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!