Friday, April 1, 2016

Frugal Friday: Money Saving Weekly Recap

Well, I have to say as money saving weeks went, this one went really well!

So, let's break some of it down, shall we?

1.  We finally got my son his communication app (seen above)!  I talked it over with my husband and we both decided that we needed to get LAMP for our son and ASAP at that.  This was sparked by an incident at school where my son's teachers told me he had a pretty bad day.  He'd been really grumpy and kept trying to take his shoes off, which they thought it was his eczema bugging him.  They didn't want to take off his shoes because if they do that he really melts down when they go to put his shoes back on, so they just let him go.  Well, once we got out to the car and were going to get his sister, he presented his shoe to me like he wanted me to take it off and I figured I could do that for him if he wanted to itch for a bit as he had the drive to my daughter's school.  So, I took off his shoes and found that he had like 17 (and no, I'm not exaggerating) rocks in his shoes.  At that point I just decided that was it.  He needed to communicate NOW or maybe sooner.  We were already kind of fed up that we'd had to wait for so long to get a communication device for my son (now mind you, I don't blame his teachers NOW for this...I blame his first preschool teacher who didn't like to do paperwork so she never pushed to get him the evaluations no matter how we pushed for them) and this was the last straw.

I was going to buy the app and just deal with the financial consequences, but I stopped myself literally one letter from typing in our password on the app store and I thought for a second.  April is Autism Awareness Month, so a lot of communication apps go on sale.  That was only about three days away at the time, so I talked to my husband and we both decided three days wasn't going to make a difference one way or the other in the grand scheme of things.

And I am so glad I waited!  I checked last night to see if some of the apps would go on sale sooner and sure enough LAMP for Life was on sale for half off!  So, instead of spending 300.00, we were able to get the app for 150.00.  We're already starting my son on using it today and honestly it feels so GOOD to have this for him now.  This is why I hate waiting for grant and other government subsidized help.  Sometimes (for us) it's just been easier to pay for things ourselves and just get it done.

2.  We colored Easter eggs this year for the first time ever (I know, I'm pathetic) and instead of buying an Easter egg dying kit I looked on Pinterest and McCormick had instructions on how to make different colors of Easter egg dye from food coloring.  Since I have food coloring, I thought I'd give that a shot.  I had neon colors in gel form, so I dissolved them in the 1 tsp of vinegar first to see if I could incorporate the colors better that way and then when I added the boiling water the colors separated...kind of curdled (ah interactions with acid are fun aren't they).  We thought it might ruin the coloring on the eggs but instead it made the most awesome tie dye and speckled coloring on the eggs!  We decided we're definitely going to be doing that again next year :).
I thought they turned out pretty cool looking, although the photos don't really do them justice :).

3.  I continued to use up stuff we had around here this week on the food front and we made a point to consume leftovers so we didn't waste food as much as possible.
4.  The Easter basket this year was a really big success!  I normally put about 40.00 aside per holiday because of my son's peanut allergy and having to buy special chocolate or chocolate candy melts and once shipping was included it would always be about 40.00 or so.

This year, though, I went to the store and found safe chocolate!  I found Hershey bunnies that were safe for the son, so I got one for each kiddo.  And I got some Tootsie pops and some Smarties to go on the basket as well.

I stopped off at the thrift store and found a stuffed bunny (with floppy ears), a Veggie Tales book (on the miracle of Easter), a stuffed chick that was kind of like a ball (son likes to spin things so I knew he'd like it) and a Planes toy that I figured my son would like.  And I found "fancy" eggs for my daughter that someone had created using eggs, glitter and probably Modge Podge but were really neat looking and some decorative solid eggs that I knew my daughter could actually play with and I wouldn't have to worry about her breaking in a few days.  I even found Easter basket "grass" brand new in bags for .25 per bag so I got one pink and one green to put in the bottom of the basket.  I finished the basket with the pinwheels I found earlier.

I did have to put a new ribbon on the bunny as I realized after washing it that there had been a ribbon glued on that the previous owner had pulled off, so I took some lace and made one, which took no time.

Overall for about a 13.00 investment my kids got a really nice Easter, which is about 27.00 below what I had put aside just for chocolate.  Yay for savings and a lot of gratitude to Hershey for making safe chocolate for my son that I can actually FIND in the store.

5.  I have been having fun watching old Galloping Gourmet episodes on You Tube as well as re-watching "Victorian Farm" for fun.  I love being able to just put a show on my computer so I can listen to it in the background while I'm cooking or baking...somehow it keeps me motivated when other people are working even if it is in a show in the background.  Go figure *laugh*.

