Friday, December 31, 2010

The Old Schoolhouse Magazine

If you like the Old Schoolhouse Magazine and it's store - now is the time to shop.  They are having a huge sale.  Their planner (normally $39) is $10, and lots of their ebooks are $1-$2.  I racked up !

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Plastic Bread Tabs

You know those flat, hard plastic tags that come on bread, buns, bagels, etc.  I have 2 good uses for them:

  1. Mini pan scrapers (just like the Pampered Chef ones, but free and smaller so you can toss them more frequently)
  2. Tagging cords going into one of those strip plugs so you know what is what without unplugging the wrong thing, or without following the cord all the way back to the appliance.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Threat of Legal Action

I have been threatened with legal action.  Here is a copy of an email I got just a few minutes ago:

I'm writing to kindly ask if you could change your blog's name? We own the federal trademark on "Money Saving Mom" and since that phrase is in your blog's name, it actually violates our federal trademark, which would mean you'd be subject to federal fines and more if you continue to use it.

I'm sure you didn't know this and I hate to even request this since I know it's tough to change one's blog name. However, since we have gotten Walmart to stop using them phrase "Money Saving Moms" on a section of their site, our attorney also says we have to ask blogs using the phrase "Money Saving Mom" in their name to discontinue it's use because the size of a company or blog doesn't matter when it comes to the federal trademark rules.

I'll be happy to give you 4-6 weeks to change the name (or longer, if you need it). Please just let me know when it is changed, or if you have any other questions.

Thanks so much!

Crystal Paine

Money Saving Mom®

Helping you be a better home economist

So, I guess I have no choice, I'm not rich because I don't advertise on my site, so I have to ask you a question - It will be on the side bar after today - What should I name my site?

Monday, December 13, 2010

The Cost of Beauty

People (especially women) spend a ton on beauty, let's see where else we could put those dollars

  1. Professional Hair coloring - once every 6 weeks, millions of women get their hair frosted/highlighted dyed at the beauty shop.  Let's say they spend about $65 - that means in 1 year, they spend about $550 just on their coloring. (That's and entire month's worth of groceries plus some gas)
  2. Fancy Beauty cream - millions of women also drop $25 or more every 2 months on special creams to make them look younger and reduce eye puffiness - truth is, none of those creams are proven to work better than sleep or hemmrhoid cream.  In one year, that's $150 a year (one month of both cable and landline telephone bills)
  3. Makeup - this is a big variable, but let's go with a nice low figure - say $10 a month on makeup related expenses.  Because of what makeup does, it actually makes you look older instead of younger.  That's $120 a year, plus now you have to buy stuff to try to make you look younger again.  (the equivalent of one month cell phone bill, plus a tank of gas)
  4. Special smelly body washes and lotions - not proven to do anything more for your skin than regular moisturizing bar soap and basic lotion, costs about $20 a month ($240 a year - or one month's car payment or electric bill)
Let's add this together: $550 + $150 + $120 + $240 = $1060 a year (most or all of one month's mortgage)

So beautify smartly, and don't be fooled by ads designed to pull you in, and also, let your natural beauty shine through, and laugh more all the way to the bank!

Saturday, December 11, 2010


I love pets, I really do.  When my husband and I got married, he had a dog named Gus, a golden retreiver.  He was beautiful and gentle, and I instantly fell in love with him.  We had him for 4 1/2 more years until an unfortunate accident took him away.  I miss him a lot.

Pets can cost a lot of money though.  If you are not broke, not behind in your bills, and have an adequate savings on top of that, then have pets, and love them and enjoy them.


If you are behind on your mortgage or your bills, struggling to make ends meet and stressed.  You need to find a new home for fluffy.  Pets cost money. A minimum of $50 a month just in feeding them (that's $600 a year).  I'm not trying to be mean at all, but prioritize.  Another thing is if you lose your home, chances are that where you go will not allow pets, so you will have to get rid of them.  If you are proactive and give them away, you can find great homes for them where they will be loved, well cared for and possibly you may be able to visit them.  But if you are suddenly having to move, fluffy doesn't always get the best end of the stick.  I hate seeing animals ditched because people can't afford them anymore - do the loveable critters in your world a favor and don't let it come to that.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Buying Books Online

When I have to purchase books, I shop around.  There is no need for me to pay full price for books.  Some of the sites I frequent are:
  • Amazon
  • Ebay
  • Barnes & Noble
These sites have their sellers display cost and shipping right up front to reduce suprises at the checkout.  Please just take 2-3 minutes to shop around before you  purchase.  A dollar saved is a dollar earned.

This also works for movies -  you can save 50% over Wal-Mart.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Empty Milk Jugs

I enjoy having a little food storage around.  Nothing fancy, and not too detailed or whatnot.  But when I purchase things like rice, sugar, beans, etc., I want to be able to store them in smaller packs that are handy, and that you can see.  In comes the empty milk jug.  I clean it out with hot water, a little dawn and a little white vinegar, rinse it really well, then set it on it's side in a cabinet to dry out for about a week to make sure there is no moisture in it.  Then I fill it with whatever I'm wanting to store, label it with contents and date, cover the top with plastic wrap and a rubber band, then put the little plastic top back on it.  If I have silica gel packs from other household items I have purchased, I put one of those on top.  These are easy to work with and hold about 4lbs of dry items.  You can see through them somewhat, and they have a helpful handle.  Best of all, they are already around and every one that gets reused stays out of a landfill. 

Words to the wise.  Milk jugs are great for short term storage of lots of things, but I would not recommend them for long term storage.  they are not intended for use in the types of food storage that people don't use for 10 years.  I also would never put anything liquid or semi liquid in them.  Pretty much anything that has moisture, I would avoid.  Just dry stuff.  And if you don't want to use them for food, you can use them for your powdered items like laundry soap, dishwasher soap, kitty litter, epsom salts, beads, lego's, etc.

Use your imagination, and use your head.  Happy Storage!

Skip the soup, pass the hash

My family is not big into soups.  I like soups, but not too frequently.  My husband even less so.  Therefore, all of those 'cheap meals' cookbooks have huge sections I don't use.  However, I tried something last night that might be a new breakthrough for me.

My husband is a meat and potato man.  So, we eat a lot of meat and potatoes in various concoctions and contortions and whatever.  He also only likes leftovers once.  Well, okay - new challenge.  I know that soup is a cheap meal, and the idea of soup of leftovers is catchy among tightwads like me.  But if the family does not like soup, what do you do --make hash!

Easy Leftover Hash

Veggies (fresh and leftover cooked)
Diced Potatoes (about 1 cm so they cook quickly)

Put potatoes in skillet with a little olive oil and cook for about 10 minutes until they are almost tender, and any veggies (I like to add additional onion, celery, carrot, green pepper, etc - whatever I have that I don't want to spoil in the fridge), let those cook a couple of more minutes then dice up what ever meat you had leftover (yes, you can do this with meatloaf and meatballs, and even taco meat, just run a bit of hot water over them to rinse old sauce/seasoning off.).  Add the cooked meat and cooked leftover veggies toward the end.  Stir until all is hot and potatoes are completely done.

At this point, you can do several things:  1) serve as a dry hash, 2) make a little gravy in the pan with it ( or add some cream of whatever soup you want)  and serve it over old homemade bread (soaks up gravy), or 3) top it with cheese and serve.

There are a few things to keep in mind when doing this:
1) match your flavors well - leftover taco meat does better for a soutwestern style hash, so go with those flavors; same for meatballs and italian, meatloaf chunks (minus the tomato topping) do well in a swiss style hash, etc, etc.
2) experiment and write down what you did and how your family reacted
3)  this same concept can be applied to making it a hamburger/chicken helper style meal, your meat and veggies additives are just already done for you.

Let me know if you come up with any 'rock star' dishes

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Project 2011

Look at my sidebar on the right--------->

Project 2011.  This is my debt reduction goal for next year.  This is not one specific thing, this is my total goal, and this does not include regular monthly payments.  This is over and above that, principal debt payments.

Do you have debt reduction goals?  How much?

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Books for the Frugal Family

Here is a list of some of my favorite books for the thrifty-minded (most available at your local library)

Yankee magazine's 'Living on a Shoestring'
Better Basics for the Home
The Tightwad Gazette
The Tightwad Gazette II
The Tightwad Gazette III
Cheap Talk with the Frugal Friends
The Tightwad Twins
$5 Mom Cookbook
Any of the Mary Hunt Books
Any of the Dave Ramsey Books
Any of the Jeff Yeager Books
Living Well on One Income
Homeschool your child for free
Homeschooling on a shoestring

There are many others, but I wanted to share a brief list of ones I have read and loved

Monday, December 6, 2010

Side Note

You won't save money by drying your laundry on the line if you are already partly sick and then just go ahead and completely put yourself under by trying to save a few bucks.  Hang them up around the house instead.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

The Many Uses of a Cast Iron Skillet

I love my cast iron skillets.  I have 5 of them.  2 fryers, 1-12 inch, 1-10 inch and 1-5 inch.  I try to use them for as many things as possible. 

* sauteeing
* deep frying
* cornbread
* cake (very moist results)
* pizza (much better than the stoneware)
* biscuits
* frittata  (the crust will be divine)
* shepherd's pie (or chicken pot pie)
* anytime I want to crust a piece of meat before putting it in the oven
* breakfast casserole (allows you to have a good crust on your bottom hash brown layer)

Cast iron takes a little bit longer to heat up than stainless steel (about 30 seconds longer), but it retains heat for many more minutes than stainlesl steel.  That means you can turn your heat source off and your food will continue to cook for a while.  This means saving gas or electricity depending on your stove type.  You save of dish soap because you can't use it on cast iron.  It can go from the stove top to the oven, you can put it on the grill, directly on a fire, and even on one of those homemade coffee can stoves!  It is truly the most green and economical cookware I have found.  Plus it is cheap!

