My Vacuum Sealer Obsession

My Vacuum Sealer Obsession

When I was offered the chance to review the Crenova 3-in-1 Automatic Food Sealer Saver, I wasn’t quite sure if it was something that would be worth my time. Sure, it seems like a good deal, but I very much subscribe to the Alton Brown line of thinking — don’t have appliances that have only one function, they’ll only create clutter!

Regardless, I thought I figured I’d give it a try and see what happens…and oh. my. goodness.

Crenova Vacuum Sealer Review

Note: The links below are affiliate links, which means I’ll receive commission should you click through and make a purchase. This in no way impacts my recommendation of said product.

Crenova Vacuum Sealer Food Saver Review

I decided to try out the Crenova 3-in-1 Automatic Food Sealer Saver one day after realizing we had way too much leftover galumpki (cabbage and beef). Galumpki is one of my favorite dinners, but go figure, the kids aren’t a fan. Rather than let it go to waste, though, I decided it was a perfect opportunity to see if this food sealer was actually worth a spot in my kitchen.

The Crenova 3-in-1 Automatic Food Sealer Saver is incredibly light weight and seriously could not be easier to use. If you know me, you know that it’s not actually my kitchen so much as it is my husband’s (there’s a reason he runs a keto recipe blog and I don’t!) It’s a good day if I can microwave hot dogs for my kids, let alone work the other appliances!

While not my kitchen, though, this is my blog and I can’t recommend a product if I can’t actually use it. So I skimmed the directions and decided to charge full speed ahead!

The Crenova 3-in-1 Automatic Food Sealer Saver has a few different variables on it, namely the option to customize based on your food. I decided to go with “wet food” for the galumpki to account for the sauce. In a matter of 30 seconds, I not only figured out how to use the but it was done – the galumpki was sealed up and ready for the freezer!!

This appliance is so quick and easy to use. It’s sure to not only save you time (seriously I used to do the ol’ freezer bag dipped in hot water to get the air out enough to freeze stuff!) but it’ll save you so much money as well! Personally I’m going to draft up a meal plan and then keep my husband company one Sunday while he cooks a bunch of freezer meals that I’ll then vacuum seal. Team work, people!! hehe

If you’re on the fence about investing in this product (or gifting it to a loved one!) I would very much recommend you join Crenova Kitchen Appliances for Beginners – it’s a great Facebook group that can help you master this wonderful product. The admin are so kind and helpful and the community itself is just wonderful! Be sure to check it out today!!

 

 

Home Remedies That Actually Work

Home Remedies That Actually Work

Are you looking for natural ways to help your family live healthier lives? Do you believe in the power of natural remedies and want to start using them more intelligently?

There’s definitely a lot to learn and it can be tricky knowing where to start!

When my husband and I first met, he used to tease me about being a witch – and of course I’d have to answer back “I’m not a witch, I’m your wife!” (Princess Bride, anyone?)

It wasn’t commentary on my attitude, but rather my predisposition to homeopathic remedies whenever I was feeling sick. Now before we go too deep into this post, I do want to mention two VERY important things:

  1. I am in no way recommending you forgo talking to your doctor when you suspect something is wrong. I am a professional blogger, not a doctor, so don’t take my word as law.
  2. I do have affiliate links below, which means should you click through to make a purchase on any recommended products/services, I may receive a small commission. This in no way impacts my recommendation of said products/services.

So with that out of the way, back to our point – using nature to help you live a healthier life!

Herbs and Essential Oils Bundle Review

There are a few ways in which I try to maintain a healthy lifestyle on a daily basis. I’ll drink ACV and lemon water, use a bit of coconut oil in my coffee, eat greek yogurt, and will even eat a garlic clove if I’m feeling off.

Heh I can already see a few of you rolling your eyes, but stick with me! In just the examples above, we’re looking at products that are jam packed with antiviral properties (the allicin in garlic and monolaurin from coconut oil) as well as antibiotic and probiotic properties. So again while I wouldn’t tell you to skip your doctor’s advice on medical care or a prescription, being conscious of what we’re ingesting can go a long way in preventing and shortening the duration of many illnesses.

