Saturday, May 29, 2010


Well good morning there to all the lovely people on the other side of my computer screen! How are you doing this “OMG-its-too-hot-out-here” Saturday morning? I, as you probably can guess, am already working up a sweat! I went out to water my plants and feed my kitties and OMG… super sticky! YUCK!

Alright. I noticed my mother’s great comment and I chuckled when I read it! Some of you are probably sitting there going “What’s up with that?” So, allow me to elaborate! “I have been recycling for years; long before it was eco-chic. LOL From clothes to paper goods, and things from nature to even food products, like fast food condiments, but I'll let Renee tell that story if she wants to. It makes her laugh all the time.”

Now, my mother is referencing to the fast food condiments in that part of her comment LOL. For those of you who have followed me for a while now, or know me, know that my son Alex is Autistic. No he was NOT born that way. He developed without problems until he was 10 months old. He got very sick with Spinal Meningitis and had a seizure. During that seizure, he had 2 strokes, resulting in massive brain scar tissue which cannot be operated on. So the neurological trauma caused the autism and developmental delays. SO, when Alex had the meningitis and I was basically living at the hospital, when I would go get each meal, I would grab handfuls of condiments. Mother would fuss and fuss “Stop doing that” or “You don’t need all those”, etc. LOL I told her by the time he came home, she wouldn’t have to buy condiments for months! I WAS RIGHT! LOL… when we came home, I would take all the ketchup packets, etc. and fill the near-empty bottles in the fridge. She would reach for one and say “Hey where’d this ketchup come from?” LMAO!! I would whisper “PACKETS” LMAO! She didn’t have to buy ANY condiments for about 3-4 months I think it was LMAO! I have always done that, but it apparently rubbed off on her! LOL. She and my father “collect” condiments now from all the times they have to grab a bite out, etc. Mom almost had a heart attack yesterday thinking my father threw out the empty ketchup bottle LMAO!!!!! Oh it was great! So I took her packets and put them in the bottle… she had enough packets for like ¼ to 1/3 of a bottle!

Mom was being very frugal yesterday (oh see the tear… I’m so proud! LMAO). See, after the Hurricane, Dad and her had to live in a RV and they had MRE’s when there was no electricity, etc. Well, she SAVED the cracker and bread packets (along with some of the drink things, CONDIMENTS LMAO, etc) that she didn’t use. So we sat in the kitchen with a food processor and we made some (very pretty mind you) homemade bread and cracker crumbs! Waste not, want not right? She freezes heels of loaves of bread that are not “sandwich or toast worthy” LOL and then when she has enough, she makes those into crumbs as well. See where I get my frugality from? Ain’t she so smart!?

Well I wish, at this point, I had some crafty creations to report. But for some reason I am just not feeling it. It saddens me really. I sit there at the table thinking to myself “Ok, what can I make today” and about 5 minutes later, its like… I really am not in the mood. So I get up and move onto something else. What is my problem??! I need to get back on the sewing wagon… and FAST! I have projects to complete by goodness! Ok, so while I might not have the fabric fever today, I know that many of you might still be in the mood. So I have found you something else really wonderful for you to take a gander at and contemplate construction over! LOL…

Craft Idea of the Day: Plantable Greeting Cards


1-1/2 cups of 1-inch scraps made from newspaper, construction paper, or used printer paper
Large bowl of warm water
Masking tape
6- by 10-inch piece of window screen
9- by 13-inch baking pan
Packet of wildflower seeds
Bath towels


1. Place the scraps in the bowl of warm water and soak overnight.

2. Fold strips of tape over the edges of the screen to make it easier to handle.

3. Place the soaked paper into the blender, then fill the blender halfway with fresh water. Blend until the mixture looks like a thick, creamy soup.

4. Add water to the baking pan until it's a quarter full, then pour in the blended pulp. Add the packet of wildflower seeds and mix well with your hands.

5. Slip the screen into the pan so that it slides beneath the pulp and seeds. Lift it gently, catching the pulp mixture in an even layer on top and allowing the water to drain off.

6. Lay the screen on a bath towel, moving it to a dry area when the fabric below is saturated. Let the paper dry for at least 24 hours.

7. When the paper has dried completely, gently remove it from the screen. Add a message with the markers.

OK, now I know that many of you like the recycling things I bring you all the time- crafts to storage to garden and everything in between. SO, I’m gonna bring you some more tips for another common thing you can find around the house… cardboard tubes. You know, like toilet paper tubes, paper towel tubes, etc? Yea those kinds of things. There are TONS of great uses for those things! Check these out!

