Life in 3 acts

Life lately

April is a busy month for us. We’re up to our eyeballs in kid activities and busy weekends away. I have a lot going on…what about you?

First things first though:

I wrote an original piece for Red Tricycle about why we discuss our finances with our kids. You can read it HERE. It’s a topic that I feel passionate about because I’ve seen how my kids have embraced being a part of these discussions and how it’s changed their view of money. I’m hopeful that by raising them with an understanding of how money really works, they’ll grow into adults who are good money managers.

I would really love it if you passed the article along if you think it’s relevant to your life.

Next up:

Jack is playing soccer. This is the first time he’s participated in a team sport and it’s really fun to see him out there, doing his best and playing as a team.

And Anna’s art was featured at a district-wide art show.  Her piece is entitled: “Jane Goodall–The Nutcracker.” Originality is her strong suit.

And the birds have decided to call our yard home again this spring, which I love. Because, let’s face it–I need more creatures who are depending on me to feed them in my life.

Speaking of creatures who depend on me…this one has been loving the spring weather here and lounging outside with me. This photo is noteworthy because I took it the day that I eschewed all of my responsibilities for the day to sit outside, read books, listen to podcasts and enjoy my birds. You can see the laundry baskets and laundry piled on the bed in the room behind Angie. It was a rare day of no responsibility for me and I loved every second of it. I highly recommend trying to find a day like that for yourself every now and then if you can.

So, that’s my life lately…tell me about yours.

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Life in 3 acts

Friday Favorites

I’ve had a monumental week, friends. After being in a spending freeze since early January, I went clothes shopping for the first time in 3 months…which is quite possibly the longest I’ve ever gone without buying a single article of clothing.

I write for a newspaper in Houston and am paid enough to make a little extra “fun” money for myself. I’ve been saving my money and had finally saved enough to warrant a shopping trip. I had been wanting some new, bright Spring tops and wanted to see what Nordstrom and Anthropologie had to offer.

So, I rounded up a few neighbors and we shuttled to the nearest high-end shopping center–about an hour from home–and made a fun day of shopping and lunching. It was much-needed and I found 3 great tops, which are a few of my Friday Favorites for this week.

This is what I came home with:

 

Tie cuff tee

I hate spending this much on a tee shirt, but the cut is terribly flattering on this tee and it’s just different-enough to keep it interesting. I love the bright red color too.

Milla Printed Top

I hate the way that this top looks on the Anthropologie website. I walked into the store and saw it on a mannequin and immediately fell in love–but I’m not typically a purple gal. I tried it on though and really, really liked it but wasn’t sure it was worth the $88 price. So, I walked out without it. Then, I thought about it the whole time we were at lunch. I made my friends go back and look at it with me and I was convinced that it was a “Jenny” top. I brought it home and I think it’s my favorite purchase of the day. I also happened to have a necklace from Accessory Concierge that matches it perfectly!

Kut From The Kloth Jasmine Print Blouse

This top I laid eyes on the second that I set foot into the ladies’ department at Nordstrom and knew that I wanted it. The colors are vivid, the material is sheer yet covers enough (I think? I might end up wearing a cami under it though, on second thought) and the cut is fabulous. Would you believe that I tried it on with my turquoise Kendra Scott earrings and it looked great? I told you those earrings go with everything…

And that’s what I came home with. Sadly, I spent most of my money on these 3 tops, but I’ve learned over the years that investing in a few high-end, truly special pieces always serves me better than buying 12 tops at Target.

 

My next Friday Favorite is the book that I’m reading: Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell


Eleanor & Park

I don’t think that I’ve read a YA book since I WAS a YA, so this is a bit of a departure for me. But, it’s set in the late 1980’s, so it kind of harkens back to that time in my life. It’s delightfully endearing, well-written and brings back a lot of those teenaged-angsty feels as well as those wispy first-love feelings. It’s not as fluffy as I’d thought–which is good–and I’m thoroughly enjoying it. I even found myself YouTubing Joy Division’s “Love Will Tear Us Apart” the other night at 10pm, because of this book.

And, that’s about it for my favorites this week! It was a fun shopping trip and I’m excited to wear my new tops very soon.

Tell me what your favorites are this week!

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Life in 3 acts

Frugal Friday Favorites

…in which Jenny tells you about all of the stuff that everyone else on the internet has been raving about for months. You’re welcome. 

