honest review of Hollar dollar store on line dollar tree

Hollar: An Honest Review

This is not a sponsored post, I was just impressed! I will however,  get a small kickback in credit  if you order after clicking through on any of the Hollar links in this post, and you can too, just for signing up for a free account at Hollar!

Have you heard of Hollar?  Hollar is an online dollar store. If you know me at all, you know I love a good deal. I heard about Hollar  on Youtube and decided to try it. If you order more than $25, you get free shipping, and they have sales that are always changing.

My order came in 8 days. Here’s what I thought:

Fizzy Baby helped me open everything in the appealing bright orange box.

hollar review dollar store online

I ordered a set of melamine plates for $2 each. I love them. We’ve been using them non stop and they are holding up better than our Corelle wear, and bring joy to my eyes every time I look at them.

hollar review dollar store online

I really felt like Gerta needed this squeaky dog toy  in the shape of a banana split, which was only $1. How wrong I was! The squeaker was so loud, it scared the pants off of her, and drove me nuts. I ended up binning it .

hollar review dollar store online

I hate the feel the of my feet in flats without socks, but I love the look. I’ve been wearing these “old lady” no show socks with my flats, and thought I had found the best deal at Ross, for a little over a dollar a pair. But no! I got EIGHT pairs on Hollar for $4. They are  more slippery than my other ones, but they stay on better.

hollar review dollar store online no show socks with flats

We only had one dryer ball left but I didn’t want to “invest” in another set of the reusable dryer balls, if I didn’t have to. However with only a $1 investment for two balls, I didn’t mind at all! They work great!

hollar review dollar store online reusable dryer balls

I use these scrubby pads on all the things in my kitchen and bathroom, from stuck on toothpaste and peanut butter and jelly on the counters, to burnt on crud on the stove, to congealed oatmeal in the bottom of the pan. This pack of 8 was $1. They don’t last as long as the brand name ones I usually use, but don’t scratch the surfaces and clean as well.

hollar review dollar store online scrubbing pad scouring

I use my wooden utensils to the point of death, until they are cracked and probably hazardous. Desperately in need of replacements, I scooped up all 6 for $3. I love the colorful handles too!

hollar review dollar store online wooden spoon bamboo kitchen utensils

Needing nonslip hangars for some of my dresses and kimonos, I thought I would replace some of my beautiful, matching wooden hangars for these beautiful, matching  rose ones. I LOVE them! The slim design keeps my clothes together and they aren’t as noisy as the wooden ones, and nothing falls off! I nabbed this steal in packs of 18 for $5.

hollar review dollar store online flocked hangars Both the app and the website are well designed and work in consort with each other. If you are on your phone and add some things to your cart, it stays in your cart on the computer. I add things until I get up to that $25 free shipping limit.

I’m not going to abandon The  Dollar Tree completely, but Hollar is definitely getting some of my business! If you like saving money and scoring good deals, and shopping in your pajamas after the kids are in bed, then Hollar is absolutely for you!

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easy refrigerator organization that works

Easy Refrigerator Organization (that actually works)!

This post contains affiliate links which, by you clicking through, give me a little fun money at no cost to you. Thanks!

Food. We all need it. We all buy it. Most of us have a refrigerator. Most of us end up throwing away unidentified science experiments at some point(and in my case, literal science experiments). I hate wasting food. I hate searching for the mayonnaise or garlic buried deep in the back of the fridge. Ain’t nobody got time for dat! After looking for years for the best, easy refrigerator organization system that actually works, I finally found success!

Because I have the goal of bringing up independent productive people, I try to teach them responsibility early. I attempt to put organizational systems in place which support that independence. If I want my 3 year old to be able to access her own cheese sticks and applesauce pouches, and get her own cup of water, I need to have organization techniques which support that. I have tried numerous methods of refrigerator organizations and none of them have stuck. I tried this particular one over a month ago, and with many people using the fridge hourly, it’s still in place. This easy refrigerator organization is definitely a win for our busy family, and I know it will work for you!

Here’s what I did.

