Thursday, August 27, 2015

Home Made Baby Wipes, DIY

I found a make it yourself recipe for baby wipes.  They're called baby wipes, but the ingredients are so natural, I don't see why the wipes can't be used to remove makeup or wash hands or anything else when the need arises.

Home Made 'Baby' Wipes

2 cups distilled water at warm temperature (78 degrees or thereabout)
1 T coconut oil
A squirt of organic shampoo
A squirt of organic baby oil
A roll of good quality paper towel, cut in half (One half per batch)
The less expensive towels tend to break down, even Bounty Basic.
Storage container.  Even a gallon size baggie will work.  Or Glad containers. 
The container only needs to be as big as the paper towel roll is wide.  The length of the roll can be squished down with a cover.

I am assuming if organic items are beyond the budget limits, then non organic items can be substituted.  Making your own is easier on the budget and you have the knowledge of what you're wiping on a baby's bottom.

Mix all ingredients.  Pour over paper towel.  Wait a few minutes then remove the cardboard roll from the towels.  You can then pull a wipe out from the middle of the roll.  Cover.

An open pack of wet wipes/ tissues. - stock vector

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Washing, Bargains, and Family Ties

Today is the day our youngest daughter moves into her first home.  The buying process had a few details in it, but that's to be expected.

My contribution is to wash all the bedding so everyone will have a fresh bed to slump into tonight.

My granddaughter's quilt isn't quite dry. It's draped over the
kitchen table to dry while the other loads are being washed.


My two year old granddaughter called me last night and 'read' me a story about fish.  She's quite the little chatterbox and I couldn't help but smile and giggle during the call.  She even continued to chatter when her mom was talking to me.  She also has quite a large vocabulary, as do all of our grandchildren.  Mastering the English language is important to us, as it represents quite a bit of who a person is.  I think it's human nature to make decisions about others by their ability to speak well. 

Speaking of the English language, our eldest daughter's books are doing quite well on amazon.com.  She also has been picked up by a publisher for her  next series that will be out later this year.  Here's a link if you are interested in intrigue and romance, with real romance and no scummy content.   (I couldn't think of a better word.)

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_fb_0_15?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=carolyn+laroche&sprefix=carolyn+laroche%2Ckitchen%2C141

Her first book, The Crazy Lives of Police Wives, was co written with Carolyn Whiting who is a retired police officer.  All proceeds from this publication are donated to police charities. 

Needless to say Carolyn (LaRoche) bases her novels on the knowledge she has obtained by being a police wife and a background in forensic medicine. She studied under Dr. Lee - of the OJ trial fame.  Detail is accurate in her fiction stories.

It was also a treat to talk to my son twice in the same week.  All is well on his home front.

A prescription was waiting for me at Rite Aid yesterday, so I took advantage of the 75% off summer sale to purchase a couple of small items.  The total cost for three items was .75 cents.  I think Santa will put a couple of these items in Christmas stockings.  The other item, ice cube trays, will be used to form wax blocks for my Scency warmer using residue candle wax that has run out of wicks that burn.  There's all this talk about burn rate (Whatever that could be.) saying that candle wax can't be used in the burners.  Could this term be manufactured by a company who super over charges for their wax blocks?  Your guess is as good as mine.

I made turkey soup for dinner two nights ago which was a major flop.  I ate it one night, but the salt content was way too high for me to eat any more.  So the pup had a little and the trash ate the rest.  I don't feel good wasting food, but there comes a time when I just have to give in.  This was definitely one of those times.

Our evenings are beginning to cool down a bit so sleeping is more comfortable.  The plants seem to like the change, as well.  I grabbed eleven berries from the black berry bush last night with more to come this evening.    The marigolds are now flowering because of the cooler weather, as well.  I thought the seeds I planted didn't take well because there were no flowers for quite a while.  I had to remind myself marigolds are a fall flower to keep from pulling them and pitching them.

These marigolds are from seeds I saved from last year's plants.
This is the third generation of plants that grew from the seeds of
plants I bought when I lived in the North.  If you would like me
to send some seeds to you, write your address in a
comment and I won't publish it, but only use it tosend the
seeds.


