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Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Friday, April 24, 2009

~Clothesline Alley~: Thriving On One Income: Reaching Out to Others

~Clothesline Alley~: Thriving On One Income: Reaching Out to Others


This is an excellent post about how blessed we are in the United States, even when we feel "poor". It has some great food for thought.

Emergency Fund

I have been thinking about this and have read several posts pertaining to emergency funds. What I have in ours isn't enough for a real emergency (bankruptcy or my husband's death) but certainly will cover such events as jumping on an airplane to attend my uncle's funeral. Dave Ramsey suggests you begin with $1000, mine is a little higher - but there are more of us.

How much do you need? Bare minimum enough $$ to cover 3 months worth of expenses. Ideally 6 -12 months worth. I think that once the minimum is there you don't need to save as aggressively and can "share" your savings with other things, debt reduction, other expenses that you know you will be incurring. But don't stop completely until the 12 month amount is in place. In this crazy economic time it could be your life line.

Where do you get the $$ to put into this fund? I have seen some great tips and have a few of my own:
  1. Pay yourself first with either a payroll deduction or an automatic transfer from your checking to a savings account set up for this. I use ingdirect.com
  2. Save your $5.00 bills, or your quarters, or whatever piece of currency that works for you. Make a deal with yourself to never spend this money and put it directly into your savings account.
  3. Use coupons, and after you pay for the groceries, deposit into your savings the amount you saved.
  4. Have a garage sale, in real life or use ebay or craigslist.
  5. Hire yourself out - is there some way you could earn a little extra money? Babysitting, housesitting, running errands for an elderly person, gift wrapping at Christmas are a few thoughts.
  6. Put every amount of money that you get unexpectedly - gifts, tax refund, rebates any windfall at all into this account.
  7. When you deny yourself a treat - coffee, new gadget - whatever it might be that you just really want but don't need but had budgeted for, put the money you didn't spend here.
I feel like the tortoise "slow and steady, slow and steady wins the race".
Please share how you garner the $$ to fund your emergency fund.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Tiny Tip Tuesday - Leftover Avocado


I don't know about you but eating a whole avocado in one setting puts me over on my calorie intake for the day. Yummy, healthy but oh so caloric. I am also the only one in my house who likes avocados straight - as in sliced with a little salt and pepper, or in a homemade California roll. It seems that there is always about a half an avocado left and it just isn't appealing once it has turned colors. So what I do is put what is left in a plastic baggie with a squirt of lemon juice, then I mush it together and then roll it up into a log shape and freeze it.


It thaws wonderfully, and is the right size and amount to put into another California roll at a later date.
Easy peasy lemon squeezy!

Monday, April 20, 2009

The Keeper


Warning: Girly post - feminine issues ahead!


Many years ago I heard about the Keeper - a reusable feminine protection. Tampon like. I have always wanted to try one, but I confess I have been hesitant. First there was the price up front. But once you get past that and realize that it can last 10 years it is hard to use that as an excuse. There is the ick factor, but really how much less icky is a used tampon? The original Keeper is made of latex - they now have another one made of medical grade silicone - nonlatex, called a Moon Cup.


From the website:


THE KEEPER or MOON CUP is designed to catch your menstrual flow rather than absorb it. Its bell shape allows THE KEEPER or MOON CUP to fit snuggly and comfortably up against your vaginal walls, below but not touching your cervix. The rim is designed to help create a suction that keeps THE KEEPER or MOON CUP in place and collects your menstrual flow inside of it. The small holes around the rim are to help release the suction when you remove the cup. THE KEEPER and MOON CUP are both simple devices, that are easy to use.


I don't have 10 years of fertility left but I am hopeful my girls will give one a try.
Just think of all that nastiness we would be keeping out of the landfills if my 5 girls used these instead of tampons. Maybe I need to buy stock in this company! LOL!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Crunchies at the Bottom of the Box




The cereal left in the bottom of the box is usually not enough for a serving and often consists of crumbs and broken pieces. To avoid waste I have been adding the unsweetened cereal bits to meat loaf/meat balls and using the sweeter bits n pieces in muffin mix and cookie batter.








Rather than pull out the food processor or blender you could process these small amounts of cereal in your coffee grinder if you have one. Or what I usually do - put them in a plastic bag, seal and then use a rolling pin to crush them up.



Easy peasy lemon squeezy.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Giveaway at Fresh Poppy Design


I happened upon this lovely blog and she is giving away the cutest headbands. Head her way and and try your luck!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Her Morning Elegance - by Oren Lavie

While not frugal or crunchy - it is an amazing video and well the title has "elegance" in it. Which has been on my mind and the subject of a recent post.



