Posts filed under 'Penny Pinchers'

Baking Soda is amazing…

Yesterday, I posted about how you can simply use Baking Soda instead of Drano or Liquid Plumber.

Today, I thought I would list a few other ways to use the inexpensive Baking ingredient!

To remove coffee/tea stains or minor burn stains from china dip a damp cloth in Baking Soda and rub the stained area.

Use a mixture of 1/2 Baking Soda, 1/2 salt, sprinkle on carpets to kill ants and roaches. Leave on at least 15 minutes, vacuum well.

Use a dab of Baking Soda on the end of your toothbrush instead of toothpaste for clean and white teeth, makes for fresh breath too.

Add a 1/2 cup of Baking Soda to your bath for soft and smooth skin.

Use Baking Soda as a natural underarm deodorant.

Add a teaspoon of Baking Soda to your favorite shampoo once a week to help remove build up, leaving your hair soft and shiny.

Use Baking Soda as a deodorizer around the house: it works well in garbage cans, cat litter boxes and diaper pails. It even works to deodorize garbage disposals and dishwashers.

Use Baking Soda and water as a kitchen cleanser. Works great on sinks, refrigerators, cutting boards, coffee pots and more. I use it on the stove top and it removes grease wonderfully

Rub stainless steel and chrome with a moist cloth and dry Baking Soda to shine it up. Rinse and dry.

Baking Soda even works in the shower to remove soap residue.

Make your own baking powder, stir and sift together 2 parts of Cream of Tartar to 1 part Baking Soda and 1 part cornstarch.

Be sure to keep an extra box of Baking Soda by your stove in case of grease or electrical fire. Scatter the powder by the handful to safely put it out.

Clean vegetables and fruit with Baking Soda. Sprinkle in water, soak and rise the produce.

Remove burned-on food from a pan by allowing the pan to soak in Baking Soda and a moist scrubber.

Forget antacids: Take 1/2 teaspoon of Baking Soda in 1/2 glass of water to relieve acid indigestion or heartburn.

Making Play-doh Clay with 1 1/4 cups water, 2 cups  Baking Soda, 1 cup cornstarch.

Amazing stuff!

Non-toxic, economical, frugal and yet so simple!


Add comment January 17, 2009

Drano vs Baking Soda

ok, so yesterday I posted an email I had gotten about how toxic our cleaning products really are… today, I want to share something really cool with you.

A practical, non-toxic way to unclog drains!! YUM.

Drano/ liquid plumber is a major culprit when it comes to poisoning our homes. The statistics are overwhelming! Google it, if you are skeptical.

___ Drain Cleaner - WARNING! - Burns mouth, tongue, throat, and stomach, causing permanent damage. Can cause severe eye damage and blindness.

That totally says YIKES to me… how about you?

We have a little expirament for you… pour baking soda down your drain, followed by 3 cups of boiling water (carefully)… Watch and see. No fumes, no plastic toxic bottle, no chemicals, no FEAR! Best of all, no clog!

Or try this concoction for really tough clogs:
1 cup salt - 1 cup vinegar - 1cup soda down your drain. Let it stand 15 min and watch it fizzle. Flush with 2 qts. boiling water, followed by flushing with hot tap water for 1 min.

It WORKS!!

So if you are frugal like I try to be, check this out… Gel drano $9.20 vs Baking Soda 99 cents plus vinegar 30cents plus salt 50 cents= $1.80.

$9.20 for toxic chemicals or $1.80 for something safe - which one makes cents for you?

Save money, save your health and for the environmentally savvy, save the earth all at the same time!

It is a WIN -WIN!!

My Challenge to you dear readers, is to safely rid yourselves of the Poison called Drano today! It may just save a life.


2 comments January 16, 2009

On the Homefront - a look into the fishbowl

OLDIES BUT GOODIES!!

So, Christmas was a blast! We ate, we played, we rested… hubby was sick :(
Thankfully, not enough to ruin his Christmas.

Christmas morning we opened our gifts from one to another. Hubby and I typically get each of the children a new pair of pants, a new shirt and either a jacket, hoodie, sweatshirt or sweater to go over the shirt. (we like to layer) They also got the annual slippers and pajamas. Usually, The children will find new toothbrushes, floss, stocking hats or mittens (depending on the year) and chapstick or something like that among the candies in their stockings. We always say we are not buying the children any more toys, but end up getting them a few anyway.

This year was no different.

