Wednesday, November 30, 2011
Tuesday, November 29, 2011
- 1 1/4 cup milk;
- 3 cups bread flour;
- 3/4 cups oats (I use old fashioned);
- 2 tbsp brown sugar;
- 1 1/2 tsp salt;
- 2 tbsp butter, cut into 4 pieces. Place one piece in each corner;
- 2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast or 1 1/2 tsp fast rise yeast (I use fast rise). Pour into the well you created in the center.
Monday, November 28, 2011
- a bath mat made with wine corks;
- Neon artwork using holiday lights;
- cork tin can organizers;
- string scented diffusers;
- coffee sleeve crowns; and
- lids to preserve botanicals.
Friday, November 25, 2011
Thursday, November 24, 2011
Wednesday, November 23, 2011
Tuesday, November 22, 2011
Monday, November 21, 2011
My goal is to bring you a book review each Monday. The book I selected for today's post is winter holiday themed. Instead of waiting until after Turkey Day, the official start to the holiday season, I am bringing this review early so that you'll have plenty of time to find and read a copy before finding yourself in the thick of the holiday season.
Friday, November 18, 2011
- purchase chicken tenders at the store or use left over chicken (purchasing a whole chicken is always less expensive then one cut up for you);
- roll the pieces in olive oil;
- toss with bread crumbs;
- bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.
Thursday, November 17, 2011
Wednesday, November 16, 2011
- Trash can liners. Instead of pulling the bag out each week when I empty the trash, I dump the contents into one large bag. Usually from the kitchen of the can near the litter box. I can usually get several uses out of one bag before it needs to be "trashed". The ultra frugal approach is to use an plastic bags you acquire as liners and avoid purchasing garbage bags all together. This usually works well for bathroom trash;
- Shower liner. When you have two kids in diapers and two spouses with their own businesses, something as simple has finding the time to give the shower a thorough cleaning can be the highlight of your evening. As I scrubbed our back shower, I discovered that the plastic liner need a good cleaning. Remembering a tip from The Queen of Clean, I pulled it down and tossed it in the washer with a towel and set it for a light wash. Twenty minutes later it was like new and drip drying in the basement; and
- Wash and dry plastic lunch bags. I've blogged about this in the past, but felt it was worth another mention. We often eat away from home and plastic lunch bags are easy for transporting goodies. I purposely buy the freezer kind so that they are more durable. The easiest way to clean them is to turn them inside out, wash, and let dry. You can tuck them back in the box and get multiple uses;
- Baby Bottle Brush Reincarnation. Our baby has turned into a toddler and left her bottle days behind us. Yet, the bottle brush still sits next to the sink. It now serves as a great means of drying the above mentioned plastic bags; and
- Reuse bread bags. Occasionally we will purchase commercial bread. When we do, I wash, dry, and store the bag for when I make my own bread in the bread machine.
Tuesday, November 15, 2011
Note: Today's installment of the Frugal Upside is brought to you by a guest columnist, Elizabeth Wheeler. Among many things, she is a bike commuter. Even though snow has fallen in the upper Midwest, it does not mean that you have to put your bike away for the winter. Her piece reminds us all of the benefits of biking. For the first 5 years of our marriage we were a 1 car family; I had brought the car into the relationship. My husband owned two bikes, and that was all. In 2009 he bought a used car because of a change in his work duties, which required a car. Those work duties recently changed again, and he is now working as many bike commutes into his routine as he can.
Photo Credit: This one runs on fat & saves you money by Peter Drew of Adelaide, licensed under Creative Commons.
Bicycle commuting is a great solution for a frugal society
Guest column by Elizabeth Wheeler
Last week's Huffington Post article highlights one way that using a bicycle as transportation can bring economic and public health benefits to our society. We all know that bicycle commuting is good for your health and the environment. Most of us are also aware that it can save money, but there are a lot of hidden ways that biking is even better for the pocket book - and the economy - than most of us realize. Here are just a few:
1. No gas! Not only do you not have to buy gas to ride your bike, the money you would otherwise spend on gas can stay in our local economy.
2. No car payment, insurance, registration, AAA, maintenance, and wear and tear on your vehicle: If you can avoid having a second car, or even a first car, these costs can add up! According to the 2010 Bureau of Labor Statistics Consumer Expenditure Survey, these costs average to over $450/month per vehicle. If you can replace your second car with a bicycle - even a fancy bicycle with all the gear - you could easily recover these costs in 3-4 months.
