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Archive for the ‘Homemaking’ Category

Sewing  Project Reusable Snack Bags

So, one of my friends got these really cute reusable lunch bags for Christmas; I thought about them a bit, admired them, probably even remarked that I’d like to make some someday.

Then, I hopped on one of my favorite craft blogs, and looked to the sidebar…and there, right there, was a step-by-step reusable snack bag tutorial!

And oh, how I LOVE photo, step-by-step tutorials. I’m a slow sewer who usually makes multiple mistakes, but this was foolproof even for me. I did both in probably 2 hours, with the second only taking about 20 minutes. They’re lined, with velcro at the top, and ended up measuring about 6″ across and 5″ deep.

Now, I have to admit I think I like my friend’s type of bag better for 2 reasons (both on my end):
1) she just has a better fabric–more home decor weight, which eliminated the need for a lining, while I used scraps of muslin for the lining, and leftover cotton for the exteriors.
2) I like the thinner velcro strip. This one that I used is just bulky.

But for quick & easy…these take the cake. Now I just have to figure out what type of dry food I’d actually put in them…I think slices of bread are on the docket for tomorrow. However much I use them though, I’m glad to think of saving plastic baggies…one of my frugal peeves. I’m the type that washes them out to reuse them, so having some cloth, washable ones, I’m hoping will save me at least one box of baggies a year…maybe I should keep count. Or not.

And that’s what Works For Me.

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Snapware 18pc Glasslock Tempered Glass Storage Containers 18piece Set with Lids

A mere few days ago, my sister-in-law gave us our Christmas present (Since she flew out with her 3-year-old from Seattle, and then there was the snow storm to keep us all apart even longer). Glasslock Snapware. And I Love It. Love it, Love it. Before, we had been using a combination of recycled containers from all those family-run Italian joints around and 2 packs of leaky flat tupperware, plus about 4 bowls with maybe 3 lids. We needed something different, and I admit my mind had been running on whatever brand those commercials show everything locking and stacking, as we DO have a serious problem with tupperware falling on our heads, and then into a sink full of dirty dishes. Much hatred ensued.

But these–no leeching worries in the back of my mind. And the lids LOCK–I had really, really soupy gravy with my pot roast, and even though I dumped it over, no spillage. Now, they don’t really stack, and while I don’t want plastic falling on my head, I certainly don’t want glass falling on my head–some of the smaller ones can fit in the larger ones, but not in a particularly neat & organized way, especially with the 4-flap lids involved and the fact that while it’s convenient to have 2 identically sized containers, they don’t fit in each other, and then what can you do? (Yes, that is a run on sentence).

But, I love the clinking of glass, and OH, they HEAT FASTER. And when you’re as busy at work as I am-or at least all your coworkers are sitting & eating and you’re STILL waiting for that food to heat up-this is a decided bonus.

So, that’s my entirely unbought recommendation, and that’s what works for me.

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In some e-book I was looking at recently, I came across a simple “recipe” for a homemade linen spray. That one called for 1/2 cup of vodka and 15-20 drops of Lavendar, but since our Vodka supply was slightly low, I decided to go with this recipe for a homemade lavendar linen spray. Calling for 1/2 cup of distilled water, 1 teaspoon of vodka and 5-6 drops of Lavendar, it was just the perfect amount of scent.

I put it in a clear plastic bottle, but think I want something a little bit fancier…looking around online, I came across exactly what I want:

8oz Frosted Apothecary Glass Bottle W/ Clear Mister

It’s frosted glass, but unfortunately only available wholesale…and I can’t seem to find it anywhere else online. Which means I might go to choice number 2:

Frosted Glass Perfume Bottle

6 for only $10.50 or $2.50 each!

I read another recipe for cucumber body/linen spray that used a real cucumber…but can’t find it anywhere. Anyone know of something similar?

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Center Cut Pork Chops $1.79

80% Ground Beef $1.99

Sirloin Steak, Boneless $3.29/lb.

Salmon Fillets $4.99/lb.

Roast Beef, Deli $3.99/lb.

