Want more use out of those disposable masks? Here’s how!

So you bought a big box of disposable face masks, but you hate using things once and then just throwing them away. No worries! You don’t have to!

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A few weeks ago when face masks were impossible to find I grabbed a box of 50 when I found one available. I keep them in the car for when we are out and about and I forgot my favorite washable Tory Burch cloth masks with metal nose piece or the fitted Vera Bradley cloth ones. I try to always bring a washable mask with me, but when I don’t have one, the disposable masks are great to have.

But then, what do I do with them once I’ve used one?! Obviously I’m not going to leave them on the ground outside the store like I see so many people do (seriously, PICK UP YOUR TRASH!). If I do need to throw one away, I keep some extra plastic bags – usually grocery bags – in my van to throw trash away and reuse plastic bags as well. I prefer re-usable grocery bags but a lot of stores aren’t allowing them right now, and since I’ve been doing grocery pick up I’ve ended up with a lot of plastic bags lately. However, if the mask isn’t ruined and still in good shape, but dirty, I don’t throw them away! I wash them!

Yes! That’s what I said! I wash my disposable face masks! It actually first happened on accident the other day. One of my masks got thrown in with the laundry. It went through the washer and dryer on a normal cycle and came out looking great and in great shape! Since they are not made of paper they hold up well in the wash. Obviously they will get worn down after a couple of washes, but you should be able to get a few washes out of them before that happens! This also means they aren’t going to break down in a landfill quickly, so reusing them is definitely the responsible thing to do if possible. And putting them in a load of clothes doesn’t take any additional resources, which is even better!

What kind of resource saving tips have you discovered during this pandemic? I’d love to know and might even share your idea on a future blog post!

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My 4 Favorite Restaurant Deal Apps!

With our family’s overall goal of saving money – we try not to eat out very often. However, sometimes it’s just nice to grab a bite out! And if you do it right, it doesn’t have to be too expensive. One of the ways we have saved a few $$$ when treating ourselves to a ready-made meal are these apps! With some we can earn free food by earning points for purchases. Others have great coupons to save a few dollars. These are the 4 I have used most often.

4. McDonalds
McDonald’s has daily deals on their app! I don’t eat here a whole lot, but there are times I just need a quick French Fry and Diet Coke (not healthy, I know!). They usually have a free drink or $1 French Fry on their app! For a while they had BOGO Happy Meals and with twins we needed that deal! I also find good deals on chicken nuggets or tenders frequently. We kinda live on chicken nuggets and tenders in this house.

3. Sonic
Half price drinks all day long with the app! They also offer app-only coupons like free sandwiches with purchase. I’m all about free food! I did get frustrated with it lately with the payment through the app. It requires that you load money to the app in $10 increments to get the deals. I had $6 left over on it the other day, but when I paid it charged my credit card instead of my $6 credit. Not sure why that happened and if it happens again I’ll contact them. I’m also wondering if this means I don’t have to load money to it anymore? So many questions! But the deals are still good, so I’ll keep using it for now!

2. Starbucks
Starbucks has earned my business with their app. Because I buy Starbucks ground coffee for our home coffee maker and enter my receipts for points, AND when I go out for a rare Mocha I usually go to *$, I end up earning free drinks once in a while. By keeping my gold status I also get a free drink or item on my birthday! It’s the best! And totally worth using the app. Plus, one time when I forgot my wallet at the grocery store and I was there by myself with both babies, I was still able to get a Starbucks drink because I had credit on my app. It saved the day! I just recently read that the Starbucks rewards program will be changing next month, so I hope I still like it as much!

1. Chick-Fil-A!
Would you expect anything else? We may have a higher-than-usual love for Chick-Fil-A in this house but the truth of the matter is that the CFA app gives away more food than any other app I’ve seen! Not only does every CFA in Wichita send me a free food item every Monday (this week I get a free breakfast sandwich and 3 free chicken tenders times 2), I also earn points every time I purchase a food item to earn MORE free items. I also get a free birthday cookie through the app. Sometimes I get other random food items that appear in my app “just because”. AND when we’ve gone out of town (both in KC and in Dallas) I just opened my app in that city and a free sandwich popped up! Another favorite option of mine is that when the boys are playing in their play area I can make a mobile order on my phone and they will just bring it to me so I don’t have to take the boys with me to order or leave them. We like CFA so much my SIL gave us a cute CFA doormat for Christmas! I am pretty sure that CFA gives me more free food than I could ever buy from them! They’re the best!

