Friday, October 23, 2009

Are You Ready for the Winter Heating Blues?

Each year I say I'm going to get my house more energy efficient for winter, but I end up procrastinating and do nothing. Then when I open my heating bills I want to cry. This year I am going to make my house more efficient so I can stop dreading the heating bill. I have a 55 year old house that comes with the original windows and doors which can get drafty. I did take down my doors to re-stain them, and filled in all the tiny hairline cracks. We had a nice cold front but I couldn't feel any wind coming through like usual. Here is what I'm doing this weekend.

1) I am hanging thermal lined curtains in my living room. I eventually want them in the bedrooms we sleep in.

2) Installing door sweeps for all three doors.

3) Installing foam weather stripping for the windows. I also will caulk around the outside window casings and door frames.

4) I made a door draft guard for all three doors. We only use one of them on a regular basis. I will only put it in front of the door at night.

I spent under $200 for everything including the curtains. That was my biggest expense since I needed 8 panels for my living room. I didn't want to use caulk on the window sills since we live in a warmer climate. Our winters aren't very harsh so there are days I want to be able to open the windows to let in any nice air. That's another reason why we didn't want to put plastic wrap on the windows. I should be able to save at least 20% off my heating bill just doing these simple steps.

There are lots of ways to winterize your house. I don't have to wrap or insulate pipes since we don't get hard freezes and most of the time it's only a day or two at a time. I don't have a furnace or boiler so I don't need to clean it out or make sure it's in good working condition. I have a forced air natural gas heater so it's minimal maintenance. Our attic is already well insulated, and we don't have basements in Louisiana. You need to consider your winterizing needs which will depend on how cold your area gets. There is a lot of great information on the internet. I hope I gave you a few tips to consider so you don't cry when you open your heating bills this winter.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

TMR Frugal Living Tip #71

Today's thrifty living tip is decrease your amount of laundry. How do you ask? There are two simple tricks I use in my household. First is to use a towel more than once. We don't use washcloths, but the towel that only dries hands can be used for a week. The same thing for the bath towel. I make sure to hang it so it will dry between uses. We also wear our pajamas for 2-3 nights before calling them dirty. I have 2 pairs that I rotate nightly so I only have to wash 2 each week. I don't wear my pajamas all day and only for bed. I also don't wash clothes that I only wore for an hour or two like dress clothes for church. Unless I got sweaty, there is no need to wash them since they aren't dirty. This has helped cut down on the amount of laundry we do each week.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Check Out Savings from the Library!

I visit my local library branch at least once to twice a week. I have befriended the librarians and it's free entertainment. My branch has public computers which is great if you don't have your own. They will print stuff for you off the computer, and are competitive in price with most print shops. You can also have papers copied and/or faxed. I live in a rural town so the closest store is at least a 12-15 minute drive. I save money in gas since my branch is about a mile from my house.

The library has several newspapers that I can read for free. The ladies let me have the sales ads and coupons from the Sunday paper. I can rent DVD movies for a week at a time, and they do get some of the newer ones. I am impressed with the selection and it changes weekly which is nice. I can also request any movie that the bigger branch has.

I really like to read the magazines they have in stock. Again they have a great selection. I am allowed to check out the older issues for a week. I recently asked for any back copies they were going to throw out of a particular one I really enjoy. Since it's a magazine about gardening and basic wood working, then the information isn't dated and can be used at any time. Of course you can check out the most obvious item which are books.

On weekends and in the summer, they have story time and crafts for the kids. My son loves participating in the summer reading program. Each child receives a free small cheese pizza to a pizza shop for participating. They also get entered into a drawing. He won the grand prize this year which was a $15 gift card to Wal-Mart! If you don't go to your library then it's time you check it out.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

TMR Frugal Living Tip #70

Today's thrifty living tip is make your own cleaners. You are literally pouring money down the drain along with caustic chemicals. I put vinegar in a small spray bottle to use for counters, the sink, and cutting boards. It disinfects and won't hurt anyone if ingested including kids and pets. This would also be great for high chairs and cleaning kids toys. I also use vinegar in the toilet bowl and bathroom sinks. Vinegar makes a great fabric softener and disinfects my towels and sheets. To clean vinyl floors I again reach for vinegar. It cleans my floors well and the smell usually goes away within twenty minutes.

For my stove top, I make a paste of baking soda and water. Just be careful not to get it close to the burner openings. I let it sit for 20 minutes, and just remove with a cloth and warm water. I may have to use a little elbow grease on the burnt on stuff, but this usually loosens it up making it easy to clean. There are lots of great recipes on the internet so just google homemade cleaners.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Planning my Fall Garden

One of the benefits in living a sub-tropical climate is that I can grow vegetables when most of the country is buried under snow. I can grow food year round which helps my food bill plus I am outside in fresh air. I haven't actually had much of a chance to start planting since it's rained almost every day for the last two weeks. I'm expanding a little more for the fall season, but not too much so it's overwhelming. I bought my seeds for baby spinach, green onions, and two variety packs of lettuce. I made sure one variety pack is slow to bolt since we usually have spring weather in late February. My father-in-law is giving me transplants of cabbage and broccoli.

I was very pleased with how well my garden did this past year. I had more than enough cucumbers which I used to make pickles. It was a big hit with our family. I want to learn how to can so I can give dill pickles as gifts. I decided to stagger the seeds so I don't get so overwhelmed with everything wanting to harvest near the same time. This will be really helpful with the lettuce, cabbage, and spinach plants. My husband is really looking forward to the lettuce since he likes to eat salads in the morning for breakfast. If you live in a snowy climate then use your winter to make gardening plans and looking at seeds.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Using Social Networks for Your Blog

I have several social networks that I belong to for personal and also to pick up more readers for my blog. I think using them is a big advantage for your blog. It's a great way to meet other blog writers, share ideas, and readers. I recently joined Twitter and I love if you follow me. I'll return the favor. I also joined Networked Blogs through Facebook. I also have the older ones like MyBlogLog and BlogCatalog. I was using Entrecard but I haven't been as involved with that once since I don't always have to time to drop cards daily. I'm sure there are some other great sites, but these are a few that I really like. If you have a site that you would like to share then please leave a comment. I love hearing about new websites and ways to pick up new readers.

TMR Frugal Living Tip #69

Today's thrify living tip is to thin out those ultra concentrated dish liquids. I have noticed this new trend with the ulta concentrated liquids like dish and laundry detergents to even hand soaps. Of course the bottles are getting smaller so I'm not sure how much more you getting for the price increase. I also noticed that the coupon amounts have shrunk (ok pun intended). I used to be able to find $1 and 50 cent coupons, but now I noticed the manufacturers are issuing 50 to 25 cent coupons. I decided to battle this by adding water to thin it out. I found more was being wasted. I put 1/3 liquid into an empty bottle and just add water then shake to mix it up. I can now make a bottle last for several weeks which makes my stockpile last much longer. I recently bought 18 bottles from a CVS sale for $2.xx so this will last well over a year. I find that it bubbles better and the dishes are just as clean.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

The Free Christmas Spending Challenge

So you are probably wondering what is a free Christmas spending challenge. It's a challenge that I'm doing this year to pay for Christmas with our pocket change and the things I get for free. This includes gift certificates I redeem from My Points and other reward programs. I am also using the change we've saved in a jar. I normally use this money to pay for presents for our family like DVD movies and games. This year we are on a tight budget like most people so I decided to spend less. I can still give nice and thoughtful gifts without spending a fortune.