How many cast iron skillets do you have and what do you use them for that's different?

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Clothesline Questions Answered

Here are a few of my most common clothesline questions answered for you:

#1 - How much does it cost to dry a load of clothing in the dryer for 1 hour?

Ok, this one takes some calculation, but here we go: 

The average electric clothes dryer burns 6000 watts per hour of use (check yours for a more accurate figure).  Our cost per kwh (kilowatt hour) for electricity from October to May is 8.928 cent per kwh (7.227 base rate + 1.701 fuel charge), From June through September the base rate is 8.330 making the total 10.031per kwh.  So, the 6000 watt per hour dryer is burning 6kwh.   In the summer, that equals 60.186 cent per hour and in the winter that is 53.568 cent per hour.  Now, let's assume your family only creates 1 load of laundry per week.  That equals $4.21302 per week in summer and $3.74976 in winter.  That is $205.18 per year!

Of course that is only if your family creates 7 loads of laundry per week, and if each load only runs for 1 hour.  You will have to adjust your calculation based on your family's use to figure out the cost. 

There are a couple of things that figure doesn't include.  For instance, in the summer, the heat from the dryer makes you house hotter so that your AC has to work harder.  In the winter, the extra heat from the dryer is helpful, so it costs a couple of cent less. Another thing - How many of you turn the dryer on "for just a couple of minutes" to de-wrinkle your already dry clothes?    that 'just a minute' is usually about 20 minutes and repeates itself because most of us don't even get the clothes out then, so we do it all over again.

#2 - I don't like the stiff feeling clothes get on the clothesline.

First of all, be thankful that you did not live 60 years ago when no one had a dryer.  Secondly, that stiff feeling goes away after about 5 minutes of wear.

There are a couple of practical solutions to this problem.  One is to take clothes off the line when they are just slightly below dry (very slightly below) and put them in the dryer for 5 minutes (set a timer so you don't forget), and your clothes will not feel line dried at all.  Another option is  to add some fabric softener to your load.  My husband likes Gain and so we use it - of course I only use half the recommended amount, but it still does the trick.

#3 - How much does it cost to put up a clothesline?

Mine was about $25, but I also went ahead and got the green line that is a piece of wire coverend in green plastic.  It is heavy duty and has no problem holding up my laundry.  The cotton line dry rots and breaks after a couple of months

All in all, lines cost as much as you want to put into them.

#4 - That's a lot of work.

Hogwash.  It takes between 5-10 minutes to hang a load of laundry on the line, and 2 to take it down.

#5 - But how about those new 'high efficiency dryers' that don't use as much electricity?

Look at the price tag, they cost a lot more.  There is no way they save money.

#6 - I don't have the time, I have 6 children.

If you have 6 children, then you have children old enough to train how to help you.  A 6 year old can help with the laundry.  My 4 year old is able to help with laundry somewhat.

#7 - I work full-time so it doesn't fit into my schedule.

I have always found this reason to be interesting.  Partly because I have heard it from people who are 'out shopping', or always doing leisure activities.  Take horseback riding for example.  If you have time to care for and ride one of those creatures, then you most certainly have time to hang your clothes out.  Of course if you're in debt and have horses, send me an email so we can discuss how to prioritize and the difference between wants and needs.  Same thing with golf, going to a weight watchers meeting, reading trash novels, sitting on your bum in the sun doing nothing, etc.

#8 - It's not good for your clothes.

Air drying is best for your clothes.  It's the hanging part that some clothing can't tolerate, so there will be some things best to lay flat to dry.  But that is the case whether you use a line or the dryer - there will always be things too delicate for a dryer.  Another thing is that a high heat dryer actually wears your clothes out faster becuase it shrinks fabrics and pulls at the stiches.

#9 - What do you do about all the lint

Lint is not a big problem with line drying becuase there is no heat and tumbling around creating lint to begin with.  The little bit of lint created can easily be removed with a 3 inch pull of duct tape.  I have only had to resort to this maybe 3 times, ever.

#10 - I don't want to

Now this is an honest response.  No excuses, no nothing.  Just an honest "I don't want to".  Okay, so keep looking around and find another way to save money, there are plenty of options out there.

But if you find yourself in debt still or getting worse, send me an email so we can talk.

Friday, November 26, 2010

date night

Mr. Snippity and I had an opportunity for a date night. We had the kids with grandparents. Us adults weren't quite sure what to do with our time. Even though it is "black Friday", we do not usually go shopping. This evening we did. We did not get anything extravagant, but it was nice to just browse the stores with my honey and point out things for the kids/family. After a really nice dinner (at Wendy's, hahah), we are now sitting behind the mall, waiting for a tow truck for a family member. AAA is really worth it.

Friday, November 19, 2010

The Christmas List

Okay - so it's that time of year again, and you have your list of those to buy for and there's your personal list for you, because someone is going to ask "What do you want?"

So this list is dedicated to the things that would help a mom save more money:

  1. A mixer (KitchenAid, Bosch, Hamilton Beach), this is one of those items, that once you have it, you really don't know how you did without it.  It kneads bread dough for you to save you lots of time and arm use while at the same allowing you to ease more homemade items into your repetoire.  If you want to save people money, tell them a second hand machine is fine with you too.
  2. An immersion blender, this is on my list.  It makes smoothing out sauces a breeze without having to break out the entire blender.  It also doesn't take up a lot of space
  3. Sewing machine, and maybe a how-to book to go a long with it
  4. Books, I have a personal recommendation to help keep you in check and inspired in your frugal journey:  The Tightwad Gazette I, II & III or The Complete Tightwad Gazette (3 in 1) a word of caution here, the tightwad gazette is for those really wanting to make every cent count, and it's a great read!;
  5. Dishes & Cookware, some very useful pieces include a cast iron skillet (10in or 12in), bread pans, 9x9 square baking dish, glass mixing bowls in various sizes, a stockpot and 1/2 gallon size canning jars

Look around your kitchen or other areas and try to visualize what would be a helpful addition!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Mineral Oil

This is great stuff.  If you have a wooden cutting board, you use a little of it once a month to keep your wood moisturized and smooth.  However, you can use it on other things to.  For instance, I have some pampered chef bamboo utensils.  After a few months, the nice satiny finish begins to wear down leaving it looking dry.  So, give all of your bamboo a nice bubbly spa bath (in your sink), and towel it dry.  After you towel it dry, allow it to air dry for a while too just to make sure.  Then, rub it with a very thing layer of mineral oil.  I used a small piece of parchment to do this since it doesn't absorb the oil.  After you rub down each piece, go back to the first tool you rubbed down, and buff for a few seconds with a clean towel to remove any excess oil.  Then store as usual.  If the suface is rough at all, sand it a couple of minutes first with a very fine grain sandpaper.

If this sounds time consuming or boring, then just do in when your sitting in front of the TV not moving anyway.  You'll never notice the time was spent doing something constructive.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Christmas Wrap

Some folks buy their Christmas wrapping paper the day after Christmas to save 50% on it. I don't.  I buy it at yard sales and thrift stores.  On Saturday, I bought a total of 5 rolls of Christmas Wrap; 3 were used but very thick on the roll, and 2 were still in the plastic sleeve.  Total Christmas wrap investment - $1.10.  And I won't need any more than that this year!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Need extra counter space?

If you are in the middle of a project, and find yourself in need of somewhere to sit items...look to your laundryroom! Grab the ironing board and put it to use! This works for hot pans straight out of the oven...or for scrapbook/school projects. It is the perfect place for putting kids' painting or glue projects until they are dry. This can even be used as a sidetable at Thanksgiving, just throw a pretty sheet or tablecloth over it first.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Saturated with Soy - Yuck!

I am not a fan of putting soy in everything.  Actually, I am not a fan of putting soy in anything except soy products.  If you are buying hamburger, you should get beef, if you are buying turkeyburger, you should get turkey.  You should not be getting added soy. 

Today, I was reading the back of a package of Food Lion Sandwich bread.  First of all, it contained too many ingredients for me,secondly, it contains soybean/cottonseed oil (aka vegetable oil - and by the way, who actually eats cottonseeds?? NO ONE!!  They are not a food, much less a vegetable!), soy lecithin, and soy flour.  SOY FLOUR!  REALLY! 

Soy is pretty cheap, and because of that, it has infiltrated our food supply disguised as health food.  I have heard countless 'experts' talk about the health of the Japanes and other Asian cultures, and 'it must be the soy' so they put it in everything.  Well, let's talk about the soy and the Asian cuisine.  Tofu and soy sauce.  Both fermented soy products - in fact, I have never seen any fresh soybeans or other soy products served to the Asians, and you also don't see it in their restaurants.  Why would that be?  Probably because they already know that fresh soy has chemicals in it that pull nutrients out of the body - when it is fermented however, those same chemicals become neutralized, so that you can get the good stuff out of it - like in tofu.

What does this have to do with saving money - well, when you buy your food, make sure you are getting what you pay for and not lots of unhealthy filler - that'll cost you in the long run.

