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June – 2013 – Frugal Novice
Monthly Archives

June 2013

July Cleaning Calendar

Are you looking for the latest version of my free printable cleaning calendar? Click here to get the newest PDF – one you can use for each month!


Click here to download a free printable of July’s cleaning calendar!


Create a Safe & Healthy Home with Seventh Generation {#HealthyBaby}


Note: I am participating in a compensated Seventh Generation campaign with The Motherhood.  All thoughts and opinions are honest and are my own.

I’ve been a big fan of Seventh Generation products for a while, and now I have another reason to love them – they’re helping to raise awareness about all the chemicals our children are exposed to so we can try to make the world a healthier place for our kids.  Seventh Generation and The Motherhood have partnered up with Healthy Child Healthy World for a Twitter Party  tomorrow, June 25, at  noon Central time, to talk about creating a healthy environment for our babies and kids.

OpenWindowI got to go to a virtual party the other day with Seventh Generation, The Motherhood, Healthy Child Healthy World, and Stonyfield Organic –  and was really surprised at some things I learned. Like, did you know that indoor air can be more polluted than outdoor air? It’s a good idea to open up your windows and let fresh air in! I know that’s just one of many tips I’ll be employing in our home. Here are a few other actions you can take to decrease chemical exposure for your kiddos:

1.Take off your shoes at the door: 85 percent of the dirt in our homes is tracked inside on the bottom of our shoes. It’s not just dirt, but toxics like lead, pesticides, gasoline residue and more. Keep your home safer by taking off your shoes. It’s the public health equivalent of washing your hands.

2.Buy safer body care: Children are exposed to an average of 27 care product ingredients on a daily basis that have not been found safe for developing bodies. Protect your family’s health by avoiding products with ingredients like parabens, synthetic fragrances & triclosan. For a list of most-toxic offenders, download our free eBook, “Easy Steps to a Healthy & Safe Nursery.”

3.Eat more whole foods: Processed foods may be convenient, but they’re also loaded with sweeteners, artificial flavors and colorings, and synthetic preservatives. These lack nutrients and many are also linked to health issues like ADHD and even cancer.

  •  Research from the University of Washington suggests you can immediately and dramatically reduce the pesticide content in a child’s body by switching to organic foods.
  • Stonyfield Organic offers an arrangement of foods for babies, kids and adults; pure, delicious organic yogurts, smoothies, soy yogurts, ice cream and milk.
  • They are all made without: Synthetic hormones, Toxic Persistent Pesticides, GMOs, & Artificial Ingredients

4.Ban the can: Bisphenol-A (BPA), a hormone disruptor that has been linked to everything from obesity to cancer, is in the plastic resin that lines most canned goods—from soups to sodas. Look for foods packaged in glass or eat fresh, dried, and frozen options.

For more easy steps, visit www.healthychild.org/easysteps

You can also urge senators to strengthen and pass the Chemical Safety Improvement Act (CSIA) – just click here to find and message your senator!

And did you know you can host your own Healthy Baby Home Party? Healthy Baby Home Party began four years ago as a way to spread awareness of the dangers of chemicals among moms and caregivers. There will be 2,000 Healthy Baby Parties going on among moms in homes, churches, schools and more!

And, don’t miss this… you can get a $1 off eCoupon for Seventh Generation products! 


Of course, don’t forget about the Twitter party I mentioned at the beginning of this post! Please join us tomorrow, Tuesday, June 25, at 1p ET/noon CT/10a PT to learn more about this important topic while learning simple, affordable ways you can make your home safer.

Where: Twitter – follow the #HealthyBaby hashtag to track the conversation. You can see the details and RSVP via this Twtvite: http://twtvite.com/healthybabyparty – but if you don’t RSVP, you can still attend!

 Hashtag: #HealthyBaby

Prizes: Five prizes will be awarded throughout the party to participants who respond correctly to trivia questions. Each winner will receive a package of Seventh Generation products.

Hosts: @theMotherhood, @CooperMunroe, @EmilyMcKhann, @SeventhGen

Keep your Kids #Cybersafe!

CyberSafeQuiz“I participated in a campaign on behalf of Mom Central Consulting for Boys & Girls Clubs of America. I received a promotional item as a thank you for participating.”