Things you can do with cardboard tubes

Don't throw away your old cardboard toilet paper or paper towel tubes. Try some of these ideas to recycle or re-use them

Cross Stitch Storage - I use old cardboard tubs to store my cross stitch work. It keeps them neat and clean while I'm working or storage before framing. Contributed by jvick

Make a Christmas Angel - Instructions here

Paintbrush Carrier - I use them to transport my paint brushes back and forth to painting class. Just stuff a paper towel in bottom and drop brushes in. This keeps them from getting crushed in my tote bag. Contributed by Sandy D'Ambrosio,

Crafter's Desk Organizer - use cardboard tubes along with an empty cardboard tissue box to make a crafters desk organizer. Take the tissue box and snip the corners diagonally on the top,fold down the flaps to the inside and glue-this reinforces the box.Then take the tubes and cut them off so they are the same height as the box. Hot-glue (or use tacky-glue) in rows in the box (it takes about 15 toilet paper tubes). If you use a tissue box with a floral or decorator design it's very pretty. Then store all your markers,pens,glue sticks,scissors,hole punchers etc.on end in the tubes, within reach on your craftbench! Contributed by

Store Pantyhose - Each empty toilet roll core can hold a pair of pantyhose. I usually fold my pantyhose to about palm-sized, and stuff it into the core. Each pantyhose should fit nicely into one core, without much of it dangling out. And when I travel, I just pop as many filled cores as I need in the luggage, and I don't have to worry about tearing the pantyhoses accidentally! Contributed by Angie B.,

Grocery Bag Storage - Re-use paper towel cardboard tubes to store those unruly plastic grocery bags. fold the grocery bags fan style in the palm of your hand and stuff in the tube. Stores nicely in a drawer or under the cabinet. Keep one in every bathroom and the utility room to use the bags as wastebasket liners. Contributed by Maria A. Alvarez-Lundie,

Bracelets - Cut tube down one side, then cut into sections (same size as napkin rings). Then cover with wrapping paper or material, using glue stick. Use clear adhesive shelf paper to cover bracelets. Little girls like these and it's easy to make a few at a time. and different styles. Contributed by V.Grl,
Binoculars - Here's an idea we use at playschool. Take two rolls and staple them together side by side. Punch holes in the top sides of the rolls and put yarn through to hang around the child's neck. They can let their imaginations go wild decorating them, whether it's simply coloring them or glueing odds and ends on. When they're done, they have a pair of binoculars. The kids at playschool LOVE these and always enjoy going on a jungle safari with them. You can also use an elastic to put on some colored cellophane on the end of them. Contributed by Tracy,

Make Rain Sticks - great activity for kids. Instructions here! Contributed by Roberta,

Cord Organizer - They make an excellant way to store all those extention cords tangled up in your drawers. Fold extention cord back and forth about 10 inches long and stuff in tp tube. Mark length on tube for future use. They will also hang well on a nail in the closet.
Contributed by Cathy Williams,

Fire Starters - Fill an empty roll with dried leaves in the fall. Wrap it with newspaper, 4 inches longer than the roll, and twist the ends of the paper, for easy lighting. If you wrap them with decorative paper and put them in a basket they make a nice accessory to a fire place. They can also be covered with Christmas wrapping paper for the holidays.
Contributed by Claycrazy,

Party Favors - One year I took toilet paper rolls, or cut paper towel rolls and put small gifts inside. Since all the men in my family are fishing nuts I put a lure in each of theirs, for the women I put small bottles of bath gel, lotions or perfume. There are many things for the kids. I wrapped & tied each end with ribbon & set them on their dinner plates. The little ones couldn't wait to open their gifts.
Contributed by Kathy,

Party Poppers! Instructions here

Build stuff - Using several lengths of tubes and clothes pins my children love to connect the tubes to build structures. Contributed by

Make a Christmas Wreath - Instructions here

Lincoln logs - You can easily make your own Lincoln logs out of cardboard tubes. Just cut a notch in the ends.

Megaphone - Kids discover this one pretty quick... and parents get tired of it pretty quick. :)

Boot savers - Stuff several paper towel tubes into your boots to help them hold their shape.

Napkin rings - Really! We made some very elegant napkin rings using ribbon and toilet paper tubes. Instructions here.

Knitting needle storage - Paper towel tubes can be used to store your knitting needles. Keeps the plastic ones from bending and breaking.

Christmas light storage - Wrap your lights around a paper towel tube to store them for next year. They won't tangle up as easily!

Tree guard - Cut a paper towel tube in half lengthwise and wrap around the base of small trees to prevent scarring when you're weed eating around its base.

Poster / document saver - roll up old posters or documents and slide them inside a cardboard tube. For large posters, use the cardboard tubes left over from wrapping paper.

Build a doll house or castle - We built a fairy castle completely out of cardboard, plastic containers, old wall paper, all kinds of scraps. Instructions here.

Use to paint circles - Dip one end of a toilet paper tube into some paint. Press gently down on paper to paint a perfect circle. Make a whole picture with just circles, and fill in the spaces between the circles with different colors for an abstract work of art.

