Friday, July 16, 2010


Good morning folks. Sorry for my absence yesterday. I had some pressing family affairs that needed to be tended to. So how are you today? Sit back and stay awhile... let's chat. Oh and Susan... you can use your round zucchini just like regular. The only difference is they may be a bit more "seedy". I love to scoop them out and stuff them... YUM!

Ok, first off today, I found another frugal article that I wanted to bring to you. It contains a list you could even print off and post to remind you of some ways to be frugal and save. I hope you enjoy!

The Best Frugal Tips to Save Money
by Amy Bradbury

There are many ways to save money and cut back on expenses. Here are some of the best frugal tips out there for anyone who wants to save a little more money and can’t figure out how else to cut back on expenses:

Save all the small leftovers you have. Many people will throw away small portions of leftovers like smaller portions of vegetables or meats, but you can put them all into a freezer bag or other freezer container and save them. Put all the small leftovers in the same bag and when you have enough to make a meal put it into a crockpot to cook or cook in a pot on the stove. This is a way to make a leftover stew from small leftovers you may have originally thrown away. This is a great way to prevent waste of food and have another meal ready for yourself. Put any kind of leftover you want into the mixture. You probably don’t need to season it when cooking because it will already be preseasoned from the leftovers.

Only buy the essentials, only buy what you absolutely need or have to have to get by. Stop making impulse purchases. Stop purchasing soda, cookies and other junk food. If you need snacks for in between meals look for cheaper and healthier options like fruit, vegetables, pretzels, nuts, salad and homemade desserts you can make with simple ingredients you have on hand.

Have a "no buy" day or a "no buy" week or even a "no buy" month. Consider going a few days, a week or a month without making an unnecessary purchase. Only pay for the essentials like home, car and food purchases. If you stock up on food from a month before you could try going a week to a month without going grocery shopping for food and eating only out of your pantry from what you have on hand.

Go one day a week without driving your car. Spend a whole day at home without going out. Our grandparents and maybe even parents knew this and many times would only go out to go to work or shop for the essentials. The less you go out the more likely you will be saving money because you won’t be buying unnecessary things. When you do go out make sure you have a clear plan of attack when shopping. Know exactly what you’re going to buy and refuse to buy anything else. Spend your day or day(s) at home with family, friends, relaxing or doing housework and chores around the house so that you feel like you have still accomplished something. This way you’re not just sitting at home bored to death.

Save on milk by purchasing milk in the glass jars at retailers that will give you money back on the jar. Recently I found a retailer that stocks a brand of milk that comes in glass jars and they will give you money back for every jar you purchase as long as you bring the glass jar back to them. If a store will give you $2 for the glass bottle and you find the milk on sale for $1.99 it’s like getting the milk for free. You put the money up front to make the purchase but get it back when you’re finished with the milk by returning the jar. Many glass jars of milk can be purchased for anywhere between $1.99 to $3.49. You could be getting milk for free or very cheaply by using this method. Also, you could purchase powdered milk when it is on sale or stock up on regular milk in the plastic containers when it’s on sale and freeze it.

You can live without cable, especially nowadays with all the free or low cost options available. You can buy a converter box to pick up the basic stations in your area. You could use Redbox or Netflix. Redbox comes out with codes to get free movies all the time and they have tons of locations. You could borrow movies from your local library or swap movies with friends and family. If you have the internet you can basically watch TV and movies for free.

Live without either your home phone or cell phone. You really don’t need both, so choose which you would rather have.

Some people can live without the internet and barely make use of it. So if you are not a frequent internet user ask yourself if you really need it? If you don’t use it for work, information, TV, freebies or something that can somehow benefit you, then get rid of it.

Wash full loads of laundry and line dry your clothing outside when it’s warm and lay it out to dry inside when it’s cold. Use the dryer sparingly. Also, only wash dishes in dishwasher when you have a full load of dishes inside it.

Use Angel Food Ministries when you need cheap groceries and you’re trying to save money. You can buy a box of food for only $25 to $30.