(Also, this post contains affiliate links, which help to support the care and upkeep of this blog. Thank you so much!) 

La Croix Peach-Pear:

I’d heard about the La Croix peach-pear sparkling water, but hadn’t tried it until this week. I saw it at my grocery store and, since my kids really like sparkling water and will sometimes choose a sparkling water over a soda when it’s time for a weekend treat, I thought we’d try this flavor. Oh my word. LOVE IT. It’s perfect on its own, or, you could be like me and add a splash of orange juice, for a sweet afternoon treat before heading to the bus stop. My kids are similarly obsessed with this flavor of La Croix. I’m going to go ahead and declare it to be The Official Spring Break Drink of The Jurica Family. Try it and I promise you’ll love it too (unless you don’t like peaches or pears or, you know, joy in your life).

Soap and Glory’s Sugar Crush:

I saw Megan and Wendy talking about Soap and Glory’s Sugar Crush body lotion in their February Favorites video this week. Needing some new lotion in my life, and being a sucker for cute packaging, I found myself with a bottle of this stuff shortly after viewing the video.

Soap And Glory Sugar Crush 3-in-1 Body Lotion 500ml–$12.00

Two things have me crushing (Ha! See what I did there? Sugar Crush?)  on this lotion: First of all, the formula is good. Real good. I don’t like a thin lotion that soaks into your skin immediately, leaving you feeling as dry as you were prior to lotion application. This lotion is just thick enough for my sensibilities but not so thick that it feels heavy and gross.

And, most importantly, the scent. Cheese and crackers, you guys! I can’t even describe how much I love the scent! I don’t typically like to smell like food, but the lime scent is perfect and it has a musky, vanilla undertone too–just enough to keep it from smelling straight-up like key lime pie. I used this lotion before bed the first night that I had it and then laid in bed and sniffed myself for probably an hour. I haven’t been this excited about a lotion in a long time! I think that the price is very reasonable for this lotion too. At $12 for 16 ounces, it feels like a much more expensive lotion. As a result, these items are next on my list to purchase:


Soap And Glory Sugar Crush Moisture Extreme Body Buttercream 300ml


Soap And Glory Sugar Crush Fresh And Foamy Body Wash Sweet Lime Fragrance 500ml

 

And lastly, Blogilates:

Image: www.blogilates.com

 

I’ve been doing Blogilates for my morning workouts this week. Truth be told, I’ve gotten bored with my usual workout routine and needed to change it up. Blogilates has a zillion workouts, all with different target areas or workout styles. I’ve been enjoying the more Pilates-style workouts (holy ouch!) and then the other day, I did a 12 minute long stretching video, which was much-needed and really helpful.

Best of all, her videos are available on YouTube (link HERE) and are all FREE. I also really like that I can chose to do a quick workout or a longer one, based on how I’m feeling that particular day. Yes, Cassey is extremely perky and cute (perhaps a smidgen too perky and cute for 6:30am) and the music is a little too “pop” for my liking, but whatever. I love the versatility of the workouts. It’s just what I’ve needed to get me motivated after just “going through the motions” for the past month.

Hooray for Spring and new sparkling water flavors, workouts and lotion scents to obsess about! Tell me what you’re obsessing about these days!

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Life in 3 acts

Frugal Friday Favorites

I haven’t been this excited to share something with you in weeks…WEEKS, I tell you! I hope you’ll share my enthusiasm.

I have found a podcast that I’m obsessed with.

Unfortunately, there are currently only 3 episodes available and I blew through the first two, back to back, then waited (with baited breath) for the release of the 3rd this past week, then listened to it early in the morning, on my daily dog walk.

Have you heard of Missing Richard Simmons?

It’s currently the number 1 podcast on iTunes and, no matter how you feel about Richard Simmons (I honestly hadn’t considered his existence in years) it’s captivating and engaging.

You see, I wasn’t aware of this, but Simmons hasn’t been seen since February of 2014. An active part of his community and a regular on talk shows, Simmons simply disappeared into thin air and no one has heard from him since. It’s bizarre and (apparently) completely out of character for him. This podcast will leave you hanging on every word and theory about his whereabouts. Listen to it and then let’s talk!

