Sunday, February 14, 2010


Well a lovely Valentine’s morning to you! How are you this mushy day of happiness? I’m good… gonna start this valentine’s with some homemade pink pancakes for my crew followed with tokens of love to the hubs and kids. Homemade cards, etc… things I have been working on this week for them. I hope they enjoy them. My mom says you don’t give Valentine’s to your kids LOL but I do because for years, they were the only “sweeties” I had LOL! Not that this was a bad thing… I love my kids to death! I love you mom… but my kids get presents today! LMAO!

Okie dokie… speaking of my mom… she sent me the coolest email yesterday… about coffee filters. Now I have seen this list before… a LONG time ago in one of my frugal groups, but it reminded me of another list I have. And I wanted to share it with you. Since I have been on the decluttering race and the recycling thing is important to me, I think its double appropriate LOL! It’s called

52 Money Saving Uses for Ordinary Kitchen Items

Here's a great list of ways to stretch that dollar, just by using ordinary items from your very own kitchen! Includes milk bottles, soda bottles, ice cube trays, baby food jars, egg cartons, salt, baking soda and more! Recycling not only saves money, but it creates a mindset of making the best with what you have. Kind of like that old saying "If you’ve got lemons, make lemonade." Well, here’s what you can make with...

Plastic Milk Bottles
1. Cut off a portion of the top, leaving the handle in place. Add birdseed and make a bird feeder, hanging it on a clothesline or tree branch.
2. Make a garbage caddy for the sink, especially great if you don’t have a garbage disposal.
3. Make a caddy for tools or painting supplies.
4. Cut off the bottom and use the top as a funnel.
5. Fill the entire jug with beans and use for exercise weights, or just storage for the beans.

Plastic Soda Bottles
1. Make a homemade tornado, place two bottles together, top to top - filling one with water. Tape the tops together and swirl around to make a tornado effect.
2. You can also make a funnel from the tops of soda bottles.
3. Add some sand or rice and use for a homemade bowling game for the kids, just be sure to glue the caps on.

Ice Cube Trays
1. Add a squirt of lemon to your ice cube tray and you'll have lemon flavored ice for your tea.
2. Kool-Aid flavored ice for the kids, mix the flavors up for fun.
3. Use trays as drawer organizers for paperclips or sewing notions.
4. Ice cube trays are the perfect size for freezing small portions of left over baby food, or making your own homemade.
5. Freeze tablespoon sized amounts of broth or special sauces for cooking soups and casseroles.

Jelly Jars/Mason Jars
1. Remove labels and use for gifts, placing a pretty piece of fabric on top and tying with a ribbon.
2. Great for pencil holders.
3. Fill with candy.
4. Use for storing cotton balls or q-tips in the bathroom.
5. Store sewing notions, crafts or hardware.

Baby Food Jars
1. Perfect for lost buttons.
2. Store small nails.
3. Keep beads or small craft items sorted easily.

Egg Cartons
1. Great seed starters, get a head start on Spring.
2. Storing plastic Easter eggs.
3. Make a memory game for children, matching up items from around the house.
4. Storage for collectible rocks.
5. Jewelry box, great for earrings.

1. Mix with a little salt for cleaning copper or brass.
2. Remove odors from hands or cutting boards.
3. Keep a supply on hand for seasoning poultry and seafood.

1. Use the peelings to freshen your garbage disposal.
2. Cover with cloves and use as an air freshener or Christmas ornament.
3. Place open halves inside a turkey or chicken before baking to add a great flavor.

1. Remove grease and stains from pans and dishware.
2. Put out a grease fire.
3. Clean a sticky iron plate by sprinkling salt on a piece of paper and moving the hot iron over it.
4. Ease the pain of beestings.

Baking Soda
1. Add to a damp cloth and remove crayon and marker from walls and furniture.
2. Pour a little down the drain with some vinegar, let sit 5 minutes and wash down with warm water to clear clogged drains.
3. Mix with facial cleanser to make an exfoliator.
4. Ease the pain of beestings.
5. Line a litter box to prevent odors.
6. Keep an open box in the fridge to prevent odors, put one in the freezer too.
7. Use ¼ c. on a damp food burned pan, let sit for 5 minutes and scrub clean easily.

Paper Plates
1. Place two plates together, edge to edge, fill with beans or rice, staple the edges together, let children paint and decorate for a fun musical toy.
2. Use as a cover for food to keep warm.
3. Place ½ of a plate on top of a full sized plate, edge to edge, staple edges to create a letter holder. Great for kid's Valentines.

Coffee Cans
1. Use food bag labels and create unique storage containers for flour, sugar, cornmeal, etc.

Mesh Onion Bags
1. Add leftover pieces of soap and make a scrubber.
2. Contain small items while in the dishwasher.
3. Cut bag open and scrunch together to make a dish scrubber.