LABEL THE SHELVES AND COMPARTMENTS

Labeling the wall with a dry erase marker has worked better than anything I’ve tried. I saw this hack on a Rachel Ray clip. The dry erase marker did leave residue behind in my fridge, so I put packing tape where I wanted the labels and wrote on that.

easy kitchen refrigerator fridge organization cheap clever food organize

easy kitchen refrigerator fridge organization cheap clever food organize

USE A LAZY SUSAN

I used a lazy Susan in my fridge. I’ve had one for a while, but it was never clear to the other users what should be on it. Since we apparently have a kajillion open containers of pickles and relish, all of them are placed on the lazy Susan.

easy kitchen refrigerator fridge organization cheap clever food organize

INVEST IN A FEW CLEAR ORGANIZERS

I got a couple clear containers from Amazon in which to put our lunch meat and cheese.

easy kitchen refrigerator fridge organization cheap clever food organize
Jam=mead, apparently. 🙂

As you can see, it’s not perfect, because being able to find some ingredient quickly just isn’t a priority to the rest of my family. It’s  a whole lot better than it was, and I can keep it cleaner and clearer than before because now I remember my system too. I’d love to know what works for you to keep your fridge organized.

This post contains affiliate links which, by you clicking through, give me a little fun money at no cost to you. Thanks!

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under control book

Stylish Mom on the Go

I don’t consider myself to be a super-chic mom, but, just like you, I am a busy mom on the go, who likes to look the best I can! I like ideas of how to be frugally fashionable, so I share my photos of my weekly fashion “uniform”. Find out why I love it, and what each outfit is perfect for in the never ending daily of mom life.

This post contains affiliate links. Clicking through gives both of me benefits because I get a small compensation and you benefit by seeing cute things! That makes us friends with benefits. 

outfit stylish mom style on the go spring

Hat: Husband’s

Dress: Casa Lee via Goodwill

This is the perfect outfit to wear to church,  do some errands, (how do I always end up doing errands on Sundays?!), hang out with your two year old while the rest of the family goes to 11 year old’s play,  go out to dinner with some dear friends, stay out too late having too much fun, but feel so relaxed and happy by then end of the night it’s totally worth it.

stylish mom outfit ideas busy active mama real life

Shirt: Banana Republic via Goodwill (similar)

Skirt: Tangerine Trek Skort via Goodwill

Sweater: Wish (similar)

This outfit is perfect for trying to do your best. Forgetting to take your usual outfit photo and doing it in the bathroom before you head off to bed is part of that.

outfit stylish mom style on the go spring

Sweater: Land’s End via handmedown

Tank top: Walmart via thrifted

Shorts: New York and Company via Goodwill

This outfit is perfect for feeling like you’re constantly failing and reassuring yourself that you’re doing your best and trying to listen to your own positive advice. It’s perfect for having a Hard Day.

Sleepshirt: Zulily

This outfit is perfect for sleeping. I actually wore athleisure pants and a tank this day but forgot to take a picture.

outfit stylish mom style on the go spring

Shirt: Stitch Fix

Skirt: Goodwill

Shoes: FitFlops via Amazon

This outfit is perfect for exploring and discovering and resting. It’s also good for running around like a crazy person to fit in a massage. It’s also excellent for being perfectly contradictory.

stylish mom outfit ideas busy active mama real life

Shirt:  Eddie Bauer via Goodwill (similar)

Necklace: Target (similar)

Basic jeggings

Boots: Goodwill (similar)

Two year old: homemade

Trashed kitchen: Two year old (and her siblings) (and likely their mother)

This outfit is perfect for doing so many things including  picking up groceries and organizing bins and going shopping with Thirteen and trying to install “easy to install” tile and really wanting to give up and go to bed but you’ve made plans with your bestie to go out and have some Her time. It’s perfect for having a couple of drinks and a scrumptious dinner and then sitting at her house and feeling wonderfully relaxed for the first time in forever.

outfit ideas stylish mom style on the go spring

This outfit is perfect for putting on after spending the morning exercising and watching YouTube in your pajamas and seriously wanting to stay at home but get talked into heading to the mall and interacting with as few people as possible and then spend the rest of the evening hiding lounging in your room.

Headband: I cut off the bottom of the dress because it was awkwardly long.

