Thursday, November 5, 2009

Fast Food Tip

Be prepared for those nights went you have absolutely no time to cook and are tempted to spend too much money on fast food. This week hamburger was on sale for a price I was willing to pay. I bought 30 lbs, made a gigantic meatloaf, cooked 10 lbs, and froze the rest. The meatloaf served 2 dinners and a few lunches. The 10 lbs I cooked was crumbled and frozen to be used on those nights when I have very limited time. I can throw together a pot of chili, sloppy joes, taco, etc. in about 15 minutes.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Sunday, August 30, 2009

The Time Has Come, The Time Is Now...

About a week ago Mr. Left Brain Thinker and I were in a dollar store and he handed me these reading glasses and said, "Try these on." Well, I had a feeling I might need them because my arms have become too short when I read at night. I gave them a try, and sure enough I could see words again! Even though I have been ignoring them for most of the week I gave them a try while sewing on my machine today - and once again, they worked! I'll try and use them more often - but I don't have to like it!!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Church Sale Haul Part 2

-2 camp stoves - to donate to Boy Scouts
-metal lunchbox - for an altered arts type project
-7 books - for projects (they will be ripped apart mom)
-Spanish computer course - Shorty wanted the microphone
-Never opened puzzle - for art projects
-Sponge Bob Typing Computer Program
- 2 books of post cards - for trading on Swap-Bot
-2 hats - mine still had $34.00 tag on it
- 3 little dishes - for condiments like sauce for Chinese dumplings
-Orange melamine bowl for fall
-2 new packages jingle bells- to put on hand made ornaments
-ski pole - Shorty wanted it for a walking stick
-10 shirts- guitar hero shirt still had $9.99 tag on it
- 1 mans sweater

wait for it

1 mans
toupee! - for our costume tote - the kids do a lot of volunteer work with the Youth Bureau and library - you just never know!

Grand total = $3.60

Afternoon with Shorty and Mr. Left Brain Thinker - Priceless! (He made me say that-really)

And by the way, lunch WAS yummy!

Deja Vous Church Sale Haul Part 1

Ever have one of those days when you look in the mirror and see your much younger self? I'm talking to the over 40 girls now! I just love it when that happens, as it did this morning. It usually occurs when I am feeling particularity happy, and I'm all smiley and glowy. So why am I so happy today you might ask? I am going to Ithaca. I go at least twice and month for the food pantry, and that doesn't get me excited - that's work. Today is the last day of the Unitarian Church sale - everything is .10. Yes, everything is a dime!! Last year I got 47 articles of clothing for $4.70, plus I picked up some free stuff as well. Oh yeah, I also picked up a bunch of LP's that I melted into bowls, forgot about that! Mostly I look for t-shirts for the scrubbies I sell, but I found some other great stuff as well. Mr. Left Brain Thinker and I are taking Shorty (youngest boy) with us, and I'm taking them both to Ithaca Bakery for lunch - Yummy!! If DH wasn't going, we would go to The Commons, but that's not his cup of tea. Too college town hippie for him haha! I will take pictures and post about my finds - that is if I get out of here and go!!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

You Know They Love You When...

Last month we took my youngest boy to the video arcade on his birthday. My teenage daughters and I agreed we would combine all of our tickets and give them to shorty so he could get a good prize. Well, I am not really a fan of South Park, but when I saw the Kenny doll sitting on the shelf I had an instant crush on him. I just knew he would be perfect for my shelf of adorable items. (Shown in previous post) But alas, it was a love just not meant to be! Not only could we in no way renege on the little guy on his birthday, but someone else got him before we left! Such sorrow!! I found out yesterday, my daughter has gone back twice, and searched every store, but no Kennys to be found. So for my birthday she bought some polymer clay and created a perfect little object for my affection! Oh, she does love me!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

My Studio Transformation

Except for that ugly filing cabinet, it's finally done. Now all I have to do is mess it up using it!!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Total Disfunction!

When we bought our home it had a large, long, unfinished room on the back of it. There was one doorway into it off the kitchen. It had no heat, a concrete floor, a huge stone fireplace right in the middle, wood paneled walls, super cheap windows, and to top it off, the entire roof leaked where it was tied into the main roof, as well as the entire north wall leaking at the floor level. When we bought the house there was only one small leak under an exterior door and we could not have imaged how bad it would become, or how fast it would deteriorate. We had wanted to gut and finish the room right away, but it ended up taking a lot more time, work and money than we had anticipated, and the problems seemed to grow rapidly.

