Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Frugal Cooking: Charles Mattocks,The Poor Chef

Cheri Sicard: What’s a common myth about frugal cooking that you want to dispel?

Charles Mattocks:
 That people who cook frugally are poor. I think an educated shopper can be very frugal in a good way, they may use coupons and take more time in the grocery store but they save money.  The way the world is now, I think all of us are trying to save a few dollars.

I have had single mothers that are successful business women that raise families share with me their secrets of cooking or shopping.  With planning they bought fresher food because they used a budget, and that they got more for their dollar when taking time to really shop. So being frugal can be a great thing when it comes to eating healthy and saving money. Read more here.

Eat Cheap but Eat Well

A good book for beginning cooks, and/or cooks who are looking for healthier foods with a little international flavor. Some of his recipes are here, free online. These are his higher priced $7.00 meals, but I could make these for a lot less! If you shop meat sales and use frozen veggies, or veggies from your garden, the price per meals goes down. It's a good jumping board for making your own versions...great for ideas.

Here's one of them:
I'd use a cheaper cut of chicken. I get mine for .69 cents a pound, bone-in. I cook it, take the skin off, and separate little pieces(shredded) to use in the curry chicken. You can make your own yogurt and leave out the almonds.

Granny’s Curry Chicken

1 Tbs. olive oil
1 medium onion, sliced
1/3 cup golden raisins (optional)
1/4 cup toasted, slivered almonds
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1 1/2 teaspoons yellow curry powder, or to taste
4 skinless, boneless, chicken breast halves (1 to 1 1/2 pounds)
1 cup yogurt
Minced fresh cilantro or parsley for garnish

Television: Content Matters, No Kidding

It seems morally wrong and abusive to expose preschool children to violence for the sake of a study. This is nothing but common sense; however, it puts the "science" behind it, and we value and put great emphasis on the social sciences in our society :

When preschoolers watch educational programs instead of violent TV shows, they tend to be more compassionate and less aggressive, according to a study published Monday in the journal Pediatrics. 

The study

About 600 families were recruited and assigned to one of two groups. Parents in the first group were encouraged to substitute violent shows with educational and pro-social ones - shows that stressed compassion and cooperation. 

Families were given monthly TV guides listing educational programming for their area: shows such as "Dora the Explorer," "Super WHY," "Sesame Street" and "It's a Big, Big World." Parents were also encouraged to watch TV with their kids.

The children went from watching a half-hour of violent programming a day to 23 minutes. Parents then increased educational viewing from about 30 to 43 minutes a day. 

Families in the second group did not change their viewing habits. 

"This is the first study to try to modify the viewing habits of preschool kids," says Dr. Vic Strasburger, spokesperson for the American Academy of Pediatrics. "That's one of the significances of this study."

After a year, researchers found that children watching less violent and more child-appropriate shows scored better on tests that measured cooperation, a willingness to share or compromise. They also had fewer incidents of aggressive behavior such as yelling and hitting.

"Although television is frequently implicated as a cause of many problems in children, our research indicates that it may also be part of the solution," the study notes.

Read more here.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Great Depression Cooking : Pasta with Peas

Austerity Measures in the Home: Cutting Utility and Gas Costs

A few things we will be doing or have already done to cut back on costs in these lean times.

1. Stay home.

We use our creativity and imagination to entertain ourselves. This means lots of family games, crafts/DIY, reading, gardening, and walks. Pinterest is a good place for free tutorials, ideas, and inspiration.

2. Using only two lights in the home at a time.

Using only two lights(CFL 13W) an average of four hours a day will cost only $4.18 per  year.

3. Unplug all items that use standby power lights, or use power strips and switch off when not in use.

Cutting off standby lights saves us about :

Five watts for 5 surge protectors
Eight watts for router
Eight watts for garage door opener
9 watts for older PC
and probably another 8 watts for various electronic items.

Total savings: $36.61 a year.

4. Flush toilets only when necessary.

Flushing our newer toilets uses 1.6 gallons. The average person flushes about six times a day which equals  9.6 gallons per person per day. We have three people here most days, so we use at least 864 gallons a month to flush. This is about $12.00 a month. If we all flushed once a day only, we'd save $4 per month, or $48 a year.

