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Currently Browsing: Frugal me

New Motto

Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without. This is going to be my motto for the year. Maybe even for life! πŸ™‚ Stuart and I have had many discussions about how there’s just too much “stuff” in life. We are blessed with a lot of stuff! We are also blessed with people in our life who love us and love our kids and enjoy showering us with stuff. Some of the stuff is useful stuff, some of it is fun stuff, some of our stuff is just stuff stuff, and some is actually problem stuff! πŸ™‚ You know problem stuff right? It’s stuff that was maybe useful or fun at some point, but no longer is for various reasons, yet it won’t just leave! We try to stay on top of purging things that have become problem stuff. Yard sale it, donate it, recycle if possible or just plain throw it away. Still, with 2 adults who love gadgets and 3 young children who also love gadgets and toys and games and puzzles and coloring and painting etc. ad infinitum, and 2 babies with all the gear and toys and paraphernalia that goes along with that age, it’s really easy to get buried. It’s nice to have things. It’s not so nice when things have you. And I’ve found that when we surround ourselves with all this stuff, the mentality that we get into is to fix every problem with more stuff. Something breaks? Oh, just jump on Amazon and grab another… in fact let’s get a BETTER one while we’re at it. πŸ˜‰ This is where the new motto comes in. I feel that for our family we need to be much more aware of what we do have, and use it up the way it’s intended. We still need to purge out quite a bit of the things that don’t really add value to our lives, but create mental stress by having them around. Storage is an issue, finding a place for everything is a problem when you’ve got more “things” than places. So I guess more than anything the motto is just a changed mindset. I want us to make do with what we have and be happy with it rather than needing to put money into something else. Sometimes things have to be replaced, obviously, but if you have a more frugal mindset that you’re going to make it work... read more

Butter Wrapper

Don’t toss that butter wrapper!! You ARE using butter and not that completely fake, really bad for you, disgusting imposter stuff known as margarine, right? πŸ˜‰ If not… do so. Please! Thank you! Anyway, this was a tip that I picked up a loooong time ago when I was reading up on the Great Depression. I couldn’t tell you where I saw this tip, but it did stick with me. Back then when people didn’t have enough but still had that stalwart “you get what you get and you don’t throw a fit” attitude, they came up with some amazing ideas for making things stretch farther than you’d think possible. Take butter wrappers for example. I “useta” just unwrap the butter, try not to get my hand schmeered and toss those suckers in the trash. What a waste!! There’s plenty of butter stuck on those wrappers, so why not put it to good use. Grease down your baking dishes with it! Voila! That couldn’t be easier! It’s frugal and useful and just an all around good idea especially since we all want to stop using those cans full of not-real “grease” that we spray on everything to keep it “non stick” right? πŸ˜‰ So next time you bake, make sure 1) to use real butter and 2) to use the wrapper to grease your bakeware. It’ll make you feel good! πŸ™‚ And if you’re careful, you won’t even end up getting your hands schmeered in the process!... read more

Vinegar?

You know you’re starting to get “weird” about food when finding some Unpasteurized, Raw Apple Cider Vinegar “with the Mother” in the grocery store is the highlight of your entire shopping trip. πŸ˜‰ And the reason why this is particularly thrilling is because you want to start making your own ACV and in order to do so you need something called a SCOBY or “the Mother.” Yep! πŸ™‚ That stuff on the bottom is “The Mother” ha ha! Let me “esplain.” The other night I spent an hour or so looking up various methods of making your own Apple Vinegar. I had no idea…. it’s amazing! Those of you who follow me on Pinterest probably noticed the surge of vinegary pins. πŸ˜‰ Some things I learned. 1) SCOBY or symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast are vital to making vinegar OR kombucha which I also want to make! The thing about both of those liquids is that they are fermented. And that’s where the good ol’ SCOBY comes in. It looks something like a jellyfish and it’s a living breathing thing that is full of good bacteria that you want in your guts!! Oh yes! In fact I read so much about SCOBY’s that I dreamed about them all night! πŸ˜‰ You can purchase SCOBY’s online, of course, but I wanted to grow one myself. So finally I settled on the best course of action would be to find some of this raw vinegar with the mother (which is bits of the SCOBY) that I could use as a “starter” for my own batch. Once you have a SCOBY you can use it again and again unless it gets damaged and dies. πŸ™ Another thing I learned is that you actually have to make alcohol to make vinegar! Who knew?! I had no idea that vinegar came from “hard cider.” And that if you want to rush things you can actually buy hard cider and add a SCOBY to it. But I want to start more scratchy than that. So the process goes something like this… and I’m only repeating what I’ve read. I have not made a success of this yet, but you can bet I’ll blog all about it when I do. πŸ˜‰ So you get a glass container that you can put apple scraps, peels and cores, in and cover them with really filtered, or distilled water and a couple spoonfuls of the starter stuff. You... read more