The last thing I did this week was find two 'bar' stools for the kitchen counter that is high.  I've waited three and a half years to find good quality at a reasonable price.  The stools were wrapped and put in my vehicle them my son in law brought them in the house for me.

I now have seating for all of us when we share a meal.  The stools are
well made and match my d├ęcor perfectly. 



A Quick Tip

I know cleaning out the dryer filter can be a pain, but if this is done after each load, it saves time, frustration,  and money down the road when it's clogged and has to be cleaned.  If the vent gets clogged, a fire can occur, as well.  I turn off the dryer when I leave the house to be on the safe side.  I don't relish the idea of coming home one day to a burned home - just to err on the safe side.  A clean filter also saves on power usage because the clothes dry faster.  There are also times I dry the clothes in the sun, which saves on a large portion of power costs.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Some Savings and Piddling Around the Kitchen

After a quick appointment yesterday afternoon, I drove across the street to grab a few groceries for the next two weeks.  Even with the organic choices I made the total spent was 56.14.  That breaks down to just a smidge over 28.00 per week.  I did splurge and bought a holiday magazine   I call it a splurge because the cost was just shy of 8.00.  As I've said in a past post, magazines no longer interest me too often.  I'm thinking because I'm having a difficult time waiting for fall, I had a weak moment when I spotted the fall colors on the cover.

The last time I was at Harris Teeter, I bought organic strawberries.  I swear just the top layer was organic to be followed by the other kind.  I politely asked the produce manager if this was a possibility and he explained that there were federal laws against such practices.  He asked if I would like another container.  I replied I didn't bring in the berries. His response was, " So you don't want a pack of berries?"   Confusion set in for a moment, then I realized he was offering to replace my loss.

In another aisle (cookies!) I found one of my favorite baker's cookies.  I was so excited it was difficult to retain my composure.  (I did, though.)  I asked the manager if he could contact the vendor to ask if they could stock a certain cookie that I have been craving for,  He took my name and number and said he would call me when they arrived. 

This store knows how to retain their customer base.  It's also the store that has great buy 2 get three sales.  If you remember, I bought five bags of coffee on such a sale paying a bit over 2.00 a bag for the coffee.

Purchasing sale items, the savings was over seven dollars and the berries were at no charge.  I left with a smile in my heart.

This morning I hit the ground running and cleaned the pantry, dated the cans, and reorganized - not only the pantry - but the cupboard I keep my dehydrated foods in.  Finally realizing this task needs to be a monthly occurrence, I put it in my date book to keep on top of it.  Thankfully, there was no waste with the exception of some cookies that I will give to the pup for treats.  I don't buy dog treats because I can't be sure of the quality.  Besides she likes apples and bland people cookies better.
 
I was excited to find an additional carton of 2 quart jars.
The jars that are still empty have water in them in
 preparation of hurricane season.  Since the jars take
up space, I thought they shpu;d be useful. 

Another acquisition this week was two 40 ounce bottles of Tide detergent for 1.99 each.  I used a dollar coupon on double 1.00 day.  They were 2.99 each with a 1.00 off two.

Some time was put aside to grind bread into crumbs, wiz the dried parsley, and mushroom stems into powder.

When the bread crumbs were done, I sealed the jar with the food saver.
I seal jars that I seldom use to keep things fresh for a longer period of time.
 

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Pickled Beet Recipe

A reader asked for the recipe for pickled eggs.  Her wish is my command! It's such an easy recipe to put together.

Pickled Eggs
1 dozen hard boiled eggs, shelled and cooled
One 15 ounce can of beets, juice included
One can water (Use the beet can)
One can vinegar, white or apple (Use the beet can)
Raw onion, thinly sliced, to taste.

Pour beets and all liquids into a glass or ceramic container.  I use a big recycled pickle jar - with the lid.  Add onions and peeled eggs.  Cover and refrigerate.  You can begin to eat them two hours after they are made, but best if consumed after 24 hours and beyond.  The brine can be stored in the refrigerator and reused at a later time when the eggs are gone.   The longer the eggs sit in the brine, the more pickled they become.

