The Crazy Momma Birthday Planner


For some unknown reason when I was 13, my family stopped celebrating my birthday.  Why? you ask.  I still to this day have NO idea. 

So, instead, I live vicariously through my children.  My ‘peanut’ will be 7 in a few short weeks.  I theme Every birthday party to age 14.  After that, they get to choose a cool thing to do with friends and family just send cash/gift cards, if they choose.  But the little man still gets a themed party and this year he choose:


Pinterest has been fantastic for ideas!!  I’ll put up links later today to these great ideas!

Homemade Tip for Lego Birthday Cake

His grandmother is making a cake similar to this!


Photobooth Idea-  just need to find a Sign Company to print this.

for easy purchasing.  The above image was from her sons birthday… I love EVERYTHING about it!

MODERN LEGO Inspired Birthday Party - Customized - Printable Age Sign

An idea for the entrance!

from the inside of a lego store somewhere on earth… I think I’ll take the ceiling cue to create a wall of lego shapes made out of posterboard in lego colors… cheap and a major statement.

More ideas in the next post!

I came across this article from $5 Dinner Ideas for an inexpensive party idea written by Dana Strohmaier for her 3 kiddos whose birthdadys are all within a week of each other.  Read her and check out her FABULOUS site!

The 67 cent Birthday Dinner

by Dana S on March 20, 2012

I am in the throws of planning an animal themed birthday party for my soon to be 7, 4 and 3 year old  children (all of their birthdays fall within 1 week of each other). The bash  will be held at a pet shop where the kids will have a tour of the aquarium and  get to play with various animals. When I first scheduled the party, I  winced when I calculated what it would cost  to order pizza. Then a  friend suggested that I could make my own version of a animal themed “Happy  Meal”. The kids and I made “Doggy Bags” using a free  download on Martha Stewart.  The best part (other than the price) is  that almost every item could be packaged ahead of time.


  • Pb & J Sandwiches cut into dog shapes with a cookie cutter (freezing  instructions if you want to make these ahead of time)
  • Annie’s Cheddar Bunnies
  • Baby Carrots (ie. bunny food)
  • Gummy Fish swimming in Blue Jello (instructions)

Photo0105 480x640 2 225x300 The 67 cent Birthday Dinner

Our “Doggy Bags”

Price Breakdown:

  • Loaf of bread: $1.29
  • 3/4 of jar of Peanut Butter: $1.94
  • 1/2 jar of Jelly: $0.70
  • Box of Annie’s Cheddar Bunnies: $3.39
  • 4 boxes of Mixed Berry Jello + 1/2 bag of Gummy Fish: $3.68
  • Bag of Baby Carrots: $1

Total Cost: $12 or $0.67 per child

What is your favorite way to save on birthday  meals?

Read more:

Article by Dana

Dana Strohmaier is a registered dietitian who loves to nourish her family  for less! While working hard to pay off debt, she has learned to shop for  healthy food on a limited budget of only $15/person per week. Dana is taking a  break from blogging on her own blog but can’t wait to share deals here at $5  Dinners!


Wedding Guest

Can I tell you how excited I am to actually be a guest at a wedding this year?  I go to many each year, but always as the wedding photographer.  I will get to dress up, wear heels (which is a no no when shooting the wedding!), have cocktails, actually sit down for the full meal (typically it’s just a quick 6 1/2 minute shovel of heavy carbs in my mouth to sustain my stamina for the rest of the night) and dance with my hubby.


Now, what shall I wear?  I’ve been working out very hard with P90X and a self made Circuit Training course.  So, I’m thinking something to show off my shoulders and arms.  The wedding is in July so I’m not worried about being cold!


A few options I like…


Pinned Image


Love that necklace!  Coral and gray are a great combo.

Vintage Rhinestone Layered Necklace

black dress perfection


turquoiseMy favorite color!!


Now to Shop My Style& Ebay – maybe a thrift store or two- to see who has what I’m looking for in my budget: 🙂


BUDGET $50 for total ensemble!

A Bad Apple (s)

I HATE wasting food.  It appears the two batches of apples did not get eaten as fast as I anticipated.

So, instead of throwing them out, I made applesauce in the Crockpot.

Recipe by Crockpot 365 can be found here

My 6yo Peanut helped.  We will be waiting 5 more hours… just in time for a dessert to go along with supper tonight!

image from Crockpot 365

How do you use up food that is on it’s last leg??

Hello and Ramblings of Hair Care

I always have so many thoughts rolling through my head thinking “I need to write these down”.  So, today… it begins. And everday going forward.  I will be writing!

As I am making my grocery list for shopping today, I recall wanting my hair to look less dry.  I’ve done research on the net for help and have found that Sodium Laureth and Sodium Lauryl Sulfate are harmful to your hair.

