August 8, 2015

Kitchen Must Have: Non-Stick Oven Liner

This week my husband requested monkey bread for his birthday breakfast. I couldn’t find my bundt cake pan so I improvised with a casserole dish. Everything was fine until I opened the oven and smoke poured out. Turns out the casserole dish wasn’t large enough. When the dough cooked, it pushed the brown sugar and butter mixture out of the dish and into the oven. It appeared to be quite a mess.

dirty oven liner thethriftymommy.com

 

Thank goodness I had a non-stick oven liner in the bottom of my oven. I had purchased it a few years ago at the grocery store on a whim. It was on clearance for only a few dollars. I have sensitive skin and don’t like to use harsh chemicals in my house so I figured I would give the oven liner a try. As you can see in the picture above, the oven liner was covered in a hardened sticky mess.

I waited for the oven to cool and then I pulled the oven liner out. I expected that I would need to scrub the liner so I set it in the sink. I was so surprised when I turned on the water and the crusty food popped right off the liner. I washed the liner and then set it in my dish drainer to dry.

clean oven liner thethriftymommy.com

 

Ta-da! After just a few minutes of easy cleaning, my oven looks good again. I’ve had my oven liner for a few years and it has saved me time with cleaning and money on cleaning products.

You can find these oven liners at Wal-Mart, Amazon, Bed, Bath, & Beyond and other places that sell home goods.

This is not an affiliate post.


Karen

August 5, 2013

Organizing Dilemma Solved: Medications

We just moved into our house about seven months ago.  It has been a continual process to get everything like we would like for it to be and to find a place for all of our stuff.  Some days it seems like we will never be completely settled. But then comes the satisfaction of seeing little projects completed and watching everything come together.

One of our recent easy projects was hanging up some wire door shelving.  Ok, there was no “we” in this project.  Hubby hung the shelving without my help.  😉  I’m pretty sure we didn’t buy this shelving.  I think it was something that we had in our garage waiting to be used.  If we had purchased it, we might have bought a piece big enough for the entire door.

After my hubby hung the shelving, I wondered what I would use it for.  I could put spices on it, but then again, I like my spices being in the cabinet next to the stove.

I looked around a bit in our cabinets and then decided I would try out our medicines on these shelves.  We have our medicine shoved in a corner cabinet of the kitchen.  It is functional, but I keep looking in that cabinet and trying to figure out how I could better organize it.  I’ve thought about using $1 clear plastic shoeboxes and small plastic bins.  I just couldn’t come up with a solution.  I figured I could put them on these door shelves and if I didn’t like it, I could always move the medicine back in the kitchen cabinet.

Before

Before organizing

Here is the before picture.  As you can see, everything is in one big dark corner cabinet. There are kids’ medicines, some pain meds, and prescriptions.  I couldn’t stand this cabinet.

After organizing

After organizing

And here is the after picture.  I was concerned about the bottles falling through the bigger openings on the sides but that hasn’t been a problem.  I put all of the kids’ medicines on one shelf.  I put more frequently used meds on the bottom – paid meds, prescriptions, antacids, etc and put the less used items on top.

So far I am liking this new organizing system!  I know that everything can’t be done at once.  Finding systems that work and getting settled into a home take time.  I’ll try to be content as we journey through this process.

How do you store your medicines?

 


Karen

July 31, 2013

Product Review: 3M Command Picture Hanging Strips

A few months ago, my mom decided to give me my grandmother’s old pie pan. She knows how much I like vintage, antique, and unique items.  I set the pie pan in my china hutch until I could decide how to display it.

pie pan 1

I decided I wanted to hang the pie pan on my wall and soon discovered that it would be difficult to find an easy solution.  I looked at Michaels and Hobby Lobby. I looked at those plate wall hangers. I didn’t like the brass ones. I didn’t like the black ones. I didn’t want a colored hanger to take away from the look of the pie pan.

After much thought, I remembered that I had an assortment of 3M Command products that I won at Blogher two years ago.  I looked through the products and found the picture hanging strips.  They look sort of like a plastic velcro but unlike velcro, they have the 3M removable strips.  To me, this means that I could hang the pie pan without worrying about damaging my walls or damaging my grandmother’s antique pie pan.  There really was an easy solution to my dilemma.

pie pan 2

3M command strips

 

3M Command strips are great for college dorms, renters, or anyone that doesn’t want to damage their walls. It’s an easy solution to hanging pictures. 3M also has many other affordable hooks and hangers to match your décor.