I’m wondering if there are other restaurant apps out there I should be trying?! Do you use any other ones and get good rewards?

You can find similar door mats here! (affiliate link). This one was a gift from my Sister in Law who knows us soooo well.

How I Started Cutting Hair at Home to Save Money – and a few of the things I’ve learned along the way.

If you’re just interested in my tips for cutting hair or the list of hair cutting tools we’ve acquired, scroll down to the bottom!

If you expect this to be a feel-good story of how to save money by cutting your boys’ hair, you will be sorely disappointed. This is the true story of how this mama is trying to save a few bucks, and the adventures that lie therein. 🤪

Our story starts out a happy one. A friend of the family cuts hair and offered to do the boys for only $5 a head. To me that’s a steal of a deal. I definitely felt like she was being cheated by only charging five dollars. She did their very first haircut, and did a great job! She was even able to withstand their moving and crying, and Troy quietly crying “help” the whole time. 💔 Aunt Tiffany gave them a haircut too, when she was in town. She also had to listen to Troy’s tiny cries of “help” the entire time she cut his hair. (It was the sweetest, most heartbreaking thing in the whole world!). These ladies are my heroes. All I had to do was hold my child still and comfort them while their locks were tamed. Until the dreaded day when the sweet gal that cuts the boys hair told me that she was about to have another baby, and was going to take a break from haircutting for a while. My world was shattered. And, if she’s reading this, she’s welcome to go back to cutting the boys’ hair anytime! 😆🤣

While there are other options for haircutting (I know not everyone would charge the $17/head that the local children’s salon does 😳), my husband and I decided that it would be cheapest in the long run for me to learn how to do it. Yet, you have to understand that this is not a straightforward task for me. I have a history with cutting hair. Not a good one. 💁🏻‍♀️

There was a time growing up, I was in junior high or high school, that my dad decided that I could learn how to cut hair and save our family lots of money. I have 5 brothers. That’s a lot of haircuts! He was even willing to be the guinea pig for me to learn on. I was game! How hard could it be? We didn’t have YouTube for an example, and I had never really watched a man’s haircut before. I had absolutely no clue what I was doing. This didn’t bother my dad, he was all for it! The way he saw it, after a couple bad haircuts I could take over all my brothers’ haircuts and it would be all worth it. 

🍂 🍁 I remember it was a cool fall afternoon we went outside on the front porch for me to learn how to cut his hair. I started out doing really well actually, for as little experience (none) that I had. It didn’t look half bad! Until, I accidentally cut above one of his ears too high. It kind a made him look like Dumb and Dumber on that side. OOPS! I felt really bad and wanted to fix it! I figured it looked bad for the ears to look uneven, so I cut the other side to match. Essentially I started with a decent haircut and completely decimated it. Not only that, but my dad was a deacon in our church, and had to be up front in the church to help frequently. He was unable to wear a hat during church, so the entire congregation had the perfect view of the beautiful haircut I’d given him. That was the one and only haircut that I ever gave him.

Fast forward a few weeks later. We decided that I surely must be better with clippers than with scissors, so I was assigned the job of cutting my youngest brother’s hair. How hard could it be to buzz someone’s head? Once again, it was all going fine until I clipped his ear. He kept complaining it hurt and I kept telling him nothing was wrong (we were out on the porch again so he couldn’t see what was going on!) and I finished the haircut quickly while trying to stop the bleeding. My brother never let me touch his hair again. And that was the end of my haircutting career. 

Now, 20 or so years later, I once again am tackling the task of family haircuts. There have been tears (from both the boys and I). There have been injuries (mostly me cutting myself). There have been really really uneven bangs and horrible fading in the back. But there’ve also been a few good haircuts and lots of learning! And perhaps I’m getting better each time? I’m not sure yet… 😁 Either way, we’ll try this for a while and see how it goes. If I never improve at all, we may go back to having someone else cut it. For now, we’ve saved quite a bit of money already, learned a little, had some fun, and it’s been a good adventure. Well, it’s all been good except for #3 below ⬇️⬇️⬇️

Here’s a list of mostly helpful tips I’ve learned over the past year of cutting two 2-3 yr olds’ hair. 

