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Top 10 Ways to Use Coconut Oil

coconut oil 10 ways

Coconut oil is natures gift that keeps on giving.  It is the heal all, fix all, cook all and just all-in-one most amazing natural product. The benefits of coconut oil seem to be unlimited. Whether you are looking for natural remedies to improve your healthy,  smell better or heal minor aches and pains, coconut oil is there to the rescue!

Top 10 Ways to Use Coconut Oil:

  1. Cooking and baking (a great dairy free replacement to butter.)
  2. Moisturizing Lotion  (as well as for Psoriasis or Eczema when used daily)
  3. Homemade deodorant or deodorant bars
  4. Eye-makeup remover
  5. Diaper Rash Ointment
  6. Cradle Cap Ointment (Massage on babies head, leave on for a few minutes and gently rinse with a warm wash cloth)
  7. Yeast infections
  8. Natural Bug Repellent (Mix with catnip, rosemary or mint essential oils as a natural bug repellent)
  9. Athletes Foot
  10. Increase weight loss and increase energy (when taken daily)

Here is a GREAT deal on Coconut Oil so you can test these remedies out for yourself! Amazon has this Nutiva Organic Virgin Coconut Oil, 54-Ounce Jar for just $19.38. This is a fantastic deal and YES you will want to buy it in this larger quantity! Especially if you are planning on using it to replace your cooking oils.

How to Prepare for the Holidays and Survive Holiday Debt

 prepare for the holiday

The Holidays are full of fun, great memories, excitement and unfortunately often times debt. Here are a few helpful hints for preparing your bank account for the upcoming Holiday spending and surviving the Holiday Debt.

1. Sell, Consign or Trash It
Earn some extra Holiday spending money by getting rid of items you no longer need, want or are simply cluttering your home. Sell your larger items on local Trade Groups, Craigslist or have a garage sale. Your kids outgrown clothing or clothing that no longer fits your “style” can be sold at a local consignment store or sale it online at ThredUp. Phones, tablets and laptops that no longer work or are being used can be sold to Gazelle for cold hard cash! For all of the items that cannot be sold but need to go in order to make space for the new stuff coming into the house for the Holidays I recommend either donating or trashing it.

2. Stash the Cash
Whenever you find cash in your purse or wallet, set it aside in a special Holiday piggy bank. Since I nearly NEVER have cash, I like to always request $10 or $20 cash back whenever I am at the grocery store. Then when I get home I put that cash hidden away in my Holiday savings. No one in the house knows where it is. Plus it is out of sight out of mind – making it easier to not spend on silly everyday items that we don’t actually “need”.

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6 Potty Training Tips to Success

potty train to success

I am about to potty train my fourth baby. Not only that but I also potty trained my niece and nephew – so that’s a total of 6 babies I have tried, error-ed and succeeded in the marvelous journey of potty training (no sarcasm there LOL). After trying every single method in the book, here are some of my favorite tips for potty training.

Rewards Galore: As a parent I really try to stay away from this method, but when it comes to potty training all bets are off. I have found bribery to be the absolute best way to get kids interested in going potty. I have always used fruit snacks or M&M’s for a reward when going potty. They would get 1 piece for pee-pee and 2 pieces for poop.  Once the kids get better at going potty occasionally I usually take them to pick out a toy that they REALLY want from the toy aisle. I then buy that toy and put it on top of the refrigerator where they can see it and be reminded that they can earn it. I then tell them that if they can go a whole day (or you can make it more days if you want) without an accident I will give them their toy!

Look for signs -Timing is everything: Before even getting out the potty seat and purchasing big kid patties – make sure you watch for signs that your child is ready to potty train. Some of these signs may be: telling you when they are going potty in their diaper, the ability to pull their pants up and down, can speak or communicate their needs to you, wakes up dry at night, asks to go potty and others. Once your child is showing several of these signs it may be time to potty train. If you start and find that your child is just not interested remember timing is HUGE. They may just not be ready…there is no shame is stopping the process and revisiting it later. I had to do this with my 3rd child. We had 2 or 3 potty training sessions (about 2 weeks each time) before I finally decided I would wait until she initiated it. A few months later she initiated potty training and sure enough she practically potty trained herself!
***Once you feel the timing is right…try taking your toddler to the store to get them excited! Let them pick out their new big kid panties, the potty seat, stickers and whatever else you need to get started!