By the way - the asian cultures are probably healthier than us because #1) they don't eat a lot of processed junk, #2) they eat plenty of fish, both raw and cooked, #3) they don't overeat like Americans, #4) they walk a lot more than Americans.  I bet if we as Americans did those 4 things more, we would be a lot healthier even without all of the soy and soy by products.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

All Purpose Cleaner

Here is the recipe for my new favorite all purpose cleaner

24 oz rosemary infused water (you can choose any herb you wish)
3 oz white vinegar
2 oz dawn dish detergent or castille soap

mix in a spray bottle and use generally

* To make your herb infusion, take your fresh herbs of choice, bruise them to help release their oils and stuff them into a mason jar to 1/2 full (or more if you have it).  Pour boiling water over it and allow to steep for at least an hour.  A note of caution - jars that are not made for home canning are thinner and can easily rupture, so either use the canning jars or just put the herbs in the pot.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Shampoo Review

This shampoo formula needs a little work.  It did lather nicely after the second day, I guess the mix had to have time to sit and mix for a few hours.  The problem I'm having is not with the lathering or rinsing, and by the way, it rinses out really fast, but it leaves my hair a little dry.  Now, I have purposely not put any conditioners or creams on my hair after the shampoo so that I could get a good 3 days of use for an assessment, but I'm going to have to figure out a conditioner or rinse or some sort.  More digging to do, but this shampoo experiment was way better than the one from a few months ago.

I will figure this out!

Friday, October 22, 2010

The Big Deodorant Review

Okay, first of all, thank you Stacie for reminding me to review the deodorant!

I tried 6 things to replace my chemical laden deodorant and they were:
  1. powdering a clean pit with baking soda
  2. spritzing a clean pit with rubbing alcohol
  3. Powdering a clean pit with baking soda after spritzing it with the alcohol
  4. Spritzing a clean pit with a mix of 1/2 and 1/2 rubbing alcohol and body splash
  5. powdering a clean pit with baby powder after spritzing with alcohol
  6. the solid crystal deodorant
And the winner was:  (drumroll please)

#6 - the solid crystal deodorant

Here is why:

All 6 of the options actually did really well, to be honest.  I really didn't think they would, but they did.  All of the options took care of the stink and #4 would actually emit a bit of the perfume scent.  But during this experiment I realized that I have really sensitive pits.  I actually had discovered this a couple of years ago, but at that time I just switched to Dove deodorant because of all of the moisturizers, and that took care of it, so I had to rediscover this again.  So to give you pros:
  1. easy, no odor
  2. easy, no odor
  3. easy, no odor
  4. easy, no odor, light fragrance emitted
  5. easy, no odor, light baby powder scent emitted
  6. easy, no odor, easily portable, non irritating, no residue or powder to get on clothing
Now cons:
  1. scouring effect on pit if you forget to rinse before you wash
  2. irritating after a shave
  3. combo of the two above problems
  4. no real cons here, the body splash has aloe to stop irritation
  5. also no real cons, the powder took care of the irritation
  6. none, well maybe initial cost for the stick (about $5)
I went with the crystal stick after reading many reviews on it, and realizing that it would not cake under my pits with activity, there was no residue or powder to get onto my clothing, it kept my pits drier feeling for longer and the whole dry solid portability factor versus taking a liquid or powdered item that may spill (if you knew my kids you would get it!)

So, I forked over the $5, but it takes a lot longer to use up the solid crystal than the regualar stick Dove which was 3.60.  So, I'm happy, and I'll come back to it again one day and let you just how long it took to use it up.

I'm also still doing the shampoo, and by the way, the low sudsing thing is a non issue after the mix has time to sit and blend, because then it suds like crazy!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

The Eco and Bio Friendly Waves of Change at my House

That may have been the longest title for a blog post ever on this blog!

I have been on a quest in the past couple of months, I really want to go more eco-friendly and biologically friendly in my home and with my personal care items.  Why?  Well, several reasons, but I'll only divulge a few here, otherwise this whole post with be tremendously long -
  1. We have well water in my home and the well is on my property, so I want the things that go down my drain to be eco/bio friendly and nontoxic
  2. I have been reading up on what many of the crazy chemical ingredients in things do in our body, most of them are carcinogens, some of them are unknown (which may be a bit more scary), so I would like to get rid of them in my older body, but also prevent them from building up in my children's young bodies
  3. It can actually be cheaper to go clean and green if you homemake your formulas versus buying the conventional synthetic cheap brands over the counter
  4. My youngest son has problems with asthma sometimes, so I would like to decrease the pollutants and VOC's in my indoor air.
So that's enough.

I have a couple of books, one came from the library "Easy Green Living" by Renee Loux is a great reference tool about different products to go greener in your life.  The better book is "Better Basics for the Home" by Annie Berthold-Bond.  I got that one for free from some stuff my dad had.  Another interesting one I got from him was "1001 Chemicals in Everyday Products" by Grace Lewis.  Using these 3 together has really been an eye opener for what is in different household products, plus ways to make my own natural nontoxic alternatives.


My first experiment is the basic shampoo formula:
  • 10oz water (I have a reverse osmosis unit, so that's where mine comes from)
  • 2 oz castille soap (I keep Dr. Bronner's Baby Mild on hand)
  • 1 tsp glycerin
Mix and store in a jar or bottle, whatever suits your fancy

So, I used it tonight, and I will say it doesn't give your hair that slippery feel while you wash, which is different, but not a big deal.  It also doesn't get as bubbly as shampoo, which is fine with me because it also doesn't leave a residue.  I did not use conditioner (although the book gives a recipe for one) because I wanted to test the shampoo formula first.  So, I let my hair naturally dry, and as of right now, it feels about the same as it does after a shampoo with a little bottle conditioner or one of those shampoo/conditioner combos.  I wonder if it's because the natural stuff didn't strip my hair of all of it's natural protection.

I will use it without the conditioner for a few more days and come back with the results.

If you are considering go more natural formula in your home and body care, here is a short list of the most common ingredients in most of the formulas:
  • castille soap
  • glycerin
  • white vinegar
  • baking soda
  • aloe vera gel
  • alcohol (she calls for a lot of vodka in the book)
  • essential oils (there are listed in the book as optional, but lavender and tea tree are the most common)
  • borax
I actually already had most of this stuff anyway, I just purchased the glycerin (1.49 for a 4oz bottle at Harris Teeter)

I can't wait to see how the next formula I try works out!!!!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Baking Soda Deodorant

I was recently reading up on heavy metals (that our bodies do not need) in different everyday products and what alternatives are available.  One of the biggies for me was aluminum.  I learned that aluminum is linked to alzheimer's.  This is not a big deal to some, but my grandmother had alzheimers, and it is not pleasant at all.  So what is aluminum in anyway?
  • Deodorant
  • Baking Powder
  • Some cosmetics
  • Maalox
  • Rolaids
  • Canned foods (it's what the can is made of)
  • Many cooking utensils, pans, etc.
My, my.  Well, a girl can't tackle everything at once, so I started with the ones I have the most contact with - deodorant and baking powder.  It's easy to find aluminum-free baking powder, and it's just as cheap as the other.  Check one off my list.  Two - deodorant.  Now that one is a little more tricky.  I don't know about you, but I don't want to stink! 

So, I was doing a little research, and I thought about the homemade deodorant recipe posted here by one of my comerades, but until I have the materials, I just wanted something easy.  I came across 2 things:  isopropyl alcohol and baking soda.  For the isopropyl alcohol, just simply fill a small spray bottle with it, then spritz your pits a couple of times a day.  The alcohol kills the bacteria since that's what causes BO anyway, but allows you to sweat, which is one of the ways the body detoxifies itself.  For the baking soda, the instructions said to put some in a small tupperware style container, take a large facial powder brush and treat the baking soda just as you would facial powder - dip, tap, brush on delicately.  Done.  So, this is the one I tried today.  It was not hot, so even though I perspired, I was not drenched.  However, I did run/walk intervals for about 2 miles today.  And you know what - NO STINK!  I was impressed. 

So, I will try this for a few days and just see if it holds up, and I'll let you know.  I may still try the alchol one too, or maybe some combination like a 'spritz, dry, powder' routine.  I'll get back to you on that one.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Yard Sale Finds

I do love yard sales, at least most of the time.  This past Saturday there were several that looked pretty interesting in our local paper, so, Saturday morning, I was up early, paper in one hand, coffee in the other an headed out the door on my adventure.

Word to the wise, if you have GPS, use it for yard sales!  I was taken directly to where I wanted to go each time even in our local 'turn and twist' neighborhood.  When I saw an unadvertised yard sale, I was able to make a quick stop, then when I was done, my GPS had me back on track to my destination.  I did make a few excellent deals:

  • A comb binding machine for $5 (not the $35 version, but the 330 page $250 version)
  • A multi function, leather desk chair for $20 ( about $200 or more new) with just a few small scuffs on the botton corners (nothing a little shoe polish won't fix)
  • A cast iron bundt pan, in good useable condition
  • plus a few odd and end items, but these were my biggies
Early Fall is big yard saling time, so go prepared and ready to bargain hunt - and oh yeah, take a list!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Dill Pickles

Talk about a cheap snack.  And low in calories - about 5 calories fo 3/4 of a spear (how'd they do that measurement anyway?).  I personally buy Mt. Olive brand dills most of the time because I like the taste, and they are manufactured in my home state of NC - nothing like buying locally!

Anyhooo - I was checking prices a few days ago and noticed something - a quart sized jar of dill pickle spears was about 2.99, and a gallon sized jar of whole dill pickles was $4.50.  Really?  So, I bought the big boy and just cut several of the ones at the top into spears before I stuck them into the fridge.

