Archive for October, 2008

Make your own Soft Scrub Cleaner

Thursday, October 30, 2008 10:40 3 Comments

Do you need a nice non-abrasive cleaner for cleaning your kitchen and bathroom?  You can make your own at home, rather than buying the commercial variety in the store.

Make your own Soft Scrub Cleaner

You can also make it scented by using scented dish soap, such as lemon, green apple, orange or even some of the new “aromatic scented” ones like French Vanilla, Lavendar or the variety of “Rain” scented soaps.

Another bonus is because you use such a small amount of soap, you don’t need to feel that you are wasting any of the good scented dish soap you have on hand – but it does work just as well with the plain unscented or standard scented dish soaps.

This was posted under category: Cleaning tips Tags: , , ,

How to Clean Your Microwave

Wednesday, October 29, 2008 2:33 Comments Off on How to Clean Your Microwave

Because it is often “out of sight, out of mind” until you go to use it, microwaves can quickly become hidden science experiments pretty quickly, if you don’t clean up splatters and spills when they happen – and let’s face it, most of us are usually busy when we quickly pop something in the microwave to spend the few minutes cleaning it.

If your microwave is a mess of ick, here are some quick cleaning ideas

  • Run the turntable through the dishwasher.  This is the easiest way to quickly do part of the clean up, just pop the turntable into the dishwasher at night, or whenever it is you do the dishes, so at least that part is clean without a problem… just remind your kids they can’t use the microwave when there is no turntable in it!
  • Use a microwave safe container or cup (at least 4 cup size) and fill it with 3 cups of water, a squirt of lemon juice and a slice of lemon.  Microwave for 5 minutes on high and then let it sit for another few minutes for the steam to help clean.  More details here.
  • If your microwave is stinky too, if someone burned something in it or microwaved something smelly, use the same tip as above, but skip the lemon juice and lemon slice, and add 3 tsp of baking soda instead. And after you let the microwave steam for a few minutes, let the water cool slightly and you can use the baking soda water to clean the inside of the microwave with a sponge.
  • Need even more help to romove smells after the baking soda trick?  Put some ammonia in a bowl and leave it in the microwave overnight to help eliminate the smell.

After following one (or more!) of these tips, you should have a sparkly and clean smelling microwave!  Any other microwave cleaning tips?

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Can you really save money making your own laundry detergent?

Tuesday, October 28, 2008 4:58 10 Comments

If you have wondered if you could actually save much money by making your own laundry detergent, we have done the math for you :)

We checked out Tide Liquid, 2x concentrate in the original scent, and it checks in at $18 for a bottle of 48 loads at Netgrocer.  Expensive, especially if your family is large and you are doing many loads of laundry each week.

Now, let’s compare it to our own liquid laundry detergent recipe.  It is enough for about 50 loads of laundry.

But how much does it cost to make?

One box of Washing Soda is $9.28 (6 cups in the box, enough for 3 batches, so $3.09 per batch)
Fels-Naptha Soap is $1.79 for two bars.
Borax is $3.98 (8 cups in the box, enough for 4 batches, so $1 per batch)

All prices taken from today, for the most accurate pricing, and this comes in at $15.05 to buy the supplies initially… BUT remember the boxes of washing soda and borax make multiple batches… so what is the real cost per batch?   $5.88 for 50 loads of laundry… which works out to TWELVE CENTS per load!  And Tide?  THIRTY-EIGHT CENTS per load.

So for maybe 10 or 15 of work, you are saving two and a half times the cost of commercial detergent, simply by making your own at home.

This was posted under category: Cleaning tips, Make your own Tags: , ,

10 freezer recipes using ground beef for OAMC

Tuesday, October 28, 2008 2:16 2 Comments

If you want to get your toes wet with freezer cooking, starting off with some ground beef recipes is easy.  Why?  Because ground beef is inexpensive when compared to other cuts and types of meat and poultry.  Plus, it is often on sale, which means it is affordable for families to buy ground beef in bulk.

