Friday, May 30, 2008

Birthday cookies

I love Frugal Fridays, I love to bake, and I love to give away what I bake. I made cookies for a friend and neighbor's birthday today. To spruce up my humble gift I made a paper tag and added some ribbon to my package (a leftover cherry tomatoes box).


Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Homemade cleaning supplies

This morning as I was showering I noticed that my postponement to clean the bathroom had caught up to me, I spotted mold showing it's ugly face on the shower stall corners.

Grocery shopping was top on my list of things to do today and cleaning the bathroom became a close second. Naturally at the grocery store I browsed the cleaning supply aisle in search of that magic formula that would eradicate my mold and soap scum with little effort on my part. I read the backs of bottles and I debated with myself but when it came down to it I just could spend $4 on a bottle of cleaner when I had stuff at home. And you know what I'm proud of my frugal choice.

Once home from grocery shopping, I attacked the bathroom and cleaned the shower stall vigorously with my homemade softscrub, I wiped the mirror down with vinegar water and for good measure I sprayed those moldy trouble spots in the shower with bleach water. My bathroom is now mold free, clean, and beautiful.

Making and using my own cleaning supplies saves money and works for me.

Head to Rocks in my Dryer for more Works for Me Wednesday Tips


I have a new look

Didn't Shauna do a fantastic job! My little blog is looking good. I'm so fortunate to have won her giveaway! I even have a cool signature to boot!

Thanks Shauna


Monday, May 26, 2008

Menu Plan Monday May 26-June 1

Monday 5/26 Fish sticks and veggie sticks with homemade tartar sauce (I like to use dill relish and fresh parsley in my tartar sauce)

Tuesday 5/27 Chicken stir fry (I use chicken stock instead of the bouillon and I use frozen stir fry veggies, doesn't get any easier)

Wednesday 5/28 Double decker Tacos (YUM!)

Thursday 5/29 Leftovers

Friday 5/30 Were going out to eat with friends!

Saturday 5/31 Pizza Night (Can't have a week without pizza now can we?)

Sunday 6/1 not sure yet but I'm thinking roast chicken


I won a blog makeover by Shauna at See My Designs! Can you believe it!? I was super excited to see my name posted as a winner here. My hubby was working on the lawn when I found out, I ran outside jumping and hollering with enthusiasm. My blog is getting a makeover! I can't wait to see what Shauna comes up with.

Friday, May 23, 2008

A Sweet Sister

My youngest sister sent me a homemade card! You can't tell from the picture but it says "Miss You," She's so sweet. Inside her card was a note and a sketch of a horse (one of her passions is horses). It's so nice to be loved and thought of.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes!

I'm headed to a church function tonight and I'm bringing dessert! I spent far to long pouring over cookbooks trying to find something to make that used ingredients I had on hand. I didn't want to go to the store and spend money. I ended up with a cupcake creation. I made chocolate cupcakes which used melted chocolate chips in the batter (I had a partial bag which was just enough) I than frosted them with peanut butter frosting which is just your basic frosting with a big dollop of peanut butter mixed in. (about 1/3 cup). To finish off my treats I topped them with peanut butter chocolate swirled chips. I've had the swirl chips in my pantry for a while I bought them on a super deal and hadn't yet used them, these cupcakes seem like a good occasion.

I can't wait to share them.

Frugal Gardening

There's no doubt that having a vegetable garden is frugal, growing your own food is a huge money saver. I love summer, and I love eating what I've grown. My gardens have all been in containers and quite small, but I still enjoy every bit of it. Someday we'll be settled in somewhere and I'll have a garden large enough to feed our neighborhood. until than I'm pretty content with my few vegetable plants.

Starting up a garden could get expensive fast. I know I'm tempted to spend a lot of money at the Home and Garden store every spring. Here are a few of my ideas to start a garden without a lot of cash:

1. Plan ahead and grow from seeds, it's more tedious but it's also fun to watch the progress from tiny seed to mature plant. You can even harvest your own seeds from vegetables you've already eaten, bell peppers and pumpkins are good candidates for this.

2. Forgo buying the fancy seed germination pots and kits from the garden store, use what you have at home. Any small container will work, just be sure to poke a hole in the bottom for drainage. I used yogurt cups but I think that an egg carton could also work.

3. Thinking about a container garden? consider using 5 gallon buckets you can get these for free from grocery store delis or bakeries, just ask.

4. One more thing. It's OK to buy a mature plant and replant it instead of starting with seeds, you'll make your money back on the plant pretty quickly once you start harvesting the produce. The idea is to have fun gardening and save money while at it.