A laundry item that gets my heart rate up:

The next item isn’t nearly as exciting as a missing flamboyant fitness guru, but it did get my heart pounding and my knees shaking when I saw it at Wal Mart:

It’s a laundry basket on wheels. I declared it “treat yo’self” day when I saw this for $9 at Wal Mart. (Link HERE–although, online, they’re sold in packs of 4 only–but check your local store to purchase a single).

One of the worst parts of doing laundry for me is transferring our overflowing laundry basket to the laundry room (first world problems for the win). When I saw this laundry basket with wheels, I visualized how much easier it would be to get from one side of the house to the other with a full basket. Also, for $9, I figured that there was room in the “Jenny’s Mental Health and Wellness” budget to justify this purchase.

If my laundry hamper was only halfway full, like in this picture, then it’s not time to do the laundry. My hamper always looks like this:

Also, Stewart likes to help on laundry day…

“Dis napkin here. Wash it!”

 

(By the way…did you know that Stewart has his own Instagram now? Follow him HERE for daily photos of his goings-on. It hasn’t been easy, going from a privileged life of private jets, visits to Uncle Elton John’s Feline Day Spa and trips to Tahiti to…well, sitting in a laundry basket).

Homemade “Febreeze”

And, lastly, I made a homemade “Febreeze” kind-of-stuff that worked nicely for me this week.

A quick backstory: My house has been stinky lately. Generally speaking, I’m a clean person, so I don’t let our house get too far out of control, but something has occurred in this house in the past couple of weeks that has resulted in a stinky house situation. Now, this is not a fly-infested, Hoarders-type of thing–it’s just a subtle ick that I’ve noticed.

It smells like someone fried a lot of bacon, deposited a few pairs of dirty socks under the couch and then brought in a few really dusty old rugs to scatter about the living room. I’ve been washing all of the bedding, washing the dog’s bedding (which, let’s be clear–the “dog’s bedding” is actually also “our” bedding because she considers our bed to be hers) and opening the windows for fresh air whenever possible, to no avail.

This week, I tackled the kids’ bedrooms. I cleaned and purged and rearranged dresser drawers (partially inspired by Wendy’s “Clean With Me” video…link HERE). While I was up there, I decided to fumigate, in case the mystery smell was coming from their rooms. I didn’t have any Febreeze, so I decided to make my own. Here’s what I found on Pinterest:

Image courtesy of: www.removeandreplace.com

Link HERE

I made my homemade Febreeze using this fabric softener and I think it really took it up a notch (affiliate link ahoy!):


Caldrea Pear Blossom Agave Fabric Softener, 32 Fluid Ounce

This stuff smells good and it helped to freshen up the house. This recipe made a whole spray bottle-worth of homemade Febreeze too. I plan to use it often and mix up new batches as needed.

So, what about you? What’s blowing your skirt up this week? Any favorites to share? 


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Life in 3 acts

4 things that I’ve learned by NOT dining out

Right after the New Year, we decided to tighten up our budget and one of the first things to go was dining out. We vowed not to eat out for the entire month of January. It worked out so well for us, that we’ve just kept on going. As of today, we’ve eaten in a restaurant exactly once (as a family) since January 1 (and we were treated to that meal by my father and stepmother).

Here are a few things that I’ve noticed since we quit dining in restaurants.

1: Restaurant food can be pretty “Meh”:

…but the company is good

If you allow yourself to be honest, restaurant food just really isn’t that great all of the time. When I sat down and thought about it, I realized that 9 times out of 10, I walk out of a restaurant thinking, “Well, that was pretty good.” That’s not an acceptable reaction to just having paid anywhere from $50 to $100 for a meal for 4 people. Now that we’re not eating out as much, when we do eat out, we will choose only the restaurants that we know are a home-run for us–the ones that never disappoint.

2: Overeating is (mostly) a thing of the past:

Here’s what a typical weeknight dinner serving looks like at our home.

How many times have you walked out of a restaurant and felt almost sick because you’ve waaaaaay overeaten? We don’t overeat as badly when we eat at home. That one restaurant meal that we had in January was Mexican food. While Mexican food certainly isn’t known for being a “light lunch” this particular meal was super heavy. I ordered some gigantic burrito, smothered in cheese. The first few bites were delicious, but then, after a while, it began to feel like a chore to eat–which is CRAZY to look back on and think about. Why didn’t I just stop eating? When I eat at a restaurant, for reasons too many to name, I feel like I need to clean my plate if possible. Being a people pleaser by nature, maybe I dread the waiter looking at my half-eaten plate, asking, “was your meal ok, ma’am?” I also have a weird relationship with taking home leftovers from a restaurant. There are precious few meals from restaurants that actually reheat well at home the next day. Many times, my half-eaten restaurant meal sits in the fridge for a days, awaiting its ultimate demise in the trashcan. Such a waste.

