26 April 2010

Saving on Utilities

Howdeeeee! Guess it is about time I talked a little bit about how I save on utilities.  There are the usual things, like turning down the thermostat and the water heater's temperature, but I take those things a little further.  Yes, I turn down my thermostat, but I turn it down probably more than most people.  I usually keep it at 63 degrees and wear "long handle" underthings.  And a sweater. And I invested two winters ago in an electric throw.  It feels like heaven to turn that thing on and snuggle up underneath it while watching TV.  I also called my utility company to ask a few questions and found out that the lower the temperature the lower your bill, of course, but also that if you are going to be gone from your home for 8 hours or more, the prudent thing to do is to turn the heater off.  Of course you have to be careful not to turn it off during very low outside temperatures, but you have to use your common sense.  I turn it down to 50 and it rarely comes on during the night, so I figure that is good for when I am gone all day, too.  I also hung a pair of sheets to divide my open floor plan into two sections and only heat one section.  The thermostat in the other section, the kitchen area, is kept at about 55.  Yep, it's pretty chilly, but my bill is doable, so that's the bottom line.  And there's always my electric throw. And even though it is moving on toward the end of April, nights are still chilly.

Now the water heater is another area where I save.  It is turned down to its lowest setting and I only turn it up when I shower, run the dish washer, or have something I need to wash that HAS to have hot water (I almost always use cold water to wash and rinse my laundry and always full loads---- another savings), and I make sure that I do all three of these things during the same time frame, one after the other, so that the water heater isn't heating to its highest temp except during the hours I am doing these chores.  Huge savings. 

I use my crockpot.  A lot.  I use my convection appliance rather than my oven for everything that will fit in it, except for baked goods (brownies being the one exception I have found so far)  the oven is much better for that.  When I do use the oven I leave the door open when I am finished baking, turn off the heat, and just let the residual heat waft into the kitchen.  And it seems I always find something that has to be cleaned on that kitchen stove while that warm wonderful air is wafting out.................

Then there are all those other things you have heard about I am sure.  Using flourescents instead of incandecent, timers for your lights, turning off the lights when you are not in the room.  Little efforts add up to lots of savings.  Oh, and my bedroom is not heated at all.  I have an electric blanket on the bed during the winter and turn it on about an hour before I hit the hay.  Once snuggled down inside that warm cocoon I turn it off.  The control is slung over my headboard so that if it does get cold during the night it is handy to turn on, but this rarely ever happens.  Flannel jammies are heaven, too. 

Thanks for stopping by today and I hope you got something out of today's blog that you can put to use to save YOU some money.  Sometimes convenience rises above savings, but for me this is what I feel I must do to get by.  It works for me.  In the near future I am hoping I won't have to be quite so frugal, but heck, by that time all of this will be such a habit I will just keep doing it!! Smile, the world wants to see your pretty countenance.

19 April 2010


If you tuned in last week, you might remember my post on the wonderful, free, plastic kitty litter buckets my friend Mary has given me. I used one of these marvelous storage units (that's what I am calling them now.  My storage units) for my Dog-on-the-Go bucket. No pun intended here. One of these handy-dandy empty kitty litter buckets contain all the essentials my 2 "kids" may need during a road trip, long or short. I have a plastic dog bowl in there along with a container of water, some dog treats, their leashes, and even a stake in case we are stuck somewhere and have a long wait. If there be grass or ground they are set; they can be outside enjoying some fresh air instead of stuck in the car. I also included an extra brush I had lying around. You know, in case they need to have grass or twigs or something removed from their fur before eagerly jumping back in the car for some 60 mile-an-hour air blasting them in the face as we cruise down the highway with the windows down. I also keep an extra sweater in there for the Toons (AKA The Princess). Bostahuahuas (you know, that dynamite combo of Boston terrier and chihuahua!!) get cold easily. I keep this bucket in my car so Toonie Mae and Charlie always have their things handy and I don't rush out the door and forget something. Makes life easier for all of us.  Happy trails and tails for this crew.

Thanks for stopping by and I hope you have a wonderful week.  Don't ya just LOVE all this springtime?  Knuffles ------ that's HUGS in Dutch.

12 April 2010

Free storage............