Did you know that June is National Internet Safety Month? This is a great time to bring up internet safety with your kids, or for you and your spouse to talk about ways to keep your kids safe online. Our two boys are 5 (almost 6) and 4, and are really tech-savvy, so we know internet usage is right around the corner for them. They’ve only minimally been online so far, always with us helping them. Now that they’re getting older, we are definitely thinking about parameters to set to keep them safe from things we don’t want them to see online. Of course, internet isn’t only about what kids see – with social media being so prevalent, you have to worry about how other people treat them online.

We plan to keep a computer in a public area of the house, and if the kids want to be on the computer they’ll need to know we’re right there and can see everything they’re doing. I’m also planning to install some security software – there are all sorts of great options out there to allow parents to customize settings to just what they need. Of course, most of all I want to talk with my kids and develop a relationship with them that lets them know they can talk to me about anything – and my husband feels the same way. Communication is a vital part of being able to protect our kids. 

The Boys & Girls Club of America is aware of the need for protecting our kids online, and they’ve created an online quiz to help you test your cyber smarts. I took the quiz, and I’m a Survivor! It’s a quick process to take it, and you can pick up some great tips along the way. Be sure and hop over to their site and take the quiz yourself – it’s worth a few minutes to better equip yourself to protect your kids. Click here to go straight to the quiz.

Be sure and watch the video while you’re there, too – I learned some surprising facts from it, like the fact that 1 in 3 teens have been cyberbullied. That’s a huge percentage, and it goes to show we need to be vigilant in protecting our kids online just as much as offline.

I hope you’ll take the time to go over to the Boys & Girls Club of America site and check out the resources they have available. Be a part of National Internet Safety Month and find out more about keeping your kids cybersafe.



10 Natural and Economical Ways to Clean Your Home

Note from Christi: We’ve been trying to use more natural cleaners in our home, so this guest post felt like a great fit. I hope you’ll enjoy these tips for cleaning your home naturally – and saving money while you’re at it!

Taking a look in the cupboards of the modern household can yield some pretty unsettling results.
Our homes are full of overpriced, chemical-laden products that can hold some serious long-term health implications for you and your family, and let’s not forget the environmental impact caused by the disposal of these toxic chemicals.

There are a growing number of natural cleaning products available on the market; however, they can still be quite pricey because the demand is increasing as more and more people become conscious of their health and environment.

Instead of paying through the nose for household cleaning products, try replacing them with some of the following methods:

  •  Leave an open pack of baking soda in your refrigerator. The baking soda will absorb unpleasant odors and keep your fridge smelling fresher for longer.
  •  Make your sponges and scouring pads last longer by microwaving them for a minute, this will kill any bacteria.
  • Vinegar and baking soda make a excellent cleaning products which can be used to disinfect your floors, countertops, and tiled surfaces. You can also try using apple cider vinegar to leave your home with a nice apple scent.
  • Baking soda is also great for deodorizing carpets; just sprinkle some over your carpets an hour or two before you vacuum.
  • This may sound obvious, but always clean from the top and work your way down; start by cleaning shelves, blinds, and cabinets, and finish by vacuuming the floor. This ensures you pick up all the dust and dirt that falls to the floor while you clean the higher objects.
  • Adding a touch of vinegar to the water when cleaning silverware, windows, and faucets will prevent smudges and water spots.
  •  Toothbrushes make excellent tools, ideal for cleaning keyboards, cheese graters, faucets, showerheads, hard-to-reach piping, and any other tight spots that could stand to benefit from scrub.
  • Stained cups can be brought back to their former glory by simply tossing in some vinegar and wiping with a cloth. You can also remove stains from kettles and coffee makers by boiling four parts water with one part vinegar.
  •  To thoroughly clean your chopping blocks, squeeze lemon juice into the cracks and indentations, leave to sit for 5-10 minutes, and then wipe clean. This will fully disinfect the surface.
  •  Lemon juice and vinegar are both great for removing grease, mildew, and many other stains. Before using harsh chemical cleaners, always give these acidic alternatives a shot and you might be pleasantly surprised.

The possibilities really are endless when it comes to cleaning your home in an economical and non-toxic way. Don’t limit yourself to just the suggestions made here; use your imagination and see what other alternatives you can come up with.

The companies who manufacture commercial cleaning products don’t want you to know this but you can easily kit yourself out with an arsenal of largely safe and environmentally-friendly cleaning products that will are a fraction of the cost.

How about a challenge: See if you can clean your entire home using only natural alternatives!

