Saturday, July 14, 2012

Summer #BlogChallenge #36 What is a holiday tradition I have in my family?

Going Green with the Grizls

We don't really have too many traditions around the holidays.  Though we do have a few.

I remember growing up I always wanted to open 1 present on Christmas Eve.  So i said when I had a family, that would be a tradition that I started.  Well, my oldest's birthday is Christmas Eve, so we don't do that tradition LOL.  I don't want to take anything away from his birthday, since he is already sharing it with Christmas, so he is the only person who opens presents on his birthday.

I always make a traditional dinner.  We have a Turkey, stuffed with my Great Grandma's stuffing, mashed potatoes, corn, sweet potatoes with marshmallows on top, gravy and biscuits.  We always have cookies that my mom makes and sends us, they are either my grandmother, or Great grandma's recipe.  We also always have Mom's special eggs (except now that I have kids, I call them Grandma's special eggs lol) for breakfast on Christmas morning.

Those are the only traditions that I can think of.  I think part of that is we haven't always 'stayed home' for Christmas.  We have gone to family member's houses (both in state and out of state) quite a bit.  Last Christmas we went to Arizona for Christmas at my Mom's, since my Brother came back to the states from Norway for Christmas and was able to bring his daughter with him.  It was the first Christmas we had with my brother and I and all of our kids together.  It was a lot of work tho, coordinating Christmas for 4 kids (and a birthday) in another state!  So Hubby and I have decided from now on, no more traveling for Christmas for us!  People can come see us for Christmas LOL.  Hopefully this means we'll be able to come up with some more traditions for our family.

Do you have any family traditions during the holidays?

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Summer #BlogChallenge #35 Talk about a fear I have

Going Green with the Grizls

Today's prompt is to talk about a fear you have.  I really only have 1 BIG fear, and it scares the crap out of me too.  I fear Death.  Of course I think a lot of people do.  I don't know if it's the fear of the unknown that is with it, or what, but I don't like to think about  If I spend too much time thinking about it, I actually start to have a panic attack and I have to start to think about something else.

It didn't use to be something that really bothered me.  I mean, how often do you think about death, right?  But after my Dad passed away in Jan 2009 it really started to bother me.  His death hit me a lot harder then I ever thought it would.  I don't really go out of my way to think about it, but when I do, it really bothers me.

So there you have it, my biggest fear.  Do you have a big fear?

Summer #BlogChallenge #34 Free to write what I want!

Going Green with the Grizls

For the 4th of July (day #34) we are free to write about whatever we want!  So since I have maybe mentioned it once or twice, but not actually done a blog post about it, I will write about our upcoming move!

Yep, you read that right we are North Carolina, from California!  Cross.Country.  When we move, we do it big LOL.

My husband is from Tennessee, he moved from Tennessee to Washington to be with me when I was in the Navy.  He has wanted to go back east for a while now.  The opportunity finally came up and we jumped at it.  he is getting a transfer with the company he works for.  The current controller in North Carolina is retiring.

My husband is of course happy to be closer to his family.  We are both excited that it is a lower cost of living area (and edited about lower gas prices for the car!!!).  I am of course excited about the prospect of double coupons when I shop, and maybe...just maybe, a basement for my stockpile!!  My older 2 kids are happy that they will be 18 hours closer to their Dad and Bonus Mom.  So lots of pluses!

Right now, all we know is that we are moving, and it will be in late summer, that is it.  We don't even know when we are going house hunting yet.  Hopefully we find out something soon.  

So now you all know about our upcoming move 8)

Summer #BlogChallenge #33 Travel and plans I have for the summer

Going Green with the Grizls

We already did our family summer vacation.  We went to San Diego during the first week of June.  We had a blast going to the beach, Seaworld, Legoland, and the Safari Wild Animal Park.

We don't really have too many other plans for the summer.  Just going over to friends house's, having some BBQ's etc.  We are going to the Kenny Chesney and Tim McGraw Brother's of the Sun tour concert this Saturday July 14th!  We are super excited about that, we've had the tickets since Jan/Feb.  They are both singers I have always wanted to see, and Tim McGraw is Austin's favorite singer, so he is super excited to go.

Other then that we are just patiently waiting to find out when we will be going house hunting in North Carolina so we can move.  That's one of the reasons we don't have any big plans, since we are up in the air about the move still.

What are you doing this summer?  Any big plans?  or did you already do your big vacation?

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

I love Staples!!

Staples, along with many other stores have started their back to school deals.  Between their sales, their savings pass (which I will talk about), and my staples rewards I have gotten some SLAMMING deals this week (I have been to Staples Sun, Mon, and Tues this week HAHA).