That said, you do have to know:

  • What’s safe
  • What works
  • What to buy
  • Which remedies are right for which situations
  • And then how to use them all (recipes and techniques that actually work!)

With so many conflicting opinions online, finding clear answers can be hard – not to mention time-consuming and frustrating.

 

HEOSB2018 text graphic 2This is why I’m SO excited to talk to you to day about the Herbs & Essential Oils Super Bundle created by my friends at Ultimate Bundles.

This phenomenal set will help you:

  • Match the best remedies to your unique health needs
  • Discover why and how the various remedies actually work (and the science behind it)
  • Use essential oils and herbs in your home for cleaning, relaxation, beauty, skincare, energy, even cooking and more
  • Feel confident with easy-to-follow guides whether you’re just starting out or ready for more advanced uses.

And the best part is, by partnering with the herbalists, certified aromatherapists, and other experts who created these resources (like me!), Ultimate Bundles can offer guidance on these remedies at an 83% discount.

You’ll learn how to use them for relaxation and body care, how to grow or forage for ingredients, how to make safe cleaning or beauty products, and how to respond to common ailments you or your family suffer from. This bundle was created by experts — aromatherapists, herbalists, a chiropractor, a registered nurse, a nutritional therapy practitioner, and more.

I bought this bundle a few weeks ago and I’ve been obsessed with it ever since! If you’re ready to check it out, you can CLICK HERE and get to it! But if you’re still on the fence, let me address some common questions I’ve had while talking to friends and family about this kit…

Keep yourself and your family healthy

What is Ultimate Bundles?

Well if you’ve read my post on Ultimate Bundles before, you know they’re a company that brings together products to sell to consumers at a massive discount; they’re able to sell these bundles at a low cost for a variety of reasons, namely that they’re VERY limited in the times that they sell them and also because of people (like me!) who contribute their products in exchange for a higher affiliate commission fee. It’s a genius business model if you ask me.

What is the Herbs & Essential Oils Super Bundle?

It’s a curated collection of 22 eBooks, 4 eCourses, 6 printables, and 2 membership sites — all about natural remedies, and the use of herbs and essential oils.

What will this bundle help me do?

You’ll find natural remedies for colds, flu, infections, pain, stress, hormones, skin issues, sleeping troubles, and more (plus you’ll understand more of the research and science behind why they work and how to use them safely).

You’ll learn how to make your own (all natural!) lip scrubs, lip balm, hand salve, body scrubs, foot soaks, sunscreen, diaper cream, lotion, soap bars, rollerballs, relaxing sprays, facial cleansers… (and the list could go on)

And last but not least, you’ll learn how to clean your home with toxin-free homemade products, and even enhance your cooking with nutritious and beneficial herbal ingredients from your pantry (or even the wild!).

Better healthy doesn't come from a pill

Who is this bundle for?

It’s for anyone who believes in the power of traditional healing wisdom (combined with modern science) and wants to start using herbs and essential oils more intelligently in their home and life.

You’ll discover detailed information on individual herbs and oils (and how to combine them into effective combinations and easy-to-use remedies), new applications and uses you’ve never thought of, time-saving shortcuts and tips, ways to save money on ingredients by foraging or growing your own, and so much more.

Is there a guarantee?

Yep! 30-days, 100% satisfaction or ALL your money back. Rarely do online purchases come with such a worry-free guarantee, but should you be unhappy for any reason all you do is e-mail the folks at Ultimate Bundles and you’ll get your money back, easy peasy.

When it comes to your health, I know how easy it can be to give in to discouragement. But I truly believe a healthier life is possible for people who embrace the power of natural remedies and holistic wellness. Hopefully it won’t lead to your significant other calling into question the potential of witchcraft, but hey those results you’ll see will certainly be magical!

Buy your bundle today before it’s too late!!

Then comment below and let me know – do you already use any sort of home remedies when you’re feeling ill? Turmeric tea perhaps? Or maybe lemon water? Share with me in the comments!

DIY home natural remedies to help families stay healthy and avoid getting sick

The #1 Way to Save Hundreds Every Christmas

The #1 Way to Save Hundreds Every Christmas

Saving money on Christmas isn’t always easy, but with this little “trick” you can save your family hundreds of dollars (and no, it doesn’t involve buying gifts ahead of time or doing a savings plan all year long!)