Well, last year the inside was finally done. We ended up with three rooms; a walk-in laundry room/pantry, a family room/studio for me room, and a much needed forth bedroom. We just barely got the heat installed before winter last year, and I didn't have the money or ambition to finish my "wall". My own little space in the world to create, pay bills, mend clothing, or whatever I want. Well, except for a filing cabinet that will be replaced with one that is currently being refinished, it is done!! The picture above is the thrown together mess of the last year. Tomorrow I will post the new and improved version.

Here's my frugal advise about this. Since we didn't have the cash to do this all at once - we didn't. Because the entire roof needed replaced we did end up having to finance it. We waited until that was paid off before we did anything else, and we paid as we went for the rest of the project. We traded the drywall work on two of the rooms, with a friend who has his own contracting business, for cut, hauled and delivered firewood. My MIL had some trees go down on her property last year, and our friend heats his house with a wood burning stove. Don't be afraid to ask! We are now saving for new windows for the rest of the house and new siding. I am an immediate gratification kind of girl, and it very hard to live with half finished projects. What's harder for me though, is living with debt!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Do not Call - Register Your Cell Phones

Your cell phones are now open game for telemarketers, and you get to pay for the call! Talk about a double whammy!! Register your numbers at the National Do Not Call Registry, or by calling 888-382-1222. It only takes a minute and could not only save you some cash, but some sanity as well.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

4 Ingredient Seafood Pasta Salad

I keep these ingredients as staples in my pantry so I can whip it up any time the mood strikes. Just put in the amounts you like according to your taste. This is my basic version.

1 box mini bow tie pasta, cooked according to the package

4 stalks of celery, chopped

3 8 oz pkg imitation crab and/or lobster

approx 2 cups Hellmann's/Best Foods Mayo = depends on what side of the Rockies you live on.

*Note - Miracle Whip need not apply. LOL

Monday, July 27, 2009

Hit and Run Zucchini

By now you are probably wondering what to do with all that zucchini and yellow squash your neighbors keep leaving on your door step. This was actually a problem when I lived in Iowa! A human can only be expected to eat so much zucchini bread in their lifetime. That's when I started grilling it. Kids who previously would turn up their noses at squash, were now requesting it for dinner! We prefer it the simplest way, cut in half length wise, toss with olive oil, salt (Kosher works well) and pepper, then grill. If you have more time you can sweat the squash first so the end result is a bit less "watery". Cut in half, lay on a cookie sheet cut side up then sprinkle on a generous amount of salt. The salt will draw out moisture. Let stand for about 1/2 hour, rinse well, dry and continue as stated above. What to do with leftover grilled squash? Chop, then toss with bow tie or penne pasta, cooked chicken and Italian seasonings to make it a meal. Sprinkle with grated Parmesan cheese before serving.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

What A Life They Will Have

Have you seen this wedding video? If they put that much joy into their marriage, it will be quite an adventure!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

A Better Burger

Tired of the same old fat laden grilled burgers? John, over at Patio Daddio BBQhas a great post about Barber Food's Chicken Grillables. He not only discusses some nutrition facts about them, but also has some really kicked up recipe ideas for them! If you click his find a location link and then "special Offers", you will get a $1.00 off printable coupon. I'm heading to the store!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Time to get Real

I strongly believe one of the most frugal things you can do is take good care of yourself. It cost a lot of money to be sick. I have put on some serious weight over the years and a few months ago I finally had enough. I had reached a number on the scale I NEVER thought would be possible. I was at that weight for exactly 1 day. I immediately joined a gym and got some personal trainer sessions. Hmm, well that doesn't sound very frugal. I figured if it gave me the push I needed to start taking my health serious, it is very much worth it! I have a family history of diabetes and cancer. At 43, and with menopause right around the corner, I felt I was way over due with getting serious. It's not that I don't know what I should be doing, I am just not doing it. We have always eaten fairly healthy. We not only eat a lot of salads, fruits, and veggies, we also eat tofu and soybean products. We eat meat, just not every day. None of my kids are over weight, they hardly ever get sick, and I have only been sick twice in the past 10 years. My problem is lack of exercise, eating too much, and snacking.