I give gifts to around 30 people which includes my family, hubby's, teachers, mail lady, and such. My hubby and I aren't exchanging any presents this year unless I can score some great deals on DVD movies and/or games, but I'm not holding my breath. I also buy items for gift baskets that I get for free or almost free. I get lots of compliments on my gift baskets from my friends and family. I have Tupperware left from in my inventory that I will give as gifts. I do plan on making homemade treats this year like chocolate covered mint patties, peanut butter balls and fudge.

I already have several gift certificates saved up. I redeemed 2 $10 Subway gift cards and a $10 Chili from My Coke Rewards. I just ordered another $10 Chili gc so I plan on giving those 2 to a couple. I'm hoping to get the Snow White blu-ray DVD combo pack that will be on sale at Wal-Mart on Tuesday for $9.96 plus tax after I use the $10 off coupon I printed. That will make another wonderful gift. I also got stainless steel water bottles on clearance. I just requested a $50 check from my bank since I use a free checking rewards program. I am getting a $25 CVS gc from My Points which I will use to help pay for the great deals I'm getting. I also did the CVS Monsters vs Aliens deal this past week. I paid $6 for that movie which is a great stocking stuffer for my son. My son's Christmas and Birthday is already paid for with all those Bionicle Legos we scored last October so click here to read about that great deal. I'm glad we saved them so that is a huge help to our Christmas budget. I found a couple more gifts I had bought but didn't give them last year. I have a bad habit of forgetting what I buy people earlier in the year, and then buy something else when it gets closer to Christmas. I will report back and update my Christmas spending challenge especially when it gets closer to Christmas.

Monday, September 28, 2009

My Unexplained Absence

I do want to apologize for not writing for the last 3 months. So much has been happening in my life that I just didn't make this blog a priority. I was going to go back to work full-time, but my son had other ideas. I don't want to get into all the details, but it's been a very long and stressful time for us. We thought he was ADHD, but had him evaluated with a Pediatric Psychiatrist to find it he is actually Bipolar. I never felt he was truly ADHD, and some scary events took place that really made me question it. I'm glad I did since we took him off stimulants and he has been on a new medicine. His anxiety levels were extremely high which the stimulants contributed it to greatly. It hasn't been a miracle, but I finally feel we are on the right path. Between the new medicine and therapy we are seeing some improvements and he sleeps and eats so much better now. I have been putting all my attention on him and I'm continuing to stay at home which is where I'm needed for now. I have many years to go back to work so I'm no longer stressing about it. I am going to slowly start getting back to my blog as it's a nice release, and I could really use to make some extra money.

TMR Frugal Living Tip #68

Today's thrifty living tip is use a pencil eraser to remove scuff marks from vinyl flooring. This works great since we have vinyl floors in our kitchen. I find it easier than applying lots of elbow grease. Another way to eliminate scuff marks is to use a Brillo pad. Just make sure to rinse very well afterwards. You can also make a paste of baking soda and water and use a scrub pad on the marks. All of these work but I find the eraser is great for small marks. The other methods are better for big or several marks.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Furry Visitors

My hubby and I went outside yesterday evening to water our plants in the garden. We noticed a cute little bunny eating grass in the yard right outside the carport. It was about 3 feet from the house, and barely flinched as my husband walked near it to take pictures. It's a very bold bunny, but his friend was more timid since he hopped near the cane fields. They aren't eating my plants but I only have cantaloupe and watermelon growing at the moment. They do the like the shade my fig tree offers them since I frequently see one sitting underneath it. I just thought it was so cute that I wanted to share the pictures we took. The rabbits are perfectly safe from us since we don't eat rabbit.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

TMR Frugal Living Tip #67

Today's thrifty living tip is turn down your water heater to 120-125 degrees. I have mine set to 125 degrees which I find is comfortable for us year round. Most people have theirs set at 130-140 which can burn small children. You can save an average of 4% for every ten degrees you lower the temperature. Another way to save energy costs is to wrap the tank with a thermal blanket which can be bought at most hardware stores. If you have an electric tank, then setting a timer will also further your savings. Timers won't work well with gas water heaters.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Refrigerator Sweet Pickle Chips

As promised here is a great recipe that I used to make sweet pickles. The best part is you can freeze them in a container which is a great way to use up cucumbers. This recipe is much easier since you don't have to mess with canning or jars. You just divvy them up in freezer containers. This would be a wonderful gift for anyone that loves homemade sweet pickles.

I have some of the ingredients pictured above, but not all of them. Here is the actual recipe which I used. This comes from a cookbook named 25 Years of Cooking; Women of the Farm Bureau. This cookbook has lots of really great recipes. I plan to use the Zucchini bread one from this book. My mother-in-law has used it so I know it's a very tasty bread.

7 cups of unpeeled cucumbers thinly sliced into chips
1 cup of chopped green pepper
1 cup of thinly sliced onion
1 tablespoon of salt

Stand 2 hours then drain

1 teaspoon Celery seed
2 cups sugar
1 cup vinegar

Combine and bring to boil. Let cool and cover slices. Refrigerate for 2-3 days and then put into containers. Pour juice to cover slices and thaw in refrigerator for 1 day before using.

As you can see below I sliced the cucumbers as thinly as I can like a chip. It's not always easy to cut thinly since it depends on the size of the cucumber. I did use chopped onion since I already had a couple of bags frozen. They will thaw out as you let them stand. I also have a picture of the bell pepper I cut. I do have a hand chopper that I use which makes them fine. I cut them up into smaller pieces which makes it easier to chop.

Now you can see that I have measured out 7 cups of cucumbers. I highly recommend tasting each one as you slice them. I had several that were very sour. You can use them I guess, but sour cukes don't taste good to me and are very bitter. I think when the vines are finishing up, the last few are sour. I had to compost them. I then add the onion and pepper. I just mix them up by hand. Then you add the tablespoon of salt. I prefer to just sprinkle it on top so I don't get too much in one spot. Now just let them sit on the counter or stove for 2 hours.

This next step is to make the syrup that you will pour over the cucumber slices. I usually make this in the last 10 minutes before draining off the water. It doesn't take long for this to boil, and I let it cool off for about 3-4 minutes. The reason I don't let it cool off too long is I found it thickens the longer it sits. You don't want the juice to thicken too much. I put 2 cups of sugar in a heavy saucepan. I have a Magnalite which works perfectly. Then I add the teaspoon of celery seed and finally the cup of vinegar. I used plain white vinegar. In the first picture you can see the sugar, and in the second picture is the result after it boils. You can see it looks like a syrup on the spoon. The celery seed just kind of sits on top. I think on the next batch, I'm going to just add the celery seed to the slices and then pour the syrup. At least it wouldn't clump when trying to scrape it out the pot. Make sure to drain off the slices before pouring the syrup mixture.

This is the final product. You will definitely want to use a bowl with a lid. I used a Tupperware bowl which worked perfectly. I let it sit for a few more minutes to make sure it's cooled off before putting in the refrigerator. I didn't have any problems with it smelling inside my fridge. You let it sit for 2-3 days before dividing into containers. The mixture does resemble more of a juice after it sat in the fridge. Just make sure to pour enough in each container to cover the slices. We were able to divide them into 3 small containers. It was a great inexpensive recipe to make. The cost of your cucumbers should be very little if you are using ones you grew yourself. I didn't grow any green peppers this year so I spent $0.66 for two of them on sale. My onions were free since they were given to me. I used 50 cents worth of cucumber seed and picked close to 60 cukes this year. So that's about a penny each. I think I sliced at least 5-6 cucumbers per batch. Each batch has cost me $1.10 which makes 24 oz or three 8 oz containers. The same size jar of pickle chips on sale is $1.69 or a little over $5 for the same amount. I'm saving $1.32 a jar this way, and my pickles are much tastier. I broke down the amounts so it could cost someone else less or more depending on the prices of your ingredients.