One of the reasons I wanted to start this blog was to share some of my ideas and thoughts with you and possibly inspire you in some way. I have to live frugally, and thank God, this comes naturally to me. You may laugh at some of the things I do to make ends meet or may groan in agony claiming there is NO WAY you would ever do that regardless of circumstances, but hey, we do what we have to do, and I do a few things that I didn't think I would ever do either. It's OK. Not everyone will find something they can take away from this blog and use. Others may. And as Alton Brown says "That's OK by me, too". (Alton Brown?  From The Food Network "Good Eats" program.  He's a little goofy.  OK, a lot goofy.  I love his show!!)  If nothing else, perhaps you will get a laugh or two from this goofy blog. And please, feel free to comment on any post --- positively or negatively, it is all welcomed. Here we go.........
A dear friend of mine has cats. Lots of cats. She rescues cats like I rescue dogs, and she goes through a lot of kitty litter. She asked me one day if I had any use for the plastic buckets that the litter comes in. I told her that I could use a couple of them to clean up and store Toonie Mae and Charlie's food in. They eat different types of food ---- more on that later ---. I hate keeping their food in the paper sacks it comes in. The zippered tops are hard for me to open for some reason and they are unsightly when the food is used up past half a bag and the top looks weird. ---- I SEE YOU ROLLING YOUR EYES!!!  ------ . I thought about a plastic garbage can, but that was too big. The large litter buckets are just the right size; I can divide a 40 pound bag of food between two of these and they are easier to handle and store and I don't need a chiropractor's appointment after trying to move them around. My friend told me that she had more of these containers should I need them. Well, the lure of something as interesting as a plastic kitty litter container kept my mind going :-) . Suddenly I envisioned lots of uses for these buckets. One to store my used-only-once-in-a-blue-moon kitchen utensils, one for my income tax papers (I could store them in the garage without worry of them getting damp. Ya never know when Uncle Sam may come knocking), one for the paperback books I have to keep around because I have them listed on http://www.paperbackswap.com/ . You get the idea. Storage. Plastic storage with a secure lid, all the same size. I told my friend that I would take any and all of her kitty litter containers she wanted to get rid of, and when I got home from the matinee at the local movie theatre on Sunday, my front porch was awash in plastic buckets. I immediately began cleaning them up and making labels in 48 point type and printing them out. I attached them to the buckets with some clear mailing tape. I really wanted to spray them with some spray paint made for plastic--- to get rid of the logos --- but the weather was a little cold for that and I just couldn't wait to get started. Maybe sometime in the future. Some people use cardboard boxes for their storage needs and some things can only be stored in a cardboard box because of size, etc. I still have some stuff in cardboard boxes, but anything that will fit in a kitty litter bucket will be stored there. They come in TWO sizes and are a cinch to store. They stack nicely, plastic is weather proof, and they are being repurposed and not disposed of in our landfills. Looks like a win-win situation to me. Oooooooh, the possibilities!!!
Thanks for stopping by. I hope you will come back. Have a great week!

05 April 2010

Bits and Pieces

Good morning!  I have two pieces of interesting and helpful items for today's post.  At least I found them to be interesting and helpful. 
The first one is a link to a great little video that shows you how to adjust your car mirrors in order to see into that blind spot that we encounter while sitting in the driver's seat.  I was very impressed with this ---  Here's the link so you can see for yourself.    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KwzUE6PHk4U

Also, in case you were wondering about that little tab on the right side of my blog about the Animal Rescue Site ------ Please check them out and visit daily.  For clicking a tab on their site you can give .6 bowls of food to animal shelters around the country.  This food is donated by their sponsors in exchange for advertising. There is nothing to sign up for (unless you want to), nor do they email you, or contact you in any way (unless you want them to).  I chose to contact THEM. Included on their homepage is also a small heartwarming rescue story.  I assure you that you will never get any repercussions from clicking on their site.  It's a fabulous way to help the helpless at absolutely no cost to you other than a few minutes of your time each day.  I have it listed in my favorites (or bookmark) and I visit daily. I hope you will, too.  Here's the link http://www.theanimalrescuesite.com/clickToGive/home.faces?siteId=3 

Ah, the day after Easter ------ and what to do with all those boiled eggs.  Well, at least the ones that made it through the big hunt!  Here's a recipe you might want to try:

Deviled Eggs
Prep Time: 5 minutes


•6 large eggs
•2 Tbsp. mayonnaise
•1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
  1 Tbsp horseradish (or more if you really like horseradish)
•1 tsp. pickle relish
•1/2 tsp. salt
•paprika for garnish


1.Sort through the hard boiled eggs that are left from the hunt and peel the ones that have promise, then slice in half.
2.Scrape yolks from eggs and place in a small bowl.
3.Add mayonnaise, mustard, horseradish, relish, and salt.
4.Spoon mixture into a plastic bag. Cut off one of the bottom corners. Pipe filling into egg white halves.
5.Garnish with paprika.

Serve immediately or refrigerate.
ENJOY!  I love deviled eggs for breakfast........................ no comment, I know!
I had some blog problems last week and am so happy it is now fixed!  Computer problems can be so frustrating!!!! Have a wonderful week and thanks so much for stopping by.

02 April 2010

Good morning!  Thanks for stopping by.  Grab a cup of coffee and let's talk moles and planting your garden. Last year I had a tremendous problem with moles. They could be gophers, but I think they are moles. They made unsightly holes in every part of my property and when they invaded the vegetable garden, I lost a lot of plants. Not sure if they were eating the roots or if they just tunneled beneath the plant and broke the roots off. In any case I wanted this problem to be at a minimum this year, so another experiment I am trying involves using one gallon tin cans that I get from the local pizza parlor. I remove the bottoms with a can opener which gives me a solid ring of metal about 10 inches in depth, give or take; I have not measured the cans. I work a little fertilizer into the soil, push the tin can ring into the ground, and then plant the seedling (or larger plant) inside this ring. My thoughts are that this will prevent Mr. Mole from destroying the plant's roots right near the base of the plant and may possibly keep the plant from dying. It will also save on water while the plant is small because I can water just inside the can knowing all water will go directly to the roots. I know my Charlie dog will get a lot of the little demons, but in case he misses a few..........I will keep you posted on how this works as spring and summer progresses.

UPDATE ON THE DOUBLE COVER GARDEN PROJECT:  (Ignore if you live in a warm, wonderful, garden -friendly area!! :-)     It worked!  The pepper plant that I planted, covered with a milk jug and then a Wall-o-Water survived temps in the low 20s, wind, 8 inches of heavy wet snow the first part of April, and several days with no sun.  This gives a jump of no less than TWO months head start on garden plantings as it is never safe to plant before Memorial Day here in Burney as we are never frost free until then ----- the weather may be nice for days on end and then one night we get slammed with freezing temps.  It takes only one night of a dip in the temperature to destroy a lot of hard work and dreams of a bountiful crop of veggies if you forget to cover the plants on that one particular night. Oh how we get lulled into a false sense of security by warm, sunny days.  
Thanks so much for stopping by!  Have a wonderful weekend.