I only pickle six eggs at a time, so I use the full can of beets with half a can of water and vinegar.

I love the beets and onions, too.  This is a fermented food which I'm told is a healthy choice for digestion.
Pickled eggs after 48 hours.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Accomplishments and a Confession (of Sorts)

I have to say I was feeling a bit sad Sunday evening, but decided I would take that time to say a few prayers - specifically - Hail Mary's.  I seldom feel lonely, but after seeing quite a few pictures of my grandchildren on FB, I felt an empty spot in my heart.  On the fourth Hail Mary there was a familiar knock on the door.  It was my son in law with a surprise dinner for me.  I held back tears while I thanked him and we chatted for a few minutes.  He's a chef that no one would turn away food from him.  He grilled a steak and a potato for me.  I thanked God for His care of me and chowed down on a delicious meal.  Of course, Marley had to have a taste, as well.  Just a small one.

I went to make the peppermint bug spray this morning finding out I had only a few drops of peppermint oil left.  I added tea tree oil and will order more peppermint today.

Since I pulled the cucumber plant I took the five small cukes that were left and cut them for snacks.  I also pulled the tomato plant that produced one red tomato and one green tomato.  The plan is to fry the green one and indulge in the goodness.  It was just last year that I discovered the yumminess of fried green tomatoes.



This morning the charity shop finds I posted about last week got washed and hung in the sun to dry.  I washed them twice, then rinsed them in warm water with a few drops of thieves essential oil in it.


Today the floors will get cleaned and the house will get dusted along with the tasks I perform each day.

It's been a few months since I cleared paperwork off of the counter and set up the armoire in my bedroom as an office space.  I was happy that the task was accomplished, but became confused as to where items were.  I had seven containers with supplies in them. When I was in TJ Maxx last week I found a six drawer unit with no price on it.  After asking, the associate priced it at 19.99.  I'll take it!  Most of the small bins went to new homes and all of my items are neatly behind the drawers.  I made a list of what was in each drawer to make it easier to grab what I need.



The pickled eggs finally went into the brine on Friday.  The recipe is simple and has been passed down from my husband's family to me, then to our children.  This morning's breakfast consisted of cucumbers and a pickled egg.  When posting tis is done, I'll add a peanut butter toast and a glass of milk.



A big warm welcome to the three new readers.  I'm not able to access the part of the blog that tells me who you are, but the welcome stands, non the less.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Dollar Tree and Charity Shops

I made my weekly trek to the Dollar Tree this morning.  I found my favorite cereal, Special K with Berries, in a pack of four single serve boxes.  I was so excited my first thought was to wipe the shelves clean of them.  Then common sense invaded because I knew this was no deal as I normally won't pay over 2.00 for large single box.  If I run out and can't find this price, I just wait until I do.

Also in the basket was a can of peach halves - from South Africa.  At first I said no, wrong country.  Mainly because I have been trained to think only our food is good. That may have been true at one time, but not any more.  So I checked out the ingredient label.  The first ingredient was, in fact, peaches.  The second ingredient was sugar.  Real sugar.  Not corn syrup or fructose, but real sugar. You bet I want that can of peaches in my cart.

Added to the cereal and peaches was chicken stock, a name brand package of feta cheese, and raisins.


 I also checked out two charity shops for winter tops.  Again, I did well, spending 9.00 for three long sleeve pull over shirts.  The black one is a Ralph Lauren that sells for 48.00 online, the aqua shirt is an Architect which is listed for 22.00 online.  Both of these tops cost1.99 each.  The striped shirt was from Old Navy and cost the most at 4.99.  Goodwill sells all of it's long sleeve shirts for 4.99.  I went there first this time.  The next time I will go to the other shop first.  A lesson well learned.



Angie's Quick Organizational tip:  If a task takes a few seconds to do, do it right then.  Example:  Putting  away an item or washing up a knife.  Your home will feel so much better to you with as few items out as possible.

Monday, August 10, 2015

If I Had Any Wish to Come True, It Would Be....

Have you ever seen a beauty pageant contestant  asked the question, " If you could have any wish what would it be?'  (Paraphrased)  The answer most likely will have something to do with world peace.  We'd all like to see the world's peoples get along, but as things stand at this moment it appears we have a while to wait. 

