Saturday, June 25, 2011

Leaving The Kitchen Neat

If there is one thing to be brag about my husband is that he is not a messy type of person. He knows how to clean up after himself. Unlike other men, he knows exactly where to put his dirty clothes and that go directly to the laundry basket. When he cooks, he makes sure that the kitchen is neat before he leaves there. He washes the dishes right away after using them to avoid the clutter.

And I am somewhat the opposite. Whenever I take turn in the kitchen, rest assured it will be a big mess as if it was just hit by a tornado. It's because, I want to finish cooking first before tidying up. I want to do the dishes all at once and clean the kitchen counter top and leave. Or sometimes I leave the place all messy and feed myself and the baby and would just come back when I am full. I have big belly you know and standing for long hours of cooking makes my back and legs hurt so I need to sit down and eat before cleaning!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Couple's Corner #3:My Husband As A Brother

Couple's Corner

There is nothing much to tell about how my husband being a brother to his siblings. All I know is that he is the eldest of three and he helped take care of his younger brothers when they were kids. He said he helped changed diapers, fed and played with his brothers and other than that nothing else. He and the third brother of his have grown apart with distant feelings, right now they aren't in good terms so I cannot really elaborate more. As to their relationship, they're kind of you know on the rocks!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Buy Walgreens Brand Health and Wellness Products

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Walgreens for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

120x30_WalgrensTransparentLogoFirstly, I love the idea that people can help contribute or participate their community's wellness by buying Walgreens Brand Health & Wellness Products. For I heard Walgreens will contribute up to 3 million dollars annually to the program which they call Walgreens Way to Well Fund™ that provides free preventive health tests as well as other health and wellness services and education to local communities. As we know, not all people in your community can afford to have regular health check up so this is good to have free provided for by Walgreens. 

If you buy any product from Walgreens then you are helping your community just like what we did. We do have some stuff  bought at this pharmacy last weekend. One for example is the mouth wash as a refill to what my husband has been using. We stick to the same product they sent us in the mail months ago because of its content, no sugar or alcohol in it. Besides, it is a lot cheaper than national brands. 

Lastly, before I forget, learn how you can win such big and amazing giveaways at Walgreens brand sweeps contest. No purchase necessary to enter or claim the prize and it is open to anyone who is a legal US resident above 18 years old. For more contest rules and information just click on the link above and join!

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Sunday, June 19, 2011

Father's Day Photos

I had one of the best days of my life with my family today as we celebrated the Father's day. First off, I had Jadyn brought our gifts to her daddy and she opened it for him... a father's day card and a blow up picture of them in the garden hugging tight then we went to church afterwards...

I had my husband with me and Jadyn in church. For the longest time since Jadyn was baptized in the Philippines my husband went to church with us! How awesome. After the mass, we took few photos of us outside the church and headed to the Chinese restaurant for a lunch treat for Father's day. I felt good knowing that my treasured family are together on a day like this. I am blessed, so blessed having them in my life!

We ended our day by finalizing the set up of Jadyn's room with all the newly painted furniture in it. Will post photos on Jadyn's blog after this.

Here are the shots we took before and after church and in the restaurant...

Saturday, June 18, 2011

I Already Have A Plan

It's Father's day tomorrow and I already have a plan for the father in this house. My baby girl and I are going to church at 11 so we need to wake up earlier than our usual waking time. But before leaving in the house, I would love to have baby girl to bring our Father's day presents to her daddy so he can open it with his girl next to him and take a picture of them together.

I would only tell what the presents are tomorrow evening. He might have an idea what it's gonna be but even so it will still be special for him to make him feel that all his support, love and care to his child and his family are appreciated. They are just so simple gifts but heartily given!! Hope he likes them!

Back to my plan, after church I would treat my husband to a restaurant, my treat so he can't say no to my invitation. I wouldn't even let him pay for the tip because as I say, it's my treat so he doesn't need to spend a dollar for our lunch tomorrow as we celebrate his day!

Monday, June 13, 2011

How to Make Simple and Cheap Detergents

Ah now I know. I have to try making it sometime and see if it truly cleanses greasy, heavily soiled dishes. This is going to be a challenge for all of us in order to save some bucks at the grocery.

According to the latest government data, Americans spend an average of $659 a year on housekeeping supplies. The Bureau of Labor Statistics, which provides that figure, also says the average American earns about $787/week -- which means many people are spending most of (if not more than) a week's pay every year on dish soap, laundry detergent, and other cleaning products.

If that sounds crazy, here's a better idea: Make your own.