Cucumbers- $0.06 for 6
Bell Pepper- $0.33
Onion- $0 (free)
Sugar- $0.36 (2 cups)
Vinegar- $0.16 (1 cup)
Celery Seed- $0.18 (tsp)
Salt- $0.01 (tbs)

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Lots of Cukes

I'm sorry I haven't posted in a few weeks, but I've been so busy gardening and end of school activities. Summer is definitely here with temperatures in the low 90's and very humid. I'm watering more with the hose pipe which I'm not overly thrilled doing since I've seen my last water bill. It's gone up almost $10 more than usual. We are getting rain, but not daily and it's usually a good shower that will keep my plants watered for a couple of days. We are only getting maybe one to two good soaks per week. I do plan on installing a rain barrel which will help.

In the above pictures you can see how many tasty cucumbers I've picked. I started picking them around the middle of May, and haven't stopped yet. I have picked well over 50 cukes in the last 3 weeks so those two vines are very prolific. I tried my hand at pickling them last weekend, and that batch came out very well. I'm going to make a double batch this weekend, and will share the process on my blog with pictures plus the actual recipe. I even shared them with a couple of family members that were very eager to try them. I am also going to make several loaves of zucchini bread which I also share on my blog.

I also wanted to update on my Roma tomatoes which aren't doing as well as hoped. I had an infestation from caterpillars to stink bugs. I was trying not to use pesticides but I did spray them last weekend with Seven which has helped some. I think I didn't act quickly enough so most of the fruit is damaged with holes and rotten. I have harvested about 30, but lost that many to bugs. I'm disappointed since I really wanted to make a big batch of tomato sauce. I'm still going to experiment with a small batch soon. My cantaloupe plants are flowering and really trying to vine out along with the watermelon plants. I will hopefully post some pictures this weekend. I'm very excited about how well the garden is doing overall, and we did expand it with a cultivator my step-dad lent me. I have zucchini to plant this weekend. I hope none of my readers mind the posts about my garden. It's a great way to save lots of money by growing your own food and to share with others.

Thursday, May 14, 2009


I actually reached this milestone on Tuesday and didn't even realize it. I'm very excited that my blog is a year old but I admit it's not where I hoped to be by now. I have no one to blame but me since I haven't promoted it as much as I should. I am happy with the direction it's going. At first I did start this blog to do paid posting, but I realized how I much I disliked it. I didn't have as much control over the content with certain companies, and it didn't seem worth the effort. While I still hope to make a little money on here, mostly to pay the rent of my blog, I am mostly blogging to share what I'm doing and hoping I can share ways to help others save money. I didn't know a lot of things when I was a young adult and wasted quite a bit of money. I also racked up a good chunk of credit card debt. I was very fortunate to have married a wonderful man that came from a frugal family. I learned many things from them, and we were able to dig ourselves out of a financial hole. We also have a healthy savings and emergency fund.

Along our adventure I came across some awesome books. The first one, my thrift bible, is The Tightwad Gazette. I have learned so much by reading this great book. It's where I first learned about the snowball method. Her example illustrated a couple saving for a down payment to buy a house. Instead I decided to use it to pay off our debts. I started with the smallest ones first and worked my up. I had never heard of Dave Ramsey at this point. I probably didn't do it in the exact way he outlines in his book The Total Money Makeover, but I was pretty close. He is right in the sense that mastering money while paying off debts is more about emotion than about math and logic. If I had used my credit card logically, then I wouldn't have been in a mess. I also recommend reading his book since it's a good starting point for getting out of debt. The big key point is you have to stop using credit while digging out of the mess. Otherwise you will never win. Once we stopped using them and cut them all up, then we did dig out of the hole. That is the best feeling in the world to not have any debt! I sleep so much better at night and I don't cringe every time the phone rings.

Yes cutting out the bigger items like cable, phone plans, getting better rates on your insurance, eating out and such will make a dent in your monthly budget. Doing many of the little things will add up to bigger savings as well. If you can master your grocery bill, then you can save hundreds per month. The bigger the family the bigger the savings. I don't buy nearly as much food for my family of 3 as someone will with a family of 4 or 5 and more. I'm constantly trying to cut down my bill and still eat healthy. That's one reason I started a garden so I can make more items from scratch like tomato sauce and it's healthier. I am using more of an organic approach and not spraying my plants. I am also composting my kitchen scraps along with yard waste like leaves. I just wanted to share a little bit more about me and my reasons for doing the blog. I really hope that all my tips are helping others to save money. I said in a previous post that most frugal tips are good for your pocketbook and the environment. Thanks for reading and I hope to continue writing for another year!

TMR Frugal Living Tip #66

Today's thrifty living tip is sprinkle a little baby powder on your hair to absorb any oils. Yes this tip really does work. My best friend Heather gave me this great one many years ago. Basically just sprinkle a little powder on your hair (mostly it will look oily around the scalp or top) and just blend it in well. I really like to brush mine since I have darker hair. Sometimes you might get invited to a last minute event and not have time to wash. You can also keep a small bottle in your purse if you are on the go.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Inexpensive Gift Ideas

Mother's Day is right around the corner, and many people will buy a last minute gift and card. They will be spending more money than they planned since they won't know what to get and feel pressured to buy something. There are many ways to give a great gift without spending lots of money plus it would be a gift the recipient really wants. It's a win for everyone. Some of these ideas may require a little creativity, but most are easy to complete. These ideas are great for any gift giving occasion and not just Mother's Day. It also adds a nice personal touch and a little thought than just buying something at the store. There are tons of great ideas, but these are just a few. I would love it if you want to add your own that isn't listed.

*Make a gift basket. This can be anything that you know the person likes. I have made baskets by using a popcorn container and adding in a box or two of the big candy, microwave popcorn, either a small bottle or cans of their favorite soft drink, a free rental or a DVD movie. This is a huge hit with people that love to watch movies. I have also done Wedding gifts with a nice piece of Tupperware and putting in small kitchen items like measuring spoons and cups, nice dish towels and other items. I have also made up baskets using body lotion, razors, bubble bath, the poofy sponge things, shower gel, and such.

*Give a framed picture. This is a huge hit with grandparents and distant relatives. I do this for Christmas and sometimes Mother's Day. I take a very nice picture of my son or if you have one done at the studio is fine. I then buy a nice 5x7 picture frame and insert the picture. Of course I buy frames when I see them on clearance and many times I can find new ones cheaply at the thrift store or at yard sales.

*Make a nice photo magnet. This is another idea of using pictures of your children or a nice family one. You can even have the kids help make one from foam that you can buy at most craft stores. Then glue a magnet on the back. My son has made these at school and I still have them. I love refrigerator magnets and it's nice having a picture of him. You can also make photo mugs, calendars, keychains and so much more. You can make these at places like Vista Print and Snapfish. Many times they offer coupons to make the cost even less.

*Make a handprint plaque. You can either buy a kit or make your own. There are many great ideas on the internet. This is a great way to preserve your kids memories.

