Cheaper, healthier cleaning

Homemade Laundry Soap RecipeIn recent years I have begun to explore healthier homemade versions of some of my favorite products. My families have allergies and sensitive skin so we used laundry soap that was dye free anyway. A friend told me about a laundry soap that she made and how cheap it was to make and how well it worked. Of course I was all ears at the price because we have six people to do laundry for and with times being what they are we could all use a price break. This had me exploring for other cheaper safer alternatives for my family. I have tried a a small number of of them and so far I have been really impressed. Here are a few that I have tried and found to be a blessing. Let me know what you think. The recipes above should be safe for not only baby crawling on the floor but also for our four-legged children. We have just the thing for them too. Homemade doggie treats
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3 Tips for Child Proofing Your Kitchen

Band-AidNo one wants to see their kid get hurt. Being a parent is tough because you are in a constant state of worry trying to make sure that your kids are protected from all the things that can harm them in this world. While there is always a chance of injury no matter what you do, there are several things that you can do to reduce the risks. If you have a young child or a new baby on the way then you will need to be sure to childproof your kitchen.

Here are 3 tips for making sure your kitchen is kid-friendly:

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Preparing For Christmas

prepare for ChristmasIt takes a little more time and additional planning to prepare for the holiday season with a baby. Now that I have a toddler, it takes much more time to get anything done, along with a great deal of patience. As I have been planning and preparing for Christmas, I can’t seem to get everything done in a day. (I think moms should get 30 hours in their day as opposed to the measly 24, so things can actual get accomplished.)

Christmas Preparations

Day 1: I spent one day getting the Christmas tree and decorations out of the storage building.

christmas preparations with baby
Anneliese is ready to get this tree set up!

Day 2: The next day involved cleaning, moving things around in our living room, and setting the Christmas tree up.

Day 3: Yesterday, I decided to hang the icicle lights on the front porch, with a great deal of help from my husband. Anneliese even coached us from the sidelines as she ate her snack and drank hot chocolate.

preparing for christmas with baby
Anneliese enjoying her hot cocoa.

Day 4: Now, I plan to actual decorate the Christmas tree and the rest of the house today.

Day 5: I still have to get Christmas cards ready to mail out to distant relatives. So, hopefully I will get that done tomorrow-ish.

Christmas Plans

As for our Christmas plans, we have a lot of people to see during the Christmas holiday, but our plans are steeped with my family’s set-in-stone traditions.

christmas plans

Step 1: On Christmas Eve morning Anneliese, Jonathan, and I will open our gifts here at the house.

Step 2: Then, we will load up in the car to spend the night at my parents’ house. Christmas morning is spent at my parents’ house with my Grandmother.

Step 3: And we all trek over to my other Grandparents’ house for Christmas lunch.

Step 4: We stop over at my In-Laws’ house sometime Christmas afternoon. (They don’t celebrate the commercialization of Christmas so it’s just a regular day for them.)

Step 5: Go home, unload the car, and relax. Enjoy the last bit of Christmas together as a family and be thankful for all that we have been blessed with this holiday season.

That is it for my family’s holiday preparation and planning. I hope it helps you with yours too. I would love to hear what you plan to do this Christmas.

My Successful Yard Sale

yard sale setup
Setting Up for the Yard Sale

Wow! Having a yard sale is a lot of hard work. This weekend has been very busy and a little stressful for me; but overall it was a good weekend, even fun at times. In this post I will tell you all about the money I made versus money and time spent, along with my tips for you to have a successful yard sale too.

yard sale clothes
My Yard Sale Clothing Isle

Yard Sale Finances

Money Made from Yard Sale: $307 total– $70 from tools, $50 from electronics/appliances, $76 from clothes, $75 from nick-knacks/household decor, $30 from books/DVDs/Tapes, $6 from bottled water (at 50¢ a piece),

Money Spent on Yard Sale: $36 total– $18 for 2 All-in-one Yard Sale Kits, $8 for metal yard sale sign holders, $1 for permanent markers, $4 for a case of bottled water, $5 clothes hangers, Free yard sale permit

Time Spent on Yard Sale: 20 hours– approximately 10 hours preparing beforehand (spread out over a month), 10 hours working on yard sale day

Net Yard Sale Income: $271

Average Hourly Income: $13.55 (not including the free labor from other family members- Thanks Everybody!)

yard sale stuff
Boxes of Stuff For Sale

Yard Sale Tips

• Have a yard sale at the beginning of the month when people are less concerned about bills and have recently been paid.

• Organization is key to a low stress and successful yard sale. I wish my yard sale had been more organized and not so rushed the night before and morning of the sale.

• Price tags are good but so are grouping same priced items in a box/bin/table. I tried to individually price as much as I could because I hate going to a yard sale that doesn’t have prices on anything; I also made 10, 25, and 50 cent boxes.

