Worm Farming DIY

Worm Farming DIY

Making your own DIY worm farm is easy, but it’s definitely one of those things that you’ll either be super into…or not at all. I mean, let’s be honest – worms aren’t exactly cute and cuddly.

Worm farming, or vermiculture for the fancy among us, is a great way to reduce waste, but there are many other benefits, depending on how far you want to take it. It may be a weird way to save money, but it’s certainly a fun one!

Benefits of Worm Farming

First, when your wriggly friends break down your kitchen waste, they are eating up stuff that would otherwise take up space at the landfill while decomposing. As minimal as it may be, it all adds up over time!

Your worm farm will also be amazing for those of you are into gardening on a budget. Not only will the castings be great to mix in (no having to actually buy compost!) but the liquid “tea” they generate is one of the best fertilizers you can find…and it’ll cost you nothing to keep it going!

Another benefit is that it’s a great way to teach your children to care about the environment and about those around them. While not all kids will be into worm farming, let’s be real – most will be rather excited about it! Plus worm farming is easy to set up and care for, making it a great project for even the youngest among us.

What You Need for a Worm Farm

There are many (MANY) different wants to DIY a worm farm, but the route we went requires the following:

  • 5 gallon tote with lid
  • Screen material
  • Hot glue gun
  • X-Acto Knife or box cutter
  • Heat gun (not completely necessary but will definitely make cutting the tote easier!)
  • Shredded newspaper – about a Sunday’s edition worth – soaked in water and wrung out
  • Worms – check your local resale sites on Facebook or Craigslist to find ’em. You’d be surprised how common vermiculture is!

Where to Keep Your Worm Farm

Before you start building your worm habitat, decide on where you’ll keep the critters. Do *NOT* plan to keep them outside!! A warm, dry, dark environment is best – like your basement – but anywhere out of direct sunlight that’ll stay 40 – 80 F (4 – 27 C) will be fine. They tend to generate a lot of their own heat as they break down their food, so it’s exceptionally important you keep them somewhere relatively cool, though obviously not so cold they’ll freeze.

How to DIY a Worm Farm

diy worm farm

Once you have your ideal location set, it’s time to get building!

First, if you have a heat gun, use it to warm up the area of your tote lid you’ll be cutting. It really does make a difference in getting that center cut out:

tote lid cut

Then use that center cut out to trace and cut out screen material big enough to cover the area you just cut out. From there you’ll hot glue that screen onto the top of the lid. I then used duct tape to secure it all the better – again done on TOP the lid.

tote lid cut with duct tape

Originally I went the route of just drilling holes into the lid and that was fine…until my wriggly friends started to wriggle their way out of the nice home I built them! So rude, right? Supposedly the worms won’t do that if you have a nice environment for them, but uh…no. Heh trust me, the screen is the way to go!

You can also drill and insert a spigot into the bottom to drain some of the liquid that’ll accumulate, but I just make sure to monitor the dampness every few days and will add shredded newspaper or cardboard as needed.

What to Put In Your Worm Farm

When you’re first adding your worms, you can start with whatever dirt they’ve come in and then use wet, shredded newspaper and cardboard – be sure to wring it out first as you want it wet, but no where near dripping. Fill your tote about half full with the shreds and make sure it’s fluffed up enough for the worms to move freely and have plenty of oxygen.

There’s no need to add additional dirt, yard waste, etc. In fact, it’s safer to avoid ever doing that, as you never know what sort of contaminants might be there.

You can then go ahead and add your worms, but wait a couple days before adding in any food.

What to Feed Worms

Fortunately worms aren’t too picky when it comes to food, though mine are certainly big fans of moldy tomatoes (yum…)

You’ll want to avoid meat or highly acidic foods, like onions and citrus. Also try to avoid going overboard on the coffee grounds.

Your worms will thrive best when given a 2:1 ratio of pounds of worms to daily pounds of food, but this may vary a bit. It’s best to start off with food in one corner and then monitor it to see how fast it goes. As that corner starts to dissipate, put another serving in another corner. This helps keeps the worms moving and keeps the waste well circulated.