*Make a recipe binder or coupon binder. You can buy these cheaply during back to school sales and even at yard sales or thrift stores. I usually buy 1" binders but any size is fine. Then get the sheets where you can add your favorite recipes. This is a really great idea for newlyweds or a way to preserve some family favorites. Make a coupon binder and adding some nice coupons to help someone that is getting started. You can take it a step further by covering the binder with some nice fabric. My mom made me a sewing binder and she then put in some great patterns from her favorite sewing magazines. The patterns were for beginners.

*Sew something for that special person. This will depend on your skill level and if you actually sew. I have made some really items like a wall organizer, pot holders, aprons, and even simple quilts. These were all easy for a novice like me, but I did get some pointers from my mom who is a professional. There are lots of very easy to do simple projects.

*Give a gift that you cooked or a recipe in a jar with all the ingredients inside. These can also vary by your cooking level. Many people love quick and easy recipes like soups, hot chocolate, cookies, and such. Some people make their own sauces, jams, salsa, candy, cookies, and such from scratch. A friend of mine gave me a few bottles of beer that they make at home. Each bottle was a different type so it was wonderful.

*Have a nice meal at home instead of going out to eat. Maybe have a picnic in the living room with candles and a nice bottle of wine along with your favorite items to eat. Many people really appreciate a nice cooked meal at home. The best part is you don't have to fight the crowds.

*Give a plant. I love plants in my yard, and this would last much longer than flowers. It's much cheaper and you will be in their thoughts each time they look at that plant. I also give plants when a loved one passes away rather than send flowers.

*Offer a service. This can be anything like babysitting, cutting grass, cleaning, washing a car, fixing something, or whatever skills you have. Many older people would also just love to get a nice visit from their family. I know many of us are very busy but just simple things like spending time with our families is a nice way to spend a holiday. I don't mean in front of the tv either, but really connecting with them. My grandma loves telling me stories of her childhood. They have so much to share with us if we allow them.

*Give stamps and stationary. With the cost of stamps going up almost yearly, buy them a couple of books of Forever stamps. I know I would love this for myself.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

April Entrecard Top Droppers

I want to thank my top 10 droppers on Entrecard for April. I really appreciate the drops. I hope you guys enjoy the link love.

The Credit Bum

Blogging Ideas

Vacation Orgeon

Money Snip

More Than Sew So

Blog Mockers


Super Fisherman

More Game Cheat Links

A Pinch of Thought

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

TMR Frugal Living Tip #65

Today's thrifty living tip is use spray vinegar on unwanted weeds in your yard. Just be careful not to spray any plants or grass. This is an economical and non-toxic way to get rid of those weeds.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Frugal vs Green

Lately I'm noticing a new trend. More people are turning to books or sites about frugal living or living more simply. Many of these same people also want to help the environment. You can actually do both. For centuries people have practiced both, and it's only become more of a trend in the last few decades. I do find it funny how thrift was considered cheap, but being "green" is cool and hip. I love these new buzz words. Most of the frugal tips I practice daily, not only save me money, but they are good for the environment. I wrote an earlier article about Reduce, reuse, and recycling. All of these ideas save money and are good for the environment.

Many companies are also trying to cash in on being green and "All Natural". Clorox has come out with a whole new line of natural cleaners. I don't have a problem with companies using non-toxic ingredients. I think it's great, but you will pay a lot more for them. If you really want all natural ingredients, then just make your own cleaners or use these ingredients to clean your house. I use baking soda and vinegar on a regular basis for all my cleaning. The bottom line is research many of these new cleaners, and you might be surprised by the actual ingredients. Lessen your use of energy and resources like water will also accomplish both goals. There are tons of ways to your reduce your consumption so I'm not going to list them. Many of these ideas are very old fashioned that have been practiced for generations.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

More Gardening Pictures

I was invited to join a great meme hosted by I Am Harriet. Thanks so much for the invite and what a great idea. I am really enjoying my garden and hopefully this will encourage more people to start their own.

These are some pictures of my blueberry bush. I have two different rabbiteye varieties. One is a Tifton Blue and the other is a Climax. I can't remember which is which, but I planted them at the end of January. They are both a year old and this one has produced a berry. They don't really start producing well until around the three to four year mark. I'm really excited about how well it's growing and is flowering. I plan on adding a couple more next winter. I'm hoping to find some plants a little more mature like two years old.

I was also very pleased with how much we got done this weekend. We sanded down our porch swing and was able to stain it today. I don't have any pictures, but it looks so much nicer. My husband dug me a new row so I was able to plant my cantaloupe and watermelon seeds today. My husband's grandfather gave us some red potatoes on Friday that were freshly dug. My neighbor was generous with her Romaine lettuce. They were very tasty. We decided to grill chicken for dinner tonight. I cut up some of the potatoes with a little butter, Tony Chachere's (salt and pepper mixture), and parsley. I then put them in oven to bake. They were so delicious plus we made a side salad with the fresh lettuce. The only item we paid for was the chicken, which was bought on sale, and the side items were free. I will definitely return the favor when my harvests start coming in the next couple of months.

TMR Frugal Living Tip #64

Today's thrifty living tip is use Hydrogen Peroxide to get out blood stains on clothing. This works really well even on older stains. It works better before the stain has set in, but I have had luck with getting out older stains. I just pour a small amount on the stain, and you can see the peroxide bubbling. I just keep applying until the stain is gone.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Another Remodeling Project Completed

I'm remodeling our house using cash only and no credit. It's taking us longer but it's more satisfying knowing that each completed project is paid for upfront. I won't have to worry about making monthly payments on them for the next five years. I completed our kitchen project last fall, but I don't think I ever posted the pictures on this blog. We spent around $800 which included getting the ceiling cracks fixed and painted, new light fixtures, and painting the walls. It was an amazing transformation, and it was an inexpensive project. I'm still not completely finished since I still need a new kitchen floor. I also want to add a wall and base cabinet next to the stove which will give me a nice area for prep work when cooking. I can also store all my spices, baking staples, and some cookware plus my kitchen knives. By adding that one set of cabinets, then I will have more cabinet space again.

My other remodeling project we completed a couple of weeks ago was my utility room. It also had deep cracks in the ceiling and down one wall. You would never know there were ever any cracks. It looks fabulous and got a great deal for the amount of work done. I'm extremely happy and another inexpensive remodel. She not only fixed the cracks, caulked everything, painted the ceiling plus my walls. She even pulled out the washer and dryer and painted behind them plus my old wooden door. Everything looks so clean and new. I'm definitely going to use this company when it's time to paint my house. Our next project is converting the porch into a carport. We should be able to start it either next week or the following week. Of course the worst part of remodeling is waiting on the contractors.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

My Garden Update

I started my garden back in February planting cucumber and Roma tomatoes. Most of the Roma plants I started, I direct seeded them into the rows have withered. I pinched a couple of them back when they were still about 3-4" which was a mistake. It made the healthy ones I kept weak and they died off. We also have had lots of rain and high winds which didn't help plus a tornado at the end of March. This has also weakened a couple of my cucumber plants. The stems look frail and brittle at the base, but the vines are extremely healthy and growing. I have taken several pictures and would love any advice on what I should do about the stems. Do I leave them alone or try to give them more support in some way? Not really sure at this point since I'm still pretty new to vegetable gardening. I'm really impressed with most of my tomato plants they are already flowering. I find watching all this new life extremely exciting. We normally don't get this kind of severe weather during the spring so I am impressed with how well the plants are doing despite all the wind we have received the past month.

