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Archive for the ‘Works for Me Wednesday’ Category


It was the simplest of ideas; cheap, easy to make, and lasting…

Rock Critters!

This is one of the last rock critters we have kicking around. I would say he’s about 20+/- years old. He resides in moms garden. His eyes are missing so he just has rocks propped up on him. We used to have dozens of them but when you move clear across the province (a 23+/- hour drive), you can only transport so many rocks, regardless of sentimental value. At least that is what they told us when we were packing…I personally would have left the furniture and brought more rocks 🙂

How To Make a Rock Critter

  1. Choose your size rock and two smaller rocks for eyes. A rock about the size of a iron makes the best size I think but we made them smaller and larger and they looked fabulous set up as a little critter family!
  2. Paint the body a light color (or leave it natural if it is a light colored rock to begin with)
  3. Paint the spots a darker color (or use markers…not sure about crayons)
  4. Paint the smaller rocks black and glue on
  5. Paint on a mouth

My grampa helped us create these. We should have went into business I think. Growing up with Grandpa was such blessing! He’s in the hospital right now and could use your prayers!

FrugalFriday

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This week we have a guest post from a wonderful man, my husband, Scott! He is far more adventurous than I when it comes to making things like this from scratch. Though he has had a few things that…umm..maybe weren’t so great, the bulk of his attempts turn out fantastic. Yogurt is one of them!

“ My daughter loves Yop, the yoghourt drink.  It’s pretty pricy for the minuscule bottle, so I checked the ingredients and found skim milk, sugar, vanilla, active bacteria and some other stuff.  Since this sounded like skim milk yoghourt with sugar and vanilla I decided to make my own by mixing these ingredients with enough milk to make it look like a thin milkshake.

She didn’t seem to mind the changeup but I was still a little price sensitive and thought to make my own yoghourt and then I’m really just using my own raw ingredients.  I described the plan to my wife and she took it the same way she does all my raw ingredient experiments: not saying much and I believe not expecting much.

Searching the web for recipes and techniques proved to be enlightening: yoghourt (or yogurt or yoghurt) is dead easy.  You need any kind of milk, a large pot, thermometer, a small amount of yoghourt and sterilized containers.

I had a box of mason jars in the garage so I measured them up (1 gallon each) and boiled two in my large pot for ten minutes then left them to dry.  I then poured two gallons of 3.25% fat milk (a little under two litres) into the pot and set it on medium high heat, checking for 195 degrees F.  When it reached that I took it off the heat and watched until it dropped to 115 degrees F and then poured it into the two mason jars.  Next I added a big tablespoon of yoghourt to each jar, stirred it up and sealed the jars.

From here the milk and yoghourt mixture needs to ferment so there were a few suggestions: put the jars in the oven with the light on or wrap in towels and put in a cooler.  Either method recommended 8-12 hours of fermentation so I went with the oven since it seemed easier and we weren’t using it.

The next morning I took the jars out and had a nice consistently of home made yoghourt: not too thick or thin.  For eating and sauces I would like a firmer yoghourt so I could add whole milk powder before the yoghourt or just strain out the yoghourt.  For my daughter’s drinking pleasure I still need to add milk but it just feels great knowing I made that, all by myself (and twenty or so websites I read first).”

For more of his fabulous tips, check out his blog eBabble!

Wednesday WFM

    FrugalFriday

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My Works for Me Wednesday post is about Sensational Saturdays.

Sensational Saturdays are put on by our local paper, the Brantford Expositor. They offer a limited number of gift certificates to local businesses for 50% of their face value. You buy the certificates online and go in to pick them up.

Now before you close the window thinking, “I don’t live in Brantford”, let me share with you that apparently this is quite a common promotion. I’d advise you to check with your local newspapers, TV stations as well as Radio stations to see if they offer any of these types of promotions. tevaI need to pick Chloe up some sandals for the summer. I was planning to buy them at Al’s Shoes here in town as they are having a sandal sale shortly. When I found out about this promotion, I looked it up and to my surprise and delight, they were offering gift certificates which cost $25 and were redeemable for $50!! Not only will I get the sandals I was planning to buy anyway on sale but I can pay for them with my new gift card card and get $25 for free! Hurray! Now I am able to purchase Chloe’s sandals and have some left over towards a new pair of running shoes for me (which are very much needed!)

So perhaps you already knew about this but I was soooo excited to discover this! Now, if you live in the Brantford Area, this coming Saturday’s certificates are advertised here. But please don’t go for the Al’s Shoes as I want another one to put towards my own shoes!

Wednesday WFM

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So my Frugal Friday contributions have to do with cleaning supplies. Often we fall prey to the popular misconception that we need to have a cleaner for each task. While some cleaners do work best in performing a specific task, you do not really need as many cleaners as you may think!

  • E-cloths really do work!
  • Less is best! Find a multi-purpose cleaner you are happy with it and use it for multiple purposes!
  • An organized space = easy to find items (frugal with your time).
  • An organized space = easy to see what you have so you do not spend money on what you do not need! (How did I end up with 3 bottles of Windex and a refill jug of it?)

vinegar

Read more at Downsizing: What’s in Your Cupboard?, Cleaning Out Cleaning Supplies and my Earth Day post, More Green = More Green!

FrugalFriday

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Several years ago in November, a local grocery store had costumes on for $2 and $3. Not just cheap costumes but good quality fabric costumes. I didn’t have children at the time but I did have nephews. I bought a whole bunch of costumes for them to play with.

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The other day my sister came to visit and dropped them off as her little ones are no longer quite so little! I tucked them into the closet. Now, our weather has been crazy; we’ve had a lot of rain lately and have been stuck indoors. Chloe and Jaiden ask over and over to go outside! I pulled the costumes out of the closet and voila – a wonderful new game to play! They loved it. it is amazing how even at 2 they love to play dress up. We also have a few home-made costumes and they love those too!