For more Frugal Friday Tips go here.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008


I love my magazine subscriptions, it's like a present in the mail each month. But I quickly learned that magazines pile up fast, and look really cluttered. My solution to magazine overload was to toss them after my pile grew to high. This didn't work for me because later in time I would remember reading about some fabulous craft project or tasty recipe but whatever magazine it came from was long gone. Keeping stacks and stacks of periodicals didn't work for my hubby (He hates clutter and stuff of all kind) Last summer I got smart, before I toss a magazine I tear out all the recipes, projects, ideas, and anything else that strikes my fancy. I have created binders that I stuff my articles in. The binders save a lot of space and clutter, plus I have a wealth of ideas and inspiration. These are my binder categories:

Recipes to try (this also includes online print outs)
House hold tips and ideas
Craft projects
Holiday Ideas (my favorite)

If a binder gets to full I just skim through it and toss anything that I will never use or do. Some ideas seem great at the time but several months down the road, you realize that you'll never do it. It's actually kind of fun to go through my binders once in a while, I often forget some of the things I've torn out and saved.

Click here for more Works for Me Wednesday

Monday, May 19, 2008

Menu Plan Monday May 19-May 25

My menu plan is all messed up, last week I attended some evening classes and was provided dinner, Greg happened to work late most nights and ate at work, we only ate one meal together at home last week So I'm carrying over a few meals to this week. (At least I spent less at the grocery store)

Monday May 19 Left Over Fish Tacos This is the best fish taco recipe, I actually just make the sauce and use baked fish filets instead of frying them, I like to serve with lots of cabbage and drizzle the sauce over the cabbage, it's like a Mexican coleslaw. Yummy!

Tuesday May 20 Spicy Chicken Thighs - always a favorite.

Wednesday May 21 Baked Pasta I'm making this for a lunch fund raiser, not the healthiest but I'm sure it will taste good

Thursday May 22 Left Overs Night

Friday May 23 Pizza Night

Saturday May 24 Tuna Melts

Sunday May 25 Soup and Salad

Go here for more Menu Plan Monday

Worth the wait

We bought a new microwave. We moved in February and since than have not had a microwave. We couldn't bear to spend big bucks on a fancy new one nor could we justify buying a cheap bottom of the line microwave. The past several weekends we have been going to yard sales in search of a microwave. We got bold and started asking yard sale holders if they had a microwave, more than once they told us we just missed it by a few minutes.

There were a few moments at the store when we came close to plopping down 50, 60, 70 dollars for a cheap and gutless microwave, we overcame temptation, one of us would talk the other out of it and we held on to our money.

This last Saturday we had a break through. After failing at two yard sales we did a "drive by" on a third sale, you know when you slowly drive by with your head out the window trying to see if there's anything for sale worth stopping for. That's when we spotted the microwave box, both of us feared it was just a box full of dollar items. We stopped and parked the car, ran to it and found a brand new microwave still in the box for sale. You should have seen us walking around the microwave box talking to each other, debating. The lady had just moved and found that her house came with a fancy over the stove microwave, she hated to sell this one but couldn't justify keeping it. This was the first microwave we'd seen at a yard sale and another one wasn't going to be found easily. The lady wanted $75. We talked her down to $60 and walked away with a gorgeous, stainless steel, rock and roll microwave with all the bells and whistles.

I love it and it looks so good in our kitchen. Worth the money and worth the wait.

The differnce between men and women

I gave up half my craft table to Greg for his projects. Several days ago While Greg was at work I cleaned up the room, rearranged my craft stuff and managed to make some room for Greg's stuff. I had two cork board tiles hung up on the wall smack dab in the middle. I couldn't take them down with out ruining the wall. So I cleared them off and made a tag for our names, one board for me one board for Greg. (Previously they held birthday reminders, 6 months on each board) For a while the boards were blank minus our cute name tags. Than my sister sent me a card (really made my day) and I posted her card on my board.

Today I was making some cards for my Esty shop when I looked up and saw that Greg had put something on his board. I laughed out loud. Here I had a cutesy card posted and my hubby hung up some electrical schematic for a project he's working on to modify our coffee maker's temperature.

We are very different.

My Etsy Shop

Oh I'm so excited! I'm selling handmade cards on Etsy.
My job will be on hold for the summer and I know that selling cards probably won't be bringing in a large income, but it's something that I love to do. It's also something I can do at home so in the future when we have children and I stay at home, I might be able to make a little money.
Right now I'm just kind of testing the waters, I have a few cards for sale on Etsy.
Greg is right on board with 100% support, which really is exciting for me.

If you need any lovely hand made greeting cards visit my Etsy Shop. (I had to throw in a shameless plug)

Friday, May 16, 2008

Grow your own herbs

You don't have to be a master gardener to grow your own herbs, just sunshine and water. I've grown basil and parsley for a few years now, I like to use big pots (it makes weeding easy) one year I used five gallon buckets to grow my herbs.