Recipes for cleaning products are as numerous as recipes for dinner. Here are just a few to help with dishes, clothes and more.

Dishwasher Detergent

Here's a simple recipe for dishwasher soap:

• 1 cup of borax
• 1 cup of baking soda
• ¼ cup of table salt
• 2 packets (half an ounce) of unsweetened lemon Kool-Aid

You can try to save even more by buying ingredients in bulk, but another idea is to find smaller and much cheaper boxes at your local dollar store: a good idea to since you'll want to try a small amount at first to see if you like the results. The amounts listed above are good for 16 loads -- one tablespoon each -- so even small batches will last a while.

Other recipes online vary: For example, we found one that suggested combining only borax and baking soda, 1 tablespoon each per load. Another suggested adding a little citrus essential oil to make it smell nice: We didn't try that one, however, because we had difficulty finding inexpensive citrus oil online. Then there's this recipe, which goes in a different direction altogether:

• 2 bars of shredded Octagon soap
• 1 cup of baking soda
• ¼ cup of washing soda
• ¼ cup of lemon juice

This one calls for melting the shredded soap in five quarts of water and then mixing in the other ingredients. If that sounds a little like the recipe for laundry detergent we wrote about last year, that's because it is.

Laundry Detergent

Speaking of laundry detergent, that's easy, too. You'll need:

• 4 cups of water
• ⅓ bar of cheap soap, grated
• ½ cup washing soda (not baking soda)
• ½ cup of Borax (20 Mule Team)
• 5-gallon bucket for mixing
• 3 gallons of water

First, mix the grated soap in a saucepan with 4 cups of water, and heat on low until the soap is completely dissolved. Add hot water/soap mixture to 3 gallons of water in the 5-gallon bucket, stir in the washing soda and Borax, and continue stirring until thickened. Let the mix sit for 24 hours, and voila! Homemade laundry detergent.

Other Cleaning Products

If you like the results of your homemade concoctions on clothes and dishes, why stop there? The next time you're at the store, instead of picking up a bottle of some expensive cleanser, grab these six items and make your own cleaning supplies:

• Vinegar. It may smell a little weird, but vinegar can handle everything from dishes to laundry and even weeds. We've written about the wonders of vinegar before.

• Baking soda. Eliminates odors and helps with stains, and also works as a natural method of pest control -- ants hate it.

• Borax. This mineral salt beats bleach as a toilet cleaner and is also useful for scrubbing walls. And as you see in the recipes above, works with laundry, too.

• Fels-Naptha soap. This one's actually made by one of those big cleaning companies: Dial. They recommend it for "pre-treating" stains. In other words, "use this in addition to a bunch of our other expensive products, like Purex!" But you can turn the tables by using it as part of a recipe for your own laundry detergent, and they can keep the Purex.

• Rubbing alcohol. Works as a disinfectant and is also a great glass cleaner. It also gets grime off plastic and metal surfaces like patio furniture or bathroom fixtures.

• Lemon juice. This cuts through dish grease and is an ingredient for homemade furniture polish -- but it's not the easiest thing to preserve long-term.

If making your own cleaning products sounds a little extreme, there are still simple ways to save. The best? Buying generics. And if you insist on using name brands, at least clip those coupons -- but only the ones worth your time.


Friday, June 10, 2011

That Was A Good Question He Asked

My birthday is coming. I'll be two decades and 8 years old in 21 days. Huh, that old already? I am thankful I have been given those long years to experience and enjoy life with family by God. My husband asked me the best question ever a woman or a wife would want to hear. He asked " so what would you like to have on your birthday?". I didn't know what to answer but very pleased with his question. I jokingly replied him back "don't ask me what I want because you might can't give it to me, I would want to have a real genuine gold bar".. haha.. that time I told him that, I wasn't sure or couldn't think of anything else what I really wanted for my birthday.

I got on the internet, was gonna open the Dooney and Burke's site and browse for purses there when he walked toward my back. I don't want him to see what I was looking on the internet so I pretended to open other sites. Honestly, I have several D&B purses I'm eyeing on for days now and really want to get one for myself but... I have a mission.. a mission that requires quite a fair amount of money so I am saving up for it.

