Monday, December 6, 2010

TMR Frugal Living Tip #78

Today's thrifty living tip is use coconut oil as part of your beauty routine. Coconut oil is truly a wonderful product that is great for eating as well. If you do cook with it, then make sure you get cold pressed and unrefined virgin coconut oil. It's a little more expensive, but a good quality oil for cooking. There are so many beauty uses for it. People in India and Philippines have been using it for centuries. The women have gorgeous skin and hair. I've always noticed how silky their hair looks. The reason coconut oil is so good for hair is that the oil actually sinks into the hair shaft and not sit on top of it. You can google all the wonderful benefits of coconuts which are many. Here are some ways I love using it as part of my beauty routine.

Deep Hair Conditioner- this will make your hair so soft and silky. It's also great to use if you have a dry, itchy, or flaky scalp. I use it twice a week. I live in a sub-tropical climate so most of the year my oil stays a liquid. During the winter it does solidify so I scoop out a spoonful and melt it for a few seconds in my microwave. I only do a 10 seconds at a time until it's mostly melted. Then I rub it in my hands and massage all over my scalp and down to the ends. I really concentrate on the hairline in the front. Then I cover my hair with a shower cap but you could use saran wrap. You can leave it on for a minimum of 20 minutes, but as long as overnight. I never sleep with it in my hair and usually keep it on for 1-2 hours. Then I wash it out as normal, and it will not leave your hair feeling oily or greasy. It really does wash all out with shampoo. My hair is never frizzy which is a huge plus for during winter.

Moisturizer- just slather on a little bit all over like any regular body or face lotion. You really don't need much either. Your skin will never feel softer. I like to use it after I shave my legs. It makes the best hand moisturizer. I use this every night before going to bed. I use a little bit on my lips as a chap stick. It's tastes good too on your lips.

Sunscreen- coconut oil makes a great sunscreen. I used it everyday before going to the parks at Disney World. I was in the sun for hours and never burned once! It actually helped me to tan. I don't tan well either so this was amazing for me. I still have a slight color and it's winter.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Black Friday Shopping Tips

Ok so not everyone feels like waking up before dawn and camp out in the cold to save money for Christmas presents. Then there are those of us that get a sort of rush during this time of year. I'm one of those that love shopping the Black Friday sales. I'm going to share some tips with you, and you can share your own in the comments.

*Preview Leaked Ads- this is my favorite part is seeing all the leaked ads before they come out. I prefer Black This way I can to start planning my shopping list as well as which stores to hit.

*Planning- once I have my list made then I know which stores to hit. I also can see which stores have the best price on the item I want to buy. CVS allows you to shop their Black Friday sales on Thanksgiving day which makes it easier for me. I will hit them first thing when they open so I can beat the crowds. I also check which sales start at what time like Wal-Mart opens at midnight. This is great for me since I don't want any of the doorbuster items this year. I am planning on doing most of my shopping online this year so no lines or crowds. Then I can go back to bed when I'm done. I will still hit some stores on Friday morning at a decent time.

*Price-Match Ads- this will help you save time and money. None of the stores will price match any ads that offer special deals like gift cards when you buy xx item, spend xx amount, or even doorbuster (early bird) deals. They will match the other sales.

*Shop Online- many of the stores will offer the sales on their website. Again less time in store and you can shop in your pj's. Who doesn't love that?!! The only drawback is that many items will be sold out quickly since you are competing with more people. Don't forget that Wal-Mart is offering free shipping on almost everything online so this is a huge savings.

*Amazon- I love this website. Many times they will have many of the same deals on video games and movies that the other stores are offering. I have done very well the last 2 years buying many presents. I will mention that many times they can be sneaky having an item priced very cheaply and hours later it's almost retail. So if you see something you like at a great price then snag it!

*Mapping- for stores like Target and Wal-Mart it's a good idea to get a map when you walk in the store. They will usually let you know where the items are in the store. Toy deals can be in groceries and video games in clothing. It also helps if you can talk another person into coming with you. That way if you want a TV then one person can wait for it while someone waits for a must have toy.

