Saturday, January 31, 2009

Cloth Family Wipes

Ever heard of cloth wipes...for the whole family? Yeah, I hadn't either...then I came across this blog which introduced me to the idea, and I did a bit more reading about it, and thought...EWWW! lol

BUT, the more I about it, the more I thought it my be beneficial. There are three girls in our family, and even though my DH said (and I quote), "Ain't NO way!" when I mentioned it to him, I thought if the girls and I used them *only for #1*, there should still be considerable savings on buying toilet paper (you wouldn't believe how much my kids use!).

While I was ruminating on all this my DH brought some old t-shirts to me and asked me to cut them into shop rags for him. Providential! lol I cut up a couple of Anna's shirts, too, that were stained. So we ended up with a pretty good-sized pile of cloth wipes as easy as pie!

I am LOVING them. A couple weeks ago I checked on the tissue paper, "We've got two packs left, use about a pack a week, so we'll be ok until the first of Feb." We STILL have one pack left! I'm thrilled! lol

(We are using them only for #1....I can't think of using them for #2 yet. lol)

Friday, January 30, 2009

Homemade Granola Bars

I made homemade Granola Bars today. They were SO good...well some were. I tried putting chocolate chips in half, and the chocolate melted all over them, so they were chocolate coated, more or less, and not as tasty.

The half I put raisins in were GREAT!

I used this recipe...delicious! *Plus* she has Great Pictures! : )

(I added flax seeds to mine, too.)

We're trying to avoid HFCS for health reasons, and I just happened to think today that as much as we love granola bars they would probably be an easy thing to make and healthier...not to mention saving money! I can't believe how much the price has gone up on granola bars lately!

(I've been using chopped, dried apricots, now...and they're SO good!)

Tuesday, January 27, 2009


Is there anything better than fresh bread?! I LOVE fresh bread, still warm...yum!

I've been making a simple flat bread recipe this past DH wanted some bread and I was in a hurry, so I made flat bread for him and he loved it so much he's wanted it almost every day since. lol It's super easy, flour (I use half white and half wheat), cut in a bit of butter, sprinkle in a pinch of salt, add water and stir. When it's mixed, knead it a minute, break off pieces and flatten, then fry it....because I LOVE me some butter, I fry it in more butter. lol

But,here is a blog about bread baking, and I'm sure they've got better ideas and know LOTS more about bread than I do. lol Probably have more detailed recipes, too. ; )

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Powdered Milk

I have read that Instant nonfat powdered milk is an economical alternative to regular milk. I can't attest to that, because I haven't bought any in ages. We were working with a food pantry that got an extremely HUGE load of powdered milk, and since they had to get rid of it within a certain time frame I ended up with quite a bit of it. (I nearly always take things when they say "Toss it." I ended up with a big bag of frozen rolls that had thawed into a lump of dough that way...the dough was still good, just not in roll shape anymore. I brought it home and re-formed it. The only thing I didn't take and still regret it was some empty coffee cans. I keep thinking of ways I could have used them. lol) Anyway, we haven't bought any, but I use it regularly. I use it for almost all recipes that call for milk, and I use it as a snack...I like to eat it dry. lol

Here are some recipes using powdered milk...enjoy!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Homemade Convenience Foods

I haven't done it yet, but I may put some of these recipes together, so I will have things on hand to use for *quick* meals. Right now if I'm needing a quick meal I'm still reaching for pre-packaged things...and I want to try to get away from that!

In the interest of healthier eating...Homemade Convenience Foods

In fact,this is such a good idea I may start keeping a bit of cooked rice in the freezer for making cups of soup!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Repurposed Chess Set

I LOVE this chess set!

I also love the idea of repurposing cast-off items.

Unfortunately, I don't have a lot of imagination. lol The chess set idea came from the internet, like most good ideas. ; ) (I did create this one, though. I just happened to have lots of little people around waiting to be used for something. lol)

BUT, maybe *you* have imagination...lots of ideas for repurposing junk...I'd love to hear about it if you do! If you're like me, though, and can't think of anything until you see it done then say, "What a good idea! Why couldn't I think of anything like that?!?" here is a blog FULL of good ideas! : )

Happy recycling!

