Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Fuller String Mop Update

So we must be very dirty because my Fuller String mop head needed replacing in only three months time! I had to go with a commercial looped string mop which really works well and is lasting longer. It is large and heavy, and requires a professional mop wringer, but the weight of the mop does much of  the cleaning for you. I also tried a stronger cleaner, LA's Totally Awesome concentrated cleaner(ammonia and bleach free) from the Dollar Tree. This put a shine back on the painted concrete floors and got up a lot of my daughter's glue and paint. I used it on the laminate floors and got good results as well. About a four of a cup of it in a bucket with hot water is all I needed for heavy floor cleaning.

Winco 800g Blue Yarn Looped End Mop Head 32 Ounce See how the strings are looped and tied across at the end? This makes them last longer because they don't unravel and tangle. The string mops that are cut across tend to fray and disintegrate.

GJO60466 - Mop Bucket Wringer Combo, four 3 inch Casters, 26 qt., Yellow

Friday, January 25, 2013

Free Multi-grade Homeschool Worksheets

This site has a ton of quality worksheets to download. There is a free sign-up to access them. Last night I downloaded and printed 20+ sight word worksheets! There is so much more...check it our here.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Easy DIY Painted Concrete Floor Update


We pulled up our first floor carpet and painted our floor white some time ago. I love the way they look; however, my daughter has made short work of them - they are stained from all her projects and heavy play. We never sealed them with poly, which would have been best for stain resistance. The polyurethane smells horrible, and I didn't want to deal with the fumes. I thought about floor wax which I still might try. So I need to repaint them, and was inspired by this olive color for the floors. As soon as it warms up, I think I'll try this color! Despite the need to repaint, I am very glad we have concrete painted floors. If we still had carpeting, the messes would have been incredibly difficult to clean. As it is now, all I have to do is mop with a heavy commercial looped string mop and it's clean - minus paint stains and heavy wear areas(computer bench seat area). When you homeschool, the house gets a lot of wear! This is especially true with younger children who tend to be very hands-on and free spirited with their learning.

Another option would have been to stain the concrete and seal it. If you don't mind fumes and dealing with caustic chemicals, this is an excellent option for hiding stains and reduces the chance for scratched paint.

If you can rent and use a commercial sander, the concrete floor will be less pitted and much easier to clean. I tried to get the husband to do this, but we are both too old and tired to tackle this. ; ) Our surface was fairly smooth, so we just painted over it.

We have had laminate in our kitchen for 14 years, and it has held up beautifully. Laminate or some other solid surface overlay would have been a much better choice, but we were looking for the least expensive, least time consuming avenue to DIY easy-clean solid surface floors. I'm happy to continue this option for now, and maybe when the children are older, I'll deal with laying down polyurethane. It's nasty stuff...we'll have to leave the house for a few days while several coats of the stuff dries. I'm not ready for this now.

History Interest Enhancer for Students: Original Newspaper Articles of Historic Events

Access to newspaper articles of historic events dating back to 1850 here.



Places like this have quick reader friendly public domain online history books that can be read easily together with the newspaper articles. The table of contents is on the sidebar, so accessing relevant chapters is fast! This is very accessible and efficient.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Homemade Clip Art Valentine Cards



Free printable images for these cards here.

Much more free vintage clip art here.

and scads more here.

Dollar Store Fake Food Craft




It's a sponge! We tried this and used puffy paint for the icing...lots of fun! Tutorial here.

Not fake food, but also done with puffy paint:



And made from toilet tissue rolls, if you want some hot cocoa with your cake. Tutorial here.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Fun Find: Pink Rose Scented Dish Soap

On a whim, I purchased Palmolive's Classic Soft Touch dish soap at our Dollar General because it was only $2.00 for 30 ounces, and it was a happy uplifting shade of pink for a dreary winter. I had no idea it was rose scented! What a nice surprise. It really is gentle. I use it as a kitchen cleaner and as a body and facial treatment with an Asian exfoliating cloth. My skin was so soft afterwards, and the scent was very relaxing.

Now I'll have to look for Palmolive coupons.

Note: The one I found at the Dollar General had the older pull top and did not indicate that it had vitamin E added. It also had the word "Classic"  in the name, not "Ultra". See image at left. There is a more common Ultra version with vitamin E, but I haven't tried this one yet.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Free All-in-one Homeschool Curriculum for All Grades

Per Easy Peasy — All in One Homeschool:
What this is…
This is my children’s school. It covers reading, writing, grammar, spelling, vocabulary, math, history/social studies/geography, science, Bible, computer, music, art, PE/health, and logic. It uses only free materials found on the internet.
I have finished preschool (getting ready 1), kindergarten (getting ready 2), first, second, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth. Third grade is in progress with math finished. Grade levels include all of the English, math, computer and logic. I have also finished two years of all of the other subjects. These are called “program years.” Year 4′s theme is modern history, physics and chemistry. Year 1′s theme is ancient history and biology. I am currently putting up Year 2 which has early American history and zoology for the theme. Grade levels and courses include 180 days of homeschool lessons and assignments.
When choosing a level, look at the “reading” assignments to decide. Then you only have to choose which program year to study.
Your child just goes to Day 1 on his or her level (found in the sidebar) and starts clicking through the assignments! That’s all! Take a look at the “about” and “how to” pages for more info.
And yes, it’s all free. You’ll need paper, pencil, etc. and some minor supplies if you choose to do the experiments and art projects, but all of the reading materials, etc. are all free and online.
My hope is to enable families to continue homeschooling and to help those trying to homeschool overseas.