The last tip I can give you is to have PATIENCE and smile. While it can be frustrating for someone to cut you off or be rude, just remember that it's only stuff. Life is too short to dwell on negatives, and just be happy to get any good deals that you can snag. Most years I can get everything I want, but I've missed out on some items. Such is life. I always have fun, and I love how much money I can save.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

TMR Frugal Living Tip #77

Today's thrifty living tip is to share portions when dining out. It's an oldie but goodie. Many restaurant portions are too big so either try to split the entree with someone else or take half of it home. It will not only help you by not eating too many calories, but it also stretches the entree into two meals. This is cheaper and healthier. If you are at a fast food place, why not order off the kids or dollar menu. I have started doing this by ordering just a burger and then eating a few fries from my husband.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Money Saving Tips on New Wardrobes

When you begin to lose weight, most of the time you don't even think about how you might need a new wardrobe. This can be the case, not once but several times, if you have a good bit to lose. It can be quite costly but it doesn't have to be. I love to shop so I've made it into more of a challenge to buy nice quality clothing at discount prices. There are many ways to acquire your new clothing whether it be new or used. I hope these tips will help.

Shop your local thrift stores. Some thrift stores have sale days which can save you as much as half off their tag price. I have even shopped at thrift stores that have bag days where you can put as much as you can in a bag for a set price. Many times you can find clothes with store tags still attached. My local thrift store has many clothing priced at $2 each even with store tags. I have scored many great deals this way.

Yard sales can also offer some great bargains. I have seen many clothes with tags attached for a fraction of retail. I usually find mall brands like Gap, Old Navy, NY&Co, Limited, but I have also seen some designer brands. This will greatly depend on the area you are shopping. I have gotten some real bargains over the years.

Clearance sales is the most obvious way to score deals on department store clothing. I love shopping at the end of a season. Many times I have found winter clothing on summer clearance racks and vice versa. I have even found last seasons clothing on clearance racks and those are usually heavily discounted. Always keep your eyes peeled for stores that offer an extra % off on clearance racks. I have walked out paying $2-4 for clothes that were $20-50 originally.

Consignment stores are also a good place to find some good deals. These stores are usually more expensive, but you will pay a lot less for career clothing, suits, special occasion dresses, and even nicer coats. Some stores do offer coupons or have designated discount days to save even more.

Talk to friends or family members. You might be surprised while chatting with someone that they could be getting rid of clothes that would be perfect for you. Many people get rid of clothing after either gaining or losing weight. Some people have gotten together to have clothing swaps. This is perfect in tight times to get new clothing for yourself while helping out a friend or family member. I know that some church groups do this and if not maybe start one in your area.

Check the classifieds or even Craig's list/Freecycle. People are always selling clothing (many times brand new or hardly worn) which can be a great savings to you. Of course you can buy clothes off the internet like Ebay. I have seen several forum or yahoo groups where members can sell their items similar to an online yard sale. They will post pictures and you pay through Paypal. There is a certain amount of trust you instill which can be a little scary for some people. Speaking of the internet, why not try Facebook if you have an account. You could post if you are looking to sell or buy clothing from your friends. That might be a better way of either asking or offering people a certain size without offending.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

New Blog Project

I decided to create a new blog just for my weight loss. I know some of you think I should post about it here but I really feel like I should have a separate one. I won't have it up and running until the weekend so I won't reveal the name yet. My wonderful baby sister is making me a header for it. She is a very talented artist and only 13 years old! I am going to post some of her artwork here on the blog. I am planning later to help her run a website to show off her talented work. I'm extremely proud of her.

The other reason I haven't posted much is school started last month. I'm just so frustrated with his doctor and his medicine situation. Little man has way too much anxiety for an almost 10 year old. No kid should be this worried about so many different things. As if that wasn't enough, we just found out recently that my step-father has terminal lung cancer. So I've been busy helping her making phone calls and arrangements. I'm still working on my weight loss, but I'll be honest some days it's hard not to cheat. I do keep trying to remind myself that binge eating due to stress will undo my all hard work. I'm not beating myself up about it either, and working out daily has been a great stress releaser. I am proud for keeping up my workouts and at this point it's like my therapy. It is definitely helping me to cope with the stress and I have incorporated more yoga during the afternoon. I am hoping to have the other blog up and running by next week. I can't wait to share it with everyone.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

I am 90 Pounds Smaller!

