Thursday, June 18, 2009


This is a newer thought for me, and I mean stockpiling as being a more intense effort than 'stocking up'. Our economy is not better than it was just 6 months ago, and I have been thinking that it may be wise of me to create a stockpile in case of even more difficult times, especially since we are a single income family.

Creating a stockpile does not need to take up a ton of space nor a big investment. For our family, I plan to dedicate just $5 a week to creating our stockpile. I plan on placing the items in different places around the house, like in the back of closets or in other storage areas where the items will #1 be out of the way, and #2 not be used just as routine items. I also will list them items (like a log or an inventory) of where the items are, what they are, how many and the expiration date (so I can rotate items out seasonally and nothing goes bad).

As a side note, does anyone know how I can post any of my listing/recording keeping documents to share - I can't figure it out.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Sweetened Condensed Milk

I had to make Key Lime Pie today for supervisor lunch and I thought I had a can of sweetened condensed milk, but I was wrong. So, I went searching for a good substitute and this is what I found:

The best make-your-own version is to mix 1 cup of evaporated milk
with 1-1/4 cups of sugar in a saucepan, heat and stir until the sugar is
completely dissolved, and let cool. If you don't have evaporated milk on
hand either, you can make your own by slowly simmering any quantity
of milk in a pan until it reduced by 60%, and then adding the sugar.
This was easy and it worked really well - plus the evaporated milk is about 1/2 the price of the sweetened condensed per can.

*****let it steam for a little while so it can thicken - -about 10 minutes********

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Homemade Mayonnaise

Yesterday we were going through a few things we would need at the grocery store and hubby mentioned we were out of mayo. I wrote it down on the list, but then remembered I had a recipe to make my own!

So, I decided to whip up a batch to save a few dollars! Plus, I love knowing exactly what is in my food!

Here is the recipe:

Homemade Mayonnaise (Yield: 2 cups)

1 egg
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
1 teaspoon ground mustard
1/2 teaspoon paprika (I omitted this)
3 Tbs vinegar or lemon juice
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil (I used canola)

Put egg, salt, sugar, mustard, paprika & vinegar in blender. Cover & blend for a few seconds. With blender still running, add the oil very slowly. Blend until thick and smooth.

Note: you can substitute pasteurized egg substitute for raw egg for pregnant women or elderly persons.

Personal notes: This recipe turned out really well. It was a little tangy, so I think I'll play around with the vinegar and sugar. Next time I will use 2 tablespoons vinegar and add an extra teaspoon of sugar.

Hubby is pretty specific about his mayo and how his food tastes and he approved this, so it was success. No more buying mayo for me!!!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Playpen sheets

If you have small ones, then you have probably had a pack n' play, or some other brand of playpen. If you need to use sheets with them, as I do, you know how expensive this can get! I had 2 of the store bought sheets, but one of them got ruined. At $7 to $15 each, I didn't want to have to buy more. I rummaged in the linen closet and found an older child print twin size flat sheet that did not match anything. (You could even buy a new sheet or fabric, and this would still be cheaper than buying the packages ones!) This was just right to to turn into 4 new sheets for my playpens! I just used the old sheet to mark my sizes on the "new" fabric. Then I just copied the old sheet style to fold the corners & sewed them tight! It took me less than 1/2 hour to cut & sew it. Four new playpen sheets that are nice & tightfitting for nearly free!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Koolaid Cake

No, that's not a type-o. The cake mix most commonly on sale is yellow or plain, and Kool-aid packets (the little ones) are about 4 for $1. Well, if you want strawberry cake, or orange cake, lemon cake or even the lemon-lime flavor, just add a package of Koolaid mix to the cake (2 if you want a really intense flavor and color) during the mixing and bake as usual. The Koolaid mix doesn't alter your recipe because it adds no liquid and very, very little dry volume. If at first glance you say "but Kool-aid has artificial dyes," then I would encourage you to look at the flavored cake mix box - theirs are artificial too. Besides, you don't have to flavor every cake, just have a little fun with it.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Home Garden

A home garden can save you some $$$.

You can grow so many things, and can store some for the winter if you know how (or are willing to learn).
Share your seeds and /or seedlings with friends. (Thanks Mommy B!)
Reuse items. We are using an old trampoline enclosure for the trellis to our beans. Our tomato cages are being re-used from previous years. Some of the plants I bought were buy 1 get 1 free because I started them a little late for the season. Our weed blocker fabric wil be reused for probably 2 more years.
Fresh is best!
If you grow your own produce, you know exactly what has been done to it (important if you like all natural & organic goods), and can cost a lot less than at the grocery store.
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Sunday, June 7, 2009

The Washcloth

Here is an underestimated tool. Laugh all you like, but here me out. Have any of you ever purchased a pouf? You know one of those plastic fluffy shower scrubber things - well, if you look at them closely, they do not have protrusions to create a 'rough' surface that is needed for good exfoliation like the loofah has. The washcloth on the other hand, has tons of them, and since they are soft, they do less damage than the loofah - and all you have to do to make them work is, well, wet them, apply soap, use a little bit of pressure and a circular motion and then you have it - exfoliation. And I didn't even mention the fact that they are a wash a reuse item. The pouf is supposed to be replaced every 30 days (about $25 annually), and it's a massive germ magnet because it's not designed to be tossed in the washer on a regular basis.

Oh and by the way, you probably already have washcloths, so you don't actually have to buy anything, just use what you already have :) Reduce, reuse, recycle.