrown out, whereas the other options have a lot more packaging.
If you use just a little fels-naptha for a stain then want to us the rest for laundry detergent, just set the soap somewhere where it can dry out before grating it into the laundry powder.
Now if only I had started using fels-naptha sooner…

 

There seems to be a big move towards home-made cleaning products. They’re cheaper, more natural and supposedly better for the environment, but to be honest sometimes the thought of making all my own cleaning products seems daunting. Mixing ingredients that I don’t usually have around the house, or cooking laundry soap over the stove kinda daunts me at this point. The good news is, I’ve discovered just because I don’t want to cook up my own cleaners, doesn’t mean that I have to buy all my cleaning products either!

Elbow Grease

We get in such a habit of using a special cleaning product for every surface that could ever be imagined. There’s floor cleaner, oven cleaner, window cleaner, furniture polish….. While it can be good to have some specific cleaners, it’s not always necessary. I usually wipe down my counters, tables or shelves with just a damp cloth…no cleaner at all. Unless I’m cleaning up raw chicken or a super gooey mess, a damp cloth and a little elbow grease usually does the trick!

Soaking

When I have to clean out my crock pot I usually fill it with water and maybe a little soap and let it sit! I let the soaking do most of the work for me. Then when I wash it out, usually most of the hardest gunk falls right off. Soaking can also be done with stained clothes.

Vinegar instead of Windex

I did a post on this before and in my post I mixed white vinegar and water, but I’ve changed that and now I just do all vinegar. Just put it in a spray bottle and spray your windows and mirrors then clean with an old newspaper or rag. I like using microfiber cloths. You can impress your friends by telling them you make your own windex, and they never have to know it’s just one ingredient!

Vinegar for Fabric Softener

I like to soak stinky shirts in white vinegar to help get rid of the smell, but it also has other benefits in laundry use, which you can read about here.

Baking Soda

Baking soda can be used for many a cleaning job. It  works good for scrubbing, especially when paired with an old toothbrush and it helps get rid of odors (as does vinegar). You can sprinkle some in the toilet bowl, clean sinks or counter tops with it. To make it handier to use you can keep it in an old spice bottle and sprinkle out as much as you need.

Keep baking soda in a spice jar for easy use.

Vinegar + Baking Soda

Mix the two ingredients and you have a bubbly reaction! I’ve used these two together to put down sink drains to get rid of odors and help keep the drains clear.

Easy Air Freshener

I’ve made my own Febreeze using fabric softener. It worked pretty well too.

Have you tried making home-made cleaners and detergents? Do you just buy them? Or do you meet in the middle, like me?

Key holders are my best friend! I think I would lose keys every day if it wasn’t for having one hanging at the front door. When we moved, we got rid of the one we had, but never fear! Cameron came to the rescue! He went outside and found some wood and sticks just lying around, then drilled 3 holes in the bigger piece of wood using an antique hand drill that he had purchased used on ebay.

Then he glued the smaller sticks inside the holes and let it dry…and viola! I now have a rustic, nature themed key holder, so I don’t lose my keys! Plus almost no money was spent making it!

 

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