Well, I have been working on this for a few months now. Although, I have fallen off the wagon a few times, I am down 16 pounds and a few inches here and there. I have been reading up on some of the latest breakthroughs with natural remedies and will be posting about some of them.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Utility Bills

I never would have thought I would be able to achieve utility bills approximately the same as I had 10 years ago. Our local gas and electric company is notorious for it's sky high prices. (As is most everything else in the great state of New York!) I know quite a few folks who live over the border in Pennsylvania and are willing to drive the extra half hour/hour a day because they save thousands a year on their overall cost of living. About two years ago I started making small changes which included replacing almost all light bulbs with CFLs, unplugging infrequently used appliances that draw vampire energy , and most importantly, vigilantly turning off anything not in use. That is easier said than done with 4 kids in the house! We have also replaced most of the major appliances in our home. Some, like the hot water heater and the deep freezer, because they were so old. The others because they were old and broke! Remember that washer?! Well, I think the LG front loader has really made a big impact. Our last 3 bills have been under $150. For a family of 6 that's just unbelievable. In 11 years that had only happened a few times - years ago! I strongly encourage anyone to start making small changes every month and see if they don't have a big impact.

Sunday, July 12, 2009


I am very good at being nice to strangers. I let people go in front of me in line. I say excuse me. I try very hard not to get upset when someone cuts me off in traffic, because after all, I have done it my self.

I'm pretty good at being nice to friends and acquaintances. If they need me to do something for them or give them something, I do if at all possible.

I'm not always so good at being nice to my family. Sometimes they annoy me, they get on my nerves. (like I don't bug them as well!)

I have a very good friend who makes me feel WONDERFUL every time I see her or talk to her. She exaggerates complements, and she complements often. She does it in a sweet, funny way that makes me feel fantastic.

I want to make my kids feel like that all the time. How do I balance making them responsible, keeping them in line, and holding them way up high at the same time? I want to be nice, really nice.

I pledge to try hard every day to be a nicer person to the world and the ones that matter most in my life.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Homemade Dishwasher Soap

I found this easy recipe for homemade dishwasher soap on Craft Leftovers. If you like free patterns and tutorials, I suggest you spend a little time checking out the rest of the site. I don't have a dishwasher right now but I have hopes for the future!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

So Much Waste

I run a reclaimed food pantry from my home. Twice a month I travel about 30 miles, pick up food that would other wise be thrown in the trash, drive back home, unload and organize, and then approximately 50 families come to my home to pick up the donations. Most of the food I pick up is bakery and produce items that hours, or even minutes before I loaded it into my van was sitting on the store shelves. The food pictured about would have been thrown in the trash because of one bad strawberry, tomato, blackberry, or lettuce leaf in the package. If you would like to learn more about the reclaimed food organization I volunteer for, or how to start one in your area, please check out the Friendship Donations Network (FDN) website.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Tuna What?

I asked my daughter what she was making. "Tuna Nachos," she replied. At first I thought it sounded gross, but I like tuna melts and tuna noodle casserole. Come to think of it, I really like cheese and tuna together, so why not tuna nachos! Even my husband (who does not like tuna noodle casserole) gave them a try, and a thumbs up.

note* I'll admit that picture doesn't make it look too appealing. I promise they were wonderful!

Featured Again

I'm always so surprised at the attention my Recycled T-shirt Scrubbers get. They have once again been feature on a blog. This time it is on Andrew's Reclaimed. Andrew makes beautiful items from reclaimed wood, and also sells on Etsy.

Unlike other blogs that are written only to support an Etsy store, Andrew has other interesting information on his blog, like this link to Dumper. You can alter and do all sorts of fun things with photos.


I can't believe I haven't posted since April. My life has been crazy busy! Between homeschooling, working, going to the gym (more about that later), Little League base ball, being a mother of 4, a wife, and running a household, I haven't had time for anything. I have two girls graduating from high school this month, and there has been a lot of end-of-the-school-year banquets, as well. I feel like I'm running a marathon every day and then I just crash. When I finally have the time to do something enjoyable I don't feel like doing anything! Well, I'm done with work for the summer, and the girls graduate next week. The graduation party isn't until the middle of July, and that will be a piece of cake. So, finally I feel like I have some time to get done what I need and want to do.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Help! I'm just too busy!