I have to apologize again to my readers for not posting more often. My son started school last week, and I have had a lot on my plate lately. I won't get into all the details, but I will say life is keeping me busier than usual. I am proud to say that I have been continuing to lose weight. I am now a size 14/Large which is very exciting. I have lost so many inches, that I don't have an accurate total, and I am down 90 pounds! I haven't felt this great in many years. My outlook on life is extremely positive and I feel unstoppable. I am doing things that I never thought I could. I don't limit myself anymore like I did in the past. I know I can handle any challenge that comes my way. If I don't at first, then I will keep trying until I can.

I started at the very end of August on this weight loss journey not sure where it would lead me. I'm just so happy that I haven't quit, and I am continually improving my habits. I now eat whole foods, with very little convenience food, drink water or herbal teas, and exercise six days a week. I do take Sunday off for a nice rest. I have also started taking 2 tablespoons coconut oil daily plus I drink Sunrider teas. I am now following more of a Belly Fat Cure plan as of the last three weeks. I find it helps me to eat more fiber and really cut back on my sugar and carbohydrate intake. My belly has started flattening more plus I can see more definition in my abs. I am doing a hybrid program of Beachbody Turbo Fire and Chalean Extreme. I am in the third week of the Push phase, and I can't believe how heavy I can lift. I am lifting a minimum of 12 pounds up to 25 pounds! I feel so much stronger, and my arms are starting to show definition which is great. I can also see more definition in my legs. These are all things I really want to post more about, but not sure if many people would want to read about my weight loss journey in this blog. Or should I start a blog just for weight loss? I feel like most readers want to read about saving money and frugal living so just wondering what I should do. This is one reason why I haven't posted anything. I would love to hear what you think.

Monday, July 5, 2010

TMR Frugal Living Tip #76

Today's thrifty living tip is to bring your own bags to the store. We know all it cuts down on plastic being used to make bags which is great for the environment. It also cuts down on the amount of trash in landfills. But did you know that you can stuff a lot of groceries in them? Not only that, but the majority of them have a reinforced bottom which is great for canned goods plus heavier items. Most people say they have a hard time remembering to bring them to the store. So what I've done is to keep them stored in my car side door. This way I always see them before I get out of my car. I have heard that some stores will give a discount for bringing your own. None around me do this, but you might be one of those lucky people. CVS has a key chain one that you can buy for 99 cents, and you will get a $1 ECB for every 4th purchase when you have it scanned. I'm even starting to bring bigger tote bag ones when I go to yard sales. I usually get the bigger ones for free at some stores I have shopped. Another great thing about them is you could make your own customized ones if you wanted to have more stylish bags. I feel that these bags are a great and inexpensive investment.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

$25 GC Winner Announced!

I'm sorry this is a little late today, but I got busy with some other jobs I was doing. Then I spent the day with my favorite little man and it was a lot of fun. I just wanted to thank everyone for the wonderful comments. I enjoyed reading them all, and will be doing more giveaways very soon. I have a couple lined up so I'm hoping to have them posted early next week. I used Random Org to pull the winner. Drum roll please.........................Julieh (honeypie411) is the big winner. Congratulations! I sent her an email, but if she doesn't see it for some reason then please let me know which store you would like the $25 gift card for. Again thanks so much to all my readers and I hope you keep coming back for more posts about your favorite topics. The main topic of course is saving money, but I am really enjoying writing about my weight loss journey. I will keep sharing as I progress.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

My Second Weight Loss Step- Switch to Good Foods

My second weight loss step was to switch out my bad foods for good ones. This one I still work on, but I am eating so much healthier. It wasn't hard and I love trying new recipes. I didn't go through my pantry and throw everything out. I know some nutritionists and diet "experts" recommend this but I don't. Instead I switched one bad food for a good one slowly. It was much easier to make small changes rather than those sweeping drastic ones. I really feel that is why so many people end up on a perpetual diet their whole life. I'm a southerner and cajun so I LOVE food! I love fried catfish, cornbread, desserts, gumbos, and more. I know how hard it is change those eating habits for life.

