My Purpose

As a recent college graduate preparing to be a teacher and a recent bride, I'm learning how to live in a limited budget. In the process, I've had to find money saving tips & ways to re-use common items, create cheap lesson plans, cook inexpensive meals, design DIY wedding projects, and more. With the economic situation that many of us are in, I think we can all use any ideas that people care to share, and that's exactly what I want to do-- share my own ideas and those that I've found in my searches. I hope you find this blog useful and share it with others.

The blog can be viewed in chronological order of posts via the "Home" button, or you can select a specific title for pages that contain information organized for one idea, such as "College," "Wedding," or "Party Planning." Also, you can view pages specific to one particular label by using the "Categories" element down the left side of the screen.

Monday, February 21, 2011

10 Things you can wash in the Dishwasher....

1. Glass Globes from Light Fixtures
It’s amazing how much brighter a room will look after this cleaning task is checked off your to-do list. “Run these through on the top shelf and make sure there’s space between them because the glass is more fragile than what’s used for drinking glasses,” says Trotter. Use the delicate, china or crystal cycle if available, and skip the heated dry option. And to be safe, avoid washing antique or hand-painted globes or those with gold-leaf trim in the dishwasher.
2. Shower Heads and Faucet Handles
If your shower head is spraying sporadically from clogged holes or your faucet handles aren’t as shiny as they used to be, place these on the top rack and run the pots and pans cycle. It’s fine to run cookware through at the same time, so you’re not wasting a wash for these few items.
3. Plastic Hair Brushes, Combs, Clips and Barrettes
These personal care items get coated with hair products, but clean up well in the dishwasher, says Trotter. Remove all strands of hair, then corral everything in a mesh lingerie bag or dishwasher basket on the top rack. Run a normal cycle. One note: Don’t try this trick with wood-handled or natural bristle brushes because the water and heat can damage them.
4. Baseball Hats and Visors
“The dishwasher is a fantastic way to make sure hats keep their shapes,” says Linda Cobb, a cleaning expert who is also known as the Queen of Clean. Put hats on the top rack, head opening down, on a separate wash cycle from dishes because you can’t use dishwasher detergent (many contain bleaching agents). Instead, fill the detergent cup with borax, found in the supermarket laundry aisle. Run a regular cycle without the heated dry option, then place hat over a glass or jar to dry. Reshape brim while damp.
5. Plastic Toys
Small plastic items such as baby toys, teethers and action figures can get funky pretty fast. Toss them in a mesh bag or dishwasher basket and place on the top rack. “Wash these on a normal cycle along with your other dishes,” says Donna Smallin, author of The One-Minute Cleaner.
6. Pet Bowls and Toys
It’s generally fine to load these with other dishes. “Wash them regularly to prevent the growth of bacteria that can make both you and your pet sick,” says Kimberly May, DVM, of the American Veterinary Medical Association. “But it’s prudent to run a separate load or use the sanitize cycle if you have a baby or a family member with a suppressed immune system." Most dishwasher-safe toys are labeled accordingly on the package or manufacturer's website. However, if you're not sure whether the material will hold up in the dishwasher, just to be safe, you can also soak toys in 1 part bleach to 10 parts water, and rinse well. Rope toys and rawhide chews can’t be cleaned; toss when icky.
7. Kitchen Dish Sponges and Brushes
Load these up at the same time you do the regular dishes, suggests Smallin. The top rack is usually the best place so you can stand them up or wedge between other items. Run through on a normal cycle.
8. Kitchen Appliance Parts
Once a week, load all of these into the dishwasher to make the whole kitchen seem shinier: chrome drip pans, enamel-coated gas grates and burner caps, fridge water dispenser grate, sink plugs, microwave tray and range hood grease filters. Use the normal washing cycle.
9. Butter Dishes, Sugar Bowls, Spoon Rests, and Salt and Pepper Shakers
“We handle all of these things every day, so they collect lots of grease and grime, which you may not even notice,” says Trotter. Periodically empty sugar, spice and condiments and wash these containers along with your regular loads. Once they are completely dry, you can refill them with the contents you set aside before washing.
10. Personal Care Items
Toothbrushes, toothbrush holders, goopy soap dishes, nail brushes, plastic makeup brushes and bathtub drain plugs all benefit from an occasional run through the dishwasher. Place on the top rack with smaller items tucked in a dishwasher basket, and wash on a normal cycle with your other dishes.


Monday, November 22, 2010

Winter is on its way.....