• You can list your yard sale opening time for whatever you want but you will have people at your house by 06:30 in the morning. Just be glad people are interested in coming to your yard sale.

• Have plenty of change on hand because some people will pay for a 25¢ item with a $20 bill.

• Sell cold bottles of water at a reasonably low price to make a little extra cash (and keep yourself hydrated by having plenty of cold water on hand).

• Present your stuff in an appealing, clean, and neat manner to encourage people to buy it.

• Make furniture signs big enough for people to see that they are actually for sale- I did not sell my pieces of furniture because I didn’t have them in an easy-to-see place with a sign large enough to notice.

• Put up plenty of yard sale signs and make sure they will stay put. I am very glad I ordered 2 yard sale kits because I needed all of the signs and price tags, plus it made my yard sale stand out. I just wish I had secured some of the signs better. Some had fallen down and others had been blown to point in the opposite direction.

• Learn from the Yard Sale Queen– If you want a more extensive list of tips, hints, tricks, and various yard sale info I suggest checking out this website.

yard sale sign
Big Sign Out Front for Everyone to See

My Baby During the Yard Sale

My baby slept through most of the yard sale- she slept in until 07:30 that morning, took a morning nap from 9-12 (seriously), and she was actually sleepy for her 1:00 pm afternoon nap which she didn’t wake up from until 3:30 that afternoon.

When she wasn’t sleeping she was playing on the front porch with me or eating on the front porch in her high chair. For a short period of time we had family members take turns walking her in the stroller, but she was pretty easy to manage throughout the yard sale.

baby eating at yard sale
My Adorable Baby Loves to Feed Herself

yard sale

Prepare for a Yard Sale

yard sale babyDo you remember my Trash To Treasure post a few months ago when I said I planned to have a yard sale this summer with everything I have been gathering together? Well, that time is coming and I have been working extra hard this past week getting everything ready for a yard sale this Saturday.

On top of scouring Craigslist, looking for hidden treasures in thrift stores and roadsides, and cleaning out our storage buildings, I have also been gathering items from my other family members (mother, in-laws, grandparents, etc.). I plan on making my yard sale as big as I can and hopefully it will be a big success too. Here is the breakdown of what I am doing to prepare for my yard sale, with the help of my adorable baby and handyman husband of course.

Prepare for Yard Sale

Bought an All-in-one Yard Sale Kit from Amazon. I really like this kit and it includes plenty of signs, price tags and stickers for a better price than the local stores. After I bought it, I went around the block planning where I will put the directional signs.

Cleaned up and put together everything that I am selling, actually I am still working on this one. I have been dusting and cleaning as much as I can but I still have not gathered everything from my family, so that will continue this week also.

Mow lawn and trim tree limbs/hedges. I want my yard to be inviting and open for the yard sale, so I trimmed back some low hanging tree limbs and my husband mowed the lawn as usual.

Put an ad in the local newspaper and the online swapper. I called the paper ahead of time to figure out when I need to place my advertisement and plan on getting that done today. I also put my ad in an online swapper for free.

Obtain a city yard sale license. Today I am going to fill out the paperwork and pay the fee to get my yard sale license for this Saturday.

Price almost every single yard sale item. This is yard sale price tagactually a pet peeve of mine. I will not buy anything from a yard sale that has no prices. I think it is lazy and annoying to have to ask the seller about the price of everything. So, I am trying to price as much as I can, but it’s difficult when I don’t have everything gathered together at my house.

Check the value of collectibles and antiques online. Before we end up being suckers we are going to check the selling value of any items that might be worth more than what someone would normally pay at the yard sale by looking on E-Bay and other sites online.

Get plenty of change from the bank. I don’t want to run out of change when my yard sale is really beginning to pick up traffic, so I will hopefully get plenty of change from the bank. I plan on going Friday morning and asking for several one’s, five’s, and ten’s plus a few twenty’s; and also a dollar in pennies, plus a few rolls of nickels, dimes, and quarters.

Set everything up for success. All electronics will be set up on the front porch and plugged into the outlet to show they are working. I plan on stringing up a clothesline around my front porch to hang all of the clothes on. I am trying to get plenty of tables to put everything on but I don’t have a lot of tables that I want to sell. As long as everything looks inviting, clean, and uncluttered I think it will be a success.

Sell something cool and refreshing. I am going to have the kids in my family come over and sell Popsicles during the yard sale and I am also planning for them to give out free balloons to all of the kids. I might also sell soda and bottled water but I haven’t decided for sure.

yard sale successThis is my Yard Sale Plan-Of-Action and hopefully it will work well to bring in some extra cash. I will tell you all about it next week and maybe have some pointers/suggestions for your yard sales. Also, I will tell you what I did to entertain my baby and how she was during the yard sale.