3: “Making do” and getting creative in the kitchen:

“Making do” in the kitchen is how my now-famous homemade pizza recipe was born–our new Friday night tradition. Recipe HERE.

 

When eating out isn’t an option, we’re much more willing to figure out something for dinner. The best part is that I’ve finally come to terms with the idea that we don’t all even have to eat the same thing! If there’s a dab of leftovers, a can of soup and a few frozen chicken tenders in the freezer, we can eat “potluck” style–which actually makes everyone happy. We can also make a killer gourmet grilled cheese sandwich in a pinch. Not only does it feel good to be utilizing our groceries, but it also clears space in the fridge and pantry for the new grocery items that are on my list to be purchased during the next shopping visit.

4: Wearing jammies at the dinner table is a real possibility

Valentine’s day dinner at home, in our comfy clothes

When you’re eating at home, there’s no need to dress up. There were many times in the past that I gritted my teeth when it was time to go out to eat and I had to change out of my comfy “house clothes” and into something a bit more presentable. These days, since we’re eating every meal at home–I get to stay in my comfy jammies if I want. This probably makes me happiest of all.

The funniest thing to come from this whole ‘experiment” is that, while it was only supposed to last for the month of January, we’ve decided to make it our personal mission to see how far we can go with it. The children are even on-board with it. It’s changed the way that we think about the money that we spend dining out and it’s made us be more conscious of how much stuff costs. It’s been the ultimate “reset” for our family. I highly recommend trying a similar experiment out for yourselves!

Have you ever tried to reign in your dining out habits? Tell us how it worked out in the comments below. Or, do you have any tips and tricks for those who are currently trying it out? 

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Life in 3 acts

Frugal Friday Favorites–A beauty showdown!

(This post contains affiliate links which help to support the care and upkeep of this website.)

I’ve been using Rodan and Fields products for about a year. I was skeptical at first, but they won me over. I felt like my skin had never looked better. Granted, I have pretty normal, non-problematic skin, so I was coming from a place of low-maintenance skincare when I started the R+F regimen, but I really have enjoyed the effects of the R+F products on my skin.

Then, in January, when we sat down to have our “come to Jesus” budget talk, we both offered up places in the budget that we could afford to sacrifice a bit. I knew–in my heart of hearts–that, if we were willing to ask our kids to give up a few of their favorite activities, that I couldn’t (with a clear conscience) continue to slather expensive lotions and potions onto my skin every night–especially since my skin has never been an issue before.

So, I begrudgingly offered to give up my R+F addiction to see if that would help us to save money. Grumble, grumble, grumble.

I immediately began researching more budget-friendly alternatives to R+F. I kept coming up short because no one has a bad thing to say about R+F products.

So, I set out to delve deeper myself. There are a couple of R+F products that I didn’t feel were necessities for me–that I could just eliminate entirely and not feel like I was suffering, but there were 2 biggies that I swore by, that I feared giving up. These two are:

Night Renewing Serum: $91

Overnight Restorative Cream: $78

Unfortunately, these are also among the pricier of the R+F products that I’ve used. So, I knew that i needed to find a less-expensive alternative.

Upon doing the research, I found that many drugstore brands have cult-like followings that people swear by. One that I read about over and over was the Neutrogena line of anti-aging products. I decided to start with those and see how my skin reacted. I purchased the two Neutrogena products that seemed like the closest “dupes” to my R+F products.


Neutrogena Deep Moisture Night Cream $12

 


Neutrogena Rapid Wrinkle Repair Serum, 1 Fl. Oz $20

I’ve been using both of these Neutrogena products for about a month and, the good news is that my skin looks the same as it did when I was using the R+F products–which is all that I’d hoped for. The price is certainly right too (with a savings of over $130!). My only complaint about the Neutrogena products is the fragrance. Both products have a heavy perfume-y fragrance that I don’t enjoy.