The Best Way to Save Money at Christmas

Save money on Christmas by implementing this one smart trick that can literally save you hundreds of dollars, even after the holiday season!

This is actually something you can implement all year long, but goodness knows saving money around the holidays is exceptionally important.

First, make sure you’ve signed up for Rakuten. If you don’t yet have an account, sign up via my referral link and you’ll earn an automatic $10. That’s right, step one of this post and you’re already $10 ahead!!

Not sure what Rakuten is? Check out what happened to Ebates!

Next, sign up for an account with Raise. Raise is a website through which you can buy and sell gift cards. Meaning not only can you pick up gift cards at a discounted price, but if Aunt Helen sends you a gift card you’ll never use, you can sell it and use the money toward something else!

Raise is also great in that if you know you’ll shop somewhere on a regular basis (like a specific gas station) you can buy a higher priced gift card and save even more! When you sign up through my Raise referral, you’ll also get $5 off your first purchase. Yep,. that’s right – we’re now $15 ahead!

So now we’re going to use both of these platforms together and really make some magic.

For this purchase, let’s assume your kid has been buggin’ you all year long for a bear from Build-A-Bear – what a perfect gift for Christmas Eve cuddles!

Assuming you’re new to both, here’s how your first purchase could break down:

  1. First, go through Rakuten to Raise so you’ll earn 1%+ back on your purchase.
  2. Search for “Build-A-Bear” and you’ll see gift cards selling at a 24% discount.
  3. Snag a $25 gift card for $19.
  4. Already, you’ve saved $6, but remember you also earned $15 by signing up for Rakuten and Raise.
  5. Oooh but it doesn’t stop there! You’ll earn earn 1% back from your Raise purchase and around 3% back should you make your Build-A-Bear purchase through Rakuten online (only .94 cents, but hey those pennies add up quick!)

Earning with Rakuten + Raise

So your final total?

$19 spent, $21.94 earned.

Yes, you’re reading that right – you just made money while buying your daughter’s Build-A-Bear!!

Now obviously after that first purchase, you won’t have that extra $15 to count on, but even without it, you’d still only be out $18.06 instead of the $25 you would’ve spent without this trick. So on just one present, you’ve saved nearly $7! And while this process might seem just a bit tedious at first, once you see those savings stacking up, you’ll be happy to spend the extra minute earning back money from your holiday shopping!

Be sure to leave me a comment below to let me know what YOU’LL be saving money on this year!

 

 

Candy Free Trick-or-Treat Idea

Candy Free Trick-or-Treat Idea

Many children have food allergies so trick-or-treating can be…well, tricky.

So this year why not skip the candy altogether and make something super fun for the kiddos? This is also a great project if you have children in school who need to bring in goodies for their class.

Skip the candy this year and give away monster kits instead! DIY idea for trick-or-treaters that doesn't include food, great for The Teal Pumpkin Project! Candy-free trick-or-treat idea for Halloween, great for class or party favors. Fun Halloween project to do with your kids.

Last year we made these for my son’s preschool class and on the note at the top, I included a link to this website. Some may see this as shameless promotion but hey! There’s quality stuff here and why not use this as an opportunity to not just share a fun craft, but share more parenting and frugal living ideas.

So without further ado, I present to you…

The Candy-Free Trick-or-Treat Monster Kit

monster kit halloween trick or treat

What You’ll Need for the Monster Kit:

Note: Most of the components are linked to the exact products I bought for mine from Amazon. Clicking through to make a purchase may earn me a small commission, but this in no way impacts my recommendation of these products or the cost to you.

Total cost per kit: $.59

In each baggie, put a can of Play-Doh, 2-4 puff balls, a few googly eyes, and a pipecleaner (you can either fold and put in a whole one, or cut one in half to fit).

Staple the bag shut and then put the label over the staples – this helps people understand what exactly this goodie bag is while also keeping fingers safe from potentially pointy staples.

I then used packing tape to seal the label so that they wouldn’t tear when put in a bag with other trick-or-treat Halloween goodies.