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So what works for me now: “Dress Up” as a special rainy day treat. I think that I need to make sure I have some other “treats” up my sleeve as well.

Does anyone have any great ideas for some rainy day activities? What do you do with toddlers when it’s raining out?

Now this post isn’t on Halloween. My family doesn’t participate in Halloween though I guess you could argue that in a round about way we are supporting it by purchasing markdowns (costumes/candy) afterwards but please do not turn the comment area into a debate about the issue.

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green Photo by Ben

40 Ways to go Greener at Home by Simple Mom appeared in my blogger reading list earlier this week. Though I didn’t have time to read her post then, I began to think about what our family does. I was pleasantly surprised to discover that we do have a substantial list! Most of our earth friendly practices were born out of a need for frugality or for the benefit of our family but they’re green none the less!

  1. Cloth Diapers: We switched to BumGenius 3.0 cloth diapers (a one size, all in one read more here). A bit of an investment but better for baby, more economical and better for the earth! We also use cloth trainers for my toddler. I only have 8 BG diapers so I have to do a load of wash every night. I make the most of that load by adding any other whites or lights that we have in with the diapers. Helps me keep up a bit on laundry too 🙂

  2. Cloth Wipes: Recently I began using cloth wipes too. Since I am already using the diapers, why not use the wipes so then I can just put the wipes inside the soiled diaper and toss the whole think in the diaper pail rather than trying to figure out where to put the disposable wipes while I finish the job.

  3. Baby Food: While I still buy some baby food, I generally try to make my own. Less packaging! Less Cost! Better for Baby!

  4. Toys without Batteries: Too many toys these days require batteries and “entertain” the child. While some of these are fine, I believe that children should learn to entertain themselves and use their imaginations. Toys with batteries are also noisy and drive my dh crazy. Battery-eating toys are also not great for the environment either!
  5. HE Washer: We have a high efficiency front loading washer which uses less water and requires less soap.
  6. Cold Water: Unless I am washing some heavily soiled items (diaper etc.), I try to wash on cold. My clothes come out just fine!
  7. Soaps: We currently use Ecos, Nature Clean and soap nuts for washing our clothes. The soap nuts are compostable, and the nature clean comes in a box, lined with a bag and it has a little spout on the front. I only need 1 tablespoon of soap for a load (even heavily soiled diapers!). Recycle the box and spout and all you’re left with is the bag as garbage. It says it does 129 loads but I get more out of it that that.
  8. Less Laundry: Clothes worn once aren’t always dirty (by adults anyway). My husband and I shower everyday (I know, not environmentally friendly or frugal but we feel it is an essential) but we reuse our towels for the week before washing them. If you’ve done a good job in your shower then you should be clean!
  9. Clothesline: Coming soon. We live in a new subdivision that had a by-law against clotheslines (imagine that!!) Last year they lifted it so this summer I’ll have a clothes line. Hurray!
  10. Avoid Chemicals: Not good for you, your family or the earth. Avoid them when you can. We use e-cloths here and have been very happy with the results. Our lawn isn’t perfect and I pull weeds constantly (a lot of work) but I don’t have to worry about my little ones eating dirt & chemicals because our lawn is just dirt! (Fish Mama talked about Chemicals here and when it comes to spiders – I’m all for chemicals!!)

  11. Composting: We started last summer. Not hard but we don’t do it in the winter because I don’t want to shovel all the snow to get out to it.

  12. Recycle: Recycle what you can but keep in mind that recycling still uses energy etc. to do so it isn’t totally earth friendly. It’s best to try use products with as little packaging as possible, regardless of if it can be recycled.
  13. Packaging: Avoid individually packed items or convenience foods when you are able. We all take advantage of this convenience from time to time but try to avoid it on a regular basis.

  14. Energy Efficient Light Bulbs: This is my husband’s domain but I know we have them.

  15. Turn your Heat Down a few degrees and your a/c up a few degrees. Doing it gradually will help you adjust and you’ll save lots too!
  16. Plan Your Outings so that you can get all your errands done in as few trips as possible.
  17. BYOB: Bring your own bags to the store when shopping. Most stores here sell them for $0.95 but dh saw them on for $0.37/each at Fortino’s.
  18. Buy Second Hand: When we first had Chloe, I would have balked at this because we had the money, why buy used? Well, it makes better use of your money, there is nothing wrong with most used things (I have huge issues about having to be able to wash/disinfect things) and it is better for the environment. After all, if everyone bought new and discarded it when finished, our landfills would be overflowing and we would be creating a lot of pollution with excessive production.

  19. Cloth Napkins: We switched a couple years ago. Ours aren’t actually napkins; they are small cotton dish towels in very cool bright colors. We got them on sale and love them!

  20. No Paper Towel: Because we use the e-cloth for windows and we use cloth napkins, I was thinking we should eliminate paper towel all together. At first my husband balked (after all where would he de-grease his bacon?!) We started using cotton flour sacks and though we still have some paper towel in our stock-pile, we haven’t used it and we don’t miss it!

So it is only 20 things I came up with but these are what Works for Me. After reading the article by Simple Mom, I could add to the list, but I won’t. You’ll have to go HERE for more ideas! Isn’t it amazing how going green can save you green $$?

Happy Earth Day!

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HELP!

Tomorrow I want to make Easter eggs with the girls. They are 2 and a little clumsy at times. We need simple, easy ideas! What works for you? This is the first year that we are doing eggs so all of you Easter Egg veterans – I’d appreciate your advice!

If you have a Works for Me Wednesday link about Easter eggs – please leave it in the comments and I will visit later today. Thanks!!

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