Monday, January 31, 2011

The Energy Efficient Paper Shredder

Originally uploaded by pafish6

I found a brand-new paper shredder that uses absolutely no electricity at all. Maybe I should put a patent on him and rent him out.

If the puppy's taking a nap, then I put all those important, but needs-to-be-discarded-discretely papers here:

How many identity-thieving criminals will dare open the coop guarded by this guy?

Saturday, January 29, 2011

30 Bags in 30 Days, cont.

I am not doing so well towards the 30 Bags In 30 Days goal. Plan on spending today working on it tho. Am trying very hard not to touch the kids' stuff. Why is it so easy to toss their stuff and so hard to toss mine? grrrr.....
Like, why am I holding on to a headless wiseman? I am pretty sure his head will not grow back.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Day 25: Freebies

Another slow week in the freebie mail department. Got a pretty Italian food calendar, some vitamins, and personal care products. I did manage to use coupons to get free nail tips. Only problem is, I don't wear nail tips. Or know anyone who does. Maybe I will put them in the kindergarten's treasure box. You know, kind of payback for who ever put the whistles in there. I know I am odd.

Pocket Change

An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest~Benjamin Franklin

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Laundry Count

Going to keep a track of how much laundry I really do, just for the next month or so. I am thinking it comes to 7 loads a week, but we'll see. Am also going to see who will win, the dryer or the clothesline. My electric company is rooting for the dryer, but my pocketbook is screaming "Clothesline!" Going to keep track in the right hand column. Goooooo clothesline!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Local Grocery

Got some really good deals this week at the grocery store. In fact, AWESOME deals.

  • boneless, skinless chicken tenders, 99 cents a pound, reg. $2.99 a pound

  • hot polish sausage, 99 cents for 20 ounces, reg. $5.49 a package

  • polish sausage, 99 cents a pound, reg. $1.99 a pound

  • 2 1/2 pound packages of fancy Rosotto and Basmati rice for 50 cents a bag. I found the same thing on Amazon, but a slightly higher price of $5.23! I bought 6 bags for a total of $3. Whoo-hoo!

  • 20 pounds of pototoes for $2

I had been boo-hoo-ing to myself about how I couldn't get to all the good deals at Rite Aid, CVS, etc., down in the city (40 miles away), but this week made up for it.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Garden Seeds

It's that time of year for seed catalogs! My favorite for the past couple of years has been from an organization in Iowa, the Seed Savers Exchange. I love reading about the history of where the seeds come from. Who wouldn't want to grow corn that originally came smuggled from Europe in a horse's feed sack?

I also found a less expensive site for heritage seeds,

www. . This year should find the following in the garden: cherry tomatoes, slicing tomatoes, plum tomatoes, zucchini, green peppers, red peppers for drying, sunflowers, garlic, and a variety of herbs. Nothing exotic, but still exciting.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Mail Call

What a bummer, nothing good in the mail today. Probably has something to do with the holidays and companies taking time off from offering freebies/samples. That's ok, I was called into work last night and might have been too tired to open samples. (NOT !~hehe)

(p.s. oops ! did get something, some free address labels!)

Pocket Change

There is no comparison between that which is lost by not succeeding and that which is lost by not trying
~Sir Francis Bacon

Monday, January 17, 2011

Thinking Outside My Laundry Room

Just paid an un-Godly amount of money to the water company again on Friday. So I decided to check out my local laundry mat. Haven't been there in years, but thought, hey, what the heck. Found that I could fit twice the amount of laundry into a washer than I can at home, for $2. What really floored me was it only took 50 cents to dry my load of whites. I know it takes about 50 minutes at home to dry a load, so that must be at least 50 cents spent, if not more.

Laundry mat cons: price; have to lug laundry around town; time-consuming (can't do the dishes or clean house while at the mat)
Laundry mat pros: may save money? ; can use HOT water for my whites; really nice and warm in there compared to my house (in the winter); can't do the dishes or clean house while at the mat (hehe, it's like a self-imposed time-out to me!)

Will have to think about this laundry mat vs. home thing some more, but just a thought.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

The Strawberry Fields

Proverbs 31: 10-14

Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies.
The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil.
She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life.
She seeketh wool, and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands.
She is like the merchants' ships; she bringeth her food from afar.

Day 16: Never Say Never

Read a hint somewhere yesterday that said to make sure you only run full loads of laundry in order to save money/time/water/etc. Well DUH! of course I do that. Who wouldn't? A complete money-waster? Do you see what time I am posting right now? It seems that I shouldn't have DUH-ed that hint, as it finds me now running a half-load of laundry after someone got sick in the night. (p.s. note to self: don't DUH things, it will come back to bite you in the you-know-what.)

