Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Clean Cheap

I am not crazy about cleaning, but what I really hate is spending a bundle on cleaning products, and all the different smells that go with them.

On cleaning days I arm myself with a spray bottle of water with a couple tablespoons of bleach, another with diluted vinegar, a box of baking soda, some rags, and my off-brand Magic Eraser.

In the bathroom I spray surfaces with the bleach - be sure it doesn't come in contact with towels, rugs or other surfaces that might be damaged. All the faucets get a rinse and polish so the bleach doesn't damage the finish. The mirror gets a squirt of vinegar, and everything gets wiped and polished with soft cotton rags. The toilet gets its own glug of bleach straight form the bottle and a quick brush.

The kitchen gets a similar treatment, with an extra rub of the stainless sink with the eraser. It really shines it up. The glass top stove gets rubbed with baking soda and a damp rag, as do the refrigerator shelves. The counters get a bleach spray and wipe. And the toaster shines from the eraser. I never do a complete cleaning of the cabinet doors because when I clean the kitchen each night I just wipe off two or three of them so they all get cleaned every couple of weeks.

Pots with burned on food get baking soda soak and scrub. Any pots with water spots or rainbows from the dishwasher get the vinegar treatment.

I have 400 square feet of peel and stick vinyl flooring in my kitchen level that I myself peeled and stuck. I do a hands and knees scrub of it as needed, but in between I like to run the Swiffer over it. The floor is so big that I used three or four of the swiffers wipes every time and decided that was wasteful. Now I spray the vinegar solution on any noticeable spot. Then I use an old dish towels that I rinse at intervals. Folded in half it fits well, then goes into the wash. Just as easy as the Swiffer but without the expense.

My windows get washed with vinegar solution and newspaper. The paper polishes the glass and leaves no lint. Just be aware that you could leave nasty black fingerprints on adjacent surfaces if you are not careful.

Throughout the house I dust with a rag lightly sprayed with vinegar solution to help pick up the dust, and I wipe any marks on walls with the eraser. I spray a different rag with bleach to wipe all the light switches and door knobs to try to cut down on germ sharing.

When I'm done the rags go in the trash or the wash. The house smells fresh from the bleach and everything shines. And it costs next to nothing. I hope you share your favorite cleaning tips because I'm always looking for more ideas.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Coupon Savings

On OHiH this week I clicked on an ad for Pillsbury, and printed out a bunch of coupons, worth up to $1 each. Most large companies have sites that include coupons for their products, and a lot of chain restaurants and entertainment outlets do too. Just type the company name in your search bar and look for the company's official website, then look for their coupon tab. I find these coupons at the official company website are often the best.

I never buy anything unless it is on sale or I have a coupon, preferably both. My grocery receipt last week showed $51.24 owed, $37.76 in savings. Best find was a $5.99 cheesecake absolutely free. Normally I would not buy a frozen cheesecake, but for free I will keep it until the kids pay a last minute visit. To get it I had to buy 2 Voila Frozen Entrees. They were on sale $1 off, I had a store coupon for $.50 off each and an online coupon for $1.25 off 2. So the 2 family size meals cost $4.73. Not too bad. I also got a coupon for $5 off my next order when I bought a loaf of bread and 5 cans of soup that totalled $5.74.

I always start my week by looking through the grocery store fliers. I check what is on sale, make my menus from that, and check for coupons on items I will be buying. I stock up on the sale items if they are things I will use, and I use items from the pantry to fill in, so that I will not buy items unless they are on sale. By now the grand kids know when they shop with me -"We can't buy that one; it doesn't have a yellow sign."

Other than groceries, I mostly shop online. Again, I will not buy unless it is on sale, I have a coupon, or I get free shipping - preferably all three. We run a website that is an online mall with more than 400 stores. We spend hours every day finding and posting coupon codes, sales, and free shipping offers. If people shop through our links they get the deals and we get a small commission. We were among the first sites doing this and did very well at until a lot of slick big companies came in with technology we don't understand, leaving us relatively clunky and hard to navigate. But we still have really good offers, and we still work really hard at it because we are saving money for our small but loyal following. If you are interested in online savings please check it out, and check out my twitter box in the corner here. Feel free to post our link anyplace you might want to share it. We could sure use the exposure.

