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  • Blog - Small Notebook
    clothes We go once in the Spring and once in the Fall and each time we spend less than 40 and come home with a wardrobe of clothes for Lane for that season I guess we don t have to buy used kids clothing but the items we find are almost new and in our preferred brands and they are such a value that it just makes sense So for our 40 this time we bought 3 dresses 2 tops and 3 pairs of shorts We stopped by Old Navy on the way home and bought 4 knit play shirts for another 10 The reasons I like that particular second hand store is that they check the clothes to make sure they are in extremely good condition They sell clothes for the current season so you can buy exactly what you need and you don t have to guess what size your child will be six months from now Prices for like new shorts or shirts are about 3 sweaters or jeans are usually 5 a dress might be 6 and a coat is about 8 Tips when shopping for used clothing Don t buy more than you need just because it s cheap Check collars cuffs and knees for signs of wear that s where it shows up first The cost difference between discount and boutique brands is only a dollar or two so look for brands that will give you reinforced seams lining secure buttons and higher quality fabric T shirts pajamas and other knits that get worn a lot are better purchased new since the prices for those aren t much lower than a sale at Old Navy I also went through Lane s storage baskets of stuff She has toys but she likes our stuff better

    Original URL path: http://smallnotebook.org/blog/page/191/ (2016-02-10)
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  • Organize | Small Notebook
    Get Christmas Shopping Finished Early Open Kitchen Pantry Remodel And How To Keep It Pretty The Shopping Guide Comfortably Dressy Style Frozen Fish Sticks Creating Order in Disorder Today is a Better Day Than Later 1 2 3 4 8 Advertisements Hi I m Rachel I ll help you simplify your home Share this site Pin it Get new posts delivered to your inbox Subscribe by email For Winter How

    Original URL path: http://smallnotebook.org/category/organizing/page/2/ (2016-02-10)
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  • Blog - Small Notebook
    box just the best stuff and your favorites You don t have to keep any clothes just because they were given to you for free Only keep the stuff that will make you smile when you open the box again and the rest or any excess can be given away Because this is not an easy job for me I just focused on the clothes for one kid The other child will get her turn later before school starts How do you store your children s clothes and what do you think is the hardest part 72 Comments The No Spend Month the 3rd Week A No Spend Month starts to feel successful when you stop noticing it and it s just another circumstance instead of an issue to think about After I got my feelings of being annoyed out of my system last week solved with less staying up late more sleep and less work I settled in to do some work around the house This is when I think I should have something more interesting to tell you but it s been a quiet week My house looks clean I finished the ironing Stuff is put away Instead of shopping for a new bathroom light fixture I made the bathroom look better by scrubbing it clean The kids haven t noticed any difference about our spending this month except for fewer chips They play in the sprinkler go to the library and play with friends and watch movies when it s too hot to do anything else On Friday the shelves in the fridge were almost empty which seemed like a good time to clean the refrigerator Then we went to the grocery store and spent 80 54 for meals for the next several days We planned to spend 80 to stay on track for the month s total budget and I was relieved that it was so close Thanks for your encouragement for last week only about ten more days to go p s I just reviewed an activity box designed for kids ages 3 6 that gets mailed to your house and there is a giveaway for one over at Alpha Mom hurry ends Sunday night 27 Comments 10 Must Know Tips for Your Air Conditioner During the summer air conditioning can cause really high electric bills and I would hate to think that you might be spending more money on electricity than you have to If you have central air conditioning here are 10 ways that you can take care of your air conditioner to keep it running efficiently which will save you money These tips are written with the non mechanic in mind so you can do them 1 Change your air filter every 3 months Changing the air filter is as important for your air conditioner as changing the oil is for your car Put in a new filter at the start of summer and then at least once every 3 months after

