Monday, June 20, 2011

Friday, June 17, 2011

simple life: flowers

i wish i could tell you that i have this amazing knack for growing anything...
but i can' i won't.
but i do have a few things that have managed to survive. 

this little pot of floral loveliness i bought for $3.50 @ the farmers market wednesday.
(i know 2 days ago but it still is green & has flowers so i am excited!)

mimosa tree in our front yard.
(moved in 6 years ago, so i have to chalk up that it's living to the previous owners)

petunias that are on my front porch.
(2 weeks ago and amazingly still have friend told me that these are hard to kill.)

here's another picture of the petunias.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

simple recipes: strawberry shortcake

if your looking for something fresh, light and a bit of sweetness then this is for you!

strawberry shortcake


1 lb strawberries sliced thin
fat free cook whip

and woo-lah for about $3 you have a fun summer treat for the whole family!

simple cleaning tips: homemade laundry soap


1 cup grated soap
(fel naptha, ivory, old fashioned lye, any soap you want to use)
1 cup borax
1 cup purex
1 cup washing soda

  • in a stainless steel pot add 8 cups warm water on medium heat
  • add the 1 cup of grated soap
  • stirring until dissolved (about 15 minutes)
(will bubble a bit)

  • remove from heat
  • add to soap mixture - 1 cup borax, 1 cup purex, 1 cup washing soda
  • stir until dry detergent is dissolved
  • add 3 gallons of warm water to the bucket
  • add soap mixture
  • stir well

  • cover with a lid
  • let sit for 24 hours
  • will have a gelatin like consistency on the top after 24 hours
  • stir really well
  • pour into containers (recycled milk jugs, old laundry soap containers)
  • shake well before each use
  • 1/2 cup - 1 cup per load

(this laundry soap saves me a ton & it's not full of all those crazy chemicals)

simple weekly shopping list: 6/5/2011

i use price matching & coupons paired with fabulous sales to get the best bang for my buck! i generally just go to walmart to save time and because they have a great coupon/price matching policy.
(this is my grocery list for the week)

price match to aldi's
sweet onions $0.30/lb

price match to frick's
ronzoni garden delight pasta $0.99 ($1 coupon in the 5/15 ss)

the rest of the list not price matched...

marketside organic salad $5.98
milk $3.68
tomato plant $9.96
eggland's best organic eggs $3.29 ($0.50 coupon in the 5/1 ss)

(i know it seems like i don't buy a lot, but i stock up on things when they are really @ a great price, so since this week was a so-so week we will be eating from the pantry & freezer)

simple cleaning tips: easy microwave clean up

ok...confession time...

i hate cleaning out the microwave!

that is until my bff told me about a super quick & easy way to clean it.

place a damp washcloth in the microwave
microwave for 30 seconds
then wipe the microwave out

the steam from the washcloth loosens dried food.
honestly, it takes me like 2 minutes to clean out the microwave now.

and look!

all clean!

(my momma would be proud)

simple tips: magazine overload

i am a total magazine junkie, from the cheesy gossip magazines to home decor. with that being said, sometimes you can have way too many lying around. my simple solution is to keep a folder and as you are flipping through the magazine tear out the articles, recipes, etc that you want to come back and read then throw the rest of the magazine in the recycling. 

got a clever, helpful or simple tip you wanna share?


simple life: blackberries

i am so exited!

the blackberry bushes are lookin' good! 

about 3 years ago my husband's uncle gave us blackberry starts. and woo-lah 3 years later we will have tons of blackberries. 

so that means...

blackberry pie, homemade blackberry ice cream, blackberry jam, blackberry muffins...

got any other ideas for blackberries?