Here’s the thing though: I’ve made a vow to myself–if these products fail to impress me, I will go back to my R+F regime. The older I get, the more I’m understanding the importance of taking good care of my skin and perhaps skin care isn’t the appropriate place to cut corners?

Please share your favorite drugstore skincare items in the comments! 

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Life in 3 acts

Friday Favorites

(This post contains affiliate links which contribute to the care and upkeep of this website. Thanks for your support!)

You might’ve noticed that this week’s Friday Favorites are not “Frugal Friday Favorites.” Here’s why: All of the items that I’m featuring this week wouldn’t necessarily be considered “frugal.” Truth be told, I haven’t been shopping in months, so I’ve been using stuff that I’ve accumulated over my past shopping trips. Technically, I’m still exercising “frugality” but, this week’s items require a small initial investment.

First up are my grocery-shopping-game-changers:


Natural Home Reuseable Produce Bags 5 Pack–$4.99

Have you ever struggled with those flimsy little plastic produce bags at the grocery store? I have a college degree and–generally speaking–consider myself a fairly intelligent person, but damnit to all hell if I can not get those stupid plastic produce bags opened at the grocery store.

I do the whole, “rub-between-your-index-and-thumb” maneuver to no avail. I even blow on the (alleged) opening of the bag, in the hopes that it’ll relent and open for me. Nope. Never. I stupidly turn it over and upside down, thinking that surely I’m yanking on the wrong end of it and the actual opening is on the other side of the bag? Nope.

Then, let us also discuss how utterly useless those bags are when you get them home. At least with grocery bags, you can reuse those for all sorts of things, but the little plastic produce bags are the bane of my existence and I usually end up tearfully throwing them away because they’re so useless.

Enter these reusable produce bags. I love these bags so much. The best thing is the awesome drawstring. So,  you open your bag, throw in your apples, yank on the drawstring then turn on your heel and leave all of your fellow grocery shoppers, huddled round the plastic produce bag dispenser looking on in disbelief, as you throw your reusable produce bag over your shoulder and proceed to the dairy aisle.

It’s uncommon for me to NOT be asked about my reusable produce bags when I’m at the grocery store–either by fellow shoppers or by grocery store employees. Oh, and did I mention that they’re also machine washable? All the heart-eyed emojis.

Next up: Makeup game-changer


RUIMIO Makeup Brush Cleaner Silicone Brush Egg with Handy Hook Pink Mint Green–$6.99 for 2

In a recent trip to TJ Maxx (that I mentioned HERE) I picked up a silicone makeup brush cleaner. I had been struggling with my eye liner makeup brush. I use gel eye liner (THIS) and, while I love it, it also gets so caked in my eye liner brush that it leaves the brush brittle and gross, making it impossible to use it the next time.

I picked up a similar silicone makeup brush cleaner when I was out and about last week and it’s saved the day for sure. It takes just a second or two to clean my eyeliner brush with this thing, then I leave the brush to air dry. The next time that I need it,  my eye liner brush is soft, supple and ready to go. Game-changer. Plus, I understand that you should clean all of  your makeup brushes often (oops) and this little tool certainly facilitates that for me.

And last, an answer to your winter skin doldrum:

Tan Towel Face Tan 15 Count–$30 

Now, these definitely don’t fall into the “frugal” category. I bought these self-tanning towelettes (what a funny word, huh?) last year. I used them occasionally but then summer arrived and I was getting enough natural sun to skip this extra step.

Fast forward to this week. My face hasn’t seen the sun in months. I felt like my face could use a little oomph so I reached into the way-back of my under-the-sink cabinet and retrieved these long-forgotten self tanning towelettes.

I used one application and, by the end of the day, I looked so much better. Now, understand that I wasn’t going for a “I just returned from a week in Maui“-look but simply a remedy for the, “No, I don’t actually have the flu, but thanks for your concern” conversations that I felt were imminent, given the pallor of my face situation.

These are easy to use, leave just the right amount of color and aren’t as messy as regular self-tanning creams and mousses. They’re perfect for this time of the year. When I run out of these, I will likely try a drugstore version (probably THESE), but given how long these have lasted me, if the drugstore version isn’t up to snuff, I would save my pennies and purchase this brand again–they’re that good.

What are your thoughts on my Friday Favorites? Any Friday Favorites of your own to share? If so, leave them in the comments below. Or, find me on Facebook or Instagram and let’s chat over there! 