Here are some of the most popular freezer recipes at MomsBudget that use ground beef.  And these are all the more unusual dishes – meaning we aren’t going to bore you with the old standbys of meatloaf,  Shepherd’s Pie, Sloppy Joes and Spaghetti (but the links are there if you need some basic recipes)

Here are ten popular ground beef recipes for OAMC

  1. Caesar Spagheti (2 lbs)
  2. Chipolte Macaroni (2 lbs)
  3. Low Fat Beefy Tomato Fettuccine (1 lb)
  4. Pizza Pasta Casserole (2 lbs) and Low Fat Pizza Pasta Casserole (2 lbs)
  5. Dr. Pepper Spaghetti (2 lbs)
  6. Salsa Joes (4 lbs)
  7. Pesto Hamburgers (3 lbs)
  8. Holiday Spice Chili (2 lbs)
  9. Low Fat Beefy Tomato Fettuccine (1 lb)
  10. Salsa Burgers (2 lbs)

Don’t forget we have nearly 150 OAMC freezer recipes here at MomsBudget as well as a large Q&A & FAQ section for those brand new to freezer cooking.  And don’t forget all our Freezer Cooking printables to help you plan out your cooking sessions and what is still in your freezer to eat.

Love our recipes?  Sign up to our RSS for more great freezer cooking recipes, and share these pages with others.

This was posted under category: Cooking, Freezer Cooking

Cranberry liqueur recipe for Thanksgiving dinner

Monday, October 27, 2008 4:12 Comments Off on Cranberry liqueur recipe for Thanksgiving dinner

Looking to serve a desert wine or something fancy for your Thanksgiving dinner, but don’t necessarily want the expense that goes along with most of the desert wines on the shelf?  Why not make cranberry liqueur at home to serve to your guests after dinner?

Make your own Cranberry Liqueur

You need about five weeks to make this cranberry liqueur, so now is the perfect time to get started making it… and yes, it is very inexpensive to make, especially if you have some vodka in your pantry already.

Don’t have time to make it before Thanksgiving?  It is also perfect to serve for Christmas dinner as well!

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This was posted under category: Cooking, Holidays Tags: , , ,

Grocery Challenge: Coupons Only Baby!

Monday, October 27, 2008 1:14 Comments Off on Grocery Challenge: Coupons Only Baby!

Monday Morning Grocery Challenge: Coupons Only Baby!
Grocery Shopping Challenge
When you hit the grocery store this week, only allow yourself to buy items you have coupons for. So instead of buying one brand of pasta noodles, you buy the other brand you have a coupon for, which makes it the better deal. Being brand loyal can really kill a budget fast (check out last week’s grocery challenge for Buying Generic).

If you don’t have coupons for some of the “Staple items”, such as milk or bread, allow yourself a set number of items you are allowed to buy without a coupon, such as 3 or 5. And stick to it!

Bonus tip #1: If you findout which stores have double coupon days, it will pay to shop there… literally! You could find yourself getting items for free once the coupon value is doubled. So that $1 off coupon you have for a package of pasta noodles that is normally $1.99, once the coupon is doubled, that item is FREE!

Bonus tip #2: If you see in-store coupons that companies have on in-store displays, you can grab some even if you don’t plan to buy the item during that shopping trip.  You can save them for later when you might need to buy it, or you can save them to coupon swap with others for items you want coupons for.

More reading for success
Biggest mistakes shoppers make when using coupons
Why you should wait before using your coupons
Using coupons for new products

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This was posted under category: Grocery Shopping Challenge

Cleaning bath toys instead of tossing them out

Sunday, October 26, 2008 4:42 1 Comment

We have all done it – suddenly discovered a favorite bath toy has gone all green and black inside because of water sitting in there, and toss it out in hopes it won’t be missed at bathtime.  Next time, try cleaning it first.

Take a large pail and dump a half cup of vinegar in with a gallon of water (double the vinegar and water if you have a large batch of bath toys).  With gloves on, immerse the toys in the mixture, squeezing them to expell out any bacteria and mildew, as well as to get the vinegar mixture inside, then let soak for 15 or so minutes.  Repeat if they are really gross! 

You can also do this as a preventative treatment every few weeks to prevent the build up from happening.  You can also make it a rule for your child to squeeze out all the water from inside the toys when he or she is getting out of the tub, as this will also help prevent the problem from starting.

So next time you notice that yellow rubber ducky is looking a little bit green around the gills, try this!