I bought yards of fleece online with free shipping and a 20% OFF coupon to make all the kids and grands robes for Christmas. I'm watching for a deal on the flannel for matching pajamas. I need 44 yards! Tonight I worked on drafting a pattern to make booty slippers to match. They will be made with fleece lined flannel. For the prototype I used old flannel sheets and scraps of fleece. They turned out so cute! Since our house is usually cold we always wear slippers so I will be making a bunch of these! And the best part is, by using scraps they end up being free! My favorite price point.

Yes I Did Friday

Time for another revelation of the things I did this week that I might not otherwise share. Some I am proud of, others, not so much.
You can join the fun by going to and linking up.

Yes I did sort through trash and pull out a few things that my organizer daughter tossed when she cleaned my closets last week. And yes, I did promise her that I wouldn't do that, but I had my fingers crossed and she knew it.

I always get the coffee ready at night because I am foggy in the morning. Saturday night I forgot so Sunday I filled the pot with water, put the coffee in, turned it on. Did I forget the paper filter? Oh yes I did.

Yes I laughed when my husband described his shitty day at work. He works part time at a golfcourse and one of the old dudes at the annual "Assholes Open" shit in the shower. Hubby had to clean it up. He didn't see the humor. Yes, I did.

At the grocery store Entenmann's Doughnuts were buy one get one free. I have a hard time passing up a deal. But yes I did. Walk Away from the Doughnuts.

And yes, I did go to the store a day before I wanted to because we were out of milk and bread. Did the weekly shopping, got the milk and bread and several other things. Paid for everything. Left the store without the bread.

Yes I did end up making a big pot of spaghetti sauce and a big pot of split pea soup on the same day, and yes I did end up serving leftovers all week.

Thursday, October 15, 2009


I was asked today by GrammieMommy what I am thankful for. I realize I don't spend enough time with that.

I worry because we have very little income, but I should focus on being thankful that we have a roof overhead and a dinner on the table in front of us.

I still feel sad that I lost three babies and one grandbaby to early miscarriage. I need to remember that I have three grown kids and their three spouses and 5.8 grandchildren who are healthy and close enough that I get to be with them. They bring me such joy. I am very thankful that I have never had to watch a child really suffer, have never had to plan a funeral or memorial.

I continue to mourn the loss of my mother after 17 years. I lost her too young. I am very thankful that I had her for 40 years. And I am thankful that she was healthy and happy to her very last moment of life.

Like most people, I complain about my husband who does not listen, forgets if he does hear, and sometimes isn't interested. He can be rude, crude, and male. I am thankful that 39 years ago I met him, I am thankful that we made it through midlife crisis, I am thankful that he is in good health, and I am thankful that we still make each other laugh.

I am thankful for so many things, and I am glad that my recent introduction to an online community has helped - even forced - me to remember that. Thanks for the reminder, OHiH

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

I was tagged?

I was tagged by Jeanette for eight random things about me that no one knows.
1. I don't know much about this tagging and linking thing because even though I spend all day working online I don't get it.

2. I am addicted to Diet Pepsi

3. I drink alcohol maybe twice a year which is more than I should because I become very entertaining.

4. I like casinos way more than I should.

5. I quit smoking. Three times today. Again.

6. I am crazy for cats. My husband says it's him or a cat. I'm thinking.

7. I am always cold unless I am having a residual hotflash.

8. I won the Betty Crocker Future Homemaker of Tomorrow in high school. In 1970.

I will also tag 6 others. If I tagged you, do your own 8 random things post, and tag 6 others. Leave them a comment to let them know they have been tagged!
I am tagging:
Robin2 http://threekidsthreecatsthreedogs.blogspot/

Pumpkin Time

I've been reading other blogs with Halloween decorations and really cute ideas for fun like Deb at and I have to confess it makes me a little sad. I've always loved Halloween, especially when my kids were young and when I worked in preschools and elementary school.

