Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Cheap Presents

For the second year in a row, I purchased presents during the summer garage sale season, hid them in the garage and brought them out at Christmas time. I often forget some of the cool toys and books I bought until the wrapping starts. It is so rewarding to gift all kinds of gently used garage sale items not only becuase $20 can go a long way at a garage sale, but also you don't have to deal with all the darn packaging. The few store bought things I gave the kids had som many plastic ties and plastic wrap it made me feel bad for the environment. Not to mention the pile of cardboard I have to take to the recycling center now. Next year I vow to do more secret garage sale-ing (if that is a word) and less store buying. The clean up will be easier, the money issue will be easier and the kids will be just as happy.

Monday, October 29, 2007

I'm a crunchie!

I just learned a new term. Crunchie. It covers those of us who fall in the granola eating, baby sling wearing, whole foods eating, attachment parenting folks. I never really was a hippie, yuppie, generation X'r (or whatever it was they came up with) and honestly, I don't really know if I need to I have a label. But it is kind of fun to know there is a term out there for folks like me. Hmmmm...... time to go make some granola bars.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Hippie Dress

Finally got my man to take a picture of this beauty. The skirt came together smothly, but the shirt was another matter. I had to add the patches to the back becasue it was way to tight and didn't flatter me at all. I actually like the extra patches in the back and may do that again on another project....this time on purpose.

Sometimes it is the small accidents or trials when things don't go our way that make us look at things in a new and more creative way. Beautiful.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

I want candy

What is it about Halloween time that makes me want to gorge on chocolate? This is the start of the candy season I guess. From sneaking the kids Halloween candy until Christmas I will probably indulge a little. Even though we try to eat natual and healthy whole food, it is hard to pass up some free candy. I have started eating the candy that is supposed to go in the pinata for the spooky party. Next time I should buy Nerds or something that is not high up on my list of yummy candies.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Are you French?

Why do women shave their legs? Really do they enjoy feeling prickly hair growth every day? Do they like wasting platic razors, water and time in the shower everyday? Do they enjoy having something else to add to their already busy lives? I don't shave. Pits or legs. I am shocked how many people think this is strange.

I was asked at the library story time last week if I was French. Nope, just living simple and happy and leaving my legs alone. Nice, soft, rub up against in bed, furry and I am saving the earths resources in my small little way.

Try it.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Love Your Mother Earth!

Recycling can be taking your empty cans and stuff to a recycling center or curbside pickup, but also remember to reuse. Those empty yogurt containers make great free tupperware. It not only saves the plastic from the trash, but you don't need to buy any real tupperware to put your leftovers in. Smaller containers are great for starting seeds next spring. Plastic tubs make fun toys too or neat spots for a collection of acorns. When you reuse before you recycle you can reduce your need to spend money and reduce your need to fill our already taxed planet up with more garbage. We all win. Recycle!

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Party Favors?

Anyone with ideas for cheap or homemade party favors kids would love? I hate to buy the plastic stuff, but this is a tough one. The party approches....

Friday, October 12, 2007

Cheap Party

While planning a "Spooky Party" as my son calls it I went to the store for some milk and butter. While there we stopped to look at the Halloween aisle ... a fun filled place full of try me buttons and huge spooky decorations. I looked at tons of cheap and pretty cool party favors. Things the kids at the party would LOVE. Little Halloween flashlights, plastic spiders, etc. I actually picked up the plastic flashlights and put them in the basket before I said STOP! No more plastic stuff. I don't need to spend money on plastic spiders. So even though this stuff is cheap and fun, I have to recommit to not spending money and we went home and made spiders out of paper. It was a lot more fun then opening a plastic bag. We cut out 8 legs, glued them on the body and hung them on a spider web made out of string and glue. While out shopping it is so tempting to just go for the cheap plastic items, but being creative is truly rewarding ( and you can be sure there isn't any lead in them). Each dollar counts too and I am happy to say I didn't fall into the easy and fake spider web and spider decorations and I saved money at the same time.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Get a job????

Why do people seem to think I need a job. My mother in law pushes me to sell produce from a larger garden, a friend of mine tried to talk me into making a selling soaps.... all within the week. What is it with people and capitalism? It isn't enough to stay at home and be a mom, you have to sell marykay or pampered chef or eggs or your sewing or anything. I feel that all the money I save by working to make applesauce or grape jelly(this week's project) or by saving money by making our own yogurt is my job. Wouldn't working, even if it is working from home, take away from some of that. Making me more tired, make me feel like we need to order out or buy some expensive convenience foods all wrapped up in their plastic packages in order to make up for the time I divert to a selling from home venture.

I have to admit, I could make money if I wanted to... but I don't. I think I will just keep on playing with the kids, enjoying life and saving my family money by simply not spending it! That is my kind of job!

