out camping

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We headed to the mountains Easter weekend.  It was a needed reset to our busy and work-filled lives.  Unplugging was a marvelous idea, indeed.

Let’s not talk about the all night party bunch.  Then we’ll forget all the good moments that we had.  We might block out the fact that we were all together and enjoying a camp fire and marshmallows.

How do you create memories on a budget?  What are your favorite childhood family times?

I always loved camping and spending the day at the river when I was young.  I haven’t forgotten even one of those trips.  It takes some planning and effort, but I think we are going to make a summer habit of these short weekend adventures.

pinterest+3 pallets=bed

Andre’s new bed.  My husband is becoming very handy.  He even installed a dishwasher, a dear friend gave us, this week as well.

Just as soon as we get more twin mattresses I have a sinking feeling that Desmond and the girls will be getting the same setup.  I think we’ll white wash the girls’ beds, but the clear coat Nick put on this one is perfect for a boy’s more, don’t you think so?

Nick has a couple of places around town that he finds great condition pallets, that are free.  I have a bunch more pallet ideas on my Pinterest page. (Click on the side bar link)

He used leftover 4×4 to support the middle, and make the legs.  He joined them with scrap wood, and used metal “L” braces we had to sure it up.  I love it!  Now, Andre is no longer on a mattress, on the floor.  Yay!

Aren’t free things so much more fun?

death of a teddy bear, or dog grooming

First, if I haven’t had a professional haircut in over a year (and even then it was my aunt who did it) and it’s been four months since Nick trimmed my hair, why would I take my dog to get a hair cut once a month?  I can think of other things to spend $15- $20 on, really.  Each day I see Luke I see a fluff ball who truly needs a trim.

I meant only to trim a little around the eyes, it quickly turned to a little off the head too.  Once it got that far there was no turning back.  Our porch soon looked like a teddy bear crime scene.

Half doneHello Luke.  It’s nice to see you again.  Fear not I got that bit of hair by his eye too.  Do you groom your own dogs?  If so, please don’t laugh at me poor pooch.  It was my first time, after all.

soap nuts even cheaper

soap nuts even cheaper

The other day I was searching for other ways to use soap nuts.  We have been using them for our laundry for some time now, but I knew they could be used in other ways as well.  I came across a genius idea.  Which is still laundry-related :)  I’ll explore other uses soon enough.

Check out this original post on how to make a liquid soap using soap nuts.

I followed the laundry soap directions…mostly.

I boiled 12 nuts instead of 8.  After I boiled the 8 nuts in the 8 cups.  I then boiled the same nuts in 4 more cups. By doing this I made 12 soap nuts into 12 cups of liquid soap.  I use 2 tablespoons per load.

The original directions for using soap nuts in laundry is to put 8 nuts in a bag to toss into the laundry.  I usuallly reuse the bag 5 or so times.

Making the liquid has a two-fold benefit.

1.  12 cups will last at least a month but I’m thinking two (instead of 5-7 loads)  which makes this super cheap laundry soap even cheaper!

2.  The liquid soap provides an equally strong amount of washing quality vs. each load having less and less soap in it.

So there it is.  The absolutely least expensive laundry detergent ever.  The fact that it’s completely organic makes soap nuts a perfect fit for this frugal family.

15 last minute gifts for the non-crafty: a linked list

Yesterday I realized there is less than two weeks until Christmas.  I thought I’d make a linked list for those of you who may not sew, knit, or “craft”.  So, even if you aren’t the handmade kind, you can still join in on our Handmade Christmas fun.

Click on any of the titles below, and go directly to the website.

1.  A Year of Sugar Scrubs: 24 original recipes

2.  Organic Homemade Lip Balm Recipes Click here for more lip balm labels and recipes

3.  Christmas Candy Recipes: fudge, peppermint bark, brittle, ect.

4.  Homemade Bath Soaks- using epsom salts more bath Salts and Soaks

5.  DIY Finger Paints

6.  Eight Gift Ideas From Your Kitchen

7.  DIY Oils for Skin and Home

8.  Terrariums

9.  Recipe Organizer

10.  48 Gifts in a Jar

11.  Homemade Marshmallows

12.  Spice and Herb Mixes

13.  Super Cute Paper Dolls to Print  more found Here

14.  Slightly more complicated Gifts for Boys

15.  Marble Magnets


Click here for a website full of FREE printable tags, decor, labels, ect to make all your gifts look extra special.

Mountain Rose Herbs has lots of great packaging for lip balm, and carries bulk herbs.

Bulk Herb Store is my favorite shop for herbs, teas, and spices.

The Paper Source has a great variety of colorful stick labels…along with tons of great paper and envelopes.


I hope you have so much fun creating gifts for those you love.


in the wood and by the lake

in the wood and by the lake

We headed to the lake for a two night camping trip.  As with everything in our lives, it takes some planning and work to venture out with our family.

I gleened some wonderful tips and healthy/camp-friendly food ideas from Kitchen Stewardship in the Big Woods e-book.

Foil packet dinners rock!

We are fortunate enough to have gained a pop-up trailer through a trade.  It has 1 queen, 1 full, and 1 twin bed.  It’s just perfect for our family of little ones.  Packing wasn’t a big deal either.  I put together a zip bag for everyone + a hair and a toothpaste/deodorant bag.

In everyone’s bag went their toothbrush, underwear, undershirts, and socks.  In a laundry basket everyone had a pile of clothes.  In yet another basket went shoes, jackets, hat, gloves.

It is always a bit of work to go somewhere with our family, but it’s also much-needed.

I found a cute idea for scavenger hunt bags (Pinterestaholic? Yes…) and the kids did this while we packed up camp on the last day.

I really enjoy watching the kids be free to roam about in nature.  The lakeside camping spot was an added bonus.  A borrowed aluminium fishing boat made for a busy dad…making multiple trips around the lake.

*Note to self*

Only foil packet dinners are coming next time.  More marshmallows.  No pancakes…they take too long and make too much mess.

Also, try more campfire cooking.  Less being isolated in the trailer.

Take more pictures.

Sit by the fire with husband after the kids go to sleep and enjoy the quiet nature.

What are your camping tips?  I think just the hubby and I will be heading out in a couple months.  Suggestions?