And, now I will have a glass gallon sized jar to reuse after the pickles are gone - or at least low enough to put into a couple of quart sized jars!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Homemade wet wipes (repost from 5/2008)

I have a few things I'm going to repost since I haven't seen them in a  long time.  Here's one,

I used to buy the Clorox and Lysol brand quick wipes all the time, but at $3 or more a pop, that can get pricey. So, I did a little research on other sites and came up with a formula and method for my own at a fraction of the price. I purchased 2 square shaped tupperware-style containers at my local Wal-Mart (about 2.50 for a pack of 2) and of course you pick the size that fits the size of the wipe. I also bought a top quality white napkin (the ones that are folded into quarters like bounty or brawny) (about $3 for a large pack) I stuffed the square container full of the napkins. Then I used a high quality all purpose concentrate like Lysol and diluted it according to package directions. I poured the mix over the napkins a cup at a time until they were well soaked. I closed it up and left it overnight so that the solution could have time to soak into the middle of the stack. Then I just labeled the container as such and use them whenever I need a quick wipe

If you already have a containter these will fit, then that will trim your costs.  But do yourself a favor and don't skimp on the cheap napkins, because they won't hold up over time.  The Bounty ones held up for me for a month.  Then I had to make it again anyway, so it may have actually gone longer.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Yardsale Deals

I love a good yard sale.  Today my neighbors had one and I found a furniture item I had been searching for a long time.  A rocker recliner with matching ottoman (I'm sitting in it now). I only paid $30 for a $200+ dollar chair that she said she rarely used, and I checked under the bottom of the cushion and the springs aren't even dented in (of course I will do that myself soon). 

The economic times are not showing any signs of improving, so take advantage of the fact that we live in a throw away society and go get those things you need that others are just "throwing away" ;)

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Really? Another 14%!?!?!?!?

I received a letter in the mail a few days ago from the power company.  They are raising our rates another 14%.  Now, the letter states that they haven't raised our rates in years, but 2 years ago, instead of 'raising rates', they tacked on an 18% fuel charge to our tab.  Same thing to me because my bill still goes up regardless.  Nickel and dime, nickel and dime us to death.

Anyway, now I have to come up with a 14% deduction on our other bills to make up the difference - I'm gonna have to think on it, but the first three items I have the most influence over are power useage, food cost and gas consumption.  Boy, I have some work to do!

Monday, August 23, 2010


Who loves to pay many hundreds of dollars for a new computer?  Not me.  Well, there are many resources now to get a good refurbished system for around $200 or less.  Dell Financial Services offers factory refurbished off lease systems, as does HP, Gateway, etc.  Ebay lists tons of systems and you can eliminate easily by selecting features you absolutely need and setting a price range (otherwise you are browsing through thousands).  Don't pay retail when you can get a solid discount.  However, if you don't know how to look for potential problems, either find someone who does to help you pick through systems, or go ahead a buy a new one, but try using a coupon or sale, etc and save a little that way.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Paperback Swap

I'm not positive where I initially heard about this, but I think it was Steph G.  But in the past month I signed up for and I am hooked.  I offloaded several books that I was through with and in turn, have received several other books that I was considering buying.  They have rules about the condition the books must be in, so that people make sure they're not mailing out junk.  So far, what I have received has been in pristine condition.  I'll read them a few times, then swap again.  I have also discovered several books on there on my homeschooling wish list for my kids, so I'm excited at the incredible amount of savings I'm having on homeschooling books.

As a side note, I only search for swap books that I can't find at the library for free*

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Soap and Water

Now there's a combination, capable of cleaning, sanitizing, leaping tall buldings in a single bound. . . . .. well, maybe not that, but anyway - it's good stuff.  You know, we have only been addicted to antibacterial this and that for about 15-20 years now, and you have to wonder - "what did they do for the prior 6000 years?"  Well, I have a thought - soap and water.  My grandparents used soap and water for everything (including the inside of my dad's mouth from time to time) and their homes were perfectly clean and sanitary.  Soap + Water + Elbow Grease = Clean.  Nothing need be invited.  Wanna save money of cleaning products - go simple.  It worked for our grandparents, their grandparents, their grandparents, and on back, it still works, we just have to be willing to use it and to sacrifice the flowery smell.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

.15 notebooks

It's back on!!  The .15 notebooks are here again, please get some along with all of the other supplies you will not see this cheap again until next year.  Here's my own list of favorites:
  • 1subject notebooks, college ruled, .15 each (I have purchased 46)
  • 12 ct. crayola colored pencils, 1.00 (I purchased about 8)
  • 11ct. WASHABLE magic markers, .70 (I purchased about 10)
You can use the notebooks for anything.  For instance:
  • Journaling
  • Phone message book
  • Lesson Plans (1 or 2 days per page leaving lots of room to write and jot and tittle)
  • Recipes
  • Lists
  • Kids doodle pads and drawing books (they don't care about the lines, so neither should you)
  • Books just to have on hand to write your thoughts down
Think about it, the cute journals in the store go for an easy 3.50, give you kid one of these, and let him or her draw their own artwork on a piece of paper, or print something cute off of the computer, and paste it on, but don't pay a ton for a notebook

Just write on the front what it's for and who it's for and go with it.  Options:
  • 'Mom's Thoughts'
  • 'Bible Study Notes'
  • 'Jacob's Kindergarten Lesson Plans'
  • 'Booklist, Field Trips and other Enrichment Activities for Kindergarten 2010-2011'
  • 'Recipes and attempted Concocktions'
  • 'Money Saving Mommies best Ideas Ever'  (wink, wink)
  • 'Shopping list'
  • 'Blog ideas'
  • 'Ideas to save more money around my home'
  • the list goes on.......
If you have kids, get a  ton so they have their own, if you do not have kids, I would still get about 25 and have them ready to go anytime.  At .15, that's a bargain.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Shower & Tub Cleaner

I originally posted this on my blog & knew I had to post it here as well!  I was amazed at how wonderfully this worked.  Aside from it being non toxic (unless you swallow tons of Dawn) it's also very cost effective as we probably have the 2 ingredients needed right in our cupboards.  I did use the blue Dawn as suggested, but I'm sure one of the other dish soaps would work just fine as well.  If you try it with other soaps let us know how works.

I promise you won't be disappointed if you try this "recipe" for a shower & tub cleaner.  Especially if you have a textured shower floor & can't ever seem to get it completely clean. 

I clean my shower pretty regularly so you would think the shower floor would be pretty clean or at least easy to maintain.  However, I always seemed to have several gray spots left that no brush or cleaner would pull up.  I even used a Mr Clean Magic Eraser and didn't get the results I was looking for.

So, the other day I opened up the Everyday Cheapskate email from Mary Hunt & one of the paragraphs was about this amazing tub & shower cleaner.

Here is the exact entry taken directly from the Everyday Cheapskate email newsletter dated July 27th:

Tub and Shower Magic. If you haven’t experienced the power of original Blue Dawn plus white vinegar, you are in for a treat. Remove the top of a plastic spray bottle and fill it half full of white vinegar. Carefully heat it in the microwave until the vinegar is hot, taking care not to melt the bottle. Fill the rest of the bottle with Blue Dawn liquid dishwashing soap. Apply the top tightly. Gently shake the bottle to mix. That’s it. You now have a powerful cleaning product that will melt soap scum and tub and shower buildup, clean sinks, appliances and just about anything. Just spray it on, scrub, rinse and be amazed. For tough soap scum build-up, spray the mixture on and allow it to sit as long as overnight. Then, scrub and rinse.

I can speak from experience...this TOTALLY works like a charm.  I had other things to do so I sprayed it on & then went about my business.  Several hours & one scrubby brush later I had a sparkling tub & shower.

So easy, so cheap & totally green.  Plus, I didn't need a gas mask since their were no chemicals!  Love that part.

One thing though...don't pour hot, recently boiled vinegar into a plastic bottle.  It will never be the same again!  Trust me.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Blessing Others

How in the world can blessing others save you money - well, sometimes it does, and sometimes it doesn't, but it is still a wonderful thing to do.  Earlier this week, I received a large envelope full of coupon fliers from Steph G (one of the moneysavingmommies authors), and I received one a couple of weeks ago too.  I am so thankful and feel so blessed to have someone think of me in this way.  What she didn't know is that in the past 6 weeks my husband has worked nearly every single day and, in general, about 70 hours a week.  He was tired at the end of it, and quite frankly so was I.  Receiving those envelopes in the mail melted my heart.  Sometimes I wonder if I have many friends left do to my 'unconventional' homechooling lifestyle, but that little act reminded me that I am not alone, and that there are others who are also struggling, just maybe in different ways.

Thank you so much Steph -

Keep blessing one  another -

Friday, July 30, 2010

Magazine Articles

Do you ever read a great magazine article, then save the entire magazine only to want to read it again months later and not be able to find it?  I do it often.  So, my project for the past couple of days has been to offload some space-sucking magazines.  However, I do like some of the articles.  So, I have been thumbing through the magazines and tearing out the articles, and putting them in a binder in sheet protectors, then the rest of the magazine is either recycled or tossed or whatever you want to do with it.  Then you just label your binder "Magazine Articles" or something so you can remember it, then you have the articles you want and the space you need!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

I have not posted in awhile, but I've been busy with doing a few things, and here is what I've found.
  • I like the zote soap, it works fine and it's less expensive than the fels naptha
  • If you freeze your own leftovers, they microwave and serve up just like stouffer's for a  fraction of the cost, and it really beats going for take out because you have not planned well.
  • you can buy from sam's club online and still get really great prices on things and the shipping is usually included in the price - plus it took my order 4 days from ordering to my doorstep, so I was a happy girl.
  • you can't get everything you can get inside sam's from the online store, but also, there ther things you can get online that you can't get in store.
  • also has great prices on nintendo Wii games
  • Dell financial services has an outlet and you can get a dell refurbished computer  with warranty and great specs for a fraction of the cost (like 60% less than brand new - and with WARRANTY!!)