Nori Salad

I received an e-mail about this this morning, and it looks SO tasty!

I will definitely be shopping for some nori to try this recipe!

(If you've read my first post you've probably already read about that site and signed up for their e-mails...if you haven't, I recommend it!)

Monday, January 19, 2009

Thrift Store Shopping

One way to save money...if you have a bit of to shop at thrift stores.

I say if you have a bit of self-control because I know SO many people who have NO self-control and buy whatever is a good deal whether or not they can use it. ("I KNOW it's not my size, but I may lose weight and then it will be WONDERFUL!" "I don't really NEED another set of dishes, but they're BRAND NEW!") Oh, yeah...I could tell stories....

But, I don't want to tell stories, or put a damper on thrift store shopping.

Just remember a few tips and have fun!

I agree with all the tips except "Don't go with Kids." My kids LOVE going to thrift stores with me, and more often than not find things I would have missed. (The last time we went to the Salvation Army, Emma found a Don Knotts movie, The Reluctant Astronaut...for $1!)

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Plarn? (AKA Recycling Plastic Grocery Bags)

I don't know how to crochet, but if I ever learn this will be one of my first projects!

First, you make your "Plarn"~ plastic yarn.

Then you crochet it into cute bags.

Even shopping bags!

Doormats too!

Someday, I'll have to learn how to do that. : )

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Homemade Pancake Syrup and Pancakes

Since we're trying to get away from eating HFCS I decided to stop buying Pancake syrup from the store...the thought of pouring HFCS on my whole wheat pancakes just seems...wrong.... ; ) I found a pancake syrup recipe in a magazine...don't remember which one now, but I tried it last week when we ran out of the store-bought syrup, and I am NOT going to buy any more store-bought! I liked this much better.

Homemade Pancake Syrup

1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup water
1 Tablespoon butter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Gently boil, stirring often, until slightly thickened.
(A little extra hint...if you have some left over, boil a bit more, then add 1/2 teaspoon baking powder and pour over popcorn for super-easy caramel corn.)

Pancake Mix

1 cup all-purpose flour (I use 1/2 cup whole wheat and 1/2 cup unbleached white...I don't think my kids would go for *all* whole wheat yet...)
1 Tablespoon white sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
1 egg
2 Tablespoon oil

Mix together and fry with lots of butter (if you're like me and like the edges very crispy) ; )

I've always bought the boxed pancake mixes, until I decided to try this one and fell in love with it! It's so easy, and I *really* like the whole wheat flour in it.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Homemade Laundry Soap Update

I've added a bit to the Homemade Laundry Soap post. I made some last night, and added about my experience.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Caramel Corn...YUM!

My niece had some caramel corn at my younger dd's basketball practice Saturday, and I was meaning to look up a recipe online. I forgot, though, then this came to me!

I was going to check a blog or two, make sure I didn't have any e-mails and go to bed, because it's FREEZING in here, but I checked one blog, which led to another blog, which led to more and more posts on that and other blogs....

Now it's almost 3am, and I'm still online. I've got several things to post about now, though. : )

I think I'll try some caramel corn tomorrow, for my kids to take to the ball game with them. : )


I made some for the basketball game...and it was GOOD! I changed it a bit for the second batch and used less popcorn (the recipe called for 15 cups, and I thought 12 or 13 was better because they get coated better...we like ours very sweet).

And remember...if you want to try this but don't have an air popper, you can always pop the corn in the microwave in a paper lunch bag. (Or on the stove top if you don't have a microwave. I remember my mom making pop corn on the stove top when I was a kid, back before microwaves were standard household equiptment. I've never done it, though...I'm a little scared to try. lol)

Monday, January 12, 2009


My wrist is still hurting dreadfully, but I wanted to share this site I came across last night. It has wonderful articles and great hints!

Sage Mommy

I particularly liked the Frugality page.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

I can't post!

I fell yesterday, and I've injured my right wrist which makes it almost impossible to type. I *really* want to search for fascinating, interesting blogs or websites to share, but I can't type well enough to do it.

SO, since I *really* want there to be something new here, I'll share a blog from my list of favorites....

The Pioneer Woman Cooks!

