Friday, July 29, 2011

Golden Egg

While nosing through a new thrift store with my mom and sisters, I came across one of the best golden eggs I've seen in a while: a 50 piece set of English Ironstone that matches my dishes for just $5 total!!! I sang, I danced, I wept, I bought. (For those of you who don't know me, I am a bit obsessed with Ironstone.) It definitely pays to look at everything when you're thrifting! Here are a few of the little treasures in the set, though the pictures doesn't do them justice. My soul is at peace.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Recycle your egg cartons!

  • Use as packing material for shipping
  • Use as a pallete for holding paint colors
  • Let your little one work on sorting skills by using the holes to sort small objects
  • Use as a fun lunch container for kids
  • Start your seeds in an egg carton
  • Golf ball storage
  • Use as a drawer organizer for jewelry, nuts, bolts, and other small items
  • Place an opened egg carton at the bottom of an empty trash bag to catch spills
  • Store bulbs until spring in a styrofoam carton, stored in a cool dry place

Monday, July 25, 2011

Bacon lovers rejoice!

If you're in love with bacon, raise your hand! I know, I know, it's not the healthiest choice, but honestly when you think of that golden, crispy, salty crunch...ok I'll stop. Anyway, we eat BLTs all summer long without tiring of them. Since we don't normally eat much bacon, I've been thawing frozen bacon and cooking it every time we eat a BLT. (Which is surprisingly often these days!) I've tested a quick and easy solution to the problem and behold, it works!
  • Cook bacon in a single layer on a rimmed cookie sheet in the oven at 400* for 10-12 min.
  • Drain on paper towels.
  • Place bacon in single layers, separated by parchment or wax paper, into a freezer-safe container.
  • Freeze.
  • Now when you really want a slice of bacon and don't want the hassle of thawing or cooking it, just take it right out of the freezer.
*This is also exponentially cheaper than buying pre-cooked bacon!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Milk Money

While running through Ross this week, performing my favorite "task" of glancing at the clearance, I found this cute summery dress for $4.99! Instead of charging it, I used some money I'd been saving from my milk bottle deposits. (I get $2 back per bottle returned.) I love using my "stash" for fun little treats like this dress that I can enjoy without any guilt. (I also got a fun winter poncho-thingy for $3.99.) Try building up a small mad money fund with little extras like loose change and bottle deposits. You will be surprised at how satisfying it can be!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

No more flies!

Do you have problems with flies congretating in front of your door in hopes of a free pass to the cool indoors? Banish them with basil! Place a pot with basil growing in it next to your door to keep them at bay. We tried this near a door where the flies were a nuisance, and just a day or two after the pot's new spot, the flies were gone. It's also nice to be able to pick fresh basil from your doorstep too!

Monday, July 18, 2011


I thought I was being frugal by re-purposing my stained or torn clothing into rags until my sister gave me this great tip! Before you put the clothes in the rag bin, cut off any buttons. Before long you'll have a nice collection to use for repairs, sewing, or crafting. Never buy buttons again!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Cool Summer Lunch

If you're like me and it's squash mania in your garden, here's a great way to use that extra produce.

Veggie Sandwich (Someone help me think of a better name!)
  • Toast slices of ciabatta bread or other crusty bread.
  • Mix fresh minced garlic and fresh herbs into mayo or cream cheese
  • Grill or saute veggies (peppers, onions, squash, asparagus, etc...)
  • Season veggies with salt and pepper to taste
  • Spread mayo onto toasted bread, top with veggies,a slice of cheese, and fresh basil.
Second only to BLTs, this is my favorite summer sandwich!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Beach fun!

Having just returned from a wonderful family beach vacation, I've gathered some great tips through trial and error. Try them out to streamline your next beach getaway!
  • Buy locally caught seafood and cook it at home. We were able to feed 6 adults and 6 kids a seafood dinner for just $35! (ahi tuna and shrimp) The average price of a seafood dinner for one at a restaurant: $25.00. We were novices at cooking tuna, so we researched the internet for info- simply put, it was the best tuna any of us had ever eaten!
  • Use Chinese take-out containers for a dinner on the beach. Toss when you're through!
  • Have extra shampoo and soap for outdoor showers. Keep towels stocked there too.
  • To avoid dried-out hair, comb a leave-in conditioner through and braid.
  • Use a beach towel for a fun table runner.
  • If you are renting a house, look for a house that is well-stocked with toys, chairs, and bikes. This will prevent you from having to pack them or worse, buy them when you're there.
  • Freeze fruit for a beach-side snack.
  • Aerosol sunscreen is convenient, but doesn't last nearly as long as lotion. Try applying the lotion before you leave for the beach and using the spray at the beach for re-application. The spray will last longer and there's no messy lotion to deal with on the beach.
  • Bring plenty of your own groceries and avoid going to the store on the weekends when lines are long.
  • Ask the locals to share where the best places to buy seafood or produce are. This can wind up saving you a pile!
  • During yard-sale season, look for kids t-shirts or souvenirs from your future destination. Set them aside and give them to your kids when you arrive. You won't have to pay way too much money for those little memento's. 
  • Use window shades, or shower curtains for beach blankets

Tuesday, July 12, 2011


This is a quick note to remind you all that Christmas is only 6 months away! If your plan is to make gifts, now is the time to start before the hectic fall schedule arrives. If you are busy making jam, relish, or pickles, be sure to make a few extra to give as gifts too. Don't have time to make gifts? Start saving! By setting aside even just $10 a week starting now, you'll have $240 saved by Christmas. Even a small amount of planning ahead can offer much relief when December rolls around.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Egg I.D.

Know which eggs are hard-boiled at a glance by adding several drops of food coloring to the water when you boil. No more guessing! Kids love to pick out the colored eggs for breakfast too. Just grab and go!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Ladybug Treats

We were recently invited to a lighting-bug catching party. We were also instructed to bring "buggy" snacks. These ladybugs were so cute and healthy too! Although you are supposed to place them on a skinned honeydew melon (to look like a leaf) I didn't have any honeydew, so I just went with this cantaloupe in my fridge. Cute and yummy too!

Here's the low-down on what you need:
miniature chocolate chips
a melon if you want something for them to "crawl" on

Here's how it's done:
hull strawberries and cut out a shallow v shape on top
press miniature chips pointy-end down into the top of the berry
Cut a grape in have and skewer grape and berry onto a toothpick
impale your melon with toothpicks and stick the bugs onto the picks

Friday, July 1, 2011

Fresh Summer Recipe

I tried this delicious recipe last night in an attempt to use up the produce in my fridge. It was simple, yet tasty and a cinch to make. This would be a great side to take to a July 4th potluck as it can be served warm, room temp., or cold.

Garden Fresh Tortellini Salad

1 pkg. (9oz.) refrigerated tortellini
1 pkg. (16oz.) frozen corn, thawed, or 3 1/3 cups fresh corn
2 cups cherry tomatoes, quartered
1/4 cup thinly sliced green onions
1/4 cup minced fresh basil
2 Tbs. grated parmesan cheese
4 tsp. olive oil
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/8 tsp. black pepper
1/4 tsp. salt
  • Cook tortellini according to package directions, adding the corn during the last 5 minutes of cooking. Drain.
  • In a large serving bowl, combine tortellini mixture and remaining ingredients; toss to coat.
Serves 4-6
*I used frozen tortellini, which worked well also.