Sunday, February 22, 2009

I love a good deal!

Today I finally got my dream stroller! We went on a family trip to a store called Treehouse Kids in the Cincinnati Mills outelt just to "test drive" the Phil and Teds stroller I'd read so much about. As shocking as the price is, Todd felt the same way I did, it really does live up to all the talk. It's nothing like any other stroller we looked at. If anything, it's lighter and sturdier than the Peg Perego Pliko P3 we already have (and love)! However, at the store, it was $450.00 for the stroller plus another $100 for the doubles kit. And then on top of that we'd pay 7.5% tax, so another $41.25! As much as I'm a fan of local small business, we just couldn't afford to pay this knowing we could get it online cheaper.

So I checked it out online when we got home, and sure enough Pish Posh Baby had a 2008 model, brand new, and in the charcoal color we liked best, for only $450. Only they throw in the doubles kit for free, don't charge tax, and ship for free. And then, if it couldn't get any better, I found a coupon code, SAVE5, which saved another 5%. So we got the stroller for $427.50 out the "door!"

And if our day couldn't have gotten any better, I decided to take the time during the drive home to read our Sunday newpaper. Low and behold, inside all those great Sunday sale ads, was a brown paper bag. And not just any paper bag, but a "coupon" of sorts. Bring in this bag and recieve a free burrito to our favorite place in the whole world......Chipolte! So we'll also get dinner for all three of us tonight for $5.95! It must be my lucky day or something!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

It was a productive weekend!

We also got our recessed lighting installed yesterday. It only cost us $180 for the installation and the lights were about $12 for each light (only 5 installed so far). Anyway, it made a HUGE difference in our kitchen! Only problem, I'm leaning towards making an island in the kitchen again. The more and more I think about it, it would really complete the kitchen and I could use the extra chopping room. =)I know this has seemed like the slowest bathroom remodel on the face of the Earth, but we're trying. We've been working on about 5 things around the house and DH has been waiting for friends to help him out when they are available (to save money of course!) BUT, we finally have a tiled tub/shower surround.
Next up......painting the bathroom and starting the tile floors. We'll see if we have as much as we've been havin lately. =)

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Save money and the Earth.....while cleaning!

We have now been using homeade "green cleaners" for a litte over two months with success, so I figured I' share with you my methods! At first, I of course decided to switch to green cleaners due to the fact that I couldn't sleep at night dreaming Luke would accidently get under the kitchen sink (even though it's babyproofed) and start chugging a bottle of Lysol toilet bowl cleaner. But then there is of course all those looming threats of even if he doesn't actually chug these cleaners, they could still cause him harm in the long run, just using them in our house. But then to learn that homeade green cleaners are really a bunch of cheap supplies I can find at the grocery store, now I was really sold. So here is my journey into making and using my own homeade green cleaners!
First, I picked up the book, Organic Housekeeping by Ellen Sandbeck, from the library of course. As I read it from cover to cover, I took notes in a notebook for future reference. She has a lot of great green ideas for anything from removing ink stains from fabric to washing fruits and vegtable with nothing buy hydrogen peroxide. But I'll only share with you her great ideas I use on a weekly basis, but if you want to know more, be sure to pick up her book at your library. It really is a good non-fictional read!
So after I had my notebook started, I decided I needed to pick up all the supplies I would need for my new cleaning methods. I picked up a couple of cheap spray bottles from the Dollar Tree, then I picked up a castile soap (Dr. Bronners, $8.99 at Trader Joes or Krogers in the organic section for a HUGE bottle!), two huge gallon bottles of distilled white vinegar, a bottle of hydrogen peroxide, and 2-12 pack of Vroom microfiber cleaning clothes from Target's auto section. I believe the clothes were $7.99 for 12 towels. I already had a Swiffer mop on hand, some baking soda, a soft bristle brush and a toilet scrubber. I also cut up a few old t-shirts we were planning on donating to accumulate more cleaning rags and started a small pile of newspapers under the sink (for cleaning glass).
Then I decided the only way to get everyone on board (Todd and my mom in our case) was to get rid of all our regular supplies as well as make everything easy to use and accesible. I made three cleaners, one pure vinegar, one hydrogen peroxide, and one my all-purpose cleaner. I set the rest of my supplies under the sink, making sure the three spray bottles were in front. I then places the cleaning clothes in a cute little basket next to the spray bottles and the newspapers in a basket next to the clothes. Now there was no excuse!
Mixing the cleaners:
-Vinegar and Hydrogen Peroxide: I think these mixtures are pretty straight forward. Just pour from bottle it came in to spray bottle! All ready for use! =)
-All Purpose Cleaner: mix bottle half way with vinegar, then fill the bottle almost to the top with very warm water. Then just add a few drops (maybe a Tbsp full) of Dr. Bronners castile soap (we prefer the peppermint scented one, I've also heard lavender smells good as well). Then just shake the spray bottle a litle and this is ready to use as well. (Note: the warm water will obviously become room temperature, which is fine when cleaning. I find the warm water just mixes everything together a little better.)
-Bathtub cleaner: (I mix this in a little bowls before every use.) Just mix a little bit of baking soda (maybe 1/4 cup) with some Dr. Bronners castile soap until you get a creamy mixture. It's ready for use.
What to use and where:
-For every day floor cleaning, I just wet a microfiber cloth, fold it in half and pinch it into the little holders on the swiffer. Then I just run that over the floors to pick up excess dirt and hair. It also stays wet enough through all three rooms and the entry way that I don't have to change it. It gets up all those little feet smudge marks too. =)
-For the kitchen, I use the all purpose cleaner. I just squirt and wipe down with a microfiber cloth. For the sink I spray the sink with hydrogen peroxide. When it stops bubbling, all the germs have been killed!
-For the bathroom, I use several cleaners. For the mirror, I use pure vinegar and wipe it down with recycled newspaper. (If you find that it's streaky, mix in a little Dr. Bronners with vinegar for the first cleaning to remove any old cleaner build up.) Next I spray the sink with hydrogen peroxide. Then a wipe down the counters using the all-purpose cleaner and a cloth. Then for the toilet, I flush once to get the sides wet, sprinkle with baking soda and spray with pure vinegar. While it sizzles, I scrub it with the toilet brush. Then for the shower, I use the bathtub mixture I mentioned, scrubbing it with my soft bristle brush. Rinse this off with water from the shower of course. Then last, I clean the floor with a rag and pure vinegar.
-For windows around the house, I again use pure vinegar and newspaper. Only, since I don't do these as often and want to give them so extra shine, I follow up with 100 proof vodka.
I hope this helps you to make the switch to green cleaners! Although it was intimidating at first, once we got thr routine down, we loved it. Everything just seems so much cleaner now and we don't have to worry about the harsh chemicals hurting any of us!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