potty training sticker chart

Praise – Praise – Praise: Kids will do just about anything for praise. My first two kids (girl and boy) loved sticker charts for when they went potty. Every time they went pee they got one sticker and if they pooped they got 2. When they filled up a full column they received a reward or prize. I also found that especially in those first early days of potty training if the kids actually went potty if I jumped up and down, danced, say a little jig, my kids just loved it! I also used to celebrate with a call to grandma…oh they love that! Print this fun Potty Training Sticker Chart

Schedule and Frequency: When you initially start potty training I recommend doing it when you are planning on being home A LOT! Get a potty seat out and easily accessible in your home. Start out with a schedule. for instance, wake up sit on the potty, after they eat sit on the potty, before nap sit on the potty, when they wake up again sit on the potty…and so on. After a few days of that add more potty time. Set a timer for every 20 minutes and have your child sit on the potty seat every time the timer goes off. You can give them a reward for sitting for 2 minutes at first if they are not interested in sitting on the potty this often. I guarantee if you offer one M&M each time they sit there – they will be excited to sit on that potty! 

Make it convenient and fun: Potty training can be so tedious and boring. Make it fun. My kids ALL loved having a basket filled with books to read while sitting on the potty. We also had a handful of songs we enjoyed singing during the duration of potty time.  I also found that making everything convenient is super helpful. Maybe put the potty seat in the living room near the TV or toys where they hang out. I know it can sound kind of nasty…but what’s worse – your child playing near the potty seat you recently cleaned or your child having an accident all over the floor because their potty seat was too far away! For little boys don’t forget they start learning to potty sitting down. You don’t want to rush into teaching them to stand up or believe me it will be a HUGE  mess for you. However when you are ready to teach them to stand up make it fun. Throw in a few cheerios and have your little guy play a little target practice!

Go panties and don’t go back: The process of potty training can be quite stressful for your little one. Add in constantly switching between pull ups and panties…and they just can’t get it right! Once you start potty training try to only wear panties (except when sleeping), even when you are out and about. I know it sounds miserable. But it is so hard for toddlers to remember when they are wearing panties and when they are in a diaper.

Here is a printable Potty Training Chart perfect for helping you get started! Good luck with your potty training journey and please come back and share your thoughts, stories, successes and even failures. We are all parent’s just trying to figure this potty training thing out!

potty training pinterest

Plus don’t forget to checkout Amazon for all the best deals on potty training accessories: undies, potty seats, stools and more!

10 Family Friendly Fun Fall Activities

family friendly fall

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Car Seat Safety Tips

These awesome Car Seat Safety Tips were brought to you by the experts at Safety 1st

child safety

Did you know that September 14-20 is Child Passenger Safety Week. National Seat Check is this week on Saturday September 20th.  Car crashes are a leading cause of death for children 1 to 13 years old, and often times deaths and injuries can be prevented by proper use of child restraints and seat belts. Get your child’s car seat checked on September 20th and put your mind at ease with the knowledge that your child’s car seat will keep your child safe! Go HERE to find a car seat check location near you.

Importance of Rear Facing
In March of 2011 the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) updated their car seat recommendations advising that children should remainrear facing until the age of two.  According to a study in the Journal of Injury Prevention children under the age of two are 75% less likely to die or be severely injured in the event of a car crash if they are rear facing. When a child is rear facing their head, neck and spine are better supported and in the event of an accident, crash forces are distributed over the child’s entire body.

Location
Typically the center rear seat is the safest place for a car seat, and never install a car seat in the front seat.  If your car does not have a latch connector for the middle seat, you can use the middle seat belt to properly secure the base.  When installing, make sure the base of the car seat moves no more than an inch from side to side. An easy way to test this is to hold at the belt path.

Car Seat Expiration
Car seats do have an expiration date, it is recommended that car seats be replaced every 5-8 years, or immediately after a crash.  The reason for an expiration date is because plastic can warp and materials can fray, which can make car seats not as effective in the event of a crash.  Additionally car seat technology and state and federal car seat regulations change over time.  Important warning labels may wear out and instruction books may get lost, which can lead to improper use of the car seat.

Safeguard the Car
Childproof the inside of the car and eliminate projectiles.  Anything in the car that is not secured is a possible projectile – even a child’s toy, or a water bottle. In a crash, objects take on greater weight due to crash forces.