6.  I received a few free samples and a few free magazines in the mail this week.  I love getting free stuff in the mail as it is kind of like Christmas ;).

7.  My kids ran out of toothpaste and instead of going and buying toothpaste I grabbed a sample sized one that we got free from the kid's dentist when we went in for their last visit.  I love that he uses the same toothpaste that we do, so I can do this with the kids and my son doesn't protest.

8.  I did great grocery shopping this week.

9.  I've been cleaning this week and have quickly figured out some things I can live without or donate, which honestly makes me feel good as it's getting rid of some "catch all" piles throughout the house and making things look so much cleaner.  I'm hoping to get rid of the things on my list in my hallway closet next.

And there you are folks.  Some ways I saved money this week.  How did you do?


  1. I'm so glad you got the app. Hopefully, he can figure out how to use it quickly. I'm sure those rocks didn't feel good at all! Kids are so good with that kind of stuff--my autistic niece is. She can verbalize, but sure uses electronics to sooth herself, shut out the noise, etc. She goes through a set of headphones a month, so often asks for them for birthdays and Christmas. She uses the big kind with big ear pieces that completely cover her ears.

    My special needs nephew could use an i=phone from about age 2-3, if not sooner. In fact, the little stinker bought $10 worth of gold coins for Temple Run on Rob's Kindle when he was about 4 or 5. It was kind of on accident, but he kind of knew what he was doing, by the sheepish look we got when we talked to him about it. At least it wasn't $100 worth:) We locked it down from then on. Other than it cost us $10 for something we had no intention of ever buying, we were actually kind of proud of him.

    Your Easter things look lovely. We never got around to coloring eggs this year, but that was low on my list this year. We used to spend quite a bit on baskets, as well, but have greatly reduced that in the past few years. Sometimes, as the girls are older now, we just give them a $5 Starbucks card for holidays so they can get a little treat. That is much, much less than we used to spend, and they like it better at their ages. This year, I bought 1 chocolate egg for each, and we took them out for lunch. It worked.

    I've been trying to cook at home more, in-between house showings, and even managed to pack a lunch yesterday. Good thing, too. The prospective buyers stayed over 2 hours! Hope they loved it and make an offer:)

    1. The nice part about LAMP is that he got evals done at school at the beginning of the year, he was matched up to the app with the assisted technology gurus and he's been working with LAMP at school for probably 2/3 of the year so far. So he's familiar with the program and I have noticed a reduction in head banging already just using the talker for one evening. I'm hoping this is a sign that things will get better with the app. Improvement is always good!

  2. 17 rocks! Yikes, poor little guy. That would make me have a bad day too. I hope this new app really helps.

    You did great with your Easter baskets and DIY eggs.
    I like reading your thrifty week posts.

  3. Poor kid - those rocks must have really been a literal pain! I hope the app works really well for him and that he can expand his horizons a bit with it too. My cousin had a social worker who didn't have her evaluated for ANYTHING(her evaluation form was literally blank until she was 25!)and my huge regret with her was that we were to pick up her communication device the day after she passed away from complications of pneumonia. That social worker is still on my "i'm not so happy with you list" and it's been over a decade! I think I need to et over that.

    Sorry for the rant! Its been one of those weeks here.

    Your Easter basket is fantastic! I hope your kids are loving the stuffed animals and that the chocolate is a hit too. Kudos to Hershey's - we need more of those type of things in this world certainly!

    Have a lovely week, Erika!

    1. I can't blame you for still being upset. It's hard when you think of how much a better quality of life someone could have had if ONE person had wanted to their job! Sorry, I'm still mad at my son's preschool teacher (his first one, his one after we moved was great). His IEP was a mess and we couldn't even get her to update goals on the darned thing until we mentioned that said goal was two years old and completely outdated and then she'd GRUDGINGLY change it. The only time his IEP got updated and such was when we switched schools. And with the adaptive technology oh the excuses we heard. We thought it was impossible to get AAC because the AAC person was so swamped with appointments that you were on a waiting list of years and she'd get it for us as soon as possible and yada yada yada. Now I know better I'm furious that woman is still working with special needs children in her job as I wonder how many other kids are suffering because of her laziness.

      Ahem. Yup, it's official. I need more coffee thins morning ;). But, yeah, I understand bad feelings. All I end up doing is acknowledging them, look at the good things that have occurred and try to focus on those.