I would always dress up to pass out candy, and have the front porch all decorated. Now we live on tiny lake with mostly seasonal residents. We have no trick-or treaters and I have even stopped putting out the pumpkins.

Last year we were invited to my daughter's and got to take the four kids trick-or-treating because their parents were headed off to Florida. I had such a terrific time. It was unseasonably warm and sunny when we headed out, just beginning to get dark and crisp by the time we returned. The kids were so excited, and laughed as the little guys ghost costume kept slipping over his eyes.

We are not invited this year as mom and dad have no travel plans, but we might just show up anyway, at least to watch the school parade. Or we might head north to see the singleton in the Tinkerbell costume I made for her.

I always have to pause at Halloween to be thankful for what we have. In 1981 we had a Thanksgiving baby that decided to arrive at the start of October. She had some real issues with keeping the heart beating and the lungs breathing, then got an infection that was tough on her. Nothing long-lasting, and I guess it was all just immaturity, but she had the doctors baffled for a bit.

We managed to get home to her two siblings and Daddy in our two bedroom mobile home with plenty of time to get costumes ready from my fabric stash. The baby could not leave the house due to infection fears, and needed to nurse every two hours, so my shopping time was really limited. And because of the medical expenses and all the extras of being at the hospital so much, there was no money to shop anyway.

The night before Halloween my seven year old asked why we had no pumpkin. I confessed that I had forgotten! I checked my wallet. Empty. Daddy's wallet. Empty. The day after Halloween was payday, and these were the days before everyone had charge cards, and before everyone took them. The kids and I began scouring the house and even the car seats for change and found enough for a pumpkin. Fed the baby and put her down. Left Daddy behind and headed out. We went to every store on our side of town: out of pumpkins!

We were just leaving the last store, very sad, when I spotted a cart off to the side with a bunch of signs stacked on top of one lone pumpkin. We dug it out triumphantly, sure that we could work around the flat side and the blemishes. We paid for the pumpkin, and nearly danced out to the car. Reaching into my pocket for my car keys I felt the pumpkin start to slip from my arm! The last pumpkin in town heading for the pavement, seemingly in slow motion! Plop. The unsightly gourd hit the top of my sneaker and rolled safely off. I got the kids and the pumpkin in the car and got everyone home. Daddy and the big kids carved the last pumpkin and placed it on the trailer steps. Life was indeed good. In an odd way, those are the days I yearn for. an early Happy Halloween to all of you with little ones, and all of you with memories.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Clearing Out Clutter

My youngest works as an engineer but is trying to start her own business as an organizer and hopefully foster her more creative side. She is a born neatnik. When she was little we would have this conversation:

Mom, is it okay if I vacuum?

Honey, you vacuumed this morning.

I know, but pleeeease?

Okay, but just this once.

So, for her new business she has designed a website and needs before and after pictures. Since her own home is already perfect she can't do them there. Her older sister said that she would rather just move than try to organize. Her sister in law who would have a room or two that could use help didn't even respond. That left me.

This weekend my sweet darling daughter arrived to organize three of my closets. That little honey was vicious! Why can she not understand that even though I have no twin beds, I might in the future; and those sheets and bedskirts are perfectly good? Besides, they have a lot of fabric that I could use for something. And even though I know I have way too many pillowcases, they don't take much room. I did manage to hold on to one pillowcase from a set we got for our 1972 wedding. It's still good.

And the gift wrap: really only the folds get yellowed. I know some of it was over 20 years old, but I might need it soon. And those little squares might be the perfect size for a gift I might buy sometime. And as far as tossing out the to/from tags that my mom made and used on the kids gifts 25 years ago? Those are memories.

The high point was going through old cards. Daughter looked at a Thank you from a neighbor we had helped out and found a $20 Applebee's gift card. I looked at a Christmas card from my Mother-in-law and found a $30 card for Red Lobster. We don't eat out, but maybe we will soon!

We got through it. The closets look great. She said she will help me with my crafts and fabric stash. I said she will not touch my fabric and crafts. She said she will be back next weekend to help me with them. I said she will NOT TOUCH my fabric and crafts. There are a lot of things in there I might need some day.