I was searching on their website today and found a printable coupon.  Enjoy!

Have you tried the picture hanging strips?

 


Karen

July 25, 2013

How to Save Money on Laundry

We all have laundry to do. Some of us have more laundry than others. Regardless of how many loads you wash each week, there are some simple ways to save money while doing laundry.

 

save money on laundry

 

1.  Wash in cold water. Most all of your clothes can be washed in cold water.  I do wash my sheets in hot water since this helps to kill dust mites and germs. Unless your clothes are really dirty or greasy, usually cold water will do just fine.  Save money by not heating up the water. 

2.  Don’t buy “dry clean only”. I used to have some dry clean only clothes. I found that I wasn’t wearing them because I didn’t want to pay the money to have them dry cleaned. I tried hand washing some of them but they shrank. It is becoming easier to find nice clothing that is user friendly. Just pay attention to the tags.

3.  Treat stains properly and quickly.  I have a few go-to stain removers at my house. They work for just about any kind of stain.  Every now and then we encounter something unexpected. I just use google to see what others are saying works on the stain. This was especially helpful when one of my children, who was a toddler at the time, drew on our couch.  Be sure to treat stains quickly and don’t put stained clothing in the dryer. It is easier to treat and release the stain if it is not set in with heat. 

4.  Use white vinegar for your laundry softener. I wrote about using white vinegar a few years ago in my post 30 Ways to Clean with Vinegar.  I rarely use laundry softener but I like to use vinegar because it doesn’t leave a waxy finish on clothes.  Plus, it is inexpensive.  You can pick up two gallons at Sam’s Club for less than $4. 

5.  Line dry your clothing. When I was growing up we didn’t have a clothes dryer. My mom hung everything on the clothes line. I’m not willing to give up my dryer but I do try to air dry some of my clothing. Avoid line drying when the pollen count is high. 

6.  Adjust the water level.  Many newer washers adjust the amount of water to the size of the load.  If your washing machine doesn’t do this automatically, be sure to use the water level knob to adjust the water.

7.  Make your own detergent or shop wisely.  I confess that I have never made my own laundry detergent.  A quick internet search is sure to find you at least 10 different recipes.  I usually buy my detergent on sale and with coupons. Sometimes I am lucky enough to get the detergent for less than $1 per bottle.  I keep saying I’m going to make my own detergent. Perhaps some day I will. Until then, I’ll keep finding deals.

8.  Clean the dryer’s lint filter. Keep the lint filter clean so that it doesn’t take longer to dry your clothes.  Also, every few months it’s a good idea to clean the lint from inside the dryer. Some people run a vacuum hose down inside the dryer. I have seen special kits at home improvement stores. Also, check the outside vent. One day my dryer wasn’t drying my clothes. The outside vent was completely clogged. 

9.  Don’t iron. I’m not a fan of ironing so this one is good for me.  As soon as my clothes are done drying I take them out, shake/snap them out to be straight and lay them out flat on my bed and then put them away. I don’t want any wrinkles to set in. You can also pick out your clothes and hang them in the bathroom while you are showering. This will help to remove some wrinkles. 

10.  Use less detergent. Many folks use too much detergent. I have seen people fill the cap all the way to the top.  Look at the back of the bottle to see how much you need. Generally, you can use less than is recommended on the bottle. I usually use 25% less than recommended and have never had a problem. I have even washed some clothes without detergent. They say that the clothes agitating in the washer is what cleans the clothes. You might want to give it a try.

These are just a few ways to save. How do you save money on laundry?

 


Karen

July 12, 2013

Laundry Tip: How to Keep Up with Kids’ Socks

There seems to be a common frustration with those that do children’s laundry — some how the socks get lost during the washing process. It has been suspected that maybe the socks are so small that they get sucked into the hose and washed down the drain. Maybe they get stuck on a towel or inside of a pants pocket. Regardless of how it happens, it is aggravating and costly to replace socks.

kid socks 1

This really is a simple tip but it will help you to keep up with the socks while saving some sanity. All you need to do is put the socks inside of a zip up laundry bag.

kid socks 2

Zip up the bag, throw it in the washing machine, then into the dryer.

kid socks 3

Open up the bag. Ta-da. All of the socks are still there!

