Shining the light of God's word into our confused world.

Tag: frugal

Homemade Allergy Eye Drops

Homemade Allergy Eye Drops

If you’re new around here, you probably don’t know that I have a second (now defunct) blog about homemaking, prepping and frugal living. A couple months ago, I decided to put that blog on permanent hiatus and merge those posts with this blog, but then I never got around to the merging part. Until now. Since NaNoWriMo doesn’t leave a lot of time for blogging, throughout November I’ll be updating and re-posting some of the most popular posts from that blog. Like this one about making your own allergy eye drops, originally posted last December. It’s my most re-pinned post ever on Pinterest. If you’re suffering like I am this time of year, you’ll find it timely and helpful.

You wouldn’t think that the middle of December, with snow on the ground no less, would be prime time for a hay fever attack. Alas, here in Oklahoma, allergies don’t really have an off season, and the other day I woke up with a major case of burning red eye and stuffy sinuses. Naturally, I was all out of my allergy meds and eye drops, so once again I turned to Dr. Internet to see what kind of relief I could find in my own kitchen.

I normally take antihistamine drops when my eyes redden and swell up like that, so I was skeptical about how well anything I could make myself would actually help. But I was also desperate. So after consulting a few home remedy recipes online, I came up with my own simple recipe for an anti-bacterial saline solution:

1 cup filtered, purified or distilled water
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp honey (for its antibacterial properties)

Boil the water, then mix in the salt and honey until it dissolves. After it cools, use a clean eye dropper or medicine dropper to place a few drops in each eye (I used a syringe for administering oral medications to our pets — washed thoroughly with soap and water and rinsed really well, of course). Most of the recipes I found online called for distilled water, but again, I had to use what I had on hand, which was purified bottled water.

It worked! I felt instant relief, and after a few more applications, all of the redness, pain and itchiness was gone. The best part is that since these drops aren’t medicated, I could use them as often as necessary without having to wait for the dosage to wear off. I also used some of the solution to flush out my sinuses and found myself breathing easy the rest of the day.

Do you have a favorite home remedy for allergies?  Tell us what works for you in the comments!

Easing back into it. Also, Aldi really is pretty awesome.

When I start to feel overwhelmed and need to push some things off of my plate, blogging is usually one of the first things to go. And these last couple of weeks have been a little overwhelming. Not so much because there’s been more going on. I’ve just been low on energy and have had to pick my battles as far as deciding what really needs to get done, and allowing myself to let the rest go.

Last week, especially, was tough. I just couldn’t get enough sleep, despite turning in around 9:00 every night, and I couldn’t focus on my work to save my life. I was feeling spiritually whipped, too. A lot of this was just hormones making everything seem bigger and more overwhelming and more difficult than it really is, normally, but even when I know hormones are distorting my perspective, that doesn’t really do anything to make me feel better.

I ended up taking Thursday off and dedicating the whole day to prayer and meditation and spending time in scripture. Matt and I also spent some quality time just hanging out together on the couch, snuggling and talking. All in all, it was a healing day, and something I sorely needed.

I’m starting to feel back to normal today. It’s been a productive day — I wrote just under 1,000 words on the new novel, made my daily article quota for Demand Studios, and fleshed out some article ideas for some magazines I’m planning to query. That’s been one of the things that’s been dragging me down lately — feeling like I’m trapped on this content mill mouse wheel that I’ll never get off because it’s too hard to find the time to look for better quality assignments while writing enough content mill articles to make sure the bills get paid on time.

But this weekend I finally managed to grab enough quiet time to sit down and plan out some concrete goals, and break them down into small enough steps that I can do a little every day to work toward that goal.  By next Monday I should be ready to start sending out query letters. Hopefully, some better paying magazine assignments will soon follow.

So with that figured out, I’m trying to ease back into blogging. I’d like to get back to a two-post-a-week schedule, but for now we’ll see if I can stick to one a week for a while. I need to jump start things over at my author blog, too, and if I try to take on too much I’ll just get overwhelmed again and stop blogging altogether.

In other news, during the blog silence my husband and I finally got around to shopping at Aldi. After hearing so much hype for so long about how great it is, we were a little skeptical going in, but you know what? It’s pretty great. For the last few months we had been shopping at Walmart, but the last two weeks we’ve done our shopping primarily at Aldi, and we’ve left there with a lot more food for a lot less money than we typically spent at Walmart. And we’re pretty impressed with the quality of the food, too. I think that’s part of why we stayed away for so long — we were afraid that the Aldi store brands would be disappointing. But so far we’ve been pretty pleased with everything we’ve tried.

I was especially psyched to learn that they have their own version of the Totino’s frozen pizzas that used to be less than a dollar. I love those pizzas, but I haven’t had one in forever because they’re loaded with trans fats. But the Aldi’s versions don’t have trans fats, they ARE less than a dollar, AND they taste just like I remember. Mmm, cheap frozen snack pizza. How I missed you.

On Curving Balls and Stretching Dollars

Sometimes, life has a way of throwing you curve balls that force you to abandon all of your plans and best intentions. Actually, life’s been throwing us an inordinate amount of those lately. The most recent involved raw sewage backing up into our bathtub, and also up through the drain under the water heater in the garage. After a couple of days of trying not to panic and praying that we wouldn’t need to call a plumber, a very helpful person on Facebook recommended Instant Power Main Line Cleaner from Home Depot. Two bottles, many pots of boiling water, and a few days later, and we’re able to shower again. Hallelujah.