Fresh herbs improves my cooking 110%. The flavor and fragrance of fresh basil can't be beat. I love making a basic cheese pizza and topping it with fresh basil leaves, when it cooks the leaves become wilted, a bit crisp and bursting with flavor (so so good.) Sometimes I pick a few stalks of herbs and place them in a vase, instant fragrance and beauty on the cheap.

One of the best rewards of growing your own herbs is the cost savings. Fresh herbs are expensive, I know I'm not the only one who's substituted dry herbs for fresh or simply omitted them from a recipe because I didn't want to spend the money. The good news with growing your own herbs is that after the initial cost of buying the plant (cheaper if you start from seed) they are free. Home grown herbs are convenient too, right in your own back yard.

Here is a fantastic post about how to use fresh herbs in your cooking there is even a part 2 to the post that discusses how to keep fresh herbs fresher longer.

Here is a favorite and more unusual recipe using fresh basil

Here are more Frugal Friday Tips

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Organizing left over contianers

Several months ago I was cleaning up the spare room and came across a shoe box which I couldn't throw away it was sturdy and neutral in design. I don't know why it I didn't think of it sooner but I used my shoe box to hold all my lids to leftover plastic containers. (Ziploc plastic containers, yogurt and sour cream cups and so on) It works beautifully at keeping my cabinet clean and organized where before lids (which don't stack nicely) and containers were strewn about everywhere. I even glued a cute label to my box, there used to be some ribbon but it fell off.

Adding to my cabinet organization, last week I found a yellow basket at the thrift store, it's super cool, the color is great and the shape is square, it could easily be a fruit basket. I'm using it to keep all the little containers "contained."

I don't have a before picture and even if I did I would be pretty embarrassed to show it.

It's amazing that one little shoe box could clean up a perpetually disorganized cabinet.

For more tips and ideas go to Rocks in my Dryer for Works For Me Wednesday

Monday, May 12, 2008

Menu Plan Monday May 12-18

Monday 5/12 Leftover Fish Tacos (so so good)

Tuesday 5/13 Chinese Chicken Salad (a new recipe to try)

Wednesday 5/14 Spicy Chicken Thighs (I make this to often, but it's so good and so easy)

Thursday 5/15 Leftovers Night!

Friday 5/16 Pizza Night! (last week I made a cheese pizza topped with fresh mozzarella and whole basil leaves, it was fabulous! The only thing that would have made it better would be some decent romano cheese, I miss Costco. )

Saturday 5/17 Tacos (always a hit)

Sunday 5/18 Hot dogs - Greg found a grill on the side of the road, it needs a little fixing up but if it's ready I'm hoping we can have an old fashioned bbq with grilled hot dogs, otherwise I'll be using the broiler.

For more menus go to I'm an Organizing Junkie

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Romans 12: 1-2

1Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. 2Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

Treats for Sunday School

Today was the last session in the Sunday School class we've been going to. A new class will start up in two weeks. I brought in some scones and muffins to go with the coffee that's brought in by the group leader. I also brought along a basket of peanut butter, jam, and honey. I think is was appreciated by all and I certainly enjoyed making them. My scones were made with golden raisins (a nice twist) and my muffins were topped with walnuts because that's what I had on hand.

I liked going to a Sunday School class and I look forward to the next session, it has not yet been decided if we will do another study on marriage or on Christian growth, whichever is decided we'll be attending.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Frugal Friday Boast

So today I don't have a tip, but I do have a frugal boast. I was so so happy after leaving the grocery store today. I had $40 cash to buy my groceries, I'm using cash to keep our grocery budget in check and it works really well but today I had my doubts. I went shopping with a half finished list and a wandering mind. My cart just kept getting fuller and fuller, I was so afraid that I would have to whip out the debit card and fess up to my grocery budget woes or put something back. During the check out process it turned out that I bought the wrong brand tuna for my coupon, which just added to my mental stress. I put the tuna back but my total rang up at $60 and some change. I hoped and prayed that my coupons would bring down the total and praise the Lord after all my coupons were scanned my total was only $37.92 well within my $40 cash budget and enough left over to tip the bagger. I was so glad, it makes cutting coupons worth it. At the bottom of my receipt it said I saved 38%, so much for getting all worked up. In the future though I will be making it a point to have a more detailed list and make good use of my calculator, there's no need for me to get all worked up and stressed about my grocery bill.