Some other tips to try –

1.  Have a bag for each child to make for easier sorting.

2.  If the kids are old enough, have them put their own socks into their bag before collecting the laundry.

3.  You may be concerned about the socks not getting clean inside the bag. I never had a problem, but if you’d like, you can get the sweater bags which have larger holes.

What tips do you have for keeping up with socks?


Karen

July 9, 2013

Inexpensive Girls’ Night Out Ideas

Laughter is a fantastic stress reliever. Having a girls’ night out is a great way to laugh, relieve stress, and feel refreshed again. As tired mommies, we all could use a little outing with our girlfriends from time to time. Getting coffee, going to the movies, and eating out with our friends can be very costly. Here are some inexpensive girls’ night out ideas that won’t break your budget.

inexpensive girls night out ideas

Host a movie night. Rent a dvd, watch a chick flick or something funny. I have tons of romantic comedies in my house. Perhaps everyone could bring their favorite movie from home and you could vote on which one(s) to watch. Pop some popcorn and have a few other snacks. This is much cheaper than going to the movies and you can pause for more snacks or potty breaks.

Plan a theme night. Perhaps someone in the group has a fondue fountain. Each person in the group could bring something that they like to dip. These items are usually inexpensive. Some ideas are bananas, strawberries, oreos, marshmallows, gummy bears, pretzels, rice krispy treats, and pickles. Or you could have an ethnic food night such as Mexican food night or Indian food night and everyone could bring their favorite dish for the theme.

Have a tea party. Get out the tea cups and china. Everyone can bring a finger food or you can provide some inexpensive homemade treats such as brownie bites, cucumber salad, pasta salad, pimento cheese sandwiches, etc.

Have a cookie/dessert swap. Everyone can bring their favorite dessert. It’s important to bring enough to share at the get together and enough to swap, along with a recipe for each person. Be sure to have goodie bags or boxes so that everyone can take home some samples.

Host a coffee night. My hubby and I read recipes and practiced making our own coffee drinks at home.  His favorite drink is a caramel frappuccino and mine is a caramel macchiato.  Set up a coffee station, play some relaxing music, and serve some yummy desserts such as coffee cake.  

Search for free and cheap local activities. During the summer, many communities offer movies and music in the park. It’s a good idea to bookmark your city’s webpage or like them on facebook. This will help you to stay up to date on local happenings.  Find something interesting, talk to your girlfriends about it, and agree to attend a free local event together.

Have a nail party. Give each other manicures and pedicures. Soak your feet in a foot spa. Enjoy a paraffin wax treatment. Each person can bring something to the party.  Everyone will leave feeling great.

Technically many of these are girls’ night in activities, but I call them girls’ night out because it involves getting together with your friends and getting away for just a little while.  😉

 

What inexpensive girls’ night out ideas can you share?

image courtesy of Artizan007


Karen

March 10, 2013

How to Decorate Your Home on a Frugal Budget

Everyone wants to have an attractive home. If you’re like me, you’re on a strict budget.  Most of us cannot afford to redecorate our homes. Here are some tips for furnishing and decorating your home frugally. 

our old house

1.  Shop yard sales and thrift stores.  I’ve been doing this for years.  A few years ago I was at a yard sale and found a really nice living room couch and oversized chair.  The person I bought it from had only used it for one year.  She paid $1200 for it and I got it for only $120.  Sometimes you can find some really unique items by shopping this way.

2.  Check Craigslist.  You just never know what you’ll find on Craiglist.  Before purchasing our last home, the home inspector found some issues with the bathtub.  My husband found a brand new tub with jets on Craiglist for 1/5 the price.  It was one a contractor didn’t use.  Another great find was a HE washer and dryer. We got an almost new set for 1/4 the price.  The owners were moving to Hawaii and it would cost them more to have it moved.

3.  Think paint.  Paint is one of the least expensive ways to add warmth and color to your home.  It really is amazing how $30 in paint can transform a room.  

4.  Repurpose what you have.  Paint that old lamp or picture frame. Change your night stand into a bookshelf.  Recover your old pillows with fabric. Use a sheet for window treatments. 

5.  Get an outside opinion.  It helps to ask someone else’s opinion for ways to help your decorating space.  Many times friends will see things you didn’t see and have ideas you had never thought about.  They may suggest moving a piece of furniture or changing a wall hanging.  Those small inexpensive tips can make a big impact.