Sweater: Wish

Dress: Goodwill

Belt: Amazon

Boots: Goodwill

 

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Farmhouse Decor: Cheap and Easy

I live in a 170 year old farmhouse on a working farm.  A genuine farmhouse kitchen in real life is slightly different from the farmhouse decor on Pinterest. One of my promises on my blog is to always be real-to show you how it really is single momming during spring planting, with six kids and a puppy, and  not having a lot of money to buy the perfect farmhouse decor.

cheap and easy farmhouse decor farmhouse kitchen real life farmhouse old house
The wall behind my breakfast nook

I’ve been working on updating my kitchen. I have carpet in my eating area from 1987 y’all. We have had a lot of changes in here in the 15 years we’ve been married and I’m finally in a place to learn how to DIY on my own to make even more!

This post contains affiliate links, which help me keep my kids stocked with books and food, all at no cost to you!

This wall has been blank since Christmas when we hang our advent calendars there, until Brielle, my 11 year old took two signs off the porch and threw them up on the nails. I started kind of thinking about what I wanted and decided I love the current trend of a collage. I don’t think I’m done yet, but here’s what we’ve got so far.

Here’s what my kitchen looked like in 2008! I have changed it so much over the past 10 years, even I can’t believe it!

cheap and easy farmhouse decor farmhouse kitchen real life farmhouse old house
Abide in my love John 15:7

One of my besties gave me this sign and it’s just perfect.

cheap and easy farmhouse decor farmhouse kitchen real life farmhouse old house hobbit subway sign lord of the rings decor
My children are homeschooled hobbits, for real.

I made this sign because homeschooled hobbits live around here. I’ve been thinking of inexpensively selling some of the prints I make. Let me know how that interests you!

The frame is from Goodwill. I took the cardboard off the back and wrapped it in regular 11×17 typing paper and taped the print on there.

cheap and easy farmhouse decor farmhouse kitchen real life farmhouse old house art for kids
My son drew this when he was 8 1/2

My 9 year old drew and colored this for me last year. He followed a tutorial from Art for Kids Hub, which we adore!

The white frame is from Goodwill. I spray painted it white, and my impatience and mistakes made for some perfect distressing and crackling. Here at Yellow Barn Farms,  I don’t even have to try to achieve the cheap chic look-that is just how I roll 🙂 I get that worn, farmhouse look accidentally.

cheap and easy farmhouse decor farmhouse kitchen real life farmhouse old house
A real life farm house kitchen

The Farm Fresh sign is from Target’s Dollar Spot. I got the bird sign at Michaels on clearance with a couple of smaller matching ones. I didn’t even plan for it to be in the kitchen, so it’s especially crazy how it matches so well. The phone on the wall belonged to The Handsome Husband’s grandma. She was a rural telephone operator in the 40s and 50s. My diva dog dish is actually an old fashioned hors d’oeuvres server from Goodwill. The color is Tropical Heat by Behr.  All the paint in my house is Behr.  It’s my absolute favorite.

We bought the nook benches at Oak Express and long ago outgrew the table. This one was a Craigslist find on which The Handsome Husband put high gloss bar epoxy resin so it would hold up better to the constant beating our furniture takes. I love it. It looks like glass and the children have to try really hard to scratch it.

It doesn’t take a lot more time to thrift some of your ornamentation or furnishing and update your decor with inexpensive and quick little changes. I’d love to hear how you save money when you decorate!

 

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blogger-image-1889233683

How to Boil an Egg

I have been boiling eggs for a long while and have tried ALL the methods –or so I thought– to get eggs to peel easily. I reasoned I had a pretty good handle on this most basic of kitchen cookerys.
Boiling eggs came up the other day in a group I’m in, prompting much discussion. I had thought that adding salt or baking soda to the water worked fairly well, especially for farm fresh eggs like we usually have. I still did spend an inordinate amount of time peeling the little cackle berries though. I had tried the pin method too, where you puncture the shell but not the sac around the albumen in order to let the water separate them and make peeling easier. I thought this made the eggs too wet and frankly a little gross. I had also tried the YouTube videos’ wherein they basically blow an egg out of its shell in seconds–which didn’t work at all for me.
Then last night my friend Amber changed my life forever. Boiling eggs again came up in conversation. She shared how she just read an article how to boil eggs and was feeling success in the egg peeling arena for the first time in her life. She had pretty much given up until she read the article. It convinced her because told her the science behind the method, so she thought she would try one last try.
My experiment included the white store bought eggs of undetermined age we had on hand for Brielle’s activities she came up with when she taught preschool last week, the brown eggs I marked “old” which were at the back of the fridge from a friend’s farm, and then the plain brown eggs we took out of the nesting boxes within the last couple of days.

