Thursday, August 12, 2010


Hello everyone. How are you doing this crazy Thursday morning? Please excuse my tardiness as its been a crazy day in our house! Had to go on a rescue mission this morning and then of course kids and cats and all kinds of chaos. 'Tis my world, this land of commotion LOL!

Today I found some super spiffy frugal information for you about saving water. Why do I bring this to you? For the simple fact that I was staring at an outragous water bill in yesterday's mail and said OMG there has GOT to be a better way to save! So without further ado...

Frugal Tips to Water Conservation

There are lots of simple things you can do to cut your household water use. It all starts with awareness. If you know some of the ways people tend to waste water, you’ll be better positioned to conserve.

The bathroom

Here are some common ways in which people waste water – hot or cold – in the bathroom.

Leaving the tap running the whole time you brush your teeth. Try putting the plug in the bathroom sink while you do this, and notice how quickly the sink fills up. Shutting off the water until you’re ready to rinse can easily cut 2-3 gallons a day of water use per person.

Using hot water to brush your teeth. Some people don’t like having really cold tap water in their mouth during the final rinse. In cold climates or in water supply systems fed from the bottoms of lakes (such as parts of the Great Lakes Region in the US and Canada), the water supply can be pretty chilly for the cooler months, and sometimes even in the summer. Instead of running the hot water so you don’t have to rinse your mouth out in freezing cold water, always fill your bathroom water cup when you’re done brushing, so the water has time to warm up for the next time you brush.

Using a flush toilet as a waste disposal device. I’ve seen people who blow their nose with a tissue, then throw it in the toilet and flush it down. This is not a very good use of 2-5 gallons of water! Using a toilet as a waste disposal may be convenient but it’s extremely wasteful.

Using a regular toilet instead of a low-flush or dual-flush toilet. Decades ago, toilets typically had 5 gallon tanks. More than a decade ago standards in North America changed and 3 gallon (13 liter) tanks were the new standard. Recently manufacturers have come out with 1.5 gallon (6 liter) tanks, sometimes in response to tightened building code standards. And there are dual-flush toilets that can flush liquids and toilet tissue with as little as 1 liter or quart of water, while solids still take 4-6 liters (1 to 1.5 gallons). If you have an old toilet, you can replace it with a low-flush model, or simply install a conversion kit; see the resources section for details. Another free way to save water on your toilet is to avoid flushing it when it’s not strictly necessary. For example, in my house when the alarm clock goes on, everyone gets up and has their morning visit to the bathroom; only the last person flushes.

Leaving the shower running when you’re not in it. Sometimes you want the shower to warm up before you hop in. So you might turn on the shower, close the curtain or shower door, and work on some other grooming (brush your hair or teeth, shave…) while you wait for the shower water to heat up. Unfortunately people often lose track of the time, and a minute or more of hot water may wind up just pouring down the drain. One easy solution to this is a water-saving shower valve, which cuts the flow of water to a trickle as soon as the water reaches 95F or 35F. You hop into the shower and pull a cord or flip a lever, and the hot water comes out full force. This keeps the water hot for you without wasting much water while you’re doing other things in the bathroom.

Taking a really long shower. This is a favorite teenager move: drain the hot water tank right before Mom has her shower. There’s really no good reason to spend 10 or 15 or 20 minutes in the shower. A shower is said to use less water than a bath, but that’s not the case when you’re in there 20 minutes. I’ve heard some people say they keep their house cool to save on heating, and so they have to take a long hot shower to get warm. Don’t forget it takes a lot more energy to heat a liter of water than a liter of air – and when that hot water goes down the drain, the heat is basically lost!

If you’re serious about saving water in the bathroom, try putting the plug in your bathroom sink when you brush your teeth, just to see how much water one person’s tooth brushing takes. Or put a plug in the shower or bathtub when you shower, to see how much water a shower uses. Or try filling the toilet tank with a measuring cup, one cup at a time, and then track how many times the toilet gets flushed in a day. You might be surprised to see how much water you use.

The kitchen

You might think the biggest water waster in the kitchen is the dishwasher. In fact, modern dishwashers are far better at conserving water and energy than all but the most diligent, energy-conscious human dish washer. And the worst of us are extremely wasteful. Common practices that waste a lot of water are:

Not putting the plug in the sink when you do dishes – just running the water continuously. This typically requires you to add more dish soap to your scrub brush or sponge after every few dishes, because you keep washing the soap down the sink. Try putting the plug in the sink the next time you try to do dishes this way. You’ll discover the sink fills up pretty quickly – it might even overflow! You can almost always do an entire set of dishes with just a half sink of water, and remember, your dishwasher can do even better.