6.  Borrow furniture.  When I first got married, I didn’t have any living room furniture.  I ended up borrowing some things from my parent’s house.  All you have to do is get the word out to friends and family that you need some items for your home.  Some people have things in their basement that are just sitting around collecting dust.  Some will let you borrow things and others will just let you have the stuff. 

7.  Be patient.  You can’t expect your home to look perfect right away.  It takes moving things around, searching for deals, and tweaking things a bit.  It will all come together eventually.

8.  Bring in nature.  Consider filling jars with shells from the ocean.  Fill a vase with twigs.  Put some pinecones in a basket.  There are many things that we can use from outside.

9.  Do it yourself.  I am not one for creating things but if given an idea, I can usually duplicate it.  Thanks to pinterest, there are thousands of ideas at your fingertips.  I have pinned many ideas for future use.  Be sure to check out my boards “For the Home” and “DIY and Crafts”. 

10.  Update out of date pieces.  Our last home was one of my favorites.  It was loaded with charm.  The problem was that the fixtures were outdated.  Everything was brass.  We didn’t have the money to purchase all new lighting and bath towel bars so my husband gave everything an inexpensive update with bronze spray paint.  You can check out pictures of our chandelier makeover.

What tips do you have for low cost decorating?

image (c) Karen Weideman


Karen

June 22, 2012

Reuse & Recycle: Reuse Your Bedding Bags

We all get those thick plastic bags. Our sheets, comforters, pillow shams, and other bedding items come in them.  Some people might throw them in the trash, but I prefer to reuse them.  I especially like to save the ones that have zippers and handles on them.

I have reused bedding bags for all sorts of things including:

  • storing extra hangers
  • packing baby needs for a road trip – baby bottles, spoons, etc
  • organizing toys
  • keeping extra carseat parts together
  • organizing loose items in my car
  • keeping sets of sheets together
  • storing seasonal clothing
  • keeping emergency clothes in the car
  • storing bubbles and bubble toys
  • keeping craft projects separated
  • organizing cards and stickers
  • storing gift bows

These bags are nice because they are see through.  You don’t have to guess what’s inside the bag.  For years I have been using the same large comforter bag for storing gift bows.  Recently, I used two bags to help my daughter organize and store her yarn and looms.  Everything stays together, she can see what she has, the items are kept dust free, and the cats aren’t in danger from eating the yarn.  The organizing and storage possibilities are endless.

What uses do you have for bedding bags?

image (c) Karen Weideman


Karen

July 23, 2011

Do-It-Yourself Pacifier Baby Shower Favors

I attended a baby shower and they had some really cute pacifier favors and pink confetti spread across the table for decoration. I thought the pacifier favors were so cute (and inexpensive) that I had to share them with you. The candy pacifiers simply consist of two Lifesaver candies and a jelly bean that are held together by frosting or melted chocolate.

You will need:

  • Lifesavers (These are made from peppermint Lifesavers.)
  • royal frosting or melted white chocolate
  • miniature jelly beans (probably Jelly Bellies)
  • ribbon

Directions:

  1. Unwrap your Lifesavers and set aside.
  2. If you are using chocolate then you will need to melt it.  Follow the instructions on the package for melting the chocolate.  Please note that you should be using chocolate candy that will harden after it dries.  This is the kind that is sold in most craft stores or in the cake decorating section of Walmart.
  3. Put a small dab of chocolate or frosting in the center of some of the Lifesavers.  To make your finished project more attractive you should make sure that the Lifesaver words are facing the handle and that the jelly bean side is plain.  For best results, only work with a few Lifesavers at a time.
  4. Attach the second Lifesaver to the first.  The second Lifesaver should be on its side so that it acts as a pacifier handle.  It will make a “T” shape.  Hold together for a few seconds to allow icing or chocolate to set.
  5. As you complete these steps, set them aside to dry.  After they have dried add the ribbon to the pacifier handle.  The ribbon should be about four inches long.
  6. Add a small dab of frosting to the other side of the lifesaver (the plain side) and attach the jelly bean.  Let these dry or harden.  You may have to hold the jelly bean onto the Lifesaver for a minute until it sets.

You may find that you want to make the pacifier handles first, attach the jelly beans, and then let the whole thing dry before adding the ribbon.  Feel free to modify the instructions to meet your personal preference.

