Tuesday, March 30, 2010
So, instead of feeding it to the garbage disposal or landfill, how about making another yummy meal from it?
I keep a medium sized bowl with a tight fitting lid in the freezer. Anytime I have left over veggies that are just not enough to keep, I dump them in the bowl. That last scoop of green beans, corn, peas, carrots, potatoes (even mashed), broccoli, and so many more.
You can also put in cut up left over meat like chicken, pork, or beef. Even ground meat works. Those few bites of hamburger that your kiddo couldn't finish, brake them up and add it in. Bits of meat left on the whole chicken you cooked. That last chunk of steak that didn't get eaten. Cut them up and add them in.
When the bowl is full, thaw it out in the fridge, add it to some tomato juice with any seasonings you like and you have a yummy meal! Serve with fresh, warm bread for dipping and you are set!
This also doubles as a Frugal Tip as you are saving yourself money by not throwing away all those little bits of leftovers. Can you beat that? Frugal and tasty!
Monday, March 29, 2010
So what is a rice sock? Well, just what it sounds like! You take an old (or new) clean tube sock and fill it with plain white rice. Then tie the end in a knot, tie it closed with a ribbon, piece of string or length of yarn, or sew it shut.
You can also sew a pouch. I have one that is about 4 inches by 6 inches and is perfect for "that time of the month" but also works great on the back of my neck for my (unfortunately) frequent tension headaches. Pouches can be made from any leftover fabric, a wash rag, or a recycled piece of clothing. Just make sure the weave is tight enough that the rice won't poke through.
You can also add things like dried lavender and chamomile or scented oil like tea tree or lavender for a soothing booster.
Either keep it in the freezer as an "ice" pack or store in a cool, dry place and place in the microwave to heat it. Do 30 seconds of heat at a time, then take it out of the microwave, turn over and place back in for another 30 seconds till it has reached the desired temperature. Before using, make sure to shake the rice around to evenly distribute the hot rice.
I have two tube sock kind (one warm, one in the freezer). They are great for laying across your back, wrapping around an ankle or knee and for laying across your neck.
Advantages to a rice sock:
- You can take them into bed with you without worrying about burning yourself or causing a fire (compare to an electric heating pad.
- The rice produces a moist heat that really gets deep into your muscles and joints.
- They are natural and reusable. If the sock gets dirty, simply empty the contents into a bowl, wash and dry the sock and pour the rice back in.
- The heat/cold lasts for about 30 minutes.
- Apply a cold one to a bee sting or fevered forehead for some great relief.
- Very helpful for back labor, ladies!
- Costs you next to nothing to make.
- Are even safe for children, the elderly, and those with sensitive skin.
Saturday, March 27, 2010
- 1 pound ground beef or turkey
- 1 1/4 cups tomato pasta sauce
- 1 cup frozen corn
- 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- 2 cups homemade biscuit mix or Bisquick mix
- 3/4 cup milk
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Heat oven to 400'F. Spray one 8-inch square (2-quart) glass baking dish with cooking spray.
In a skillet, brown beef/turkey until brown; drain. Stir in 1 1/4 cups pasta sauce and the corn and heat to boiling; spoon into baking dish. Top with the mozzarella cheese. (In the picture I accidental forgot to put on the cheese and ended up putting it on the biscuit topping. It still turned out good. Do it how ever you like!)
Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, stir biscuit mix, milk, and Parmesan cheese until a soft dough forms. Drop dough by 12 to 16 spoonfuls onto the meat mixture.
Bake uncovered for 20 to 25 minutes or until topping is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the topping comes out clean. Serve topped with additional warmed pasta sauce if desired. (We didn't as it seemed fine without it.)
This makes approximately 6 servings. Pair with a salad, green beans and warm applesauce and you've got a tasty meal for a work night!
Friday, March 26, 2010
Call me crazy, but I love hanging clean, wet clothes on the line. I love driving though the country and seeing someones laundry on the line. I love carrying in freshly dried clothes that smell of wind and sunshine. No bottled detergent could ever compare with that smell! And sunshine is a natural bleach for your whites and cloth diapers!
As you can see in the picture, we don't have one of those big beautiful country yards. Heck, we don't even have a "traditional" clothes line. We have what is called an "umbrella style" clothes line. We got ours at Home Depot. It is much like this one but I don't think we paid that much for it!