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

simple money savers: recycle your frozen dinner trays

if you eat frozen dinners like smart ones and healthy choice then save those containers! they make perfect disposable plates for the little ones! they bowl up on the sides and are small enough for their little hands to grasp. also you can use them a few times and pitch them (in the recycling of course!).

or if your having movie night and everyone wants chips and dip these are perfect! 
one side for your dip & one side for your chips!

sometimes we have to think outside the box when it comes to saving money and reusing items.

look for ways in the home to repurpose, reinvent and recycle before you go out and buy new. and this was one of those times when i was thinking about getting some cute little chip & dip bowls i saw at the store and figured out this little gem...
 money saving and cute for chip & dip bowls!

simple tips: box tops

okay so i hate cutting out all those box tops i save for my daughters school.

my solution is to hang a baggy with a magnet on the side of the fridge and rip 'em off and toss them in. this is handy for me, otherwise i would forget to rip them off or forget where i put the baggy.

when the bag gets full i take them out and cut them all out at one, put them back in the baggy & send them to school with her.

i do it when the baggy gets full, usually takes me just a few minutes to snip them all and i just do it while i'm on the phone. :)

simple tips: bacon

i had the hardest time pulling the bacon apart in nice strips (since the strips would always stick together and rip) but all you have to do is roll the bacon (while still in the package) back and forth and you get perfect pull-away bacon strips every time!

if you have a simple tip to share email it to me @

simple time savers: plan ahead breakfast

one thing that helps our morning routine is to make up breakfast ahead of time.

this week our little girl has been eating corn hex for breakfast so to make her life and my life a little easier i made up her bowls ahead of time with a pinch of sugar.

so now i just pop the lid off, pour in the milk, she grabs a spoon and ta-da breakfast is served!

this is a great time saver!

simple money savers: 10 way to save gas $

with gas being $4 a gallon...enough said!
here are some helpful hints to save you @ the pump...

1. air it up!
make sure your tires are inflated correctly. tire pressure is important to gas mileage.

2. got junk in your trunk?
having extra pounds of junk in your trunk can burn up the gas, so clean out that car.

3. got a lead foot?
stick to driving the speed limit. driving over the speed limit does take a toll on your gas mileage.

4. got spark?
replace your spark plugs regularly because this can also cause you to use more gas.

5. hot momma?
if you're just driving across town leave the air conditioner off. believe me you're not going to melt.

6. get in & get gone!
before you start your car make sure you have what you need (hag bag, sunglasses, drink etc) so you don't leave it running idle while you run inside 3 times because you forgot something.

7. shade tree where art thou?
if your able to, park in the shade so your car doesn't heat up as fast and take longer to cool down.

8. fill 'er up!
if you're able to, fill up your car so you don't make extra trips to the pump.

9. these boots were made for walkin'!
if you live in an area that you can walk, then girl get out there and work it! if you live a block or two from the grocery store then don't drive to get that loaf of bread, just walk it. 

10. hitch a ride!
if you have a friend or neighbor that is driving to walmart or wherever then just tag along. and if you have a coworker near you trade off driving days.

most important tip:

put off today what you can do tomorrow!
if you know that you have an appointment the next day then put off your errands for the next day. consolidate those trips so your on the go everyday burning up that liquid gold gas. make every trip worth it!

simple tips: coffee filters

coffee filters are super cheap! 
you can buy 300 for $1.

i love to save my paper towels by putting my cheap coffee filters to work!

here are a few ideas:

  • use for snacks 
  • cover small dishes in the microwave so it doesn't splatter
  • use em to clean windows
  • use as a filter for your frying oil

coffee filters aren't just for your morning cup of joe!

simple recipes: homemade beef veggie soup

  • 3 celery stalks diced
  • 10 potatoes cut into cubes
  • 1 lb bag of carrots diced
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 cup diced onions
  • 1 lb ground chuck
  • 2 cans tomato juice (15 oz each)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • salt & pepper to taste
  1. brown ground chuck, when almost finished add onions, garlic, salt & pepper (drain)
  2. steam potatoes, carrots & celery
  3. add tomato juice to large pot & bay leaves
  4. add ground chuck mixture & veggies to pot
  5. simmer on low heat for about 15 mins
  6. remove bay leaves & serve
the veggies and ground chuck should all be cooked through before adding to post with tomato juice

this makes enough for our family of 4's dinner & lunch to next day

you can easily make this just a veggie soup or change up the ingredients

simple cleaning tips: dryer sheets

a quick way to freshen your home is to tie a dryer sheet on the inside of your heat/air register.