Uses: These candy pacifiers can be spread around the tables for decoration or placed on a cake.  You can put them in a bowl on the tables or spread them around a centerpiece or the base of the cake.  Put them in small candy boxes and send them home with your guests.  You could also have the ribbon personalized with your baby’s name.  There are many uses for them.

Money saving tips: You know that I am all about saving money.  Save your craft store coupons to purchase these items while they are 40-50% off.  Ask your friends for their craft store coupons.  If you know in advance that you will be making these you can watch the weekly sales flyers for sales on these items.  Check the dollar ribbon area of the craft store for ribbon deals.

This post was originally written by me in 2009.  The content has been rewritten and modified to put on my own website.

Image (c) Karen Weideman


Karen

December 29, 2010

12 Helpful Tips for Moving

Unfortunately, I have moved several times in my life.  It’s very consuming and exhausting.  There are some ways to make moving a little bit easier.  Here are some tips I’ve learned that may make the process a little easier.

1.  Get organized. Keep a notepad handy for all the things you need to do.  It’s easy to get overwhelmed and forget some of the extra tasks.  A “to do” list will help you stay focused and not stress about forgetting things.

2.  Pack ahead of time. If you have a choice, there is no need in waiting until the last minute to pack.  Start by packing the things that you don’t use regularly such seasonal decorations, clothing, books, and wall hangings.  Each time I move I am reminded that it was more work than I remembered.  You don’t want to be overly stressed, so start as soon as possible.  During the last week before the move, you should only have necessities left to pack.

3.  Begin saving packing materials and try to use what you have. If you know in advance that you will be moving, begin saving packing materials, bubble wrap, newspaper, boxes, etc.  See if you can bring home boxes from work.  I also like to use sheets, blankets, and towels for packing material.  Blankets work well for packaging wall hangings.  I fold the blanket around the wall hanging and then apply packing tape around the blanket to hold it in place.  No tape touches the frame.

4.  Purchase a roll of plastic wrap (Saran wrap). It may sound crazy to you, but Saran Wrap is actually a great moving tool.  Wrap it around dressers, cabinets, and small things that you might lose.  Saran Wrap doesn’t apply tape to surfaces that you don’t want to get damaged, but it holds things together.  I have used it to hold armoire doors closed to keep them from opening and breaking.  I have used it to wrap odd items.  It’s an inexpensive fix.

5.  Label your boxes well. Simply writing “kitchen” just isn’t enough.  After the move when you’re looking for your casserole dishes, you don’t want to hunt through 15 boxes before you find them.  It’s worth the extra few seconds of effort to write something like “kitchen silverware” or “kitchen pots and pans”.

6.  Declutter as you go. If possible, try to get rid of clutter as you pack.  It costs money to pack and move things you don’t need.  Have a separate area for items to donate.

7.  Ask for moving expenses. If you are moving or relocating for your work, ask if they help with moving expenses.  Be sure to save all of your travel and gas receipts, as well as the receipts for rentals and boxes.  You can sometimes claim this expense on your taxes if it is work related.

8.  If you are renting a moving truck shop around for rates with different companies. Find out if they charge extra for each mile driven or if there are a certain number of miles included in their rate.

9.  When renting a moving truck, it is best to call to make sure your truck is there. We usually do this the day before.  Even if you have reserved a truck and paid a deposit, sometimes the truck will not be there. I know it sounds crazy, but it has happened to us.

10.  ALWAYS inspect the moving truck before leaving the rental company. Check for dents in the truck, missing trim, and any other kind of damage.  Also, check to see how much gas is in the truck.  Make sure all of this is documented on your rental agreement. Otherwise, you might face unnecessary charges.

11.  If possible, use plastic totes for fragile items. When we moved a few years ago, I decided to spend $30 on totes so that my china would be in a safer place.  Sure enough, someone was helping us unload the truck and dropped a tote with china in it.  I was surprised that none of it was broken. Boxes can easily get damaged during moving and they can also collapse if heavy items are stacked improperly.  Get plastic totes if you can.

12.  If possible, move on a week day. We have found that moving trucks are more expensive and harder to find on weekends.  A week day move will most likely make for a smoother transition since businesses and offices will be open.

These are a few moving tips that I’ve learned along the way.  What tips make moving easier for you?

image sxc


Karen

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