First let me talk a bit about the Staples rewards program.  This program is free to join.  You earn 10% back on all Ink, toner, case and ream paper purchases.  You also earn 10% back on copies and printing.  You also earn $2 for every ink cartridge that you recycle with them, up to 10 a month (they will accept more then 10, but will only pay you for 10).  I love that I can get some of my money back!!  I buy all my ink and paper from them, and always recycle my ink with them.  Most of the time when I buy paper, they are running a rebate too, so my paper is very cheap or even free.  For more information on the Staples rewards program you can go HERE.

Next, let me talk about their Savings Pass.  The Savings Pass is something they have right now for back to school shopping.  It costs $10, but you save 15% on school (and office) supplies.  In fact, there's a whole list of everything you can save see the list go HERE.  It's good from June 10th to Sept 15th.  I just bought mine on Sunday and I have already saved $9.29, so it has already almost paid for itself!

Staples need ad started on Sunday, which means their back to school penny deals started!!  They have a 10 pack of bic pens, 24 count rose art crayons, and a bottle of staples school glue, all for a penny piece, limit 2 of each when you spend $5.  They also have several other items on sale too!

This is what I bought on Sunday:

Here's the break down of what I bought (everything was a limit of 4, except for the penny items which were limit 2)

Super Glue ~ $2.99, with a rebate for $2.99, limit 1 per household (FREE after rebate!)
Sharpies ~ $1 each X4
Bic dry erase markers ~ $1 each X4
Glue sticks ~ $1 each X4
Scissors ~ $1 each X2
Erasers ~ $.50 each X 4
Mechanical pencils ~ $.25 each X4
Bic pens ~ $.01 each X2
Rose Art crayons ~ $.01 each X2
Staples school glue ~ $.01 each X2

PLUS I saved 15% on everything too!

I spent $15.35, saved $65.40, a savings of 81%!!

I went back on Monday.  Crazy I know, but they have ream paper on sale for $6.99 with a $6.74 rebate, making them $.25 after rebate (limit 2 per household).  You can also save 15% with the savings pass...meaning after rebate they are paying you $.80 to take it out of the store!!!  I only bought 1, even tho it was limit 2, since I did have 2 reams of paper at home (which is why I didn't buy it the first time, but I decided it was just too good to pass up!)

So, here is what Monday's transaction looked like (btw, Staples is less then 5 mins from my house!):

Here is the break down:

Paper ~ $6.99 with a $6.74 rebate, limit 2 per household (They are paying me $.80 after rebate!)
Mechanical pencils ~ $.25 each X4 (my kids are always asking for mechanical pencils so I stocked up!)
Bic Pens ~ $.01 each X2
Rose Art Crayons ~ $.01 X2
Staples school glue ~ $.01 X2

PLUS I saved 15% on everything too!

I spent $6.85 and saved $21.58 a 76% savings!  (I am getting back a $6.74 rebate technically all that for $.11?  woo too!)

Finally my Tuesday trip!  I went on Tuesday, because I had been checking my Staples rewards to see if they had come in yet, and they were finally available on Tuesday.  The Charmin Basic was on sale for $5.99 (normally $9.99) and I wanted to use my rewards to get some for free.  So when my rewards showed up, I went right over to get my toilet paper.  

Here is my fabulous Tuesday trip!

Here is the break down:

Toilet Paper ~ $5.99 each X6
Bic pens ~ $.01 each X2
Rose art crayons ~ $.01 each X2
Staples school glue ~ $.01 each X2

I figured, since I was already over the $5 may as well grab the penny items again.  I also saved 15% on my toilet paper with my savings pass!!  My Staples rewards was for $30.20.

I spent $.41 and saved $67.01 a savings of 99%!!!

Over all I spent a total of $21.61 and I saved a total of $153.99, a savings of 87%!  I am also getting back $9.73 in rebates, which will put my final out of pocket at $11.88, saving $163.72 a savings of 94%!!

I am super excited about my toilet paper (I only paid $.35 for 96 rolls!!), but I also got great savings on school supplies and supplies for our arts and crafts box!!  This also means, once the school year starts I will be able to donate needed items to the teachers, once I find out what they are looking for.  I can't wait to see what great sales Staples has next week!  I am excited to see what their penny sales will be!

Have you started back to school shopping yet?

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Summer #BlogChallenge #32 Share a poem I've written or just one I like

Going Green with the Grizls's prompt is to share a poem I've written, or that I like.  To be honest, I'm not really a poetry person.  It's not something that I read, and it has never been something that I wrote. My best friend on the other hand writes poetry, and is very poetic.  It's just not for me, sorry!

Summer #BlogChallenge #31 Talk about something eco friendly that I already do

Going Green with the Grizls

Today's prompt is to talk about something eco friendly that I already do.  Since I already did a post about cloth diapers (man I love cutie's with cloth booties!!) I decided I would blog about something else.