Anyway, whether you have a regular cloths line or an umbrella type, drying your clothes on the line can save you a good bit of money every year for just a little extra effort. You can throw your clothes in the wash before going to work. Then hang them on the line when you get home. By the time you are ready for dinner, your clothes will be dry!
I did some math on drying clothes on the line verses drying in an eclectic dryer. The price per load is taken from a book called Miserly Moms (this is their website). The book I have was copyrighted in 2001 so these numbers may be a little off but not by much. It is probably more expensive now, depending on if you have an energy efficient dryer or not.
A load of laundry costs an average of $0.70 to dry per load.
I would guess that the average family does 4 loads of laundry per week. (I do 2-3 but we are a small family still).
Here in Indiana there are about 33 weeks in the year that you can dry your clothes outside. Starting the first week of November to the second week of March is what I consider not viable for line drying due to weather.
$0.70 per load X 4 loads a week = $2.80 a week in savings
$2.80 a week X 33 weeks of possible drying= $92.40 per year in savings
$92 dollars that could be spent some where else.
At $7.50 a movie that is 12 movies that could be viewed.
At $1.50 per cup that is 61 cups of morning coffee from a fast food place.
At $4.00 a gallon that is 23 gallons of ice cream.
At $200 a month that is almost half of a car payment.
At $33.99 per adult and $29.99 per child that is 2 adults and one child admitted into Kings Island for one day for just $10.00 more!
Now, I will admit that the clothes aren't as soft as when the come out of the dryer. But there is an easy solution to that. Take the clothes off the line and pop them in the dryer for five minutes with a couple tennis balls (you can read my other blog on that if you haven't) on a low heat or no heat setting.
So whether you have a big yard or a small yard, a traditional line or an umbrella line, you can save a good bit of money every year and enjoy fresh smelling clothes!
Thursday, March 25, 2010
~Stain Remover that works! (If not for this, my child would not have anything to wear that wasn't stained.)
~Goats milk (fresh from a local farmer and raw)! (Finally, something that doesn't cause an allergic reaction in her and that I still like the taste of!)
~Books on Frugality
~Honest car salesmen. Yes, you can still find them on occasion.
~Spring rains, even if they do make it cooler outside.
~The Easter lilies and crocuses in bloom.
Tuesday, March 23, 2010
- pill bottle with various types of meds (make sure you know what they all are!)
- a little thing of band aids
- baby powder
- a little container of antacids
- travel sized tube of tooth paste
- hand sanitizer
Baggie #2: Non-medical/cosmetic
- lip gloss/ chap stick
- mini stapler ( yes, I carry a stapler and yes, I have used it before!) :o)
- nail clippers and file
Baggie #3: Personals (sorry guys)
- feminine hygiene products
- nursing pads
I also carry a sandwich sized bag containing a disposable diaper, a few wet wipes and a trial packet of diaper rash cream so I know that if I happen to accidentally leave the diaper bag at home or in the car, I can still do a diaper change if I need to. Each of the above bags also contains wet wipes as you never know when you may need one.
Try to use the freezer type baggies as they are sturdier and won't fall apart at the seams like the regular ones can do sometimes in your purse. Please understand that my purse is never perfect! What you see in the picture is not always what you get! I try to go through my purse on a fairly regular basis to pull out things like crumpled receipts, use tissues, old grocery lists and just random things that I throw in there throughout the day. The other day I cleaned it out while waiting at the dealership for our vehicle to get fixed. I have done it in the doctors waiting room, while on the 2 hour ride home from visiting family and while the baby was taking a nap.
You can also apply this method to your diaper bag. Things like a change of clothes, blanket, and an extra hat can go in a gallon sized bag together. That way they are dry, clean and folded nicely the next time someone has a blow-out. :o) Yeah, I've had to use this bag before!
Monday, March 22, 2010
We have seedlings!!!! :o) Yeah!
Just over a week ago, I got our tomatoes (all three kinds) and our peppers planted. As you can see, I have used re purposed containers (Ie: cottage cheese, yogurt and shortening containers) for planting in. Poke some holes in the bottoms, add in a inch or two or gravel, fill with potting soil and plant according to the package.