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Wedding outfit a success!

The dress turned out beautiful, I hope to post a picture soon. My husband got many compliments on the matching tie too. I can only imagine how many people there actually spent money on a new tie or dress.

I heard some of the women talking about the uncomfortable new shoes. One girl said they were cheap, so I feel like I already got my moneys worth out of them - as she was carrying them around, probably with blisters on her toes. You know it isn't about the shoes or even the money. You can have a good time and look cool in your old comfortable shoes and an almost free homemade dress (mine cost $16). Sometimes people try too hard and I wish they could understand how much better they would feel if they lived the simple life. She wouldn't have had to spend gas money going to the store to buy those new shoes. Wouldn't have to trash or recycle the packaging and most of all, wouldn't have feet that hurt! It would have been better for the earth (fewer wated resources) and better for her poor feet (no blisters). The groom and bride certainly wouldn't have cared. So why is it people feel this need to spend money and use up resources?

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Finished Skirt

I just love batik fabrics! The skirt is beautiful. Deep purples and blues...gorgeous. The top is another story. Maybe I can make it work. It just isn't flattering. I tried to follow a pattern, but I probably should have just made it from scratch because it might have looked better. I think it is just too tight. Maybe I can add some patches somewhere.

My husband likes the purple batik so much he asked if I could make a matching tie for him to wear to the wedding. If I can pull it off, what a stylie couple we will be! Never made a men's tie before and this isn't like a fancy silk tie or anything. Well, it is worth a try. Better get out the iron for this one. I looked for free men's tie patterns on line but didn't have any luck. I guess I will just try to copy one of his existing ties. Back to work!

What a life. It is nice to be able to save money and stay at home and give myself time for creative projects like this. Back when I was in the rat race, running from daycare to work, back to daycare and then home I barely had enought time to make a nice dinner. Today for snack I made yummy carrot raisen muffins. Living cheap and happy.... the only way to go!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Hippie Skirt.

So, I cut out 8 panels of cool batik fabric for the skirt. I have 4 in a purple tie dye looking one and then 2 each of other batiks. Should be pretty funky. I am sure it will be cooler than any store bought dress. I need help with the top. A fall wedding out at Lake Michigan could be pretty cold this time of year, and so far I have only sewn cool tank tops - I am not so sure about the whole idea of sewing sleeves. I need to practice that sometime when I hvae more time.

Well, kids are napping. I am going back to the applesauce. My basement is still full of apples. We will not run out of applesauce this year. I also have a house full of fruit flies. I went to war with them yesterday swatting at a bunch of them and setting out vinegar and dishsoap traps. How else can a busy canning mama get rid of those nasty flies?

Monday, September 17, 2007

Hippie Dress in 4 days.

One thing about living cheap and happy is avoiding buying things. Like clothes and food and stuff. I have a wedding to go to on Friday and I want a cool patchwork hippie style dress, but since I have been torn away from the sewing maching with all the canning work I am not sure it will be finished.

Well, kids are napping now, better get into the kitchen so I can maybe do some sewing tonight. Wish me luck!

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Chinese Apple Juice?

As I squish all the pulp from these free apples, I wonder about the origin and market of apples. My sister just realized the apple juice she was buying her kids was made in China. Check yours... a lot is made there. With all the kids toys recalls and all, how is it that people are still buying this stuff. Also, how can it be that there is no market for the farmer who has grown these beautiful and sweet Paula red apples. They would certainly make a great juice too.

By the way, my dear husband did 11 quarts of applesauce today. That is two nights less of apple saucing for me. Yeah!

Well, shop locally. If you can support your local farmers, you may be suprised how many have apples to spare this time of year. Also reduce fuel emissions, all that traveling to get apples here from China. Wouldn't it be a better planet if we all shopped locally. Then maybe more people would think about things before adding pollution to the air like my stinky plastic burning neighbors... well that is another sad story.

Back to the sauce....

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Apple time and lots of applesauce

You can't go wrong with free apples and I now have a basement full of them. These beautiful Paula Reds are not good for the market due to some scarring so the neighbor of my in-laws offered the apples for free to feed their horses. Well, the apples are slowing turning into applesauce. Yes, we gave a bunch to the horses too.

Every year it seems I forget how much work canning is, although I know it is worth the effort. Last year we canned 52 quarts so we would have a quart a week and they have been long gone. I don't know how long I will be at it this year, but now with 2 kids I am mostly working at night and am averaging about 6 quarts a night.

The Paula Reds make a great applesauce and you don't need to add any sugar.

Well, back to work in the kitchen. I will try to think of opening this delicious free food in January as I chop and mash apples yet again tonight.