Click here.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

37 Shrubs That Can be Easily Grown from Cuttings

Many deciduous garden shrubs can be propagated by softwood cuttings taken in summer. The ones listed below tend to root quickly and grow into viable shrubs in a short period of time. 

Beautyberry (Callicarpa japonica)
Beautybush (Kolkwitzia amabilis)
Blue mist shrub (Caryopteris x clandonensis)
Burning bush (Euonymus alatus)

Source: finegardening.com via Alexandra on Pinterest

Butterfly bush (Buddleia davidii)
Chinese stranvaesia (Stranvaesia davidiana)
Crape myrtle (Lagerstroemia indica)
Daphne (Daphne caucasica)
Deciduous azaleas (Rhododendron cvs.)
Elders (Sambucus spp.)
Enkianthus (Enkianthus campanulatus)
Flowering quince (Chaenomeles speciosa)
Forsythias (Forsythia spp.)
Honeysuckles (Lonicera spp.)
Hydrangeas (Hydrangea spp.)
Japanese maples (Acer palmatum cvs.)
Kerria (Kerria japonica)
Large fothergilla (Fothergilla major)
Lilac (Syringa vulgaris)
Magnolias (Magnolia spp.)
Mock orange (Philadelphus coronarius)
Redtwig dogwood (Cornus alba and sericea)
Rugosa rose (Rosa rugosa)
Serviceberries (Amelanchier spp.)
Slender deutzia (Deutzia gracilis)
Smoke tree (Cotinus coggygria)
Spireas (Spiraea spp.)
Stewartia (Stewartia pseudocamellia)
Summersweet (Clethra alnifolia)
Sweetshrub (Calycanthus floridus)
Viburnums (Viburnum x burkwoodii and carlesii)
Virginia sweetspire (Itea virginica)
Weigelas (Weigela spp.)
Willows (Salix spp.)
Wintercreeper (Euonymus fortunei)
Winter hazels (Corylopsis spp.)
Witch hazels (Hamamelis spp.)

 Read the rest of the article here, includes tutorial.

Sunday, January 06, 2013

Dollar Store Pink Magnet Board

Source: dumpaday.com via Ashley on Pinterest
Cookie sheets painted pink! My daughter would love this. I've gotten large cookie sheets at the dollar store, and spray paint at Wallyworld. This is cuter and less expensive than a corkboard. Magnets can be glued on the back of anything light. My favorite magnets are made of small  pieces of sea glass and quartz stones found at the beach. When I make thiis for my daughter, she'll probably add some of her favorite plastic mini-animals to the magnets.

Saturday, January 05, 2013

Life Long Learning

Worksheet Freebies

We have been having fun with these freebie worksheets found on Pinterest. I'm using them to extend and supplement our main curriculum. Earlier this week, I picked up a pack of purple swirly computer paper at the dollar store, and printed out dozens of whimsical educational sheets. My daughter is the whimsy-meister, and is bringing out the natural whimsy in me. A good number of them are cut-and-paste or games, not just worksheets. Where CLE first grade is serious and challenging, these are fun and short.

I've saved a lot here at Pinterest, and look for freebies here at Teacher's Pay Teachers(free sign-up required).

Toy Subscription Services

Really? Toy sets for rent! Here is a list of toy subscription rental places that sends kits that revolve around themes for children up to age seven. I wish I had known about this. This service would be great for preschool at home. Anything you like you can pay for and keep, otherwise you sent it back and get a new set delivered to your home. The subscription prices are competitive, and are similar to the cost of a Netflix subscription or basic cable service - not a bad deal for learning.

Free Printable Character Kitten Posters for Young Children

I've got these hung up. I point to them often! ;) Source of images here.





More freebies here.

Friday, January 04, 2013

Saving Money at Dollar Stores for Groceries and Other Items

I give up! I'm tired of coupons and searching for sales at the grocery stores. Since food prices have risen, food has actually become the same or less expensive per ounce at the dollar stores. I used to purchases larger sizes to penny pinch per ounce, but it's hardly worth it now - the gap is closing fast. It's also a hassle to store the larger sizes, break them down, and keep them fresh until our small family of four uses it up.