Prerinsing dishes that go in the dishwasher. Remember, modern dishwashers are designed to wash dirty, unrinsed dishes. There should be no need to prerinse. If you find that your dishes don’t come clean unless you prerinse, you either have a dishwasher that is 10+ years old, or there’s something malfunctioning. The pump may be weak, the filter may be blocked with leftovers (we found about 30 olive pits in ours a couple of years ago), or one of the connections to the rotating arms may be blocked or leaking. If you do have to prerinse, an easy way to do so without wasting water is to leave water in the sink after you wash the pots and pans or after rinsing produce, and just scrub the dishes in that water.

Using a sink waste disposal unit. It’s much better to compost your kitchen food scraps than to grind them up and send them down the drain. For one thing, it takes water to wash all that food down the sink. For another, you’re wasting a precious commodity that can be turned into great garden soil. Waste disposal units have been banned in some municipalities because they overload the sewage system and increase water usage.

Not using a faucet aerator. Most modern kitchen faucets come with an aerator installed in the end of the faucet, that draws air in and fills the water with tiny bubbles. These aerators save water by allowing a smaller amount of water to do the job of rinsing dishes or washing hands or fruits and vegetables. Aerators can get clogged up – especially if you have hard water – so if you find you’re not getting a good volume of air in your water, try unscrewing the end of the tap, removing the wire mesh aerator, and cleaning it out. Once you reassemble the faucet you’ll use far less water to wash and rinse.

The laundry

The top loading washing machine is one of the most water-wasting devices in your home. There have been front-loading washers for decades that use as little as a third the water of a typical top loader. But for some reason North Americans are still using top-loaders, and even still buying them. There are a number of very good reasons for switching to a front-loading washer:

* They use half to a third the water of a front loader
* They use half to a third the detergent of a front loader (and you don’t actually need to buy the “HE” detergent – just buy regular detergent and use a lot less)
* They adjust the volume of water based on how much laundry they detect in the drum. For a small load they use much less than for a large load.
* They are more gentle on your clothes, so your clothes last longer
* Their spin cycle is much faster than a top loader spin cycle. Your clothes come out with less water, so you use less energy in the dryer (if you use one), or the clothes take less time to dry on the line or drying rack.

The other ways in which people waste water on laundry are:

Washing clothes that aren’t actually dirty. You don’t have to throw things in the laundry just because you wore them for one day – especially pants and shirts, which will wear out sooner if you wash them too often.

Washing instead of putting away – using the laundry hamper as a way to avoid putting your clothes away. Kids are especially prone to this. My son would sooner throw his clothes in the laundry than fold them and put them in his dresser, because it’s less work for him. Make your kids do the laundry folding and they’ll be less prone to pull this trick.

Separating whites, lights, and colors. Most clothes are color-fast. Of course it pays to check individual garments when new, but chances are almost all your clothes can be washed together in cold water. If you currently do three loads of different colors, try splitting the brights between the darks and whites and cut back to two.

The first step to saving water

Once you understand the ways in which water is commonly wasted in North American homes, it becomes easier to identify where you yourself might be using more water than necessary, and to cut waste. Remember that keeping a weekly measure of your water usage, by writing down the reading on your water meter, will help you stay on task. When you know how much you’re using, you’ll be more conscious of waste, and more motivated to save. In some areas you’ll realize big financial savings by cutting back; in others, where water is still quite cheap, the savings may seem irrelevant from a financial point of view, but you’ll have the satisfaction of knowing you are helping conserve a precious natural resource.

Robin Green runs Green Energy Efficient Homes, a website dedicated to efficient use of natural resources, especially relating to household energy use. For some specific water saving tips see his articles on shower head valves, dual flush toilet kits, and energy saving washers.

Today in talking about the Christmas Challenge, I want to aim the craft ideas for today at us mom's with little kids and crafts you can do with them. For some odd reason, nobody I have ever met has ever had anything negative to say about a handmade gift from a child. What I don't get is why some adults change when it comes to gifts like this from other adults. But anyway, doing crafts with your kids is a great way to stimulate creativity, keep them occupied so they don't get "bored", and create wonderful memories. My mom did it with us, and I did/do it with my kids, and hopefully one day (a LONGGGG time from now LOL) my kids will do the same with their kids! So today's crafts are some cute and somewhat simple crafts for you and your kids.

Craft Stick Trinket Box

Some craft sticks
Trinkets or seasonal decorations to personalize the box with

This is how you make the craft stick trinket box

First take 2 craft sticks and set them about 3 inches apart. Then glue 10 sticks across them.

Now flip over the base and begin gluing on craft sticks for the walls, alternating between the sides. Continue this till the walls are as high as you like.

To make the removable lid, set 2 sticks alongside the last 2 wall sticks and add a line of glue along each one.