Thursday, April 9, 2009

Crockpot Spicy Potato Soup

Crockpot Spicy Potato Soup
Makes 6-8 Servings

1lb ground beef, or bulk sausage, browned. (I have used ground buffalo also, may try Quorn)
4 cups peeled, cubed potatoes
1 small onion, chopped
3 - 8oz. cans tomato sauce
Salt and pepper liberally (1-2tsp's each)
hot pepper sauce to your liking (1/2 to 1 tsp usually) or a roasted sweet chipotle sauce for a different flavor.

Combine all ingredients in slow cooker. Add enough water to just cover everything.
Cover. Cook on low 8-10 hours, or high for 5 hours until potatoes are tender.

I sometimes throw in some sliced celery and carrots also. Depends on how much time I have to put it together and whether I have them both on hand.
I really like this simple, cheap, gluten free, milk free, beef free (if use alternatives) soy free and all around Ok for all our various dietary needs.

Easy peasy lemon squeezy!
I linked this to a fall food roundup at Kerri's Klutter!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Elegance - Less is More

Robert Browning, poet, writing in 1855 was the first to declare that "less is more". He was talking about poetry but it certainly applies in so many other cases especially in personal style.

Elegance is the art of restraint. Women known for their style and elegance - think Jackie O - keep their looks comfortable, uncluttered with neutral colors in their day to day wear. Their evening wear is graceful with beautiful accessories that do not overpower the look. I think that what sets an elegant woman apart from the crowd is her quiet self assurance - she is worth focusing on, not her clothing.

How can we achieve this frugally? Coco Channel noted that "Elegance does not consist in putting on a new dress". What is important for an elegant personal style is that you wear clothing and accessories thats' color, shape, fabric, and value are appropriate. This means that our clothes never eclipse the woman within - they must not get in the way of letting our inner beauty show through.

My mother is one of the most elegant women I know, and for years she has shopped at the Goodwill, Salvation Army and the St. Vincent dePaul thrift stores. I promise you that you would never be able to tell which of her clothes she bought in the boutiques in New York or which she bought in a thrift store. I was in her closet the other day and noticed that everything she owns with very few exceptions was a solid color, she used beautiful scarves and costume jewelry to accessorize.

I think we often forget that our hair too can be elegant also, a neat ponytail can be incredibly elegant - or a short choppy cut can also. It is taking the time to make it neat.

I am not suggesting that we dress to the nines everyday - but it seems to be a lost art in the younger generations to take a moment to look at how we are dressed before we go out. We don't need pearls and heals to clean like June Cleaver but we don't need to dress like Rosann all the time either.

I want to have a simple elegance about myself. I was thinking about how this will help me to live frugally. When you dress in solid colors (that look good on you) most everything matches. You don't need as many articles of clothing. As I buy something new, asking the question "does this go with my other clothing? Does it fit me? Do I feel pretty in it? Elegant? Is it well made? Will it hold up with many wearings?" will help me to accomplish my goal of simple elegance.

When you have a few pretty things that fit you well, you don't need all the other clothing. The stuff that makes you feel bad about yourself. I am not saying buy all beige and black - there are beautiful clothes in a rainbow of colors.

I want to encourage you to slowly make this change. As you purchase new ask the questions and then only buy it if it fits your criteria.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Honey in the Morning







"Honey in the morning, honey in the evening, honey at supper time, be my little
honey and love me all the time."



What is honey?

It is nothing more than nectar gathered from the blossoms of many flowers by bees. It is then taken into the beehive and changed by the worker bees. Worker bees remove the liquid from the nectar. The finished product is heavy syrup with 12 to 20 percent moisture and 80 to 85 percent sugar. It is a good source of quick energy for the human body.




Fun Honey Facts

  • The taste and color of honey varies depending on which flowers or herbs grow near the hive.
  • Generally flavor is milder in the lighter honeys.
  • Cream or chunky honey has bits of the honeycomb in it , which makes for a good spreading texture.
  • Buying it local (and organic) can help seasonal allergy sufferers.



Important Note:

Don't store your honey in the fridge, it can cause it to crystallize and a grainy texture. What do you do if your honey has already crystallized? Stick it in the microwave oven for a short time (45 seconds with the lid off for a 12oz jar).

Chemistry factoid: Honey has a high fructose content and therefore has a higher sweetening power than sugar. Less honey can be used in place of sugar to achieve the desired sweetness in a recipe.

What to know if you do substitute with honey in a recipe

  • reduce any liquid required by 1/4 cup for each cup of honey used
  • add 1/2 tsp baking soda for each cup of honey
  • reduce the oven temp by 25 degrees F to prevent over browning..


Uses for that liquid gold....

There are many uses for honey - this site suggests you have 3 bottles of honey your home.

  1. For the Kitchen - especially on toast with butter.

  2. For the Medicine Cabinet - claims of it curing everything from arthritis to constipation. Whenever we have sore or scratchy throats I always brew some hot green tea and add a squirt of honey and a dash of cayenne pepper. This soothes our inflamed throats.

