Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Consider Cloth {Day 18}

This is the eighteenth post in my 31 Days of Living on Less Series. If you'd like to read all the posts in order, go to Day 1.

I first heard of "mama cloth," or cloth menstrual pads, when I was expecting my second baby (over 13 years ago). I had decided to use cloth diapers, and while I was researching the diapers, I came across many catalogs that sold cloth for mom as well as for baby.
I have to admit that at first I was kind of grossed out by the idea. I'd never even considered such a thing. But as I was exposed to it more and more, it didn't seem as strange, and it started making a lot of sense. However, it took me about 5 more years before I was actually willing to try them for myself!
I used cloth pads for several years when we were trying to live with the Amish-Mennonites in our area. It was hard to get used to at first, but then it became routine for me.
I stopped using cloth pads several years ago, and went back to disposable products. We had left the "Amish" way of life, and I kind of liked the idea of just disposing of everything without having to wash them. Also, I'm often able to find natural disposable products at our local Amish discount grocery store.

A couple of years ago, my parents gave me some money for my birthday. I was thinking about preparedness and what I would do if I had to take care of things without visiting a store. I used my birthday money to buy new cloth pads! And a wooden drying rack! I still kind of can't believe I did that, but now I have a supply of pretty new cloth pads to use.
Here are some of the places I purchased cloth pads and other products (like the wet bag, pictured above):
I think the handmade pads are actually pretty, and I love supporting small home businesses! From what I have read, cloth is much better for the environment and also for our bodies. I have to admit that right now I still use my disposables, but I may be switching back to cloth soon!

Would you ever consider using cloth, especially if it saved money?

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Make Your Own Beauty Products {Day 17}

This is the seventeenth post in my 31 Days of Living on Less Series. If you'd like to read all the posts in order, go to Day 1.

Just like making your own cleaning products, sometimes it's cheaper to make your own beauty products (depending on the availability of the ingredients). I also like making some of my own products since it's fun and the ingredients are usually more health-promoting. 

Here are some of the beauty products I've made in the past (and I'm including body products in with the "beauty products"):
I've also made a natural stick deodorant that we really like (recipe for that coming one of these days!), and a tooth powder that I like (again, hopefully I can share that sometime).

I've pinned so many beauty product how-tos on my natural beauty Pinterest board. One of these days maybe I'll make some of them! Here are a few of the ones I'm really interested in:
Sometimes this won't be the most frugal option, but when you've already got some of these ingredients on hand (like we do), it really can save money. Also, buying the ingredients in bulk and making your own can still often be cheaper.

Do you make any of your own beauty/body products?

Monday, October 20, 2014

Cut Your Own Hair {Day 16}

This is the sixteenth post in my 31 Days of Living on Less Series. If you'd like to read all the posts in order, go to Day 1.

One of the main ways I've been saving money for years is by cutting all the hair in our family. I've been cutting my husband's hair for over 13 years. He used to cut my hair for me, but I've been cutting my own for about the past 7 years.
For the guys, I use a combination of electric clippers and scissors. My girls' hair is pretty easy to cut. When I cut my own, I follow these steps: 
  1. Wash and style as usual. I blot it dry with a lint-free towel, or you can use an old t-shirt. Then I add gel and scrunch to get the curls to form their usual curl pattern.
  2. Wait until it dries naturally.
  3. I divide my hair into two parts, as if I was going to make two pigtails. I bring each half forward and let them rest on my shoulders.
  4. I cut each curl section individually. Surprisingly, this doesn't take long.
  5. Then I might add a few layers to the sides.
  6. Check the hair to make sure it's even (as even as it can be when you're dealing with curls!). I find I often need to even up a few sections here and there and cut any stray hairs I might have missed.
  7. That's it! You can find lots of videos on YouTube if you need a visual.

One nice thing about having curly hair is that my mistakes aren't as obvious! Honestly, if I was blessed with straight hair, I'd go to a salon and get a cute hair cut! So maybe it's a good thing I don't have straight hair--I save more money this way.
Just think of all the money we save by cutting our own hair! We never need to visit a salon, so we're saved that expense, which would be significant with seven people needing hair cuts!

Here are a couple of my favorite hair cutting tutorials (in case you're interested in cutting your own):
Have you ever cut your own (or a family member's) hair?