That's a few things I've discovered in the past month since I last blogged.  I have more though, but I'll save them for another post!

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Fix your own car!

I'm trying to sell my car.  It has 94,000 miles and is wonderful.  But my husband wants us to have something a little newer with fewer miles, plus AWD or 4WD for our mountain trips.  So, I listed my car on craigslist and yesterday, my speed and tachometer stopped working.  I was a little disheartened thinking that something was seriously wrong.  Today I took the car by my favorite mechanic and he said he didn't know how to fix it.  He had seen it before, but didn't know what to do.  So this afternoon, I looked it up online, just to check and see if others had the same issue......lo and behold, others not only had the same issue, but there were instructions on how to correct it FOR FREE!!!!  AND THEY WORKED!!!!!!!!!!!  I'm sure it save me at least a couple of hundred bucks on mechanics fees and no telling what else.  So google the problems with your car, microwave, TV, etc, before you call the service person, you may just save yourself some serious dough!

Monday, June 21, 2010


I love the swiffer wet jet for many reasons, but two of those reasons are not the cost of the solution refills and the cost of the pad refills.  So I did some searching and this is what I have found to work

For the solution:  once the bottle is empty, bore a hole in the top big enough for a funnel to fit, then add your own solution and then just stick a cork in it.  If your cork is too big, just trim away on the cork or you can make your hole a little larger.  But I recommend manipulating the cork versus the bottle.  I personally like to use a white vinegar and water solution, but you can just use your favorite bottle cleanr and dilute to package directions.

For the pad:  You can go several ways with this, but something reusable seems to be the cheapest.  I use plain old bar mops for dishtowels, and after one gets too stained, it makes an excellent replacement pad, just clip the backside with clothespins, binder clips or whatever you have handy, and when you're done, toss it in the wash.  You can also use old washcloths, microfiber cloths, or even old cloth diapers.

Happy Swiffering the cheap way!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Zote soap

Today I was in one of our little local grocery stores and noticed a soap I've never seen before.  It's called Zote laundry soap and it comes in both white and pink, and I found it down the Latino goods aisle.  After doing a little research, it is supposed to be a basic Mexican soap used for years for laundry done in rivers on washboards.  I'm going to try it in my laundry soap recipe and see how I like it.

By the way:

Fels Naptha is 1.39 for a 7ish ounce bar and Zote is 1.39 for a 14 oz bar.

I'll use it and review it.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010


Great soil for gardening or flowers is hard to find, and when you do find it, it's expensive.  So make your own.  I know, the word compost conjures us memories of terrible odors and grossness.  But's here's the thing, you don't have to have a big smelly pile of rotting material in order to have compost.  And you don't have to buy a $200 dollar compost bin.

Did you know you can compost right in your flowerbed/garden.  I never knew this until a gentleman in my neighborhood did it.  The trick is that you spread it out instead of dumping it into one huge pile, and you use one of those 3 pronged fork things (looks like a small pitchfork) and you turn your soil frequently.  What I discovered is that doing this helps the material you are composting decompose faster, and at the same time, you are turning your soil often which helps aerate it, and because it's turning, water absorbs more quickly and weeds are easier to pull, plus there are fewer of them.  Now I don't turn all of my soil at once.  I have 3 distinct patches of garden, so if I turn one every day or 2, I can keep up with it.  I also don't have tons of stuff to compost.  Mostly peeling, eggshells and stems and seeds.  We don't generally have cooked veggie leftovers.  I did it with rotten tomatoes that fell off the vine last year and within a couple of weeks, the seeds had sprouted into new tomato plants!

If you are still a little fidgety about putting your compost all over your garden, then just pick a small corner and do it there, then you just have to turn that one small patch every couple of days.  It'll work the same without have a big ugly separate pile to have to maintain.  Just have little ones instead.

Thursday, June 10, 2010


I love grilling in the summer because #1)the heat from cooking is outside not in; #2) the mess is outside not in, #3) the smell is awesome and #4) there is a lot you can do on a grill.

Take yesterday for instance,  I had a family pack of drumsticks I got on sale, and I decided to cook them all at once so I would have easy to reheat leftovers for lunches a couple of days.  In addition to those, I took a glass corning baker put a little oil in, chopped some zucchini that a neighbor gave me, added a tad of emeril's seasoning and put that on the grill (in the dish, uncovered), and I took 2 twice baked potatoes out of the freezer (from yesterday's post) allowed them to thaw a little while (maybe half hour), them put them in yet another small glass corning dish and pt that directly on the grill too and let them cook.  A word of caution on the corning dishes though, make sure you don't put them over high heat.  My grill is one of those where the left and right are separately adjustable, so I can turn down the side with the corning. 

I have even baked bread on the grill on a very low setting when the power went out after I had proofed it one day.  Took about the same amount of time, and it somehow even browned some - I don't know how on earth that happened.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Premade Convenience Reviews

Okay, so here's what I've been up to.  I have been forcing myself to make double batches of different types of foods and them freeze them and use them later.  For instance I have done this with chuck roast, ground beef, rice, pasta, meatballs, twice baked potatoes, muffins and waffles.  Then of course there is the cheese.

So far, everything I have made, frozen, thawed and used has been just fine.  Even the twice baked potatoes, and I wasn't too sure about how that one was going to turn out, but it was fine.  I just made them up, then instead of going into the oven for the second baking, I wrapped them individually nice and tightly and popped them into the freezer.  When I wanted them, I took them out, let them thaw for maybe 30 minutes, then put them in the oven with whatever else I was cooking (last time was the toaster oven).  I have also done the second baking of these on the grill too, and they were still fabulous.

The cheese has also done well.  The only difference I can tell is that pre-frozen cheese crumbles a little easier (it doesn't fall apart in your hands, but when you're shredding it, it crumbles a little, but not in a bothersome way, I just happened to notice it).  The preshred I put in the freezer is great too, no complaints there.  It all melts just fine.

So there, cook once, eat 2,3,4 times because the extra is frozen and ready when you are.  Dinner in a snap.  This also helps ward off last minute take out because of planning issues.

Pasta and rice look a little strange frozen, but when they thaw, they look normal again, I dont' really understand why, but I'm also not going to waste brain cells on it, I need all I got!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010


My dear Lord cheese is expensive.  The best I can find at regular price is about $4 per pound.

So, on my way back from homeschool convention (which was awesome as expected), my sister and I stopped at Sam's, and I purchased more chese then ever before in my life.

  • 5lb loaf of sharp cheddar $10.50
  • 5lb loaf of mozzarella $11.25
I have a deli slicer, so some was sliced and packaged for freezing, some was frozen in small blocks and I shredded some and put it in the freezer in gallon sized freezer bags. 

I really hope this experiment works.  My family loves cheese and this way it was half price!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Share the Road....trip

Tomorrow morning around 8am I'll be leaving my home and heading on a 5 hour trip to Winston-Salem NC to the North Carolinians for Home Education annual Convention and Bookfair.  I am excited, and this year, instead of going it alone, I'm taking someone with me.  And it's not even a homeschooler, it's someone who has just been looking for an opportunity to get out of dodge for a few days.  She's not going to the conferences with me at all, she got a copy of the city bus schedule online and she's plotted out routes and times to different places she wants to go around town.  So, I only have to pay half the room and fuel price of last year because I have someone to share it with, she gets out of town on the cheap, and we're both happy - and we're not even doing the same thing.

Saturday, May 22, 2010


I am new to sewing.  I have had a sewing machine now for about 3 years, but just never got into it.  However, this year is different.  I have already created 2 skirts and 1 hanbag completely lined, padded and has inner pockets and zips shut.  I'm so proud of myself.  I even took a few minutes this after noon to go to the Cotton Gin and scope out the latest Vera Bradley's to see if I can  duplicate something like it for myself -  Hmmmmm, if I can get that one done, I may even post pics!

Sewing can be as cheap or as expensive as you want it to be.  I would suggest that when you are beginning, get some old fabric from your grandma's closet or a thrift shop so that you're not wasting 10.99 per yard fabric on a skirt that is not done well.  I personally have used some of my husband's pants that he wore only once then they shrunk on him - he could't wear them, so they became fodder for my play.  The skirts were made from new material, but the leftover bits became parts for bags, hair wraps, etc.  A small cosmetics bag can be made from just a few small bits of fabric.  These are good practice pieces!  Old T shirts can have a new life as reuseable shopping bags is torn apart just a bit and resewn.Sewing is also a practice of independance.  I no longer NEED a Vera, I can make my own duplicate to the dimensions and level of organization that work for me!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Re-use Egg Cartons

There are several uses for leftover egg cartons, one I used today, one I use all the time, and there are others:

  • Use the indvidual craters for different paint colors
  • Jewelry sorting
  • sorting other small items like beads

any other good uses?

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

DIY Sites

I personally love DIY type websites, partly because of the creativity, partly because of what you learn, and partly because DIY is usually much ceaper than non-DIY.  So here are a few of the sites I love to check out when I want to do something.

Have fun doing it yourself!