Should you start seeing gnats or other flying friends, cut back on the food a bit and/or loosely place a piece of dry cardboard in the bin on top of the papers/waste.

worm farm tote with cardboard

As they begin to generate those castings, feel free to scoop it out and add it to your garden or indoor plants. Eventually you may find your worm friends have reproduced so much that they need a new home – this can be a great way to earn some extra cash from home or you can create a second home if your garden is in need!

Do you have any questions about DIY’ing your own worm farm?

Comment below, I’m happy to help!

Where to Find Cheap Maternity Clothes on a Budget

Where to Find Cheap Maternity Clothes on a Budget

Is it even possible to find cheap maternity clothes on a budget?

Absolutely, if you know where to look!

Pregnancy is such an exciting time, but it can also be an incredibly expensive time as you get everything you need for a new baby. If you live on a tight budget, it’s probably already stretched to the max without adding the cost of an entire new wardrobe.

Your body is quickly changing and it won’t be long before your pants start to feel a bit too snug. You want to be comfortable, but you may not want to spend a fortune on a temporary wardrobe. Don’t worry, you can still find cute, inexpensive maternity clothes to fit both your bump and your budget.

Here are some tips to find free and cheap maternity clothes:

Shop From Your Own Closet for Free Maternity Clothes

Even better than cheap maternity clothing is free maternity clothing. Using your non-maternity clothes is the easiest way to dress your bump without spending a cent.

You might be surprised to find items that you already own that you can continue to wear well into your pregnancy (or even the entire time). Making some minor modifications can also extend how long you can wear your pre-pregnancy clothes.

  • Look through your clothes for things that are stretchy, flowy, or loose. Leggings, tunics, and maxi dresses are some of your best bets.

 

  • Look for waist lines that can be worn above or below your bump.

 

  • For shirts – think long and stretchy to cover your belly. I found super long tank tops at H&M that were perfect for layering under other shirts. This extends the life of many other shirts by giving some extra tummy coverage. As just an added plus, I also still layer these tank tops all the time for nursing.

 

  • For jeans – use the hair tie trick when they start to get too snug. Loop a hair tie over the button, through the buttonhole and back over the button. Confused by my description? You can see how ridiculously easy it is with this youtube video.

 

  • Use a Bella band. These stretchy bellybands will keep your pants in place after they can no longer be zipped and add a little extra bump coverage.

Some moms may find that they can get by with just their regular clothes and this can equal huge cost savings. Unfortunately, we all gain differently and if you’re like me, by the second trimester those non-maternity jeans stop mid-thigh and most pre-pregnancy clothes aren’t going to cut it.  

Borrow Maternity Clothes From Friends

Your friends and family can be another great source of free maternity clothes. If you happen to know anyone who has already had a baby, they may be willing to loan (or even give) you their used maternity clothes.

Unless they are currently wearing the clothing or plan to in the near future, many moms will gladly share those maternity items that are just taking up space in their closets.

A few awesome friends lent me tons of maternity clothing for my first pregnancy. It was so kind and saved me loads of money.

Also, maternity clothes tend to be very forgiving size wise, making it really easy to share clothes if you’re even remotely similar sizes.

If you’re lucky enough to borrow maternity clothes, treat them well and try to return them in the same condition you received them.

But maybe you are the first of your friends to have kids or your friends are also pregnant or for whatever reason borrowing may not work out. That’s ok, you can still get cheap maternity clothes on a budget.

Where to Find Cheap Maternity Clothes on a Budget

save money on maternity clothes

Buy Used Maternity Clothes

Since they are used for such a short time that you can often find barely worn, second hand maternity clothes. You may be surprised at the high quality, like-new clothes available at consignment and thrift stores at a fraction of their original price.

For instance, I have found several Motherhood Maternity shirts in excellent condition at Goodwill.

I also found some awesome deals on used maternity clothes at Swap.com, my favorite place to buy used online.

Facebook marketplace and Buy, Sell, Trade Groups are also great places to look for used maternity clothes at some of the lowest prices around. You also may want to re-sell your maternity clothes when you’re done with them the same way. In case you’re not sure how to get started, here is a complete guide to selling in Facebook groups.

