Category Archives: Biggest Bang for your Buck

Carrot Ink

I ran out of printer ink this morning and was very disappointed as I have a few things that need printing. First, my printer is expensive to refill the cartridge and most places can’t refill them for me. I have to buy the cartridges brand new. Due to this, I hate buying ink because it seems to be a waste of money and something I’m constantly doing. Its the stupid task of remembering the ink ran out and I need to refill it. Its one of those lame errands you choose to avoid as long as humanly possible.

So, after much time hunting for the best deal, I found a website that I want to share with you all as they are 30-70% less than any other place. I found my cartridge on sale through their site for $8. This my friends is a steal. My printer holds 4 cartridges yes 4! That adds up within itself. I got free shipping and got my cartridge for $8. Can’t beat it!

Their shipping is fast and efficient.

The other benefit is they are a green service using remanufactured ink cartridges. Their motto “Print Green…With Carrot Ink”

Use the link below and see for yourself.


Thanks to

Thanks to

Great news- I will receive my cartridge within 3 days. Woohoo!!!!

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EVOO is a No No

My mom was in town for a week to watch my niece while her dad was out of town and mommy had to work. I got to see her a couple times and enjoyed our time together since I don’t see her very often. I have a great relationship with my mom, but this has truly only begun a couple years ago. I’m actually very similar to my mom, so much so I used to push her away; now we are great friends and I am thankful for that.

Anyway, she came over the other night for dinner and tea. While she was hanging out with Cooper, I was sharing my excitement for Sephora since we had embarked on their territory earlier that day. I absolutely love that place and can get lost in there for hours. It’s always a good thing Cooper is with me because he keeps me limited to only pursue what I am in “need” of. Anyway, it is my birthday month so I received a birthday gift from Sephora as well as many samples of perfume and cologne due to our upcoming trip. They were very generous and stocked us up. If you know much about Sephora, you know that you earn points, which get you gifts; I received one of these gifts while we were there this time. I have wanted to purchase this item for awhile but can’t justify it because it is roughly $50 for 1.7 ounces. So when I received this gift I was ecstatic.

A little history here: I started washing my face with olive oil as I have heard the fad that this is a miracle cleaner and makes the face look younger. Well, I might say I immediately started breaking out and figured it was “junk” in my skin that simply needed to come out, so I continued my regimen of washing my face with EVOO. I shared this with my mom and she said to stop immediately as she had previously done the same thing. She never breaks out, but after one month of clear perfect skin while washing with EVOO she began breaking out very badly and still is trying to recover three weeks later.

We have been having long conversations as we both had been researching what Olive Oil does for your skin; the benefits and complications that have occurred while using this as a cleanser and moisturizer. She brought up the research she had done for this product, Maracuja Oil and how it is straight from the Amazon. It is so good for your skin and you really do notice a difference immediately. (I also use their Maracuja C-brightener eye cream) She was explaining that using EVOO is a fad that she tried and literally ruined her skin. It is the wrong type of oil to use on your face but neither of us had known as everything we had read was positive things. I started breaking out immediately and I must say I have never broke out like that before. I actually had really good skin until I got pregnant and now 16 months later my skin is just starting to go back to it’s “normal” state. Needless to say, EVOO only made my situation worse but does work great for hands and elbows. :)

So here we are today and she was sharing with me that maracuja oil is a gentle miracle worker. She started using this and is overjoyed with the results. She shared with me that you can purchase a 4 ounce bottle from and it is the same oil with no fancy bottle that Sephora has but cheaper. It is straight from the Amazon as is the bottle from Sephora, nothing is different about these two other than the bottles being entirely fancy or plain and the name being fancy or not. The fancy name is Maracuja (Passion Fruit Seed) Oil but on gardenofwisdom it’s called Passion Fruit Seed Oil as that is where the oil comes from. :)

Sephora Bottle

So please, all of you, don’t fall into the 4 week fad of washing your face with Olive Oil as at one point you may start breaking out very badly. It may work okay for some people but NOT me; my sister uses it as lotion for her face and she handles it fine, the other three of us girls; my mom, middle sister and I, all have had bad experiences with it. If I were you I wouldn’t take the chance. It was that bad for all three of us.