Child Safety Seats by Safety 1st

  • onBoard 35 Air +Infant Car Seat: Air Protect + combines the advanced protection of the Air Protect® cushion system with patented GCell HX™ foam designed with hexagonal shapes for superior protection around the torso. TOGETHER they provide full body side impact protection.
  • Advanced SE 65 Air +Convertible Car Seat: For children from 5-65 pounds. In addition to Air Protect +, the Advance 65 Air + uses a steel-reinforced metal frame for extra stability and includes a 4-position recline for an optimal fit to your vehicle. We’ve also included color-coded belt paths and installation labels to help you install it quickly and correctly.
  • Summit® Booster Car Seat: 22-40 pounds with Belt-positioning at 40-100 pound.  Fully loaded with ease-of-use features that parents will appreciate: Like the 4-position QuickFit™ headrest which adjusts without the need for rethreading and a 5-point safety harnesswith Center Front Adjust.
  • Incognito Kid Positioning Seat: A new category for car seats. The goal for Safety 1st is to help educate parents that any child under 4’9” (57”) in height should still be in a belt positioning seat. The Incognito blends into the car and prevents slouching to ensure comfortable and proper positioning of the seat belt.  The introduction of this seat has helped to extending child restraints to accommodate children 60 to 120 lbs. and up to 60 inches.

What not to buy at Costco (Plus what you SHOULD buy and at what price)!

costco what not to buy

I  have shopped at Costco for years. However when I started couponing 5 years ago I began to realize that not everything is a “good” deal at Costco. Don’t get me wrong there are some great deals at Costco…but there are definitely a few items that are on my NEVER buy list.

What NOT to buy at Costco:

  1. Toiletries: While browsing the toiletries aisle at Costco you will quickly realize that the average cost per unit is well over $2-$3 per item. For instance, Schick Hydro 5 Blade Razor with 15 Refills are $33.99 at Costco! HOLY MOLY that is a lot of money! If you use coupons stacked with a great store deal you will find that Razors with 1-3 refills included will never cost you more than $1 each! In fact I don’t think I have actually PAID for razors in 5 years! In reality when stacked just right razors can actually make YOU money! The same goes for shampoo, conditioner, shaving cream, toothbrushes, toothpaste, soap, body wash and the list goes on!When to buy price guide:
    * Razors: $1 or less
    * Shampoo/Conditioner: $0.75 or less
    * Body Wash: $0.75 or less
    * Toothpaste: $0.50 or less
    * Toothbrush: $0.50 or less
  2. Paper Goods: Toilet paper, paper towels, napkins and diapers are all on the no-no list. I recommend purchasing all your paper goods with coupons when stacked with an excellent deal or on Amazon when the price is at a STOCK UP price. So what is the stock up price you ask? I buy toilet paper when it is less than $0.20 per single roll. So for instance, Cottonelle 2 ply 36=98 roll toilet paper is $29.99 each….that comes out to $0.30 per roll. Right now on Amazon you can grab Quilted Northern Ultra Plush Bath Tissue, 48=96 Double Rolls for as low as $19.15 with subscribe & save and Amazon mom…making your total just $0.20 per roll!When to buy price guide:
    * Toilet Paper: $0.20 or less per roll
    * Paper Towels: $0.50 or less per roll
    * Diapers: $0.17 per diaper or less (Go HERE for a HOT deal for Huggies diapers just $0.14 per diaper on Amazon)
  3. Laundry Detergent: I have found laundry detergent, fabric softner, stain removers and dryer sheets are all 2-3x the cost at Costco than the average sale price at typical store even without coupons. I typically do not pay more than $2.00 for Laundry detergent (even for name brands) or less than $1 each for dryer sheets, stain removers, and fabric softeners. 
  4. Household Cleaners: You can typically get household cleaners such as 409, Clorox, Lysol, Windex and others for around $1.25 or less  at the grocery/big box stores. At Costco you will pay more than $2.50 a piece even with a Costco store coupon.
  5. Cereal: You can consistently get cereal for a $1.00 or less per box when you stack coupons with a store deal. Cereal is NEVER that cheap at Costco even with coupons.

What you SHOULD buy from Costco:

  1. Dairy: I have found that when yogurt is on coupon at Costco it is sometimes cheaper than the grocery store. But not all of the time. However, milk, cheese, cottage cheese, eggs and other dairy products are in general a good buy at Costco. 
  2. Specialty Items: Costco gets some fabulous products that are significantly cheaper than if you purchase from the manufacturer or elsewhere. For instance, I ALWAYS buy my kids footie pajamas from Costco. Around the holidays I will often times buy toys or holiday specific decor that is  unique to Costco and cannot be found just anywhere. Or specialty items that only select retailers sale…Costco charges significantly less commission on items sold in store than most major retailers. So many times new or smaller companies will demo/promo their products at Costco in order to get their name and product out there without it costing them nearly 50% in store commission fees. (For instance, Walmart charges manufacturers 50% off the sale price of an item to be sold in their store…so for a start up or newly growing company that is completely unreasonable).
  3. Produce: Being a larger family of 6 we go through produce FAST. I recommend buying your fresh produce from Costco. Even when we were a smaller family we found that we spent less money per pound for produce at Costco even if half of it went bad or to waste than if we purchased at the grocery store. Now I know several coupon bloggers say not to buy produce at Costco but over the years I have simply found it to be more affordable for my family size.