I noticed the other day that my raspberry plants are coming back. I planted them last year and they didn't make it after Gustav hit. I thought they were gone forever, but they fooled me. I see new shoots almost daily and they are looking very healthy. My friend at Storybook Cottage and Gardens mailed me runners that she grows. I can't wait until I can get my first harvest of berries. My blackberry bushes are also taking off. I even have one runner that is flowering with a couple of small berries. I didn't take a picture of my blueberry bush, but it's flowering and has several small berries. I have to get my watermelon and cantaloupe seeds planted this weekend. I think I will have my husband make me another row. I'm planting Sugarbaby seedless watermelon and an organic cantaloupe. I'm hoping to expand my garden by next year. I hope everyone enjoys the pictures.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Know Your Three R's

No this isn't a post about Reading, Writing, and Arithmetic. Instead this is a post regarding the environment. Today is Earth Day and everyone should be practicing the Three R's. Most people know they are Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle. It's ironic that the generations before us practiced this daily, and it's only in the last century that we have become so wasteful of our resources. There are many ways we can practice them daily and teach them to our children. There are actually too many ways to list them all but I will discuss each one with some examples. Being frugal or thrifty goes hand in hand with the Three R's. You help the environment while helping your pocket book. It's a great combination.

Reduce: Think more about your purchases. There are many items we buy in our lives that we don't really need. Instead of stopping daily for a cup of coffee, how about making your own. You can put it in a commuter mug or thermos which helps to cut down on those cups. So less trash in the landfills. Stop buying bottled water. This is a major landfill contributor. I have a water filter which is more expensive upfront, but I am definitely saving more money yearly. Many bottled water companies aren't selling you pure spring water. It's just tap water so do some research. Stop using throwaway dishes and utensils. Start using dishes that can be washed and reused over time. Stop using paper napkins and switch to cloth. I just throw mine in the load of towels and doesn't cost me any extra in water or energy. You can buy less convenience foods which create more trash and aren't good for you. Use ingredients that can do double duty. I buy vinegar and baking soda which can clean my house, my laundry, cooking, and so much more. Instead of having to buy several cleaners for each job, I make a general cleaner that can do all those jobs and only paid for 2 ingredients. I also feel good about using them in my home around my son. No toxic ingredients going down the drain plus no harmful fumes.

Reuse: This is a harder one for some people. Don't use paper napkins and throwaway dishes but use ones that can be washed. Not using those items are both great examples of reducing and reusing. Packaging isn't always made in a way that could be reused like flour sacks. They used to be made with a material that could be reused into clothing. There are still ways to reuse like vegetable and fruit peelings. These can be put into a compost pile or just chop them up smaller and use as mulch around your outside plants. This can also be done with tea bags, coffee grinds, and egg shells. Most non-meat food scraps can go into a compost pile. This is good for the plants and less trash. Compost makes the most wonderful soil which adds the needed nutrients that plants need. You can also rake up leaves to add to the pile or bag them up and let them rot. They make wonderful mulch. I actually rake them up in the fall and let them rot on top of garden during the winter. The soil looks wonderful when Spring rolls around. Clothes or socks that are full of holes can be used as cleaning rags. A sock makes a great dusting mitt. Old towels also make great rags. I take my son's school pants or jeans and will turn them into shorts, which extends the life of his clothes, plus saves me lots of money. I've also done this with a favorite shirt or pair of pajamas.

Recycle: This is the one that we hear about on a daily basis. This is a very important one, but if more people practiced the first two, then there would be less to recycle. Plastic, paper, cans, and glass bottles are all items that can be recycled. You can also recycle your ink cartridges and electronic batteries like cell phones and laptops. My school participates in recycling them and get a small amount of money for each one collected. The CFL bulbs have to be disposed at certain locations since they contain mercury which shouldn't be in a landfill. You can also donate your used items instead of putting them in the trash. It will help others and you may elect to take a tax deduction. There is also a great website called to help you find items and donate your used items. Check the website to find a local chapter near you. We all need to work together to preserve our wonderful Earth for our children and future generations.

Monday, April 6, 2009

TMR Frugal Living Tip #63

Today's thrifty living tip is dry your razor in between shaves. Just dab the blades gently with a towel and put it in a dry place like the medicine cabinet for storage. The water will dull the blades. Yes this does work and extends the life of your blades. My husband shaves at least 2-3 times a week plus I use his razor weekly. Since we started using this tip, I will say we have at least added at least another 30 days of use from the blades.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

March Entrecard Top 10 Droppers

I haven't posted one of these in a couple of months for which I would like to apologize. I am now back in the habit of doing my daily 300 card drops. I want to thank my top 10 droppers on Entrecard for March. I really appreciate the drops. I hope you guys enjoy the link love.

I Learn Online Marketing



Mr Soleh's Outburst

Programming Made Easy

Dosh For U - Extra Money Tips

My gypsygoods

Anything Goes W/Pahn

On the Bricks

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

TMR Frugal Living Tip #62

Today's thrifty living tip is reuse your newspapers before throwing into a recycling bin. There are many ways to reuse your daily newspaper, but I'll highlight a few of the more popular ideas. None of these ideas are meant for the colorful glossy ads.

Make packaging material by shredding them. This is easier if you already have a paper shredder.

Use it in the garden as a way to stop weeds. Again only use the black and white sections. Open the papers and lay them flat on the row or area you want to use them and wet them down with the garden hose.

Use shredded paper in the compost pile. You don't need a lot but it makes a great addition.

Use sections of the paper to wipe glass or windows. It doesn't leave any streaks but you will have to wash your hands afterwards.

You can use the Sunday comics as gift wrapping paper.

Of course old paper can make great hats for kids. There are several great sites that will show you how to do this on the internet.

We use old paper when we have crawfish or any kind of seafood boil. My inlaws just chunk the paper along with the peelings into a hole. It breaks down so it doesn't go in the trash. Of course he does this in the cane fields that he owns. This idea might not be viable for just anyone.

Monday, March 30, 2009

A Frightening Experience

We have gotten a lot of severe weather late last week. On Thursday night, we were hit by a tornado! This is rare for South Louisiana unless it's associated with a hurricane or severe weather. It still doesn't happen that often with most thunderstorms. This was my first experience with a tornado and hoping my last. This was definitely one of the scariest things I've ever experienced. It's even scarier since we don't have basements or cellars, because of the sea level, and the ground is too soft to support one.

It was late Thursday night before it happened. We had a line that just passed, and I was watching the Weather Channel to get updates. I was waiting for the second line to pass, and they just dropped the warning for my area. Not even 10 minutes later, close to midnight, I got in my bed just waiting for the impending bad weather. Suddenly I could hear a whooshing sound outside the windows. It didn't sound like a train to me, but more like a strong rush of wind. I could tell it wasn't wind either and I had a bad feeling wash over me. I shook my husband awake frantically asking what was that noise. Of course he was trying to wake up and asking me what noise. I asked him again louder what's that noise and it sounds like a very loud gust of wind coming. I knew it wasn't wind in the normal sense but something else. As he listened, his eyes grew large and his face turned pale. I knew what it was when I saw his face. He commanded me to get in the hallway with our son. He was already in our room laying on a sleeping bag. I grabbed him and ran into the interior closet we have in our hallway. My husband grabbed the flashlight and braced the door from the outside. The house was shaking and you can feel the pressure being sucked out. It didn't last long and probably passed in less than a minute, but it seemed like it took much longer. Of course we lost electricity, and it took a few hours to get it restored since it hit right before the rain and lightening passed.