Friday, May 7, 2010

Summer savings

I find myself  in the same dilemma every late spring/early summer - what can I do to help my husband's income stretch as far as possible?  So this year is no different.  Many of the things I will try to do are rehashed from years past, and some will be experimental, but here is where I am so far:
  • Meal planning with baking scrutiny - what I mean here is that in the summer it is hot, and the AC is on trying to cool it down, so the more I bake, the more heat I'm putting out into the room and the more the AC is having to work to counter it.  That means using more elctricity.  So, I'm working on my meal planning to include multiple meals so that I can have one or two baking days, but still have food for the week without having to heat my house up every day or 2 for baking.  Stove heating only takes a few minutes and doesn't heat up the house nearly as hot or as long, so that I don't mind.  Of course this also means planning my baking days around the coolest days o the week also to help the AC bill - we'll see how that one goes
  • Hanging clothes on the clothesline
  • Using our fans
  • Going outside more
  • Drinking lots of cold liquids
  • Keeping extra bottles of liquid in the freezer to freeze and help keep the temperature in the freezer steady, and it helps keep the freezer from running so much, the trick is tospread the bottles out a bit.
  • Keep unused electronics off when not in use.  You would be suprised how much heat a computer and other electronic devices create when they are not being used.  They also could use a cooling off period anyway to rest the motors.
Plug away and save that cash -

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Preparing ahead in warm weather

It's spring, and if you're a typical frugalie, your windows are open, fans are on and oven is off as much as possible to keep the heat down.  But you still have to provide lunch and dinner for your family.  Oh poo. 

Sunday was a beautiful day, and I still had to cook, so since my kitchen was hot already, I cooked extra to be prepared for the week so I would not have to heat the kitchen up again quite so hot.

Here's a brief list of things that are easy to cook extra of on Sunday afternoon (or any day) and keep for several days in the fridge:

  • Noodles - something fun like penne or farfalle are very versatile, just add a sauce or heat in a pan with some butter and salt.
  • Rice - I'm thinking rice as a quick side dish, added to burritos, fried rice with leftover meat and veggies, etc.
  • Bread - if you're heating up your oven for 1-2 loaves, why not go ahead and make 6-8 and freeze the extras
  • Veggies - if I'm making frozen peas for tonight I can double the amount and have them again a couple of nights from now as another side
  • Potatoes - twice as many mashed potatoes means potato cakes later in the week! Or shepherd's pie topping ready to go!
  • Meat - this one is a little trickier because meat is best on the first go around, unless it's sauced or seasoned for a specific dish, then you can't really tell.  For intance, if you are having meatball subs on Monday and Tacos on Thursday, go ahead and cook all of the ground beef while the pan is hot, ten your taco dinner just took 15 minutes less and you didn't have to heat up the pan or the room all over again.  Chicken can be done similarly if you're heating up your oven for one, can you fit a second one in there if you are having another chicken dish in the near future?
Be creative, use your time wisely and see if you can do little extras that take little to no more time but keep you from having to work as hard another day of the week.  This can be helpful for busy moms

Friday, April 2, 2010


I have recently become a big fan of craigslist.  I have purchased from it and I have sold on it.  I have also had a little spam from it, but that's pretty easy to identify.

I purchased a Vera Bradley bag brand new from an  exchange list (I'll describe this is another post later) for $30 shipped, carried it for 6 months, and now I want something different, and so I listed it on craigslist for $30, and got an offer.  So if I sell it, I basically got to carry a $98 Vera in perfect condition for free!

Plus, craiglist has no seller fees, except for  a few things, but I'm not sure what.  It also has local branches kind of like freecycle so the participants (generally) are local folk.

Have a wonderful day and go see craig and his marvelous list!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Razor Blades

Do what!!  Yes, it says razor blades, and let me now tell you why:
  • Cost - about 1.50 for a pack of 10 single edge (which is what you want)
  • Grout - after you scrub grout, there is usally this little bit of gunk you just can't get out, well, I get it out with virtually no effort with a razor blade
  • Gas cooktop - you know what I mean, the little bit of dried oil, butter, food, etc that get burned, brown and stuck on right there under where the flame comes out, a razor blade takes them off easily, just be careful not to dig so you don't scratch your surface
  • Nonstick cookware - **don't do this if you have any type of warranty because it will nullify it.  But if you have the cheaper kind, I personnally have used a razor blade to get stuck on pam spray off before.  My hubby is usually the only one to use the nonstick and clean it, and sometimes if little bits of the spray gets left on, it will burn on and it's hard to get off -
  • Glass - get stray spray paint or other stuck on matter off of glass in a cinch - I personally love to do this on my toaster oven because it's hard to clean the door
  • Small appliances - I have a kitchen aid stand mixer that I use almost daily.  I wipe it down after I use it, but sometimes I like to take if apart and just give it a good bath.  Well, since I make a lot of flour products, bits of flour dust get left behind when I wipe it down, and because it's not far from the stove, grease particles maket he flour stick, and sometimes you get gunk around the screws in the back of the machine, so when I give my mixer the spa treatment, I get the razor blade out and scrape gently around the joints and screws and my baby comes out clean as a whistle.
  • I use a clean razor blade to slash bread tops before baking too, you can get pretty creative with the art this way because the slashes are so clean.
The razor blade is fast becoming one of my good friends, however there are a few instances when a razor blade should never be considered:
  • On humans - do I really need to get into this, just don't use it on people
  • On animals - can't think of  a good time to use it on critters either
  • If you have a mentally unstable person living with you - then you may want to forego razor blades in the home at all
So, I like to use razor blades for certain jobs, but I keep them in a safe place and far away from where my kids could find them.  I also store the little case they come in inside of another container, to further hide them.  Used cautiously and responsibly though, they can be handy little suckers and save you a lot of cleaning time and headache.  Plus they are dirt cheap themselves.

**Please read disclaimer to the bottom right of this blog!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Free Healthcare!

I was having a conversation with a woman from my church not long ago about healthcare and related things and her comment to me went something like this:  "When I was a kid, we never went to the doctor unlss we were really sick.  If we had a cold, momma prayed over us.  If we had the flu, momma prayed over us.  If we had a headache, momma prayed over us.  Nowadays, people take their kids straight to the doctor or emergency room for every sneeze, sniffle, fever and vomiting.  It's needless and stupid.  If people prayed over their kids again and used their common sense, they'd save a ton of money and time in the doctor's offices and on medicines they don't actually need."

There are some things that need medication, but as this wise older woman has so clearly pointed out,  people don't take the time, put their hands on their children and fervently pray.  They also don't use common sense.  They say things like "Oh, it's just a $20 copay" or "Medicaid is paying for it anyway." 

People please - there is no such thing as free healthcare - that is except for taking the time to pray over your sick loved one.  There is no charge for prayer.  Medicaid costs, copays cost, even free clinics need donations because they cost money to operate.  Prayer is and always will be free of charge. 

Common sense if free too, if you don't have any, I suggest you find someone who has some and begin to ask them questions so that some seeds of common sense and wisdom may be planted in you to cultivate and grow and use yourself - then pass it on to another person in need of more common sense so that one day, it may actually be common again!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Workout DVD Rentals

I haven't posted about renting DVD's from the library in about a year and a  half, so let me reiterate.  Most libraries have an online catalog that you can search and hold specific items, including DVD's.  I do this often, and each free rental is 3 weeks long.  Here is  list of titles I have gotten recently:
  • Jungle Book 2
  • The Rescuers
  • Jillian Michael's 30 day Shred
  • Denise Austin Pilates
  • Denise Austin Yoga
  • Disney Classics Collection (includes Casey at the Bat, Morris the Midgette Moose, Ben and Me, and several others on the same DVD)
This is a very small sample of available titles.  If your library is like ours (and we are NOT in a large town at all) then it is linked to several local libraries and they transport titles back and forth for you for free.  There is also the opton of interlibrary loan, which is sometimes free, and for us, sometimes it costs $1 - which is still cheap for a 3 week loan.

Take a few moments, and find a good DVD/book/CD from your local library system and entertain for free!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Healthcare Tips

For those of you who don't already know this, I am a Registered Nurse, and when I do work (which not very often anymore, only about 2-3 times a month) I work in the Emergency Room.  With this healthcare bill passage looming, I think it's time to post a few tips for you because, I believe as a nurse that this bill is going to seriously hurt a lot of Americans, and most of my cohorts in the Emergency Room agree based on what we deal with on a regular basis.  So it's going to be more important than ever to stay healthy and not have to use the healthcare system except when you really need it.
  • Vomiting one time is not a medical emergency.  Vomiting many times and not being able to keep any liquids down to compensate for the fluid loss, or adding in fever or diarrhea deserves a call to your doctor (who has your medical history available and can make the determination on whether or not you need immediate medical attention).  And remember vomiting has a functional purpose too, it's not all bad.
  • Fever of 100.5 is not a medical emergency.  A fever of 105.0 however, is a different story - and please don't not treat the fever because you don't want to 'mask the fever', we want you to treat a fever that's high instead of letting it just get higher and higher and possibly have febrile seizures.  If the fever is 102.0, treat it and call your doc to see what they think-.  Also remember that fever too has a functional purpose and is also not all bad - it's your body's way of killing off bacteria and viruses.  Most health professionals don't even recommend treating a fever under 101.0, but if you're concerned or want to hear the opinion of someone who knows you personally, ask your faily doctor or nurse since they know your history and can give you more personalized information based on your medical history.
  • Eat healthy - people who eat nothing but junk don't have the optimal physical condition to naturally fight off infections
  • Exercize - people who exercize regularly are generally healthier (this doesn't mean you need a membership, this means get your butt off the couch and clean your house, cook your own meals, work in your flowerbeds, walk the dog, play with the kids, go for a walk, etc)  MOVE MORE!!!!
  • Wash your hands - this can't be said enough, but wash your hands with plain old soap and water several times a day - when they are dirty, before you eat, after using the bathroom, and after play.
  • Don't be a germa phobe - things like over using hand sanitizer, scrubbing every surface with bleach like a mad woman and spraying lysol on everything is not necessary.  DO take precautions, DO practice good hygiene, but DO NOT obsess to the point of craziness.  And believe it or not (and you can research this for yourself) exposure to normal germs is good for your immune system.  Now I'm NOT saying to go lick the dog or the gas station bathroom floor, but if your kid eats a God-knows-how-old Cheerio out of the corner of your living room, don't head to the ER to get his stomach pumped either.
  • Call your doctor's office for questions, that's why they are there
  • Invest in one of those home remedies or home medical manuals, they have lot's of great informaiton out there (and you can find them at most thrift shops)
  • Get plenty of sleep - this also helps you fight off infections
  • Get annual exams, once a year check ups for healthy adults is a good way to catch problems before they become BIG problems.  Regular cholesterol, glucose, triglyceride screenings are helpful in making sure you are doing your part in maintaining good health.
  • Immunizations - this one is controversial, so all I'm going to say is to do your research and make your decision then take whatever precautions are necessary depending on what your decision is.  We personally did not get the H1N1 vaccine, but my kids are also not in public school or daycare, so our risk was lower than some other groups.
Anyway, more to come on this later - I'm not into writing posts that may make your eyes pop out :)

Friday, March 19, 2010


As of today, my minivan is PAID OFF!!!

