Sunday, July 29, 2012


Try your hand at drawing to create fun and thrifty artwork for your child's room. My sis kindly let me borrow this picture (and idea) from her son's room. She bought the frames from Michael's for $2 each, painted the mats with some leftover paint, and her husband drew the pictures. For a total cost of $4, they now have custom artwork to display!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Christmas Idea

Well folks, it's only 6 months til' Christmas! Here's a gourmet gift idea that you need to get cracking on soon if you plan to use it for a Christmas gift: homemade vanilla extract. It's so easy that you'll be wondering why you haven't tried this before. Get a batch started today!


  • 2 vanilla beans, split lengthwise
  • 1 cup vodka


Place vanilla beans in a clean jar with lid. Pour vodka over beans, and place lid on jar. Allow to sit in a cool dark place for 3 to 5 months, shaking jar occasionally.

*Makes 1 cup, so triple or quadruple the batch if you're making gifts for a crowd.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Ring Organizer

Use a wire coat hanger to organize and store your canning jar rings. Just untwist the wire, thread on the rings, and re-twist to store. No more digging through plastic grocery bags for rings! (This was my previous storage method.) You can also see exactly how many rings you have at a glance. The rings will store the entire length of the hanger- I just had enough to fill up the bottom wire.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Picking Power

Try this picking "device" the next time you find yourself in the berry patch. It frees up both hands for speedy picking and keeps your container right at your fingertips. Just wear an apron with long strings. Using the strings, tie the bucket or bowl to you by tying in front. Bring the apron up and over the bowl's edges and secure with clothespins.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Clean Nails

If you prefer to weed your garden without gloves or (like me) you have worn holes in every pair, dig your nails into a bar of soap before you tackle the patch. The soap under your nails will keep the dirt out and will easily wash away when you are finished!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Natural Pest Killer

A great solution for killing those annoying pests in your garden or yard is diomataceous earth. It is non-toxic and is effective in killing any kind of hard-shelled insect. Diomataceous earth is basically coral that has been ground into a fine powder. If you have honeybees, just be sure to use on plants that are not flowering. A powdered sugar shaker is the perfect tool to apply a fine, even dust to plants.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Cheapo baby food

Along with most other groceries, the price of baby food has gone up. Come to think of it, it never really was a great deal, paying $0.50-$1 for less than 1/4 cup of food! The idea of homemade baby food is appealing, but all that peeling, chopping, cooking and straining takes way too much time. (Just my opinion, folks!) For a cheap and quick solution, buy canned fruits and veggies, toss them into the food processor, and there you have it: instant baby food! For about $0.60, you can get about a whole cup of baby food. Don't neglect fresh foods too: bananas and avacados are particularly easy to mash up too.

Some pre-cooked favorites around here are:
  • canned pumpkin (feed straight out of the can)
  • canned green beans
  • canned carrots
  • unsweetened applesauce
  • canned pears, unsweetened
  • canned peaches, unsweetened
  • canned sweet potatoes, unsweetened

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Neighborly Gifts

Summertime often brings new neighbors. What better way to welcome them than with homemade fare! Although a casserole is a fine tradition, think outside the pan with these fun ideas:
  • A batch of homemade granola in a mason jar
  • A sampling of fruits of veggies from the garden *don't forget a bunch of fresh herbs too
  • A loaf of homemade bread with a small jar of jam or apple butter
  • Homemade muffins or a homemade frozen cookie dough log
  • If neighbors are new to the area, include a list of your favorite restaurants and entertainment, along with a local magazine.
  • Don't forget to include your phone number!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012


Vacation time is finally here! Unfortunately for your potted plants, it's the hottest time of the year. To keep your plants looking great while you're gone, fill plastic soda bottles with water and punch  a few tiny holes in the cap. Push into the soil, cap first, and you're finished! Basically, the bottle slowly leaks water into the soil as it drys and keeps a nice even moisture level. I was gone last week and thought I'd give it a shot. We had 90-100 degree heat and no rain for 6 days and my plants looked great when I came back! I'm seriously going to do this all of the time now- not only when I'm gone!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Homemade Sea Salt

Make sea salt with your kids the next time you go to the beach. Not only is it fun, but it also doubles as a sneaky science lesson too! As with most Savvy Nest posts, we did try this and it was a huge hit.

  • Collect ocean water and pour into a dutch oven, using cheesecloth or a T-shirt to strain out impurities.
  • Boil the water on the stovetop until it resembles a slurry.
  • Bake the slurry in the oven in a shallow dish at 200* until completely dry. 
For testing purposes, we used 1 gallon of sea water. It took about 2 hours to boil down and about 2 hours to dry in the oven. One gallon of sea water yielded about 1 cup of salt.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Handy Beach Bag

My husband bought this gardening bag for me years ago to use as a beach bag. It is definitely my favorite bag for the job! The plethora of pockets around the outside are perfect for storing sunscreen, magazines, books, and snacks. The pockets lining the inside are great for stashing cameras, sunglasses, and cell phones. This is the time of year to find these bags in the gardening section of stores, so act now!
*This bag came from Ace Hardware and cost about $10 on sale.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Flag fun

For fun and festive July 4th decorations, see below. *This would be a great craft project for older kids.
Fold red white and blue scrapbook paper accordian style

Using double sided tape, attach papers

Using tape or a stapler, secure ends together

Or just go halfway for bunting...

Another bunting with additional papers.
*These will be used on our July 4th dinner table this year!