Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Basement Find

I helped my parents clear out their basement recently (and hold a massive yard sale). Out of all of the random things that they (well, that DAD) have collected over the years, this is my favorite: the 17 year old sparkling cider that my dad made. It aged beautifully, and retained its sparkle. :)

Tuesday, August 27, 2013


So - what do you do when you hit the jackpot of cucumbers? Make a lot of pickles and relish. :) All of that in the photo is pickles, the relish had already been packed up.

I was visiting a veggie farm down the street to pick up a couple of cucumbers and peppers for salad, and noticed that she had a milk crate of little cucumbers. I asked about them, and she said those were the ones not good enough to sell at the farmer's market so she was going to sell them for $1/pound to another farmer as pig fodder. I got 24.25 pounds for $20, because when you slice them for pickles no one cares if the original cucumber was curved or had a little spot on it (though, frankly, I only had to cut out maybe five spots out of the whole batch).

Talk about a windfall!

Monday, August 26, 2013

Sunscreen Find

Not a sponsored post - I just really like this sunscreen. It really is non-greasy, and doesn't make makeup smudge.

Sunday, August 18, 2013


I received some mail sent in a tube, so I did like anyone would and put some dried wheat berries inside (rice or beans would work too), wrapped it all up in white duct tape, and decorated it with a sharpie for an instant noisemaker. Cheap, easy, and fun - that's my kind of project. 

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Frugal Luxury (and a Natural Solution!) - Sugaring

Here's a frugal luxury for you: at-home sugaring instead of waxing. I cut up an old cotton pillowcase into strips using the pinking shears, followed some handy instructions on DIY sugaring, and went to it.

For those of you who are scratching their heads - sugaring is a form or hair removal where you essentially make a carmel-like sugar mixture, spread it on your hairy areas, and rip it off with fabric strips. Just like waxing, but many prefer it over traditional wax.

Cost: a few pennies for the sugar and lemon juice. Waaaay cheaper than going to a salon, or even buying an at-home kit. Actually, it's cheaper than shaving too since you don't have to spend money on razors.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Grandma's Garden

My grandparents' house is one of my favorite places to be, especially outside. I know I've talked about Grandma's gardening tactics, but I thought I'd share a photo from earlier this year. Her style is a great reminder in frugal and simplistically beautiful gardening.
In the foreground is her tomato patch. She raised it a bit, just by adding old boards around the edge and back filling with some soil. As the boards wear out, she replaces them with new/old boards. Then she has her tomato supports - some great branches that she found in the woods. I think these are the same ones as last year, but as they break down she just gets some new ones. Simple as that. And she places flat rocks here and there in the raised bed so she has somewhere to rest her foot when she needs to lean in to weed.

In the background is the main vegetable bed. Instead of leaving the paths between each row to dirt and weeds, again she uses old boards that would otherwise be thrown away. They add order to the bed, repeat the wood "theme," and are easily movable when she lays it out for next year.

I have major garden envy. I really need to keep just this photo as my inspiration for next year.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Creamy Butternut Squashed Rice

Not sure what to call this recipe, but this works.

It's really versatile depending on the spices you add. The base recipe is 2 parts cooked rice (I like brown), 1 part butternut squash purée, 1 part cottage cheese. Heat it all up and serve. 

The cottage cheese acts as a soft cheese, somewhere between cream cheese and mozzarella, making the dish oh so creamy and filling. Max and the other daycare kids love it plain, I prefer it spiced up a little with some cumin and/or curry. 

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Alternative Homes for House Plants

What to do when there are too many plants and too few pots? Improvise. I'm sure you've seen pictures of plants growing in tea tins (like mine here), but what about other containers? An old, chipped colander  Yup, I have one of those too. :) Just make sure to either line your container if it has a lot of holes or is porous (bread bags work wonderfully) and poke holes for drainage. And, of course, poke holes in that tea tin.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Summer Relish

Isn't it beautiful? I think Summer Relish is my favorite to make - mostly because of the gorgeous yellow. Why is it called Summer Relish? Because I use yellow summer squash as my base, seeds, rind and all. Here's a secret: you can substitute summer squash in any recipe that calls for cucumber. I recommend using a food processor or grinder (I love the grinder attachment on my stand mixer) to process the squash, especially if it's more than a few inches long. Like the ones I used, which were so ripe they had even started to harden a little.

Relish has to be one of my favorite things to preserve, because really you can throw anything in it as long as you chop it up really well, and you have a great seasoning. Yes, I have a great seasoning. Sorry, I'm not sharing it. :)

Monday, August 5, 2013

Yes, You Can Paint a Bike

Last summer I got a bike for Max at a yard sale for $2. I was sure they left a 0 off the price, but I wasn't going to argue. It was too big for him last year, but now that he's 3 we're practicing. Max and I didn't have a problem with it being bright pink, but too many people are closed minded so I caved and painted it. 

Handy enough, I had his favorite color, orange on hand. I base painted it with yellow spray paint, then highlighted with orange. Not bad for $2 and leftover spray paint, right?