Now lay 10 craft sticks across them.

To personalize it, glue a small toy, a seasonal decoration or a trinket to the top.

Emoticon Magnets


A computer and a printer
Different colored markers
A pair of scissors
Clear and flat decorative gems
Some glue
A few small, round self-adhesive magnets

This is how you make the emoticon magnets

Create a variety of emoticons slightly smaller than the gems using a computer.
After taking a printout of the emoticons, use colored markers to decorate and color the faces.

Now cut out the faces, trimming them neatly into circles or ovals slightly smaller than the gems.

Glue each cutout to the back of the pebble glass and then fix a magnet to it.

Wrap up the gifts only after the glue dries completely.

Printed Memo Blocks


Some colored duct tape
A pair of scissors
A memo pad, memo filler sheets or scrap paper that has been cut into small squares
Foamies craft foam or ink stamps
Double-sided tape and plastic bottle caps
An inkpad

This is how you make the printed memo blocks

First cut a strip of duct tape measuring 2 inches longer that the height of the stack of papers you plan to use.

Then lay the tape sticky side up on the table.

Now grasp the stack and tap the sides against a flat surface. Then hold on its end and press one edge down onto the center of the tape.

Neatly wrap the tape ends over the top and the bottom of the stack, all the while pressing firmly down to bind the paper. If required, use more tape.

Once that is done, lift the top sheet of paper and cut the tape just above the second sheet so that the binding is level with the top of the pad.

Use an ink stamp or a fun shape cut out of foamies craft foam to print a design on the three untapped sides of the block. Use double tape to stick the craft foam to a bottle cap.

CD Coasters


A few CD’s (preferably plain gold or silver in color)
Some white cotton lace
Some glue

This is how you make CD coasters

Take the CD and spread some glue all along its periphery.

Next take one end of the lace and start sticking it onto the edge, making pleats all the while.

When you have finished doing that, cut the lace and your CD coaster is ready! (you can use any other material you like to personalize the coaster too)

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer Handprint


A pencil
Brown craft foam or card stock
A black marker
Red glitter glue
Some gold sequins
Googly eyes
A red pompom
A brown pipe cleaner
A few paper clips or clothespins

This is how you make a Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer handprint

First use a pencil to trace your child’s hand onto a piece of brown craft foam or card stock.

Then cut out the shape and add black marker hooves to the fingertips.

Now add red glitter glue collar using the gold sequins for bells. That done, glue on the googly eye and a red pompom for the nose. For the tail, use one cut out from brown craft foam or card stock.

Cut a brown pipe cleaner in half for the reindeer antlers. Curl the ends and bend each pipe cleaner in two. Glue the pipe cleaners together, holding them in place with a clothespin or a paper clip until the glue dries.

Using glue put the antlers in place on the reindeer.

Today for thirsty Thursday, we are doing drinks. DRINKS? Yes I said drinks! LOL There are quite a few interesting jalapeno drinks out there and I am gonna bring you a few today to wet your whistle. The last one is kinda complicated for those of you who may engage in the habit of home brewing. Jalapenos are known for providing that ‘kick’ in food. The ‘kick’ comes from the seeds and the rib of the skin so many people remove both these parts if they want just the flavour and not the heat!! The heat or spice comes from a group of 5 chemicals that are called Capsaicinoids. Each chemical in the family has a slightly different affect. The hottest one out of the five is the capsaicin which produces the fire sensation or burning in the mouth.

Capsaicin has no taste or smell and is produced by the glands in the placenta of the jalapeno which is located at the top of the pepper just below the stem. It is interesting that the placenta creates sixteen times more heat than the rest of the pepper. Despite the heat, jalapenos are extremely popular, probably due to their versatility. They can be added to almost anything and everything from soups to drinks to pasta to meats. They are most often eaten with nachos, potato chips, hot sauce, lemonade, vodka and many people actually make cookies, bagels and jams out of them.

It is interesting that the word for Chili in the Mexican Indian language is Nahuatl which actually means chilli In terms of variety, it is Mexico that produces the largest variety of chilli peppers in the region of about 140. Many people make the mistake of drinking water when they find the pepper too hot. This actually exacerbates the problem further as the capsaicin is not soluble in water, hence it encourages the water to spread around the mouth and therefore, spread the heat. The best solution for eradicating the burning sensation in the mouth, is to take a little sugar or milk.

Nutritional Values of a Jalapeno Pepper

Serving size 1 pepper (45g)
Calories 20
Total Fat 0g
Sodium 10mg
Total Carbohydrate 3g
Dietary Fiber 0g
Protein 1g

The Jalapeno pepper is also low in fat (actually there is none in it!!) as well as in Carbs and Protein. Therefore it is suitable for people on all the different diets that exist in the market, be it Low Fat or Low Carb!!