To save the money, you can purchase this from; 4 ounces for $17 rather than Sephora. (Normally I would refer anyone and everyone to Sephora, but this is an extreme case) Now that I received the cute little bottle from my Perk Points at Sephora, I can refill it and travel with it as well. It is the same exact product. YAY!

***Update: Oct 30, 2013 The information above was a couple months old but as I was researching a little bit more today I found out that is not the cheapest place to get Marajuca Oil (aka Passion Fruit Seed Oil). Tonight while looking further into it I actually ran across the site: and realized this site has Maracuja Oil (passion fruit seed oil) for 4 oz at $10.48. This site seems to run out of stock quickly, but you can be notified through email when they get it back in stock. They have multiple size options. is the original site I had been told about from my mom which is $17.30 for 4oz. This is still a great deal and seems to keep up on their stock.

I felt compelled to share this with you as I was so excited I found another site with another great deal. :)

Sunless Tanner

I am pretty fair skinned, although I have been burned pretty decently a couple times in my life which has maybe caused cancer cells as well as allowing me to show signs of coloring now and again when I am in the sun. (Not sure that it’s a good thing I can get somewhat tan because I have been burned, but it’s true.) When we were in the Bahamas and Florida this past month I definitely was able to get some good coloring as it would be challenging not to.

Before we left, I had seen something on sunless tanners and celebrities. It was pretty incredible how most celebrities use sunless tanners. Now I am not positive on the brands they use but I know having gone to tanning salons previously for tanning beds and sunless tanners, that they leave streaks and you look orange. I had tried many techniques to avoid streaks and it didn’t matter how the “bed” sprayed the tanner on me, I always streaked and looked orange.

I have tried almost every brand at the department store; creams, spays, oils, you name it, I’ve tried it. Some of them work decently but I give up using them as I lose interest quickly as it takes a lot of time to avoid streaks. I was at TJ Maxx on an outing one day and ran across a cloth sunless tanner. It intrigued me and I figured for $3.99 it was worth a shot. Before we left for our trip I started applying it to see how it worked and hope for a little color before baring my fair-skinned-body in a swimsuit. I was impressed beyond belief that for $3.99 I found a cloth that did not leave my body smelling that funky smell, no streaks found, and a decent light brown color that didn’t turn my skin orange. Literally I was beyond impressed and of course went back to TJ Maxx a couple months later to find this product and had no success. I went onto Amazon and found them, but the cheapest I found was $7.41 + $1.19 for shipping. This is still cheaper than department stores, but also to my opinion, better quality and results.

If you want to try them out I highly recommend this product: Glow Head to Toe


Remember that when you go to purchase them they are a towelette not an oil or cream.

Why Spend More…?

I must say, sometimes we worry about what people think of us…what brand is our clothing, what kind of a car do we drive, is our jewelry real, how big is our house, etc. We all compare on some level.

My husband has asked me more than a few times, “if we had all the money in the world, would you still be so thrifty?” I answered him almost immediately, with no hesitation, “absolutely!” This is a characteristic my husband does appreciate. Something drives me inside, when I find a great deal and know I could spend double the price at retail value. I wonder ALL the time, why people spend so much money for the same brand, same quality but for double the price.

I am very thrifty but thoroughly enjoy it. I love to hunt for the deals, and save extra cash. A couple places that people don’t realize has the higher end brands are places such as:

TJ Maxx: I prefer TJ Maxx over Ross most the time, but it honestly depends on what you are on the hunt for. TJ Maxx has the designer section for clothes that cost half the price. I’ve actually bought a couple pieces of clothing from Nordstrom and a month or so later found the same shirt for half the price at TJ Maxx. The trick is not that it’s lower quality, but that they buy the overstock from other clothing stores allowing the product to still sell, but at a lower cost. Just as a heads up, not ALL their clothes is designer brand, but they have a lot and they do have a specific location for designer brands. They also have great deals on home goods, perfume/cologne and handbags. (Click here if you want more information)

Ross: Very similar to TJ Maxx, but it depends on where you live. Living in the city you learn which stores has the most options. Designer brands actually go very quickly as they don’t keep the same line stocked 100% of the time; they take what they get. They also have very good shoes but it can be hit or miss. They have great home goods, and handbags. Both Ross and TJ Maxx have great deals on skin care and shampoo/conditioner, again it depends on what they have in stock at the time you visit, but I buy Bed Head shampoo/conditioner for $15 each, regularly $26 each.

