Monthly Archives: February 2014

Thrifty Sister Newsletter Vol 6, Issue 20 – February 16, 2014

Greetings Thrifty Sisters!  I hope that you are all enjoying February, as it is half over, and we are that much closer to March… and spring… This winter on the Prairie feels like a long one, and I am eager for spring to return.

One of my projects for today is to wash up and evaluate our winter gear. It also appears that a trip to the winter clearance areas might be in our future. We have some well-loved mittens that are beyond repair and there seems to be a young man in our home who has outgrown a winter coat that he has worn for the past several years – funny how the jacket arms seem much shorter this year!

With laundry on the mind today, I found this article that had some great stain remover tips.  To read the full article, direct your mouse here: (http://www.care2.com/greenliving/ecological-laundry-stain-treatments.html)

But this is the section that I wanted to share with you, from Sayward Rebhal’s article, “For example: Plain water actually works, but only use it cold. Hot water will set a stain. Vinegar or lemon juice will both act as a whiteners, so feel free to use them on light-colored cloth. For oil-based blemishes, a bit of dish soap will work wonders. Cornstarch (sprinkled on and left for 15 minutes, repeated if necessary) is also great on oils. And finally, for the accident-prone among us, straight undiluted hydrogen peroxide (which is also great for cleaning tile grout) will help to pull out blood stains.”

Some are great reminders, but I also learned a new trick – I had no idea that corn starch would work on oil based stains. Interesting…

Another article that I stumbled upon this week was a 12-month family organizer on how to incorporate more organic living into one’s lives. However, the portion that I found interesting, and more importantly, the section that I feel needs to be shared at this time of year is how to boost our immune systems. I don’t know about your area, but there is some cruddy sick things that are floating around and really are becoming major health problems.

This selection comes from http://www.care2.com/greenliving/a-practical-12-month-organic-living-plan.html , “As the summer fades and the colder weather sets in, colds and flu become more frequent. You can actually DO things to boost your immune system, now, and into the winter months. Eat more organic fruits and vegetables on a regular basis. One of the absolutely BEST ways to get the most nutritional value out of these fruits and vegetables is to juice them, raw. Drinking 4-6 oz. Of fresh, organic fruit and/or vegetable juice, twice daily, is a great, all natural way to boost your immune system. The vitamins and minerals provided will help keep your body healthy so it can more efficiently and effectively fight off viruses and bacteria. You may also want to consider some organic herbal supplementation. There are many herbs available that will help support your immune system before, during and after you catch cold. Sleep, exercise and water. Not organic in nature, but critical to the health and well-being of our bodies, especially during those times when our bodies may be more vulnerable.”

If you have fallen out of the habit of drinking water or eating fresh fruits and veggies, this is a great time to rejuvenate this healthy habit, and help one daydream themselves to spring, one happy apple at a time. And don’t forget to wash your hands with soap and water!

Have the winter blahs set in and you feel unmotivated?  Why not try some crafts that will help clear out the closets of plastic shopping bags?  Who knows – one of these nifty little crafts might become that new favorite bag to take to the pool… ahhh…. swimming pools, and warmth, and sun… ahhh…. (can one sense that I have one HUGE case of spring fever?!)  For some great crafting ideas with plastic bags, try this web site: http://www.greenlivingtips.com/articles/recycled-plastic-bag-crafts.html There are even crafts for kids, in case your little ones are stuck inside and you are running out things to keep them busy.

Maybe cooking or baking is more what you are craving today?  Did you know that Feb 16 is National Almond Day? These little nuts are power packed with all sorts of good-for-you treats, and they are super tasty! For all you foodies, try spicing up your February with tasting your way through the daily list of national food days: http://www.thenibble.com/fun/more/facts/holidays-february.asp

For more information on almonds and a cookie recipe, visit http://blog.thenibble.com/2014/02/16/recipe-almond-butter-cookies/

And there it is, my Thrifty Sisters!  May you enjoy the dwindling winter days, and appreciate the fact that our days are noticeably longer. Sweet dreams of spring, as you day dream about how to remove your garden grime from your future laundry, boosting your immune system NOW, so you can enjoy the upcoming spring or enjoy crafting with plastic bags or baking up some fresh almond cookies to pass the day away.  As always, have a great week, and keep on keeping it thrifty!

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Thrifty Sister Newsletter Vol 6, Issue 19 – February 2, 2014

Greetings, and Happy February to everyone!  It’s Groundhog’s Day!!  I was trying to find out if the groundhog was going to “grant” us more winter or an early spring, and while reading a news article discovered there are now two shadow-ing groundhogs – Staten Island Chuck and Punxsutawney Phil. When did Chuck appear?  Maybe I need to crawl out of my own cave more often!  Well, the shadow results are in and apparently both groundhogs saw their shadows, and we are in for some more winter.  And just when I was about ready to turn in my woolen collection for flip flops and sun dresses. I guess layers are still going to be required in this part of the world for a little longer. (http://www.nj.com/news/index.ssf/2014/02/groundhog_day_punxsutawney_phil_sees_shadow_calls_for_6_more_weeks_of_winter.html)

With all of that winter still waiting to happen, I imagine that will continue to give homeowners an opportunity to continue to plan towards future home repairs and upgrades. I know that we will be in the market for a new roof.  With recent windstorms, we have been watching shingle chunks scatter across our yard.

Although, this article really does line up with my friend Tyler was sharing with me about reducing expenses for future projects.  In “6 Ways to Save Money on Home Maintenance”, By Claes Bell (http://www.bankrate.com/finance/smart-spending/6-ways-to-save-money-on-home-maintenance-1.aspx), the author discusses the following 6 ideas and how each of these ideas can save you time, money while protecting your home for many years to come.

These ideas include:

Rent tools you plan to use once

Save leftover materials from past projects

Use ‘oops’ paint or recycled paint

Preventive maintenance is a money saver

Buy materials and labor separately

Keep your tools and work space organized

If it just so happens that you have any home projects coming up for 2014, consider reading this article for tips to save a little cash-ola!

How about some homemade vegetable stock ideas? I absolutely love our homemade chicken stock recipe – the taste cannot be rivaled and the flavor that it adds to recipes is magnifico! Last night I was reading an article about growing leeks, and apparently the tops can be kept (and frozen) and added to your stock recipe.  What a great idea!  One tip that I learned a few years ago was to save all the big scraps from carrots and onions and whatever you might throw in a stock, but save those “throw away” parts in a baggie, in your freezer.  Once it is time to make stock, add all of your “parts” to a cheesecloth bag, and boil away. I always marvel at the fact that such yummy chicken stock comes from so many things that would have been thrown away.

So in preparation for a few more weeks of winter, enjoy this simple veggie stock recipe –

http://allrecipes.com/recipe/basic-vegetable-stock/

And of course, today is Super Bowl Sunday! I am sure that many of you have your crock-pots rolling, and favorite cheesy-yummy things ready to be put in the oven for the Big Game. In case you are thinking about food things a little late (like me!), there are several places that one can find some fantastic and creative recipes.  One is Pintrest, which I am sure many of you are not strangers to, and then, of course, Martha has a whole collection of Game Day foods and decorations. If you are like me, I LOVE my salsa!  This is a recently posted recipe that I can not wait to try out with some of my frozen tomatoes. http://foodinjars.com/2014/01/preserves-action-quick-blender-salsa/

There you have it, my Thrifty Sisters – everything from breaking Groundhog Day news to house repair tips and a couple of recipes. May each of you have a wonderful Game Day and no matter who wins, have a great week!