My first food I changed was bread. I was eating honey wheat bread, which was better than white bread, but I still needed to find a healthier bread. I had tried different types of multi-grain breads before finding my dark German wheat bread. It's very tasty with a good fiber content but low carbohydrates. I'm not a low carb diet, but I still try to eat moderate amounts. I stopped using vegetable oil and switched to olive oil. We also stopped frying foods, and we now saute, grill, or broil. The hardest switch for me was eating brown rice instead of white. I really resisted this change and didn't make it until about four months ago. I actually love how it tastes with beans. We don't eat much rice anymore. I have since discovered wild rice that I really enjoy eating. I'm still hunting for quinoa but my local store doesn't sell it. I need to go to Whole Foods soon and stock up on some items I can't get at my store.

One change I really indulge on weekly is my Fage Greek Total Yogurt. Yes I eat the full fat version, but I only eat 1/4 of a cup at a time with fresh fruit like berries. It's so delicious and creamy that it's more of a treat. I actually look forward to that snack in the middle of the day. I did switch to dark chocolate by finding a good quality chocolate that had three ingredients. The best part was I can pronounce them all, and it has 70% cocoa content. I break the bar into 12 small pieces and have one of them daily at the end of the day as a nice treat. I haven't had any chocolate or real sugar in over 30 days. I just don't crave it anymore. Losing weight doesn't have to be hard and can be quite enjoyable. Take it slowly and try new foods.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

TMR Frugal Living Tip #75

Today's thrifty living tip is use cloth napkins and dish towels over paper napkins and paper towels. This will save you lots of money over your life. I still use paper towels from time to time, but a super sized pack will last me for months. I usually buy one or two of those 8 roll packs on sale at CVS yearly. I have the same pack of napkins I got on sale over two years ago. I just rarely use them. I would much rather use my cloth napkins and towels.

I buy the dish towels on clearance and stock up. I make my own napkins by cutting out the size I need and serge the edges so it doesn't ravel in the wash. These napkins will last for years. If it's a big spill then I find the dish towel will clean up the spill quicker, and I don't have to waste several paper towels. When they get to a point that I can't use them in the kitchen, then they become cleaning towels. I really try to use them up as much as I can before discarding. We all know it's better for the environment, but it's also much better for my pocket book.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Shabby Apple is Oh La La

While I may have a little French heritage, I definitely felt Parisian wearing this little number. Shabby Apple is a fashionable online retail store that carries women, girl's, preteen, shoes, bags, jewelry and accessories. I have really enjoyed browsing this store, and the site is so easy to navigate. Each dress had a cute little story behind it which was entertaining to read. I also liked that you could shop by the body shape tool, and it asked you questions to determine which shape you resemble most. Then it gave you styles that would flatter your shape best. That is a great feature to help when shopping online.

I received the Oh La La dress from the Paris collection. I have to say that, not only is it a very well made dress, but very comfortable to wear. I love the red and white stripe knit top, and the skirt is a nice A-Line black skirt in a linen blend. The skirt part has two side pockets. It's a great pairing and has that great casual feel and look. I could easily make it look dressier depending on my heels. I felt pulled together and as if I was on an episode of What Not to Wear. As you can see in my pictures below, I was having a lot of fun modeling.

Shabby Apple has so many great designs that I would love to own more of these dresses. I think what I really like the most about the designs is the nostalgic feeling many of them have. I want to do an upsweep do and put on some bright red lipstick like the 1940's. I have an upcoming wedding in October, and I will be shopping for a great black dress. I found these Georgi heels that would look fabulous with the dress I wore in this post. You can receive 10% off by joining their email mailing list which is a great offer! I hope you have as much browsing their site as I am.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

My First Weight Loss Step- No More Soft Drinks

I'm going to post my baby steps in how I have managed to lose over 75 pounds in the last 10 months. I'm doing it slowly, but for me this is a lifestyle change and not a diet. The first step I took was to quit drinking all soft drinks. I still needed my caffeine fix so I switched to regular iced tea. I don't believe in artificial sweeteners so I used regular sugar but much less of it. I would make a gallon of tea and add a 1/2 cup of sugar. That wasn't very sweet at all. I also increased my water intake. I didn't feel like I was depriving myself. The best part was I started saving money by not spending $40-50 a month on soft drinks. Making a couple of gallons a tea weekly is so much cheaper. I was spending about $5 a month on tea and sugar. I did wean myself off the sugar by decreasing how much sugar I added. Once I got used to the 1/2 cup then I cut it down to a 1/4 cup. After a couple of months I was using no sugar at all. I just squeeze a little lemon juice in it which helps. If I eat out, then I either order iced water or unsweet tea with lemon. I do occasionally drink a soft drink, but maybe like once a month to every 2-3 months. The desire to drink them often is gone. I prefer to drink herbal tea now with no caffeine on a daily basis. The best part was I lost 6 pounds in 10 days by not drinking soft drinks. That gave me great motivation to continue losing weight.