Home Goods: They have great deals and really compete well with Pier 1.

Nordstrom Rack: Nordstrom Rack has great deals on shoes and clothing, but don’t buy Nike brand from Nordstrom Rack unless it’s on sale. You can get Nike at TJ Maxx and Ross for even less than the Rack. To be honest I forget about Overstock but need to remember more frequently the great deals they have and you don’t have to leave your home to find them.

Amazon/Ebay: Amazon is my choice over Ebay but they both are great to compare when looking for a particular product. I love Sephroa, it’s basically my earthly heaven. :) Although I have found if you look on Amazon beforehand, you can get most things, not all, for a better deal. You will not get your Sephora points, but you will save money. Check on Amazon/Ebay before heading to Sephora. I also buy cell phone cases, movies, and hair products that the salon charges an arm and a leg and save a lot of money. You’ve heard me say before, that this is a newer website and I’ve used it and love it. It’s nice to get toiletries and pantry items without having to drive to five different stores for the same deal.

Local Boutiques: There’s a couple local boutiques in our area that have the cutest clothing and jewelry yet they aren’t in every store. You can find adorable clothing without the same shirt being in multiple stores across the US. My husband also buys me jewelry and I always get compliments on it, and they come from these boutiques.

Between all of these choices, I guarantee you will find something that will make you feel accomplished while your pocketbook thanks you, or shall I say your husband. :) These are important things to know if you really want to save hundreds if not thousands of dollars a year. Again, if you have time to hunt and enjoy the hunt, head to one of these stores and simply look around.

Let me know what you find!

Managing My Day as a Homemaker

When it comes to parenting only 10% is the “plan,” 90% is the parents and their consistency or lack thereof.

I saw today on the Katie Curick show about how daddy’s and mommy’s struggle with addictions whether that’s from alcohol, drugs, internet, etc. I was shocked how many moms actually turn to something to help mask the feelings they have. I think there is a massive expectation that being a mom will change your life for the good. Don’t hear me wrong, it will change your life for the good but when you are a homemaker and your toddler tells you “You’re not the boss of me” or says “no” and throws tantrums your day can get very exhausting and feelings of being unappreciated may sink in. Don’t allow those thoughts to overtake you. Or, you may be that mom who wasn’t planning on becoming a mom at all, or maybe not in the near future at least. You may be thinking you don’t “deserve this,” you still have a lot of life to live, a child wasn’t meant to happen until later.

What caught my attention even more is there was no discussion about the father. Why does the mom have to always be on her game and yet a father doesn’t? Why does the mom always know “what to do” and it’s okay for a father not to? Parenting is a team not a mom. Why is it okay for a father to drink alcohol while the mom doesn’t? This was so prevalent in the show. Men are the workers and they get to do what they want because the go to work all day, where as mom’s are a mom, so they always have to be on; their job isn’t consider as highly because they don’t earn a paycheck. My passion comes in right here. Parent’s are parents no matter their circumstance. You must step up to the responsibility. No “ifs, ands or buts.” Where is the sense of awareness coming from, what if your child needs to be rushed to the ER, is choking or simply needs to be played with and loved on? Can alcohol traumatize your child, absolutely? Why do we pretend alcohol is okay; is it because it’s so socially acceptable? My mind is baffled with how parents think its okay to “check out” for a few hours. I feel so strongly about this and would say you need to not have kids until you figure this out and if you are like my husband and I and didn’t have that choice, your child was quite a surprise, than step up and figure it out. Kids NEED our full attention and need to have their parents 100% alert all of the time. You have to become selfless when you have children, even more so than when you get married. This is a constant battle that we think “we deserve” something more. Where is this motto coming from and whose to say what we deserve. If I’m honest here, none of us deserve anything.

I don’t want to point the finger only at alcohol, but I do see the social acceptability is beyond my belief. I think people struggle deeply with alcohol as well as other things and are so naïve to the reality of this situation. I’ve seen what happens when a parent thinks it’s okay to check out; it’s not pretty! I had a conversation this morning with my girlfriend about the time we spend with our children; is it quality or quantity. You can check out by getting online, cooking, baking, drinking, or doing drugs. None of this is acceptable. I’ve seen unfortunately with our neighbors how important their “adult time” is, I choose not to partake in this activity. Being a mom is very challenging and does require strength and perseverance.