Here is what you do: boil water. Put your steamer on your pot.

Add the eggs to the steamer–only once the water is boiling, mind you. Cover.

Set your timer for 12 minutes. Go laugh your head off to a Good Mythical Morning episode. (I guess that part can be optional, but seriously, you should do it.) When your timer rings, immerse your eggs in an ice water bath.

We didn’t have very much ice but it still worked.

I didn’t time this part, but I first measured my kids’ tee shirts to be sure of their sizes and placed an order for some Classical Conversations shirts.

So however long that took is how long they sat in the icy water.

Now. This is the amazing part.

Elivette and I peeled all nine eggs in about two minutes,

even the ones that had been under a chicken a day or so ago. 

Now, go boil and peel happy. 

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blogger-image-441286403

Commence Operation Fill the Freezer

I thankfully have had pretty amazing energy the last couple of days, so I thought I would actually make some food instead of the catch as catch can kind of meals that have been happening around here lately. I will share what works for me.

I had been part of a freezer exchange group for several months, but it kind of fell apart. About a dozen people would make 12 of the same meal and then exchange it for 12 different ones. I was ok that the group dissolved though since I (and some other members) would work really hard on preparing healthful homemade generous meals and we would receive in exchange (from a few people) white pasta and store bought sauce with very little meat. I guess we are kind of food snobs around here because I would have to revamp the meal so my children would eat it. This kind of defeats the purpose of the exchange group. 
Another time my mom and I spent an entire day cooking 10 different meals. We trebled the recipes and I took two and she took one. That worked pretty well, but it was an exhausting day and it was hard to juggle the children and the cooking even with both of us there. It is also hard to find an entire day that works for both of us. Another drawback is that it’s expensive to buy all of the ingredients for 30 meals at one time, even without counting the cost of the homegrown beef in our freezer. 
What has always worked best for me is to double or treble a recipe that I am already making. We eat one meal –and usually have leftovers–and I put another one or two in the freezer. Then on a low energy or sick or busy day, I can pull a freezer meal out and have a healthful homemade meal, regardless of the day’s circumstances.
Last night I got organized and made a list of meals I would like to make over the next month.

I started on a homeschool blog of a mom with seven children, but then realized I would be clicking all over the Internet and it was likely going to take all night to see if the recipes would fit our family’s taste. Plus most of the recipes are for chicken, and we eat a lot of home raised beef and pork. 
I then pulled out my favorite publisher’s freezer magazine, which is a special publication they put out in the fall, and it only took me a short while to make the list. I made the grocery list at the same time, even though I probably wouldn’t buy everything at once.
I was watching a friend’s daughters today, which really makes things easier because the kiddlets run off and play and don’t torment me about how they are so hungry. 
Whenever I am working in the kitchen, it makes people hungrier than hobbits.
We had Chicken Broccoli Skillet for lunch. It was pretty good, even though I forgot the cheese, and I got two meals in the freezer with very little extra effort.

Then for dinner (supper if you’re from a farm in Iowa), since it has been bitter and blustery, I thought Italian Wedding Soup sounded good. I didn’t account for all the kajillions of tiny meatballs. Or the fact that my helpers would want to make meat snowmen. Or that once their friends went home, my Hungry Offspring would be whiny and tearful and prone to accidents.

 I managed to get dinner made, and some extra meatballs, but making the other batches of soup will have to wait until another day, as that was far too ambitious for this pregnant mama. 

My precious eight year old who happens to be in possession of boundless energy made the Onion French Bread and as an added bonus, made some orange sherbet. 
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under control book

One month since

I last posted 30 September and now it’s 30 October.