5. Turn on hot water heater from 5pm - 8pm only.

6. Use low energy appliances to cook: such as a microwave, an electric skillet,  and a table top oven.

7. Time showers to five minutes or less.

A shower uses on average 2.5 gallons a minute, so cutting back on the time saves many gallons of water.

In warmer months, we turn the water heater off all together and use tepid water to bathe.  This cut our natural gas bill in half! We still pay for the pilot light that runs continuously. Heating water for only three hours a day, cuts the bill by a significant amount. I'll have to figure an exact amount, if I can, and add this here.

8. Map out and plan shopping trips to minimize gas useage.

9. Order online when prices match brick and mortar stores, or are less expensive.

I use discounted gift cards, online coupon codes, and shop through rebate sites(see sidebar).

10. Thermostat is set at 57 degrees, down from 59 degrees.

Free Contemporary Pantry Labels

Free Printable Perfume Labels

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Home Energy Use Calculator

This calculator can give you a dollar value per state and item. I'm not sure how accurate(up to date) the rates are, but it gave me a good idea of where to save. You can adjust the kWh rates if you know yours. Mine is .11 cents per kWh. My cost of one hundred cubic feet (hcf) of water (748 gallons) is about $10.26.

Here's one for calculating shower useage(heat and water).


Tuesday, February 12, 2013

25 + Tips for Using Borax

From DIY Life:

Last week, we published a story on 25 Household Uses for Borax, and the response was overwhelming! So this week, we decided to follow up with new tips -- your tips -- for getting the most out of this "miracle mineral." So, there's this stuff called Borax. You may be familiar with its full product name: 20 Mule Team Borax. 

Essentially, Borax is a cleaning agent derived from naturally occurring minerals -- meaning it's nontoxic and eco-friendly. Though it's known primarily as a laundry booster, its uses extend far beyond that -- from pest control and weed control to odor elimination. We thought we knew everything about Borax...that is until you, our readers, stepped up and offered even more uses for this powdery wonder. We really had no choice but to publish 10 of your best pearls of household wisdom. Enjoy! 

 Read more here.

Friday, February 08, 2013

Free First Grade Nursery Rhyme Reading Printables and Worksheet

I've got this site, Lit2Go linked on my sidebar. Today we used a first grade readibility level print-out for the nursery rhyme, Pat-A-Cake. At the link is an audio version, a PDF illustrated black and white page of the rhyme, and a worksheet. All are free to print and use.

All grades are represented at Lit2Go, and they offer a good variety of classic literature.

My daughter also made a cake all by herself(mostly) from a mix. She learned to cut the amounts down based on the smaller size. We used a small glass oven-safe bowl. It was very good! She put strawberry yogurt on top for icing.

A little literature arts and math(fractions and measurements) for afternoon fun. : )

Getting Organized, Homeschool on Wheels: Easy Curricula Storage

I got this cart, Household Essentials Jumbo 3-Tier Metal Cart with Wheels, White, on Amazon for my daughter's homeschool items. I store it in the corner when not in use, and pull it out to where we decide to do our work - it changes from day to day. I can even roll it outside on the concrete. The trays are deep enough to hold standard sized paper and workbooks, and wide enough to store paper and workbooks on the same shelf. I've got them going two different directions to fit(see picture).
 The price is relatively low because it is not a heavy utility card, but a light weight cart designed for light weight items. We have solid surface floors and the casters work just fine on these - no scratches on the floor. It is also light enough to pick up by the handles to carry .

Cart is white wire with measurements of 24-inch width by 32-1/2-inch height by 14-inch depth.

Tuesday, February 05, 2013

First Grade Math Worksheet Freebies: Cupcakes, Hearts, and Aliens Addition

Click here.

And this one:

Dollar Store Inexpensive Stuffed Animal Storage

I got two of these large mesh storage(laundry) bags from the Dollar Tree for stuffed animals. So far they have held up well. They hold about 20 small to medium sized stuffed animals and have a cinch hold drawstring. This is so easy for my daughter to pull along while picking up. It is also good for giving the stuffed animals a good shake out(dust) , and easily moves out of the way for cleaning. Mine are stored behind a door.

Not bad for $1.00 each.

About Me

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I'm a homeschooling mom of two, a teen and a little. I hope this collection of mine helps you as much as it has helped us. I have an Etsy shop here:http://www.etsy.com/people/Alexandra66 And a blog: http://happyheartsathome.blogspot.com/