Our family's overhead is now decreased by $650 a month.

Next up , the computers!!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Homeschool Planners

If any of you homeschool, or have just looked at some of the websites, you know that most every company also has their own pretty little planner with 'everything' in it.  Some cost as much as $40.  $40!!! 

There are also, several sites that offer free printables for homeschool planning and household planning.  My favorite is and the best part is, she is still adding to the free database.

So go check her out, there are tons of homeschool planning resources, but there are other things too like household planners with calendars, timers, checklists, etc.

Free, did I mention Free!  Not $40!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

White Vinegar for Urine Odor

I have a 3 year old who is potty trained but still has accidents, and not all surfaces can be thrown in the washer.  Case in point - your car's seat cannot be put in the washer.  So, I have heard before that white vinegar added to your washload will get the urine scent out of clothes - and that is true, I have used it for about a couple of years now.  A couple of days ago however, I had to get the scent out of something - so here's what I did, I used clean towels to soak up as much as possible, then I took my White
Vinegar and Water Cleaning Solution and spray and medium mist (enough to dampen the surface - more than a light mist, but not a soaking either) and I just left it there.  It took a couple of hours to air dry but the urine scent was gone.  The area does not smell like vinegar either.  I mean if you stick your nose right up to the surface (I did just to check to make sure the urine odor was gone) you can get a faint vinegar smell.  But it's very very faint, and only if your nose is stuck right up on it.  Move 3 inches away, and you can't smell it at all.

I have used febreeze a lot for many household surfaces, and it works well, but urine and feces are tough odor and vinegar generally kills both odors well.  This is very important if you have small children :)

*** I generally use a 1:10 white vinegar:water ratio for my home all purpose cleaning, and this same stuff is what I sprayed on the area.  If you have pets it may take a higher concentration, or even straigt white vinegar spray.  Let me know if you try this.***

Cash for Groceries

Most people have heard of this 'cash only' system for buying groceries - I have wanted to do it, but keep getting back into the debit card rut.  We definitely do not use credit cards - for anything, but it is easy to lose track of extras when you're swiping the debit card.

Can I do it? Can I really go to a cash only?

My husband gets paid on Monday, and when I deposit his check on Tuesday morning I am going to keep out $75 for groceries, and try to do $75 weekly on the cash system and see if I make it - I'll let you know if I can pull it off or fall on my face!!

Monday, March 8, 2010


This post is not going to try to convince you to homeschool.  However, if you are interested in learning about it, email me and I'll be happy to give you any info I have.  Anyway, this post is about spending wretched amounts of money on homeschooling.

There are too many types of curriculums to list, but I will say that the 'all-in-one' packages can easily be $1000 per student per grade level.  The only time I would recommend one of those is in the case of Missionaries, who are going to be overseas and need everything handy at any given time or if you live in a remote area where you either can't get to the library easily or you plan on being snowbound for a few months.

I personally put together several things to form my curriculum.  I start by going to the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction Website and looking at what the state has the other kids doing in that particular grade level.  I actually print it out and as we cover the topics, I check them off in red ink so I can have the visual of 'complete.'  Anyway, the only real curriculum items I purchase are math and learning to read materials.  Things to complete Science and Social Studies are easily found at even small libraries, and literature is probably either in your home already, at the library, or in the thrift store.  I do Handwriting and Grammar at the same time through copywork.  I read my son the sentence, have him look at the words and we work on pronounciation, then I write it on writing paper and skip lines so he can copy it on the line directly below.  We talk about how words are spelled and what types of punctuation are used and why.  a Kindergarten doesn't need to diagram sentences, but when we get there, we can do it the same way.  Plus, he gets practice writing lots of different letters instead of a boring page of nothing but the letter p which would bore both me and him stiff in about 10 seconds.  I would rather kill 2 or 3 birds with the one stone and one time frame and move on.  Plus copy work helps with retention.

Anyway, everyone has their own particular style of homeschooling, but just because someone tells you to 'buy this because it's the best,' don't jump into it, just wait and look around.  Best for their kid is not necessarily best for yours!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Ultra concentrated Bleach

Don't be fooled by this gimmick.  Bleach, whether it's regular or 'ultra-concentrated' is only 6% sodium hyperchlorite 9the chemical compound that makes bleach the whitener and disinfectant that it is.  Ultra concerntrated also has 6% which means, it is not really concentrated, it's just thicker because of the other compounds they put in it, water is not removed, other stuff is added.  Read your bottles of bleach and you will see that all of it, regular or concentrated is 6%, don't be fooled. 

Friday, February 26, 2010

Spring Planting

This is also a reminder to get your flower beds, gardens or porch pots ready for spring planting - a homegrown tomato is cheaper and tastes better than the grocery store variety, as does lettuce, green beans, herbs, cucumbers, and most any other thing you can possibly grow - plus, if you start from seed, it is even cheaper!  A packet of about 100 tomato seeds costs about 1.50, one tomato plant costs about $2.99.  If you're planting a whole garden, that makes a huge impact on your start up costs - and if you have tons of produce, sell it on a roadside stand and recoup virtually all of your investment.


Hey! Look to the right!  As of today, ourtruck is paid off!  Next one up, the car, followed by the computers, followed by the boat!!!  Of course I will eventually change the boat from years to dollars, but it's embarrassing!

On a motivational note, if you have a 'pay off list' or 'debt snowball' that you're working on paying off, please post it somewhere that you will see it everyday to remind yourself of your goals!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Breakfast Choices

Breakfast can get expensive quick - for instance, if your kids eat poptarts, they cost about $2.50 for a box of 8, and let's face it, since they come 2 in a package your serving size is 2 even tough the package says the serving size is 1 (at about 300 calories per 1) - so anyway you get 4 servings of poptarts for $2.50 which makes them cost about .63 per serving.  Now if poptarts were a nutrient dense, filling and lasting breakfast, it would be okay - just a little on the pricey side.  Now let's look at some other options:
  • Eggs - currently $3 for 18 = .17 per egg, full of protein and other vitamins and only about 70 calories each, and oh, by the way, they are nature made not chemically concocted - although that can be debated a little depending on your egg supplier - I get mine from local farmers, but still a regular grocery store industrially laid egg is closer to as God intended than a poptart ;)
  • Oatmeal - about $3 for the 42 oz round box (not the instant stuff) = .10 per serving (1/2 cup dry which equals almost a full cup cooked), and 30 servings per package.  A complex carbohydrate powerhouse, minimally processed, few if any chemicals added
  • Pancakes - the homemade kind are cheap as dirt, they cost about .65 per recipe and one recipe feeds more than one person, and of course, the homemade kind are less polluted by stuff you can't pronounce
  • Muffins - there again, the homemade kind are about .75 per recipe and one recipe makes 12 muffins, and you can feed several people on those also
  • Cheese toast, waffles, biscuits - CHEAP> CHEAP> CHEAP!!!
The best options, I think is to mix and match.  Serve each child a scrambled egg with a side of pancake, muffin or oatmeal.  The next day, give them cheese toast or something simple like that on your leftover homemade bread (use real cheese of course).

My kids rarely eat boxed cereal or poptarts, or anything like that.  We eat homemade pancakes, biscuits, muffins, waffles, cheese toast, etc.  They enjoy the occasional cereal treat, but that's what it is, a treat, not a daily staple.  And while my kids are realtively picky eaters, they do well with breakfast, and that makes me happy since it's the meal that carries them through their busiest part of the day and the part of the day most of their intense learning takes place.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Vacation Spending

My family and I are on vacation in the western part of NC this week.  We love to ski, and skiing is very expensive, there are a few ways to save a few bucks on this wonderful sport though:
  • Clothing - we buy our ski bibs, goggles, etc at yardsales through out the year.  The boys have bibs that cost $1 each and they worked fine.  We also have hand me down coats that fit well (thank you snippity!), and we purchased new waterproof ski mittens out of the 'sale box' at the local ski shop here for $13.
  • Ski Days - go during the week, because the weekends are usually marked up $10-$15 dollars per person per day, ditto for the night skiing - opt to sleep instead. 
  • Food - the resorts generally have lockers you can rent for .75-$1.50 each, so rent 2, put your shoes, etc in one and pack a lunch cooler to put in the other because a bottled soda is $2.25, a cheeseburger is $5, a grilled cheese is $3.50 and French fries are $3.50.  It's cheaper to pack the cooler and pay for the locker a couple of times if you need to go into it more than once than to even buy one soda!!!
  • Purchase ahead - if you have a set week you go on vacation, many resorts will offer discounts for buying your tickets at least 2 weeks ahead
  • Special discounts - the resort we ski at offers family value packages for skiing, and they also give you 50%-100% off of a child's lift ticket if you bring your receipt or proof of rental for hotel/condo locally
That's all I have for today - please enjoy your favorite sports, but don't go broke doing it!!  Plan ahead and save your hard earned money for other things, like more sports!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Homemade blocks

In my household, we love blocks. We are pretty hard on them too!