We now have 6 cherry tomato sprouts, 6 beef steak tomato sprouts and 2 Roma tomato sprouts (with the promise of more.) We won't be planting all of those. We just don't have the space, unfortunately. We will thin out the smaller sprouts here in a few weeks and only use the biggest, strongest looking ones.
It will be a couple more weeks before we can plant the cucumbers, squash and zucchini and at least a few more days till we see the bell pepper seedlings poking though.
Spring planting is always so exciting! :o)
Saturday, March 20, 2010
1- 3 pound bag of your favorite apples (any red variety works well, green tend to be too tart), peeled, cored and sliced thin or cubed into 1/2 inch pieces
1 large can sliced peaches in light syrup
1 large can sliced pears in light syrup
Pour the peeled, cored and cubed/sliced apples into a big pot. Add in 1 can of sliced peaches (including juice) and 1 can of sliced pears (drain this one). This is optional but it does add a nice flavor and texture. If you choose not to add the canned fruit, add in 1/4 cup water to the apples.
Cover and simmer on medium low for about 1 hour, stirring occasionally. The apples should be mushy and tender. If you stir it briskly with a spoon, they should start to break up.
When they have reached the desired consistency, mash then up with a potato masher, fork, spoon, or hand mixer (I prefer the potato masher) until they are (again) to your desired consistency. We like ours a little chunky still but you can get them as chunky or smooth as you like.
Dip up into containers and chill, eat warm, or freeze. This does freeze really well. This recipe makes about 4 of the containers seen in the picture above.
I do have to be honest, I have done the math on this recipe and it is actually cheaper to buy jarred applesauce at the store. But it tastes so much better home made! :o)
Friday, March 19, 2010
When I do buy juice, I have found that the least expensive way to do so it to get it in frozen concentrate. It usually comes out to about $1.00 less per container. They are also super easy to keep in the freezer and pull one out whenever we are in the mood for a glass of juice with breakfast.
Also, one way you can save your self a little more money is to dilute it just a little bit more than is called for. Most frozen juice concentrates call to be mixed with three containers of water. Instead of the three, I usually do four and sometimes even 5, depending on the strength of the juice being used. I find the flavor to be strong enough and it makes it go that much further.
Also, make sure you are buying 100% juice!! We seriously don't need any more high fructose corn syrup in our diets and that is pretty much all you are getting with juices that aren't 100%. Would you buy an apple that wasn't 100% fruit?
Thursday, March 18, 2010
~Sweet little slobbery hands that want to touch your face.
~Packets of seeds that say "Guaranteed to Grow" and "Organic"
~The Bible on CD
~Bulb nose suckers (don't laugh! They are useful!) :o)
Tuesday, March 16, 2010
Crack your egg into the bowl then mix in the cinnamon before adding anything else. After that is well whisked together, then add in the vanilla and milk.
The gooeyness (it's a word! in my dictionary at least) of the egg coats the cinnamon and allows to to not clump up so bad. Thus helping it to evenly spread though out the mixture. This gives each slice of bread a good coating of egg and cinnamon. Yum!
Monday, March 15, 2010
I grew up in the country. We didn't have a ton of toys. We didn't have the Internet, video games or frequent the movie theater. And yet the words "I'm bored" were hardly ever uttered in our household. There were bugs to catch, dolls to care for, acres to explore and gardens to tend to. Our imaginations ran rampet in the woods behind our home.
What we did have were play clothes that consisted of things that no longer fit my parents, things that were stained or out dated, old prom dresses and things from the '70's. Dolls of different kinds, everything from Barbie to cabbage patch to handmade and passed down. We had a kitchen set and a play house that my Dad and Grandfather built. We had the best kind of childhood.
Now, I want this for our child. We want to use what are called "open-ended" toys. Things like a basket. One day it is a boat for a doll, the next day a bath tub for a teddy bear, the next it is a cave and then back again to basket to help Momma pick vegetables from the garden.