I love using re-usable bags.  I live in California and a few years ago, right after we moved here there was talk of the state banning plastic bags. Because of this, my Hubby and I decided to start using re-usable bags.

Fast Forward a few years later and this is not a state-wide ban, but there are some cities/counties that have banned them.  We still use our re-usable bags for everything.  Our collection has slowly grown from our first 6 bags to probably 30 or more bags.  I got over half my bags for free too.

I'll be honest,  it took me a while to get use to using the bags.  At first I would keep them in the trunk of my Impala I use to drive.  Of course, being in the trunk, I would forget about them, and then see them when I would go to put my groceries in the trunk.  Then, I tried to keep them by the front door, so i could grab them on the way out, which would sometimes work LOL.  Over time tho I started to get use to them.  Now, I always grab them.  There have been a few times that I run into Walmart for one or two things, and I forget to give the cashier my bag.  I go to grab the bag they hand me and realize my cloth bag is under my arm, where I had been carrying it LOL.

This was a very easy eco-friendly switch for us to make and I am glad that we did it.

What is something eco-friendly that you do?

Summer #BlogChallenge #30 Post a photo of an outfit that either is my style or I wish was my style.

Going Green with the Grizls

This picture is totally my style (minus the purse) , I have always been part hippy and proud of it too!



Miss Selfridge beaded bangle

LK Designs yellow gold earrings
$110 -

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Summer #BlogChallenge #29 Write a "How to Post"

Going Green with the Grizls

Today's prompt was to write a 'How to Post'.  It took me a while to come up with an idea.  I decided to write a post on 'How to Stockpile'.  I absolutely love my stockpile and I love watching it grow, so I figured i would share my tips with you!  Here we go 8)

The way stockpiling works is you buy several of an item at rock bottom prices.  This way you have enough to last you until the next sale, so you can buy more at the rock bottom prices.  Doing this ensures that you don't run out of an item, and then have to run to the store and pay full price for it.  Why pay $3.50 for toothpaste, if you can get it for free?

You find the best deals by waiting for a sale, and then matching your coupons to the sale.  This is called doing Match Ups.  A LOT of blogs do all the match ups for you, so they do all the hardwork and you get to reap the rewards!

There are some items I buy week to week, or as needed, such as milk, bread, etc.  But for everything else, I buy it only when it's on sale.  I no longer make a shopping list each week of what I need.  I shop by what is on sale, so I never know what I am buying each week until the weekly ads come out  it is a completely different way to shop then I use to do, but it is so much better.

So, here are some examples of things I bought recently for my stockpile.

Sunblock ~ Coppertone Sunblock was on sale at Vons, on Friday only (this was today!) for $5 (part of their $5 Fridays).  I had a coupon for $5 off of 2.  So, I bought 4 for $20, used 2 $5/2 coupons, and paid a total of $10....that made them $2.50 each! (not sure on the tax on this, since they were bought with the rest of my groceries)

Body Wash ~ On Sunday we got coupons for $1 off Ivory soap (good for bar or body wash).  The body wash was on sale at Food 4 Less 10/$10.  I had 4 coupons, so I bought 4 of them for FREE!  I just paid sales tax ($.31)

Hand Soap ~ This is on sale at Vons for $.99, I had $.35 off coupons, that double to $.70, making each one $.29.  I bought 9 of these. I spent $2.61 (plus another $.45 tax)

The Sunblock was normally $10.49 each, the Body Wash $2.99, and the Hand Soap $1.99, if I had bought all this at full price, without doing match ups, it would have cost me $71.83 plus tax.  I spent $12.61, I saved $59.22, a savings of 83%!!

If our current opened sunblock runs out, I can just go to my stockpile and grab a sunblock when we need it.  I am not going to have to run out to the store and spend around $10 on one.  I just finished off my deodorant, I just grabbed another one from my stockpile.  I also don't need to worry about my husband waiting until he is out of something before he tells me making me have to run out for something at the last minute.  He just goes in and grabs it from the stockpile as needed.

Before I changed the way I shopped and I started to stockpile, I spent anywhere from $500-$700 a month on groceries for a family of 6.  I now spend anywhere from $150-$250 a month.  As my stockpile grows, I am spending less too.  There are certain items that right now I will not buy, unless it is free, for example; toothpaste, deodorant, toothbrushes, floss, body wash, shampoo, and panty liners.  Yes, I can, and do get all those items for free.

Stockpiling is easy, it's just a matter of watching the sales, matching up your coupons and buying at rock bottom prices.  When you first start out, you might pay a bit more for things, but as you learn the sale cycles and learn the prices you can get things for you will get better and you will start spending less money to grow your stockpile.

Here are some pictures of my stockpile.