If I were asked that question my response would be I'd love to see good healthy foods on every table in the world.  I'm not talking about a huge bounty of food.  I'm talking about good food.  The word organic is a buzz word in this country, but that's exactly what I would like to see -if I had my way.

The American population is so tired of 'enhanced' foods that even an East Coast chain now offers a burger with no hormones or antibiotics.  Of course we don't know the country of origin.  Our food in this country has been desecrated and most of us are in the know.  The only thing is prices can be so overwhelming that young families can not always afford the prices demanded for pure organic foods.  Therein lies my heart. 

I'm saddened when people can't afford food.  I'm a proponent for the food stamp program only because no one should go to bed with an empty stomach.  The numbers say we are an obese nation.  The numbers don't give a glimpse into the reason why.  We do over eat, but it's because we are often hungry because our food has been boxed and chemicalized. (Is that a word?)  If you can pronounced the ingredients on the food package label it simply means you have a master's in chemistry.  We are becoming an unhealthy nation. I'm so glad people are starting to buck the agri - system.  In any way they can.

One of the benefits of being broke when the kids were small was that I couldn't give in to requests for food items that were not basic.  If we had a cake on the table it was made at home.  Potatoes were bought in bulk and milk was always available, but no fruit roll ups or individually packaged
oatmeal with swirls in it were on the list.  Our kids were taught to eat well. 

I will say here that I'm no food Nazi.  I've been known to finish off a box of cheap chocolate covered cherries in two days.  Or enjoy a Hostess snowball with a glass of milk and insist it's a breakfast of high protein content.  Not often, but I get it.  Sometimes we just have to buck the system.

This post has nothing to do with political views.  It is nothing more than the cries from the heart of a mother who wishes nothing but the best for the world's children.

I can't say how blessed I feel to be able to purchase organic
fruits and veggies, along with the minimal success of
my garden this year.  The strawberries were on sale for less than
the 'regular' ones and the bananas were .79 cents a pound.
I only bought two bananas this week to offset the cost of the berries.
The one apple will last for two snacks and supply more potassium.
The cookies have lots of spice in them which contributes to a
healthy diet.  I also bought a block of cheese.


Today's Breakfast
Cheese with crackers
Strawberries
Black coffee
It doesn't get much better than this!
Stay safe




Sunday, August 9, 2015

Financial Freedom, What a Relief it is


The simple life can be lived in an apartment in the dead of New York City.  Or, in a two story colonial in a suburb.  Even in a small farm house in the country.  Your home can be rented or owned or paid in full.  Living a simple life is not a territory.  It's an intangible ideal. It's a comfort zone free of outside influence.  The simple life is, well, simple.  No fancy foods that have the cost of a loan to them, unless that is your choice.  No shiny cars with all the gadgets, unless that's your choice.  Not the desire to have a closet bigger than some homes to house clothes, unless that's your choice.  No.  It's enjoying what we have and working with what we have, freely choosing to do without because we want to.  Or not doing without because we want to.  The key, the way I see it, is finances.  Specifically debt.  Debt is a killer.  It has been known to harm relationships, create stress, and even create physical harm.

I don't feel I'm an expert in this field so I'm going to refer you to a couple who has gone from irresponsible finances to owing nothing in a short period of time.  If becoming debt free interests you check out their yoo toob channel, His and Her Money.  They have a video on this subject every Sunday evening.  The link follows.

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCCnXqVJZq_cD9wpycpml9LQ

I do wish you luck if you decide to go this route.  I'll be your biggest cheerleader.

Stay safe.



Friday, August 7, 2015

This and That and a Pickle Recipe

Last night it rained.  That in itself is not news.   What is news is the very low clap of thunder that shook my house.  It was so loud and a bit scary.  It was so close to the lightning that my daughter was thinking it was the lightning.  I noted, however, it was a couple of seconds after the lightning.