it will instantly freshen a room!

use a dryer sheet as a quick dust cloth for your mini blinds
cut your dryer sheets in half
put a dryer sheet in your tennis shoes to freshen them up

simple diy: bottle bird feeder

with the kids home from school this is a fun and simple project that the little guys can do that doesn't take a lot of time.

glue gun
2 liter bottle
craft paint
dowel rod or twig
bird seed

get an empty 2-liter and rinse it out. cut off label. cut a hole below the label line big enough for a bird to get into. then slice a small hole beneath that for your twig for the bird to use as a perch. hot glue in place.

paint the outside of the bottle any color you have. we picked out green regular old craft paint. gave it 2 coats. polka dotted it since we love polka dots in bright colors. :)
had a wooden flower that I painted yellow and wrote with a sharpie "for the birds" and attached it with hot glue.

we hung our bird feeder with ribbon from our mimosa tree in out front yard. now we just have to get some birdseed!

this is a fun a quick craft project for the kids. it took about 45 minutes from start to finish. and if you have a grandma or grandpa this would make a cute little summer gift for them.

helpful hint: pour bird seed in through the bird hole.

found a lot of fun and easy projects on Fave Crafts!

simple diy: kitchen herbs

herbs can be so pricey at the store so by putting a few pots in your kitchen you can not only have fresh organic herbs at your fingertips that saves you a bundle and is healthier but you are adding super cute decor to your kitchen and no joke the smell is amazing.

healthy goodness!
and how much easier can you get than by growing them in your own kitchen!

i bought clay pots @ michaels craft store for $0.80 each
the plants were a bit pricey at $3.23 each

believe me i will save 20 times that by having these little babies in my kitchen!

i sprayed the pots black (found spray paint in the garage) and used a paint marker (from christmas crafts) to label each pot.

so for under $15 you have fresh herbs!

simple diy: honey bee lip balm

i love to piddle around and "make" things and while sometimes it's nothing more than a failed attempt at me trying to be a little martha, sometimes it actually works and because of that, somedays i feel like i should wear a cape and fight crime as the "crafty chick". i know i am easily amused...but as i drum my fingers together and smile my devilish grin i say to myself "i love it when a plan comes together..." ok wow i got way off track yeah where were we? 
oh right honey bee lip balm...

1/2 cup grated beeswax
1 tsp honey
5 vitamin e capsules
1/4 cup coconut oil

melt all ingredients together in a double boiler on low.
(double boiler: small pot in a bigger pot with water so that the pot with the ingredients does not burn)

once melted pour into jars.

i used bead making jars from michaels craft store. they were $2.50 for 12. i had a handy dandy 50% off coupon.

you could add more ingredients but i kinda like the pain jane!

and woo-lah the finished product.

great little stocking stuffers!

simple diy: chip clips

supplies needed:
glue gun ($3 @ walmart)
clothes pins ($1 for 50 @ walmart)
craft paint ($0.33 each @ michaels craft store)
paint brushes ($1 @ dollar tree)
wooden craft flowers ($0.25 each @ michaels craft store)

paint the base color on the wooden craft flowers & any little extra doo-dads you wanna add.

paint some snazzy little designs on the flowers.
i love polka dots so they kinda have to be on every little there such thing as a polka dot fetish?

attach your little doo-dads with hot glue.

once the paint is dry put a bead of hot glue on the clothes pin and press the painted flower to it.

and there you go...some super cute, personalized chip clips.

i think these are great to attach to a kid's birthday gift, also glue a magnet onto the back of the clothespin and you could have a picture clip for the next piece of refrigerator art!

honestly you could change these up so many ways!

simple & fun

 have the kids help design their own for a little summer dig!