Linking up with: The Modest Mom

My Favorite Water Purifier {Royal Berkey Giveaway!}

My guess is that you are blessed with access to clean running water. We don't really worry about getting parasites or other waterborne diseases when we turn on our tap. But while we are blessed with clean water coming through indoor plumbing, are you aware of some of the environmental contaminants that are frequently found in that water? Traces of heavy metals like mercury and aluminum, pesticide residues, and volatile organic compounds can be found in our drinking water!
  Berkey Giveaway Banner from Positively Real Media 
This is why the bloggers of Positively Real Media are so excited to be teaming up to bring to you a Royal Berkey 3.25 Gallon Stainless Steel Water Purifier giveaway sponsored by United Environmental Solutions!

About The Berkey

Berkey water purifiers are truly unique water purifying systems. According to UES, they are able to remove red food coloring from water while still allowing beneficial minerals to remain! As free-standing units that put the power of gravity to use, the Berkey systems don't use any electricity. This makes them excellent systems to have on hand while camping or during power outages. Positively Real Media is giving away a Royal Berkey While whole house filtration systems can be fantastic solutions to the problem of residual water contamination, they are simply out of the budget for most families. However, a Berkey system is a fraction of the cost and can filter 4 gallons of water per hour, making it a great fit for families! If you want to ensure that your family's drinking and cooking water is as clean and pure as it can be, a Berkey may be just what you need!

We've been happy Berkey users for over 10 years now, and we feel that these are the best water purifiers available! I especially like that if the power went out for whatever reason, we'd be able to filter any available water to make it safe for our family to drink.

Win A 3.25 Gallon Royal Berkey!

The bloggers of Positively Real Media, a network of naturally-minded Christian bloggers, are thrilled to be able to offer one of our readers a 3.25 Gallon Royal Berkey Stainless Steel Water Purifier, valued at $300! Many thanks to United Environmental Solutions for providing this fantastic prize to one blessed reader. Just use the Rafflecopter form below to get your entries in! Giveaway details: This giveaway is open to the USA only. You are not required to like any of the Facebook pages to enter the giveaway (although doing so may increase your odds of winning). There is a free entry option that you can use to enter. a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Cultivate Contentment {Day 15}

This is the fifteenth post in my 31 Days of Living on Less Series. If you'd like to read all the posts in order, go to Day 1.

"I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances." ~Philippians 4:11

I find it so easy to be content when things are going well. When the house is clean, no one is sick, the bills are all paid, and things are going the way I want them to, then being happy and content is no problem for me. Isn't that true for all of us? 

If only things would always be just the way I want them, then I could be truly happy. Even though I know this isn't the way I'm supposed to think, so often I realize that's exactly what I'm doing.

There will be trouble, discouragement, heartache, and difficulty. People will get sick, transmissions will break, pipes will leak, and money will be in short supply.

We can either choose to get bogged down with discouragement, or we can choose to cultivate contentment. It doesn't come naturally to me, but I'm fighting against the natural feelings of discouragement that try to assail me too often these days.

I was greatly encouraged by this "Prescription for Contentment" from Linda Dillow in Calm My Anxious Heart:
  • Never allow yourself to complain about anything--not even the weather.
  • Never picture yourself in any other circumstances or someplace else.
  • Never compare your lot with another's.
  • Never allow yourself to wish this or that had been otherwise.
  • Never dwell on tomorrow--remember that tomorrow is God's, not ours.
As the days pass and my husband still hasn't found other employment, I remind myself that part of living on less is learning contentment. And that's not a bad thing to have to learn.

"Contentment requires humility, which requires a willingness to receive what He gives, to relinquish what He takes, to suffer what He sends, to do what He says, and to be what He requires." ~Elisabeth Elliot

Friday, October 17, 2014

Make Your Own Cleaning Products {Day 14}

This is the fourteenth post in my 31 Days of Living on Less Series. If you'd like to read all the posts in order, go to Day 1.

Sometimes the cheapest way is to make it yourself. And I think that's often true of cleaning products. Not to mention the fact that if you make it yourself, you can use safe, non-toxic ingredients.

As a newlywed, my mother-in-law introduced me to the idea of using vinegar to mop the floors. It was cheap and effective, so that's what I've used for years now. I've also used vinegar and baking soda to clean toilets, sinks, and many other things. I love that they're so cheap and so safe!

Today I thought I'd share a few simple and effective cleaning recipes with you.

Glass Cleaner #1
  • 2 cups warm water 
  • 1/4 cup white vinegar
  • 1/4 cup rubbing alcohol
  • 1 Tablespoon cornstarch
  • 5-10 drops of essential oil (I like lemon or orange for most of my cleaners, and I use the cheaper ones since I'm just cleaning with them.)
Combine all ingredients in a spray bottle and shake well to mix. Label bottle and shake well before each use (the cornstarch might settle).

