Monday, April 21, 2008

My Scrubbies are in the SPOTLIGHT!

My Etsy shop has been crazy busy for the past 24 hours. My Recycled T-shirt Scrubbies are on the front page in a Spotlight article.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

My House is a Disaster!!

I have read so many posts by other bloggers over the past few weeks about simplifying their lives, I decided to finally get serious about it myself! I come from a family of pack rats, and although I have fought with this my whole life and had plenty of up and down moments, I really thought I had it beat. I've even been ridiculed for having yearly to bi-yearly yards sales and hauling stuff to the Salvation Army frequently, but there's always so much more left in the house! A family of six in a tiny house with no basement really has to have a use it or lose it attitude!

This week the kids are off for spring break, and not only have we been systematically going through the house room by room, drawer by drawer, but I also intend to have a yard sale Thursday and Friday. That means everything has to be priced and set up by tomorrow night! This morning, my house looked like it had been picked up and shook, but by this evening it all started coming together. While the sale is going on we intend to do a thorough spring cleaning from top to bottom, including washing all the bed linens and curtains! Have four kids, three of which are in high school, has been a wonderful blessing this week. They all cleaned out, and got rid of, so much more than I thought they would (willingly!!). We are gong to need a vacation, after this "vacation".

Monday, April 14, 2008


We stopped having our trash and recycling picked up a few years ago when the price went up to $24 a month. We now take our garbage and recycling to the waste management station and it cost us between $3 - $6 a month. It doesn't cost me anymore for gas because I combine it with other trips that are in that same area. I'm able to recycle more items at the station than I was allowed to put out at my house. (More variety) I purchase bags for $3 that hold at least 2+ weeks of our family of 6's trash. (You have to have your trash in their bags and be able to tied it shut when you bring it back.) We compost food scraps as well.

From what I've read we are pretty lucky to have this option, I guess most people don't. It can't hurt to call around and check though, because most people that live around here don't know you can do this!

Saturday, April 12, 2008

My Interview

Wow, she posted it fast! Want to read more about me? Check out my 10 question interview on My Wooden Robot. I really feel special!!

Friday, April 11, 2008


Head Over to

My Wooden Robot did a post about my Etsy shop. I just completed an interview that hasn't been posted yet, but I'm too excited to wait.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

I Thought I Knew About Coupons

I DO know more about using coupons than anyone I know! I would see little blurbs here and there while cruising around the internet looking for frugal information (and the occasional freebie), and I'd think, "What could they know that I don't?!" I would just assume they were doing what I was already doing. Well, they sort of are, but on a much grander scale, with far greater returns than I could have imagined, and using team work to do it in less time. I would spend hours some weeks clipping, sorting, and matching up my coupons with the weekly sales, not to mention the time to plan and execute my shopping trip, and I was usually getting little return for my time. I had finally given up and haven't been doing it at all for the past few months. Now my stash of coupons have expired!

A fresh clean coupon start it were I am now. I purchased a Sunday paper a few weeks ago and there were no coupons in it?? I purchased one this past Sunday and there were two inserts, and I thought, "Are gone the days of three coupons inserts, along with 2/1.00 eggs and 88 cent hamburger?" Well thanks to my newly found, and most favorite (so far) coupon information site, Hot Coupon World, I know coupons inserts are not just randomly stuffed in the paper, but there is a schedule. The are no inserts on holidays and the P&G Saver goes in at the beginning of the month. I also learned that my $1.00 buy price for deodorant is way to high, even .50 is considered high! Free is the price and with coupons and rebates, and it's really not that hard to do!! I love Free!! I truly believe that saving money is better than earning more money. Don't get me wrong, I'm still for making more money, but what's the sense in working harder if you are just going to be more wasteful!

Friday, April 4, 2008

Torn Between Being Frugal and Being Green??!

I LOVE free stuff! Free food, free cloths, coupons for free anything, and of course free samples. The choice is easy when my son and I are walking around Sam's Club and enjoying our free Tapas style lunch, sometimes we even get juice! The problem is the samples I get in the mail. I love getting great stuff in the mail. I go to Twisted Branches and Spoofee almost every day, and am currently checking out 2 more freebie sites to set if they warrant daily or weekly visits. I use all these great little finds as gift basket fillers, stocking stuffers, extra special little treats for the snack jar, and even for myself. I always seem to have some great shampoo and conditioner sample in the shower. I have discovered some great products this way, and have even bought full sizes of some products. (When it was on sale and with a coupon of course!)

So here is my dilemma, the over packaging. I feel so guilty when I get a 1 oz serving of cereal in a metallic type bag, in a little box, with additional product information in with it as well. Or even worse and little antiperspirant sample, with all the little plastic bits and pieces needed to make it, also in a little box with additional papers. I hardly even use antiperspirant, which makes me feel even more guilty. (FYI I use a Crystal stick!) I even gave up free samples altogether for awhile, because I was getting everything I possible could and ended up with stuff I could never use or give away. This was last summer when I really started getting serious about being more green and also lowering my utility bills as much as possible. About a month ago the I started back to my old habits, but with a bit more forethought about the ones I chose. Even though I recycle it, I still feel bad about the packaging. I welcome anyone else's opinions on this matter.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Don't Knock it Until.....

I found this recipe on Lentils and Rice, and even though I knew my kids would try it, and most likely like it, I never dreamed my husband would like it. He only eats a few varieties of beans, and except for hummus, chickpeas isn't one of them. The kids and I like any bean. Here's the strange part of this recipe, lentils and rice said it tastes like egg salad, one of my daughters said it taste like tuna salad, and my husband said it tastes like chicken salad. I agree with my husband, but I also think it taste like chickpeas, which I like very much!