Candy free trick or treat idea

You can even enlist the help your little ones as you assemble these, though I can’t promise they won’t get distracted and start making monsters themselves.

halloween monster making kit

While this may cost a bit more than your usual giant bag of candy, it’s a lot more and the leftovers won’t cause you to put on 5lbs!

And don’t forget to grab your free resources from The Teal Pumpkin Project! The Teal Pumpkin Project is a way for families to let trick-or-treaters know that they have non-food treats available. This is such a kind way to ensure those with food allergies or other conditions are included in the Halloween fun!

What was your favorite thing to get when trick-or-treating?

Comment below and let me know!

 

Emergency Fund – How to Start from Nothing

Emergency Fund – How to Start from Nothing

How much do you have in your emergency fund? $100? $500? Or are you reading this thinking “Emergency fund? Yeah right!” Finding ways to create a savings account shouldn’t be overwhelming. I’ve got some tips and tricks to putting a little bit of cash aside so you can begin developing the emergency savings you need.

Disclosures: The links in this post may contain affiliate links through which I can receive a small commission at no additional cost to you if you make a purchase after clicking on my link.

What is an Emergency Fund?

An emergency savings is just how it sounds – funds that have been set aside to be used only in the event of an emergency. These emergencies can range everywhere from losing your job, crashing your car, or an unexpected illness that leaves you with outrageous medical bills.

It is impossible to be ready for any emergency that comes your way, but one of the best things you can do for yourself and your credit is to create an emergency fund to bail you out of any unforgiving financial situations.

If you’ve seen how I create a budget, you know that we don’t have a lot of wiggle room. Between daycare costs, student loans, mortgage – it’s hard not to live paycheck to paycheck!

When we bought our house in 2014, we obliterated our savings and then some. Despite a thorough inspection and a supposed HUD-regulated appraisal, we ran into a few issues shortly after moving in and had to pay for repairs with a credit card. A year later and $276 in interest later, I’m happy(ish) to say we’ve paid that off and no longer hold any credit card debt. If we’d had an emergency fund, though, we could have used that $276 as an additional payment on our mortgage or car loan, thereby saving us not just the $276, but whatever interest was charged on that payment that was never made.

Why a Credit Card is NOT a Savings

A credit card can be great if you use it properly. Because we do so much of our household shopping through Amazon Prime, we have an Amazon.com Rewards VISA. It’s great because we earn 3% on anything bought through Amazon plus 1-2% on everything else. We even got a $50 gift card when we signed up! The trick is making sure that we only use it on things we already have the cash for. This way we can immediately pay it off once the bill comes but we still earn cash back that we can put towards future purchases. I love going to check out on Amazon and spending next to nothing because of how quickly the rewards stack up!

Notice, though, that I said we only use our credit card when we already have the cash to pay it off. Whether you have the cash tucked away in the bank or you have the freedom to pull it out of a paycheck, the only time a credit card is a reliable option is if you absolutely have a way to pay it off. It is not an option as an emergency fund.If you use your credit card as a way to get yourself out of an emergency, how will you pay it when that bill comes due? For particularly expensive emergencies, that bill could sit on the credit card for months, or even years, before it is paid off and then you’re looking at hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars in interest!

The interest on credit cards can be high, and as you continue to go months and months without being able to pay your debt off, the interest will only continue to grow. If you can’t afford the emergency in the first place, you definitely can’t afford to pay more in interest than you expected. Continuously avoiding paying down credit card debt will also negatively impact your credit. If your credit score gets too low, you will have a difficult time should you need a car loan, money for college, or you want to buy a house. Emergencies are unavoidable, but you don’t want to make one worse by giving it the power to ruin the rest of your life financially.

Why Having an Emergency Fund is a Must

If you’re already living thrifty, you may think you don’t have enough cash to set aside for an emergency fund. I know, I’ve been there. When you’ve created your budget and you’ve got every penny accounted for, it’s easy to say “I KNOW I can’t afford to save…” but truthfully, you can’t afford not to.

It’s frustrating, I know. You know your finances and they already feel stretched to their limits. You may want to click away now, angry that I should so presumptuous as to say you have to start an emergency fund. But, please, stick with me for just another minute.

