Monday, August 2, 2010

MANIC MONDAY CHAOS

Good Monday morning all my little friends out there in PC land! How are you doing this bright and shiny day? It's an early start to a great day. Got my nephew already this morning and today was the first day of band. Got lots of things planned for the day... how about you? I want to start the morning with article I found on frugality.

Frugal Tips: How To Make 10 Ordinary Things Last Longer
by Silicon Valley Blogger

We all want to stretch our bucks as far as we can even as we replenish our grocery supplies every week or replace old items that we need to make our lives function smoothly. It was surprising to me how much money we can save if we just make some everyday things last longer.

Take for instance an84 year old fellow who has driven the same car all his life: a 1929 Ford Model A with 200,000 miles on it. Clarence Cleveland Curtiss bought a used car for $10 during the Depression when he was 15 in the year 1938, and has kept it ever since. And based on these figures, he’s probably saved at least $31,000 by doing so.

So clearly, the bigger the item and the longer you try to preserve its life (within safety guidelines), the less money you’ll have to fork out for replacements. Your high interest savings account and the environment will both be happy.

Frugal Tip: Make stuff last longer!

The biggest savings tip here for anything you own — see if you can consume less than is recommended, just as long as it doesn’t affect the potency of the item or material you’re using. Other tricks involve caring and maintaining your everyday things in a way that lengthens their shelf life.

Here are a few interesting pointers on how to get the most out of some common household items:

Soap

If you’re using a soap pump, then try putting a rubber band around the base of the pump, looping it tightly. This will prevent the pump from going down all the way, but should still cause it to pump out an adequate amount of soap. Expect this to make the soap in your pump last longer.

Scented Candles

Get your candles to last longer by chilling them! This is an old trick that is used by frugal people and the candle companies themselves. Chilling the candles before you use them makes the wax burn more slowly and evenly. Some say that the best way to do this is to freeze the candles for 24 hours before burning them. Others say that just storing them in the refrigerator for eight hours before you burn them is enough to do the trick

Clothes

The biggest culprits to your clothes’ wear and tear are what you’d expect: the acts of drying (even at low heat) and washing. Since fabric does not regenerate, the constant whirl and tumble experienced by clothing in cleaning machines will gradually erode fabric.

If you want to preserve your clothes, then line dry them. This isn’t the most convenient or practical way to dry your clothes, but it will slow down their wear.

Carpet

Cheap carpets will typically last you from 3 to 5 years while good quality carpeting may have a life lasting 10 to 20 years, if you take good care of it. At this time, our own carpets are approaching 9 years old and they still look pretty good! These tips should help add some life to your fabric flooring:

Rearrange your furniture, so that wear becomes better distributed.

Vacuum regularly.

Avoid tracking in dirt.

Shampoo your carpets and rugs.

Snip loose threads.

Treat spills and stains quickly.

Designate eating areas.

Car

You can save several tens of thousands of dollars if you decide to drive your car to the ground. These days, both our cars have logged 100,000 miles each and are still going strong. There’s even a used car market out there for cars that have over 200,000 miles in them! If your car is regularly well-maintained, you’ll most likely extend your car’s lifespan; and these tips should get you there:

Change your air filter yearly.

Rotate your tires.

Change the oil regularly: depending on your vehicle, that’s around 3,000 miles or 3 months to 7,500 miles or 6 months.

Change your transmission fluid generally once every 30 or 60 thousand miles, depending on manufacturer’s recommendations.

Drain the radiator.

Change your spark plugs.

Check your exhaust system.

Clean your car: wax and wash.

Light Bulbs

The trick to longer lasting bulbs is to simply invest in greener, more efficient alternatives. I also covered frugal lighting in my article: “Trim Your Energy Costs”.

When choosing the greenest option for lighting your home or office, look to the new light emitting diode (LED) light bulbs as the next generation green alternative.

Currently, compact fluorescent bulbs (CFL) get attention as a lower-energy bulb than traditional incandescent bulbs. However, new LED bulbs are on the rise as the green bulbs of the future and the replacement for CFLs.

Food

Statistics show that American families end up throwing out 14% of their food because of spoilage. So here are some tricks to keep your food fresher, longer:

Store fruits and vegetables separately to slow down the “ripening” process.

Store food at proper temperatures.

Vacuum seal food in zip lock bags to better preserve them.

Protect dry goods from insects and pests.

Chill bananas after they ripen. The peel will darken but the fruit will last longer.

Store leftovers in airtight food containers.