I have purchased cardboard blocks. They work pretty well, but can get expensive. However, since we are so hard on our toys...they get messed up. I've come up with a solution to add to our collection, while making use of what would be waste items. I saved cardboard food boxes. I stuffed them full of shredded paper and crumpled newspaper. Seal closed with packing tape or hot glue, and you have a great toy. Pictured are pasta, bacon and easy mac boxes. I've also used frozen waffle and cereal boxes. My kiddos use these to build castles and towers...but these are versitile, because the kids use them in the kitchen area to cook and grocery shop.

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Homemade Toffee

I have never made toffee, until last night.  A relative of my husbands called me to get an opinion and bounce off some ideas about a recipe he was trying that wasn't coming out to his liking.  So we talked and went over some things, and he led me to a toffee recipe on cooking for engineers.  So I went to it and BAM I fell in love  - this may be my favorite cooking website because it goes into wonderful, readable technical information about cooking, which is right up my alley.  Anyway, the recipe was easy, had plenty of pictures, and I made the toffee which turned out perfect.  When I calculated the cost, the homemade is about $1 less (or more) per batch than buying the bag of pre crunched toffee bits, and I use those a lot for different recipes.  BTW  one batch and one bag are approximately equal weight.

Follow the link and enjoy some homemade toffee.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Budget Billing

I don't know if this one actually saves you money so much as making how much you need available for bills each month more predictable.  Dominion North Carolina Power offers a service called budget billing, which means they average your past 12 power bills and just bill you that same amount every month.  This way, you don't have those large upswings in summer and winter.  I just started it this month, so I'll let you know how I like it.  It was easy to sign up for, right on my account page on the website.  They do reevaluate their average every 4-6months, so it's not a free for all for leaving all the lights on either;)

Friday, February 5, 2010


Here is a really easy, fast and cheap way to make popcorn in the microwave.
Items you need:
popcorn kernals (the big, cheap bags work fantastically!)
a brown lunch sack
a piece of scotch tape

Open your brown bag. Add 1/4 cup unpopped kernals. Fold top of bag over once. Tape it closed. Place in microwave, and cook until popping becomes slow.(Just like prepurchased microwave kind...mine took 1:30). Remove from microwave and open carefully. You can add a little bit of spray butter & a sprinkle of salt if you don't want to eat it plain.

This is so much easier than pulling out the air popper...and WAY cheaper and healthier than storebought! The brown bag can be reused many many times...

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Public Domain Books

Public domain books are basically books old enough that the copyright is expired.  That means you don't have to buy a copy in order to read it, you can read it for free online, and I'll list several sites for you.  The trick to public domain is that the book was initially copyrighted prior to 1923 or the author has given permission for it to go into public domain.

Another great find!

yesterday, I found a near perfect Matthew Henry's Commentary in one volume for $2.  now I normally read this online for free, but at that price and in such great condition, I can have a printed copy too!!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Leftover Bread

One of the pitfalls of making your own bread is that it goes stale pretty quickly - usually within about 2-3 days.  Alas!  My heart distresses over waste! (Yes, I'm embellishing a bit :)  Anyway, when my bread is going stale, I just go ahead a replace it with a fresh loaf and slice up whatever is left of the stale and put it in the freezer in a big (gallon or 2 gallon) size ziploc bag.  You see stale bread is perfect for french toast  or bread puddings or those casseroles that require stale bread.  I personally love to use my stale bread for french toast in order to create my favorite concoction ever - the Monte Cristo!  And with a sandwich like that, you need your bread to hold up a little :)

If you want to know what to do with the bread loaf heels - buzz them in the food processor and freeze them - you now no long have to purchase bread crumbs!!!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Syrup Update

I don't know how may people actually try some of the things I post up here, but I hope a few people do.  A few months ago, I posted a Homemade Syrup recipe.  Now, I actually use this recipe and I will say that I haven't purchased pancake syrup in about 6 months - but I have also learned a few things about doing this that I would like to share:
  • don't place syrup into jar until it is completely cooled or you will have crystallization issues (of course if you are a homeschooler and need a science project, this a perfect example of crystallization project)
  • If you over-sugar the mix in order to get it really thick, you will get crystallization because a liquid mixture can only hold a certain percentage of sugar molecules before they start reforming again, when the mix is heated, it can hold more molecules, when it cools, if it is too concentrated, they will reform.
  • If you get crystals and don't want to waste the syrup, put the liquid and the crystals back in a pan with some water and reboil (I love organic chemistry).  then you can cool again to package, or serve warm.
  • If you serve the syrup warm or hot, your pancakes don't cool down very much while eating
Okay, that's about it for the kinks I've noticed in doing this - enjoy!

Friday, January 22, 2010

This is my new go-to books website.  You just type in the name of your book (or ever how much you can remember of it) and it pulls the list for you.  You click on the correct title and wha you get is not a file on 1 book (like Ebay), but a list of all of the books of that title and edition for sale listed by condition.  For instance, if you type in 'Nourishing Traditions' you get a few book covers to choose from, you click on the one you want and then your list pops up.  You get several listed under new, very good, good and acceptable.  There are also further descriptons available and you can see how sellers are ranked with the star system just like ebay.  You also pay with paypal.  I have purchased several books from them and so far I highly recommend it as a go-to source so you don't have to pay full price for a book you may need to buy rather than just rent at the library.  Of course finding it at the thrift shop is still cheaper most of the time, but you have to ravel to many and dig and you still may not find it.  I have a long term list for things to pick up 'just in case I see it on a thrift shop shelf' but more urgently needed items I get at

****Correction - I was mistaken!  You can't use paypal - I hope you can soon though :)

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Proofing Bread

I am a breadmaker, and by that I mean that I make bread several times a week.  I can honestly say that so far in 2010 my family has not eaten commercial bread except for hot dog and hamburger buns - Partly because when i made my hot dog buns, my dough didn't rise for a looooong time and I ran out of time and had to buy some.

Anyway, I used to use the 'proofing bread' setting on my oven from time to time to control the temp so that my dough would rise properly, but now I use a different method.  Instead of leaving my oven on for 1 hour at the proofing bread temp, I just turn my oven on at 350 for 2 minutes and then shut if off.  The oven gets warms enough without geting hot, and the stays warm long enough to get the job done!  and of course it uses less electricity.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Stainless Steel Cleaner

I have a lot of stainless steel appliances, and they need to be cleaned A LOT!  Stainless steel cleaner is pricey - usally about $4 a pop, so I have been working with some things I alredy have in my home that are cheap, environmentally friendly and kid friendly.  Oh yeah, and I don't want it to streak - turns out white vingear in water (1:20) does a good job, and so far, no streaks.  Cheap, easy, and if the kids get into  it and drink some - no worries!

**Ooops - 1:10 on the vinegar and water, course you can go higher if you need it!!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

For parents of active little girls

I have found that my youngest daughter loves to wear dresses! With the extremely cold weather...she has to wear some sort of covering on her legs. Tights are pretty, but my daughter loves to play hard! Tights are expensive, especially if your child is very active. Almost every time she wears tights, a hole appears. Our solution is to put on pants under those everyday dresses. They are easier for children to pull up & dress themselves, plus they offer more warmth than tights and are extremely durable. We save the tights for church or other more formal occasions. We have also found that when some dresses still fit up top, but are getting a little too short in the length, Using the pants helps extend the life of the dresses as well. Too-short dresses worn with pants or leggings (that you already have!) is so practical!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

The Experiment & Cream Cheese

Well, the shampoo is a bust, my hair felt nasty and I had to wash it with regular shampoo - I will have to work on that formula.

The Dollar Tree cream cheese was okay - the texture is not as smooth as regular cream cheese.  I used it in a recipe where it was melted and it did just fine.  I have not baked with it, and since there are texture differences, I probably won't.  It doesn't spread very well either, it crumbles.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

15% off at Gap

Had to go to gap tonight and get hubby dear some workpants, at the check out the cashier gave me a slip of paper to fill out a survey online for a 15% coupon - I did it and I got it, it took me all of 7 minutes to complete.
I have been watching some of those 'how things are made shows' on HD TV in the past couple of days, and I'll tell you, it's a bit scary to see what goes into our food, bath, beauty and even cleaning products.  So, over the next couple of months I will be performing some experiments in my home and on myself and I'll let you know how it goes.   I don't know if they will all be money saving because some of the conventional products I'll be substituting for are dirt cheap because of the cheapness of the chemicals they are made from.  They WILL however, be cheaper than the organic or all natural variations you could go buy in the store.

Experiment #1 - Shampoo
  • Have you ever really looked up what those chemicals are in your favorite shampoo? - Well, i would suggest that you do so you know how many carcinogens you are putting on you very vascular scalp while it's pores are wide open.  
  • My mix:  2oz castile soap, 2 tbsp baking soda, 1 tsp olive oil, 1/4 tsp glycerin
  • test time - 7 days (will be used for every shampoo)
  • hair type - for those of you who have never seen me, my hair is average texture, slightly thicker than average, shoulder lenght, not colored, and curly (well, not keri russel curly , but maybe the julia roberts slightly more than wavy type of curly - something along those lines)
  • I will not be using a conditioner or any other styling product during this time EXCEPT a curling iron when needed and a little hairspray.  no gels, foams, creams, glossers, puttys, etc.
Anyone else ever done anything like this?  What were your results?