Read about Crystal's attendance to Dave Ramsey's Total Money Makeover Live Event (I'm so jealous, I want to see Dave Ramsey too!) and more frugal Friday tips.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Mother's day cards

Today I sent out my mother's day gifts. I've been working on the cards the past two weekends. I have to say that I'm so proud of how they came out. My mother-in-law's card is light-hearted and the least elaborate, the husband didn't want to send a mushy feel good card. Since it's for his mom and he helped make it I could honor that. My other two cards (the pink one and the circular card) are accordion style with several panels full of photos, nice thoughts and memories I've had. I'm really proud of how the cards turned out and I hope that they show how special the recipients are and enjoyed.
I used a paper grocery sack as an envelop package of sorts (not the prettiest but it works) to mail my cards as well as a local newspaper and other gift item.
I'm sad I can't be with my moms to present them their card and be with them on their day.
Hopefully they will receive their package before Mother's Day and will know how much they mean to us

My Favorite Brother

I'm so proud of my little brother, he's such a well rounded kid. He's an athlete, musician, and he's involved in ministry. Click here to read about his musical involvements and trip to California with the Boys and Girls Club.

Don't be afraid to subsitute ingredients

This morning I made biscuits, I had some Canadian bacon and a few eggs in the fridge and was in the mood for a breakfast sandwich. I didn't have any buttermilk and I didn't want to use up any of our milk so I substituted plain yogurt in my recipe. I was very hesitant but I took the plunge and made my biscuits and they turned out fabulous. I only made a half batch in case my experiment failed.

That's my Kitchen Tip - Don't be afraid to experiment and substitute ingredients.

Go to Tammy's site for more Kitchen Tips.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Menu Plan Monday May 5-12

Monday 5/5 Double-decker Tacos (Cinco de Mayo)

Tuesday 5/6 Hamburgers and Baked Beans

Wednesday 5/7 BBQ shredded Chicken Sandwiches, Fruit, Corn

Thursday 5/8 Leftovers Night

Friday 5/9 Pizza Night

Sunday 5/11 Fish Tacos These are the best! I usually just make the sauce from the linked recipe and use frozen battered fish pieces that bake in the oven. I serve these with homemade pico de gallo, lots of cabbage. So Yummy!

for more menus head to I'm an Organizing Junkie

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Me crazy?

Yesterday Greg tells me that a fellow shipmate came up to him and says "Hey, I hear your wife is crazy" Of course my interest was piqued and I had know more about this conversation. Apparently word has gotten around about my big box of coupons, my menu planning, and my obsession with baking and cooking from scratch. According to Greg here's how the conversation continued:

Husband: (with a chuckle) Umm she's not crazy, she likes to save money and plans what she does. She just really likes to cook and bake and stuff like that.

Shipmate: hmm, so is your house all clean and stuff?

Husband: Yeah....maybe, I wish she WAS crazy than the house might be cleaner.

I was happy hearing that he defended my saneness but I would have been very pleased if Greg had left out the last remark. Our house is always picked up and very presentable, it's true it could be cleaner. I put off sweeping the floors and cleaning the bathroom until it is very noticeable that it needs to be done, or I can't stand the grit on my bare feet anymore or when Greg makes some comment to me about how gross the floors look. I gave Greg a hard time about telling someone our house was not the cleanest. He responded by telling me not to worry about it. No one thinks less of me becuase I don't like to sweep and clean bathrooms. He said I'm a rare breed and most of the guys are in shock that as a wife I try to save money, have a job, and like to cook. I'm a little flattered to be talked about but it's a good thing Greg keeps my ego in check and reveals my flaws now and then.

Friday, May 2, 2008


I've been going through old photos and came across s few pictures of my sister and I as little girls. There is something so special about sisters. It is so good to know that my sister will always be there for me as my friend no matter how many miles apart we are. No friend loves and misses me like my sister does.

Meaningful Decorating

Our house is very spartan, there is minimal furniture and most of the walls are bare. I don't like a bare house but spending money on decorating our house is a very low priority. When I go to yard sales or head to the thrift store I'm on the look out for items that can be used to help decorate our home, I usually pick up picture frames for under a dollar.
On a side note that could be it's own frugal Friday tip: I never throw away greeting cards, I save them in a box and reuse them to make new cards or gift tags. Sometimes a card is just too special to be torn up and reused and I would like to keep it for sentimental value.

If the card has a pretty picture I like to frame it, I use coordinating paper cut to the frame's size as a background for the card. Framing cards adds a bit of decor to our home and I get a nice feeling every time I see the cards and remember the person that sent them and the good memories associated with them.

You'll have to forgive my pictures they are not the best, I took them early this morning and the lighting was awful and I used the flash which reflected back in the frames glass. Also never mind the wirey mess behind the counter, I placed the frame and a few planters there to hide our coffee maker that my husband has all torn apart, it looks messy and cluttered but it's temporary.

For more Frugal Friday Tips go here