The main reason I quit drinking soft drinks was for health reasons. I was suffering from heartburn on a daily basis. I kept thinking it was the red sauces, but once I quit drinking cokes, then my heartburn went away. It was amazing! Many people will drink diet drinks since it has no calories, but it still has all those awful ingredients and colors. Most people know that coke will eat away acid on a car battery. Well imagine what those same drinks are doing to your insides? Many people drink 2-3 a day! I find it quite scary, and that just reinforced my desire to quit drinking them. It's a major step that many people feel that they can't do it. I will say not only will your body thank you, but so will your pocket book.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Get a Free Picture Canvas


Here is a great offer that I am getting and wanted to share. Canvas People is offering a free $55 Gift Certificate to redeem one free 8x10 canvas of your favorite digital picture. You do have to pay $14.95 shipping and handling but this is a great savings! You can order a frame for it as well, but I'm going to frame it myself since I already have a perfect one at home. This site is really cool. You can add special effects to the canvas. I think this is a great gift idea for anyone. Why not use a vacation picture which would make a great memory for hanging on the wall. This deal is also a great gift idea for grandparents. I'm buying one for my husband as a surprise gift so I can't get into more details just to be safe. He really doesn't read my blog but you never know. If you would like to browse or take advantage of this great deal then just click either on the picture above or click here to go to Canvas People. Enjoy this great deal.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Tips for Saving Money on Engagement Rings

Planning The Ring Budget:
Establishing a long-term relationship is an achievement in itself, however, now you're thinking you want to make it permanent. Planning a life together starts with planning the budget for the ring. What are the guidelines for purchasing engagement rings? Design your own ring builders online can help you to not only determine what you can get for your money, but also helps you figure out how to make the ring special.

Budgetary Guidelines:
The conventional wisdom is that a suitor should spend at least three month's salary on an engagement ring. Now, that the recession has hit, many people may want to keep those earnings aside in the event of a layoff, but there are still ways to get what you want for less. Look at how much you want to spend on a ring, in a way that fits into your budget, and then go online to check out the possibilities.

Online Engagement Ring Builders:
One of the best kept secrets about online engagement ring builders is that you can use them to help you set a budget for your ring purchase. If you don't want to follow the conventional tradition of spending three month's income on a ring, you can simply hop online, and start to look through the many options you have to pick a ring that suits any budget. Maybe you have an idea that your beloved wants a one-carat solitaire ring. You can just pick the weight of the stone and a solitaire style setting. By playing with other stone factors like clarity and color you will find out what your low and high end budget are going to be as displayed in the ring builder. Then you can see how long it will take to save up for the big event.

Take Into Account Her Tastes:
Another thing that the ring builder allows you to do is to try out different styles that might appeal to your beloved. Maybe she wants a three-stone ring. Maybe she wants a colored diamond. You will be able to see how these choices affect the price range, and then negotiate between what she wants and what you can afford. In many ways, if you are creative enough with different metal settings, color, clarity, cut, and more, you should eventually settle on a ring that fits your budget and her tastes at the same time.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

$25 GC Celebrating TMR's Second Birthday!

I have been so behind on posting that I totally missed my 2 year anniversary. On 5/14/10 Thrifty Momma Ramblings celebrated it's second year! This is huge news! It's such huge news that I decided to give a $25 gift card to one lucky reader! I have a list of the following stores that the winner can choose to spend their $25 gift card. This drawing will end on June 30th at midnight CST. The winner will be announced on the blog the following day.