~Dolls with clothes, hair things, and blankets
~building blocks or Lincoln Logs or Lego's
~scraps of fabric
~baskets, boxes and bowls
~balls of different colors and sizes
~play dough or clay
~card board boxes
~kitchen sets including pots, pans and "fake foods"
~a tub of rice or sand with funnels, measuring cups, spoons and scoops of different sizes
These are some great examples of options that can be entertaining, educational, and imagination boosters all at the same time. Things that require thought and ingenuity. Not just something that entertains them and little else.
The best "open-ended" toy is nature itself. Leaf and stick races in the creek. Wolly worms and butterflies to watch. Rocks and sticks to build with.
I am looking forward to watching her learn and grow and become an imaginative little girl. I am looking forward to sharing with her the things I myself did as a child. Hours spent together in make believe worlds while learning about our own, magical world that the Lord created just for us to explore and enjoy.
To this day I still have a great imagination. I love to do crafts and play with simple things like building blocks. I want to relive my childhood though her. Through the eyes of my child.
Saturday, March 13, 2010
When working with a good baking mix, the possibilities are just about endless.
This is a recipe for your favorite baking mix. Sorry, but I am going to have to drop a brand name here. Bisquick. Shh! Don't tell anyone but you can make this at home, from scratch, for WAY less than you pay for it in the store! Ok, you can tell someone if you'd like!
5 cups white flour
4 cups wheat flour (I would guess you could substitute with white)
1 1/2 Tbsp. salt (I usually only use maybe half this)
4 Tbsp. baking powder
2 c. vegetable shortening (I have used coconut oil for a healthier option and it works just fine. I would think you could also use lard but it would have to be refrigerated.)
Get out a BIG bowl. I have also used a dish pan. Mix together the flours, salt and baking powder. Add in the shortening and use your hands to break it up into the flour till it is light and crumbly.
Do not over mix. The shortening lumps should be about the size of peas. Place in a good sealing container and store in the cabinet.
Use where ever biscuit mix or Bisquick is called for.
A simple and yet yummy recipe using your baking mix...
2 1/4 c. baking mix
2/3 c. milk.
Mix together in a medium bowl till mostly smooth. Drop by spoon fulls onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 450 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes, until lightly browned. Makes approx. 10 biscuits.
Friday, March 12, 2010
While there, we also got a "new" small skillet, as I had totally worn my old one out, and an Easter basket for our little girlie's first Easter Sunday. In total we spent about $15 dollars. About what we would have spent on the pan alone had we bought it new.
We buy used for everything we can. Clothes, dishes, decorations, books, furniture, movies, games, toys, appliances, vehicles and the list goes on and on.
So the next time you need something "new," look into "next-to-new" first!
Thursday, March 11, 2010
~Remotes (I remember a time when, as a child, I was the remote.) :o)
~Mint chocolate chip ice cream
~Friends from High school that have stayed close through the years
Tuesday, March 9, 2010
Her sugar had gotten hard and so she put a piece of fresh bread in with it. But when she took the bread out a couple days later, the sugar was once again soft and the bread was hard and stale. The moisture goes out of the bread and into the sugar. So instead of throwing out a whole bag of hard brown sugar, you just throw out one piece of bread. This works with home made bread, white, wheat, or any other type you can come up with.
It also works for hard cookies. Place one to two slices of fresh bread in a sealed container or plastic bag with cookies that have gotten a little over baked or have sat out and gotten hard. Makes for soft, chewy cookies! Yum!
Monday, March 8, 2010
All over the news today, you hear people up in arms about how video games, violent movies, rock and rap music and television content are creating children who are violent, sexually active at a young age, and just thoroughly "damaged." Parents are constantly blaming these media sources for being the reason their children are teen parents, in jail, in trouble in school, rebellious and (in extreme cases) killing other people. But is this really the reason our children are not safe and are becoming more and more violent?
Yes, I agree that these sorts of media outlets are in many ways damaging our children. But should we really be blaming the TV, video games, movies, Internet, etc.? No. We need to be looking a bit closer to home. It is ALLOWING our children access to these violent, sexual, and sadistic materials that is causing these traits in our little ones. Do our 5 year old boys really need to be playing fighting games? Do our 11 year old daughters really need to be up till midnight chatting with their friends on Facebook?
The Lord tells us that WE must raise our children. Not to be of this world but of His!