This is not everything, but it's a glimpse of what I have.  I can't wait until we live someplace where I can keep all of my stockpile together in one spot.

I hope this post helped someone!

Do you stockpile?  Do you have any tips to share?

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Summer #BlogChallenge #28 How do I do my laundry?

Going Green with the Grizls

I wash laundry for 6 people....which means I do a LOT of laundry!  How I do the laundry depends on several things.  I wash mine and my hubby's one way (tho usually, he does his own laundry!!), then I do my older 2 kid laundry a different way (they are the ones who need the stain treatment!), then I do my younger 2 kids laundry another way (but luckily I can combine them into 1 load), and then I have a completely different way of doing my cloth diapers!  Not to mention if I am doing a load of sheets/blankets, or if I am doing towels, which also require different ways.

For today's post tho, I am going to talk about how I wash my cloth diapers, because it took me months and months to find a wash routine that worked out the best for us.  I have a high efficiency front load washer.  I know a LOT of cloth diapering Momma's love Rockin green Detergent, but unfortunately it made my daughter break out in a horrible rash that bled 8(.  I currently use ALL Free and Clear, but I read recently that it can cause build up, so I looking for a different detergent to use, so I don't have to strip my diapers too often.

First, I put all my diapers into the washing machine.  I put my machine n the 'normal' setting, change the water temp to cold, and hit my button for the extra spin cycle at the end.  then I run my machine.  i do not use any detergent for this cycle.  I found doing a whole cycle like this was better then just doing a rinse with extra rinse like I did before.

After that cycle is done, then I add detergent to my machine.  I put my machine on the 'Sanitary' setting (I know I could do a different cycle, but I like the extra wash time this provides).  This automatically puts my water temp on extra hot (it can't be changed in this setting), then I hit the button to add an extra rinse.

Finally, I put everything into the dryer, I change my setting to 'Freshen Up' and put the setting on low for 60 mins.  I would LOVE to line dry my diapers and just dry the inserts in my dryer, but we have no clothes line, and no way to put one up.  I'm hoping once we move i'll be able to put up a clothesline so I can line dry the diapers, but for now, this will work.

So there you have it, how I wash my cloth diapers.

How do you do your laundry?  Do you have any stain removal tips (I can always use them with a 12 and 3 yr old boy!)

Summer #BlogChallenge # 27 What's the best gift I have ever received?

Going Green with the Grizls

The best gift I have ever received. Hmmm, there are so many great things I have gotten over the years.

I'd have to say, the most recent one tho, was my Mother's day present this year.  I got to do the Dolphin Encounter at Seaworld in San Diego.  It has always been a bucket list item for me to swim with dolphins.  When we went to Hawaii in 2010 I was pregnant with Aislinn, and you can't do the experience t the Sea Life Park, Hawaii if you are pregnant 8(.  

Not only did I get to actually hold on to a dolphins dorsal fin and 'swim' with it, I got to give it commands, feed it and even kiss, hug, tickle, and pet one!  It was so great!  I will upload pictures to this post, once I find my cord to upload my picture off the camera, my hubby took pictures for me!

What was the best gift you have ever received?

Summer #BlogChallenge #26 What does my significant other do that makes my heart melt?

Going Green with the Grizls

What does my Hubby do that melts my heart?  Do we have all day?  Honestly, the thing that gets me the most is watching him play with the kids.  I love to watch them climb on him and tickle him and watching how he interacts with them.  I couldn't have asked for a better father for my kids.

What about you?  What does your s/o do that melts your heart?

Summer #BlogChallenge #25 My ideal day of 'me time'

Going Green with the Grizls

Hmmm, my ideal day of 'me time'.  I never really thought about it before.  I guess I would start the day off with sleeping in LOL.  Next, a nice mani/pedi would be great, followed by a massage.  Maybe a bubble bath followed by a nap.  Then, I would love to curl up with a great book and a glass of wine, and be able to read uninterrupted.

What about you?  What would be your ideal day of 'me time'?

Summer #BlogChallenge #24 favorite Eco-Friendly thing to do

Going Green with the Grizls

My favorite Eco-Friendly thing to do.  I would have to say cloth diapering.  I.Love.Cloth.Diapers.  Seriously!  I love the way a baby (or a toddler!) looks in them,  I love how much money we save, and how much trash we are keeping out of the landfill too.  I just wish I had more cute prints for my daughter.  I also wish I had cloth diapered my 3.5 year old too, instead of balking at the idea.  We've been cloth diapering for over a year now and I love it.

My favorite Cloth Diapers are Fuzzibunz diapers!  I love how they fit my daughter, and I love how I can adjust the elastic in the was it and legs to fit her as she grows.  this was especially great when we first started because she was such a small skinny baby.

What's something eco-friendly that you love to do?