To enter this drawing all you have to do is leave a comment about my blog. It could be about why do you like, a favorite post, or whatever that is relevant to my blog. No anonymous posters please. You don't have to have a blog but leave your name at least. I'm planning to post some really great content for this blog like more reviews and giveaway's. I will also discuss my weight loss journey as I continue down this path. I've met some really great people and am enjoying writing this blog. I can't wait to see what this year will bring. Thanks so much to all my readers. I wouldn't have much of a blog without you guys.

2 Extra Entries- Blog about this drawing on your blog linking back to this post. Leave me a comment with the link that I can follow and see it.
1 Extra Entry- Subscribe to my email list located at the top right hand side below header.

A list of the stores you can select your gift card from is listed below. Good luck!

1) Wal-Mart
2) Target
3) Amazon (online)
4) CVS
5) Walgreen's
6) Best Buy
7) Rite-Aid
8) Blockbuster
9) Academy
10) Michael's or Hobby Lobby

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

TMR Frugal Living Tip #74

Today's thrifty living tip is instead of using an expensive makeup primer, you can use Monistat Chafing Powder-Gel. You read this correctly Monistat. Well I will say it has nothing to do with yeast, and it's a powder made for when you chafe. I was skeptical at first as I have used MAC primer which is wonderful. I never tried Smashbox, but I know it's another very popular makeup primer. I found it at my local Wal-Mart for $6.37 plus tax, and I read that it will last for at least a year. You don't use much as in the size of a dime. Trying is believing and it really does work! I live in very humid south Louisiana and if the heat doesn't melt off your makeup then the humidity will. My makeup still looked wonderful at the end of the day especially my eye makeup. I couldn't believe how well this stuff works and for a fraction of the more expensive primers. I also have oily skin but my face doesn't look like an oil slick at the end of the day. My foundation went on flawlessly and it just feels nice. The reason it works so well is that it contains dimethicone which is the same ingredient that the other expensive makeup primers use. Some people say it can be hard to find and not found in Canada.

Tips for Saving Up for Your First Home

Today it is harder than ever to buy a house. Prices for homes have skyrocketed during the last decade making it even more difficult for young first time buyers to succeed at ultimately purchasing a place they can call home. Saving for a house is not an overnight process, and it takes a great deal of time and strategic money management. You can begin this process by speaking to a lending institution. They can help you learn all you need to know about what you can afford, interest rates, and the type of loans that are out there for you. They will be knowledgeable about important information.

One of the main components of saving up for anything, especially a house, is to cut back on luxuries. For example, if you are someone who tends to eat out for every meal then you might want to consider cooking at home for a change. If you are an avid gym-goer then taking up running, instead of paying for your membership, would be a great money saving move. Also consider cutting back on cable, learning to optimize your gas, and even raising your car insurance deductibles. Although these are some helpful money saving tips, you do not have to give up every luxury you enjoy. Just remember that the more you cut back on, the more you save, and the more you save, the closer you are to buying a home!

Now for some of you I must ask that you keep a very open mind to the next money saving suggestion. Here it is... Move back in with your parents. Even if you have to pay your parents some sort of rent to live back at home, you will be saving money. Think about the free utility, free laundry, and of course home cooking! If this advice is taken it will only put you into your very own home faster.

For such a thing like buying a house, you are allowed to take money from your 401(k). Although lenders don't view this as a debt, the money still needs to be paid with interest over a time period of years. Remember that it is best to stay with your current employer until you have fully repaid all the money because if you leave your employer you will have only 90 days to repay the money. View all your options before you take funds from your 401(k). Make sure that there is a greater benefit from taking these funds than alternatives such as a paying for mortgage insurance or a second mortgage.

Keep in mind that the road to buying a house can be a long one. Consider speaking with a lending institution and the valuable tips for cutting back on spending. Also consider the idea of possibly moving in with your parents , even though it doesn't sounds like the most desirable option. Once you have stabilized good money management you can consider options such as taking funds from your 401(k). If you take the advice given then the time it takes you to purchase a home can be exponentially decreased.

Monday, June 14, 2010

TMR Gets a Long Overdue Facelift

So I haven't posted in over two months. I know it's terrible, but life has really gotten in the way since last year. I finally gave my blog a long overdue face lift. I hope everyone likes it. I'm not sure if I'm happy with all the text colors but it will do for now. I'm pleased with the template design, and I find it a little whimsical. It fits with my blog perfectly I think. So let me know what you think.