Mattress

Mattresses are expensive — I just bought a couple of twin mattresses for my kids, and it ran me several hundred bucks each. I’m hoping I don’t replace them for a really long time. To maintain them well, I’d try this:

Redistribute the mattress wear so you can get the most out of your bedding. You can flip your mattress every other week or month. You can also try rotating it without having to flip it. Also, use a mattress pad to keep the mattress clean and away from stains — a great idea since mattress pads can be laundered.

Flowers

I love fresh flowers and often have them in my home on a regular basis. We get ours from our garden but once in a while we get them from the local stores as well, where they can cost $5.00 and over. Allow frugal displays to brighten up your room longer by doing the following:

Cut off all leaves that will be submerged in the water before putting flowers in a vase. Rotting leaves speeds up the deterioration process.

Cut flower stems at an angle for better water absorption by the plant.

Change out the water in the vase or plant container regularly.

Keep flowers away from direct heat or sunlight.

Add flower preservers to your arrangement.

Razor Blades

Anyone who shaves may want to know how to stretch the use of their razor blades. Here are a few interesting pointers I picked up from a frugal forum:

People try all kinds of tricks to make razor blades last longer, including storing them in oil or even placing them on a prism to channel pyramid power into the blade. However here is a simple technique that seems to work: dry the blade after use.

According to the Chicago Tribune, the concept is this: razor blade dullness stems more from oxidation and microscopic rusting, rather than from contact with whiskers. Water that sits on blades between shaves causes the oxidation. Corrosion can cause metal on the blade to flake off and the edge to become blunted and jagged. That results in blades pulling and tearing hairs instead of cleanly slicing through them.
By blotting his blades on a towel after use, someone extended the use of a blade from ten days to five months.

Or you can also “rinse the razor in water, shake excess droplets, dip it in alcohol, give it a good swirl (it really does clean far more thoroughly than water), then shake out and prop it in its holder. The alcohol drives the water out and then quickly evaporates.”

All sound easy enough? If you’ve got frugal tricks like these up your sleeve, I’d love to hear them!

OK for todays craft I found this incredible blog (another blogspot user) called Paisley Passions. She posted a craft and I think its absolutely adorable! It looks simple to do and I think I so found an idea for one of my gifts... its cute, creative, and could be recycling too!



Craft Idea of the Day: Lap Tray

This was a fun little project. I took an ordinary frame that I got on clearance for a couple of dollars (sorry I don't have a before picture of the frame!). It was deeper than a normal frame, not quite as deep as a shadow box, but deep enough that I was able to add some material and some buttons underneath the glass.

Then I took two extra large unfinished wood letters. I used W's, but I think you could get M's to work depending on the font of the wooden letter.



I covered the letter with scrapbook paper using Mod Podge. LOVE the stuff! :) Then I inked the edges of the letter and applied a couple of coats of mod podge on top of the letters and paper.

I attached the letters to the bottom of the frame using E6000 and then I screwed small screws from the inside back of the frame down into the tops of the wooden letters.

I took a dowel and attached it with screws along the backside of the W's and then covered the screws with buttons.

I painted the dowels and the backside of the letters a cream color to match my frame. Then I ended up with this handy dandy lap tray. It works great for the kids to have a snack on or to draw on while watching tv or in bed or even in the car. Or maybe even for hubby to bring you breakfast in bed? Haha! One can dream.

Now, let's talk food!! August holds tons of great "unusual" celebration days, so I can see us having tons of fun! Now August the 3rd is National Watermelon Day and since its a favorite of mine, my DD, and my mom... guess what this week's theme is?! Yep... its WACKY WATERMELON WEEK! I'm gonna entertain and educate you about this beautifully healthy melon! Watermelon, the fruit that is really a Vegetable. Watermelon can be traced back to Africa and is part of the cucumber and squash family. People can't seem to get enough of the sweet treat, and nutritionists have long appreciated the health benefits watermelon provides. Recently research has shed new light on its potential health benefits. Watermelon contains high concentrations of lycopene, an antioxidant that may help reduce the risks of cancer and other diseases. Watermelon is fat free, nutritionally low in calories and considered an ideal diet food, and is high in energy, making it a great energy boost!
Early watermelons were mainly rind and seeds. Today's varieties are larger, the flesh sweeter, the seeds smaller and the rind thinner. It is perhaps the most refreshing, thirst quenching fruit of all. Watermelon consists of 92% water and 8% sugar, so it is aptly named. Americans eat over 17 lbs of watermelon each year. The largest one on world record (Guinness Book of World Records) weighed 262 pounds.

