Wednesday, June 27, 2012

DIY Lincoln Logs

Paper Tubes as Lincoln Logs
Cut squares out of the sides that are roughly the same diameter as the tube (see bottom left of photo) for a DIY version of Lincoln Logs perfect for little hands. Stack the “logs” perpendicularly to one another. It's a no-cost way to let the good times roll.
Paper tubes as Lincoln Logs
Aimee Herring

Ice Packs for Kids

Bean Bag Animals as Ice Packs
Console an injured kid with a comforting ice pack. Chill a beanbag animal in the freezer and apply it to a little one’s wounds.
Toy animal used as child's ice pack
Mark Lund

Refrigerator Magnets

Puzzle Pieces as Refrigerator Magnets
Send party guests home with one-of-a-kind favors. Parcel out groups of pieces from an incomplete puzzle and glue a magnet to the back of each. A single box will yield enough decorative sets for dozens of refrigerators

Jigsaw puzzle used as party favor
Antonis Achilleos

Game Piece Storage

Game Piece Storage

Jewelry Box as Game Piece Storage
Store game pieces, play money, or other priceless rainy-afternoon distractions.

Jewerly box used to store game pieces
Kathryn Barnard

Dryer Lint as Modeling Dough

Dryer Lint as Modeling Dough
Since you most likely have it in abundance, use it to make homemade modeling dough. Simply mix the lint with water and flour (and, if you prefer, food coloring), as directed below for an ear-resistible sculpture of Dumbo.

To make the modeling dough:
  1. Place 3 cups (shredded) dryer lint into a pot.
  2. Pour in 2 cups water.
  3. Stir in 1 cup flour.
  4. Add ½ teaspoon vegetable oil.
  5. Stir continuously over low heat until the mixture binds together and is of a smooth consistency.
  6. Pour onto a sheet of wax paper to cool.

Dryer Lint Elephant
Aimee Herring

Get Your Kids To Eat Their Veggies - Vegetable Counter

Dice as Vegetable Counter
Decide how many more bites of dinner your child has to eat before being excused. Let your child roll so he’s the one controlling his fate. You'll end up with a more peas-ful family meal.

Collette Mather
Teaneck, New Jersey

Dice with peas at dinner
Aimee Herring

Pencil Case

Zippered Plastic Bag as Pencil Case
Always have your pencils and PTA notes (or toddler’s crayons and doodle paper) in the same spot: Just punch holes along the nonzippered edge of a sandwich bag, then click it into a three-ring binder.

Plastic bag as pencil case
James Wojcik

Stroller Counterbalance

Ankle Weight as Stroller Counterbalance -
Ground the wheels of a stroller that has a jam-packed diaper bag hanging on the handles by attaching the weights just above the front wheels. You'll no longer be saying “Whoopsie daisy!” when you lift your child out of the seat.

Ankle weight on a stroller wheel
Aimee Herring

Yarn Holder

Baby Wipe Container as Yarn Holder
Don’t let your yarn get crossed. Use an empty baby wipes container to keep yarn clean and tangle-free.
This can also be used for twine.  Keep it in the garage for things like gathering the newspapers together or for anything that requires a tie-down. 

Baby wipe container as yarn holder
Photo: John Lawton; Styling: Linden Elstran

31 Tips on How to Recycle Your Socks - wikiHow

31 Tips on How to Recycle Your Socks - wikiHow

Sandwich Labels

Rubber Bands as Sandwich Labels
Distinguishing chicken salad from tuna is no picnic. Next time you’re packing sandwiches, stretch a thick rubber band around each one and label it with a permanent marker. Divvying up lunch will be a snap.
This would be a great for picnics.  I do this when I put leftovers in the fridge (especially when they are in containers you can't see through).  Then I don't have to keep opening them to see what is in the bowl. 

Rubber band used as sandwich ID
Levi Brown

Wine Charms

Stretchy Bracelets as Wine Charms
Snag a couple of your child's stretchy bracelets to identify guests' glasses at your next party. Bonus points if the shapes match your party's theme. Submitted by: Abby123

Stretchy bracelets as drink labels
Photo: John Lawton; Styling: Linden Elstran

Parchment Paper as Musical Instrument

Parchment Paper as Musical Instrument
Make a kazoo by folding a piece of parchment or wax paper over a comb’s teeth (the paper should hang over about an inch).

Parchment Paper as Musical Instrument
Photos: Erica McCartney; Styling: Linden Elstran

Homemade Childproof Storage

Locked cosmetic bag as childproof storagePhoto: John Lawton; Styling: Linden Elstran

Locked Cosmetic Bag as Childproof Storage
Put medications in a locked cosmetic case for an easy way to keep curious kids away from poking around the medicine cabinet.
Use one of those small locks like you would use on a suitcase.

Monday, June 25, 2012

One Step Pasta Salad

One Step Pasta Salad

  • 1 pound rotini pasta, cooked and drained
  • 2 cups Kraft Parmesan Caesar Dressing
  • 1 can pitted black olives, halved
  • 1 large tomato, diced
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 1 cup broccoli flowerets, chopped into small pieces
  • 1 cup cauliflower flowerets, chopped into small pieces
  • 4 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
  1. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and mix well.
  2. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
  3. Stir well before serving.