I had posted an update in February about how things were going for my family. If you had read then you know that I had a lot going on between my son and myself. I am happy to post that things are so much better for both of us. He finished the 2nd grade making straight A's most of the year with only 2 B's on his report cards. He finished the year very strong and should have a much easier time in 3rd grade. I'm very hopeful and just extremely grateful we found some wonderful people to help us.

I had decided to start losing weight at the end of last August. I had tried several times in the past, but I would never stick with it. I would quit all my bad habits at once which would overwhelm me. Then I would completely quit and undo any bad habits I had stopped. I decided to try a different approach by doing it with baby steps. My first step was to quit drinking soft drinks. I thought I had acid reflux, and I was drinking alka-seltzer 3-5x a week. Some days twice a day! It was craziness and I had to stop. I switched to sweet iced tea so no caffeine withdrawls or headaches. I would make a gallon of tea and put 1/2 cup of sugar so it wasn't very sweet at all. When I got used to that, then a couple of weeks later I cut it down to a 1/4c. Then I finally got used to drinking it without any sugar. I drank more water and I lost 6 pounds in 10 days! That was amazing and 2 weeks later I noticed that I wasn't having heartburn anymore. It finally dawned on me that the soft drinks were causing my heartburn. Once I quit drinking them it magically went away! That saved me lots of money as soft drinks are expensive. Then I was able to take another step by watching my calorie intake. I made switches from honey wheat bread to dark German bread. I also quit eating white rice by switching to brown. All of these small changes made big impacts on my appetite. I started walking with my Leslie Walk-Away-The-Pounds DVD's at the end of December. I began slowly and kept challenging myself with slightly harder workouts. I was out of breath but I never quit. I also didn't berate myself if I had to modify or quit. I just told myself tomorrow you will do better and I did.

I will say that my biggest motivator came in October. I got my prescription for Zoloft and my doctor ran a blood test on me. The results came back that my sugar level was elevated (126) and my cholesterol was 190. The worst part was she wanted me to take Glucophage since I was pre-diabetic! I was shocked and refused it. I had already lost 17 pounds at that point, and was committed to losing this weight on my own. I knew I could do it and I would prove to her that I didn't need a diabetic medicine when I wasn't truly diabetic. I had talked to a good friend of mine who is a diabetic and former nurse. She was also shocked and told me no way. She advised me to get a glucose meter and just check my blood after eating to see what would trigger it. I learned a lot by talking with her and really changed my eating habits more than I had. My blood sugar level went to normal quickly and has stayed that way since. I haven't had a formal blood test but am planning one soon.

We finally got to Disney World at the end of April. I was down 65 pounds and it felt wonderful. I got to a size 16 in bottoms and XL in tops. I had prepared myself for all the walking before we went. Walking around WDW was a piece of cake. We also hit the beach in Panama City. It was a very long overdue vacation and our first family trip ever. I wasn't even worried too much about the long drive. It was fine and we saved a lot of money by driving instead of flying. We broke up the drive by spending the night in Tallahassee. My husband and son have never been outside of MS or TX so it was a great experience for them. We had a wonderful time and didn't want to leave. We can't wait for our next family trip which we hope will be next year. I'm going to wrap up this super long post soon. I am down 75 pounds as of today. I have lost 10 dress sizes and am currently wearing a LG in tops/14-16 in bottoms. I still have another 55 pounds to go but I know I will get there.

I have also started working part-time again as a merchandiser/mystery shopper/demonstrator. It's not really steady right now, but it's harder with the summer. My son is home with me so I can't really dive into it like I want. I did just pick up a great job that has wonderful hours and nice pay. Once he's back in school, then I'm sure work will pick up for me. I'm going to try really hard not to neglect this blog anymore and adding posts regularly. Thanks for letting me share. I'm not planning on leaving for long periods of time anymore. I will make this blog more of a priority again. I really enjoy having it to share my good deals, thrifty tips, and even about my family.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