The guppies got some Hot Wheels cars, john deere tiny tractors and the girlie got a dolly. Sounds great, right?!!? Well, Trust me when I say, they still end up getting too many toys than they need,  the relatives typically give toys - and that is all I have to say …. hahaha!

Within a few hours of opening gifts, we found all the new toys under the tree and my children have brought into the living room, the old wooden train set, the old Lincoln Logs set and an old car street kind of set. They have had these toys for about 3-4 years… and yet… these are the favorites.

Last night as I sat here knitting a pair of slippers for myself *blush* and sipping a cup of hot peppermint/spearmint tea… I thought about how quaint the scene was.

My husband and 8 yr old guppy were busy in the dining room building things with the 2 year old- found at a rumage sale -erector set, my 5 year old guppies were busily setting up and playing with the wooden train (again an old rumage sale find) and Lincoln Logs making a little town, Christmas songs were playing on the radio and it was so peaceful that I lost count in my knitting.

Toss in a little candlelight and I imagine I woulda cried, it was so much like how I imagine an old fashioned Christmas would have looked.  I think I love those old toys as much as my children ;)

ahhh, the simple things in life.


Add comment December 29, 2008

Frugal vs Foolish- Can you live on $1?

I watched this really interesting little video and it really got me thinking.

With the economy going the way it is, many are trying to find ways to cut corners, to make ends meet and simply live on less. Could I live on a dollar a day grocery allotment?

If you watch the video, you find that the couple really felt they were losing health on their chosen restricted budget in order to experiment with food cost. I mean seriously… drinking Tang with the hopes of preventing scurvy! WOW, that is bravery.

However, all funny’s aside - this video just makes me a little more determined. For example, If a person were to grow a garden and learn to preserve/store their goods to last through the winter…I don’t think it would be that difficult to live healthy on a shoestring budget. Ok, maybe not a dollar a day- since we do have some “special diet” needs but considerably less.

I know at our home, we do eat a lot of rice and beans (the video’s dinner mainstay) but we enjoy it and it is frugal, but we also add either tomatoes to it, or serve it with vegetables.  The lunch of homemade bread (I am an advocate of home baked goodies, for sure!) with peanut butter is really not a bad lunch when paired with a piece of fruit and Quite honestly oatmeal for breakfast is Awesome!

So, do you think you could live on the $1.00 a day with the exception of home preserved veggies and fruit?

Tell us what you think.


Add comment December 14, 2008

Meet my friend, Neti

Do you ever get headcolds, sinus pressure, stuffy nose, allergies, the common cold??

Dude!

Ya gotta get a Neti Pot!

I was such a skeptic! You gotta admit, pouring salt water through your nose does seem pretty strange … I was worried I would drown -hahaha. Then, I was worried that it might sting . Then, I was worried that it might not work or even make things worse. Well, Guess what, I finally got over it and I did it!!! It is nothing like I thought, and it works, and it is cheap, and it is medicine free, and ok… you get the point, I love it!

Here are the instructions: so simple!

First, Buy a Neti Pot and some sea salt or you can use any item you have around the house that has a spout, or a squeeze bottle (DO NOT sqeeze it though!) yikes. oh my!

  1. Fill it with warm water.
  2. Mix in a small amount (1/4 teaspoon) of salt, and swirl around to dissolve.
  3. Lean over the sink and and look to the right.
  4. Put the tip of the neti pot in your right nostril.
  5. Tilt the pot so that water pours in, letting it flow freely out of your other nostril, which is closest to the sink.
  6. Switch sides halfway through, so that you are looking to your left and pouring it in your left nostril.
  7. Repeat several times a day or however often you deem necessary.

This works so well for me!! I don’t really know why it took me so long to try it, really. It is nothing to be afraid of.

Now if I can just convince my son, who would rather sniff and sniff and sniff, swallowing all the gunk, than to go blow his nose, to use it…  well, that was probably more than you wanted to know. HAHAHA!

Get it, try it, love it!


Add comment December 10, 2008

Frugal Yogurt — what is the cost ?

After posting the last 2 ways of doing yogurt at home, I was faced with a few questions from my friends and family who are just beginning to think more “Homemade” or frugally.

“Well, exactly how much money do you save doing it yourself, fishie? Because it sure seems like a lot more work.”

buttonThis is soooo NOT work

buttonno little plastic containers in my trash, oh yeah!

buttonI save LOTS of money! Let me break it down for you….