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Life in 3 acts

Frugal Friday Favorites

So, I have 3 Frugal Friday Favorites for you this week. One is a game-changer recipe. One is a favorite bargain shopping haven and one is a favorite cleaning product.

(This post contains affiliate links which help to support this website. Thanks!)

First up is a homemade pizza crust:

Confession time:

I’m not a baker. A cook, yes, but baking scares the pants off of me. If I see a recipe that calls for dough or yeast, I’m immediately like, “Nope…too bad. That would’ve probably been delicious too.

 

image courtesy of: www.teaspoonofgoodness.com

Recipe HERE

So, imagine my surprise when I stumbled upon this recipe for homemade pizza dough recently and discovered that we had all of the ingredients (which, really is only 2 items) and decided to go for it. I had a store-bought pizza crust waiting in the pantry in case this was a huge fail, so I decided to give it a whirl.

It turns out? It is the easiest. You really and truly can not mess this pizza dough up (because, believe this…if anyone COULD it would be ME).

Since you only need flour and yeast (and water) to make it, it costs pennies to make and comes together quickly with little forethought or advanced planning. I’ve declared that every Friday will be homemade pizza night in our house. This week, I’m trying my hand at homemade pizza sauce. This recipe is a contender.

Next up:

My favorite place to bargain shop:

Image courtesy of www.nerdwallet.com

I’ve talked about TJ Maxx here before. It’s my go-to; my end-all; my soul-mate. If there’s ever anything that I need, I typically head to TJ Maxx first because, 9 times out of 10, they have it and it’s way better and way cuter and way cheaper than anywhere else.

Hear this: I don’t love Homegoods (TJ Maxx’s sister company) as much as TJ Maxx and here’s why–I love me some home furnishings, oh, hell yes, but sometimes I like to look at beauty products, shoes, clothes and purses too. Give me all of that under one roof and I’m a happy girl.

Now that we’re doing a pretty major “Budget Bootcamp,” I haven’t been to TJ Maxx in months. (I know, right?) But, I was running dangerously low on hand soap for the kitchen this week and TJ Maxx is the best place to buy hand soap, in case you didn’t know. So, I carefully proceeded to TJ Maxx with a very short list of my “needs” and a firm grip on my cash, lest I lose my damn mind in there.

Here’s what I came out with:

A makeup brush cleaner $5.99 |  hand soap $5.99 | Dr. Bronner’s Castile soap $4.99

 

I’m always amazed when people say that they’ve never shopped at a TJ Maxx. There’s something for everyone there. And their merchandise turns over constantly, so it’s the type of place where it pays to stop in often.

Last, a cleaning product that saved the day this week:

 


Bar Keepers Friend® Cleanser & Polish: 12 OZ

Where we live, we have hard water. Even with a whole-house water softener, we still get soap scum and hard water stains in the bathrooms and kitchen. We have a glass shower in our master bath and, due to a number of circumstances (a few of these “circumstances” perhaps being laziness and/or Real Housewives of Beverly Hills marathons on Bravo) I had let our shower get a bit out of control.

Here’s the thing with our shower: Our bathroom has poor ventilation. There are no windows in our bathroom (oh, how I love windows in bathrooms) and this makes it really tricky to climb into a glass shower stall and scrub the bejeezus out of it with lots of effective, albeit TOXIC AS SHIT chemicals. I’ve made myself dizzy and sick a few times attempting this maneuver.

So, lately, I’ve taken to half-heartedly squirting a vinegar solution on the water stains every couple of weeks or so and also largely ignoring them. Spoiler alert: this is a wholly ineffective method for glass shower cleaning. #themoreyouknow

Today, I got a wild hair and decided to tackle our gross shower once and for all. I started digging for long-forgotten cleaning products from under the kitchen sink and found a can of Bar Keeper’s Friend that I don’t even remember purchasing. I decided to give it a go in our shower.

First of all, this stuff is non-toxic, so I was able to sit, closed up in my shower, for an hour, scrubbing away at the tile AND the glass with Bar Keeper’s Friend, with nary a hallucination nor an asthma attack. It also didn’t leave my hands red and raw like other cleaners do.