And decided on a stroller!

Well, I decided on a stroller! I'm no longer giving Todd the option to choose. =) As frgual ::ahem, cheap:: as he is, even he admitted he liked nothing at Babies R Us. We went there a few Sundays ago and tested out every model they had on display. Either it was HUGE, bulky, and heavy or it was cheaply made and wobbly, or it was managable but the seats were so tiny that I honestly don't know how much longer Luke would even be able to fit in it. The only thing we remotely liked was a double jogging stroller, maybe a Schwinn, not sure. We just couldn't see spending $350 on something we didn't love. It wasn't too bulky, it steered well and was easy to push, but it didn't recline and didn't take a car seat, so we really couldn't see pushing around a 6 lbs newborn in it!

So the more and more I look, the more times I keep coming back to the same thing, the Phil and Ted's sport buggy with a double kit. We'll look just like Brooke Shield's pushing around her kids at the park (and I'll be back to size 6 like she is! Haha)

It's the answer to all my problems though. Here's is all the positions it can go in:
So it's basically adaptable to every situation. And from all the reviews I've read, it isn't "too good to be true." The only slight problem I've found......the cost! The cheapest I've found it is $449 with free shipping and it's the 2008 model/color the are discontinuing. Think Todd might get this for me as a Valentine's Day present???? Doubtful! So I'll just have to figure out another way to save up $450 buck-a-roos! I love a challendge though!

And speaking of bathrooms...

There hasn't been much progress really. Todd did get the rest of the drywall up, got the drywall all finished and primed it all, but now it's just sat, waiting for us to make a final decision on tile color, paint color, countertop, etc. We did end up buying the tile we finally choose this weekend, but we're basically back to square one on the countertop. We're down to either getting unwarrented granite for $560 or just going with Corian for $400 (which I'm not fond of, but at this point, who knows). I'm just not paying $900 for a quartz or silestone countertop!!!!! Tha is just ridiculous. (The countertop store called us back and told us they mis-quoted us by the way, errr!)

Anyway, Todd was supposed to start tiling tomorrow with his buddy, but we've also been qaiting for about 6 months to get our last 4 windows put in. Of course our other friend calls and says he has the time on Wednesday to help Todd put those in. So tile is bumped to next week now, BUT I do get my new windows in, which means my new curtains can go up soon! YEAH!

Got a great deal on nursery bedding!

So I ended up looking for bedding as soon as we found out we were having a little girl. I knew DH didn't want to spend a ton of money on it, but I still didn't think the "airplane" theme that currently occupies the nursery space was really appropriate either.

So at first I was dead set on a black and white paisley set I'd seen on for only $79.98! I couldn't sleep for a couple nights just dreaming up all the decorations that would match it. But it ran out of stock and now three weeks later, is still out of stock.

So I had a slow day at work today so I thought I'd better use my time to find a back up bedding. Turns out Target was having a huge sale. I ended up finding the perfect set and for 3 pieces it was only $64! I also picked up a crib skirt for another $15 and also 3 packs of wall decals for another $15! Even better, they had a free shipping deal! So here's the bedding:
And even more good news, it'll look good with the existing tan walls (saving $25 in paint) and the existing cherry furniture Luke used. I plan on getting a small brown rug, some nice brown curtains, a fun girly lamp or two, some pink and brown baskets, and some pink and brown accents among the room! Starting in early March, we'll be sharing the nursery progress with you! Just have to finish that darn bathroom!!!!!