Muffin Tins
1. Create a memory game for young children, by filling the muffin cups with small items from around the house.
2. Organize small items in each compartment, such as paper clips, rubber bands, etc. and use as a desk drawer organizer.

And then of course I HAVE to share the coffee filters list with you cause its just along the same lines as all the helpful tips above! Thanks mom for the email!

25 Useful Ideas for Coffee Filters

Coffee filters .... Who knew! And you can buy 1,000 at the Dollar Tree for almost nothing even the large ones.

1. Cover bowls or dishes when cooking in the microwave. Coffee filters make excellent covers.

2. Clean windows, mirrors, and chrome... Coffee filters are lint-free so they'll leave windows sparkling.

3. Protect China by separating your good dishes with a coffee filter between each dish.

4. Filter broken cork from wine. If you break the cork when opening a wine bottle, filter the wine through a coffee filter.

5. Protect a cast-iron skillet. Place a coffee filter in the skillet to absorb moisture and prevent rust.

6. Apply shoe polish. Ball up a lint-free coffee filter.

7. Recycle frying oil. After frying, strain oil through a sieve lined with a coffee filter.

8. Weigh chopped foods. Place chopped ingredients in a coffee filter on a kitchen scale.

9. Hold tacos. Coffee filters make convenient wrappers for messy foods.

10 Stop the soil from leaking out of a plant pot. Line a plant pot with a coffee filter to prevent the soil from going through the drainage holes.

11. Prevent a Popsicle from dripping. Poke one or two holes as needed in a coffee filter.

12. Do you think we used expensive strips to wax eyebrows? Use strips of coffee filters..

13. Put a few in a plate and put your fried bacon, French fries, chicken fingers, etc on them. It soaks out all the grease.

14. Keep in the bathroom. They make great "razor nick fixers."

15. As a sewing backing. Use a filter as an easy-to-tear backing for embroidering or appliquéing soft fabrics.

16. Put baking soda into a coffee filter and insert into shoes or a closet to absorb or prevent odors.

17. Use them to strain soup stock and to tie fresh herbs in to put in soups and stews.

18. Use a coffee filter to prevent spilling when you add fluids to your car.

19. Use them as a spoon rest while cooking and clean up small counter spills.

20. Can use to hold dry ingredients when baking or when cutting a piece of fruit or veggies Saves on having extra bowls to wash.

21. Use them to wrap Christmas ornaments for storage.

22. Use them to remove fingernail polish when out of cotton balls.

23. Use them to sprout seeds. Simply dampen the coffee filter, place seeds inside, fold it and place it into a plastic baggie until they sprout.

24. Use coffee filters as blotting paper for pressed flowers. Place the flowers between two coffee filters and put the coffee filters in phone book.

25. Use as a disposable "snack bowl" for popcorn, chips, etc --- ESPECIALLY WHEN TRAVELING!!

Oh yea… make that 26… They’re great for making coffee too!

Some cool things huh? I think so… ok so after I checked emails I got to thinking about crafts. My daughter has a trip coming up… she is flying to Florida with the High School Band. They will be gone for 5 days. Well how is she supposed to spot her luggage from everyone else’s? She is gonna be very nervous because this is her first airplane ride ever and I won’t be there to help her. So I have to make things as smooth as possible for her. SOOO… I figure I can make some fabric luggage tags! No one else will have those on her bags and she can easily identify them when she gets to luggage claims! Not to mention, these could make a great gift, especially for someone you know who travels A LOT!

Craft Idea for the Day: Fabric Luggage Tags

Approximate Time: 1 hour


1/4 yd. of fabric
1/4 yd. lightweight fusible interfacing
sewing machine
thread to match fabric
small piece clear vinyl sheeting
tissue paper
card stock or old card
charm or memento, if desired


1. Cut 2 pieces of fabric 4 1/4x5 3/4 inch. Cut one end in a curve, as in picture. Cut one 14x2 1/4 inch strip of fabric for strap. Cut 2 pieces fusible interfacing 3 1/2"x 5" cut one end in a curve. All seam allowances are 3/8 inches.

2. Fold strip of fabric (lengthwise), right sides together and stitch. Stitch 1 end of strip so you can turn it right side out. After turning right side out, cut off that stitched end to avoid bulkiness. Iron strap, topstitch both long edges of strap.

3. Place fusible interfacings on the wrong side of your 2 other pieces of fabric, center it, iron on interfacing (bumpy side down) press for about 10 seconds (read manufacturers directions, they might be different than mine).

4. With right sides together machine stitch around edges, but leave a 2 inch opening in top of tag for turning and for inserting strap. Turn right side out, iron. Insert strap ends in the 2 inch opening, center it and pin in place. Top stitch, close to edge, around entire tag, you'll be top stitching the strap into place. (don't stitch over that pin).

