Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Valentines Day

Valentines day is on it's way. It's time to start buying up the candy cards and flowers and shower your loved ones will all your high priced goods.....................NOT.

Good heavens how the holidays have become commercial all of them. Well it's time to put our cash back into our bank accounts and not into the merchant's. Here are some wonderful gift and card ideas (for the little ones school chums) to show your love and keep more of your cash to yourself.

Home baked goodies are always a treat they show a lot more love then a box of cheap chocolate or chalky candy. Want a Valentines theme try a Cherry or Strawberry rhubarb pie or heart shaped sugar cookies frosted with Cranberry Frosting.

Cranberry Frosting
3/4 cup Butter
1/4 cup shortening
1/2 cup Cranberry juice
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
2 lbs confectioners' sugar (powdered sugar)
Place butter, shortening, juice, vanilla, salt and one pound of sugar in large bowl.
Beat at low speed until combined.
Gradually add the other pound of sugar.
Stop and scrape sides.
Beat on high until mixture is light and fluffy.
Keep covered with plastic wrap to prevent crusting.

Hey Husbands do you really want to score some points. Hit that TO DO list you've been putting off. Then when you finish get some of her chores done too. With less work to do she will have a lot more energy for more romantic endeavors.

What was the first movie you saw together? Redecover those old feelings. Go hit the library or video store and have a private viewing.

If you have any sew skills takes some fabric (kids hit their growth spurt use a favorite old shirt) cut out some heart shapes sew around the edges (not all the way) Stuff if full and sew the rest of the way shut for a cute heart shaped pillow they can keep for years.

Scoop of Hugs and Kisses recipe

Small scoop (kitchen or clean laundry scoop or check out the local dollar store if you need to)
Hugs and Kisses Candy
Clear or Colored Plastic Wrap
Tags and ribbon
  1. Ribbon Fill the scoop with hugs and kisses.
  2. Cut a large piece of plastic wrap.
  3. Set the scoop in the middle of the plastic wrap.
  4. Fold the plastic wrap over so that the two ends meet at the scoop handle.
  5. Pull the plastic wrap tightly around the scoop and gather around the handle.
  6. Tie a ribbon around the handle to hold the plastic wrap in place.
  7. Tie a note onto the scoop that says "A scoop of Hugs and Kisses for you."


Let them make their own cards. This of course works best with kids who love to make things but even less artistic kids will find these fun.

For both of these ideas cut out some heart shaped cards for your kids.

Stamping fun. Take a rubber eraser and draw a heart on it then cut away the rest of the eraser about half way through, leaving the top to hold onto. Using stamp ink or washable markers let the kids stamp to their hearts content on th cards you cut out for them.

If you happen to be in one of those schools where everyone attaches candy to their valentine and don't want your kid left out try this:

Candy Valentines:

Cut Two Heart shaped cards for each child that needs a card. Take one of the cards and cut a second heart shape out of the middle. Now you should have one whole card and one with a heart cutout in the middle. Give your child the whole one to sign names and decorate one side.

Now Take your selected candy (I used chocolate hearts when my daughter did this) and put it in the middle of the Whole card (this should be positioned about where the hole is in the second card) Using plastic wrap or the press and seal plastic wrap (I used the press and seal because it stayed in place while glueing) cover the candy. Then glue the second Heart to the First one. Covering up the plastic wrap. Make sure you do this several days in advanced to allow time for the glue to dry.

Monday, January 28, 2008

How To Make a Compost Pile

You might have noticed the videos I have posted here. Composting is one of the Cheapest easiest things you can do to help your pocketbook and the environment. Everything that goes into the compost you already have and probably throw away. That's right you are throwing money saving materials right into the garbage. Go ahead smack yourself on the head then read how to make a compost pile and turn that trash into Brown Gold for your yard.

Did You Know That Compost Can...
Suppress plant diseases and pests.
Reduce or eliminate the need for chemical fertilizers.
Promote higher yields in your garden.

The best thing about composting is it won't cost you a thing. Yes if you need to worry about a neighborhood association you might want to invest in something a little more attractive but it is total unnecessary.

The first step for creating a compost heap is to pick a location. You want to pick somewhere that is out of your way. I have a small corner of my yard that is out of site of the sitting and playing areas but easy to get to. You want it to be exposed to the elements Sun and rain will help move things along.

Next You have to decide if you want to have your compost contained. If you have kids or pets or both you might want a way to keep them out of it. The easiest thing to do is get some pallets, which can often be gotten for free or very very cheap. Get four of them and wire them together to make a bin. Just remove one of the sides when you need to get to the compost. If you want to get fancy put some hinges on one side to make a door.

Now it's time to start loading up the compost bin. A good pile of compost needs two types of materials Greens and Browns.

Green Material: Are high in nitrogen content

Green plant material (fresh or wilted) such as crop residues, hay, grass clippings, weeds
Manure of poultry and herbivorous animals such as horses, cows

Fruit and vegetable trimmings
Coffee grounds and filters
Tea bags

Brown Material: Are high in carbon content

straw-type material,
Autumn leaves
Sawdust or wood chips
Paper and cardboard (such as corrugated cardboard or newsprint with soy-based inks)

Cotton rags
Dryer and vacuum cleaner lint

Fireplace ashes
Hair and fur
Nut shells

You'll want to layer the materials together and make sure you have a layer of brown material on top of the Green material. The green material breaks down much quicker then the brown material and by layering them it will increase the speed at which the Brown materials break down. Oh I almost forgot throw a little soil from your yard into the mix to quickly introduce the organisms that will help start the break down

You will also need to make sure your compost pile can breath. Yes there are living organisms doing the work here and they need oxygen. This can be done in several ways: Turn the pile over, that's right just flip it over. This method takes a lot of work and I would suggest building a second bin to move the compost into this will keep things neater. You can use a compost tool which is poked in the compost pile and when pulled out two blades pop out and loosen up the pile (this is what I use) or a friend of mine puts posts into his pile before he adds his composting materials then after a couple weeks removes the posts which adds air to the lower levels.