Using your crockpot, let’s compare dry milk vs whole milk vs store bought. Got that? There will be 3 columns…

CROCKPOT Yogurt                      dry milk    whole milk      store bought

starter yogurt                              1.80          1.80                      -

powdered milk @1.00/cup          3.67             -                        -

1/2 gallon water .85                     .43              -                       -

crockpot electricity .02/hr           .13              .13                     -

milk                                              -              2.75                     -

total                                           6.03            4.68                   $12.00*

ok, now check this out…. 2  qts of homemade yogurt = 16 4oz storebought servings

Activia on sale in my area is $3.00* for 4 little 4 oz. cups = .75 cents Each

dry milk is .38 cents your first batch and by saving a 1/2 cup starter is only 26.5 cents each batch thereafter

whole milk  is .28 cents your first batch and by saving  a 1/2 cup starter is only .18 cents!!! each batch thereafter.

no plastic cups, 20 minutes of my time in the kitchen and I save money?!?! Yep, I am all over it! The best part is you get to play with all the funky flavors yourself AND show the children the latest science project all at the same time — how could life get any more fun than this!? Nothing artificial, NO waste, NO hassle = absolutely worth it!

oh and i almost forgot… it tastes great and it is good for you!


Add comment November 17, 2008

Yogurt at home - frugal style, take #2 (oven)

Yes, you can make yogurt at home in your oven!!

2 Qts Reconstituted Nonfat Dry Milk (7 2/3c water plus 2 2/3c Dry Milk)  OR 1/2 GALLON of MILK

1 additional Cup Dry Milk — if using milk, only 1/2 cup is needed for thick yogurt.

4oz. Good Yogurt (just make sure it has the acidophilus and other good bacteria in it) I wanted one without any other added stuff.

optional: Organic Raspberry or other flavored jam

Big Warm Snuggly Bath Towel

a 2-4qt saucepan/stockpot or dutch oven with a cover

First things first… If using powdered milk, reconstitute the powdered milk and add the extra 1 cup. Mix this very very well…seriously, no lumps wanted.
You will want to pour this into a saucepan or pot on your stovetop on low and heat to a nice little temp of about180 degrees. Remove from the heat and let it cool down to approximately 110-115 degrees.

After it has cooled to the perfect temp. simply remove 2 cups of the warmish milk and whisk in your 1/2 cup of yogurt (containing the live active cultures) gently pour back into the pot of warm milk, cover and wrap in the big bath towl and place in into your already 100 degree oven (the temp can vary a bit from 90- 115 degrees)

Let it rest for 6-8 hours.(the longer it rests at that temp the more sour/tart it will become, but it will also get a bit thicker.

After 6-8 hours, do the spoon test — YUM!!  ***if your yogurt is a bit thin, you can drain the yogurt by following one of the suggestions below (sour cream) OR add an envelope of unflavored gelatin to the mix when you add your 1/2 cup yogurt.***

Smile proudly and offer some of the thick creamy yogurt to your skeptical spouse aka guinea pig (cuz you dont dare do dairy) Offer to add Raspberry Jam to flavor and sweeten to his liking. Watch his face light up.

Serve at breakfast adding any and all jam flavors requested, cuz it’s fun and easy and you know your guppies will enjoy it.

Chill the remainder covered, in the refrigerator. Your yogurt will last 7-10 days. Don’t forget to save 1/2 cup as a starter to make a new batch next weekend.

More ideas and uses for your yogurt

If you would like to make sour cream from this yogurt, simply strain through a coffee filter. The remaining cream is sour cream.

If you would like to go even thicker for cream cheese, line a colander with a clean, damp piece of cloth (I use some of those traditional dish towels for this) Pour the yogurt into the cloth and allow it to drain overnight in the fridge. In the morning, the solids will be like a yogurt type of cheese that can be used as cream cheese in many recipes… like cheesecake!


1 comment November 11, 2008

Make yogurt at home - frugal style, take #1(crockpot)

A friend of mine recently discovered an overabundance of powdered milk in her pantry.

So, what does a person do with too much of a good thing? Well, this beloved friend of mine starts calling around, first to see who she can bless with some and secondly, to see if anyone has advice on what to do with it. She mentioned yogurt. OH YUM, GUTBUGS!! I was hooked!! I was all over this!! I was totally excited and anxious to see if I could do it! (fishie loves a good challenge)

Funniest thing, after dreaming about this for a whole day. I awoke the next day wondering not only if it could be done, but could it be done in the crockpot ? I don’t have one of these amazingly inexpensive do-dads yet, and probably never will. And since I found that the crockpot only costs 2 cents per hour to run, I figured why not!?! So, after finding myself a good cup of tea, I was making my morning rounds visiting my FAVORITE websites - first stop - CROCKPOT365. You will never guess what I was greeted with…. You got it! Making Yogurt in your Crockpot ~ WOOT ~ Praise God! And Thank YOU, Stephanie!