Author Bio:

This article was written by Oliver Harding at www.TheBestDiscountCodes.com, providing the best voucher codes on the web.

Get Your Dishes Sparkling with Cascade Platinum Pacs – and Enter the “My Platinum” Instagram Contest!


“I participated in a campaign on behalf of Mom Central Consulting for Cascade. I received a product sample to facilitate my review and a promotional item as a thank you for participating.”

With three children, our dishwasher is pretty much always full, and is a vital component of our kitchen. I remember when Brian and I were newlyweds living in our first house with – GASP – no dishwasher! We were thrilled when we moved and finally had one, and now it’s a must-have for whatever home we’re in.

Of course, even with a dishwasher you can still end up with dishes that aren’t as clean as you’d like, if you’re not using the right detergent. We’ve used some in the past that have left a film on our dishes, which particularly shows up on our cobalt blue Fiesta Ware. Not the most appealing look, especially when we’re entertaining friends!


I was thrilled to learn about Cascade Platinum Pacs, which have a triple action “recipe” that will leave my dishes pretty much spot-free. The unique liquid-top dual surfactant system delivers exceptional shine for dishes AND helps keep your dishwasher sparkling – that’s a huge thing for me, too (no one wants a dingy dishwasher)! The Platinum Pacs also:

  • Power away tough, 24 hour stuck-on food
  • Eliminate the need to pre-wash dishes
  • Help maintain the look of new machines and help prevent additional hard-water film build-up
  • Deliver exceptional dishware shine

Just stick one in the detergent area of your dishwasher, close the lid, start your dishwasher, and voila! Easy, clean, sparkling dishes.


I’m thrilled to have Cascade Platinum Pacs to use in our dishwasher. We’ll be moving soon to a new construction home, and I love the idea of starting off the use of the dishwasher with these pacs to keep my dishes AND my dishwasher fresh. And of course, when you move to a new house part of the fun is having friends over for dinner, and I’ll look forward to serving them on sparkling plates, with ice cold sweet tea in crystal-clear glasses. After all, people eat not just with their mouths, but with their eyes too – if something doesn’t look appealing, it’s a whole lot harder to enjoy it!

Top Chef judge, and editor of Food + Wine magazine Gail Simmons has partnered with Cascade to discuss why presentation is just as important as preparation. She says, “The easiest recipes pop with unexpected, gourmet presentations. Drizzle bright sauces on sparkling white plates or layer desserts in crystal-clean glassware. Keep your presentation sparkling with Cascade Platinum, which keeps dishes perfect for anytime entertaining and impromptu guests.”

Check out some plating tips from Gail in this video:

Also, I’m sure you noticed the word “contest” in my post title above – this is a fun, easy Instagram contest you should definitely enter! Visit the contest landing page for info on how to enter and submit images. Each week, two contestants will be selected to receive a brand new Whirlpool dishwasher. Awesome, right? Additionally, one lucky grand prize winner will receive a Platinum kitchen makeover! To win, be sure you register and that your photos are tagged with #MyPlatinum and @MyCascade. Week 1’s theme was “My Platinum Plate” – here are the remaining themes so you can get to brainstorming!

  • Week 2: My Platinum Bite – Show your best bite and most creative use of sparkling silverware! (June 10-16)
  • Week 3: My Platinum Clink – Show how you serve up creative concoctions in sparkling glasses. Cheers! (June 17-23)
  • Week 4: My Platinum Table – Show your sparkling tablescape for your most special celebrations! (June 24-30)

Again, click here to get to the Instagram contest details. Be sure and keep up with Cascade on Facebook, too!

Give Your Little Ones Summer Style with Gymboree!


Note: We received a gift card to acquire clothing to facilitate this review. All opinions are honest and are my own.


If you’re the parent of children, it’s likely that you’ve heard of Gymboree. Their clothing for babies and kids is high quality, affordable, and OH-so-cute! As much as I love shopping for my boys, I had an absolute field day shopping for E from the Gymboree site. The hardest part was honestly just whittling down my huge list of what I wanted!

I ended up getting several outfits for E, including a flower girl dress for my brother’s upcoming wedding (stay tuned for pics of that in early July!). Check out my absolutely adorable finds:



LOVE this sweet shirt and shorts set. The polka dots, the bow, the embroidery – need I say more? It’s a great breezy outfit for the Texas summer heat.


This seersucker shirt and coordinating chambray shorts are another favorite. The materials are light and I love how the pieces are tied together with the buttons.



