Moving into a new area and leaving some of the things we own behind can be difficult. This is extra true if one of the things we left behind was the bed. This is even more difficult when we discover that we aren’t as young as we used to be and can’t sleep on just any surface anymore. Our air mattress is falling apart and, if we are really honest with ourselves we weren’t getting a great night sleep on it anyway. We are ready to consider a used mattress, but how can we make extra sure that’s what we’ll get?
The ideal used mattress is still wrapped in plastic because the previous owners never removed it. These are far and few between so there are a few things that you should check for in a used mattress.
Start off by wondering how many pets the previous bed owners had and how well behaved they were. Did they claw up the sides of the mattress? Did the cats break into the bottom of the box spring and use it as a littler box?
Move on to the other areas of concern. Are their stains on the mattress? Are there any holes in it? If the owner is available ask why they are getting rid of it. Is it because it’s infested with lice or are they just buying a new, larger bed?
Last consider the quality of mattress you are getting. Are there broken springs? Is there a dip in the center where the mattress is broken down? If so you may be better off looking for a different used bed.
Cleaning It Up
You will need lots and lots of disinfectant spray. Once you have found a used mattress that you feel is decent, you will want to spray it down with a disinfectant (not air freshening) spray. Seriously. Soak it. Make sure it is wet with spray when you are finished with it. Spray it on all sides and corners. As it dries you can inspect your box spring. Cut open the bottom of it to make sure there is nothing hiding in it ( spiders, litter box surprises or other garbage. Spray the box spring down on the inside as well as the outer surfaces.
Just In Case
Always have sheets on the bed. In fact if you are still a little paranoid about the mattress ( you knew the owners and while generous, they weren’t very tidy) it may be best to put a plastic or rubber sheet covering on it for the first few weeks. Continue to spray it down weekly (or daily) if you so choose.
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One of the easiest ways to save money and keep healthy is to keep a water bottle handy. Drinking your eight glasses of water a day (more depending on what your level of activity is as well as the weather) can save so much money. Best of all it doesn’t even feel like a money saving venture, and it makes you feel better in the long run.
When you are drinking the right amount of water you seldomly want to drink more. Mainly, this is because your body is already filled with water and you aren’t thirsty. It reduces the amount you would spend at vending machines or on bottled soda, fruit juice or energy drinks. Drinking the right amount of water also helps you feel less hungry throughout the day. You will spend less on snacks or a drive-thru.
Keeps You Hydrated
Medically we need water for our bodies to function properly and clean themselves out. When your body isn’t getting enough water your internal organs need to work harder to clean out your system. You could end up with health problems due to lack of proper hydration such as a UTI. Your body also ends up hanging on to more garbage because there isn’t enough water in your system to flush it out.
There is also heat stroke or heat exhaustion to consider. Drinking water in the right amounts, as opposed to dehydrating fruit juice or soda, makes it less likely for you to have a run in with either of these conditions.
Water is healthier for you in other ways as well. It doesn’t contain acids, dyes, flavoring or an excess of sugar. In fact it’s the one drink that is a natural health benefit to your body. It can help you lose weight, and keep you regular. I’m sure we can all agree that is worth it’s weight in water.
Crock pots are the cute little money savers in the kitchen. They help us save time as well as resources. I have found I have been able to feed my family a much healthier diet using much less in the way of ingredients, and it takes me about an hour of prep time the night before the meal. A crock pot however doesn’t just save time. It also saves money.
When you have company over, or a holiday get-together your crock pot is a great way to make a meal that is big enough to feed everyone without costing you half a pay check. You can cook dried beans, use little meat and add spices. There you have a nice soup or chili and it didn’t cost you more than five or six dollars. If you wanted you could add a homemade bread, corn bread or rice as a side dish. It still would be a group meal that costs about fifteen dollars or less.
Crock pots heat up your food and they do so all day. A crock pot can heat up pretty well. They still don’t generate as much heat as having the oven or stove on. You won’t be spending the money on air conditioning to counter the heat coming out of your kitchen. Plus you can still have a healthy hearty home cooked meal.
While it is true that there are unhealthy recipes that can be made in a crock pot, there are many healthy meals that can just as easily be made. They often require less meat. They help you take a step back from frying foods. Cooking healthy with a crock pot doesn’t even take more effort than cooking unhealthy with a crock pot. This means better nutrition for your family and hopefully less medical problems.
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They could be salt and vinegar chips. It could be those yummy tortilla chips. Chips seem to be a household favorite. Sometimes, however we end up with half eaten bags of stale chips. When you’re looking to save money a good way to is to use the things around you in another way. This is even true of our beloved chips.