So…. the next thing I knew, I was making plans to convert that recipe to use Powdered Milk.

And this is what we came up with …  Now if you have Regular Milk and not powdered, I would definitely recommend visiting Stephanie at Crockpot 365 and using her delicious yogurt recipe. She Rocks! She and I should be the bestest friends ever, just by default because we both LOVE our crockpots.

Anyway, Here are the ingredients and my timeline:

2 Qts Reconstituted Nonfat Dry Milk (7 2/3c water plus 2 2/3c Dry Milk)

1 additional Cup Dry Milk

4oz. Good Yogurt (just make sure it has the acidophilus and other good bacteria in it) I wanted one without any other added stuff.

optional: Organic Raspberry or other flavored jam

Big Warm Snuggly Bath Towel

1 6qt. Crockpot

_______________________________________________

3:30pm… Make Milk — I used distilled water (just cuz that is what we drink ’round ‘ere) 7 & 2/3 cups distilled water Plus 2 & 2/3 c. Dry Milk plus 1 extra cup to make it thicker or more rich for yogurt = 3 & 2/3c. dry milk total. Replace the lid on the water jug and do the Kitchen Hula Dance with your daughter while you shake the jug to mix it well. Let your daughter take a turn while praying the top does not come off. Quickly Place it in fridge to avoid such disaster.

5:20pm Take dinner out of the crockpot, Wash the crockpot and Rinse it well. (oops, so much for thinking ahead)

5:30pm or 2 hours later… Pour the contents of the Kitchen Hula Dance Jug (reconstituted dry milk) into the crockpot, Cover, Plug in and Set to low for 2 & 1/2 hours. Eat dinner and chase the children around the house - get the guppies ready for bed.

8:00 pm or 2 & 1/2hours later… Unplug the Crockpot and chase the guppies upstairs.

11:00 pm or 3 hours later…. Take out 2c. of warm milk and Add 1/2 c. of a yummy plain organic yogurt (I sprung for the $1.80 6 oz Greek Yogurt - it is a bit thicker - almost like sour cream- this one is honey flavored…gosh, hope that is ok… but I KNOW it has all the good gutbugs I want in it) Mix really well and pour back into the crockpot. Replace the lid and wrap your crockpot up in a big thick bath towel and kiss it goodnight. Leave it unplugged and all alone in the dark….do not peek, even at 4 am when you are so tempted. Just like us, it needs 8 hours of sleep to function properly.

7:00 am or 8 hours later… carefully open the towel and the crockpot and gently give it the spoon test. Smells like yogurt, YUM…but it is kind of runny**please see notes below. More like a yogurt drink. Cover and place in fridge for guinea pig (chef hubby) to try tonight, cuz you just don’t dare do dairy. Give yourself a big smile, because if nothing else… we can blend fruit in it and freeze it for frozen yogurt– MMMmmmmmm!

Chill the yogurt covered, in the refrigerator. Your yogurt will last 7-10 days. Don’t forget to save 1/2 cup as a starter to make a new batch next weekend.

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**On the second try of making yogurt in the crockpot — I added 1 envelope of unflavored gelatin to the 2c. warm milk just before whisking in the 1/2 cup yogurt and it worked amazingly well to thicken the yogurt !!


1 comment November 3, 2008

Acidophilus and You- who is Acidophilus?

Since the little article we did yesterday about taking one’s life back, we thought it might be fun to do a few little “mini-series” on things you can do to make it happen for you and your family in a healthyfishies kinda way.

I thought a good place to start would be with something that is very near and dear to my heart…. Acidophilus, from the family of Probiotics or gutbugs, as I so lovingly address them.

Personally, I ADORE yogurt, kefir, saurkraut, kombucha or any of those little delicious foods containing these amazing gutbugs. I have a long historic love affair with them, they basically assisted to save my life. As some of you dear readers may know, fishie has Crohn’s disease. After a bout with a hospital stay, loads of antibiotics and tons of drugs… my gut was better, but still messed up. That is, until a friend introduced me to the world of PROBIOTICS - my new best non-medication medicine. Oh baby, I can not tell you what these gutbugs did for me!! Of course, being unable to do the dairy thing, I found goat milk to make my own kefir and I also found soy yogurt as well as another beautiful drink called Kombucha Tea. I was on my way to being able to live life again…. my first step in TAKING IT BACK!