Photo Credit

5 Reasons You Should Eat Chocolate Guilt Free

chocolate

Eat chocolate guilt free from this day forward!

A chocolate a day keeps the crazy mom away! Chocolate not only keeps women (me) sane. It actually has health benefits. I have included 5 reasons chocolate is actually good for you. Even if you are trying to lose weight you may find that eating a few bites of chocolate each week will actually only benefit your weight loss! So let go of that guilt and let yourself indulge (in moderation)!!!

Did you know that Chocolate…

Fills You Up:  Dark chocolate is rich in fiber. So it will fill you up and decrease your hunger and cravings.

Makes Your Heart Healthier: Research as shown that regular chocolate eaters have an array of healthy heart benefits, because of the inflammation-fighting properties found in dark chocolate. Heart benefits include: lower “bad” cholesterol, blood pressure, and a lower risk of heart disease. Plus women who ate a small amount of chocolate on a weekly basis had a  lower risk of stroke.

Is the New Berry: Dark Chocolate is loaded with organic compounds (polyphenols, flavanols, catechins and others) that function as antioxidants.

Provides UV Protection for your Skin: I wouldn’t throw away the sunscreen. However research has shown that dark chocolate the ability to protect your skin from harmful UV rays.

Relieves Cramps and PMS Symptoms: There is no medical reason that I know of for why chocolate relieves the pain of cramps caused by PMS. However, for generations women have craved and eaten chocolate during that time of the month, and for some reason it helps! I personally have experienced reduced symptoms of cramping after indulging in some tasty chocolate. Plus it makes you just a little less cranky to boot!

Bonus Reason to Eat Chocolate!

Chocolate Cheers You Up: If nothing else can make you feel better chocolate might just be the answer. If all it takes to keep me from screaming at my kids is a piece of chocolate…you can bet I am going to pop a piece in my mouth and let the happy feelings take over!

Buy some chocolate HERE and stay healthy :)

How to coupon – after experiencing burn out!

how to coupon

Burned out with couponing? Let’s talk about it!

Ok let’s be honest couponing was all a craze for awhile. Once Extreme Couponing came out things just got plain crazy. I will admit I went from couponing as a hobby, love and extra curricular activity – to simply not wanting to even deal with it anymore. I have spent the past two years living off my small stockpile that I moved across country (I donated 3/4th of my stockpile, about $20k in products). I just haven’t wanted to take the time to learn new stores, clip coupons and “find” new deals for my family. Add those “feelings” with the fact I have four kids, I blog 40+ hours a week and coach gymnastics 30 hours a week…and there simply just wasn’t enough time or energy in the world to put into couponing. (I know I have a lot of excuses!)

Unfortunately my husband and I have had to sit down and look at our spending lately – never a fun task. We found that we are spending nearly $700 a month on groceries! What in the world! When I lived in Washington and could double coupons I had a spending limit of $50 a week (and usually only spent $50 a month).

This simply cannot go on! I need to make a change and it has to happen FAST! I am planning on starting up a new “Grocery Budget” series. I will post a meal plan ideas, tips on budget friendly shopping, recipes and more!

LET’S GET BACK TO COUPONING TOGETHER! 

My hope is that we can together find great deals, share tips, and find the motivation to clip once again. If you are brand new to couponing – than this is a fantastic time to join in on the conversation and series and learn so much!

So here is my goal: After much thought I decided that with store policies tightening up, double coupon not available in my area and our now larger family of six…I want to set my budget at $100 a week. This will include groceries, household items, diapers, cleaners – the works!

Tip #1: Set a couple of coupon related blogs as your FAVORITES on your computer browser.

Tip #2: Write up a weekly menu and shopping list, based on current store deals.

Tip #3: Start hunting printable coupons for the items on your shopping list (since if you are like me you may not have any current coupon inserts)

Anybody else with me? What type of information are you most interested in learning about? Budget friendly recipes, money saving tips, couponing tips, how to make a budget and stick to it?

5 Tips for Saving on Back to School Supplies

back to school savings

With four kids in the house I know the pain of shopping for back to school supplies, clothes, shoe’s…the works. It is not cheap, and there is no way around having to pay for the supplies you need. However, I have a few awesome tips that could save you hundreds.