Cover A Caserole
Broken up potato chips are a great way top top a casserole. They spread well, have a little crunch and come with their own seasoning. Using different flavors (such as sour cream and onion or BBQ) is a great way to make the same potato casserole recipe taste different if it’s a main meal for your family.
A Main Ingredient
Tortilla chips can be used to make nachos or as a layer in a taco salad. You can nacho cheese flavored for some extra kick of spice. They also work well with a homemade bean and cheese dip. Add salsa and you have a great, healthy snack.
In our home bread seldom goes stale. The same can’t be said of chips. It seams we always have a cup worth of chips that have been deemed inedible lurking at the bottom of the bag. So instead of feeding the ducks bread, we feed them our stale broken up chips. The ducks don’t seem to mind one little bit.
If you like to make your meat with a breaded covering, potato chips are a good covering to use. They have spices and flavoring; they crumble easily. All you need to do is brush your pork chops or chicken legs with a little oil and put them in a bag with the crumbled chips. Then shake the bag until your meat is fully covered; and bake or fry your finished product at your discretion.
We all want to get outside with our little ones, but often find ourselves just staring at each other wondering what to do. Here are six ideas for getting outside with our children that don’t cost an arm or a leg.
Nature Scavenger Hunt
My little guy is really into bugs and I use that to my advantage when we are outside. We save the lives of worms baking on a hot side walk, look for caterpillars and announce when butterflies fly past. It happened so often that we decided to make a game of it. Now we look for a list of bugs as well as new animals. We make a list of critters (from cats to bugs) and go looking for them at the park or in the neighborhood.
There are many games that just aren’t right for inside. Tag, Red Rover and other childhood games are made for the outside. You can tell by all the running and jumping around. These are a few of the games that you and your child can play. You can also make up your own games.
Side Walk Chalk
Side walk chalk is great no matter where you live. If you live near a side walk, have a cement balcony or a cement driveway you can use side walk chalk. Use it to draw a hopscotch or tic tac toe game. Or you can just draw pretty pictures. It’s up to you.
Play With Fire
One night have a very well monitored (and legal) fire pit. Roast marshmallows on a stick and make s’mores, they can be the dessert for the roasted hot dogs on a stick. Tell stories and teach fire safety. This will also teach them the basics of outdoor cooking.
Whether you have a potted flower next to the door or an entire vegetable garden, working in the dirt can be rewarding. It can teach your children to have greater respect for the Earth, knowing that our food comes from it and that we need safe and clean places to grow that food. It also teaches them patience. You need to wait to see a plant grow. There is no instant gratification in a garden.
Lay in the backyard or on a beach with your little one and talk about the colors and shapes of clouds. Watch a storm come in together. Just make sure to get indoors before it starts to rain on you. Cloud expeditions can naturally lead to talking about other things in life, which is why you are out with your little one to begin with.
My daughter loves to do art. Painting, gluing, drawing, coloring, it doesn’t matter, if it is a creative sort of activity she is all over it. The thing is, art supplies can get crazy expensive at the rate she blows throw them! If I were buying scrapbook and other art materials every week to replenish the supplies she uses, I’d be broke before any of our essential bills got deducted out of our bank account! Anyway, because of that I’ve taken to using things around the house that aren’t necessarily earmarked as traditional art supplies to keep our art cabinets well-stocked. Some of what we use are:
Toilet Paper Rolls. These can be turned into anything from binoculars to telescopes to wheels or even small animals. They can be painted, colored, cut up… the possibilities are endless!
Cereal boxes. Instead of banishing these to the recycle bin, we cut them up. The front and back make for a good sized canvas that’s stronger than paper, so it can hold up to gluing and paint better than plain scrap paper will.
Pasta. Macaroni and other shaped pasta has long been a standby in kid’s art. Large pasta with holes can be strung on yarn to make necklaces and bracelets. Older kids can glue colored pasta onto paper in patterns or pictures.
Old marker caps. Have a bunch of dried-up markers you’re about to throw away? My daughter picked through a pile destined for the trash when I wasn’t looking and started gluing the colorful caps onto her pictures. Since then I’ve saved the caps and tossed them in her “stuff to glue” art bins. I just make sure to keep them out of reach of her 1 year old brother, since they are a choking hazard to younger kids!
Fabric scraps. Are you a crafty person yourself? Do you have a bunch of fabric scraps sitting around? Cut some up into smaller bits and let your children use them in their art. It’s a fun way to add a little texture and color to other art supplies.
What else have your kids used in their masterpieces?