Whole Chicken

So the other weekend while shopping I came across whole young chicken for $.88/lb, which was by far the cheapest meat in the store. Of course that was before I read all about the salmonella chicken epidemic that the FDA seems to be ignoring. Buuuuuuuut anyway, I went ahead and snagged 2 chickens even though I’d never cooked one whole before. Perhaps it’s a bit rediculous that I haven’t cooked a whole chicken. I’ve heard others talk about it and I know I’ve seen plenty of recipes for it, but for some reason I was reluctant to try my own hand at it. Probably because my mom scarred me for life by making me dig out the “guts” of our Thanksgiving turkey one year. πŸ˜‰ Thanks, Mom! I know it was for my own good and is a valuable skill to have. I still will NEVER figure out why they butcher poultry and then put guts BACK in the carcass for we unsuspecting consumers to find. πŸ˜‰ Ha! Actually what gave me the push was the fact that I’m really leaning towards raising our own broiler chickens next summer and filling our freezer with them by Fall! I figured I’d better start learning what to do with whole chickens before I have them stacked and corded in our freezer. πŸ™‚ Here is the unsuspecting chicken. Actually… I think it’s been unsuspecting for quite some time now. There were directions on the back for roasting it, but I wanted to cook it in the crockpot. Once the weather cools down most of my cooking is done in the crockpot with an occasional stove top or oven meal thrown in! I found a Recipe for “The Best Whole Chicken in a Crockpot” that has a combination of spices that looked appealing to me. Besides, who can resist a title like that? So I used: 2 teaspoons paprika 1 teaspoon salt 1 teaspoon onion powder 1 teaspoon thyme Β½ teaspoon garlic powder ΒΌ teaspoon cayenne (red) pepper ΒΌ teaspoon black pepper See? Pretty! I chopped an onion, put it on the bottom of the crocpot added some carrots on top because I like em’ and some roughly chopped celery, leaves included, just for flavor! I’m planning to make stock with the bones once we’ve enjoyed our dinner! I took out the giblets, which by the way I still find revolting, and saved them and the other celery parts to add later for... read more

Adventures in Homemade Products

Homemade Deodorant has been on my list of things to make for a LOOOOOOONG time! It may have actually been one of my first beauty products to pin as a matter of fact. However, we had a Costco sized supply of deodorant to go through first, and then there were twins, and chickens, and, and, and… there’s always something. FINALLY last week I realized I was at a crisis point where I needed to either buy more deodorant, OR make some. When Stu told me that he was also almost out, I made up my mind to invest in the rest of the “stuff” I needed to make deodorant happen rather than invest in more stuff with bad stuff in it. πŸ˜‰ The biggest issue with store-deo is that it also contains chemicals in it that act as an antiperspirant but are clinically bad news. Like aluminum. Plus the truth is that your body is SUPPOSED to perspire and when you attempt to stop natural functions, it can cause problems. You have a buncha lymph nodes in your armpit area, and those are part of what works to keep the ickys out of your body. Let em do it! πŸ™‚ Now, since today was my very first attempt at natural deodorant, I can only tell you what I’ve read from others. That there is a “adjusting” period where yes, you sweat more, and then it balances out and you don’t end up sweating as much. Lets hope that is the case. I’m kinda glad it worked out that I can make this switch in the colder months so that I’m not overly sweaty to begin with. My hope for this deodorant is that it does exactly that, deodorizes. If you have to be sweaty at least you shouldn’t stink, right? πŸ˜‰ Ha! We’ll see. I actually blended a couple of recipes that I’d found online. Most homemade stuff uses Coconut Oil and while I love CO and all of it’s various uses, I didn’t want to use it in a deodorant because as an oil, it will eventually cause staining on clothes. Also I wanted to find one that was “solid” enough to use in a regular dial-up container. Some recipes are for a pudding like consistency salve that you have to slather under your arms. Uh… yuck! So anyway, I used bentonite clay, bees wax, coco and shea butters along with arrowroot powder, baking soda, and some pro-biotics... read more

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