Anyway, minutes passed by... my husband suggested or asked me if I want a new digital camera, a much better one than what we're currently using... hmm camera? that would be a great idea. Not DSLR though for I know we are tight in budget right now... If I want one, that would be in the future but for now I would just settle for something that is the latest that takes the same quality or close to a DSLR one for my delivery... soooo a digital camera for my birthday would be awesome. I am easy to please, I appreciate every little or big things come my I am loving the idea of having to use a much nicer camera than this cheap one I have right now...duh what do I expect, it only cost me 85 bucks when I bought it two years ago.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Soaking At The Backyard Pool

Soaking at our inflatable little backyard pool is the least we could do to beat the heat. These shots here were taken yesterday. My daughter seemed to enjoy the water very much and so did I. So hot these days that we almost get into triple digit everyday. It isn't officially summer yet, how much more when it's really S-U-M-M-E-R???

Beantown Bound

Thanks for the guest post by Jo Levy

Moving to Boston was one of the biggest decisions I ever had to make, especially since I just graduated from college in the winter. I have never lived alone before but I didn't know anyone in Beantown so I had to find a studio apartment that I could afford as my first place. I did everything right as far as I know as all the utilities are on and I did preliminary Internet research at concerning wireless broadband. I'm really loving my new place so far and though my parents stayed that whole first weekend I don't even feel that homesick.

I'm totally living the big city life and have already met a couple of girls I work who I think are going to make really great friends. I can't wait to start integrating into my new home city and really making a life for myself here in Boston. Maybe this summer I'll even get to take in a baseball game or drink a beer at the famous Cheers bar!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Peter Francis-Macrae

Twitter has been a part of my daily life to get updates from people I care and companies, artists, latest fashion and celebrities everyday. It's fun, it's interactive and most of all live updates are there every second of the day. I chanced to see a person's twitter page named Peter Francis-Macrae and I think he's interesting that is why I am now following him. You too can follow him and we'll find out more about this guy.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

10 Days, No Spending


*Note: This was written by a Yahoo! contributor. Do you have a personal finance story that you'd like to share? Sign up with the Yahoo! Contributor Network to start publishing your own finance articles.

As I was perusing Facebook one morning, a posting from a friend caught my attention. This virtual liaison pledged to spend no money for 10 days. That's correct: She pledged to spend no money at all, not a dime. She had sufficient groceries, a half-tank of gas, and the will and determination to do it. With this pixelated revelation, I launched a program with my online budgeting group to do the same.

With some tweaking, this can be a powerful way to jump-start a frugal lifestyle, and I have now completed this challenge twice.

Take stock.

First, I rummaged through my cabinets, checked the contents of my freezer, and looked to see what was in the fridge. You can't expect to initiate a challenge like this without an adequate stock of groceries, household items, and toiletries, and I wanted to make sure I was prepared. The secret to the success of this program is removing the store from your equation for 10 days.

Pay the bills.

Remember, you are making a commitment to spend nothing, and that means nothing. I looked at all my bills that would come due in the next 10 days and paid them online. Having that monkey off my back was a wonderful feeling.

Fill up the car only enough to commute to work.

No more, no less. When you run out of gas, that's it. An even better idea contributed by a member of my group is to arrange for a carpool during this period, or to buy a bus pass before starting the challenge. Because I work from home, I wasn't concerned about having enough gas to commute to work. Both times I started the challenge, I had about a quarter of a tank. It was only for emergencies and taking the kids to school and extracurricular activities.

Hide it.

I removed my debit card, credit cards, and checkbook from my purse. I put them in a fireproof safe and left them there for 10 days. Find your own solution, and put your spending tools in a safe place, where they are not easily accessed. By avoiding temptation, you are more likely to achieve success.

Pick a day.

I mark a day on my calendar each month. Just like with starting a workout program, you have to choose a day to start. Mondays work best for most people, as it signifies the beginning of a new week. When I began the challenge, I started on a Monday.

Stay accountable.

Challenges like these work best when you have people around to hold you accountable. In my online budgeting group, everyone would report daily if they were still in the challenge or if they had given in to spending. It was interesting to see who stuck with the program and how they did it. I have to admit that being one of the few that held out for the full 10 days was a fantastic feeling of accomplishment.

Log your progress.

I kept an online diary on my iPhone. The more I logged in the various ways I didn't spend, the more I felt like I was accomplishing something great. Positive reinforcement goes a long way.

Check your bank balance.

This is the moment of truth, especially for over-spenders like me. Seeing a solid balance in the bank, or even an increase if the challenge fell on a payday, is surprising, but in the best of ways. I ended both challenges with more money than I started with, and I was happier for it.

By forcing yourself to repeat this challenge at least once a month, you could easily increase your savings by banking what you would have spent otherwise. If you have tried unsuccessfully to stop the spending train from getting out of control, this might just be the ticket to get you out of the station and down the tracks toward a frugal lifestyle. It works for me, and it's a great repeatable exercise.