  1. Use a distraction (think Kindle + favorite show). This is necessary. Also, sweet treats like fruit snacks or M&Ms when they sit still are a MUST! 📺 
  2. Have a second person there to hold them when they’re little. I usually cut the boys’ hair by myself, but every. single. time. I remind myself I should wait until Luke is around the next time. 👫
  3. Do not trim around their ears with shears on Christmas Eve. (Ok, quick story. Skip it if you’re in a hurry! I usually refuse to cut their hair unless we have a few weeks until the next major event so it will have time to grow out a little if I botch it completely. However, I hadn’t had time to cut it leading up to Christmas. My sister in law wanted a picture of the boys in front of the Christmas tree so I decided to just trim it up A LITTLE bit above their ears before baths/pictures. It was actually going great. I was so proud of myself. Until… I felt it happen before I saw the blood. I snipped the TINIEST piece of skin off the top of my son’s ear. Did you know that ears bleed a lot? And it takes a lot of pressure to get them to stop? I’m so thankful my brother in law was there – he’s a doctor – and he was willing to help out by putting NewSkin on it and super gluing the area… but we couldn’t get it to stop bleeding. It took at least an hour for us to get it to stop – partly because it just bled a lot and partly because when we finally did get it to stop bleeding and started to put NewSkin on it we scared Troy and he slapped our hands away from his ear and hit his ear and it started bleeding again… so by the time we finally got it to stop bleeding and got some sort of a sealant on it,  it was super late and the cousins were in bed and we were all super exhausted. Never again will I do a haircut on Christmas Eve!🙄). 
  4. Don’t cut their hair with a 2 weeks of the next major event. This gives it time to grow back if you butcher it. 🔪 
  5. Cut outside! If the weather is nice enough, I cut their hair out on the back deck. This makes clean up a hundred times easier! The only problem I’ve had cutting outside is that my child screams “HELP!” loud enough for all the neighbors to hear. I also trim their nails outside when possible (I learned this from my SIL!). ☀️ 
  6. Pay someone you know and trust to cut their hair and watch! Ask questions! Have them show you technique if they’re willing. If you don’t have anyone you can ask, then… 💇🏻 
  7. Watch YouTube videos. There’s a ton out there! I didn’t find any at first for cutting only with shears, and I quickly learned why. It takes a long time and using clippers on one of the longer settings does almost the same thing- at least in the back. I still use shears on top to try to keep it a little longer. 💇🏻‍♂️
  8. Get the proper tools. I tried cutting with sharp kitchen scissors the very first time and it was horrendous. Don’t do it. A list of everything we use can be found at the bottom of this post. ✂️ 
  9. Use clippers around the ears and in the back. I learned the hard way that shears are super easy to clip the ear with, and they take a long time in the back. The Wahl clippers we use even have an ear attachment – that of course I still made look bad the first time I used it but am getting better! 🖇
  10. Have bandaids on hand. This is kinda tongue in cheek but I’ve actually cut myself when they move WAY more than I’ve cut the boys. 🤕 
  11. If you think it looks bad and want to cut more to fix it, STOP! I accidentally cut Troy’s bangs way too short one time. It was kinda on purpose, I thought they’d look better that way, but then I kept needing to even them out and cutting one side a little shorter and they got waaaay too short. I’ve found that if I don’t like something, to stop and walk away. I can always fix it the next day if it still looks bad. After I’ve thought about it for a while it usually doesn’t look as bad as I thought and I can see what I need to do and what I really don’t need to do but just thought I did. 🛑 
  12. I usually give a bath or shower right after so they won’t be all itchy! Even with the cape we now have, hair just gets EVERYWHERE. 🚿 
  13. It’s ok to laugh at yourself! They’re just little boys and they look cute even if I’ve botched their hair! I’m not a beautician, I didn’t go to school for this, and I’ve only given around 10 haircuts in my life! It’s really ok to not be perfect. 🤭 

If this blog was waaaay too long for you, here’s a quick list of what I use!
Child and Adult Cape
Wahl Clippers + Comb
Spray Bottle
Neck Duster