Back in School & Blog Update


I feel so badly that I’m ignoring my blogs, but my life has been very busy. The first update I want to share with everyone is that I’m back in college! That’s right. I have taken the plunge to finish my degree. I’m very excited but it’s also proving to be overwhelming. Yes that picture sums up how I’m feeling lately.

I have always regretted not finishing my degree. I had 33 hours under my belt when I was at Nicholls State University from 1993-95. For the last few years, I was on the fence about going back. I regained a lot of my confidence back after dropping 100 pounds. I still feel out of place being older, married, and already having a pre-teen. I have met some other classmates my age so I’m starting to get over that awkwardness. But being older than a couple of my professors doesn’t help at all.

I decided to get my Associate’s Degree in General Studies so I will graduate next spring in May. I’m debating if I should get my Bachelor’s degree, but I’m not sure that I will. I’ll worry about it next year. For now, I have plenty to keep me busy. One of the classes I’m currently taking this semester is a Dreamweaver computer class. I got the program heavily discounted as I’m a full-time student. I’m already learning so much. I really think I would like to learn more about managing websites and even SEO. I am taking a class next semester on social networking which I do have a good bit of knowledge but looking forward to learning more.

I am going to work really hard on getting this blog back on track since I’ve lost readers and page ranks. It’s totally my fault, but I have some major plans for this blog. I am hoping to move this blog to my own host. Then I will give it a major overhaul design wise. Stay tuned as I am planning a big contest next month and unveil the new blog design.

My Renovation Reality

Yes just like the show, house repairs are unexpected and extremely time consuming. Our renovations are coming to an end inside the house thank goodness. I don’t think I ever want to look at another paint brush again. Ok so just a bit of an exaggeration, but I am happy to step back from remodeling for a few months. I plan on doing a few posts about time saving tips that I learned and just show off our projects. I’m extremely pleased with how my house has turned out so far. We saved a lot of money by tackling many things ourselves like patching drywall, caulking trim, painting, and lots of comparison shopping. I’m waiting for it to cool down (say October) before I tackle any outside projects. I want to caulk and weatherstrip my windows to further reduce my electric bills. I still have a couple of small projects to finish up, but I admit that I’m procrastinating as I’m burnt out.

TMR Frugal Living Tip #79- Use Card to Scrape Paint off Wood!

paint-scraper

Today’s frugal living tip is use old credit or debit card when removing paint off wood floors. It could also be an old gift card and some people have used CD’s to scrape. I found the old card to be much easier and didn’t scratch my wood floors as they are not finished but waxed.

You should really use a drop cloth when painting. But if you forget then this technique works well.

So I I really like to use Citrasolve cleaner. Spray a small amount and then use the card to scrape the paint gently.

I find the Citrasolve smells great and polished my wood floors making them look new again. I did try Goof Off, but it didn’t smell nearly as nice. It also didn’t work well at removing the paint. I had to really rub to get any paint up. I gave up and switched to the Citrasolve, and all those paint marks were cleaning up easily.

The credit card was great at removing tiny and big paint drops. I then used a damp sponge mop with warm soapy water to wipe up the Citrasolve.

In the future, I can say I will use a drop cloth when I paint my rooms.

House Remodeling Projects

I can’t believe I haven’t posted in so long. I was going to start another blog about my weight loss journey, but that hasn’t happened yet. I will say the main reason I haven’t posted in so long is I’ve been remodeling my house. We are in the midst of multiple house projects including painting, new floors, plastering drywall, ripping out old and trying to make new items fit. We also had our house leveled, which is great, but now many of our doors have to be shaved or door latches readjusted so doors will shut again. I’m also kicking myself for not doing some before/after pictures. I’m cutting out old drywall around door cracks. My husband wasn’t sure if I could handle fixing all of the crumbling drywall above the tub where we ripped out an old cabinet. I have proved him wrong, and you can’t even tell there were big chunks of drywall missing exposing the wood beneath it. All I can say is the internet, google, and youtube are your friends in diy projects like this.

On the flip side, I have also spent countless hours planning and shopping. I do enjoy all the shopping, but I don’t always enjoy making all the decisions. I can be extremely indecisive plus I love getting a bargain. When I would find something I liked, then I would worry that I could get a better deal somewhere else. I solved that problem by downloading a free app to my iphone to price compare called Shop Savvy. It also lists all the local & online stores with the cheapest price listed first. That cool app has saved me time plus I know if I’m getting a good deal or not. I love technology.

The other reason I haven’t done any blogging is I’m still trying to get my son all the help he needs. That has been an ongoing struggle with the school and doctor. The doctor finally came to the conclusion that my son does struggle with major anxiety along with the autism. The doctor thinks he has more Asperger’s syndrome coupled with anxiety plus the Sensory Disorder. Trying to find a good balance of medications to help him has been very hard. He was having lots of trouble in school at the beginning of the year. He had three different teachers in a matter of two months. Not good for a child who resists any change especially in his routine. That has been a fight at the school along with fighting with the doctor my son needed to be put on an anti-depressant. I hate medicating him, but I knew in my heart he needed to be put on one. Right after Christmas, the doctor agreed with me and was put on Zoloft. He has been doing so much better. He is now making straight A’s again, and I’m curious to see how he did on the ileap. His teacher thinks he did extremely well.