Both sodium lauryl sulfate and sodium laureth sulfate can irritate the skin. Shampoos or hair care products with these ingredients make the scalp dry by removing oil from it. Moreover, sodium laureth sulfate can remain in the tissues for a long time. This can result in skin and hair damage. The hair follicles can get adversely affected by these two chemicals.
Shampoos with high concentration of sodium laureth sulfate can cause hair loss, and dry and brittle hair. This chemical can also cause skin irritation and itching. In recent times, concerns have been expressed that sodium laureth sulfate may get absorbed through skin. If it happens then sodium laureth sulfate can cause several health problems other than just skin dryness and irritation. It can imitate the activity of the hormone estrogen, which can prove harmful for the health of both men and women.

Soooo, I started looking for shampoos without these nasty chemicals.  BUT, I’m cheap!!  I found this post

Shampoos without Sodium Laureth Sulfate
With so many dangers associated with sodium laureth sulfate and sodium lauryl sulfate, it’s no wonder that more and more individuals are searching for SLS free shampoo brands or shampoo without sodium lauryl sulfate and sodium laureth sulfate. Along with SLS and sodium laureth sulfate, there is another chemical that is deemed as harmful, but can be found in many cosmetics and hair care products. That is paraben. Paraben is basically a preservative, which if enters the body through the skin can mimic the hormone estrogen. Though the exact health effects of paraben are not known with certainty, it may be wise to opt for the shampoos without sodium laureth sulfate and parabens.
The shampoos and hair care productsthat do not contain SLS and sodium laureth sulfate can be a little more expensive, but they are much more gentler on the hair and the scalp. Below here is a list of shampoos without sodium laureth sulfate and sodium lauryl sulfate.

  • Alba Botanica Shampoo
  • Aubrey Organics
  • Pureology
  • Avalon Organics
  • Valley Green Naturals shampoo
  • Max Green Alchemy
  • Alaffia
  • Jason
  • Superstar (from the brand Bed Head)
  • Foxy Curls (from Bed Head brand)
  • Elave
  • Beauty Without Cruelty
  • John Masters
  • Burt’s Bees
  • EO
  • Herbal Essences Hello Hydration Moisturizing Shampoo
  • Kiss My Face
  • Ultimate Shampoo
  • Logona Shampoo
  • Giovanni
  • ABBA True Curls
  • Treasured Locks

So, these are some of the shampoos without sodium laureth sulfate and sodium lauryl sulfate. Hope this list would help you to find the best SLS free shampoo. However, this is not an exhaustive SLS free shampoo list, and so, you can find out some more shampoos that do not contain these chemicals, by doing some research on this subject. To find the best shampoo out of the various sodium laureth sulfate free shampoos, you can also go through their reviews. Finally, be sure to use only mild shampoos and hair care products, and make sure that they do not contain any harsh chemicals. For this, always read the label of the product and check the various ingredients before making any purchases. Such simple steps can be of immense help in avoiding harmful chemicals in hair and skin care products and cosmetics.

By Published: 11/26/2010
I am going to check prices on the Herbal Essences and Alba while shopping today.
There is also the other option of ‘Poo Free.

Why Go ‘Poo-Free?

Before I go in to the how of no shampoo, it’s a good idea to tell you the why.  There’s a lot of valuable information on the Internet, so I’m not going to reinvent the wheel.  But here are the reasons that spoke most to me.

1.  Shampoo is a detergent.

Shampoo cleans your hair, but it also strips it of all the healthy oil your body naturally produces.  These oils protect your hair and keep it soft and strong.

Shampoo was only introduced in the early 20th century — before that, people relied on good-old soap, which can wash hair just as well without removing important oils.  But soap doesn’t work well in alkaline water, and when water in civilized areas started becoming more mineral-heavy (read: alkaline), soap became a challenge.  It made the scales on hair stand up, making it weaker and rougher.  So shampoo was introduced, marketed with its only benefit of working in both hard and soft water.

Detergent is harsh. I doubt we’d use the same type of stuff to wash our bodies as we would our dishes, but that’s essentially what we’re doing with shampoo.

shampoo bottles

2.  Shampoo has all sorts of chemicals.

Our family typically goes out of our way to not eat boxed chemicals disguised as food — we stick to the natural, whole foods that either come from the ground or once ate things that came from the ground.  But skin is our largest organ, and it’s extremely porous — substances can easily enter the bloodstream directly through our skin, and they can stay for a long time.

Since we try to avoid food that has unpronounceable ingredients, we thought it only made sense to adhere to the same standards for the stuff we slather on our skin. Since this includes shampoo, we sought out an alternative.