I can’t tell you how many compliments we’ve gotten on this little shirt and jeans set – the coordinating details Gymboree thinks of just go above and beyond what you find at other places. And aren’t the shoes just perfect? They’re still a little big, but soon she’ll be able to wear them with this outfit, the one above, and other outfits too.


This last outfit is one I’d totally want if they made it grown-up size. Soooo cute, right? She can wear both pieces separately, too, which adds to the versatility of them both.

Have you been to the Gymboree site lately? If not, I’d hightail it over there… I’m already eyeing new items, like this great zebra-print set:



Or, just in time for summer, this patriotic set (so perfect for 4th of July, isn’t it?):



And don’t forget, I’ll be back with another post after my brother’s wedding to show you the flower girl dress I got for E – it is so sweet!




{Giveaway!} Keep Your Kids Safe with SANUS TV Mounts



Note: SANUS is providing me with a TV mount, and is providing one for the giveaway. I am not being compensated monetarily for this post. All opinions are honest and are my own.

Most of us now have flat panel TVs in our homes – I know we were glad to make the switch from having a huge heavy TV to one much lighter and more slim. Of course, those of us that are parents think about the safety issues that can arise from having a flat panel TV. With the old big box TVs, they were often so heavy that we knew they weren’t going anywhere. Flat panel TVs can be much easier to tip over, creating a safety hazard in our homes.

Fortunately, with SANUS TV mounts there’s any easy solution – just mount the screen on the wall, securing it AND getting it out of the reach of tiny fingerprints!

VMAA26b_R_angleSANUS, the leading designer and manufacturer of flat panel TV wall mounts, has partnered with Safe Kids Worldwide to help educate consumers on the risk of unsecured flat panel TV’s, SANUS and Safe Kids Worldwide offer safe solutions for families across the nation by reducing TV tip-over related injuries and fatalities.

A 2011 US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) report on flat panel TV safety revealed:

  • A child is killed every three weeks from an unsecured TV
  • Every 45 minutes a child visits an emergency room due to a TV tip-over related injury
  • Between 2000 and 2011, 215 fatalities have resulted from TV tip-over
  • An estimated 17,000 people each year, the majority of which are children, are treated for injuries from TV tip-overs
  • Reported cases have increased almost 25% from 2006  to 2010, and over the last 10 years, injuries have increased by 31%

SANUS TV Mounting Tips:

  •  Easy 1, 2, 3 installation with a wall template to ensure even placement
  • Online video walkthrough of simple installation available at any time
  • No additional tools necessary – all required installation hardware is included in package
  • Live customer support available 6 days a week

Here’s a SANUS TV Safety Video you can watch, too:

And guess what? SANUS wants to help make your TV viewing safer, and is letting me give away one of their tilting mounts! The winner will get to select the mount from this page that best fits their TV.

It’s super easy to enter – just use the Rafflecopter below!

This contest is open to all U.S. residents aged 18+. Entries will be accepted until the end of the day (midnight Central) Friday, June 21. By entering this giveaway you agree to the Official Rules.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

What is Part D?


Note: I wrote this compensated post in partnership with Walgreens. All opinions and experiences within this post are honest and are my own.

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about how to save on Medicare Part D costs. A lot of Americans are enrolled in Medicare Part D, but many of those people don’t completely understand the benefits, or how they can save money. I love this infographic below – it gives some important facts that really paint a picture of how important it is to be aware of how Medicare Part D costs work – you might be missing out on a chance to save money if you don’t understand.
WalgreensVERT FINAL\

Did you know how much you could save on prescription copays by using a pharmacy like Walgreens that  is in the network of hundreds of Medicare prescription drug plans. Walgreens also participates in the preferred networks of four national Part D sponsors.

If you or your loved one is a Medicare Part D beneficiary, be sure you’re aware of how things work and make sure you’re getting all the savings you can! Just think of what you could be spending that money on.

Note: I wrote this compensated post in partnership with Walgreens. All opinions and experiences within this post are honest and are my own. For more information on Medicare Part D, click here

June Cleaning Calendar

Are you looking for the latest version of my free printable cleaning calendar? Click here to get the newest PDF – one you can use for each month!

Click here to get the cleaning calendar for June! I’m sorry for getting it up late – I meant to get it up last night. Happy cleaning! I really like this month’s cleaning tips – have you tried either of these before?