Clip coupons from the Sunday paper or find other ways to get coupons. If you don’t want to pay for a subscription to your Sunday paper, put an ad out that you will pick up any Sunday newspapers that people are throwing away. Or, if your local doctors or dentist’s office gets the paper ask if they can give you the coupons.

Also, ask friends and family if they aren’t using the coupons to pass them along to you. Know the stores in your area that double or even triple coupons. You may want to shop on a certain day of the week if a store only doubles or triples coupons on that day of the week or the month.

If you’re a senior citizen you can save even more. Know the days you can save more when grocery shopping or going out to eat.

Buy meat on the days that it is marked down at the grocery store. Ask your local grocery store which day of the week they mark down meats and what time of day is best to find the marked down meats.

Eliminate paper towels and napkins. They are a waste of money and paper. Switch to cloth, which can be washed and is reusable. Think of all the money you’ll save when you switch. You may have to get used to it at first, but it’s not difficult. Remind yourself you are buying something you’re going to throw away and spending tons on it.

Shop thrift stores, consignment shops, Craigslist, Goodwill and yard sales for gently used items that you need.

Look for any and all freebies available. You can find a lot of freebies online and at retailers like CVS and Walgreens.

Cover and weatherproof your windows and seal all drafts.

Cut meat servings in half. You don’t really need a whole pound of beef in a casserole usually, so cut it to a half a pound of beef. This means you’ll be able to double the amount of meals you can make from one pound of beef. Cut meat portions in casserole’s, soups and stews where you can add more vegetables or other ingredients.

Make one vegetarian dish a week, which will cut back on your meat budget.

Make one soup dish a week. Soup is filling and usually inexpensive to make because of the ingredients like beans, rice, potatoes, tomatoes and other vegetables. Plus you can choose to use a small amount of meat or choose to make a vegetable or bean soup only.

Save all your spare change. You never know when it might come in handy, kind of like a back up plan for your emergency fund. However, it should not replace your emergency fund because everyone needs one of those too. Spare change adds up faster than you might think. You could use it for gifts, vacation, home repairs or something small for yourself.

Reuse and repurpose your belongings. If you have something that you don’t need anymore and do not want to use anymore don’t just throw it away. Give it to someone or give it to a homeless shelter or Goodwill. Chances are it can be used by someone.

Put an ad for the free item on Craigslist or Freecycle.

Declutter your house and sell or give away anything you don’t need or are not using.

Buy used when it comes to furniture or get it for free from family or friends. Look for other ways to get free or inexpensive furniture.

Plant a garden to grow some of your own food. Raise small livestock if possible like chickens.

Can and preserve vegetables and other foods that you have grown or give away and share some of your harvest.

Stock up on sales of canned, frozen or dried fruits and vegetables.

Go grocery shopping as little as possible. Try grocery shopping every other week or only once a month.

Use a slow cooker or pressure cooker to make meals at home.

Plan meals in advance.

Buy meat in bulk from a local butcher.

Shop farmer’s markets for cheaper fresh foods

Save aluminum, glass and plastic to get money back on these items when recycling them.

Live below your means, not above them. Stop trying to live above your means and be realistic.

Take a lesson from the well disciplined. Practice restraint and discipline. Reward yourself in a small way when you show restraint and discipline when it comes to your spending.

Ask friends and family how they save money and if they have any money saving tricks.

Read money saving or frugal living blogs and websites that offer more tips on how to save money and cut back.

Ok, its time for some super crafts! Now while I was grilling the other day, the heat from the grill was making me pretty sweaty LOL. I found myself thinking about those bandana tops... and then when I was cruising some craft sites I found another similar type top... made out of an apron! Isn't that so cool? So here is your:

Craft Idea of the Day: Apron Tops

Apron tops are just fun. With an open back, they will keep you cool in the summer. The front, however, can be as long as you like, even down to your knees. You can quilt the front, use an old t-shirt, put on a patch...anything. The possibilities are endless and you don't need a pattern to do it. Just a few squares of fabric and some stitching.