We had so much adrenaline pumping through our bodies, that we couldn't fall asleep until almost 3AM on Friday morning. We were very lucky that nothing serious happened and we are all safe. I won't lie in saying that I was very frightened, though I was trying to put on a brave face for my son. I am glad that I had all those drills at school when I was a kid. I knew what to do when faced with one. The yard was littered with metal from roofs, awning, and buildings from neighbors. None of it was for us since we don't have any metal structures. My porch took a beating with screens torn and some of the wooden slats were knocked down. My garage and shed also took a beating along with some shingles pulled off my roof. I didn't lose a single one after Gustav. It did a lot of isolated damage and more than any hurricane has ever done. I'm sure this was a small one so I can't even imagine how much damage a large one would cause. My neighbor received more damage than we did. Her neighbor lost their carport (metal) and it was thrown at her house. It mostly broke a window and pulled the window casing out, along with some roof damage, her house is intact. My house also has siding that was cracked from debris hitting the house. We also had metal hanging in our trees. My yard has large and deep gashes from debris hitting the ground. I have never seen that kind of damage done after a hurricane. I also had some damage done to our cars. I have pictures of the damage done, but again we are all safe.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Stop Wasting Food & Get Organized!

I know I'm not the only one that finds long lost items hidden in their pantry or kitchen cabinets. I admit that I've done this more than I care to remember. Not only is it a waste of money, but it's also a waste of time and precious space. I don't have many cabinets so I definitely need to make the space I have count. What can you do to prevent this in the future? The best way is through good organization.

Yes this is a picture of my kitchen cabinet. I do have some convenience food, but I do make the majority of our meals from scratch. My husband and I actually just organized our cabinets this weekend. I was surprised that I didn't have any expired food. I also store a good bit of our foods in Tupperware containers. It keeps them fresher longer, easier to store neatly, and I can see what's inside. I got all of it quite cheaply on sale, and my mom sells it so I can get her discount. Some of these containers are almost a decade old and still look new. I don't expect anyone to go out and buy Tupperware.

I put all my spices and baking items on the bottom shelf. I use this on a daily basis. You won't see my sugar or flour because I keep it on my counter in canisters along with my rice. I also store my small amount of canned goods on the bottom shelf. The second shelf has all the snack foods and some of the boxed foods. The top is where I keep the taller containers like syrup, cooking oil, and such. I can see everything easily and food no longer goes to waste. I do keep extras of sale items on a bookshelf in my washroom. I just don't have enough room to store all my food in the cabinet.

I challenge you to get your pantry/kitchen cabinets organized today! Start using that food, and stop wasting your money on food that goes bad before you can eat it. You will save lots of money and time in the future.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Feeling Overwhelmed with Vacation Plans

I posted earlier that we are going to Walt Disney World for a family vacation this year. The closer we approach our departure date, I must admit I'm feeling overwhelmed with the planning process. We are staying on grounds at the Port of Orleans French Quarter resort. With the current buy 4 nights and get 3 free promotion, we were able to stay at the more expensive resort for only a couple hundred more than a value. We are also getting 7 base Magic Your Way tickets for all 3 of us. This is a fantastic deal considering last year we would have spent almost as much for only 5 days at Pop Century in a standard room with base tickets for only 4 days. We are also going to fly and use the Magic Express service Disney offers.

This was the easy part for me. Now I'm getting overwhelmed with all the smaller details of making a daily ternary for each park. Not to mention, I need to figure out which day we will be going to the parks. I am finding all of this extremely stressful. I do have a couple of books and maps of the parks that a friend of mine is letting me use. I also frequent the DIS discussion boards which has been very helpful. I do love organizing and planning, but I find this process to be intimidating. I decided to just take it one step at a time with which rides we want to do, and which we don't care about. We are planning on spending 2 days at Magic Kingdom since it's so big and has the majority of the rides on our list. Luckily we are mostly eating at counter service places so I don't have to worry about making reservations. We are definitely planning to eat at the T-Rex restaurant. My son is so excited and hitting the Lego store is also on the top of must do list at Disney. If anyone has any great tips, then I am definitely all ears (no pun intended).

Sunday, March 22, 2009

TMR Frugal Living Tip #61

Today's thrifty living tip is add a little water to your liquid hand soap. I don't fill the pump container all the way to the top, and I add just a small amount of water. I don't actually measure the water but just enough to thin it out. Then I shake well to help mix the water and soap. I find most liquid soaps are pretty thick which gets wasted. This is especially true if you have small children. My mom uses baby shampoo as a hand soap, and she still puts a little water in the dispenser. I got my soap almost free with sales and coupons. I have used baby shampoo which does work and smell great.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

My New Garden!

One of the things I love most about living in South Louisiana is the long growing season. Our spring starts as early as February. The clover is already growing in my yard, the buds are forming, and it's time to plant vegetables. I have had a vegetable garden before, but I never kept it up mostly due to time constraints or laziness on my part. This year I'm determined to keep it up more than a couple of months.

Many people try to start with too many rows or beds, or too many different types of vegetables or fruits. I'm starting out small this time. I have two long rows my husband tilled with a shovel. We have really great dirt in our yard. Then another complaint people have is either they don't have a green thumb or the space to put a garden. Well not everyone is fortunate enough to have an acre of land. Start out with container plants. Almost everyone has space for a container of tomatoes or even herbs.

Now I have killed a couple of plants, but most of what I plant does quite well. I first started out by just planting mostly perennials around my house. Then a couple of years later, I planted a couple of wild blackberry bushes which have done extremely well. I say start out slowly, but also make sure what you are growing will do well in your area. Where you plant makes a huge difference. Don't plant things that need full sun in mostly shady areas and vice versa. Make sure you know how much sun or shade that plant needs. Pretty much all vegetables need at least 6-8 hours of sun daily.

My husband tore down an extremely old shed last summer. It's a nice open dirt patch with the fig tree behind it. I need to prune that tree back before it blooms too much. I thought that patch was the perfect spot to start my garden. We only tilled part of it, but I can always add more rows in the future. Then I amended the soil with bagged manure, peat moss, and my inlaws gave me free bagasse. This is a sugarcane by-product which is great for gardening. He got me the kind that was a couple of years old and very crumbly. It really looks like a mulch. I also sprinkled a small amount of triple 13 fertilizer. I mixed it up in the soil very well and let it sit for a couple of weeks. My husband made the mounds for me this past week, and I planted cucumbers and Roma tomatoes. I usually use the fertilizer initially on new beds, but I never add more. I also put a small amount since I do have good soil, and I put lots of other additions to my soil. I have started a compost pile so in the future I will add this to my garden. Below are some pictures.

My inlaws also gave us several Roma tomatoes he started from seeds. I decided to just throw some seeds in the ground and see what happens. I have a friend who does this with great success but you have to pinch the excess. I think one of the great things about gardening is experimenting with different methods. Most gardeners swear by using tomato transplants only in the garden, but I wanted to experiment with just planting the seeds directly in the ground. I also plan to keep notes so I can refer back to them from year to year. I do have plans to plant more fruit trees and bushes in the coming years. I just planted two blueberry bushes which are already doing fabulous. I spent $7 on each bush at my local nursery for a year old plants. They already have lots of blooms plus I see several new shoots. I will post more about how my garden is doing, and I am very excited in seeing the new life.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

An Update....

Again I have to apologize for not writing new posts in a couple of weeks. Life has been pretty busy lately. I was substitute teaching at my son's school almost on a full-time basis. My son was having some trouble with me being at school so I had to stop. While I'm a little sad, I must say I'm glad to be back at home again. I was tired after working all day that we were eating out more or eating more convenience food. I also was doing all my housework on the weekends so I didn't really get to enjoy being with my family. It's nice to be able to do my work during the week while my two guys aren't home.