All of which is why there was no post last week.

I had wanted to go over my 101 in 1001 list and talk about how that’s coming, but honestly, that feels a little overwhelming right now. I think I probably need to embark on a project that breaks the big goals down into smaller ones, but at the moment I’m too scatterbrained to figure that out.  One goal I have been working on this week, though, is creating a budget now that our income has stabilized a bit (for now). This has made me somewhat obsessive about learning how to stretch the grocery budget as far as possible. I think my husband and I both have a long way to go before we become coupon experts, but so far, these two sites are helping immensely:

1. Money Saving Mom – This blog lists weekly deals, coupons, freebies and giveaways, and has a ton of useful info for newbies (like us) to the whole couponing game. One really helpful feature is that it scouts out the best deals at various stores, like Target and Walgreens, and matches them up to coupons and rebates to help you get the ultimate savings. Pretty cool.

2. Swagbucks – I’ve been a Swagbucks user for a few years now, but I’ve always been pretty casual and passive about it, just using the search engine whenever I remembered and racking up the occasional Amazon gift card here and there. If you don’t know what this is, it’s a rewards program that randomly awards you “swagbucks” for using their Internet search engine, which you can exchange for gift cards and other prizes. You can also earn swagbucks by playing games, watching videos, taking surveys and various other activities on the site.

This week, I’ve gotten more serious — read: obsessive — about racking up those swagbucks, mainly because they also offer Target and Walmart gift cards, as well as an option to just swap your swagbucks for Paypal cash. And the awards really aren’t that hard to earn, with a little diligence. I already do a lot of searching most days while researching freelance articles. Searching alone usually gets me between 15 and 30 swagbucks a day. I’ve learned that I can significantly add to that amount pretty easily by simply installing the tool bar, going through the site’s To Do list each day (which takes less than 10 minutes), and letting the videos play on mute in another tab while I go about my business. It’s basically free money to spend at the places where we buy most of our groceries for not a lot of time and effort.

And for the sake of full disclosure, if you decide to sign up yourself using my referral link I’ll earn additonal swagbucks, not only when you sign up, but also every time you earn your own swagbucks. You’d be helping us stretch our budget as you stretch your own. That would definitely help to take the sting out of having spent the last week with our house smelling like poo.

Got any budget-friendly links or advice you’d like to share? We’d love to hear about it in the comments!

28 Frugal and Natural DIY Holiday Ideas (Link Roundup)

28 DIY Holiday IdeasIf you’re anything like me, you’ve grown weary of the rampant materialism of the Christmas season. You might also not have a lot to spend, so you couldn’t participate even if you wanted to.

Thankfully, there are plenty of ideas and possibilities for giving meaningful gifts that don’t cost a lot to make and, in a lot of cases, make use of stuff you already have. Whether you’re looking for gifts for loved ones, ideas for expanding your Christmas decorations without expanding your budget, or even some relaxing gifts you can give yourself to maintain your sanity this season, I’ve been collecting links along these lines all year (thanks to Pinterest), and I’ve rounded them up to share with you.  Continue reading

More Sustainable Hygiene: DIY Deodorant

DIY Deodorant

Image credit:

In my recent post on Frugal & Sustainable Beauty and Hygiene, I mentioned that I was on the lookout for a good alternative to store-bought deodorant. Shortly after that post went up, my new best friend Pinterest showed me a recipe for DIY deodorant made from coconut oil, arrow root and baking soda.  Sounds great! Except, arrow root is enough of a specialty item around here that I’d have to make a special trip to the health food store to get it, and it would also mean spending extra money on something that I wasn’t sure I’d use for anything else. Continue reading

Survival Crafts: DIY Pet Harness

Recently when putting together a bug-out bag for my pets (more on that in a later post), I realized that I needed harnesses for each of my three cats. We have carriers for each of them, but once we get to our bug-out location we don’t want to keep them crated the whole time, and we don’t know how safe it will be to let them run around unsupervised. But faced with no money to go out and buy three harness and leash combos, I turned instead to my massive yarn stash, and to the Internet, where I was sure I’d find instructions on how to make some harnesses.

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No More “Product” – Frugal & Sustainable Beauty and Hygiene

Frugal BeautyI’m in the process of weening myself off of store-bought beauty and hygiene products. There are a lot of reasons for this; for one thing, it’s saving us a lot of money. Products are expensive, and even the cheaper alternatives like Suave or generic brands add up to quite the chunk of change over time. The natural alternatives I’m switching to tend to be much more frugal, and they tend to be things we keep around the house already.

Store-bought products also tend to violate the survival rule of only packing or storing items that have at least two or three different uses. Oh, sure, a bottle of hairspray can double as fuel for fire starting in a pinch, and as a flame thrower if you find yourself under attack by a zombie horde, but most other beauty and hygiene products are pretty much single use. Also, if TEOTWAWKI ever happens, it’s not like I’ll just be able to skip down to Walmart for new shampoo and toothpaste when I run out. Natural alternatives tend to be a little more sustainable, and by switching now, at least I’ll stand a chance of being able to keep up my beauty routine after the poo hits the fan.
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