Glass Cleaner #2
  • 1 1/2 cups white vinegar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 8-10 drops citrus essential oil (grapefruit, lemon, orange, etc.)
Combine in a spray bottle and shake well.

All Purpose Cleaner #1
  • 3 cups hot water
  • 1/4 cup white vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons Borax
  • 8-10 drops essential oil (citrus or lavender oils smell nice)
Combine in a spray bottle and shake well.

All Purpose Cleaner #2
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup vinegar
  • 5 drops essential oil
Mix all together in a spray bottle.

Toilet Bowl Cleaner

Pour about 1/4 cup of baking soda into toilet bowl. Add about 1 cup of white vinegar. Let sit for a few minutes, then scrub with toilet brush and rinse.

Coconut Oil Wood Polish

This is super simple. Just clean the wood surface with a damp cloth and then dry thoroughly. Rub some coconut oil into the wood (just takes a couple of tablespoons) with a soft cloth. This nourishes and protects the wood. I mostly use this on the top of my wood kitchen island that gets heavy use.

Wood Furniture Polish
  • 1 cup olive oil (for this I use the inexpensive kind from the discount grocery store)
  • 1/4 cup white vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon of essential oil (I like lemon, wild orange, or lavender)
Combine the mixture in a small jar or bottle and shake to combine. When you're ready to use this, it only takes a small amount on a clean rag. My mom shared this recipe with me, and it works really well! 

You can find more cleaning tips and recipes on my cleaning/organizing Pinterest board. Friday is cleaning day at our house, so I'm off to clean!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

A Lovely Lilla Rose Sale {Plus Get 1 Free or Free Shipping!}

I've been quiet about Lilla Rose sales here lately, but I just had to share this one! As we near the holiday season, I know many are thinking about gifts for all the girls and ladies in their lives. More and more, I've started giving Lilla Rose items for gifts, since they're beautiful and unique. 

Our most popular item, the Flexi Clip, comes in 7 different sizes (from mini to mega), plus we also have hair sticks, you-pins, bobby pins, and the most comfortable headbands you'll ever wear. Flexi Clips are a favorite, but when I need a gift for someone with shorter hair, I usually opt for a  one-size-fits-all adjustable headband or a set of beautiful bobby pins. I especially love the ones pictured below (so elegant!):
This weekend only, Lilla Rose is having a 72 hour sale! Everything is 10% off, plus you can get 15% off on select black, brass, and brown styles!
Buy 3 Get 1 FREE!

If you are a new Lilla Rose customer* (and you've never placed an order or registered with a consultant before), I'm having a New Customer Sale!  If you place an order of at least three items (including sale items!) at my website, I'll send you a coupon for another item valued at $16 or less!  So, you buy three and get one FREE!

To take advantage of this sale, you must be on my website, though.  You should see the following:  

Hi, I'm Joy. Welcome to my website!
I fell in love with Lilla Rose the very first time I tried a Flexi Clip. 

If you see another consultant's name and greeting, that means you're on another consultant's website.  Please stay with your consultant!  The Buy 3 Get 1 Free sale is only for new customers.  After you place your order for three or more items, contact me to let me know. After I verify your order, you can choose a free item! *This offer for U.S. customers only.

Special Sale for Returning Customers!

And, because I love all of my customers, and I don't want anyone feeling left out, I'm also having a special sale just for all of my returning customers! 
If you're a returning customer of mine, you can get FREE SHIPPING on orders over $60! So, you can take advantage of the 10%-15% off sale, and you can also get free shipping! Just contact me to let me know you placed an order on my website over $60 (not including tax and shipping--over $60 worth of products), and I'll refund your shipping via PayPal. (In order to take advantage of this special returning customer sale, you must be a U.S. resident, your order must be over $60 before tax and shipping, and you must have a PayPal account.)

Also, I wanted to let you know that I'm now doing 30-60 minute Facebook parties! You can host a party from the comfort of your own computer! You won't even have to get dressed or clean house!
 As a special incentive, anyone who hosts a party in October will get a free pair of bobby pins from me! That's in addition to all of the other possible hostess rewards (you can see the possible rewards here)! Contact me for more details and to set up your own party! (Parties for U.S. customers only.)

Some great news for international customers: Lilla Rose now ships internationally! So, even though my other specials are for U.S. customers only, you can still place an order and have it shipped directly to you from Lilla Rose!