Interesting Facts

The following is a hotness ranking of peppers from mild to hottest.

El Paso (Very mild)
Red Chile
Habanero (30 to 50 times hotter than a jalapeno)

Watermelon Jalapeno Caipirinha

Here’s a spicy drink you’re sure to love. Caipirinha is the national drink of Brazil. Get a taste of South America with this wonderful jalapeno drink.


2 small jalapeno peppers, sliced into spears
2 ounces Leblon Cachaca
1 ounce lime juice
Dash of simple syrup
1 cup chopped watermelon
1 stem of cilantro
Cooking Directions
Mix 1 jalapeno pepper, cilantro, watermelon and simple syrup.
Shake hard with Leblon and remaining ingredients.
Strain over ice into a highball glass.
Garnish with a stem of cilantro, jalapeno spears, and two watermelon balls.

Jalapeno Passion Margarita

1 ounce jalapeƱo syrup (see below)
2 ounces tequila
1 ounce passion fruit juice
1 ounce fresh lime juice
Sugar and salt the rim of a cocktail glass.

Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice.
Shake and strain into your favorite glass.
Garnish with lime.

Jalapeno Syrup

You'll need 1 jalapeno pepper, diced, 1/4 cup suger, and 1/4 cup water.
In a small pan, combine the jalapenos, sugar, and water. Boil, then reduce heat. Stir until the sugar dissolves. Strain the syrup.
Only 186 calories

Here's a nice, spicy drink! Enjoy a cocktail with some jalapeno kick. You can't go wrong with jalapeno peppers. Ever.

Jalapeno Beer: Jalapeno Wheat 50
Shout out to Ted on Facebook for this recipe! Thanks, Ted!

Ingredients/Brewing Instructions
9 pounds Monton DME Wheat Extract (3 – 3lb. bags)
4.5 oz. Malto-Dextrin
2 oz. Hallertau Mittlefrueh hop pellets 2.8% AA/oz. (any low alpha hops will do or use less hops for higher alpha hops)
Bring 6 gallons of filtered water to a boil, add all of above. Boil for 45 minutes, then add:
1 tsp. Irish Moss
Continue boiling for 10 minutes, then add:
50 split jalapenos (or any amount, at least 20)
Continue boiling for final 5 minutes, then turn off heat and let sit for additional 5 minutes.
Chill to about 70F.
Stir vigorously and then pour into plastic fermentor bucket, get the peppers in the fermentor too.
Pour into bucket to provide additional aeration.
Pitch a tube of Wyeast 1056 American ale yeast. Set up blow off tube.
O.G. 1.070
F.G. 1.016
Yield 1 quart and approx 42 bottles various sizes

Ok kids, I am gonna get off here and find something to do. I have tons of things I NEED to do and even more that I WANT to do but I just don't have any idea on what to do LOL! Maybe I will get inspired on one specific path if I just stand there for a bit. Either way, DN goes home tonight so I think we should maybe play with him today too. Oh so many choices LOL. Either way, I wish you well and safety wherever life takes you today and I will see you back here tomorrow. HUGS!


  1. Debbie "MOM"August 12, 2010 at 3:33 PM

    Well, well, well, you were a very busy frugal gal today! I'm surprised you even had time to blog but then theres always time to be frugal, right?
    I am so glad you put that article in todays blog. It made me review my own use of water, and being the eco-friendly person I try to be I realized I waste alot of water. A change is in the works!I am on it!! Starting with when I do my dishes. Yes, I am guilty of prewashing, and my dishwasher is the newest thing on the market, almost. Shame on me! The new waste not-want not water saver is now in business! LOL And thats not going to stop me. There has got to be a lot of other ways to be more eco-friendly. I've got a mission now. Thanks.
    I love that you put some kids crafts in todays blog. When a parent sits down and creates art with their kids it makes those kids aware that their parents not only love to play with them but it gives them an open door to creativity. This is one of the more important gifts you can give to your kids. It makes them use their brain, it lets them develop a sense of style and art, it makes them learn to finish what they start, and it gives them the sense of pride in achieving a final goal. If you think about it, as a parent you are giving them all the steps they will use in their future for they careers, and lives. Its a great feeling! Kudos to you Renee!
    Jalapenos drinks? Yikes!! These look delicious but I think I would be scared to try them. They might be liquid fire!! Have you tried them and if not, you try them first, then report back to us, if you have vocal cords left, and let us know whether its safe to try those fire filled thirst quenchers or not. Yikes!!! LOL
    Its close to the time to go start my dinner preparations so til next time......

  2. Do you have any more cd crafts