I may not be ready for the snow, ice and cold days.... but my car will be! This is your reminder to winterize your car before the temperature drops...

1. Check your tire pressure....Low tires can cause disaster.. Also, check the tire tread. If they are balding, get them replaced!

2. Check your fluids...Fill the washer fluid, check the viscosity and amount of antifreeze, and check or change the oil.

3. Inspect your windshield wipers... With the recent drought, they didn't get much use and might actually be damaged... Make sure they are working properly!

4. Learn how to change a spare tire!

5. Have your car serviced and fully checked. If you're like me, you don't know all the specifics of a car, so have a professional check your car out thoroughly. They can check your belts, battery, filters, and so on.

6. Fill your gas tank. My dad taught us to consider your tank's "half" mark as empty during the winter... Never let it drop below a half tank during the winter months!!
7. Make the emergency kit! (and know how to use everything in it!)  My family keeps the smaller items in a large coffee can. That way, the can is able to be heated over the candle to make drinking water if needed.

  1. A flashlight, batteries, flares and a first-aid kit
  2. Jumper cables
  3. A blanket, warm clothes (extra pairs of socks are a must) and gloves
  4. A bag of abrasive material, such as sand, salt or non-clumping kitty litter. Use this for added traction when a tire is stuck. 
  5. Paper towels (a great item to clean snow-caked headlights)
  6. A snow brush, ice scraper and snow shovel
  7. Extra washer fluid
  8. Extra food and water that will stay good for a long period of time. Also, include hard candies to keep your mouth moist. You might also consider adding packets of hot chocolate.
  9. Candle (jar candles are great) and matches -- used to keep warm if needed
  10. A bright article of clothing or rag to bring attention to yourself if stranded (especially if you go off the road)
  11. Cell phone charger for the car

 Know what to do if you DO get stranded: 
  • Stay with your vehicle. Emergency crews can find your car a lot easier than they can find you alone. You will more easily avoid frostbite and hypothermia by staying in the car and out of the snow and wind.
  • Tie a brightly colored cloth to the antenna.
  • Avoid exposure to the cold and overexertion when attempting to push the car or shovel heavy snowdrifts.
  • Keep the doors unlocked.
  • If the locks are frozen and you need to get inside, heat your key with a lighter. 
  • Turn your hazard lights ON.
  • If there are two or more people in the car, never sleep at the same time. You may miss an opportunity to be rescued.

  • Exercise your extremities such as arms, legs, feet and toes to maintain body heat and circulation.

  • Run the engine and heat every ten minutes each hour. When the engine is on, crack a (downwind) window slightly to maintain oxygen. 

  • Please... keep you and your family safe... It's something we hate to think about, but being stranded is always a possibility. Checking and preparing your car only takes a few minutes and can save a life!

    Wednesday, September 15, 2010

    Easy Fall Home Decor

    The cooler weather is on its way and with that comes the smell of autumn leaves, warm cider, and the beautiful rich colors. Here are a few ideas that go passed the pumpkins and leaves to make your home an autumn oasis.

    Add coffee beans to your candle centerpieces. (Notice the woven basket used a riser.) You can also use candy corn pieces.

    The Loopy Ewe

    Debbie Mumm

    Use a fall colored scarf as a table runner, or even a piece of burlap or old wooden board!
    Good Housekeeping

    Design Sherpa
    Living with Lindsay

    Add some unique tree branches to large vases or planters. If the branches are strong enough, you can even hang votive cups from it with wire.
    Simple Solutions

    Use large chunks of branches or tree to create a unique centerpiece.
    Apartment Therapy
    Or use just one wooden slab with candles and some fall accents. This idea looks really cute
    with candles in a mason jar, gourds and fall flowers.

    Design Sponge

    Make sure to dress up the outside of your home too, not just the inside! Use cornstalks, mums, wagon wheels, garlands, season appropriate wreaths, burlap, pumpkins, gourds and more. You can even change your "Welcome Mat" to one more appropriate for the season.
    Calla Magazine
    Viette's Beautiful Gardens
    This pumpkin has been covered with artificial flowers to make a festive centerpiece!

    Fill a large bowl with everything autumn--- leaves, small gourds, berries, pine cones, and acorns.
    Sullivan and Murphy

    Use orchard's bushel baskets as planters for your mums and other fall flowers. 

    Hensler Nursery

    Use patterned paper and large letters in mix-n-match frames to create a festive addition to any autumn decoration.
    Tatertots & Jello

    Saturday, July 17, 2010

    Want a favor for your guests that somewhat unique?? Here are some fun ideas!