TMR Frugal Living Tip #73

Today's thrifty living tip is use cheap hairspray, in a can, to stun roaches. We get the big tree ones in the house, and sometimes they move too fast before I get a chance to smack them. I use a can of cheap dollar store hairspray which stuns them so I can smack them. It's cheaper than roach spray but probably not better chemical wise. Of course you can buy an all natural roach spray that is good for the environment. I also use a very heavy coffee table book that I bought at a yard sale for 50 cents to smack them. I am squeamish about seeing them so I cover the book in plastic grocery bags and tie them at the end. When I see a roach crawling on the floor, I just drop the book on it. I then let hubby deal with cleaning it up.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

My Spring Garden has Sprung

I didn't get any fall planting done last year since we had some unusually cold weather early in winter. Our last few winters have been very mild so I guess it was time for colder weather. Spring usually arrives in early February, but this year it waited until late March into early April. We got a late start on getting the garden tilled and amended. I also had to buy tomato and bell pepper transplants at my local nursery. We expanded the garden by several rows and planted new seeds this year. I finished planting all the April crops on Friday evening. Here is what we have planted this year: roma tomatoes, cucumbers, green/red/orange bell peppers, black beans, bush snap beans, zucchini, cow peas (similar to black eyed peas), sugar baby watermelons, and cantaloupe. I already see lots of cucumbers popping up. I also planted marigolds in between the tomato rows which helps to ward off caterpillars. I shall see how this does. I bought three more blueberry bushes which are all flowering. I will have lots of blackberries this year from all the buds and flowering on the bush. I'm very excited about my garden and very hopeful it will be plentiful. I included pictures below.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

TMR Frugal Living Tip #72

Today's thrifty living tip is to use a paste of baking soda to get stains out of plastic containers. It will also get out some funky smells. I use cold water to make a thick paste and let it soak overnight and rinse it out in cool water. You may need to do a second soaking but it usually gets out the stain on the first go rounds. Using hot water sets in the stains just like it will on your clothes. I wash it in warm water if the stain is out or mostly out.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

New Year Update!

I'm ashamed to admit that I've neglected my blog for the last several months. So much has happened that I couldn't possibly blog about it all. It turns out my son is not bi-polar and we also ruled out several other disorders. Apparently he is now considered PDD (pervasive development disorder), and he does have Sensory Integration Disorder. He is doing much better since his doctor put him on Intuitive. He's on 3mg daily which has really helped with his anxieties and behavior.

I finally did something about my anxieties in October. I was so ashamed to admit how anxiety ridden I was to my friends and family. A couple of close friends strongly suggested I get on a medicine like Lexapro to help me. I agreed to talk to my doctor and she put me on Zoloft which I've been since October. What a difference it has made in my life. I felt so much better after the second week and the worst side effect was being drowsy. A month later that has pretty much went away. I am now in control and have conquered all of the anxieties I was experiencing plus I was able to help my son. I feel like a new woman and like my old self before all this started. I lost my youngest son to Spinal Muscular Atrophy and he was 5 months old when he earned his wings. We decided to stop having more children since it was possible for it occur in the next baby. We had our oldest which is more than many couples. I would have panic attacks in his final weeks and they continued for a few more weeks. It started with one fear that multiplied to several more over the next few years. I kept telling myself it was ok and that I could handle it. But I really couldn't and became a person who hated leaving the house. I would also stress about having to travel. It was controlling my life, and I even went to therapy which helped some, but the medicine was what I really needed. I'm just glad I stopped ignoring the problem and got the help I desperately needed. My life is so much better, and I love driving again. I enjoy getting out again.

I also started losing weight at the same time. I had really let myself go after I lost our baby. I became depressed and eating was how I comforted myself. I was gaining weight before kids, but I really packed it on after kids. I will write another post about my weight loss journey that I am still on, but I just wanted to write a little about what I've been doing the last few months. I plan to write about how eating healthy doesn't have to be so expensive. I am getting healthier again and exercising daily. It feels good to take care of me first so I can take care of my family. As women we always neglect ourselves and put everyone else first. How can we help others if we don't help ourselves first? Many of us are also trying to be super woman by doing it all. I can't and I am no longer ashamed to ask for help when I need it. I enjoy getting some alone time to pamper myself or just go in my bedroom to read quietly. My family knows the rule that when I'm in my bedroom with the door closed it's my time. If you aren't bleeding, on fire, or dying then don't bother me.