Photo: Great grandparents at their farm in Blandinsville, IL, with five of their six children .. my grandpa was yet a twinkle in grandma's eye. Stable boy and governess also pictured. Hodges farm, circa 1903-4

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Furniture spray wax can be replaced with a home made formula to easily clean your wood furniture. By mixing 1/2 teaspoon olive oil with 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (or vinegar) in a glass jar with a lid, you can dab a bit on a soft recycled cleaning rag when you dust (shake well before using). You can find similar recipes by searching the web. Bye-bye dust ... bye-bye expensive store bought products that pollute the air and take up space in the landfill. I like to think of it as 'salad dressing' for your furniture :) It really does work.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

We've become a generation of consumers ... and less and less producers. The economy is in the tank ... and big gov. is encouraging people to spend, spend, spend. To me, this does not feel right (the spending part). I think there are too many factors involved to be brief here ... but the treadmill spending of the past several decades has come to an abrupt halt. During this time of uncertainty is an opportunity to make do with what you have, re-purpose items that would otherwise be tossed in the landfill, and think outside the box. Our forefathers had to get by with very few staples ... and yet they survived. This month I hope to focus on a few steps to shrink your grocery bill.

Today's money saver tip:
Cut back on your use of paper towels

My kids were the biggest offenders in wasting paper towels. How did I get them to use less? I put away the paper towel holder on the kitchen counter and replaced it with a two-ring fingertip towel holder. Each day I stock it with two clean wash cloths. At one time we used about 1-2 rolls of paper towels a week ... now a roll lasts us about three months. Another big waste was using them in the microwave oven to cook bacon. How about cooking bacon in a cast iron skillet?

Washing windows and mirrors.

This was another area that paper towels were used. Recycling your newspaper really does work well and is lint free. Before you use the paper, take a full sheet and rip it in half along the crease, then crumple it up a bit. It takes about thirty seconds or so to start absorbing the window cleaner, but once the paper is a tiny bit damp, it works wonders. You will have to wash your hands or wear cleaning gloves due to the newsprint. I toss the damp paper into the compost bin. You could also use non printed newspaper ... the type used for packing moving boxes. One box would last several years.

Here is a list of products we no longer buy:

  • window cleaner
  • toilet bowl cleaner
  • pre-moistened cleaning wipes
  • tub/sink cleaner
  • floor cleaner (Pinesol/Mr. Clean)
  • furniture polish
  • disposable dusting products
  • disposable floor cleaning mops/pads (swiffer)
  • fabric softener/dryer sheets
  • laundry detergent
  • bath soap
  • plug in type air fresheners
This coming month I will post some tried and true recipes you can make for pennies. You probably have most of the ingredients sitting on your pantry shelf.

Now don't think we're all covered in dirt that I've included 'laundry detergent and bath soap' to my list of products we don't purchase ... these are easy and fun to make ... stay tuned ... or do some research and find a simple recipe to replace your store bought product ... you really will save money and know what's in your cleaning arsenal.

In paper towels alone, we're saving a minimum of $60-75 a year.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

An Irish Blessing .... for ye garden.

May the frost never afflict your spuds.
May the leaves of your cabbage always be free from worms.
May the crows never pick your haystack.
If you inherit a donkey, may she be in foal.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Trash to treasure gardening :)

Progress is happening in the portable greenhouse set up in my dining room. The French door provides light to all of the shelves in the unit. You can see here how the newspaper pots turned out holding some beefsteak tomato plants.