That I took a shower this morning is not news either.  The news here is the pup walked in to the shower with me and got lathered up, rinsed off, and enjoyed the hot water on her back.  After a towel dry and blow dry she was good to go.  A quick run around the house and to her napping position she went.
Let me introduce Marley to you.  She is a great companion.
I often tell her how much my husband would have liked her -
 and spoil her.  If he were still with us, I have a feeling
she would be his dog, not mine,   

Remember the refrigerator pickles I made last week?  I just finished snacking on them and they are so good.  I promised the recipe for you if thy were good.

Items Needed

1.Any clean jar with a lid (New or recycled)
2.White vinegar
3. One quarter cup of Salt (The recipe calls for course salt, but there was no such thing when I learned how to can pickles, so any salt will do.)
4.Three (3) Cups of water
5.Two (2) cloves of garlic for each jar
6.Cucumbers, sliced in any way you like them.
7.Two (2) sprigs of dill for each jar.


Heat the water and salt until the salt dissolves.  IMPORTANT  Let this cool to room temperature before pouring in jars.


To each jar add 1/4 cup vinegar, garlic, pickles then top off with salt solution.  Remove air bubbles and cover with lid tightened.


Leave in a dark cool spot for 7 days, turning upside down the first day, then right side up the next.  Repeat for seven days.  Enjoy!

My costs were minimal since I grew the garlic and cucumbers.  I did purchase dill (mine didn't survive). vinegar, and salt.  Even if I paid for the items the cost would have been lower (much) than the ones bought in the grocery store that are stored in the refrigerated section.

I submitted some pictures on a blog called 'Down to Earth'.  It is written by a woman who has published a number of simple living books with a major publisher who has well over 18 million hits on her blog.  She invited her readers to submit pictures of a favorite spot in their homes.  Mine were published.  Because of her kindness in inviting us to publish our blog addresses - if we had one - this blog received over 10 times the normal hits in each of three days.

One of her readers wished I'd open the curtains to view the woods as this is what I talked about.  It never occurred to me to do so.  So here, vroon, is the picture I promised you.


This is the blog address   http://down---to---earth.blogspot.com/

Here you go, vroon.  I had to be quiet as there was a bunny
chomping on some clover when I went out to take this
photo.  He was too far away to get a picture of him,
although I tried.








Thursday, August 6, 2015

Healthy Food From The Dollar Store? No Way!

I'd like to take a few minutes to talk about dollar stores.  I'm thinking about the ones that sell everything for a dollar.  By now I know you realize the Dollar Tree is my go to store even before I hit the grocery store. There's some neat things in that store, but not always the same items week after week.  That's precisely why I head there before the grocery.

News stories tell us the economy is improving, but most of this country doesn't see it nor do we feel it in our wallets.  I have just myself to look after, but I know there are young families across the country who are struggling to put food on the table for their little ones.  This is where I ask if you have ever thought of using the dollar store for some foods.

If you read the labels - just as in the grocery - there are foods with ingredients that can't be pronounced.  BUT, there are a number of foods that are pure.  Two of these items come to mind right away; packaged chicken broth and frozen veggies.  You can also get packaged milk that can be used for cooking and baking.  No additives to preserve it and no long words that can't be pronounced.

One of my go to snacks there is a bag of Bugles.  Reading the label is easy.  The product has three ingredients, corn being the first.  Some dollar stores have national brand breads of all kinds, along with bagels and English muffins. The spices are no different than the high priced ones in the grocery, they're just in a different container.  I know manufactures of name brands say there's no stems in their products, making us think stems are bad, but stems have as much nutrients as does the leaf.  Why wouldn't they?  And they grind up just as well as the leaf.

The dollar stores also carry name brand items like ketchup and mustard and other condiments.  The cake mixes have the same ingredients in them as the name brands do.  I add an extra teaspoon of baking powder in them so they rise a bit higher.  Also, I don't want to forget to tell you eggs are available there as well.

Next time you are in a dollar store check things out.  Research the ingredients of the food items you have an interest in, and some you may not.  I'm thinking the few minutes you spend doing this will increase your bottom line. 

Meal from Dollar Tree Items

Frozen perogies with parsley and salt and pepper (You'll need your own butter)
Frozen California blend veggies
Frozen strawberries
Oatmeal raisin (great source of iron) cookies made with packaged milk, sugar, and unbleached flour  (and sometimes you can find real vanilla there.)