With the summer coming, I’m looking to make some big changes with his diet like I did with mine. I have been struggling some with my weight loss for the last several months. I gain a couple and then lose them. I will save that for another post. All in all, life has been very hectic so I tend to forget about the blog when I get very busy with other projects. I am excited to share pictures and my experience with these projects. I have to share here since my husband refuses to go on Renovation Realities with me. I know we would have the highest rated show ever since I do have a bit of a temper. Ok, so that is a tad of an understatement I admit. I am a bit of a perfectionist so it’s better that I’m doing most of this work myself. I do enjoy having an ipod on this phone since I love to sing while I’m plastering and sanding.

TMR Frugal Living Tip #78

Today’s thrifty living tip is use coconut oil as part of your beauty routine. Coconut oil is truly a wonderful product that is great for eating as well. If you do cook with it, then make sure you get cold pressed and unrefined virgin coconut oil. It’s a little more expensive, but a good quality oil for cooking. There are so many beauty uses for it. People in India and Philippines have been using it for centuries. The women have gorgeous skin and hair. I’ve always noticed how silky their hair looks. The reason coconut oil is so good for hair is that the oil actually sinks into the hair shaft and not sit on top of it. You can google all the wonderful benefits of coconuts which are many. Here are some ways I love using it as part of my beauty routine.

Deep Hair Conditioner– this will make your hair so soft and silky. It’s also great to use if you have a dry, itchy, or flaky scalp. I use it twice a week. I live in a sub-tropical climate so most of the year my oil stays a liquid. During the winter it does solidify so I scoop out a spoonful and melt it for a few seconds in my microwave. I only do a 10 seconds at a time until it’s mostly melted. Then I rub it in my hands and massage all over my scalp and down to the ends. I really concentrate on the hairline in the front. Then I cover my hair with a shower cap but you could use saran wrap. You can leave it on for a minimum of 20 minutes, but as long as overnight. I never sleep with it in my hair and usually keep it on for 1-2 hours. Then I wash it out as normal, and it will not leave your hair feeling oily or greasy. It really does wash all out with shampoo. My hair is never frizzy which is a huge plus for during winter.

Moisturizer– just slather on a little bit all over like any regular body or face lotion. You really don’t need much either. Your skin will never feel softer. I like to use it after I shave my legs. It makes the best hand moisturizer. I use this every night before going to bed. I use a little bit on my lips as a chap stick. It’s tastes good too on your lips.

Sunscreen– coconut oil makes a great sunscreen. I used it everyday before going to the parks at Disney World. I was in the sun for hours and never burned once! It actually helped me to tan. I don’t tan well either so this was amazing for me. I still have a slight color and it’s winter.

Black Friday Shopping Tips

Ok so not everyone feels like waking up before dawn and camp out in the cold to save money for Christmas presents. Then there are those of us that get a sort of rush during this time of year. I’m one of those that love shopping the Black Friday sales. I’m going to share some tips with you, and you can share your own in the comments.

*Preview Leaked Ads- this is my favorite part is seeing all the leaked ads before they come out. I prefer Black http://www.black-friday.net/ This way I can to start planning my shopping list as well as which stores to hit.

*Planning- once I have my list made then I know which stores to hit. I also can see which stores have the best price on the item I want to buy. CVS allows you to shop their Black Friday sales on Thanksgiving day which makes it easier for me. I will hit them first thing when they open so I can beat the crowds. I also check which sales start at what time like Wal-Mart opens at midnight. This is great for me since I don’t want any of the doorbuster items this year. I am planning on doing most of my shopping online this year so no lines or crowds. Then I can go back to bed when I’m done. I will still hit some stores on Friday morning at a decent time.

*Price-Match Ads- this will help you save time and money. None of the stores will price match any ads that offer special deals like gift cards when you buy xx item, spend xx amount, or even doorbuster (early bird) deals. They will match the other sales.

*Shop Online- many of the stores will offer the sales on their website. Again less time in store and you can shop in your pj’s. Who doesn’t love that?!! The only drawback is that many items will be sold out quickly since you are competing with more people. Don’t forget that Wal-Mart is offering free shipping on almost everything online so this is a huge savings.

*Amazon- I love this website. Many times they will have many of the same deals on video games and movies that the other stores are offering. I have done very well the last 2 years buying many presents. I will mention that many times they can be sneaky having an item priced very cheaply and hours later it’s almost retail. So if you see something you like at a great price then snag it!

*Mapping- for stores like Target and Wal-Mart it’s a good idea to get a map when you walk in the store. They will usually let you know where the items are in the store. Toy deals can be in groceries and video games in clothing. It also helps if you can talk another person into coming with you. That way if you want a TV then one person can wait for it while someone waits for a must have toy.

The last tip I can give you is to have PATIENCE and smile. While it can be frustrating for someone to cut you off or be rude, just remember that it’s only stuff. Life is too short to dwell on negatives, and just be happy to get any good deals that you can snag. Most years I can get everything I want, but I’ve missed out on some items. Such is life. I always have fun, and I love how much money I can save.

TMR Frugal Living Tip #77- Split Portions When Dining Out!

split-portions

Today’s thrifty living tip is to split portions when dining out. It’s an oldie but goodie. Many restaurant portions are too big for one person to eat in one sitting. I either try to split the entree with someone else or take half of it home. It will not only help you by not eating too many calories, but it also stretches the entree into two meals. This is cheaper and healthier. If you are at a fast food place, why not order off the kids or dollar menu. I have started doing this by ordering just a burger and then eating a few fries from my husband.