Halloween Wreath

Halloween Wreath Collage 2

Halloween Wreath Collage 2This project is UNDER $20 and UNDER 20 minutes to make.

We really wanted to have more Halloween decorations and not spend a lot of $$ on them either so I thought making a Halloween Wreath would be fun, easy and cheap….not to mention easy “set-up and take-down” for the holidays. :-D This was my first time making a ribbon mesh wreath and I did this for under well under $20!! Continue reading

Scrap Blanket for SPCA Cats & Dogs

Scrap Blanket for SPCAI <3 our local SPCA!! Especially because I got my cat there; however, when I arrived I saw so many animals that needed homes. I love cats and dogs but I am very aware of my lifestyle and the amount of attention, and energy I can give an animal and how many of them. Anyhow, I asked what other donations they took besides monetary. You can find their link here. I was also told that they have volunteers that will crochet, knit and sew blankets for the animals so they have something warm and cuddly to sleep on.

I know my cat LOVES minky fabric and fleece AAAAAND I had some scrap fabric from some slippers that I made my sister-in-law (yes, her favorite childhood cartoon character is Snoopy). So, I decided to put these leftovers to good use.

The SPCA said that the blankets need to be about the size of sheet of paper (8.5″ x 11″) and up, depending on which animal they will use them for. The blankets above are about 14″ x 24″ with fleece on one side and flannel on the other.

If you are new to sewing, this is the perfect project for you to start with!! Especially as no animal is going to inspecting how straight your line is ;-) These blankets were created with your typical turn and flip method:

  1. Place the wrong sides of each fabric together (facing each other)
  2. Sew along 4 sides of your fabric leaving about 4-5″ open on one side (I left the very last 5″ open. I know most people leave their opening more mid-line like a duvet cover; however, this was easier, faster and I found I got a straighter line in my blanket. However, it’s your blanket and you choose.)
  3. Stick your hand inside the blanket (seems almost like a bag now) and pull the inside out
  4. Align your fabric at the opening to be tucked in…..
  5. And sew it close

Voila!

Scraps are put to good use!

And a homeless animal will <3 you for the gift!

Chia Yogurt Parfait

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I love berries!! And being a lacto-vegetarian, I really like to incorporate chia seeds into my meals for the protein as well love you omega fats. This breakfast is so easy and is one of my go to breakfasts when I’m busy as I can prepare it the day before and it’s ready in the morning.

Ingredients:
– 2-3 tbsp Greek yogurt (I like vanilla :-))
– 1 tbsp of Chia seeds
– 1tbsp of oatmeal
– berries (you decide how much)
– add a bit of water so you can mix it all up (I usually fill it about half way up my ingredients’ height)

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And in the morning, it is all thickened from the chia seeds and oatmeal.

Enjoy!

Flavored Waters

Banner Flavored Water

I LOVE flavored waters…….

however I have yet to make it at home. :-( So I went on a hunt for recipes and I found this great blog with flavored water recipes. I thought I would start out simple, with just fruit, and go from there in my new experiment :-)

I picked up the below Ball Mason Jars (pint & a half) from Wal-mart as I felt these were the best bang for your buck ($10 for 9) and they can go in your freezer as well. Note: that anything larger than this size can not go in your freezer IF you want to use it for something else.

Flavored Water 2I put about 8 blackberries in one jar and cut up some watermelon in another. I took a spoon (as I don’t have a “masher” utensil) and just started cutting/pressing the fruit into the bottom of the jar to help the juices come out of it. Then, I filled it with ice and then water to the fill/freezer line, before putting the lid on the jar.

Flavored Water 3Once the lid was on tightly, I flipped the jar upside down to move the water. You don’t want to do this too many times (a.k.a. don’t shake it) as you can bruise the fruit and it can change the flavor to not be “as crisp” if you get what I mean. ;-) Then, I left these on my countertop near a window. I thought I would see if the sun does anything to them like brewing sun tea. So I’ll report back to you about how they are soon.

Cheers!

**UPDATE**

So far my favorite flavored water is Watermelon with 2-3 mint leaves. I have found that if you put too much mint, it reminds me of spearmint which is a little overpowering.

5 ways to cut down on your cleaning

I have struggled with this for a long time. I like my home to look nice and be organized but it’s inevitable that we all have to clean.

And it’s good to take care of your space; not only in a hygienic way but also it’s good for the mind to not see all those “have to’s” or “need to’s” when you come home. So after talking to some friends about their methods and see what would work best for me, this is what I have come up with:

  1. Make it convenient!! – Seriously, why make something that you don’t want to do be more of a hassle? You will talk yourself out of it yet still won’t be happy with the results.
    Here are my tips:

    • I bought empty spray bottles and filled them with my glass cleaner. Then, I purchased extra rolls of paper towels so I could have a roll under along with glass cleaner under every sink in my house. This way, if the counter top or window need cleaning, I can clean in less than a minute, instead of thinking, “I’ll get it later.”
    • Suggested by my dear friend, I also purchased disposal wipes that look like they are in a baby wipe tube. These things are great for cleaning my toilet, the chrome on my faucet and even spills on my floor. I also found a site on how to make cleaning wipes
  2. Consolidate the time your time – if cleaning something will take you 5 minutes and you had this process for your whole living situation, you would constantly be clean!
    • So instead of using a glass cleaner and then a furniture/wood polish and a granite surface polish, etc. Find a cleaning solution that works for you on ALL the surfaces.
      • Vinegar and water has been a great mixture for cleaning and if you want something more soap like, try Castile soap. It has 18 different uses. Also by using one solution for multiple surfaces, you save money, space in your place, and time searching for all the “right ones.”
  3. Multipurpose your routine – I know what you are thinking…..but hear me out…..what I mean by this is try to buy things that you can reuse or wash or your own instead of using the dry cleaners. This will save you from finding time that is works into your schedule for that trip to and from the cleaners.
    • I have a reusable coffee filter in my machine. I always have coffee and never have to worry about running out of filters = save money. It was less than $5 at Wal-mart.
    • Old face clothes become rags to wash my car.
    • Dish towels, I use for my work out towels.
      Be aware of you have certain items for certain activities.
      If you let this idea go and use items for a multitude of activities in your house,
      you will spend less, have less clutter, use it more and also clean it more.
  4. Be organized – once you are organized, it’s easy to stay clean but until everything has a home. You don’t know where to put it so it goes into the “pile” or closet, etc. Then you have a mess waiting for you for another day. (I do like the out of sight, out of mind method but if everything has a home, you probably will not do this again)
    “Don’t put it down, put it away.”
  5. Live in every space – this is just like multi-purposing your routine but more in regards to the space your live in: from displaying your chotchkies (what I call dust collectors) or having furniture or other pieces in your life that is for display or those special occasions.
    • When I lived in Vancouver, space was very valuable and apartments were tiny like San Francisco or New York. Everything you owned had serve more than one purpose.For instance, having an ottoman that you can put blankets or pillows in it (another cleaning quick tip).
    • If you have collectibles, put them in a shadow box for display or another arrangement so you are not dusting every porcelain figurines every week.
    • Also, when you use every space, dust is not able to collect since you are constantly moving them. (i.e. you have glasses in a china cabinet or bar).
      And lastly,
      USE the fine china in your cabinet/closet!!
      Make every sit down dinner memorable, not just one.
      :-)

Hopefully you have found some things that will help simplify your cleaning regime so when you arrive home, you are home; instead of, facing all those “have-to-do’s.”

90-Day Spending Challenge: Pump Penalty

I commute about 50 miles/day for school. I try to carpool with friends or family when I can; however, I was curious how much money would be saved if you go 55 mph (state limit in Oregon), 65 mph (speed limit in most states), and 70 mph (the speed at lot of people out here travel). I know limits can go higher in California and Nevada borders them but….for the purposes of this Challenge, I wanted to know what individual impact I could make on my wallet with going the speed limit and SET MY CRUISE CONTROL into town.

I’ve heard that you can get about 10% more gas efficiency by going 65 mph and I also heard that if you let your car coast down hills in neutral, you will save more. Now, i couldn’t find a calculator for coasting and nor does my car have spiffy electronics in it, I did my own test over 2 weeks.

Goal:
Increase fuel efficiency

How:
– Use Cruise Control (whenever possible)
– Travel at 65 mph (or speed limit) :-)
– Coast in neutral down hills (whenever possible)

Outcome:
I increased my fuel efficiency by about 10%!!

I went from filling up 15 gallons at 310-320 miles to about 340-360 (depending on how close to Empty I let my gas tank get).

There are other things that you can do to increase fuel efficiency like removing excess weight from your car but with living further out of town….my car stores a lot of things I may during my day so I DON’T have to drive home to get it.

90-Day Spending Fast Challenge: Frugal Bathing…??

Frugal Bathing

So I know what you are thinking = Frugal Bathing?? For Real?

Yes & No…..
Yes – I thought I would post this as I know we are having massive drought and some counties in California are looking at losing their water in just 90 days. Also, I was shocked after learning of some family member’s water bill being $500/month in California. WOW!!

No – Truth is my hot water heater broke and it’s taking longer than anticipated to fix it :-(

Either way, I LOVE my hot showers and I also work in a profession that being clean is a necessity.

Frugal Bathing Recipe:

  1. Pot
  2. 14 cups of hot water — I boiled the water in my electric tea kettle (hence I know the amount)
  3. Face cloth
  4. Hot Plate
  5. Castile Soap

So, once you are done boiling your water and pouring it into you pot, put a hot plate on the side of your tub before setting down the pot. You can add cold water to the pot if the boiling water is TOO scalding. Now, get in your shower.

Wet you face cloth, ring it out, put some castile soap on it and lather yourself from bottom-up (feet moving towards your neck). Do both sides. Now, rinse out your  face cloth before dunking it back into your hot water and without ringing out it out, bring it up to your shoulders/neck and THEN RING OUT, so the water rinse your off.

Put something warm on like a track suit or a fleece jump suit.

Once done with your body, you can move onto your hair. I found this easiest by wetting my ends with cold water and then ringing out a face cloth when I got closer to my roots. Yup, like I said, I like my hot showers and don’t like the cold. Shampoo, then rinse out with the cold water under the faucet = I found easier to get it all out. Also I just kept the cold water away from my scalp. Next, condition your ends and rinse out with hot water.

Wrap your hair up.

Lastly, I used the pot of hot water directly with the  face cloth to wash my face. When done, I poured the remaining water in my pot down the shower drain.

It was like camping; however, I still got my HOT shower in the middle of February :-)