August 31, 2014

Christmas Gifts Planning: Attempting Home Made Gifts

I read a post from Lee Ann at Frugal Living in Gtown about Getting Ready for Christmas and it got me motivated to start planning for some home made Christmas Gifts.  I've been wanting to do this for years.  I'm not a very crafty person.  But I've really wanted to try making my own lotion for a while now for personal use anyways.

This morning, I decided to revisit the idea of making some of my own lotion and other beauty products for myself and to hand out as gifts for Christmas.  Whenver I've wanted to do this in the past, the cost has always stopped me.  I don't have any of the oils or butters on hand that are needed.  But after spending 2 hours finding recipes and comparing prices, I figured I've wasted enough time researching and needed to actually try making the recipes.

I plan to make:

  • peppermint lip balm
  • body lotion
  • peppermint sugar scrub
  • lotion bars
The only essential oil I bought was peppermint.  I don't really like scented lotion but for gifts I might do everything peppermint or I might buy some vanilla or another scent later to try a couple different types.

I tried to find recipes that used similar ingredients so I wasn't buying so much but it was still pricey.  At Amazon I bought: 
  • 25 clear lip balm tubes - $4.01
  • 16 ounce sweet almond oil - $10.69
  • White Beeswax pellets $23.99 (I thought I ordered the 1 lb bag, but looks like I ordered the 2 lb. bag.  I guess I should have reviewed my order better. Oh well, hopefully these recipes work out good.)
  • 16 ounce organic Shea butter - $12.48
  • .5 ounce peppermint essential oil - $5.70
  • 1 qt. coconut oil - $11.95
Total  $68.82 with free shipping.  I signed up for an Amazon store card and received $40 off my total.  So out of pocket I spent - $28.82.

From Mountain Rose Herbs, I ordered:
  • 16 oz. Aloe Vera Gel $5.50
  • 8 - 4 oz. plastic bottles for the lotion $5.60
  • 8 - 2 oz tins for the sugar scrubs $5.60
  • 4 oz. glass dropper - $.60
  • 1/2 oz. glass dropper - $.50
Total - $17.80 + $10.08 shipping

So out of pocket I've spent - $56.70. I'm going to try a small batch of each of these recipes to see how well they turn out and if they turn out really good.  I'll be making more to use as gifts for:
  • mom
  • mother in law
  • 2 nieces
  • 2 grandmas
  • Best friend and her daughter
  • extra lip balm will be used as stocking stuffers for the girls

August 29, 2014

Friday Financials


  • Day Care Costs went down since Little R is in an older room now.  Plus for some reason we had an over payment of $120 applied to our account.  So Septembers day care bill was only $455.  And from now on, I'm only budgeting $600 a month instead of $685.
  • Pay off the credit card completely.  This keeps sneaking up no matter how much I try to track our spending.
  • Added $400 to our Savings Challenge!  Only need to save $5857 to meet our goal. New Totals::
    • Emergency Fund - Saved $2045
    • Vacation Fund - $2050
    • Car Fund - $2048
  • I set $60 aside for a date night.  Mr R and I are going out to a new restaurant with another couple and we actually have to pay for a baby sitter.  Usually my mom or mother-in-law will watch the girls for free.  But we're paying our niece $20 to watch the girls for a couple hours tonight.  I'm really excited! It should be a lot of fun.  It's been a while since we went out with another couple for dinner. 

August 25, 2014

Birthday Party Review

The pool party was Saturday.  One of my friends had bought the girls a bubble machine as an early gift so that I could use it at the party.  It was really cool.  I set it up in the driveway so when the guests arrived they walked through the bubbles.

I way overbought on food.  I estimated 2 hot dogs per person plus a little extra for the guys that usually have big appetites.  I made 72 hot dogs in my crock pot and had about 45 left over.  The party was from 2 - 5pm so I think a lot of people just didn't eat very much since it was between meals.  I also had 4 bags of chips left over and 2 containers of chip dip.  I think people would have eaten more of these but I only put 2 bags out to start and didn't realize when they ran out.  My mom said people were asking if we had more chips and she told them we didn't.  She didn't realize I had 4 more bags in a box under the table.

Probably could have saved about $10 on food by not buying so much.  We kept a lot as left overs but there was so much that Mr. R took the crock pot with half the leftover hot dogs, buns and 2 bags of chips to work for the people that he works midnights with.  He didn't work that night but just dropped it off around 9 pm for them.

This was one of the easiest parties I've thrown for the girls.  I kept the menu simple and the kids had a great time swimming.  The girls got lots of gifts and they each have $40 in cash.  I'm trying to think of something really fun to do with the $80.  I don't want to let them waste it on more toys because we really have too many toys in our house.  Thinking of using the money for a day trip to the Columbus Zoo or COSI when Mr. R has his next weekend off.