I also have quit doing paid posting on my blog. I am going to be cutting my other two blogs soon. I will have just this one again so I do plan on focusing on it more. I just didn't have much time to work on it while I was working daily. I think for now it's better I'm at home. I will say that working in a school is one of the best ways to work if you have school age children. I do plan on volunteering more at his school. This way I can set my hours, and I really enjoy having time to get the shopping done by myself. No more hearing mom can I have this or that? I can get into the store, grab what I need, and get out!

My plans for this blog include more posts about saving money, cooking more from scratch, some reviews on different products and such, plus so much more! I also have more daily frugal living tips to share. I am happy that I won't be doing anymore posts which don't have anything to do with my blog. That's one of the pitfalls of doing paid posts for certain companies. You don't always have a choice of what you want to write. I don't advocate several of the topics that I was required to write about like diet pills and electronics. Instead I'm considering a couple of carefully selected ads that would complement my blog.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

TMR Frugal Living Tip #60

Today's thrifty tip is think about leveling your utility bills. It makes budgeting easier for me since I have an average of what my bill will be from month to month. I have to run our A/C often during the summer which spikes our electric bill. It was harder for us to come up with $200-250 for one month during the summer. Instead we pay an average of $100 per month. We use less electricity in the winter months since we our heater runs on natural gas. During the summer months my bill can go up to $110-120, and during the winter as cheap as $80. I budget $100 per month so in the months when it's cheaper, I have extra for the more expensive summer months. I also have my natural gas bill leveled. I average $50 a month on that bill. I just level my water bill myself since they don't offer that service. I average $40 per month on the water and it includes trash service. It just makes my life easier, and bill paying more predictable.

Great TV

I am pretty frugal, but I do like to splurge on fun things every now and then. Since we don't have any debt, then I know we can afford them. Our latest splurge was a LCD TV that we bought on sale for Christmas. We got a 32" Sony Bravia HDTV. I must say that I love it! The picture quality is so beautiful, and the color is so vibrant. I saved us $150 making it very affordable.

Sporty Cars

Lately I've been thinking about adding some performance parts to my car. I would really like to put a spoiler on the back. I already have a sporty looking car so I think a spoiler would just add to that look. I wouldn't need to add my engine since it's a turbocharge. It gives me lots of power especially when I need to pass on the highway.

Monday, February 9, 2009

TMR Frugal Living Tip #59

Today's thrifty living tip is declutter. Clutter makes your life unorganized, looks messy, and makes your life expensive. What I mean is if you can't find that certain widget you know you own, then you waste time finding it. You might also buy another widget since you can't find it. This happened to me last year at Thanksgiving. I couldn't find a pastry cutter so I bought another one at the store for $5. I later found one that I couldn't find so I now own two. I actually plan to use the one I already have, and have stored the other one in a place that I can now find it if I need it one day.

This happens very often to people. It's money wasted as well as time. I try to declutter at least once a year. You can either sell or your stuff online like ebay, Craigslist, an ad in your local paper, or at a yard sale. I also like donating some of the clutter to my local church and women's shelter. I usually don't have enough stuff to justify a yard sale so I prefer to just give most of it away. This way I can help others in need.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Winds of Change

I am very sad that my fifty year old pecan tree has to be cut down this year. The hurricane torn down so many top limbs that are still hanging in pieces at the top of the tree. Unfortunately pecan is a brittle wood, and it litters my yard if we get a bad thunder storm. I have always admired Elm trees. I am thinking that would make a great replacement tree for next year.

Stylish Faucets

It seems that home decor as the same stylish trends that you see in fashion. What was fashionable twenty years ago always comes back in some form either on the runway or in the decorator store. I have noticed, on many of the home decorating shows, that French Country farm sinks and faucets are all the rage. I find it even more amusing how big of a price tag comes with a style that is already in my kitchen when I moved in.

Another Apology...

I have to issue yet another apology for my little break. I know it hasn't been that long of one, but I'm really enjoying my time away from the computer. I have been doing more cooking from scratch and just spending more time with my guys. I also have some new projects around the house I am starting and will elaborate more in the week. I'm debating on the future of my other 3 blogs. I'm pretty sure House of Bargains is getting axed in the near future as well as WAHM Adventures. I can't decide if I want to keep The Cajun Blogger or not. I like that one a lot, but I can post the same topics on this one. It's really a lot of work keeping up with multiple blogs. This is my baby so I really want to continue growing it.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Great Career During a Bad Economy

I think there are still some great careers during this bad economy. One area that comes to mind is a healthcare career. There will always be jobs open in the medical field as long as people get sick or hurt. I constantly see many vacant jobs in the want ads. It can also be a very rewarding career, especially if you like helping people. It also pays well.

Be Smart About Diet Pills

Many diet pills will promise that they are the diet pills that work. Talking with your doctor first before using any diet pill is best. It could contain an ingredient that might interact with a prescription you are taking. It could also cause adverse side effects so be informed about the particular pill you are considering taking. Diet pills can help aide in weight loss, but it will be even more effective when coupled with good nutrition and exercise.

TMR Frugal Living Tip #58

Today's thrifty living tip is use baking soda for a nice soak. It makes your skin so soft and it's really great for tired feet. I have even used it as a facial scrub. I find it to be gentle but still be careful not to rub too hard. Actually baking soda has many great uses, and I will discuss more tips in the near future.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Going to Walt Disney World!!!

We have been putting off going to Walt Disney World for over 2 years. This is the year we finally go. I already booked the rooms with that great promotion they are running. You get 3 free nights when you pay for 4 nights at one of the resorts. We are going to stay at the French Quarter, and I can't wait until May. I really need to start getting in shape since you do tons of walking. I have been walking a mile each day so far this month. Then next month I'm going up to 2 miles, and 3 in March, and so on. By May I am hoping to be walking 5 miles daily. This will also help me to lose that weight so no Leptovox for me. I also have been drinking more water each day. I feel so much better already with just the simple daily walk and increased water intake. I have lost 5 pounds in 2 weeks so I'm really proud of my progress.

Car Insurance

If you are going to drive a car, then you will need low cost auto insurance. I'm so glad they have cracked down on uninsured motorists here in Louisiana. They still do random insurance checks from time to time. Of course our rates are much higher in this state compared to other states. If you ever have the misfortune of being in a car accident, then you will be grateful you have it.

Crocs: Ugly but My Feet Don't Care

I have seen quite a few articles criticizing that Crocs are ugly and so unfashionable. That is probably true, but I must say that my feet just don't care about fashion. I used to think they were one of the most hideous things ever created. After I bought a pair, I have since stopped caring. I'm all about comfort these days and crocs provide me with lots of it. You really don't have to wear them in public, but you should at least have a pair for around the house.

They do make several different styles but I really love my Cayman crocs in chocolate. I personally don't care for the bright colored ones so I chose a nice neutral color like brown. Another great feature is I can just hose them off during the summer if they get dirty. I also find they dry pretty quickly when they do get wet. My son and husband have both gotten a pair and they also love wearing them. I mostly wear mine during the warmer months which is most of the year in South Louisiana.

The Maserati of Watches

Most people I know think that Rolex is one of the most expensive and best watches you can buy. I just came across a real luxury watch called Audemars Piguet. These are some really beautiful watches. I really liked the details and the leather band. If I was wealthy, then this is the kind of watch I would love to have.

Do You Watch The Young & Restless?