I just LOVE those blogs with pictures of the food as it's being prepared. I just forget to make them myself. lol

Friday, January 9, 2009

Reusable Shopping Bags

I'll admit...I enjoy bringing home plastic bags from the store. They're so handy for cleaning litter boxes or picking up after the dog, or lining a small trash can. BUT, even with all the things I can think of to use them for, we simply get too many! I keep a glass jar (large pickle jar, if anyone wants to know) and when it gets full I stick the rest in a paper bag to donate to a thrift store where they re-use them. HOWEVER, even doing all that, sometimes I still want to simply not bring them home with me in the first place!

So I have reusable bags. Which I forget to take to the store with me. (I actually remembered last first time!)

This site has lovely bags....if you're wanting to buy some.

I like mine free or next-to-free, and one of the best sources I've found is the thrift store.

First, find a good, cheap thrift store.

Next, look for bags like this one.

Once you've found your bags, look for any tears, rips, stains, dirty ick...anything that will affect your use of it.

Assuming you've found a good sturdy bag, buy it. Go ahead and buy it, and don't worry if it says, "George Washington Teachers ROCK!" on the front. We'll take care of that.

Don't pay too much for it. If you're going to pay a lot, you might as well buy a nice one and be done with it. I wouldn't pay more than $1, and that for a really BIG, very sturdy one. I would hope for .50 or .25.

When you get it home, wash it; carefully, some will shrink, although I've never found that to matter too much.

If it says something you don't like on the front, cut out a piece of cloth a bit bigger than the picture and sew it over it. You can make a patch (I've done one with cross-stitched cows cut off the front of a sweatshirt...they were too cute to toss when the sweatshirt was unwearable...I used a crossed stitch to sew it on), or you can leave the top open for an extra pocket. My aunt completely covered one with lots of extra pockets, but I thought that was over-kill. Besides, she was using a sewing machine, and I can't. So I simply hand-sew on a square and call it a pocket. Trust me, if I can do it, anyone can.

And there you have a personalized, easy, recycled, shopping bag which was practically free!

(Maybe I'll take pictures...I could get one and walk you through all the steps in pictures. What a good idea. Maybe.... Someday.....)

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Green Goals for 2009?

I've seen several blogs with "Green Goals" posted....I think I'll do one, too...

1. Change all the light bulbs in our house to those squirrley ones.
Already Done. I bought two big packs and went through the house changing bulbs out. My DH came behind me saying, "Change this one back again, it's not bright enough over here for what I'm doing." lol (First rule of list-making...always start with something you've already finished so you can cross it off quickly. It makes the list go better. Just kidding. Since I'm writing this on the 9th I've already started accomplishing some things.)

2. Expand the garden.
Work in progress. I've spaded and spread rabbit droppings, but would like to spade up just a bit more before spring. *Someone* (not mentioning names here) has been coming up with plans for my garden spot...including building things on it. I am fighting for my space! : )

3. Plant some trees.
This is a hard one. I have seeds from several trees I'm going to attempt (as per my uncle's instructions) to grow. My uncle told me last summer how he grows new trees...I think he may see me as the one person in the family who might actually try to replicate his methods and save some of his trees from extinction. I have seeds for a VERY funky pear tree my mom hadn't seen for 40 years...I'd LOVE to be able to present her with one of those for her birthday! Tonight I picked persimmons to try to grow, too. I have cherries, apples,chinquapins , chestnuts, pears, plums and persimmons all I need to do is get them planted. I *think* they should be in the ground about now. (Don't tell my DH, but I'm going to plant a walnut tree, too. He's VERY allergic and mowed down my last one. This time it's going to be a secret. lol)

4. Remember to take my bags when I go shopping. It's hard to remember. I *did* remember one day last week, though! I'm so proud of me! lol

5. BLOG!
I am hoping to be able to spread the word about as many money-saving, energy-saving, healthy, happy things as I can with this blog!

6. Shop at the Farmer's Market more.
We started going more last year, and I enjoyed it SO much! Definitely on my list for this year.

There are probably more things I want to do this year that I'm forgetting for this list....but that's good enough of a start. : ) Now all I need to do *is* start......

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Hydrogen Peroxide

Did you know you can use peroxide to whiten your teeth? I read about it in Countryside magazine, and told my DH, because he's always been self-consious about his teeth being yellowed (the result of living with two smoking parents for 21 years).