Friday, January 14, 2011

I'll Just Die. . part 2

My boys think trash bags are a necessity. I think all the plastic grocery bags we accumulate should be used as trash bags. I wonder who will win? I did find a great coupon this week for trash bags. I think I will use it. But only if the total cost comes to $0. I am trying to compromise.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Mail Call

I love it when my hubby gets home and throws me a bunch of samples he found cluttering up the mailbox! Today was a dog day, the little guy got a sample of lamb and rice dog food, an engravable dog paw tag for his collar and a Kong! I priced out Kongs at the feed store and they seem to go for about $6.99 minimum. It claims to be indistructable, but we'll see. (This dog eats wood as a past time, wood as in stairs, table legs, chair legs, baseboards. . . . )

Monday, January 10, 2011

Pocket Change

The important thing is to strive towards a goal which is not immediately visible. That goal is not the concern of the mind, but of the spirit
~Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Sunday, January 09, 2011

Awaiting Spring

Ecclesiastes 3:1-9
To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;
A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.
What profit hath he that worketh in that wherein he laboureth?

Saturday, January 08, 2011

Gift Card

Received a $10 gift card for McDonalds today. I found a postcard in a box I was unpacking at work and I guess the people at the factory were tracking where their boxes ended up at. So I filled out the postcard and they sent me a $10 McDonalds gift card. Cool!

30 Bags in 30 days

Saw this on another blog, in the spirit of changing my life for the better this year, I am going to try to get rid of 30 bags of old clothes/stuff/garbage/useless items/etc., in 30 days. And I am not going to get rid of the kids belongings, just MINE. You know, the boxes that haven't been unpacked since our last move (only 7 1/2 years ago), fabric that started a project but didn't get finished, and things like owners manuals for things we don't own anymore (or things that we actually use so we don't need to read the manuals for.) The plan is to either donate it to Salvation Army or it goes into the dumpster. Either/or, it's OUTTA HERE by Feb. 10th. I'll keep track at the right.

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Day 5: On-line Freebies

Am a big fan of signing up for free samples online. It used to be that "samples" were a little quarter ounce of shampoo, but lately I have gotten some really good ones. I signed up for a free "sample" of coconut oil, and was suprised to get this 16 oz. jar in the mail. Much later I was really suprised to find out this same jar sells for $25 online. What a "sample!"

Last week alone I got a free calendar, 6 oz. bag of lamb and rice dog food, address labels, 1.75 oz. bag of Seattle's best coffee, and a very small container of Burt's Bees lotion. Not bad for just surfing the web while watching some mindless tv!

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Day 4: Clip Clip

Coupons. Yes, I am starting to cut coupons again. In what seems like a previous life, I had two boxes of coupons I would take every trip to the store and use them. I must of had a stalker back then because once while I was in the checkout line, someone actually stole my whole file box of coupons right out of my cart. I now take a much larger box, in hopes of deterring a theft.

Back when the kids were really little, I could get triple coupons at most places, but not anymore. And some stores around me now do not even accept computer printed coupons, so I don't know how much I can really save with the coupons. But I will try. My big deal of the week so far is that I got a roll of packaging tape for 25 cents after using a $1 coupon. Whoo hoo!

Can't eat it, but at least we won't run out of tape for awhile. I have a hard time keeping up with the expiration of coupons. The coupons used to last 6 months or more, but I just cut out some from a Dec. 20th dated magazine and the coupons expire on Jan. 11th. I cut them out just in case.


The critical opinions of a writer should always be taken with a large grain of salt.

For the most part, they are manifestations of his debate with himself as to what he should do next

and what he should avoid.


Day 3: Laundry Suds

Since I cleaned up the laundry room yesterday, I had room to make the laundry soap today. I found the original recipe at , but have changed it a bit to fit our needs.

Ingredients: 1 bar Fels Naptha Soap
3/4 cup Borax
3/4 cup Arm&Hammer WASHING Soda (not baking soda!) 1. The first part is pretty fun. Put the Fels Naptha bar on a microwavable plate and microwave for 30 second intervals, for about 3 or 4 minutes, making sure the soap doesn't fall off the plate. How can soap fall off the plate you ask? The bar will expand and grow, kind of reminding me of a science experiment gone wrong.

(we think this one looks like Lightning McQueen from the movie "Cars")

2. Let the bar soap dry out on the plate for 2 or 3 days. I found it is much easier to crumble after a couple of days. It also acts as a air freshener during this time, so your getting a 2 for 1 deal here!

3.Take the bar soap and crumble it between your fingers, until there are no chunks left. I have tried this in a food chopper before, but it didn't really work out that well.

4. Mix the borax and washing soda in with the crumbled bar soap. Voile` All done. Use 2 Tablespoons per load of laundry. (I have an energy efficient front loader, so maybe you will have to adjust to your washer.)