Land O lakes American Cheese $2.99/lb.
Use with $1.00/1 Land O Lakes Deli cheese coupon (5.17 SS)

Kemp’s Frozen Yogurt 2/$5.00

Bing Cherries $2.29/lb.

Pineapple 2/$4.00

Market basket Milk $1.99 (1% or skim)

Near East Rice Pilaf 5/$5.00

Capatriti Olive Oil, 101 metal container $9.99

Arnold Whole Grain & Fiber Bread 2/$5.00

Kellogg’s Cereal Frosted Flakes, Froot Loops, Rice Krispies, Raisin Bran $1.99 with instant in-store coupon
Use with $1.00/1 Rice Krispies coupon (6.07 RP) & $1.00/1 Froot L./F. Flakes coupon (6.07 RP)
for 1/$0.99

Perdue Perfect Portions $5.00

Bone-in Split or Whole Chicken Breast $1.19/lb.

Haddock Fillets $3.99/lb.

Shell-On Shrimp $4.99

Carando Salami $3.59/;b

Flounder Fillets $5.99/lb.
Dressed Rainbow Trout $3.99/lb.

Dannon 6-Packs 2/$4.00
Use with $1.00/2 Dannon coupon (6.21 SS)
for 2/$3.00

Kraft Shredded Cheese 2/$4.00

President Crumbled Feta $2.99

MB English Muffins $0.99

Naan 2/$4.00

Motts Apple Juice 2/$4.00

Hunt’s Pasta Sauce 5/$5

Dole Fruit Bowls 2/$4.00
Use with $1.00/3 Dole Coupon (4.26 SS)
for 3/$5.00

Doritos 2/$4.00

Olay 6-soap pack $4.99
Use with $1.00/1 Olay coupon (7.05 PG)
for 1/$3.99

California Stone Fruit $1.49 (Peaches, Plums, Nectarines)

NJ Blueberries $1.69/1 pint

Empire Apples 3-lb Bag $1.99

Fresh Express Salad Kits 2/$5.00

European Seedless Cucumbers $0.99 each

Stem tomatoes $1.29/lb.

Collar Greens or Kale $.79 bunch

Eggplant $0.79/lb.

Peeled Garlic $1.49/lb.

Red Potatoes 5-lb. Bag $2.49

grocery-gathering5

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I love days like today. I got home from work at 4:30, grabbed my latest read: One Square Inch of Silence, and walked the few blocks to the beach. The wind had a bite, but I had a blanket (I won), so I got to read a few chapters with my feet in the sand, little waves washing up on the rocks, and a cluster of preschoolers trying to learn organized games on the grass.

There’s nothing like a break from EVERYTHING. I’m done classes for the summer; my husband’s graduation & party are over; a stressful work week is behind me. I, for the first time in MONTHS…actually, since last March…over a year! can come home, and have zero obligations hanging over me. I can read a book! I can bake! I can watch a movie! I can do the things I love to do! The relief is just washing over me every single day, and I am just So. Thankful.

I even found some beach treasures: a marble among the snail shells, some mussell shells I might make into this Martha Stewart wreath, some bigger shells for the ledge coming into our house.

Mussel Shell Wreath

I think they’ll go nicely with my one planned summer decor purchase: this beach sign from Uncommon Goods (which will hopefully come back in stock!)

I came home, made my wish list for the summer of 2009, and baked some bread for tomorrow.

And now, I’m going to clip coupons while watching Audrey Hepburn movies, finish my book, and once my husband wakes up, TRY to get the scanner to work again. And the night is still young.

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Since my husband and I are both “in the workforce” as they say, we often run into the buy/bring conundrum. We’ve tallied budgets, looked up costs, and done some pretty hefty research. What we’ve found? Everything in moderation.
Now, there is a difference between a $6.74 meal somewhere, and something from home, obviously, and sometimes you just want that mid-day break to get a nice meal out, but if 2 slices of pizza only run you about $3.00, that’s generally as cheap as some filling meal from home or the multitude of $2-3.99 frozen/boxed Trader Joe’s items.