Hit the Clearance Racks for Cheap Maternity Clothes

If you want to buy new clothes and not spend a ton, head straight to the clearance section and buy maternity clothes on sale.

Target, H&M, and Old Navy generally have a good selection of maternity clothing available online and it’s easy to browse the sales. I’ve also found great deals on the Motherhood Maternity clearance rack.

Also, some discount stores like Burlington and Ross sell maternity clothing. Not every location carries maternity so you may want to call and ask before making the trip, but you can find excellent deals especially on clearance items.

When shopping clearance consider buying seasonal items early. Generally I’d wait to buy something until I need it, but that can be difficult with clearance since usually the marked down items are from the last season.

For instance, if you find out you’re pregnant in the fall, you may be able to score a maternity bathing suit or shorts for a great deal. You probably won’t find them on clearance in the spring or summer when you need them.

Finally, keep in mind when shopping that clothing doesn’t necessarily have to be maternity to fit. Just like the clothes you already own, look for loose and stretchy non-maternity clothes and go up a size if needed. Choose items that you’ll be able to continue to wear after your pregnancy.

So now that you’ve found cheap maternity clothes on a budget, you can move on to tackling other pregnancy tasks!

There’s so much to do to get ready for your little one! For instance, have you picked a baby name yet? It can be difficult to find the perfect name. If you and your partner are struggling to agree here are some amazing tips to help you pick a name you’ll both love.

Do you have any suggestions on how to save when looking for maternity clothes?

Post your best tip in the comments below!

This post was written by Rachel, one half of the team behind The Moms at Odds. She is dedicated to their mission that there are multiple right ways to parent and those differences should be celebrated, not shamed. Rachel is a stay-at-home mom to two wild boys. In her limited spare time you’ll either find her blogging or folding laundry while binge watching Netflix.

Chuck E Cheese Birthday Party Review

Chuck E Cheese Birthday Party Review

I’m so excited to share my experience with hosting our first Chuck E Cheese birthday party! I’m a bit of a control freak, so I can’t say I wasn’t worried about how this party would go down, but it was even better than I could have expected.

It’s important to note here that I’m in no way affiliated with Chuck E Cheese nor am I receiving anything in return for this post. It’s simply an experience worth sharing with other mommas in need of party planning help!

How does a Chuck E Cheese birthday party work?

When my daughter announced she wanted to hold her 4th birthday at Chuck E Cheese, my frugal brain immediately went to the cost. So I went on the Chuck E Cheese website and was pleasantly surprised by the affordable options. Even when we go the party-at-home-DIY-route (like we did for our Dr. Seuss birthday party!) there’s still the stress and time planning it all.

I truly love to throw parties, but not necessarily during the cold days of February, which happens to be my daughter’s birthday month. So this time I handed over the party planning reigns and here’s what happened…

Chuck E Cheese Birthday Party Review

chuck e cheese birthday party

What’s the schedule like?

We arrived at Chuck E Cheese about 15 minutes before the party was set to start. Everything was set up in the back already and our host greeted us. She handed over a bag of play passes as well as a birthday bracelet for my sweet birthday girl.

Our host then went over our order (we opted for extra pizzas and drinks for the adults). From there, she went over the schedule, which looked like this:

12pm – party starts, kids play

12:45pm – pizza time! Our host served the children and made sure they all got what they needed.

After pizza, Chuck E himself came out to dance with the kids. We then sang “Happy Birthday” while the host cut and distributed the cake. Since we got the Mega Super Star package, it also included Dippin’ Dots (yum!!)

Chuck E Cheese dippin dots birthday party

From there, it would’ve been gift time, but we nixed that to do gifts at home.

After cake, it was ticket blaster time! My daughter wasn’t too keen on it, so her big brother stepped in.

Do they have to do the ticket blaster?

Our host was kind enough to show my daughter how the ticket blaster worked, but even then, my daughter wasn’t interested. My 5yr old son was all about it, though, so he stepped up to get those tickets. That said, there was also the option to skip the ticket blaster and simply collect 200 tickets (plus her 1000 bonus tickets as a part of the party package).