Secondly, holy moly, this stuff worked! It got rid of the hard water spots, the mold and mildew and soap scum too. Sure, I scrubbed it hard–so it wasn’t without effort, but it worked so well and I didn’t have to worry about breathing in chemicals. I can’t wait to try Bar Keeper’s Friend in other parts of the house.

Please share your own Frugal Friday Favorites below or chime in on the ones that I discussed today…any tips for using Bar Keeper’s Friend that I need to know about?

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Life in 3 acts

Life lately

The past few weeks have been a bit of a fuzzy blur around here. I thought I’d use today’s post to catch you up on all of our happenings.

The Lion King:

A couple of weeks ago, Anna participated in a production of The Lion King. They began rehearsals in September, so it was a big commitment for the whole family, shuttling her to and from rehearsals for 4 months.

She had a small role, but she was happy not to have to a speaking role and she was really happy to get to be a BLUE bird (blue is her favorite color). I also got to hone my stage-makeup skills, which was pretty fun, once I got the hang of working with stage makeup.

After it was all said and done, she had a ball. She really enjoyed the performances, even though she was exhausted after doing 3 performances in 2 days time (we all were).

Then, after a weekend of Lion King madness, we were really looking forward to a quiet weekend with no obligations this past weekend. We got exactly that.

Return to the Library:

On Saturday, we made a family trip to the public library to renew my library card, get everyone else their own card and get our Kindles connected to the library’s online lending software.

About every 2 years or so, I re-discovered the library. I get super excited at the prospect of reading all of the books I could possibly ever want to read–not to mention movies, magazines and even a calendar of events to attend! Then, after a few months of active library use, I get disenchanted with something (likely a random late fee or stressing about a lost book) and then I go off of the library again. But, with our newfound “Budget Bootcamp” mode and with one child who’s a voracious reader–who’s single-handedly busting our Amazon Prime budget up with her constant need for a new book to read because she’s read everything over the course of a weekend–we found ourselves back at the library.

Luckily, we all walked out with books that we were excited about. I checked out several, but immediately got sucked into A Summer Affair by Elin Hilderbrand.

I thought I’d read all of Hilderbrand’s books, so I was excited to find one that I hadn’t read. As with all of her books, I picked it up and have been looking forward to my bedtime reading every night since. (The links above are affiliate links)

Another exciting library happening: (if you follow me on Instagram you saw this already)

This roadrunner was outside of the library, pecking at himself in the windows. Being the certified “bird nerd” that I am, I got way more excited than I probably should’ve and giggled and squealed and snapped pics. Ugh. Bless my heart.

Then Sunday.

We went to church (more on this in an upcoming post) then came home to begin preparing Superbowl snacks. We made a rule for Superbowl this year that we’d eat what we already had in the freezer, fridge and pantry. We had cream cheese, sausage and crescent rolls, lunch meat and cheese so I made the following goodies:

Cubano sandwiches: image courtesy of Pillsbury

Recipe HERE

These were yummy and used up 2 cans of crescent rolls and a lot of the turkey and ham that I’d purchased for Anna’s post-Lion King party that we hosted. Everyone in the house enjoyed these (which is a rarity).

We also made this:

Image courtesy of: www.plainchicken.com

Recipe HERE

I went to lunch with friends last week and had deviled eggs with bacon jam on top. Oh. My. Word. So, I had a hankerin’ for more of those and figured that we could replicate them at home. So, we attempted this recipe for Bacon Jam.

Image courtesy of www.allrecipes.com

It’s with a broken heart that I have to report to you that this was a colossal fail. I’m not going to blame the cook (who was Kevin) but something went terribly, terribly wrong and we ended up with a charred blob of black goop. There were some tears shed, but my deviled eggs went on, albeit without bacon jam.

After spending lunchtime in the kitchen cooking our snacks, we settled in to watch the Kitten Bowl and then the big game.

Captain Thunderpants settling in to watch The Kitten Bowl

 

So, that’s what my life has looked like lately. What’s going on in your world?

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Life in 3 acts

Frugal Friday Favorites

This spending freeze has really done a number on my head. I mean, it’s great–don’t get it twisted. My brain needed a little refresher course in “not buying happiness.” But, it’s really screwing with my Friday Favorites ideas. Do you know that I haven’t even set foot in Target since Christmas? This is the longest we’ve been apart and it’s taking a toll on our relationship.

Continue reading “Frugal Friday Favorites”

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