So I was interested when I saw this Marie Claire article last month basically asserting that going out to eat for a $5.59 Subway Sub Combo meal was just as cheap as bringing food from home every day. Their made-at-home breakdown listed the following initial cost/cost-per sandwich as follows:

Arnold Whole Wheat Double Fiber Bread     $3.89/18 slices     $0.43/sandwich
Hellman’s Mayo                                                        $5.39/30 oz.          $0.08/1 serving (1 tablesp, 64 per serving)
Land O Lakes Sliced Swiss                                     $5.29/8 sl.             $1.32/2 slices
Sara Lee Turkey Pre-Sliced                                   $5.99/24 sl.          $1.00/4 slices
Organic Beefsteak Tomatoes                                $1.79 ea.                 $0.90/3 slices
Red Delicious Apple                                                 $0.69                       $0.69
6-pack Diet Coke Cans                                              $3.49                       $0.58/can
Glad Fold Sandwich Bags                                     $1.99/180-ct        $0.01/bag

…all of which totals $5.01, for a total savings of $0.58/day or $12.00 a month. Now, that might be enough for some of us, but I’m thinking the main problem is in their shopping. $5.00+ dollars a day can add up! Let’s see what they could get it for, if they would just shop on sale and with coupons:

Arnold Whole Wheat Bread 2/$4 (Market Basket 3.22.09)
$2.00/18 slices       $0.22/sandwich
Hellman’s Mayo 2/$6 – $1.00/2 coupon =2/$5 (Shaws 1.13.09)
$2.50/30 oz.            $0.03/sandwich
Sliced Swiss $5.99/lb. (Stop & Stop, 3.28.09)
$5.99/20 slices        $0.59/2 slices
Sliced Turkey $2.99/lb. (Willowbrook Farms, M. Basket 3.29.09)
$2.99/15 slices        $0.79/4 slices
Organic Beefsteak Tomatoes  (unadvertized so we’ll go with their price)
$1.79 ea.                    $0.90/3 slices
Red Delicious Apple $1.59/lb. (Stop & Shop, 3.28.09)
$1.59/lb (say 3)      $0.53/1 apple
12-pack Diet Coke (4/$12-4 $1/1=4/$8 coupons Shaws 3.28.09 )
$2.00/12 cans         $0.16/1 can
Fold Sandwich Bags ($0.99/120 @ Walgreens)
$0.99/120                 $0.008/1 bag

Total cost by switching brands, buying on-sale, and using coupons: $3.23.
THAT is a $2.36 savings per lunch, or $47.20 a month, $566.40 a year versus buying Subway meals every day.

I really find it kind of misleading…food budgets are the main area where a lot of us can and do save money through cutting back, and to run an article like that just to…what? Make us feel better about eating out? In this economy? Seems sort of irresponsible. I suppose it’s a good reminder to actually see that yes, all this work is worth it in the long run–and I’m glad it falls in line with our informally calculated $3.00-for-lunch-regardless rule!

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Once upon a time, I would chuck all those spare buttons that came with pants, shirts, coats into a junk drawer. Then came a day when I lost not one, but two buttons off my everyday winter coat. And where were those buttons? Off to join the missing-sock, other-glove, pair-less mystery haven, I would guess.

So now, when I buy a new item that has those said attached buttons, I immediately grab the nearest Sharpie and label it with the brand (if it’s just in a clear baggie), and a simple description of what it goes to. For example: “Green & White striped shirt (banded waist).” I just write the description if it’s in an envelope-like pocket that already states the brand.

And, probably most importantly of all, I gave them all a home. Now, I’d like to say that they live in some cool, flea-market found, local-artist-handmade sort of trinket box, but they’re trying to save money, so they live in a plastic baggie that pokes out of the top of a Victoria’s Secret bag I got picking up my latest freebie. Easy, accessible, and requires very little work.

So now, I know where all those buttons are, should the need arise, and even if it doesn’t, I have the seeds of a one-day button collection for any funky sewing projects. So, that’s what works for me!

See more WFMW at its new home here.

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