    Original URL path: http://smallnotebook.org/blog/page/12/ (2016-02-10)
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  • Blog - Small Notebook
    then I was mad that we bought the cheap onions from the store where I usually hesitate to buy the produce What kind of freak onion has no scent and no flavor Then I had to eat the soup anyway because it s No Spend Month and I couldn t afford to throw out four day s worth of lunches I thought No Spend Month was going to be easy this year with this being our fourth and all We already know everything to do Same song second verse Stay home limit driving scrambled eggs and baked potatoes Popcorn on the stove and home projects It wasn t going to be as hard because we don t go out to eat anymore anyway Maybe Chipotle sometimes but any other place is rare We used to go out to eat a lot when the baby was in a carrier and it was more fun to go out than stay at home Going out to eat was what we struggled to give up during the first No Spend Month but that was before the celiac diagnosis that makes me terrified of bread crumbs and the cross contamination that could send my sweet girl to the hospital It s too much of a risk to go out to eat as a family but also I m more picky and most meals don t seem worth the 12 That s why I can t order pasta in Italian restaurants Nine dollars for a bowl of noodles boiled in water Seriously I ll get something I can t make for myself at home I even planned for the phases I always go through during No Spend Month each week with varying degrees of determination mixed with desperation but what I wasn t expecting was how much this month I would feel just plain annoyed Annoyed at the onions Annoyed at how I can t get a haircut and it s already been seven months Annoyed at how I can t go to Panera and how long it takes to cook food from scratch and why can t we just get to eat sandwiches like normal people do My rants of ridiculousness usually end about cheese toast or sandwiches and that s when Doug mercifully gets me a baguette and sopressata at Central Market so I can eat it guiltily but at least I don t feel hungry anymore I hate eating food they can t have too There was also the time a couple of nights ago that I couldn t help myself but to look at an online July sale so I convinced myself it was to find Christmas presents because gifts for others don t count as personal shopping I didn t buy anything though Anyway I m noticing a lack of margin in my life that is more clear as the fallback cushion gets taken away It takes planning to eat at home every time I need margin to feel patient instead

    Original URL path: http://smallnotebook.org/blog/page/13/ (2016-02-10)
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  • Blog - Small Notebook
    and running in the opposite direction 5 Comments Save Big Money on Rent with Little Effort Last month I saved 540 in just 5 minutes All I had to do was make a quick phone call A friend s comment recently made me think about how a lot of money saving efforts can be so time consuming Our time is precious and we need to find the balance to use it in the best possible way I see tips for frugal living like wash and reuse plastic sandwich bags to save money Seriously They are about 3 cents apiece I am not saying we should wastefully throw things away I sometimes wash ziploc bags and reuse them I think this is great from an environmental perspective but it would take a lifetime to wash enough plastic bags to reach my financial goals If too many of our financial strategies are focused on pennies then we miss out on the opportunities to save in ways that have a big impact Even with all of our good intentions we can only do so much Since our time and energy are limited we need to first focus on saving dollars and then we can focus on saving the pennies as well So how did I save 540 I got a letter from my apartment leasing agency informing me that my rent would be going up 70 a month I called them to say the increase seemed a bit high and I was hoping it would be lower They called back to offer that they would only raise my rent by 25 a month It took 5 minutes total This saves me 45 every month which is 540 over the year I am not one who pushes someone for a bargain but this was

    Original URL path: http://smallnotebook.org/blog/page/190/ (2016-02-10)
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  • Blog - Small Notebook
    they would It might be due to a change in food from what they were used to before or maybe there is not a full pound of worms It s hard to know At least as they multiply they will gradually eat more I learned that adding excess water to the bin was not a good idea I had heard from several sources that if you add water to the bin it would drip out of the bottom as worm tea and would be a good fertilizer Since then I ve read other opinions about what worm tea really is and how it differs from leachate which is the name for the excess liquid from the bottom of the compost bin When I added extra water to the bin I created a problem The water compacted the material so the air couldn t flow and it caused anaerobic conditions inside the bin This is what made the bad odor it s a warning sign that conditions in the bin are unfavorable Additionally there is a risk with using leachate on plants since it is made from unfinished compost it can contain pathogens harmful to humans and plants The excess water also reduces the nutrients in the finished compost by washing them out of the bin Worm tea on the other hand is made by soaking finished vermicompost in aerated water to create a liquid with helpful aerobic microorganisms This worm tea as well as the compost itself provides nutrients helps the plant resist disease and helps the soil retain water for drought resistance In a few more weeks I ll be able to harvest the finished compost for my plants Related post How to Make a Worm Compost Bin 4 Comments The Oleander Bloom This is the first bloom of