What You’ll Need:

Measuring Tape
Tailor’s chalk
3 colors of fabric, buy after you measure.

Bodice Length: Measure from your armpit to below your breasts. Take this measurement and add ½” for the bottom seam allowance, and 1” for the top seam allowance.

Apron Length: Measure from the same point just below your breasts to however long you want you apron. Add 1" for seam allowance.

Apron and Bodice Width:

Decide how much of your back you want to show and measure all the way around the largest part of your chest to get your bust measurement. This is the same number on your bra. Now subtract the amount of skin you want to show on your back.

Example: For 33” bust, try a top that is 29” across. This will leave 4” of your back on display.

You will have three panels of fabric for your bodice. The middle panel should be 8" in width. Add 1" for seam allowance. Use 10" if you have a large bust, adding the 1" for seam allowance. The final size of this panel is your 9" or 11" measurement wide, by the bodice length (armpit to below breasts) you measured earlier.

Example: Your middle panel needs to be 8" wide, so you add 1" for seam allowance to get 9".

Subtract the middle panel width from your bodice width measurement to see how much fabric you will need for the side panels. Add 2" for seam allowance.

Your bodice needs to be 29" wide, so you subtract your 9" for the middle panel to reach 20". Add 2" for seam allowance to get 22".

Cut the fabric

I like to choose solid fabrics and pair them with character or kitschy prints. It’s important to go with a solid to soften a pattern, unless you want the clown look.

4 pieces:

Cut a rectangle of fabric for your middle panel, the 9" or 11" measurement (remember, 11" for a larger bust size) by your bust length.

Cut a rectangle of fabric for the side panels. Fold it in half lengthwise and cut it again for two pieces.

Cut the large apron rectangle.

Lay your pieces out like the illustration above.

Stitch each side panel to the front panel. Be sure to zigzag stitch after your straight stitch to keep your raw edges from unraveling.

Lay your bodice right-side down along the top of your apron. Sew ½” all the way across. Use a medium-sized stitch. Now switch to a zigzag stitch and go over the raw edge. This will keep your fabric from unraveling in the wash. This extra step is worth it to preserve your creation.

Unfold your newly stitched pieces and press the seam flat against the apron side with your iron. This way, the seam won’t bother your skin.

Now you have something that looks like a two-toned square. We will need to hem it to make it look nice. With your zig-sag stitch, go all the way around the square, eliminating the raw edges on each side.

On the front of the apron, mark an inch from the bottom all the way across. Use chalk so that you don’t cause any stains. Fold up the inch of the bottom toward the back of the apron and iron it all the way across. Ironing will make sewing your hem easier. Use a medium straight-stitch to sew an 1/8” from your zig-zag stitches all the way across.

Hem the top of your bodice in the same fashion, folding in an inch, ironing, then sewing across. Fold in each of the sides of your top just a ½”, press, and sew.
These tabs will hold your laces at the back of the bodice.

Fold one of the 3” squares in a ½” at the top and bottom. Iron these creases. Fold the square in half and iron the crease. You should have a sweet little rectangle with raw edges on one side. Zigzag stitch the ends of the two raw edges together. I like to zigzag mine over a few times for good measure.

Fold each length of fabric in half (wrong-sides together) and iron the crease all the way down. Open it back up. Fold in a ½” on one side and iron all the way down. Repeat on the other side. Fold the strip in half again with the side folds tucked in the middle. It should be about an inch wide. Sew all along the open edge with a medium-sized straight stitch. When you reach the bottom, fold up a ½” and sew across.

Repeat with the second strap. Zigzag stitch the top of each strap.

Sew the Eyelets to the Bodice

Lay your bodice/apron square wrong-side up. Position an eyelet tab at the top-left of the bodice so that the raw edges are about a ½” inside the edge. Straight-stitch to attach the eyelet about an 1/8” from the edge of the bodice.
Repeat with the other three tabs, placing them at the bottom-left, top-right, and bottom-right corners of the bodice. Do not attach them to the apron. Now let’s stitch the straps.