With four kids, a part time job, a full time house, home schooling, Boy Scouts, Little League, and hounding, I just can't find the time or the brain power to blog. Oh, and I also knit, crochet, and sew. I sell my items on line and at farmer's markets. I really want to blog though! I see that other moms do it. Any advice out there? Do you jot down ideas during the day, or does it just come to you at the computer? I'd really appreciate your input.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Momix Dance Company

I had never heard of Momix until I saw the adds on T.V. Not even knowing I was interested in going, my husband surprised me with tickets on our anniversary. I can't begin to describe this performance, but I highly recommend seeing it if you get the chance. I know it's not exactly frugal, but it was worth the price.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Amy Dacyczyn

Yay! A recent article about Amy Dacyczyn. I'm sure I'm not the only person who feels a fond connection to her. After reading the books individually and then finally owning and almost wearing out my copy of "The Complete Tightwad Gazette", it would be hard not to. I have been meaning to share some of the more inspirational articles with some friends of mine. Especially the one on creative deprivation. If you are not familiar with this book I highly recommend you check it out of the library. I can honestly say it changed our standard of living!

Thank you, Amy. You were, and still are, most definitely right, a family of any size can live on one income.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Random Tip #3

With the approach of spring, and all the cleaning that usually takes place this time of year, I think it's a good time for some painting tips.

1. Keep handy a bucket of warm water and a rag for cleaning up mistakes and drips. If you clean up a mistake or drip immediately, even on carpet, you should be able to get it all off using just warm water and a rag.
2. Use an empty coffee can (the plastic kind with a handle) to put paint in while painting trim. When you take breaks, just put the top on. Don't forget to give it a stir when you resume painting because it will separate.
3. When taking breaks, cover rollers and brushes tightly with plastic wrap or grocery store bags. For long breaks, such as over night or longer, put in the freezer. Allow a few hours to thaw before using. For short breaks, a few hours or less, you can slip the entire paint tray into a garbage bag and twist tie shut the opening.

Friday, March 6, 2009

The Demise of Common Sense

Found this on Frugality In the Making and just had to pass it on!

Obituary printed in the London Times

Interesting and sadly true.

Today we mourn the passing of a beloved old friend, Common Sense, who
has been with us for many years. No one knows for sure how old he was,
since his birth records were long ago lost in bureaucratic red tape. He
will be remembered as having cultivated such valuable lessons as:
- Knowing when to come in out of the rain;
- Why the early bird gets the worm;
- Life isn't always fair;
- and maybe it was my fault.

Common Sense lived by simple, sound financial policies (don't spend
more than you can earn) and reliable strategies (adults, not children,
are in charge).
His health began to deteriorate rapidly when well-intentioned but
overbearing regulations were set in place Reports of a 6-year-old boy
charged with sexual harassment for kissing a classmate; teens suspended
from school for using mouthwash after lunch; and a teacher fired for
reprimanding an unruly student, only worsened his condition.

Common Sense lost ground when parents attacked teachers for doing the
job that they themselves had failed to do in disciplining their unruly

It declined even further when schools were required to get parental
consent to administer sun lotion or an aspirin to a student; but could
not inform parents when a student became pregnant and wanted to have an
abortion ..

Common Sense lost the will to live as the churches became businesses;
and criminals received better treatment than their victims.

Common Sense took a beating when you couldn't defend yourself from a
burglar in your own home and the burglar could sue you for assault.

Common Sense finally gave up the will to live, after a woman failed to
realize that a steaming cup of coffee was hot She spilled a little in
her lap, and was promptly awarded a huge settlement.

Common Sense was preceded in death, by his parents, Truth and Trust, by
his wife, Discretion, by his daughter, Responsibility, and by his son,

He is survived by his 4 stepbrothers;
I Know My Rights
I Want It Now
Someone Else Is To Blame
I'm A Victim

Not many attended his funeral because so few realized he was gone. If
you still remember him, pass this on. If not, join the majority and do nothing.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Random Tip #2

I'm sure a lot of you know how to get ink off of cloths with hairspray. For those who don't here's how. Saturate the stain with hairspray right before you toss it in the washer. For heavy stains and markers, you might have to repeat a few times. Make sure you do not put cloths in the dryer with the ink stain still on, or the heat will set it permanently. Anyway I found this also works on walls. I accidentally drew an ink line on our brand new, white door molding as I was walking by. I tried to remove it with a soapy wash cloth, but I wouldn't come up. With a wet wash cloth in hand, I sprayed it with hairspray and as the ink started running I wiped it right off!