This was posted under category: Cleaning tips Tags: ,

Make your own Reusable Sandwich Wrap

Saturday, October 25, 2008 1:16 2 Comments

Do you like the idea of Wrap-n-Mat so you don’t have to use so many plastic baggies, use up plastic wrap or wash as many plastic containers? Unfortunately, Wrap-n-Mats can be hard to find – I have yet to actually see one in a store!  They are quite economical to purchase, but you can also make your own version for lunches if you want some different fabric styles.

There are several tutorials available online. Crazy Mumma has intructions along with photos of her version of reusable sandwich wrap, CraftZine has one (which totally reminds me of the unbleached earth-friendly fabric with a bit of a print on it and eHow has one too.  Blog with Alex used a vinyl table cloth, red checkered of course, to line hers with, so it was very easy to wipe down and reuse. 

And, there is an added bonus, these also act like a placemat, which is good if your child (or hubby!) tends to be one who drops crumbs all over the place!

This was posted under category: Crafts, Make your own Tags: , ,

Homemade Febreze recipes you can make yourself

Saturday, October 25, 2008 1:06 3 Comments

Frebreeze can be expensive to buy, especially since families can go through it quite quickly when they are trying to make sure everything smells nice and fresh!  Here is how you can make it yourself, with a variety of scents.

Regular scented febreze
4 tbsp Ultra Downy fabric softener
32 oz spray bottle (clean!)

Fill the remainder of spray bottle with water, leaving a small amount of space at the top.  To use, give it a quick shake first, then use as you would Febreze.

For other scents, use other Ultra Downey scents… there are even several Downy’s with Febreze, if you love the smell of Febreze, including their Fresh Scent, Citrus & Light, Spring & Renewal, and Meadows & Rain.  But only buy these if you would use the fabric softener as well, or if you go through enough Febreze that using only four tablespoons at a time is worth it for you (you will still save A LOT of money buying the Febreze fabric softener and making it yourself than buying bottles of regular Febreze.

If you already have another brand of fabric softener in your house already, or a coupon for one, feel free to use that.  And please let us know which fabric softeners you used, and how they smelled :)


This was posted under category: Cleaning tips, Make your own Tags: , , ,

Things to do with all those wine corks you are saving

Friday, October 24, 2008 12:38 5 Comments

Do you have a habit of saving the cork from bottles of wine to remember special ocassions, or simply keep them because you know there has to be a great idea out there to recycle them?  I have some corks saved (and am now wishing I had even more!) because this is one of the most ingenious ideas I have seen to do with corks!

Re-Nest, (via Craft Gossip) a blog with plenty of ideas for those wanting a “green home”, has the instructions here.  Inspiration turn Design has another style of corkboard, but on a much larger scale.

And just as much, I love these wine cork trivets, another great way to show off your wine corks, and I like that this one takes advantage of the sides of the corks too.  Here is another cork trivet from Martha Stewart, but I like the first one better!  And Darning Diva has another kind of cork trivet which is super, super simple to make, so you can even get your kids to do or help with this one.

You could also make a wine cork wreath to hang on your door or for decoration.

Another really interesting idea, and one your younger kids would probably have a lot of fun with, is using corks to make button stamps from Her Cup Overfloweth .  You can then stamp cards/paper/etc with all kinds of unique buttons you have collected over the years, or you can buy a mixed bag of buttons fairly inexpensively at places like WalMart and craft stores.  You can also carefully carve a design into the wine top and use the top itself as a stamp.

Chica and Joe have a cute wine cork basket they designed using an old wicker basket.  This would be perfect for making up a gift basket for any wine lover on your list.  Add a couple bottles of wine, some glasses, wine charms, bottle toppers, etc, and you have a fabulous gift basket to give someone for Christmas, a birthday or any other special event.  It would also make a cute hostess gift too!

eHow has a couple crafts with wine corks – a Christmas tassel ornament and a few others.  And there is this cute Rudoph the Red Nose Reindeer made out of wine corks.

Not sure what to do with your wine bottles in the mean time?  La Petite Chic shows off what she does with her wine corks to turn them into a great home decor piece.

And last, not a craft per se, but a cute idea… a wine cork USB drive, for the wine loving geek in all of us :)

So next time you have a bottle of wine, save the cork for one of these great projects.  If you are impatient, ask around, because a lot of people tend to save them, then don’t know what to do with them afterwards!

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