Men’s Anti-Perspirant: Better, Cheaper, Gentler on Your Pits

OS_FresherCollection_Citron-APDO_900x900.jpgI’m more than a bit annoyed about this. Why did no one tell me that men’s anti-perspirant works better, costs less and believe it or not, is gentler on your skin? As a melanated woman I’ve struggled with underarm discoloration caused by anti-perspirant since forever. I was convinced switching to male products would worsen this issue, but menopause is causing me to sweat like crazy so I decided to try it. No discoloration at all. My underarms actually look better. And Old Spice has some of the most amazing scents EVER. This Citron with Sandalwood is my favorite, but Wolfthorn smells awesome as well. And did I mention this stuff works like a champ? I mean, I never have to worry about not smelling fresh, it keeps my pit game tight ALL DAY LONG and on to the next day.

Tiny Grocery Bags

IMG_4982.JPGKell got an awesome toy kitchen for Christmas and a shopping cart (Got the deal of a lifetime y’all at an online yard sale site. Toy kitchens are expensive, but you can usually score one at a yard sale. (I belong to several sites on Facebook for buying and selling stuff locally. I sold all of Kell’s baby stuff on one.) If all the groceries are gone, you can get those on Amazon and they’re not crazy expensive. Fortunately, the one I got still had the pots, pans, and fruits and veggies. I went to the dollar store and got him some more bowls and measuring spoons).

He loves his kitchen like damn and whoa, but as he pointed out, there were no shopping bags! He’s my official grocery bag toter when we go to the store, so he was quite put out about this. With some quick googling I discovered they don’t really exist! (I’m stunned grocery stores have missed out on this marketing opportunity, you know, get them while they’re young and all, but whatever.)

I checked Pinterest and found some really easy directions and we were off to the races. I made the red one first, then Kell pointed out that we needed a green one too since we shop at both Target and Publix.

I just used some scrap felt I had, if you’re buying, an 1/8 of a yard or a fat quarter is plenty, but check your scraps first. I think these would be really cute made with mismatched fabrics for a scrappy look, and I’m thinking of something I can put in them for party favors, since they’re so easy and cheap to make. Kids love little bags to tote their stuff around in, so even if they don’t have a kitchen they could use it for matchbox cars or little dolls. They’re about 5” wide by 7” tall, so just the right size for little hands.

I prefer wool felt, which can be pricey, but it looks nicer and holds up better. Obviously, any felt or heavy fabric would work. I think felt is cool too because you don’t have to hem it, but if I’d used canvas or denim I would’ve used my pinking shears to keep the edges from fraying. Fray check would work too, but I’m not sure about the chemicals in it, and I know from experience that pretty much anything will wind up in a kid’s mouth.

It probably took me fifteen minutes tops, and they’re so cute! Wish I had some type of printer to put logos on them, but maybe I’ll figure that out later.

DIY Yogurt

My family eats a lot of yogurt. Generally, we each eat a cup for breakfast. In the summer I make refrigerator oatmeal which also has yogurt in it. So yeah, lots of yogurt. Lots of money. Being the frugal cook that I am I’ve often thought of making my own, especially since I actually prefer to give my children whole milk as much as possible and whole milk yogurt is almost impossible to find. But I thought I needed a special machine, or some fancy single use equipment. (For the record, I HATE single use appliances.) Nope. I came across this comment over on my online crackhouse, known to most of you as Apartment Therapy, (It might have been The Kitchn, menopause has destroyed my memory)and was immediately intrigued by how easy it sounded. And when you think of it, given how ubiquitous yogurt is in that part of world, it makes sense that they wouldn’t have some fiddly recipe.

Frankly, I learned to make yogurt with a friend from Afghanistan and it was a super-easy, no-monitoring, no-stress way to do it.

I just put whole milk in a heavy pot (I use a LeCreuset dutch oven) until bubbles slightly break on the edge (~just before boiling), let it cool “until the tip of your pinky, when dipped, feels warm to the touch” (quite technical) – stir in some plain yogurt (few scoops/ about 1/2 c) and then I just wrap the whole thing in a huge bath towel and let it sit in the oven (off) for the day or overnight. It’s always worked for me – maybe if I were using raw milk, I’d use a “real” recipe to be sure I wasn’t throwing it down the drain later on!

I made a gallon of yogurt following this recipe. I put in two containers of yogurt since I was making so much. And I was amazed that I actually got yogurt and it was delicious!!! It’s just a bit more runny than store-bought because they put gelatin in it. If you prefer a thicker consistency, like Greek yogurt then you just strain it in cheesecloth, this is also how you make yogurt cheese. I like the runnier consistency for refrigerator oatmeal. Next time I’ll let it sit longer. I was anxious, so I got up at like five in the morning because I was terrified it would go bad. The longer it sits the tangier it gets.

The kids love it because they got to do their own add-ins. Applesauce, granola, honey, maple syrup, preserves, fresh fruit, whatever suits your fancy, for just pennies.

And there you go, nearly a month’s worth of yogurt for about less than $10!! Yay me.