  3. For the Vanity - honey and oatmeal facial, here I come!

Honey is a SuperFood and we should all eat 1-2 tsp multiple times during the week.

Warning: Do not give to children under the age of 1 - it can cause botulism in infants.


To sum it up, honey my friends is yummy, nutritional, medicinal, and beautifying. Buy it local and organic and it is good to ward off seasonal allergies.


Monday, April 6, 2009

Health and Wealth Monday



Give up soda. Seriously. I gave it up for lent and had not really calculated the cost. I know everyone says "Stay out of Starbucks". That was never a problem. But a soda at a restaurant in my area can cost up to $2.79 - crickeys! And a quick diet soda from the gas station - $1.49. I realize you can get a "Big Gulp" for $.89 but I like the bottled better - and no melting ice.





I never keep it in my house - with 9 soda drinking fiends it is ridiculous how fast we can go through a case. So, I have to resort to the more expensive purchases.





I was drinking 1-2 sodas a day. Lets assume that I am getting a bargain and paying $1.00 a piece - that is hmm let me see $2.00 x 365 = $730 a year. Good Grief!

And lets not forget that we are saving our landfills of all the cans, bottles, Styrofoam cups, and drinking straws.





Besides, water is soooooo much better for you and me than soda. Did you know soda will eat through metal? I found the following in a post on the Gluten Free for Good blog.
If that’s not enough, phosphoric acid, added to give soda pop its “zip” causes
calcium loss. We don’t want that. Pure phosphoric acid can eat its way through
almost anything (metal, cement). Household hints columnist, Mary Ellen, suggests
using Coke to clean your toilets, bathtubs, and sinks. Heloise, another hints
queen, suggests pouring Coke over car battery terminals to get rid of the
corrosion. And we’re drinking it by the gallon. Ugh!

So join me "Hi, my name is Christy (insert your name) and I am addicted to soda"
"Hi, Christy (your name)

Tiny Tip Tuesday - Oven Cleaner

Tiny Tip Tuesday in which I give you a tiny tip that will be both frugal and crunchy!


Oven Cleaner



Don't want to buy that horrid costly and caustic Oven Cleaner? Don't want to use your self cleaning button because it is an aweful waste of energy? Pour one-half cup of ammonia into a cup and place it inside the oven. Be sure the door is closed tightly. Allow the ammonia to sit overnight, or about 12 hours. Then, wipe the interior of the oven with a rag, some mild dishwashing detergent and hot water. To add sparkle rinse with clear water.



Frugal and crunchy - and it really does work!

The Who What Where When How and Why's of my Frugal, Crunchy Life

In case you are interested.

Who - My husband, myself and my 7 children who live at home. (8 total living) My oldest has moved out and purchased a home of his own.

What - Living frugally, crunchilly, and with a Christian worldview. What does this mean?
I wanna be green, but only after I have acted in accordance to my Christian beliefs.

Where - In a house in a semi rural area in Northern Indiana.

When - Everday.

How - Carefully, conscientiously, with an element of fun.

Why - Because it is the right thing to do. ( I discuss this in my post here at my other site The Rock Spot.)

In case you haven't heard of earthy crunchiness - My definition is someone who loves nature because it is beautiful and God created it, and He made us stewards over it all. It means not being wasteful - reduce, reuse, recycling. It means that you will choose what is right - not using water bottles from Fiji -or paying more for an organic product. It is more than a hobby, it is a lifestyle.


Any other queries? Just ask. I love to chitty chat.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

South Side Farmers Market

Last year about this time I was chomping at the bit. I couldn't wait to shopping. Yes, shopping but not a Walmart - at my local South Side Farmers Market. You can read about my adventure at my other site - The Rock Spot. I checked and the following is still true.

South Side Market is on Warsaw Street between Rudisill and Pontiac. The hours are from 7am -1am on Saturdays in the summer.


Well it is a new year and once again I am chomping at the bit. I want to get my garden started, but it is supposed to snow tomorrow! I had to turn my furnace back on today - my family was screaming they were cold. What a bunch of wimps! It was a balmy 64degrees in here.

The Rock Spot: South Side Farmers Market#links

Where Frugal and Earthy Crunchy Collide

Welcome friends!
My other site The Rock Spot was getting entirely too cluttered - while I love to ping pong all over the place with my posts it was hard for anyone who was interested only in the topics of frugal-ness and earthy crunchiness to find what they wanted. And so this blog has come into being.
What you will find here are posts about:
  • living frugally
  • living green
  • living both with a Christian worldview
  • frugal recipes
  • earthy crunchy topics like off grid living
  • global warming - fact or fiction?
  • anything else that relates

So hop aboard the frugal horse and join me for some fun!

update - linked to Like a Warm Cup of Coffee's MMM blogaversary!