Aren’t those some neat tips? I found them on, along with the garden hose tips and they have lots more great ideas for recycling crafts. Check them out and venture to other areas of the site for more on topics such as sewing, holidays, gardening, etc. Some of the areas you have to be a paid subscriber to access, but there is lots of great free info too!

Ok kids, now for one of my favorite sections of the day… FOOD! YUMMY! Now as you know, the week is just about over… so is another theme. Do you want me to keep going with themes or just go back to random recipes and such? Let me know by leaving your comments, thoughts, ideas, etc! Now for today’s meal, I thought that since a lot of people like pizza (except maybe my mom and dad right now LOL! Too soon after your pizza coma, huh? LMAO) I would bring you a very interesting twist on the American fave. Turn it into a SALAD! What… you’ve never heard of it? OMG! Well step into my parlor said the Frugal Mom to all you guys LOL…

Antipasto Pizza Salad


6 cups torn lettuce leaves
8 ounces pepperoni, julienned
6 ounces swiss cheese, julienned
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
2 medium tomatoes, chopped
1 (6 ounce) can pitted ripe olives , drained, halved
1 tablespoon minced chives
1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar or cider vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon pepper


Place the lettuce on a large serving platter. Arrange the salami, cheeses, tomatoes and olives over top. Sprinkle with chives. In a blender, combine the remaining ingredients; cover and process until smooth. Drizzle over salad.

Ok folks. I am gonna close up shop for today so I can go to work. I hope you have a wonderful day today in whatever you decide to do. Come back tomorrow for more fun and excitement in the world of The Frugal Mom! I’ll be anxious to read your comments! Until tomorrow… HUGS!


  1. Oh gosh, I know how your mom feels about a thrown out empty ketchup bottle. I think we've been reusing our bottles for maybe 5 years...DH doesn't know this. I have bought ketchup in huge containers and then poured it down into like 5 bottles in the fridge. Never thought a thing of it...DH must not have realized it...He reached in the fridge to make a sandwich and FREAKED at the expire date on the ketchup (does it ever really go bad?) Thank goodness I save the bulk containers too so I could provide the proof that it wasn't THAT old! It took forever for me to convince him to quit looking at expiration dates on things because I reuse so many containers. And really, I'm not sure that some of that stuff goes bad on or near the dates that they say anyway? I'm not sure I've ever seen "Bad" ketchup or mustard. Never thought about packets, but then I don't think I have patience for that...I just save em for camping.

    don't worry about not being in a crafty mood it'll come back. It always does for me. Consider it a creativity break and you'll be back stronger than ever.

    We are trying a new recipe today - it's in the crockpot now...Greek spareribs - got a kid who won't each BBQ sauce for anything, and I have some ribs that I want to use up. If it's good I'll send you the recipe to try - it was super simple to toss together and the whole time I was doing it, I was thinking this sounds like something I could have pulled from you! But I'm only sending it if its good!

    Kay, I'll quit babbling for now, but I'll keep checking in.

  2. Debbie "MOM"May 29, 2010 at 9:14 AM

    To Cyndi - OMG! LMAO! The expiration date thing cracked me up. My DH sees me emptying my packets so thats never been an issue. But thats just too hilarious! And beware - condiments DO go bad. When we acquired the R.V. to live in after the hurricane the previous owners had left some old groceries in there and lets just say.....never open overly expired ketchup or mayo. Its not a pretty smell. Thanks for the early morning laugh.
    Renee, Renee! Telling my frugality secrets. LOL There are tons of them. The article about the toilet roll crafts was too close to home. When all my kids were little, I would have drawers full of things like toilet rolls, pine cones we had picked up in the parks near the swings, pieces of scrap materials from my sewing, and things that other people might toss as trash. But let me tell you, my kids were very imaginative and would make me the cutest things from those scraps, some which have survived all this time and are still very precious to me, even my paper mache tribal masks and my pine cone Christmas tree owl (remember that one Renee?)
    So I say save those scraps and turn them into treasures.
    I think Cyndi may have inadvertently mentioned your next food theme.....slow cooker meals or meats or even desserts. Easy and simple and yummy. I think I'll pass on the pizza salad. Too much pizza in too soon a time span for me. I'll just eat a salad plain, maybe even naked salad today (salad without the dressing). Dont really want anything with sauce or dressing. OK. Got to start my day. Til next time......

  3. OK I would die for some pie recipe week actually. I think pie week would be fun! And what's up with the owl? I want to hear all about it! Someone tell me. PLEASE? And to Cyndi- yes ketchup does go bad actually. Anything with tomatoes and acidy fruits or veggies can spoil after a certain amount of time. Be careful, my best friend got food poisoning once from old food!