Statistics: (you will find I'm a cent-nut, I obsess with pennies)

Fels Naptha Soap $1.09 a bar= 1 batch of detergent

Borax $4.49 for a 72 oz. box= 14 batches of detergent

Arm and Hammer Washing Soda $2.79 for a 55 oz. box= 7 batches of detergent

After a lot of calculating (of which I won't bore you with) I figure this costs me about 6.7 cents per load of laundry. I did buy a damaged jug of liquid detergent for $4, marked down from $9.50 (no, didn't have a coupon either, bummer) and that should come out to about 5.7 cents a load., but I am doubtful about the actual price since it is much harder to pour liquid detergent to a precise amount to get the pre-determined loads. Now my next step is to get everyone here to not make so much dirty laundry. I know, fat chance.

Monday, January 03, 2011

Day 2: Clean-up

Decided to work on the laundry room for my second project in saving money/time/energy. Here is a starting picture:

Pretty bad isn't it? But how is cleaning/organizing the laundry room going to save me money?

Re-Hanging the clothes line = being able to line dry more clothes = less dryer usage

I think this will be a big money saver. I read once that anything that heats up is the biggest electric eater of all. (stoves, dryers, electric heaters)

Having more room to make laundry soap more efficiently= less store bought pricey detergent (unless I get one marked down like this damaged one)

Found the fabric and curtains that had been lost in the laundry room chaos, that I will need to use to make curtains (another day's project!) to keep more heat in and less cold out. (that should also work backwards in the warmer months)

Found more clothes/etc. to take to Goodwill for a tax write-off (I try to take at least two bags of stuff every month.)

Ok, I will post a pic when this is all done. Evidentally, a year's worth of mess isn't cleaned up in one hour. Who knew?

Pocket Change

It's not that I'm so smart, it's just that I stay with problems longer~Albert Einstein

Saturday, January 01, 2011

Weeds in My Yard~NOT!

Did you know that dandelion leaves are very nutritious? I find them a bit bitter, but since our family doesn't eat salad things often, I have been picking the dandelions for the rabbits and chickens. While they eat them fresh, they really seem to prefer them dried, like hay. The first year picking them, I made a big mistake. I pulled them all up by the roots, rather than cut the leaves off. So by now, our yard is probably the only one around without any dandelions! My neighbors probably think I have lost it when they see me picking dandelions out of their yards. Oh, wait, they thought that already when they found out I got chickens. And then rabbits. And then more chickens. And then more rabbits.

Anywhoo, now I have moved on to Queen Anne's Lace. And I do not pull it up by the root. I even put some seeds into pots last fall in hopes of getting some to grow earlier in the spring. Will let you know if that works.

The rabbits like the QAL leaves , more than the chickens do.

Day 1

Happy New Year to all!

What a way to start out the new year. Had another post planned for my first day of the new year, but went to work last night and found that my hours had been cut again. Soooooo, wow, I get a whole ten hours a week. The good news is that I get 6 days off in a row, so I can work on this new blog! My whole paycheck will go straight into the water and sewer bills, so I guess my first plan of attack will be on reducing our water consumption. There are six of us, so that's alot of showering and clothes to wash. Here is my attack plan:

  • reduce shower times. If left up to the youngest, that would involve a wet washcloth run across the face (at the moment, she is soaking the grime off in the tub, whilst screaming she is done, after a whole 2 minutes) We do have a flow reducing shower head. What is the time limit on a shower? 10 minutes? 8 minutes? I do know a 25 minute shower is in the past. Now I need to find a easy to set timer for everyone to use.

  • reducing the number of dishes washed. I am seriously thinking of using really cheap paper plates. (I got some on sale yesterday, 100 ct. for $1.57. ) Also limiting everyone to one glass a day. We do not have a working dishwasher. (Ok, ok, I am the working dish-washer.)
  • reduce the amount of laundry washed. Has anyone used a fabric refresher, like Febreeze, on jeans? If the kids wear the jeans to school, they really aren't getting them dirt dirty, so could I Febreeze them? (the clothes, not the kids. Wait, would it work on kids also?)

  • reducing the amount of bath towels washed. I mean really, if you use a clean towel on your clean, showered body, isn't the towel still clean? Maybe I will embroider everyone's initials on a personal towel and let them use it for what? 5 days? A whole week? before washing it again?

  • use the rain barrel and get another one. Can't really use the rain barrel much in the winter, but I do use it all summer. I rarely use house water on my garden. I wonder if the chickens and rabbits will drink the rain water. I mean, I know they will drink it, but will they still be healthy? Rain off the roof shingles hmmm. . .

Am keeping an open mind to any other new ideas on saving water. Got a few more on the back burner, but the burner isn't on cuz I'm saving electricity also.