I didn't add as many ingredients as Lentils and Rice did. I guess it depends on how you like your egg, tuna, chicken salad. I used mashed (but not to fine) chickpeas, chopped celery, a little salt and pepper, and mayo. The kids were eating it out of the bowl while I was making it. Finally, something new for lunch!!

74 Cent Dinner for Six

Mushrooms, broccoli, cherry tomatoes tossed with 1 pound of fettuccine I got on clearance at Target for 74 cents. I also used a little olive oil and spices which I didn't include in the cost. I also didn't include the cost of the gas and electricity used freeze, store, cook and wash up after. In future posts if a significant amount of olive oil, butter, spices, etc. are used I will list the cost, otherwise it's just too much of a pain to calculate.

So are you wondering why I didn't include the cost of veggies? I got those for free from my food run. When I get home from the food run (that's what we call it here at home, so that's what I'm sticking with) , I sort, wash, blanch or saute, and then freeze any fruit or veggie that won't last more than a few more days. If it can't be frozen, then we eat that up first over the next few days!! One time there might be lot of peppers, another a lot of strawberries, you just never know. I have quite a variety of frozen items from the past few months, along with garden and farmers market items I put up last fall.

Homemade Laundry Soap

I have been making my own laundry soap for months and I just love it! I use to buy 12 or more gallon jugs of soap when it went on sale for about $1.88, and then I would have to store them in our little house. It was a real pain in the winter because laundry soap will freeze if you store it in the garage. Now I just make 2 gallons of soap at a time for under 30 cents a gallon and the real plus is I'm reusing my containers AND it's eco friendly soap!

Homemade Laundry Soap

1/3 bar grated soap
6 cups water
1/2 cup borax
1/2 cup washing soda
2 gallons hot water

I heat the grated soap in 6 cups of water and stir until the soap is dissolved. Add the borax and washing soda and stir until dissolved. Add this mixture to a 2 gallon bucket of hot water and stir. Stir occasionally over the next 24 hours while cooling. If it separates while cooling just stir well to mix.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Reclaimed Food

I have read that up to 47% of all food in America gets tossed in the trash. I know you are probably thinking that's impossible. I did! First, think of the waste at the farm, then in transport and finally the processing plants or the grocery stores. There's tremendous waste at the restaurants, buffets, and hotels. Lastly, the food we throw away in our own homes.
I'm not going to list specific facts because it's so easy to google the information. Click images and you will see tons upon tons of tossed out food. What I do want to list is the actions I take to lesson this waste.

1. Stop throwing away food. Sounds easier that it actually is! This requires a certain amount of fore thought about the meals I cook. If I cook too much, what do I do with the leftovers. In addition to just eating them again for lunch or another dinner, I will either freeze them to use at a later date or remake them into an entirely different dish. Eventually I will be posting some recipes where I do this quite creatively and with tasty results!

2. Realize the value of what is being wasted. If $20.00 worth of food were thrown away this week, it would be the same as ripping up and throwing away a 20 dollar bill. My husband and I work far to hard for our money, and we work very hard to stretch that money as far a possible, than to just toss it in the trash.

3. Teach my children to appreciate the real value of what we spend our money on, not just food. I believe this is very important so that they will be able to succeed more easily once they leave home. I don't want them to end up buried in debt before they graduate college because they were not taught how to be frugal. I also want them to be conscious consumers, and pass that information on to their children.

4. Now for the bigger picture. I am very fortunate to be able to volunteer for an organization that reclaimed approximately 3 million dollars worth of food last year and distributed it to over 2,500 persons weekly through 25 programs including food pantries and soup kitchens. This is food that is at or near it's expiration date, or is just over stock. It comes from many groceries stores, a dairy, an orchard, bakeries, a health food store and miscellaneous other stores. It is all edible food that would have been thrown in the trash if this organization had not organized ways to reclaim it.
Twice a month, and usually with the help of one of my teenage children, I drive 70 miles round trip to collect food that has been reclaimed and set aside for our small community pantry. We usually have two or three vehicles that caravan together. After the food is collected we go back to the pantry, unload, organized it all, and then it is immediately distribute to families and individuals who need it. With the economy the way it is, the list of people who come to the pantry has been growing pretty steadily. I take home bread, produce and misc. food items to help feed my own family and I feel I am more than compensated for the 140 miles and 10 or so hours a month I volunteer. This has been such a tremendous blessing for my family. Not just because of the food it has provided us, but the opportunity to serve our community in such a basic and necessary way.

Soon I will tell you exactly what I do with that food once I bring it home and the impact it has had on our lives. I encourage you to see if such organizations exist in your own community or start one yourself!

Oh My Little Cuppy Cakes

I made 30 of these adorable cupcakes for a friend's daughter's bridal shower. Did you guess it's a hand crocheted washcloth? As soon as I get a 40% off coupon for Michael's for the silicone liners, I'm going to make more.

Testing, 123 Testing

Well, I really haven't a clue as to what I'm doing!! Hopefully I will soon be able to look back and realize it was all very easy to master. I am starting this blog for many reasons. First, I've always wanted to be able to share my frugal ideas and tips with anyone and everyone who wants and can use them.
Second, I wanted a place where I could organized all these scraps of paper clogging my desk and random pieces of information floating around in my head. This will be a much easier way to share my information and recipes with friends and family as well. No more typing up emails and/or cutting and pasting info! Yay!! Maybe I'll be able to use my desk for ... well, desky things!
My third reason might be the most important one of all, and one I wasn't even aware of until I read it on another blog. I am hoping that having an outlet for my never ending and sometimes uncontrollably racing thoughts, I'll be able to give my husband some piece and quit. After working and eleven hour day and then picking up and dropping of kids, the last thing he wants to hear (no matter how much he loves me) is how I was able to make a fabulous meal for .74 cents. Well, that he might be interested in, but you get the idea!