He tried it, and his teeth are SO lovely and white now! It's very simple, just hold a bit of peroxide in your mouth for a few minutes (5 or so) every morning. I use the cap to measure into, he just pours some in his mouth...just use the amount you're comfortable with in your mouth, hold it there for a few minutes, then spit. Consistency is takes a couple weeks before you'll notice a difference. But it does work, and it's LOTS cheper than professional whitenings or even the store kits...healthier, too.

Fighting off Colds

A couple hints for fighting off colds....

Drink honey and lemon juice in warm water (I use about a tablespoon of each...DH likes less lemon juice).

For a sore throat, gargle with warm salt water.

Eat spicy foods to clear out your sinuses.

Soak your toothbrush in peroxide to clean it.

Drink LOTS of water, and avoid milk.

Get plenty of sunshine!

Drink freshly-squeezed orange juice.

Make chicken soup with lots of fresh vegetables.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

A Recipe and a Hint You May Not Know

Since gas prices are supposed to be going back up, I thought I'd post this cheap and easy recipe which has been SUCH a hit around our house in the past month.

Last month Daddy and I were battling a cold, and I decided to make chicken noodle soup to help us fight it off. I put chicken broth, a little cubed chicken, two diced carrots, a stalk of celery, diced and a sliced onion in the pot and boiled them, then when I went to get the noodles we were out. I asked Daddy if he thought I should run out to the store or try something else, and then I thought of rice. I didn't measure how much broth was left in the pot, just poured in a cup of rice and expected it to be chicken and rice soup. Well, the rice soaked up all the broth (sometimes it takes a while, depending on the amount of broth in the pot, and the amount of rice), and instead of chicken rice soup we had rice with bits of chicken, carrots, onion and celery in it, and it is SO good! I've been making it a couple times a week since then, and I've started adding cabbage and whatever other kinds of leftover vegetables I have around. Tonight I re-heated some in the microwave with a bit of pepper jack cheese on top...YUM!

As for the hint....I read this in a magazine, I think, but I don't remember which one. Did you know you can pop regular popcorn in the microwave in a plain brown paper lunch bag/sack if you don't have an air popper? I've used it for making popcorn to snack on, or for popcorn balls. I keep a 1/3 cup measuring cup in the bag with my popcorn, and just scoop it out into the bag, fold down the end of the bag and pop it. (I'm not saying how many minutes, because microwaves are all so different...just stay close and listen for it to slow down its popping.)

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Homemade Cleaning Supplies

We're beginning a cleaning project this year....deep-cleaning the most heavily-used rooms in the house every month. We have four rooms we use most (2 bedrooms, living room and kitchen), so we're picking (at random, from a box) a room to concentrate on each week for a MAJOR cleaning. (I'm hoping DH will take the time to make a few minor repairs while we're working, too...hint, hint...)lol

Anyway, in the spirit of cleaning and saving money while you're doing it, I present links for home made cleaning supplies. Enjoy!

25 Safe, Non-toxic, Homemade Cleaning Supplies

Homemade Cleaning Supplies

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Not Money-saving, but still, Good...

Good for the environment, at least. : )

Recycling your old, scratched, or simply unwanted cd's and DVD's. AND their cases and inserts.

I think it's a good idea. Tossing them out has always bothered me...seems like there must be *something* you could do with I know what!

Thursday, January 1, 2009


*Regarding the last post*


I've been turning off power strips when we're not using the things that are plugged into them (for example the one in the kitchen has the toaster and toaster oven and coffee pot plugged into it) and I just saw how much our electric bill is....

Are you ready for this? : )

We saved almost $20 from last month's bill, simply by turning off power strips! WOO HOO!!

My MIL will just die...her bill went up $100. Everyone I've talked to has had their bill go up considerably.

Ours went DOWN! Yay!

I turned off the power strips powering the tv, vcr/dvd player, the kitchen one already mentioned, and unplugged the microwave when we weren't using it. We left the strips for the computers turned on, for surge protection......I wouldn't just turn those strips off without unplugging the computer entirely.

This month we're going to all or nearly all fluorescent bulbs. I guess I know what we'll spend the $20 we saved