Wednesday, March 31, 2010
Tuesday, March 30, 2010
So, after coming away from a morning/afternoon yard saling with my head in the clouds or feeling like a rain cloud is following me. I tried to come up with a few tips to make the day go easier.
1.) See the potential in every item. That bowl with musty potpourri was just .50, cleaning the bowl out I currently use it by turning it upside down and putting it on the mantel with my other round glass bowls. The flowers were taken out of the brown holder and it was used as a bathroom trashcan, much better than the plastic version at the store. Garden tools are a great find at sales. And lamps can always find a home somewhere around the house spruced up with ribbon or painted.
2.) Trash Day is Freebie Day. Take a walk or drive through your neighborhood on trash day in the summer. I found these items plus a few other extras. The shelves (from Target) now hang above my computer desk and the stars were given as gifts. They even still had the tag on them. Don't be above taking someone elses "trash". They are glad to be parting with it and you are doing them and the local dump a favor!
I was able to furnish Christmas fillings and others birthdays with this box. At one sale I bought a misc. box of GeoTrax(toy trains) for my son for $30. There must have been over $300.00 worth of trains and accessories in the box. If I had saved it for Christmas I would have been his hero, but I am weak and wanted to see his face light up in the middle of July!
A few other things:
- Have small bills and quarters on hand.
- Ask around to see if anyone has anything specific they need or anything you need they could be watching out for at their sales
- I used to be shy about asking for a lower price. Now I know that the worst thing that could happen is they could say "no". Always Ask.
- Google Maps, YardSaleTreasureMap.com, Craigslist, or your local paper are all good places to hear about yard sales. If I am planning to go out that day I will map the route I plan to take and then follow it loosely. Having a plan is crucial so you aren't aimlessly driving around town. Also, if you know someone else that might go garage saling that day email or print them the route too. Simple things like that will make someones day.
- If you find something you are even remotely thinking about buying pick it up and carry it around. The "one" that got away will haunt you forever.
- Clean out your car before you go. Who knows how lucrative your trip could be? Enough room to carry your ____ (fill in the blank) is crucial.
- If you see something, but you can't decide, give them your card. A card with your name and number and if they don't sell the item by the end of the day just ask them to give you a call.
- There are a few things that I almost always buy baskets, picture frames, and big glass anything (bowls, vases, etc.). These are things that can be used in a multitude of different ways for decorating the house and never go out of style.
- Pray about your needs. I cannot tell you how many things I now take for granted in my house that I didn't have and wanted last summer. God blessed me many times over finding that perfect item!
- Dress in layers. It is cold in the mornings, enough so for a sweatshirt, but as the morning sun arrives you will be glad you thought to put a t-shirt on too!
- Organize different boxes for the different types of garage sale items you regularly purchase. Once you have filled your box or container you should think you are at your limit for the season. I have two decorating boxes that I occasionally "shop" my house for. That way I'm not running out to buy something when I get the need to redecorate. All I do is rotate my things so I am never getting tired of seeing the same old pieces. When those two boxes are full I know I need to stop, or purge my decorating boxes. Having boundaries in all things helps.
- One-in-one out rule. If you have bought a shirt or anything else that will be taking up space in your home then you should think about what could be taken out of your house and donated or maybe have a garage sale of your own?
Happy Yard Sale(ing)!
Monday, March 29, 2010
Sunday, March 28, 2010
Friday, March 26, 2010
My new apron and God's fresh bouquet of flowers outside our door.
A delivered edible Fresh Fruit bouquet.
Newly remodeling the bathroom with birthday money.
And last, but not least, a husband making me sushi California rolls!
What a wonderful day full of sweet cards, special treats, and supportive friends and family. God has truly blessed me this year! I can't wait to see what He has in store for the next (hopefully more sushi).
Thursday, March 25, 2010
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
Tuesday, March 23, 2010
Monday, March 22, 2010
Sunday, March 21, 2010
- Go back and forth between Google and Swagbucks. They then reward you even more for coming back to use their site. (They heart you!)
- Promote others to use their services. You get a bonus if others sign up, because of you. (Sign up here! That's about as far as my link to the company goes. )
- When the disaster in Haiti happened, I was able to donate my Swagbucks towards the relief effort.
- They really only reward you for the first 20 or so times you use the search. After that you are just using it cause you think it makes you have SWAG.
- The cons, just like other sites I don't know how much power this search engine has over tracking your searches. I would recommend not relying on it for everything, but using it as a fun way to earn extras.
Hope your searches today are Swagalicious!
Friday, March 19, 2010
Thursday, March 18, 2010
Here are just a few sites that I have been looking over the last few days doing my "dirty" homework.
I always use rubber gloves to wash dishes as I do most by hand, they are a must. But the longer they are worn the more leaks and grubbier they get. Setting my older pair by the trash can imagining how I could up-cycle them I came up "empty handed". Later, searching for my gardening tools in the garage, that is a HUGE wintery mess, I couldn't find the box. So, I walked by those gloves two or three times before having a Cinderella moment with them. Slipping them on they fit perfectly (as most gardening gloves do not on small hands), they were easily washable, and they went up high on my arm! Perfect for diggin in the dirt! The tiny holes that were there when washing the dishes did not let any of the dirt in, and did I mention they are pink? Well, pink and brown now.
So, whether you are an expert, a beginner (like me), or just an indoor plant person. There is always going to be a teachable or new learning experience when dealing with plants. They seem to plant the seed of wonder and allow everyone to grow, if only in character.