I wish you good luck in this adventure, if you choose to accept it.  Let me know if you found any new item you didn't think the dollar store carried that interests you.  I'm sure other readers would be interested in what you've found, as well.

Three items that I have on hand that I purchased at the
Dollar Tree.  An eight ounce bottle of Donald Duck
orange juice.  A few years back this was a national
brand you found at the grocery.  Hanover kidney beans,
which in my grocery store(s) runs 1.39 to 1.69 and are seldom
 on sale for a dollar.  A treat is the can of plums on the
right.  The grocery sells these for around 3.00  On just
these three items I saved approximately 2.39 - 2.69
 that will stay in my wallet.  That's a savings -
on just three items- of $124.28 a year.


Monday, August 3, 2015

Last Week's Accomplishments

Greetings to all this very warm and close to sticky morning. I don't know about you, but I'm close to ready to see fall begin.  The leaves here do not change color until later in the season, but cooler weather is a blessing after the heat (100s) and humidity melt everything in contact with it, including humans.  If there are any errand's to run, make sure they are completed before10 AM or after 6PM.

Despite the weather I did accomplish a bit this past week  besides the normal house work.

My daughter and I went to a garage sale early Saturday morning.  She picked up quite a few things for her new house and has begun to restore them to fit her needs.  Her home has a screened in back porch which will house a wicker couch and chair that she found on the side of the road and a cute wrought iron table she found at a garage sale for 10.00.  Painted white, they match perfectly.

I found a small Corning Ware bowl that fits my needs perfectly, a set of girly pillow cases, and a pair of 84", cream colored drapes from Pottery Barn with a price tag of 5.50 for all. 


This container holds  one cup which is perfect for my needs.

The blackberries have given me another quart bag with so many more to come.  The red ones look as if they are all the same shade so when they're ready, they will all come in at the same time. The green ones will take a couple weeks to ripen.

A friend gave me seeds for an heirloom melon plant that is said to go back as far as the sixteenth century.  The melons look something like a modern day watermelon on the out side, but the flesh is more like what we recognize as cantaloupe.  The plant is sprawling and has three tiny melons on it so far with multiple yellow flowers.  Hopefully I will get a few more melons that will grow to fruition for us to enjoy.  I weeded around it to give it all of the room it wants.

Can you see that little guy laying on the concrete block?
I'm hoping he grows up nicely so I can feast on him.
What a treat that would be.


One of the marigold plants was transplanted in the empty pot in the front that I pulled the sick tomato plant from.  So far it appears to like it's new home, but no flower heads have shown up yet.

After getting discouraged with the other tomato plant I figured trimming it couldn't hurt as it looks unhappy anyway.  All of the flowers died off except one that I saw was a small tomato.  I kept watering it and feeding it.  To my surprise I woke up on Thursday to an additional LARGE pink tomato that - somehow - I missed.  So -at this point - I have two tomatoes that I can hopefully enjoy.

More squash got dried.

Mushrooms followed in the dehydrator.  I will crushed the stems into powder and store the tops in a sealed canning jar.

Garlic was also dried and crushed into powder.

I made three jars of dill refrigerator pickles on Wednesday which will be ready on this Wednesday to eat.  When I ran to the grocery store to grab some dill last Wednesday I couldn't resist a bit of junk food.  Somehow a box of Hostess Snowballs ended up in my bag.  Sometimes a girl has to do what she has to do!

This recipe was a no hassle one.  Plop the ingredients in clean
jars and store in a dark place for seven days.  If they come out,
I'll leave the recipe in a post.


I found out because of an egg shortage my favorite custard stand will not be using eggs any more in their custard.  Sorry, but custard is custard because eggs are included in the recipe.  Eggs have protein so this was an acceptable food for me.  It no longer qualifies and I must admit I'm a tad bit sad over that treat being altered.  My relationship with it has just ended.

What did you accomplish this week?  I love hearing from my readers.  Speaking of readers the portion of the blog page that shows those who have liked this blog is gone.  I have no idea where it went.

Stay safe.