Attach the Straps

First we need to figure out how far apart the straps should be. Break out the measuring tap again and measure 4” from the middle of the front of your bodice. To find the middle, fold the bodice in half. Mark 4” to the left and right of the middle. Pin your straps at these marks and try your bodice on. Typically, 8” between the straps will work. For larger busts (lucky!), you may need to go wider.
Sew the straps on in the same manner that we sewed the eyelets to the bodice, about a ½” from the edge. Be extra careful with this stitching, because it will be right on the front of your apron top.

Now that your apron top is assembled, you can lace up the back and try it on.
One of the advantages of apron tops is how easy they are to embellish. Decorate your apron top with a large patch on the front, some lace trim at the really have no limits, here.

Now its time to talk food. Tons of things can be made from tomatoes... sauces, pastes, etc. The fun thing is finding recipes that keep the beautiful fruit whole (or at least cut in chunks LOL) and unique. Today I am sharing an easy appetizer in the event you want to snack while watching a movie, have an "At home date", or plan to have a party!

Double Tomato Bruschetta


6 roma (plum) tomatoes, chopped
1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes, packed in oil
3 cloves minced garlic
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup fresh basil, stems removed
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 French baguette
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese


Preheat the oven on broiler setting.

In a large bowl, combine the roma tomatoes, sun-dried tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, vinegar, basil, salt, and pepper. Allow the mixture to sit for 10 minutes.

Cut the baguette into 3/4-inch slices. On a baking sheet, arrange the baguette slices in a single layer. Broil for 1 to 2 minutes, until slightly brown.

Divide the tomato mixture evenly over the baguette slices. Top the slices with mozzarella cheese.

Broil for 5 minutes, or until the cheese is melted.

Well folks, I am gonna get off here and go see if I can reach the lady with the TV for DS. Then I am gonna go hang out with my mom. I am also going to start "assembling" school backpacks to see what I have as far as school supplies to be ready for school... YAY! One of the most precious words in the world LOL! Ok my loves, see you tomorrow... HUGS!

1 comment:

  1. Debbie "MOM"July 16, 2010 at 1:20 PM

    Todays article on being frugal was very good with a few exceptions for me......
    I do laundry as often as I want to. Its a pet peeve of mine. Renee makes fun of me because of it. I like the fresh smell of cleaned laundry, the heat of the dryer on the clothes (hanging on the line is frugal but takes a lot of time and energy), and I like to button all the buttons, snap all the snaps and pristinely fold each piece of laundry. Next, what does the author think about smelly, nasty cleanup emergencies and not using a paper towel to clean it up? Thats gross!! Cleaning nasty dish towels and wash clothes is gross!! I usually get nauseated and throw those nasty pieces of laundry in the trash can! Give me a roll or two of good old paper towels and I'll clean up the spot til it shines! LOL Also on the author's list was planning meals ahead and I would like to do that but a lot of the time I have to be inspired before I can cook a meal, especially with it just being me and DH. I can see where it is completely necessary to have a plan of meals with a large family but not necessarily true for just us two. Anybody else feel that way?
    And lastly; I wish I could get some of those SENIOR discounts! You can get some serious savings and freebies and discounts on a bunch of things. My MOM uses her senior discount every chance she gets! I'm not quite old enough yet, I have used some of the discounts you get for being 50+ and its sweet! So I cant wait to be frugal that way!!
    The apron top is pretty cute and I think you could probably even make it where it has a back too. Most apron have plenty of cloth in the back of the apron. Even if it didn't, you could add a back to coordinate with the other embellishments that you add to the apron. Really cool craft!!
    Bruchetta. Never had it but might try this recipe because I am a big fan of tomatoes. Looks real yummy! Isn't bruchetta Italian? I think there are tons of recipes for different bruchettas. I'll have to research that one. Well, its lunch time for me so til next time......