Wednesday, March 17, 2010
Tuesday, March 16, 2010
The veggie portion of the freezer was a hot or should I say, cold mess, before storing them in flat Ziploc bags. The top half is meat and sauces already frozen and flattened. The problem with just keeping veggies in the original bag is that it isn't a secure close, hard to take inventory on what I have, and which is the oldest veggie I should use up first.
Now, I can tell from top to bottom which is the veggie that is the oldest, what the contents are, and how much of one thing I posses. Also, when you are done with the freezer bag it is easy to rewash and use again. I would do this only with the ones that held vegetables as it is hard to get a truly deep clean with raw meats. Tips have been to purchase cheap plastic bags, fill them with the meat and then in a nicer freezer bag like Ziploc or Glad to protect them from frost.
I also put onions and red/green peppers in the freezer. Chopping them up and then flash freezing them. Flash freezing just means to put them individually on a flat surface, place them in the freezer let them harden, and THEN place them in a Ziploc bag. This way it is easier to take a few out at a time rather than a clump. They are mostly convenient for throwing in meats and sauces as flavoring.
The flash freezing process is also good for homemade chicken nuggets, pancakes, berries, and casseroles. To properly freeze a casserole and be able to keep reusing the dish, line it with foil, spray with cooking spray, and then flash freeze it. When completely frozen take out the meal in the foil, transferring it to a plastic freezer bag.
One tip for getting your meats to lay flat is to place them on a small cutting board in the freezer and let them take a flat shape before moving them. This way you gain more space and could even stand your foods sideways if you have the room and organizational talent!
Thursday, March 11, 2010
I'm sure most of you already know and/or do this, but taking your own bags into a grocery store is a great idea for a few reasons.
For one thing, you no longer end up with dozens of paper or plastic bags at the end of each trip. Also, many stores now give you a discount for every bag you bring in. I know that Target and Marsh definitely do this, and many others offer it as well. If you aren't sure, just ask your local stare manager. Usually it's only about 5 cents a bag, but that adds up with weekly trips.
Also, you can take any bag in, not just the store's own branded bag. I've found a lot of old tote bags that I hadn't used in awhile. Now I keep them in my car, ready for a quick trip into a store at any moment.
Photo by moi.
Last night I tackled scallops. I'd eaten them before, but never cooked them. I found a recipe and got to work. After salting and peppering them, I put about 12 scallops into a large skillet and cooked them in 2 tablespoons of olive oil for about 4 minutes on each side on medium heat.
A word to the wise (from one who isn't) put the scallops in before the oil gets hot or it'll be grease fireworks on your stove (hypothetically speaking of course.)
The recipe I had suggested using a vegetable peeler and taking some bits from an orange peel to cook with the scallops. It worked really well. The scalllops should be golden brown on both sides when they are done. I cooked some asparagus and rice at the same time to complete the meal and served it with orange slices.
Wednesday, March 10, 2010
The most ironic thing to me about the "Green" movement is that older generations practiced it, without much practice at all. They simply didn't have the luxury not to, they didn't have a choice. Most were just trying to live & save money, not trying to save the planet. This reasoning resonates with me the most because it passes up the fad and hype of the movement, and goes back to its roots. The green movement was begot out of the just using wisely what God gave you from the earth and surroundings.
One of the fundamental questions to ask when being a manager of the home is "why". The women of the last generation were mostly brought up in the age of convenience, as is this one and the next will be. No one has stopped to question our current methods. There now is a product for everything! The latest gadget is always behind the next curtain. Why do it yourself when there is a store down the road?
The answer is that most of the things that everyone is telling me I need, are subtly harmful for me and I can do it better myself and cheaper, thankyouverymuch.
Maybe store bought products can save me time, but what am I saving that time for? To watch tv? To make more money to buy more things? What am I sacrificing (iffy ingredient-wise)?And how much time am I really saving? My priorities need to be in check.
Chemicals and pesticides, to plastics and BPA. Almost no companies these days care where the item is made or where it was shipped from. Just as long as you are dependent on them. Unilever, the company, is a prime example that shows just how uncaring today's product promotions have become. Dove soap is a branch of Unilever, and is working hard to give women a positive body image. Shouting to women everywhere to be comfortable in their own skin. While in the same breath promoting Axe brand to men. Which shows women as only skin. Something to be lusted after, not much more. Now, I understand that money makes the world go round. But just knowing that they have no real loyalty to the consumer also makes me wonder about their ingredients. It makes me want to be more informed about my choices. It just makes me want to ask "why".
So, I would say that the most enlightening thing that I have learned is that I have a choice! I had no idea how easy it was to make bread. Seriously simple, like just a few ingredients simple. Why had no one told me it was in my reach to do this? I don't have to buy it? I honestly didn't even think I had a choice. I had no idea that making your own cleaning products is so easy a caveman could do it. It also saves me a ton of money! Gardening brings your food to your backdoor. How much more local can you get? Ok, I'm starting to understand now that it is up to me to teach myself these "basics".
Now, I am systematically going through my house and looking at each task/product in a new light. Could I make that easily? What's in that product? How could I use that item again or differently? Is it cheaper to repurpose or produce it at home?
Making some bread the other night my husband came into the kitchen with his plate and said, and I quote, "May, I have some more of your delicious warm homemade bread?" Looking beyond the sarcasm- he really did want more & he told me it was better than the store. If you know him that is a small step for me, but a HUGE leap for greenkind! :)
Being green and being frugal almost always go hand in hand. As does questioning and learning & maybe even unlearning some ways of living.