So, anyway… What is Acidophilus (gutbugs) anyway? And why do we healthyfishies need it?

GOOD AND GOOD FOR YOU

Before I tell you how to make your own healthy gutbugs (Acidophilus, probiotics or lactobacilli) let me share a few of the main health-related reasons for eating this lovely ancient Middle Eastern delicacy. It all begins with tiny little organisms that convert milk to yogurt or kefir:  lactobacillus acidophilus bacteria. These wonderful little things set up a living factory or environment in your digestive system and produce B vitamins; which help combat nervous disorders, mental and physical fatigue, anemia, skin rashes, and even can assist your body in repairing your gut among other things… these gutbugs are amazing!!

Basically, acidophilus is used to describe a number of bacteria which help in human digestion. These bacteria include L. acidophilus, L. casei, L. bulgaricus, among others. These acidophilus thrive — and make yogurt or Kefir — by converting milk sugar (lactose) to lactic acid . . . and this end product produces yet another of yogurt’s amazing health benefits: The toxic bacteria that cause intestinal gas and other gross things, cannot survive in an environment containing significant amounts of lactic acid.  This effect of acidophilus— creating good vitamins to repair and protect all while eliminating bad bacteria — is especially helpful after someone has taken antibiotics. The germ-killing medicines may successfully combat an unwanted disease, but they also tend to wipe out the body’s supply of internal acidophilus and leave the treated patient susceptible to B-deficiency and other issues. Therefore, we should consider acidophilus an important health-restoring food.

Acidophilus can help protect the body against harmful bacteria, parasites and other organisms. As it breaks down, it releases things that create a toxic environment for unhealthy creatures in the body, helping to drive them out. It also plays an important role in digestion, helping to produce a number of chemicals which aid in the digestion process.

Many different people groups look to acidophilus for a wide range of health benefits. In addition to basic digestive assistance, acidophilus is found to help bolster the immune system as a whole. It is also awesome to help provide some relief from intestinal problems (like Crohn’s and others). Also, The fungal infection of Candida albicans, more commonly referred to as a yeast infection has also been found to be controlled by acidophilus.

Because antibiotics kill the good gutbugs called probiotics, such as acidophilus, as well as harmful bacteria, it is a very good idea and a tasty way to replace the good gutbugs in your life!

bon apetit!

I will be adding more to the acidophilus mini-series very soon… like recipes for making yogurt, kefir, saurkraut and yes even Kombucha Tea.

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1 comment October 30, 2008

Taking it back

I was thinking the other day about how we live versus the economy. No, this is not a political article, although I could very easily “go there”, I won’t bore you today…. I will save that for later :)

I was thinking about how laid back things are here at the fishbowl and yet, how freaked-out the economy is. Isn’t it a bit odd how some people are not that concerned and yet others are stressed over the dow industrial average on a daily basis? I personally, don’t stress much over it.

Sure, I think about things like… wonder if I can bring my garden indoors this winter? How much extra Rice should I stock up on, just in case?  Should I use part of my tax return to purchase more than one share at Easy Bean Farm this year and get some in the freezer? Think we can build a wind turbine as a winter project? Can we replicate the olive oil lamps I saw at Lehmans and if yes, how expensive would the oil be for evenings for a year?

Suddenly it hit me like a dumbfounded duh moment…. it is almost like the economy crash is forcing people to “take thier lives back”. I could be completely off the wall here, but this is what I was thinking. It seems that we, as a nation, have become so involved with consumerism, that we have even given up our lives for it.

Bear with me here… How many families work 2 jobs or more just to make ends meet? Think about this for a moment… what if, just what if, one person were to stay at home and tend the garden, make oil lamps, soap, candles and the like, just like our forefathers, but with modern convieniances of course? Would the family then need a second or third job? I am not saying we need to all become like the Amish, but they sure have a good head start on living within their means. Just think of all the “family time” they have as they learn, plant, plan and grow together. WOW.

As a homeschooling mom, I think about things like this and plan to teach my children to live a bit more frugally so that they may enjoy thier lives and the people who are important to them. It is amazing the things you learn about your child, spouse and yes, even yourself while planting a garden together. The best part is seeing the child’s face light up with each new discovery… like, “our compost turned into THIS dirt?!”

simply ….  priceless

I think Healthyfishies is going to start sharing these moments more. A lot of people seem scared and freaked-out, but there is hope, there is a future and a plan and it is good!

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Add comment October 29, 2008

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