After the ticket blaster, the kids are then welcome to go back to playing.

Chuck E Cheese Ticket Blaster

Can you bring your own cake to a Chuck E Cheese birthday party?

Absolutely! While Chuck E Cheese offers a number of gorgeous cake options, you can also bring in your own cake and ice cream.

Do you tip for a Chuck E Cheese birthday party?

I’ve actually reached out to Chuck E Cheese to see if they have a policy/common practice on this. While I in no way felt pressured to tip, there’s no doubt our hostess deserved it! Our total party cost was $300, on which we tipped $40. This might seem like a bit much to some (like my husband…hehe) but I’ve worked in food service before and the tip was well earned.

Is the Mega Super Star package worth it?

It really, really is. It was so nice to not have to worry about goody bags or ice cream, plus the unlimited play for the 2 hours really helped parents better enjoy the experience and not worry about watching (or having to re-up!) their child’s play points. I also love that the goody bags allow for every child to leave with something, regardless of how many tickets they earned.

chuck e cheese goody bag

What happens if you have no-shows?

Sure enough, on the day of the party we had a couple children who suddenly couldn’t make it. Luckily Chuck E Cheese offers a 2-child no-show policy so we weren’t charged for the absent children.

The Easiest Birthday Party Ever

Overall, I truly could not have been happier with the whole experience. I did EVERYTHING online on my own schedule and it was the smoothest, most relaxed party I’ve had. Frankly, I’m considering hosting my own next birthday party there – they do have beer, after all! 😉

chuck e cheese birthday party review

Have you had a Chuck E Cheese birthday party experience?

Would love for you to comment below and share your thoughts!

10 Must-Have Kitchen Gadgets on Amazon for Under $20 

10 Must-Have Kitchen Gadgets on Amazon for Under $20 

I’m a big fan of Alton Brown and his idea on single-use items; there are a lot of really odd, single-use kitchen gadgets out there that might seem cool at first but will honestly just take up space and you’ll end up selling them at a garage sale and all you’ll have is .50 cents and a small pile of regret.

That said, there are some really cool items that fill a niche role but do it so well – or can be used for other things – that they’re absolutely worth having in your kitchen, pantry, or in your grill kit.

Amazon is a fantastic resource for cheap prices and lightning-fast shipping, but Its catalog has gotten incredibly vast over the years, so shopping for that perfect item is a slog. We’ve put together a list of 10 fun, useful, and best-of-all cheap kitchen gadgets that will delight anyone who rules the roaster in their household.

10 Must-Have Single Use Kitchen Gadgets for Under $20

single use items for the kitchen alton brown
Please note that the links below are affiliate links, which means I may earn a commission should you click through and make a purchase. This in no way impacts my recommendations or the cost to you.

Spread Butter Easier

Butter Knife Magic

Our son LOVES buttered toast but for real, cold butter is a substance that defies physics and destroys all bread it touches. This knife fixes that problem by allowing you to cut razor-thin slices, fun spirals, or spaghetti-esque noodles of butter, straight from the fridge!

Stop Boil Overs


Handy Lid

My husband is Italian, so we eat a lot of pasta during the week, but my husband is also absent-minded, so we clean up a lot of boiled-over pasta water during the week, too. This silicone lid sits on top of your pot in lieu of your traditional lid. It allows steam and bubbles to escape without boiling over and covering your stove or putting out your burners. They’re also adorable and can help strain pasta as well!

Gift Idea for Wine Lover


Kato Wine Accessories Gift Set

If you don’t drink wine, you know someone who does. I personally am not fond of digging around in the utensils drawer for the corkscrew and then trying to stuff the cork back into the bottle without sending it spiraling down into the wine itself and then having to Google if drinking cork-wine will kill me. This set has a foil cutter, a corkscrew, an aerator spout, a stopper, and even a drip ring, if you’re messy. It’s all stored in a convenient, cute wine-bottle shaped spy kit. How fun is that?