      My daughter had her rabbit eaten in record time (typical kid). My son went for the Smarties and has been trying to eat his body weight in those. He'll go for the rabbit eventually, but yeah...he takes more after me now a days with candy. Fruity candy trumps chocolate (once I had kids, this changed a lot for me and now a days I actually like chocolate, but when I was a kid it was far from my favorite). I'm just so happy that so many companies are starting to go peanut free or at least being careful about packaging declarations. My mother-in-law sent the kids some candy and I saw Jelly Bellies were actually peanut free!

    2. Some of the push for nut free products may have to do with a higher demand for them. Our schools in Ontario (may even be Canada wide, but not sure), have a nut free policy in the schools. That means, you cannot take anything with nuts in it, even if your child does not have an allergy. Because of this, there are a lot of products on our shelves that state specifically on the package the products were made in a nut free factory. These policies have made a lot of people more aware of allergy issues, and we now see a lot of people buying "nut free" treats for Halloween, birthday parties, Easter, etc. just as a precaution.

  4. I'm sooo excited for you and your son that you were able to get that app...whoohoo!!! What perfect timing to get it for half price as well!!! That is truly money well spent, Erika.

    We started dying eggs with my daughter when she was younger but not too young. My daughter was really creative after a while, so here's some tips for next year:
    *If you dye the egg in a lighter colour, then hold the tip of the egg in a darker colour, it will create stripped eggs
    *if you use a q-tip, you can "paint" designs on the side of the egg giving it more of a "muli-coloured tie-dye" effect (it's too liquid to draw really good pictures though)
    *use a white crayon or a stick of clear wax (birthday candle maybe) to draw designs on the egg before dying it. The wax areas will not take up the colour.
    *if you buy or have some cheap little stickers floating around, it's an easy way to add more design elements to the eggs
    *if you dye cracked eggs, the dye will seep through to the boiled egg inside giving it a cool colourful design
    *dye the eggs a day or two before the Easter bunny comes and keep them in the fridge. On Easter morning, try to get up before the kids and hide their colourful creations around the house. When the kids get up, tell them the Easter bunny stole their eggs from the fridge and hid them. Then they can have an "Easter Egg Hunt" for all those pretty dyed eggs! (Note: make sure you count how many eggs you have before you hide them all, so you know that all have been found (it wouldn't be pretty to discover a missed one weeks later)). We did this with our daughter for several years and she always looked forward to the hunt every year!
    *if you would like to buy egg dye kits, it goes on really cheap after Easter and will keep for years (we discovered this year we have no less than 3 kits in our stash). A cheap dye kit is all you don't need the expensive "sparkly" or "tie-dye" kits. All of those effects are easy to achieve without the kit and cheaply too. I think I paid maybe $0.50 for the cheap kits after Easter.

    1. You can't see it in the pictures but we did make a few eggs with half one color and half another. When it comes to stickers and clear wax...I don't know if I'd trust my daughter with either one of those *laugh*. She's at the age where she doesn't quite know her own strength and even dipping the eggs, she'd hold them with a little too much force against the side of the cup and crack them.

      When I was a kid and would go over to other people's houses I remember the boiled eggs being really multi-colored after dying them, but when I used ours for egg salad they had a tiny spot of color here and there, but for the most part looked just fine. Another benefit to me, honestly, as my daughter would have thrown a fit if we tried to eat a "pink egg" that she had made *laugh*.

      Until my son gets a bit better about things, Easter egg hunts are out, as much fun as they'd be for my daughter as my son likes to spin and smack things...and smack them hard and he LOVES to spin hard boiled eggs when he can get a hold of one (can't blame him, I mean they do spin well) and well...let's just say the first time I actually let him spin one it was a learning experience *laugh*.

      I like the food colored eggs so well, I think we're just going to stick with those. At least that way I don't have a dye kit floating around my house for a year (which it would because I only buy things on clearance *laugh*) and me potentially losing it. I always know where my food coloring is ;).

  5. I so wish we'd had some sort of communication device when Danny was living. I am positive he could have 'talked' to us then, but technology wasn't quite there 20 years ago, sigh.

    1. I'm so sorry :(. It must be hard seeing things now a days that could have helped someone who is gone. I had a cousin who died of spina bifida when she was about 19, was wheel chair bound and almost non-verbal, so I understand where you are coming from. She always had a smile on her face. It would have been nice to get to know her a bit better through the technology we have available now a days.

      I'm sorry for your loss as well. No matter how long ago someone left us, it always seems to hurt *hugs*.