5. Cut a 2 3/4x3 1/2 inch piece of clear vinyl. Place on tag, centered but a bit lower to the bottom. Place tissue paper over the vinyl and zigzag stitch* in place along 3 edges of the vinyl.

*I used a scalloped stitch, you could use zig zag or whatever you like. You might want to practice with a small piece of vinyl and scrap fabric first, to see what stitch you prefer. Tear away the tissue paper.

6. For the nametag, cut a piece of card stock to fit under the vinyl. I used Print Shop on my computer to print the design on the nametag. You can use parts of a greeting card if you want design on the insert. You can embellish with a charm or memento from a trip.

To attach to the luggage, drape the long strap of the luggage tag around the handle on your luggage, take the bottom part of the luggage tag and put it through the loop of the long strap. Pull slightly to tighten.

Aren’t those just the coolest thing?? Aside from DD’s music tags, I am thinking about making some to sell in my craft shows as well… you can make them from anything! Breast cancer, autism, music, animals, you name it! Even if you just have scraps you can’t bear to toss… you can make one! I think they are cool and I’m gonna be making them like crazy LOL!

Ok sew all this crafting makes me hungry LOL! As you know, yesterday was a cook-a-thon! Boy did I get a lot done. I clocked in 11 hours in the kitchen before my body just gave out. And I lasted as long as I did cause I had a chair in there with me. Regardless, I got a lot of great meals made and even enough for some freezer meals! LOOK!

YAY! GO ME! LOL… I made Unstuffed Pepper Soup, Golden Carrot Soup, Cream of Broccoli soup, Spicy Refried Bean soup, Cream of Asparagus soup, Cabbage Beef Soup, Mulligatawny soup (which I could not keep them out of… got a request for more tomorrow!) and a new thing I threw together- my favorite meal turned into a soup; Chicken Fried Steak, Mashed Potatoes, and corn! Let me tell ya OMG I almost ate the whole pot by myself!! And the DD15 was seriously digging it too! I call it Chicken Fried Steak soup! I also got 2 chicken fried steak dinners, 2 Asian broccoli & beef with fried rice and pot stickers dinners, and 3 meatballs with broccoli cheese rice and sweet peas TV dinners made as well! OH and Susan, be sure to check out my post for Cabbage Beef Soup on the 6th… I think its what you were thinking about… just omit the beans and you could add carrots if you want. So let me share these 2 great new pots with you that I couldn’t keep everyone out of yesterday!

Renee’s Chicken Fried Steak Soup


4 beef cube steaks, shredded
2 cups of peeled, diced potatoes (I used frozens)
1 can of whole kernal corn, drained
1 tablespoon fresh minced garlic (about 3 large cloves)
2 teaspoons Emeril's Essence
1/4 cup onion, diced
3 cups of beef broth
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
3 dashes (about 1/2 tablespoon) Worcestershire sauce
1 cup heavy cream


1. Combine beef and onions in a medium pot and season with Essence. Brown on medium-high heat. Add garlic and cook for 2 minutes longer.

2. Add broth, corn, potatoes, salt, pepper, and worcestershire sauce. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and cook about 10 minutes or until potatoes are tender.

3. Add cream and mix. Heat through. **If too “watery” for your tastes, add a slurry of flour & water and warm until thickened.**

Mulligatawny Soup


1/2 cup chopped onion
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 carrot, diced
1/4 cup butter
1 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons curry powder
4 cups chicken broth
1/2 apple, cored and chopped (You can also use 1 can of unsweetened applesauce)
1/4 cup white rice
1 skinless, boneless chicken breast half - cut into cubes (I use all the meat from a whole roasted chicken)
salt to taste
ground black pepper to taste
1 pinch dried thyme
1/2 cup heavy cream, heated


Saute onions, celery, carrot, and butter in a large soup pot. Add flour and curry, and cook 5 more minutes.

Add chicken stock, mix well, and bring to a boil. Simmer about 1/2 hour.

Add apple, rice, chicken, salt, pepper, and thyme. Simmer 15-20 minutes, or until rice is done.

When serving, add hot cream.

As for tonight, well the hubs is getting a special buffalo steak, potatoes, etc… and I’m gonna be cooking again all day today as I didn’t get through all the stuff I need to use up ASAP. The DS is not as happy about that cause it mean tons of dishes again today LOL! But he doesn’t fight me… he does them when I say LOL… so I trained him well LMAO! I don’t see that CFS soup in the freezer (the one portion that was left to save) lasting through the day LMAO! It’s just calling me! OK gang, I’m off to make some pink pancakes for my gang then another cook-a-thon! I’ll see you tomorrow… HUGS!

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