Nightstand Salvation

IMG_4487

Before I go to bed each night, I put a big bottle of water on my nightstand. I drink it during the night, and finish it off first thing in the morning so I get a good start on meeting my water goal for the day. (Full disclosure, that picture is NOT my nightstand, it’s Whit’s. His nightstand has four things on it, mine looks like a goat exploded). Anyway, I also like a cup of chamomile tea before bed. So I have a minimum of two beverages on a wooden nightstand. And yes, I’ve ruined many over the years. You see that lovely glass round under that glass?That’s a glass cutting board, repurposed as an extra-large coaster. Get this, I found them at the dollar store. They’re only about 8” across so they’re much too small for a cutting board, anyway, but they make an excellent coaster. Reasonably attractive and they have little rubber feet so if any water gets underneath it’ll dry without ruining your furniture. I bought like five of them, never know when they’ll come in handy. I’ll keep one under the carafe I keep on the dining room table and vases too so when I refill I don’t have to worry about water rings. Yay me!

Roslyn’s Gone Thrifting Again

3E83Kf3Hd5G75E35Jad52e1f7456ec3731958Just had to share with y’all this chest of drawers I found on Craigslist for $35! Solid fiddleback and birdseye maple. Just stunning. All I had to do was buff it down with a little lemon oil and wipe down the insides with grapefruit essential oil (it’s antiviral and antibacterial). Here’s what’s absolutely crazy, it’s a dead ringer for the maple bedroom suite I got for $100 at Goodwill more than twenty years ago. I’ve stripped and refinished all the pieces except the bed, and it’s gorgeous. Some of y’all might remember the fabulous dresser I posted several years ago.

DSC01617

 

I love thrifting I really do. For one thing it appeals to my pocketbook, but I also like the idea of making use of something old instead of trashing things. This furniture is solid as a rock and will still be in good shape by the time Luke and Kell are ready for their own homes.

Fave Baby Stuff

Fisher-Price Healthy Care Deluxe Booster Seat

So much baby stuff out there is ridiculously priced or unnecessary and oftentimes both, but there are some things that are worth the price. First I’ll start with my absolute favorite baby item. This booster seat is the most convenient thing in the world. Makes far more sense (and takes up less space) than a high chair and is portable for dining in restaurants. Best yet, it’s like $30, though right now Wal-Mart has them for less than $25. There are no crooks and crannies to get food stuck in, when it gets dirty it wipes clean easily.

This diaper bag is NOT cheap. It costs about $130, but it was a gift from my wonderful sister in law. I’d registered for it, and then forgot I had a registry. It was a wonderful surprise. For one thing it’s cute as all get out. (This might not seem important at first, but when you have to haul the thing around for three years you will get it. I hated my last diaper bag with the heat of a thousand suns and desperately wanted a cute one this time out.) Better yet, it’s made of heavy canvas, with nice brass hardware. It’s major heavy duty. And get this, my favorite feature–it converts to a back pack. Again, you might not think about this feature, but it’s great for all those times when you need to chase the baby around the park, or push him on the swings, but don’t have a hand free because you’re holding the diaper bag. I’ve also found it wonderful for diaper changes out in public where for some mysterious reason it hasn’t occurred to anyone that we need a freaking hook for our bags!!! It’s great for two kids too when you need to hold one child’s hand and push the stroller or hold the baby with the other. Trust me, this bag is worth every penny!!!

Ikea. Don’t sleep on Ikea. We’ve bought all our kids’ furniture there since moving to Atlanta and we love it. (Also bought the entertainment center for the TV. It’s sturdy and very handsome.) For a nursery it can’t be beat. We got the deal of a lifetime and got a crib and changing table for $130. It’s all-wood construction and has held up beautifully. Ikea builds their stuff to European furniture standards which are higher than ours. Luke’s bunkbed came from there as did his dresser. Trust me, Luke can break a bowling all. He hasn’t so much as put a scratch on any of this furniture. I’m amazed, because we thought we’d just buy the cheap stuff temporarily until we could afford better. We’ve rethought that, for real.

Okay, so this wasn’t inexpensive at all, ($300!) but worth every penny and then some. Fair warning, the car seat DOES NOT fit on top of a shopping cart. This is a safety measure as propping a car seat on top a shopping cart is hazardous. I just put the car seat in the cart and a couple of the hand baskets on the bottom and go, it’s actually much more convenient to unload a shopping cart that way. I do it now even when I don’t have Kell with me. The stroller is absolutely divine and actually collapses with one hand. It’s big and takes up a lot of space, but we have a mini van, but it is something to consider. My previous stroller was damned near impossible to collapse. The infant seat is the easiest I’ve ever used. You can unlatch it from the base in a snap. Love it so much.

That’s it for now. I’m frugal but believe in buying good stuff where quality counts. Car seats are about safety so I’ll never compromise there, on the other hand, I really don’t care that much about how a crib or changing table looks. As long as it’s safe and I don’t have to worry about the thing falling apart, it’s all good. Spend your money wisely. Don’t waste it on baby clothes. They outgrow them so fast and you have to change them so much, most of the time a onesie or sleep and plays are all you need. I have indulged myself and bought a few pieces for church, but really it doesn’t matter. Either way, the baby won’t care, and you can save that money for other expenses, and trust me, there will be other expenses.