Now there are things you should not add to your compost pile.

Black walnut tree leaves or twigs
Releases substances that might be harmful to plants
Coal or charcoal ash
Might contain substances harmful to plants
Dairy products (e.g., butter, egg yolks, milk, sour cream, yogurt)
Create odor problems and attract pests such as rodents and flies
Diseased or insect-ridden plants
Diseases or insects might survive and be transferred back to other plants
Fats, grease, lard, or oils
Create odor problems and attract pests such as rodents and flies
Meat or fish bones and scraps
Create odor problems and attract pests such as rodents and flies
Pet wastes (e.g., dog or cat feces, soiled cat litter)
Might contain parasites, bacteria, germs, pathogens, and viruses harmful to humans
Yard trimmings treated with chemical pesticides
Might kill beneficial composting organisms

Now you know what to do get started today.

Want More Check out these Resources:

Worlds Best Compost
Composting for Profit

Friday, January 25, 2008

Toilet Paper and Kids

Do you have a little one who has just started using the potty or older children who go through Toilet paper buy the tons. Try this little trick a friend of mine told me about. Before putting the Roll on the holder press down on it with your foot just enough to put a crease in the roll. This will slow down how fast the Toilet Paper come off and make it harder for the little ones to pull it off by the tons. It has slowed down how often I have to refill the holder from every other day to about once a week.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Saving 100 Dollars Easy How To Save Money Tips

Here are some wonderful how to save money tips. I hope there is something for everyone.

  • Pack lunches for school and work.
  • Check thrift shops and yard sales for clothing instead of paying department store prices. You won't believe some of the wonderful finds you can get when you look for them.
  • Hang four loads of laundry per week instead of using your dryer. Don't want to Hang stuff outside due to it being too cold or too much pollen. Try hanging a retractable clothesline in your garage or get one of the collapsible clothesline that you can store out of the way when not in use
  • Make your own pizza from scratch instead of buying one. Get the kids involved to help keep fuss to a minimum. Here is a recipe for Pizza crust you can try or look online for one you like better: Pizza Crust

Pizza Crust

Combine in a large bowl

1 C warm water

1 pkg yeast

When dissolved, add

1 Tbls sugar

1 1/2 tsp salt

2 Tbls Vegetable oil

1 1/4 C Flour

Beat until Smooth. Add

2 C additional flour or

enough to make a stiff dough

(may use part whole wheat)

Kneed until elastic, about 5 min. Place in greased bowl and let rise until double, about 45 min. Form 2 balls. Pat and stretch to fill 2 greased pizza pans or cookie sheets. Let rise 10 Min.

Top and bake at 450 for 20 - 25 min until crust is golden brown and cheese is melted.

Write a good letter instead of making a monthly long-distance phone call. Come on lets face it everyone loves to get letters. Make someones day and let them know all that is going on with a nice long letter.

  • Drink less soda. Try dropping 1 can of soda a day. Good for your pocketbook your waistline and the environment how can you lose.
  • Bake a Batch of Bread (two loaves) per week. Yes this one will take some work (unless you have a bread maker) but the taste of fresh bread will make you forget about the work.
  • Try making your own homemade decorations, cake and wrapping paper for your children's Birthday Party. Having it in your backyard or local park will save you even more. I took my son to a Birthday party last year and His friends mom made the most wonderful Mystery Machine out of an old refrigerator box for a Scooby Doo Birthday party. The kids got to solve the mystery of the missing Birthday Presents and had a blast.
  • Reduce your Smoking by three Cigarettes per day. No I'm not going to preach about the benefits of quitting smoking. Your a grownup and can make your own choices but if you cut down on the number of Cigarettes you smoke a day you'll save.
  • Substitute dry milk in cooking, hot cocoa and other areas where it won't be noticed.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Welcome From the Crazy Green Cheapskate

Hi I'm The Crazy Green Cheapskate. I have a lot of friends who tell me You have to buy the right stuff to be a true earth friendly person. I don't agree with them. While I think it's important to be choosy about the things we buy. I also believe it is just as important to get as much use as possible out of the things we already have. The earth has limited resources and we need to make the most of these recources. If you want to save money and Help the environment then hopefully this is the place for you.

Just for starters here are a few things you can do to help.

  • Bring your own cloth bags to the supermarket, or reuse the ones that are still in good shape. I have been getting my reusable bags from yard sales slowly gettting enough for my shopping trips.
  • Buy items with minimal packaging. This may entail repacking some of it for later use. For Example I buy large bags of flour then freeze half of it to keep it fresh.
  • Buy items that are made from recycled materials. This is not one of the cheaper ones but definately a good idea. Hopefully businesses will get the idea and will use more recycled material and less virgin materials.
  • Bring your own reusable coffee cup or water bottle to school or clean with environmentally sound products. Check out this website for more informations on bottled water http://refillnotlandfill.org/
  • Limit your use of non-reusable products and wait a week before buying anything you haven't already planned to buy. Impulse buys reek the most havoc with our pocketbooks and they are usually items that we don't really need so into storage or the garbage they go.