    Original URL path: http://smallnotebook.org/blog/page/189/ (2016-02-10)
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  • Blog - Small Notebook
    term plan we can sustain and the grocery spending can be reduced gradually and thoughtfully over the long term instead of drastically at the beginning It takes time to find new recipes and adapt to new ways in the kitchen especially if you ve just recently stopped going out to eat as often This month is No Spend Month when my family takes a break from buying stuff and for the first week we spent 61 87 in one trip to the grocery store We were too busy to think about buying stuff this week We worked visited friends had friends over at our house hosted a play group worked in the yard and watched the Fourth of July parade and fireworks We re still coasting on what we already had and we re trying not to let anything go to waste It will get harder FAQ Do I use coupons I don t use coupons because most foods that you can buy with coupons have ingredients that my family can t eat I never see coupons for the foods we buy like beans eggs carrots or celery but I do watch the sales fliers at the grocery stores especially for good sales on meat The recipe for Egg and Pesto Stuffed Roasted Tomatoes is from Paleo Diet Lifestyle And later when you realize that you forgot to use parchment paper so the egg white is baked on to your baking sheet pour some vinegar and water on your baking sheet and let it soak for a while so it will be easy to clean What part of your budget do you find easy to cut back in the beginning 67 Comments Mini Summer Olympics and Other Summer Activities Right now on my kitchen counter LEGO men compete for the gold in The Summer Olympics Track and Field events You can see how we made the mini Olympics play scene with paper and pipe cleaners at Alpha Mom More of my writing at Alpha Mom 10 Truths of Summer with My Family 5 Tips to Host a Fun Play Group Every Thursday morning the six year old kids in my neighborhood come to my house These are the tips I ve learned to make hosting a play group easier Make an iPod Earbud Case felt and glue so easy Avoid the Rush and Build More Free Time into Summer Days 6 Comments Organize Arts Crafts Supplies for Free A messy art table is a good thing It means the kids have been creative and having fun But since my kids art table is in our living room sometimes I want to clean the table and put the supplies away The problem is that all of the art supplies were in a bin and the kids would pull everything out to get the one thing they wanted at the bottom of the bin Maybe we didn t need to get all of the art supplies out every time I looked on

    Original URL path: http://smallnotebook.org/blog/page/14/ (2016-02-10)
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  • Blog - Small Notebook
    a list to keep track of every expense If you have planned a special event in July you can make an exception for it You can still gain a lot from No Spend Month even if you don t do it for all 31 days This month I plan to take advantage of fun things to do for free I ll also work on existing projects that I bought supplies for a long time ago but didn t finish I ll share updates on our spending and thoughts about it at the end of each week You can also go back and read about previous No Spend Months that I ve written about We decided not to do it in 2010 and in 2011 we bought a house which is the exact opposite of a No Spend Month Now we re back No Spend Month July 2008 with weekly updates No Spend Month July 2009 with weekly updates In past years we ve found ways to save money that have impacted us ever since I look forward to seeing what we ll learn this year Updates How to Reduce Your Budget in the Beginning Advice for anyone who wants to save money plus an update for the first week of No Spend Month No Spend Month the Halfway Point No Spend Month The 3rd Week No Spend Month The 4th Week Wrap Up Should You Try it Yourself Thoughts Are you up for this You can always feel free to share your own thoughts and updates in the comments after each post 46 Comments A Soft Comfy Reading Chair Something my home has been missing for a long time is a quiet place to read The only chair that is big and cushy sits in front of the TV With summer and both kids being at home and playing all day long a quiet place to go and hide with some reading was something I needed desperately I wasn t about to move my husband s favorite recliner from its place in front of the TV so I looked on Craigslist for a reading chair that would be big enough to be comfy and possibly hold an extra kid too So I looked and I looked Most of my furniture is used or vintage and I prefer it that way but the vintage chairs I like have sturdy wood frames with leather or vinyl covered seats It seemed impossible to find a completely upholstered soft chair that didn t need to be recovered and I don t need another project When occasionally I found a used chair that I might be interested in I couldn t bring myself to email the seller to inquire I worried that they might not tell me about spills or pet stains I kept thinking about that Seinfeld episode where Poppy peed on the couch and yes I know all my pop culture references are to television shows of the 90 s It s easy

    Original URL path: http://smallnotebook.org/blog/page/15/ (2016-02-10)
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