Please excuse me if I am being hard on this situation, although I don’t understand why we believe we deserve things and fight to receive it. Our time can be spent getting a pedicure, coffee, lunch, or dinner with a girlfriend, it does not need to involve alcoholic drinks. I’ve spent my time doing things I felt I deserved and now that I am a mom and a wife, I see things quite different as our roles take us to maturity whether we are ready for it or not.

Now enough of my tangent; lets get down to our schedules to help keep us feeling satisfied with out lives as mothers. Every mom struggles with how to manage their day, how they can make it the most productive and yet feel satisfied when you lay your head down at night is every woman’s dream. My husband jokes with me about making my mental checklists when I lay in bed at night; I’m guilty of it. I can’t fall asleep right away because I am making my mental list of what needs to be accomplished the following day and how to best approach it. If you haven’t seen the movie “I don’t know how she does it” with Sarah Jessica Parker, you need to see it, she does the mental checklist. I think this can be a big trigger for many mom’s as they do not know where to start in developing a productive day while balancing time with their children. Lets start with my daily schedule, I’m not saying I am great at this all the time, but definitely think it’s important to have a schedule laid out for the week.

My Week:

6:30 am: I wake up early to say goodbye to my husband, get my coffee and do my bible study before Cooper wakes up. If I don’t wake up before him, I have a very tough time making my Bible Study a priority as the day goes on.

7:30 am: I begin my research to update you all with my glorious words of wisdom :) and educate myself with the world around us. I also pay bills and take care of finances first thing in the morning.

8:30 am: Cooper wakes up. Eat breakfast together and have play time. Play dates, walking to the park, story time at the Library etc. (I try and have a couple hours outside of the home to get him outside in the back yard or out with some friends. Change of scenery)

10:30-11 am: Lay Cooper down for a nap and start preparing dinner plans. Clean the house

12:30-1 pm: Structured play time with Cooper when he wakes up. Run errands for the week.

3:00 pm: Lay Cooper down for a second nap and finish dinner plans. Take some “me” time and watch a TV show, read, listen to music, take a nap. Even if you take 20 minutes for yourself, enjoy it.

4:30 pm: Interactive playtime with Cooper. Play outside or at the park if we didn’t get to do so in the morning.

5:30 pm: Bath Time, we love killing time in the tub. He likes to make the entire bathroom an ocean; filled with water everywhere.

6:00 pm: Dinner time

7:00 pm: Bed Time for Cooper, read books, sing and go night night!

7:15 pm: Clean up kitchen, make my husbands lunch and relax!!!

Now our days can vary depending on what comes up in life. Today for example, we met my husband for lunch at work. This through off Coopers nap schedule completely, but it’s good for him now and again. They need to be flexible but also need their routine.

Throughout the day, you can see I structure my time to be productive while my son is sleeping. I do so, so I can play WITH him and grow his little brain. It’s more relaxing actually to not worry about cleaning or cooking while he is awake due to the structure of my day working so well, that I can also ENJOY my son while he is awake. It also allows him to not  fuss because he wants to have someone to play with him. I’ve found if I am cooking dinner while he is awake, it can get uptight as he can demand all my attention yet dinner wont cook itself. Making time to play with our kids is also very crucial yet can’t be done all day. They need a balance. Playing alone is very important as well. Find what works for you and your child/children. You may have to alter your time frames accordingly. I am NOT a morning person at all, but have forced myself to get up early and go to bed early and it has worked very well for all of us.

It’s important for me to enjoy my day, feel fulfilled and relaxed as well as truly enjoying my time spent with my son. I know I’ve had too many days of “playing” with my son where I am present but preoccupied. When I realized this, I decided I need to start making some changes to help benefit our family. By doing so, I feel much accomplishment when I lay down at night knowing I had been blessed with my son all day, took care of our home, and prepared meals for my family. I have time for myself, my husband in the evenings and great enjoyment with my son throughout the day.

Remember our kids are little blessings from above who long to be loved and taught. Take advantage of the few short years we have with them.

Biggest Bang for your buck: Utilizing your day to make the most of it. Don’t let your kids life pass you by.