A thought just occurred to me in regards to front load washers, considering we just got one. In the past, I put the just sprayed article of clothing in the washing machine as it was agitating full of water. Since this can't be done with a front loader, I would suggest immediately hand washing out the ink after spraying with hairspray.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Random Tip #1

Use shampoo to clean the over spray of hairspray off doors and walls. Use vinegar to clean the water streaks (mineral deposits) off bathroom walls.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Other Blogs to Read

If you are looking for other frugal blogs checkout We Use Coupon's blog roll. Not only are they building an impressive list of other like minded blogs, but also be sure to checkout their coupon resources. I really enjoy finding new frugal information!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Cheap, Great Hair

I have always washed my dirty blond, starting to gray, sort of curly, but mostly frizzy hair everyday. Because it is fine and color treated, using a blow dryer and hot iron just killed it. As a result I just let it air dry, but the results were horrible. Because I washed it everyday, the color would fade out in a little more than a week.

Well, last September after I got my part time job at the school. I decided it was time for a change. When I was in the military I always wore my hair short, but cute. Remember the eightys?? I got the a-line wedge that is so popular right now, and I love it, I love it, I love it!! The best part is I only have to wash my hair every three to four days. I wash and condition it well, blow it out using a product to help keep the frizzies away, and then touch it up with a flat iron. The next day I use a shower cap when I shower and then just touch up my hair. My hair color now lasts me 4 -5 weeks! I know a lot of women have always done this, but I just never thought it would work on my hair. I'm so happy with the time and money I now save.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Creative Reusing

About two years ago I picked up my kitchen sponge and said, "YUCK!" for the last time. I asked myself how I could replace it with something I already had. I crochet dishcloths, and those are fine for washing and wiping, but I really needed something tough for scrubbing. With four kids, one thing I always had a surplus of was old t-shirts. That is how the Recycled T-shirt Scrubber was born. That year I gave them as Mother's Day gifts, along with soaps my youngest son and I made, to friends and family. They were such a hit I decided to sell them on Etsy. Well, two years and many, many t-shirts later, I have sold over 475 scrubbers! Of course, I'm not going to get rich off of them, but I have been able to pay a few bills and buy my kids some gifts with the money. I now see other people on line making and selling them. Is copying really the best form of flattery?? Anyway, back to the point. Take a look around your own home and see what changes you can make. Even if I hadn't started selling my scrubbers, I still would have saved about $30 a year from not buying the sponges I was using. Since each scrubber lasts years, I am also saving sponges and t-shirts from the landfill.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Prepare for the Zombie Attack

There are many people who just don't understand my NEED to stockpile. This isn't a new thing for me, I've just finally allowed my self to take it to the level I have always desired. Okay, so I'll never be completely satisfied, but I'm close! I could give many reasons why I find stockpiling necessary. Maybe it stems from having empty cupboards as a child, from fears and insecurities from my childhood. Whatever the reason is I really don't care. I like doing it. I like having it. It makes me feel prepared. Prepared for anything. Like Y2K, Avian Bird Flu, a collapse of the economy, or even the eminent and widely feared Zombie attack! If you don't buy into all that, how about loss of income? That did happen this past year and thankfully we were prepared. My family went without nothing. No missed birthdays, no decrease in Christmas. Everything was on schedule and according to plan because we are always ready and prepared for a Zombie Attack.

Pizza Cookie

Here's a great use for those clearance holiday M&Ms. I got cake mixes on sale last summer for .17 cents, and the M&M's for $1.39. You can use any flavor cake mix and chips you like. This is just our favorite.

1 yellow cake mix (the kind with pudding in the mix)
1/2 cup of oil
2 eggs
1 bag M&Ms or chips

Mix first three and then add M&Ms. Press into pizza pan. I use a dark pan so I cook at 325 degrees for 20-22 min, otherwise cook at 350 degrees until the edges are just barely starting to brown. Cut while still warm and enjoy!