Any money you can save, even if it’s just $5 a week for now, will add up eventually. Hopefully you won’t experience any emergencies any time soon, but even if you do, any actual money you have will help make a difference in what you have to put on credit.

Let’s say you have a credit card that sits at a 27% interest rate and you experience a medical emergency that costs you $2,500. With a $100 now owed each month (and that’s $100 you already said you don’t have but are now required to find), that bill will take you over three years to pay off and end up actually costing you $3,800.

If, however, you had even just $750 in savings, that same bill (while still costly) will only cost you $2,300 to be paid off in 23 months. So that $750 in savings is actually saving you more than TWICE that in the long run.

A general rule of thumb on how much to have in savings in around 6 months of living expenses; for us, that would be $19,000. I see that number and I immediately want to laugh and cry at the same time. We are no where near that $19,000 mark. In fact, I see that and I’m right there with you – it seems IMPOSSIBLE!

But then I remind myself -it doesn’t need to happen overnight. I think back to what a difference having only $750 makes and then I can breathe again.

How to Grow Your Emergency Fund

Begin saving by making a small goal, maybe one month of mortgage and utility payments. Then take a good long honest look at your budget. What can you cut out or cut back? I bet you can cut your budget by at least 5%.

Here are just a few ideas on how to cut back:

  1. Your cellphone plan. We were paying $160/month for our two phones until we switched to Republic Wireless. Now our bill averages $38/month. Why? Because with Republic Wireless, you only pay for what you use. For example, if you pay 2GB per month ($30) but only use 1GB, you’ll see a $15 credit on your account the following month. I love it!
  2. Check out my post on how to eliminate kids clothes from your budget (don’t worry, they won’t go naked!)
  3. Get rid of cable. I’ll admit, this one was tough for me. Not because we watch a lot of TV but because the one show we do love to watch isn’t available on Hulu or Netflix until after the season is done. Guh. So many spoilers!! But we did it anyway and I’m glad because it saves us well over $600/year.
  4. Have a little one in diapers? There are many ways to slash costs on those, including switching to a generic brand. Check out my best tips on how to save money on diapers!
  5. See if your gas company has a flat rate budgeting plan. This way you know exactly what you’ll need to pay each month versus having more money in the summer and scrambling to find it in the winter.
  6. Declutter your home and put any extra income you earn into your savings account!
  7. Consolidate your student loans and secure a lower interest rate.
  8. If you have credit cards, call and ask them to lower your interest rate. They might refuse, but they might not. It never hurts to ask!
  9. Eat breakfast. Wait, what? Yep, I said eat breakfast. Start your day off right so you’re less likely to splurge on vending machine treats or fast food for dinner.
  10. Do a majority of your shopping online. Not only will you save on gas, but you can often buy in bulk and save on a lot of your groceries or household goods. For example, I never buy baggies in store. At Target, they’re $4.59 for 38 (or .12 cents each). On Amazon, I got 500 for $28.36 (or .05 cents each!)

Once you decide on ways to trim, you will slowly but most certainly reach the goal you have made for yourself. It is also important for you not to view the money you set aside as a typical savings account. Only take money from this particular bank account in the event of a true emergency, which doesn’t include a new cellphone or a new car.

Begin saving by making a small goal, maybe one month of rent or mortgage payments. Set aside as much of your paycheck as you think you can do without, even if it is only a few dollars. You can also spend a bit of time each week earning some extra cash and automatically put that aside for savings. As you continue to set aside little bits, you will slowly but surely reach the goal you have made for yourself.

For many people without much disposable income, developing an emergency fund seems like something completely out of reach. While restructuring your budget can seem overwhelming or stressful at first, it’ll be well worth it in the long run. Setting aside just a few dollars a week can get you on track to a decent emergency fund and keep you from making a bad emergency even worse!

I also encourage you to check out this additional posts on how to make “extra cash” in your spare time:

How to Earn a Steady Income from Home

Ebates – How to Stop Losing Out on Free Money!!

How to Make $1,000/month with Affiliate Marketing

Earn Money Writing for Textbroker

Get Paid to Lose Weight with HealthyWage