- Deuteronomy 4:9
- Deuteronomy 11:19
- Psalm 34:11
Today's society teaches young girls that to be popular and loved, you have to be sexy and beautiful on the outside. Who cares who you are on the inside? When young girls have role models like Brittney Spears, Bratz dolls and even Barbie, it's no wonder we have raising teen pregnancy and STD rates. And when we are dressing our young girls in bikinis, shortie shorts, and cloths stating things like "Sexy", "Hottie", and "Too hot to handle", it's no wonder that sexual predators are seeking younger and younger prey. And it isn't just the girls being effected by this view of women. We are teaching our boys to view women as sexual beings and nothing else. How are they supposed to respect and love women when we don't respect and love ourselves?
We have to stop letting the TV and Internet raise our children for us. Yes, it is so much easier to plop them in front of the TV and let the cartoons teach them to count, read and share. But those same cartoons can also be teaching then how to curse, hit, and be filled with anger.
Yes, putting a game controller in their hands keeps those hands busy for an hour so we can get the laundry done, but those same hands could be learning so much more if you taught them to help you do the laundry with you while talking about their day.
Yes, it is much easier to dress them in the latest fashions than it is to explain to them why it is that they aren't right to wear. But imagine having to explain to them why that man hurt them.
We blame the inanimate objects because it is much easier than blaming ourselves for the down fall of our children's innocence. But maybe we need to all stop and rethink what we are doing to the future of our children by the way we are raising them now.
Saturday, March 6, 2010
- 1 pound of chicken, cubed a cooked through or mostly through (about 2 large chicken breasts do it.)
- 1 sweet potato, peeled and cubed into 1 inch chunks (optional)
- one small onion, diced
- 1 cup frozen or fresh corn
- 1 bottle of your favorite BBQ sauce (18 oz)
- 1/4 cup warm water
Corn bread topping:
- 3/4 cup corn meal
- 1 1/4 cup flour
- 1 cup milk
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 tsp baking powder
I used a 4 quart crock pot for this and it was a great size! I know the sweet potatoes say "optional," but seriously, use them! In fact, I doubled it and used two. I don't normally like sweet potatoes but in this, they are great! They add a wonderful texture and flavor. Also, the first time I made this, I used the full recipe for the corn bread topping and it was just a little too much for our liking. I have since cut the recipe in half any time I've made it and it is about right. But, by all means, if your family likes cornbread, use it all!
Place the chicken, potatoes, onion, and corn in the crock pot. Squeeze in the entire bottle of BBQ sauce. Then pout the 1/4 cup of water into the bottle, close the top, shake and then pour into the crock pot. Mix it all together well with a spoon.
In a separate bowl, mix together all the corn bread topping ingredients. Spread on top of the chicken mix.
Cover and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours. Makes about 4 to 6 decent sized portions.
The corn bread actually bakes in the crock pot and soaks up some of the good juices from the chicken mix. Serve with a side salad and some fruit and you have a wonderful meal!
Looking at the picture, I just wanna go whip up another batch! :o)
Friday, March 5, 2010
Next time you eat an orange or peeled apple or have a recipe that calls for fresh squeezed lemon juice, save the rinds and peels!
Place the rinds/peels in a sauce pan and add enough water so they are completely covered.
Place on the stove and set to a slow simmer. Add in some whole cloves, cinnamon, or nothing at all.
Let simmer all day, adding water as needed. Your house will smell sweet and natural for days to come! And at no extra cost besides a little electricity!
Thursday, March 4, 2010
Wednesday, March 3, 2010
Tuesday, March 2, 2010
Or while at the grocery store you just knew there was something else you were out of at home but for the life of you, you can't remember what it was.
This is why I keep a running grocery list on my refrigerator. It is a simple, time saving list that will save you many a head ache!
Keep a scrap piece of paper on the fridge with one of those lovely magnets you have and a pen handy. When you use the last of the peanut butter, or when you see that the ketchup is almost gone, write it on the list!
This works for other things as well. Deodorant, shampoo, cat food, toilet paper. I keep one list for the grocery store and one for my favoite super store.
Another tip to go along with the list. If you need deodorant, put a "-" and then your name, or even just the first letter in your name. For example...
shampoo-z + v
This way you know who needs it if you and your spouse/child use a different brand.
And if your good, you can even get your hubby to use the list! :o)