Most shampoos also contain mineral oil, which is a byproduct when gasoline is distilled from crude oil.  It’s added to shampoo (along with hundreds of other products) to thickly coat the strands, giving hair an artificial shine.  And since it can’t absorb into skin, like the other ingredients, it acts as a barrier on our scalp, preventing oil from being released — thus requiring more shampoo to strip away the grease. This is why the more shampoo you use, the more you need.

3.  Shampoo is an unnecessary cost.

So because shampoo isn’t really necessary, using it creates this cycle that requires a dependence on the stuff, along with other hair products.  In order to combat the stripping of protective oils, we need an artificial protectant called conditioner.  And because now my hair is coated with unnatural substances, it requires more unnatural substances to keep it styled, strong, and workable.  The list of hair pomades, waxes, gels, mousses, and detanglers available could take up pages on this site.

Since we’re a frugal family, seeking a simple life, it made sense to eliminate something we didn’t truly need.  We’d rather spend our money elsewhere.

There are plenty of other reasons — shampoo caused my husband’s dry, itchy scalp, and we had another added expense of buying a tear-free type of shampoo for our kiddos.  While this wasn’t a life-or-death situation for us, by any means, it made more and more sense for us to give a shampoo-free life a shot once we read about it.

How to go ‘Poo-Free


No, this isn’t yours truly in a police line-up — it’s my hair today, a day after rinsing in baking soda and vinegar.

I don’t like writing doom and destruction on this blog — I’d rather give you useful, practical information that might make your life simpler.  So that’s enough on the why not to do something — here are helpful tips for how you can give going ‘poo-free a shot.

Baking Soda is Your Friend


Baking soda works wonders on hair, along with its other many household helps.  It’s gentle, it’s the weakest alkaline, and it very gently clarifies hair from chemical buildup.

Like many natural cleaners, the recipe isn’t static — it can be tweaked to suit your needs.  The standard amount for hair care is one tablespoon of baking soda to one cup of water.  Those with curly or thicker hair might need a bit more baking soda, and those with thin or fine hair might need less.  Experiment, and see what works for you.

I use a simple 8-ounce squeeze bottle, pour in a tablespoon of baking soda with a funnel, then fill up the rest with water from the kitchen sink.  I give it a good shake to dissolve the baking soda, and it’s ready to be used.

In the shower, I soak my hair with water, then I squeeze a bit of the baking soda mixture on my scalp, starting at the crown.  I massage it in as I go, squeezing a bit more here and there, concentrating mostly on the scalp.  I include my hair as well, but since most of the oils originate from the scalp itself, the hair will naturally get cleaned once the scalp is clarified.

After a few minutes, I rinse it out, just like I would shampoo.

For my husband and I combined, this amount will last us about a week or week and a half.  He has fairly short hair, and mine is just below my ears.

Apple Cider Vinegar is Your Next Friend


Apple cider vinegar is a mild acidic, working well to counteract the baking soda, and thus acts as a great replacement for conditioner.  It detangles the hair folicles, seals the cuticle, and balances the hair’s pH balance.

A little goes a very long way, just like the baking soda.  The standard recipe is also one tablespoon apple cider vinegar to one cup water.  For this, I use an old conditioner bottle, and fill it with the vinegar and water via funnel, then finish it with a shake.

My hair tends to rest a little on the oily side naturally, so I don’t use much of this.  I pour a little on just the ends of my hair, let it rest for a few seconds, then rinse it out.

{Tonya’s note on Apple Cider Vinegar-  it will give a redish tint to your hair with regular use, fyi.}

Other Tips

• You might have a transition period that lasts from a few weeks to a few months, where your hair reacts with excess oil to the lack of shampoo.  This is perfectly normal.  It’s used to having its oils stripped, so it might take time for the oil to stop producing so heavily in protest.  My transition period only lasted about two weeks, and it wasn’t any big deal, really.

• I hear that eventually, you can wean off baking soda and vinegar all together, relying only on water in the shower to remove dirt and oil.  I haven’t gotten there yet.

• If you find that your hair is too oily (after the transition period), try using less vinegar, or not using it all together.  Some people also use lemon juice instead of vinegar as their acidic clarifier.

• If your hair feels too dry, use less baking soda, or try using honey instead of vinegar.

• I don’t need anything else for my hair.  I stopped using pomade, which I previously used religiously to cut the frizzies.  My hair is amazingly pliable, and can hold styles without my needing to do much of anything.  I’m thrilled with the results!

• We also use this mix on our kiddos’ heads, though we only use it once a week or so.  Sometimes we’ll even go two weeks, since their scalps don’t really produce much oil at this age.  We clean more ketchup and oatmeal out than we do oil.