Air Fryer Accessories

Air Fryer Accessories

We had a small air fryer and we hated it – it just wasn’t big enough for anything useful. We got this particular air fryer for Christmas and it’s AMAZING. Food comes out crispy, it cooks quickly and with minimal oil, and it doesn’t take up much space on the counter. My husband uses it at least 4 times a week for dinner, and I love it because I can toss some hashbrowns or bacon into it for breakfast and go get ready while they cook perfectly. We have the manual one which is a dream, but there’s a digital one as well with more settings, if you’re into that.

Clean Grills Without the Fear of Metal Shards

The Grate Grill Scraper

Wire brushes are, while commonplace in grill-cleaning kits, very much not ideal for the task. The shards of wire can seriously hurt someone if they ingest them and it’s more common than you think. This brass – well it’s not a ring exactly, but it’s definitely a shape – cuts through stuck-on food and carbon extremely well and can fit nearly any standard grate-spacing, without the fear of metal shavings in your burgers.

Scoop Ice Cream Easier


Heat Conducting Ice Cream Scoop

Ice cream is, like revenge, a dish best served cold. This makes it fun and delicious, but also a pain in the wrist to scoop efficiently without flinging it all over your kitchen. This particular heat-conducting scoop is leagues above the traditional scoop with the little level that dishes out ice cream. Heat from your hand travels into the spoon and cuts through the icy treat and the heavy-duty utensil will stand up against even the coldest, hardest-packed ice cream possible.

Cute Spoon Rest

Splash Spoon Rest

Finding a place to put your spoon isn’t a difficult task, but this cute, fun utensil rest really makes a “splash”. With its vibrant color and deep grooves, it should keep a handle on any size spoon you need to set down for a moment.

Cut Hot Dogs Quick

Dachshund-Shaped Hot Dog Cutter

The cutest things often come in small packages, and this little hot dog …dog… is proof of that. Sometimes it only takes a little bit of fun to encourage kids to eat their dinner, and this cutter makes small enough pieces for little hands and then holds them in place. Bonus doggie dish for ketchup or mustard dipping!

Grate Cheese with Ease

 Hedgehog Grater

This little guy will look great on any countertop, ready to zest citrus, grate some cheese, or shave some chocolate. He’s easy to clean, beautiful appearance, and BPA-free, and cute as a button!

Uses for a Pizza Cutter (besides cutting pizza!)

Ultimate Pizza Cutter

Look, nobody is going to argue that pizza is the best but sometimes the cheesy pie is difficult to cut and serve without losing all your toppings. This pizza cutter gives you ultimate control, cleans up quickly and easily, and you can use it on anything that needs sliced. I use it on my kids’ pancakes in the morning, on grilled cheese, and quesadillas and while it seems such a simple thing, it really does make a big difference!

Do you have any single-task or highly specialized kitchen gadgets that you’ve found you simply can’t do without? Let me know and I’ll add them to this list!

The Best Sites for Deals and Dining

The Best Sites for Deals and Dining

Eating out at your favorite restaurants is always a fun way to treat yourself, but ooph – those prices can be crazy steep! Even if you opt for water over soda, a family of four can easily run up a tab of $50 or more (not including that tip, which should be 20%!)

Cooking at home every single day gets exhausting, though, even if you’ve made things easier by meal planning. So how do you walk that line to stay frugal but still feel free to visit your favorite eatery? Well you use the Internet, of course!

How to Eat Out on a Budget

Unless you value your cooking above everyone else’s, then you have other options to save on your next restaurant visit. A few clicks on your internet browser is all it takes to locate the best sites for dining deals.

Use Groupon to Save Money

Groupon saves you money on a wide variety of stores, hotels, and restaurants. Every Groupon exclusive discount can be accessed when you purchase a voucher.

These online vouchers can help you shave 80%, and more off your next restaurant visit. If you are not inclined to spend money on vouchers, then you’re free to search around their database for free deals from nationwide franchises.  

Browse Yelp for Deals

Many people read Yelp for reviews and directions. You can also use it to find out what discounts a restaurant is currently offering. Look for a green price tag icon next to the business’ name and click on it. This will reveal discounts and specials you would have to scour through newspapers to find.