I admit it that I love Y&R. It's my only soap that I watch and have been watching since I was 10. My grandma lived with us and got me hooked. Does anyone else think that the truth about Chloe's baby will come out soon? I don't get why Cane didn't realize that Billy could have been the father since the paternity test said you are not excluded from the group. A group means more than one person. Hello?! Lily's aunt is a doctor so why not ask her. Ugh! Sometimes these little details that are ignored on the show makes me crazy. When did Abby become a teen? I love how a kid is 7 or 8 and comes back almost double the age.

Horse Riding

I have never rode horses before this weekend. Ok unless you count the time that I was 4 years old and rode a pony at a party. I never knew how much fun they were, and I can see why so many people love them. I always love watching the Olympics with the hurdles. I really love those nice english saddles that some riders use.

TMR Frugal Living Tip #57

Today's thrifty living tip is use a pumice stone to clean hard water stains. This works really well with porcelain sinks, toilets, and even tubs. You can buy them at Lowes or any hardware store. We have an older toilet plus hard water. So deposits will build up over time, and it's the original toilet to our 50 year old house. You do have to apply some elbow grease and it took out all the old stains. The inside looks brand new again. They are relatively cheap and I think I paid under $4 with tax. It's a lot cheaper than most chemicals and it's not toxic. I would recommend putting on a pair of latex gloves first.

Another Busy Weekend

Whew! It's been another busy weekend around the house. We took a road trip to my sister's house, and rode horses at her sister's ranch. She even has a couple of Shetland ponies that our son rode. He did get on one of the bigger horses near the end of our visit. We went to the local feed store with her to get some horse supplies. We had a blast and can't wait to go back.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

House Decorating Ideas

I admit that I've been bitten by the decorating bug. My favorite channel to watch is HGTV. I have gotten some really creative ideas on decorating my house. Since I'm not very savvy, then I take all the extra help I can get. I'm so glad when I came across this great website called Inviting Home. You can get inspiration from their picture gallery, and they have a wide variety of products you can purchase. This is a great site for the professionals as well as the novices.

I've been doing a good bit of remodeling inside the house that I can't for spring to hit the outside. I worked on my porch last year so I need to concentrate on the rest of the house. I want to have it painted and put in new screens on my windows. I think putting in new nice decorative shutters will finish the look. I really like the look of the panel ones which I think it will make them easier to clean than the slats. The color I really like is the Garnet.

The other great thing about decorating is you can use something you wouldn't in an unique way. You could use a pair of shutters to make a headboard. Or you can use a smaller set of decorative shutters on a wall with a mirror in the middle and a shelf underneath for a window look. Then add some decorative hardware for a finished look. There are many ways to decorate your home so check out this great site today.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

TMR Frugal Living Tip #56

Today's thrifty living tip is use powered milk for cooking. It's cheaper than fresh milk, and can be stored much longer. You can even use it in your own dry mixes like pancakes or biscuits. You can even further your savings by stretching fresh 2% with half powered milk. You won't notice the difference in taste.

Another Small Hiatus

I have to apologize again for not posting much this past week. I've been really busy getting the house organized and getting rid of the clutter. I'm trying to become a better housewife with doing more house work and less computer work. I must admit I'm really enjoying my time away from the computer. I have noticed that I don't have as much energy as I would like so I'm going to look into buying some discount supplements.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Happy Birthday Little Man!

Today my little man turned 8 years old! Where does the time go? It seems like yesterday he was just a little baby. Sometimes I wish I could stop time or at least slow it down. He is just growing up so fast. We had his party on Saturday with just friends and family. He wanted a Wall-E cake from the bakery and it was delicious. I also brought a Mardi Gras king cake to his school with some drinks for his class. He had a great day, and he even made Honor Roll on his report card.

Monday, January 5, 2009

TMR Frugal Living Tip #55

Today's thrifty tip is use clear mascara to keep your eyebrows in place. I learned this neat beauty tip when I was a teenager in high school. Another alternative is to use a little hairspray on either a toothbrush or those little brushes. I actually have that little eyebrow brush that cost me a couple of bucks. Sometimes I can just brush my eyebrows right before spraying my hair, and I purposely make sure that a fine mist will hit my eyebrows. I find any of these work very well, but I like the last one the best so they don't feel so stiff.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Entrecard Top 10 December Droppers

I am posting my top 10 Entrecard droppers for December. First I would like to thank everyone that drops on my blog daily. I really appreciate it, but I was a little lazy this month on dropping. I was so busy with the holidays. Thanks again to all my droppers. I'm showing a little link love. Check out these great blogs!

The Ad Master

Lofty Matters

Programming Made Easy

Is 8 Enough?

14-Year-Old Kid Tech Guru

Mr Soleh’s Outburst

Everyday Living

My World in My Own Word


Faris Fakri

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Invest in Quality Tools

This may not be very frugal unless you buy the tools on sale like I do. Some people are lucky enough to find people selling their tools at yard sales or in the paper. Buying used out the paper isn't always cheaper than buying new ones on sale. We purchased a nice set of air tools for $200 that came with a hard case to keep everything inside neatly. We received a brad nailer, framing nail gun, angle nailer, and a staple gun. We used the staple gun to put up our screens on the porch. We were quoted $350 for the same job that we did ourselves. That was just for labor and didn't include materials. We saved $150, and now have a great set of tools that will last us for many years. We have several projects planned for this year using our new tools.

Friday, January 2, 2009

TMR Frugal Living Tip #54

Today's thrifty living tip is use use recipes from old cookbooks. I prefer to use the ones from the 70's and before. My favorite one to use is Better Homes and Garden that is dated from the 1960's. I like it since there are great tips that many people don't use anymore and I'm not bombarded with name brands. Of course we no longer have to sift our flour, but I find many of the recipes are easy to make and are timeless. Another reason I like them better is they are usually obtained either free from a relative or very cheaply at a yard sale or thrift store. I bought the one I use often for a buck, and it's still in wonderful condition. I also like that it was made in a binder style so the book stays open and it's easy for me to read it while cooking. I have also found some really great recipes on the internet. I recently made pizza dough from scratch that was very delicious. My husband and son loved it. My next projects is to experiment with making bread from scratch.

Thursday, January 1, 2009


Sorry for the late post wishing all my readers an awesome Happy New Year! I hope 2009 is a great year for everyone. I'm not sure what the future will be for my three other blogs that I'm writing, but I will continue to write on this one. It will depend on how busy I get with the teaching. I think part of the other problem is with Payperpost. They are offering more posts, but the majority are $5 and 200 words. That's a lot of words just for $5 and not really worth my time. Let's just say my future with them isn't looking too promising. I do enjoy writing the other blogs, but I do neglect more than I should. I just find it hard to come up with good content for all of them. I could write most of the content right here on this blog. I haven't made up my mind yet on what to do with them.

I decided to make a few resolutions for the new year. If you made any, then I would love to read them. Please share them in my comments section.

1) Take our first family trip this year. I have been putting it off for over two years so this is the year we finally take that trip. We already have the money set to the side so no more excuses.

2) Walk a mile daily. I have a great DVD set called Walk Away the Pounds. I really need to get in better shape for our vacation. I also want to increase my water intake to a gallon daily. I used to drink that much water and I felt great.

3) I really need to get back to gardening. I love having fresh vegetables and fruits. I also want to plant strawberries for jam and for smoothies. I am thinking of buying a couple of blueberry bushes. I also want to make my own spaghetti sauce plus dabble in canning. I'm thinking about planting a couple of dwarf fruit trees.

4) I have several financial goals for this year. They mostly consist of savings, but I will elaborate more in another post soon.