My husband and I have lost thirty pounds each, and we will be on a low calorie diet for life. We use much less food, and our dollar store now has convenient smaller bags of frozen fruit and veggies, cream cheese, low calorie healthy ingredient frozen meals(Chinese, Jamaican, and healthy choice or lean cuisine(low sodium ones). They even sell frozen chicken, eggs, cheese, bread, sugar, milk, salt, baking soda, vinegar, 100% juices, steel cut oats, etc. I have one other source for low cost foods, mostly for fat free yogurts, chicken(.69 cents a pound for thighs) and turkeys, and that is our discount grocery, Save-A-Lot. I get my mixed salad greens at a higher price range grocery store because they are very fresh, organic and last me a week. I got an organic mixed greens salad at Wallyworld that only lasted me a few days before it became a soggy mess. I had to dump almost the entire carton out!

I also buy my trash bags at the dollar stores(scented 28 count), and condiments, spices, dish soap, drain cleaner, sponges, cleaning supplies, toys, craft supplies, storage containers, socks, hair accessories, hand soap, toothbrushes, toothpaste, kitchen tools, school supplies, medicines, feminine products, and much more.

I'm now seeing $40-50 food receipts when I go shopping, just like a few years ago. We are using less, wasting less, and my waist line is shrinking! I'm still very careful about checking ingredients, and the dollar store(our local Dollar Tree) has been stocking healthier foods now. I was so surprised to see 100% steel cut oats there! Some of their canned foods are a bit more expensive than our discount grocery, so I'm careful about this.

Anyway, we are making do with less and keeping to a diet of more whole foods, or at least food products with more whole food ingredients. We are using Dr. A's Habits of Health: The path to permanent Weight Control and Optimal Health nutrition book as a guide.

Check out the .99 Cent Chef for free recipes. He has a good salmon cake recipe, but I substitute butter beans for the bread crumbs for a lower carb option .

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

Canceling Cable Television and the Landline

We barely watch television now that we have wifi internet, which is a great deal at $50.00 per month with unlimited access. So, we'll be canceling the cable which is almost $29.00 a month(basic). There are plenty of free children's videos on YouTube, and free movies and shows(for my Sci-fi loving husband) on Amazon with a Prime membership. Paying for a few extra local channels is a waste. We should still pick up PBS for my daughter, who is the only one who watches the television, and only for PBS Kids, and Nick Jr. when we had it. Of course, even these children's educational shows can be seen for free on the program sites and YouTube.

We canceled the landline during the summer, and we are pleased with the quality of the free Google Voice for telephone service. We have prepaid phones for emergencies or when we are on the go.

I think we've cut as much as we are willing in these areas in order to maintain our quality of life. Both children and husband are visual learners, so all are drawn to the internet for learning and relaxation. My husband is always on his Kindle, and the children do a good amount of ebook reading now. I do a lot of reading online, but also use our public library for books. I keep in touch with family via email, chat, and FB, so for me the internet has been convenient for keeping in touch with busy extended family. Pinterest and blogging has been a wonderful way to expand my horizons, spiritually, emotionally, and intellectually. Internet access is worth every penny!

So, we've whittled down our media/phone expenses to wifi and prepaid phones. We'll save $348.00 a year on the cancellation of cable television, and I think the landline/dial-up cancellation savings was about $700 a year. Our replacement costs for internet, television(free), and phone is $600 a year. This brings our savings to $448 per year. Although not mentioned, we had switched from Netflix($14.95 a month) to Amazon Prime($80.00 a year) in July of last year. This saved us $99.00 a year.

We've saved a total of $547.00 per year, which with tax and social security increases, and inflation should put us right back where we started, and maybe behind! lol.

Update: We picked up 22 channels with a digital television antennae - very happy with this choice. The rabbit ear antennae was $10.99 at Best Buy.


Tuesday, January 01, 2013

Browser Extension Coupon Locator for Checkouts

I found this coupon searcher here. It saves a bit of time and money by searching for coupons for you at checkout when shopping online.
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I used this today and got a discount with no problems. I just clicked on the promo/coupon code area at checkout and a selection of codes appeared.

Cashback Comparison Bookmarklet

Great find if you do a lot of online shopping! I've got one of these comparison sites linked to my sidebar, but this new site is more comprehensive, covering newer cashback/rebate sites and credit card cashback savings.

See here, Saving Cashback. I didn't use the bookmarklet, but did bookmark the site for future searches. I added this site to my sidebar.

I just found 13% cashback for 1800PetMeds, and 10% cashback for Zennioptical. I usually get half this amount back. I also found cashback for DollarTree.com and DollarGeneral.com!

HT to Best of Money Saving Tips 2012.

About Me

My photo

I'm a homeschooling mom of two, a teen and a little. I hope this collection of mine helps you as much as it has helped us. I have an Etsy shop here:http://www.etsy.com/people/Alexandra66 And a blog: http://happyheartsathome.blogspot.com/