3. Free parking! There is almost always free and ample bicycle parking. And when was the last time you got a parking ticket on a bicycle? Car parking infrastructure also comes at a high cost to our society. (See “Free Parking Comes at a Price,” NYT article from August, 2010.)
4. Bicycle Benefits! Bicycle Benefits is a program that local retailers participate in in 20 U.S. states plus British Columbia. I paid $5 for a sticker on my helmet which saves me 5%-15% off at 119 different local restaurants and retailers in Madison. I use this regularly grabbing a few groceries at the co-op on my way home from work. I save 5% when I bike. Bonus: more money into our local economy.
5. No need for a gym membership! Your workout is built into your day when you bike to work or for short errands. We all know that going to the gym is expensive and time-consuming. Added benefit: No room full of mirrors or judgy looks from hardcore weightlifters!
If you’re interested in learning more, I highly recommend checking out Grist Magazine’s series, “How bicycling will save the economy (if we let it)” found here: http://www.grist.org/biking/2011-02-28-how-bicycling-will-save-the-economy
 An alternative to AAA exists for bicycles - the Better World Club offers roadside assistance, discounts, and other benefits for cyclists.
Monday, November 14, 2011
- The chapter on National parks contains no reference to "free admission" days. For the record, there are four times a year when admission is free to our Nation's parks;
- A chapter on "coolest" cities mentions New York, Boston and San Francisco -- three of the most expensive cities one can visit. The references make no mention of creative ways to save on lodging in these "cool cities";
- The author describes train travel on Amtrak as an amazing adventure. Our family considered that as an option this past summer, but discovered the price was 3x airfare..and we've heard the same from others. There is no mention of this fact;
- The book suggests visiting various zoos, many of which sound amazing, but none of which are free. Okay, so the Henry Vilas Zoo in my hometown of Madison, Wisconsin may have slipped under the radar for being free, but what about Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago?; and
- The chapter on promoting camping leaves the reader wondering if the author has ever camped -- the discussion is too upbeat and too positive.....I couldn't help but wonder about the bugs, bears, and beer drinkers one is likely to encounter while camping. I imagine ads for REI being more cautionary on getting into the camping habit.
Friday, November 11, 2011
- attend a parade;
- visit a military cemetery;
- tour a veteran's museum; or
- spend time with a veteran you love.
Thursday, November 10, 2011
- shoes go in the hanging shoe holder in the front closet;
- hats are put in the wicker basket in the front closet;
- bike and bike accessories along the north wall of the garage;
- assorted electronic gadgets in the living room armoir that hides the TV;
- cell phones next to its respective charger; and
- keys...in the key box by the front door.
Wednesday, November 9, 2011
Our house runs north to south, which means we get very little southern exposure. Translation, there are not a lot of spots with great light for growing plants. The kitchen is especially lacking. So, my first attempt at potted herbs was a dismal failure. Then one morning, after a shower (I always think best when being doused in hot water), inspiration hit. The bath off of our bedroom gets great southern light, and at least twice a day becomes humid from the shower. The perfect place to give potted spinach and cilantro a try. And guess what, it worked!!! The only down side is that it is not a room the kids hang out it every day, so they are not getting the daily contact with the eco-world I would like. But, I have fresh spinach and cilantro to harvest, so no complaints. Winter hasn't even arrived yet and I'm already eager for Spring planting!
Tuesday, November 8, 2011
Monday, November 7, 2011
Friday, November 4, 2011
- Sunday - quiche and veggies;
- Monday - brown rice, curried veggies, crockpot chicken;
- Tuesday - soup and bread;
- Wednesday - clean out the fridge leftovers
- Thursday - bean dish (think lentils, etc.)
- Friday - pasta
- Saturday - take-out pizza (using a coupon).
Thursday, November 3, 2011
- Keep clothing simple. His jeans and black turtle neck were icons. But they were also smart. Low cost and easy effort in wardrobe. I appreciated the less is more concept during my pregnancies because my maternity clothes were limited. It was liberating. I was not overwhelmed by choices. There was less laundry to do. It was simple, easy, and something I've tried to maintain even though the pregnancies are behind me.
- Have an idea of what an appropriate price is for an item, and walk away if it is too high. Apparently Steve was in NY City without a coat and it was a cold day. He went to a store with a colleague, but walked out, without a coat because he felt the price was too high, especially since he would get little to no use out of it in California. This from a man with a net worth of $8.3 billion!
Wednesday, November 2, 2011
Tuesday, November 1, 2011
- small business owners;
- low-income families;
- recent retirees;
- do-it-yourselvers of tax forms.