These deals often are for whole dollar amount deductions or a free food item. Leaving honest feedback about your favorite restaurant might even nab you more perks tailor made for your return patronage.

How to eat out on a budget and save money when visiting your favorite restaurant

Save with Bite Hunter

Similar to Groupon, Bite Hunter is a deal aggregator site that specializes only in restaurants. No need to worry about checking for expiration dates.

Bite Hunter regularly updates their databases in real time to give you only the most recent deals. Every search can be narrowed down by categories such as happy hours, brunches, diners, all the way to four star establishments.     

Eat Local, Refer Local

When it comes to finding local restaurants, Refer Local concentrates all of your search efforts. Enter in some keywords, or the restaurant’s name, along with your zip code. From there, you’ll get dozens of results complete with their hours and menus.

Refer Local even hosts a regularly updated coupon stream. Joining their VIP club can unlock even more exclusive deals not listed on their stream.

Save with Credit Cards

Credit card users love being able to earn cash-back rewards. Upromise.com and ShopDiscover.com are two programs that allow MasterCard and Discover users to save money and earn money.

Upromise by Sallie Mae rewards a full 12% on restaurant purchases with card, plus a 4% new enrollment bonus.

ShopDiscover has an online mall of bonuses available even to carriers with a no fee Discover card. Use ShopDiscover’s portal to purchase vouchers from Groupon or buy direct to get anywhere from 5%-15%.

Keep in mind, some of these deals may not apply for every day rewards. Cash-back bonuses are granted at participating locations and during designated business hours.

Going out to eat and sticking to a budget doesn’t have to be an either/or kind of situation! With the sites mentioned above, you can (literally) have your cake and eat it, too.

What’s your favorite place to eat out? Comment below and let me know!

5 Ways to Make Yourself Financially Secure This Year

5 Ways to Make Yourself Financially Secure This Year

Do you dream of being financially stable but fear you’ll never get there? What a wonderful feeling it would be not to have to worry about paying your bills because you know you’ll have the funds. You’re saving money for future goals, emergencies and are debt-free or close to it. While it may seem unattainable, follow these five ways to make it finally happen this year and you might just find yourself buying that new home among Winnipeg real estate or wherever your heart desires.

Financial Security Tips for 2019

financial security

 

Create a Budget

A Gallup poll showed that only about a third of Americans maintain a household budget. If you fall under the majority, it’s time to create a budget, which means taking a good look at all your income and how much you’re spending. Make a list of all your bills, including groceries, transportation, car payments, credit card payments, student loans, insurance, your mortgage and rent, and so on. Then total up all your earnings. Subtract your expenses from your income and you’ll find out if you’re living beyond your means.

Cut Expenses

If you’re overspending, and most of us are, you’ll need to prioritize expenses and see where you can cut back. Even if you aren’t, it can be a good way to help you save more. Review your spending habits and look for areas that can be eliminated or cut back such as an unused gym membership, that daily cup of Starbucks coffee, frequent dining out or even cable television. The more you cut, the more your financial situation will improve.

Write Down Your Goals

Nearly as important as having a budget and trimming expenses is writing down your goals, which makes it easier to create an actionable plan, stay disciplined and motivated. What do you want to do? Do you hope to buy a house, pay off your credit card debt and/or student loans, or travel the world? When you save for something rather than simply saving to save, it will help you focus more.

Get Credit Card Debt Under Control

If your credit card debt is out of control, get a handle on it by ranking each card from highest to lowest interest rates then work on paying them off starting with the highest interest rates first, while still paying at least the minimum payments on all the others. Living below your means is key to long-term financial success. If you regularly spend all your money, or more money than you make, you can’t expect your savings to grow or become financially stable.

Set Up Automatic Transfers to Savings Accounts

It’s much easier to save when you set up automatic transfers to fund savings accounts. After a while you won’t even notice it coming out of your checks, and by paying yourself first you won’t be limited to saving whatever happens to be left, which often is much or anything at all. When you set up automatic savings and then just forget about it for a while, it will start to add up quickly and you’ll be more motivated to stick with it.

So how about it? What will YOU be doing in 2019 to make your family more financially secure? Comment below and let me know!