When to look for them in your grocery store:

Watermelons are available all year. The natural sweetness of watermelon makes it a favorite anytime of the year. It is a perfect addition to a salad, salsa, or cool drink. Top chunks of sweet watermelon with fruit flavored sherbets or sorbets.

Nutritional Facts:

Fat-free
Saturated fat-free
Very low sodium
Cholesterol-free
A good source of vitamin A
High in vitamin C

Selecting
Choose firm, symmetrical, fruit free of cracks, bruises, soft spots or mold. Ripe watermelon will have a healthy sheen, a dull rind, dried stem, and a buttery yellow underside where it touched the ground. There should be a melon like smell or fragrance. Thump if you must, sound should be dull and hollow. Lift them, weight should be heavy for size.

Special Tip
Avoid watermelons that are very hard, white or very pale green in color on the underside, indicating immaturity. An immature watermelon will be slightly acidic.

Storing
Once picked, watermelon will not ripen easily. If unripe, try putting the whole melon in paper bag un-refrigerated. This sometimes works to ripen them. Watermelons can be kept for short periods of time, up to 2 weeks, uncut at room temperature. Wash watermelon with soap and water before cutting. Once cut, package what is not eaten in closed plastic containers or bags and put back in the refrigerator.

Varieties
There are more than 50 varieties of watermelon. Most have red flesh, but there are orange and yellow-fleshed varieties. Of the 50 varieties of watermelon throughout the United States, there are four general categories: Allsweet, Ice-Box, Seedless and Yellow Flesh.

Now we are gonna start this week with a wonderful watermelon cocktail and hors d'oeurves! Eat & Enjoy!



Watermelon Martini

Ingredients:
1 cup watermelon juice (press watermelon through a sieve or cheesecloth)
1/2 cup (4 oz) Vodka
1/4 cup simple syrup (sugar)
juice of 1 lime
3 tablespoons salt (optional)
3 tablespoons sugar (optional)
ice
Watermelon slices, for garnish (optional)

Preparation:
Makes 2 servings.

Mix together the sugar and salt if using. Wet the rim of a chilled martini glass with a piece of watermelon. Dip the rim into the sugar and salt mixture. Repeat for other glass.

Place the watermelon juice, vodka, lime juice, and simple syrup into a cocktail shaker. Top with ice. Shake well.

Pour contents through strainer into martini glasses.

Garnish with a wedge of watermelon if desired.



Watermelon Hors D'Ouevres

This super refreshing appetizer cools you down on a hot day and revs up your appetite. You can leave out the tequila if you wish.

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes

Ingredients:

1 cup lime or lemon juice
1 tsp. tequila, if desired
4 Tbsp. honey
1/2 tsp. salt
dash white pepper
1/2 tsp. tabasco sauce
4 lbs. watermelon, cut into cubes and seeded
1 cup crumbled blue cheese or feta cheese
1 fresh pineapple, cored and cut into cubes

Preparation:

Mix all ingredients except watermelon in small bowl and stir to dissolve honey.

Taste for seasoning, cover, and chill for 1-2 hours to blend flavors.

To serve, dip watermelon in juice mixture, then sprinkle with blue cheese and eat. Serves 10-12

Well kids, I am gonna get off here and get everyone ready to start the day. DD is off at band today YAY and I got the nephew already this morning. Gotta return rental chairs, get some groceries, and tons of other things. I hope you are excited about this upcoming week and will join me again tomorrow for more fun and excitement! Until then... HUGS!

2 comments:

  1. ok, i'll admit tomato week wasn't my favorite because i break out in hives when i touch fresh tomatoes therefore i dont eat them....but WATERMELON WEEK ----- WAY AWESOME!!!! i'm VERY VERY excited for this one!

    Thanks for the stretching tips today too! i needed to be reminded on a few of them

    ReplyDelete
  2. Debbie "MOM"August 3, 2010 at 8:47 PM

    Watermelons!! Magnificent choice. Watermelon is a favorite of mine. And if given a chance, over the course of a few days, I can eat a whole one. I did it when I was pregnant with my second child......funny thing is he isn't so fond of them. Ain't that a hoot! Going to pass on the martini....dont drink any more.
    I am digging the lap tray in a big way! That is so smart the way the frame and "W"s were repurposed into something completely different. Thats the kind of crafts I love to see. Great blog. Til next time....

    ReplyDelete