I am trying to figure out how to really enjoy blogging and make it truly work for me, without unnecessary pressure–self-induced, of course. I need to figure out what my goals are.I need to figure out what I really want.  Blogs I love to read always have beautiful pictures accompanying each post and I haven’t gotten pictures off the cameras for over a month. I’ve also not taken very many pictures either.

Facebook is a super easy way to keep many of my loved ones up to date on our lives, but it also can be super time consuming and hard to make boundaries with it. I want to post there, but then I’m drawn to check to see if people have “liked” or commented, and I want to see what my friends are up to too and then I have a few groups I’ve been heavily involved in and somehow feel the pull to check those too, and before I know it, I’ve wasted many precious minutes/hours on other people’s lives/articles I didn’t know I wanted to read/answering questions I really didn’t have time for when all I got on line for was to find a cracker recipe and “check my  news feed really quickly”. Famous last words.

I went to the Mother Earth News Fair in Topeka, KS this past weekend and the girls and my dad and I had an AMAZING time. We’re thinking about milk goats and bees. We’re contemplating making more things from scratch. We’re looking at how we can be living even more sustainably. (And then I come home to all the Christmas catalogs in my mailbox!)

I got to stay with my sister and her beautiful family and have a too short of visit with one of my besties. The kids did wonderfully traveling and it was a glorious trip.

I took a little internet break while I was gone, and now it’s been a full week. I miss it and don’t miss it. I miss knowing what my friends are up to on a regular basis, but I don’t miss all the mental and emotional clutter it brings with it.

**************************************
Today Aviana made bread for the first time all by herself. It’s not wanting to rise, so I’m not sure if she made an error, or if our house is just too cold.

Today (and yesterday) we had chicken soup with rice for lunch.

We’ve put all the bikes and riding toys and wagons in the barn for the winter. It’s staggering how tidy the yard suddenly became! Kevin is winterizing all the equipment as we are supposed to get a hard freeze tonight. He’s done combining the soy beans and has about 100 acres of corn to do. He’s rained out today. Hopefully this afternoon we’ll get to planting my bulbs and mums. I am totally a fair weather gardener.

Cadrian is having a hard time with his reading lessons every time, but then every time he makes a break through and shows me he really is ready for it. It’s frustrating and challenging to know what’s truly best for him.

Brielle played well with Elivette this morning so I could read to the boys. They’ve been into these Star Wars books we got from the library but I am done reading that drivel. It’s time to introduce them to Little House or Narnia or something. Cadrian does well listening to read alouds but Denton is still a classic interrupter.

I have plans to make some pumpkin butter this afternoon too, so I’d better be starting.

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DSC_0120

Becoming Minimalist: Easy Pantry DIY

I’ve been purging a lot lately.

Getting rid of the past feels good! Getting rid of the junk feels good! Getting rid of all those maternity clothes feels amazing!

I saw a post on organizing your pantry a while ago, and I finally got kind of started on that project. I don’t like investing a lot into my organization though. Spending tons of money on baskets and glass jars for my pantry just doesn’t ring true to my miser’s heart. I’ve been putting a lot of it in Mason jars, but often those aren’t big enough so it’s still not really helping.

Then I saw a Pinterest post (probably) on making your own “baskets” out of cardboard boxes and rope. Brilliant.

So for the price of several glue sticks and a couple pounds of jute twine, I was able to go from this:

to this:
I just used construction paper with white colored pencil as labels. These are up high in the pantry so all you can see are the “baskets”. It really helped a lot, but I’ve got a ways to go 🙂
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food-processor

Possibly the best $5 I’ve ever spent

A couple of years ago, I came across a vintage Black and Decker Food processor much like the one pictured, at a garage sale. I thought I would be able to put it to good use so I snapped it up, even though the lady assured me she had hardly ever used it.

I know it’s from the late ’70s because I was watching a movie from that era (I SO wish I would have taken better mental notes) and noticed MY food processor in a kitchen scene!

It  has been a gem.

Yesterday I used it to make spaghetti sauce. This morning it helped me make yummy hummus-guacamole. Or perhaps it was guacamole-hummus. Then tonight it made completely lumpless deviled eggs.

I highly recommend, now that garage sale season is nearing, you be on the lookout for one too. If you have one already, what do you use it for?

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