  1. Make a list: As soon as you can get your  hands on a back to school supply list for each of your kids grades, start writing up a general MASTER list of total supplies needed. This way when you are out shopping or looking for deals you don’t miss out on the total number of pencils, scissors, crayons, etc you need.
  2. Search your home: Go through your kids current art supplies and last years school supplies (my kids always bring home a bag FULL of left over supplies) and check off any items off your list that can be used for the upcoming school year. You can do this same thing with clothes. Go through you kids clothes sort through what can be passed down to the next child. Or if you are like me, check for clothes you may have purchased during an awesome sale months back that can now be pulled out for school clothes. :)
  3. Sell and shop at consignment stores:  Once you have sorted through your kids clothing, you may discover you have several items that are in excellent condition but are at no use for you or your other kids right now. I recommend taking those clothes to a consignment store and trading them in for either cash or credit to buy “new” clothes.
  4. Shop the sales: Starting in July you will start seeing all sorts of “back to school” sales. Many times they are with limits. So make sure you are prepared to make a few trips to the store that week or bring a family member along with you so that you can get the number of items you need. Keep in mind that all of the office stores (Staples, Office Max, Office Depot) will have rock bottom deals each week. For instance, all three stores often times have a 1¢ section, as well as a 25¢ and so on. PLUS don’t forget that the office stores also will price match each other’s ads for exact products.
  5. Use coupons: Coupons like sales are seasonal. So starting in July we will begin seeing coupons in the Sunday Coupon Inserts and online as printable coupons. In order to keep track of what coupons come out and how to use them the very best way possible. I HIGHLY recommend following a deal blog (TheBudgetBandit.com) that will inform you when and how to use those coupons! Don’t want to miss out on those deals go HERE and sign up for email notifications :)

Bonus Tip: Shop on TAX FREE Day! Go HERE to see when your state is offering no taxes on back to school supplies!

angelique extreme couponing rachael Ray

Two years ago I was asked as a guest speaker on the Rachael Ray show to talk about how to save on Back to School shopping. I was also issued a challenge against another couponer to purchase a HUGE list of back to school supplies…guess who won…check it out HERE!

What are the best ways to print and access FREE coupons from home you ask???? I’ve got answers!!!

print coupons home

Ok first of all everything I promote to you I have tried or currently use myself…I try to only promote products I myself would like. I am not here just to blabber your ears off….I truly want to help you!!!

Many of you have asked or wondered “why is the coupon in the post I want not there when I try to print it?” Well unfortunately coupons have a print limit. Once the coupon has reached the number of prints the manufacture has delegated to that coupon the coupon gets removed.  Also at the beginning of each week often times there are coupons that get added…and of course coupons that disappear. Then there is the month end…on the first day of every month the coupons get reset, deleted off the site and/or new coupons are added!!! This is why I when you see a coupon for a product you like it is important to print is right away! Also at the end of every month make sure to print any and all coupons that you like as they could very possibly be gone by the 1st of the next month!!!
“How do I up keep the cost of paper and ink?” This is another very common question I hear. The answer is quite exciting if you ask me!!! Because we are in the perfect season of the year to follow this advice. I always try to stock up on paper, ink, office supplies and all those goodies during the summer when there are so many HOT back to school deals. Luckily right now we are right at the beginning of all those SWEET deals and you can still score big. For instance, this week at Staples you could have grabbed a box of printer paper for only $0.01 after rebate!!! There are also also sorts of additional coupons for $5 off of $30 or percentages off for the office supply stores right now that will help you get your printer ink at a rock bottom price!!!
printer

So with that said…here are a few of my favorite printable coupon sites!!!

More AMAZING coupon resources that I use….

  • Ibotta…Sign up and redeem coupons from your phone! SUPER EASY (I have earned ALOT of money with this app already!)
  • SavingStar.com…Sign up and earn the savings with your store membership cards
  • Shopkick…Sign up and redeem coupons from your phone…plus earn points to redeem for FREE gift cards! (I have earned over $100 with this app already!)
  • Target Cartwheel…This is an app that you sign up to redeem Target coupons on your phone at the register!

There is also ALL YOU Magazine which you can have mailed directly to your home…which comes with $100′s of great rare coupons! Plus you get the bonus perk of all the great recipes and tips in the magazine! I have been getting my All You magazine subscription for 2 years and LOVE IT!!!

*****Ok so that’s all I can think of right now…but if you have any further questions please ask!!! Like I mentioned above…every single coupon resource mentioned above I use and sign up for and print from…they are all awesome and I HIGHLY recommend checking every single one out!!!