Tuna and Fruit Macaroni Salad

Tuna and Fruit Macaroni Salad

Serves: 6
  • 1 8-ounce box elbow macaroni, cooked, drained and rinsed with cool water
  • 1 2-ounce can tuna packed in spring water, drained and flaked
  • 1/2 to 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 crisp apple; peeled, cored and cut into small pieces
  • 2 8-ounce cans pineapple tidbits in juice, drained
  • 2 8-oz cans mandarin orange segments, drained
  • 1 cup golden raisins
  1. Mix tuna, 1/2 cup mayonnaise, apple, pineapple, and raisins; mix in macaroni.
  2. Gently add mandarin oranges; add additional mayonnaise if it seems dry.
  3. Chill and serve.

Easy Macaroni Salad

Easy Macaroni Salad

Serves: 5
  • 1 cup Miracle Whip
  • 8 ounces cooked, drained elbow macaroni
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup celery, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon mustard
  • 1 cup red and green pepper, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup onion, chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 cup cheese cubes (optional)
  1. In a large bowl stir in Miracle Whip, vinegar, mustard, sugar, salt and pepper until smooth.
  2. Add remaining ingredients and toss to coat well. Cover and refridgerate at least 2 hours.

Deli Style Macaroni Salad

Deli Style Macaroni Salad
  • 8 ounces macaroni
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon prepared mustard
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 cup celery, chopped
  • 1/2 cup onion, chopped
  • 1 cup red or green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 cup tomato, chopped
  • 1/2 cup cucumber, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon of chopped pickle or pickle relish
  1. Cook macaroni according to box directions, drain, place in container with top.
  2. Mix with vinegar and mustard, sugar, salt and pepper, when smooth pour over macaroni.
  3. Add celery, onion, bell pepper. Then add tomato and cucumber, then add chopped pickle or pickle relish, chill well stir before serving.

Cool Classic Macaroni Salad

Cool Classic Macaroni Salad

  • 3/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon prepared mustard (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 8 ounces elbow pasta (about 2 cups) cooked, rinsed with cold water and drained
  • 1 cup sliced celery
  • 1 cup chopped green or red pepper
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  1. In large bowl combine first 6 ingredients.
  2. Add pasta, celery, green pepper, and onion; toss to coat.
  3. Cover; chill to blend flavors.
Makes 5 cups.

Cheesy Deli Macaroni Salad

Cheesy Deli Macaroni Salad

  • 1 cup elbow macaroni
  • 3/4 cup Cheddar cheese, cubed
  • 1/2 cup celery, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup frozen green peas
  • 1/2 cup radishes, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons thinly sliced green onions or chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup sweet or dill pickle relish or chopped sweet or dill pickles
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • pinch ground pepper
  • 2 hard-cooked eggs, coarsely chopped
  1. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain pasta. Rinse with cold water; drain again.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine cooked pasta, cheese, celery, peas, radishes, and green onion.
  3. In a small bowl, stir together the mayonnaise or salad dressing, pickle relish or pickles, milk, salt, and pepper. Pour dressing over pasta mixture.
  4. Add chopped eggs. Toss lightly to coat. Cover and chill for 4 to 24 hours. Before serving, if necessary, stir in additional milk to moisten.

Summertime Macaroni Salad

Summertime Macaroni Salad

Recipe Base:
1 pound elbow macaroni
juice of 1 lemon
3/4 cup olive oil mayonnaise
1/4 cup sour cream
2 teaspoons Dijion mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1/4 teaspoon pepper, or to taste
2 tablespoons minced parsley
1 celery rib, minced
2 tablespoons red onion or shallots, minced
2 tablespoons sweet relish
3/4 cup sugar snap peas, cut into thirds
1 - 3 ounce can sliced black olives
1/2 of a red bell pepper, diced
1 small bunch radishes, thinly sliced
6 slices center cut bacon cooked and crumbled bacon


Cook the pasta according to package instructions for "al dente pasta." After cooking, drain and rinse with very cold water to speed cooling and prevent continued cooking. Spread the macaroni out on a layer of paper towels. Pat dry.
In a large bowl, combine the lemon juice, mayonnaise, sour cream, dijion mustard, salt, pepper, and parsley. Whisk until combined. Stir in cooled and dry pasta until evenly coated. Add the relish and onion, stirring to combine.
Prepare all of the vegetables, then add them and any remaining ingredients except bacon to the large bowl with the pasta. Stir until the ingredients are evenly distributed. Chill for 1 hour, or up to 24 hours before serving.
Prior to serving, sprinkle the top of the salad with the crumbled bacon.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Homemade Dog Food

Homemade Dog Food Recipe

Homemade Dog Food
By: redgirl  (for 
"I have made dog food ever since my dogs were puppies - 4 years now! They are very healthy and have never had any problems. You can also add it to their kibble. They love it! My dogs are large breed so they get 2 cups in the a.m. and p.m."                  
Cook Time:
25 Min
Ready In:
30 Min

Servings (Help)

Original Recipe Yield10 cups


  • 6 cups water
  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 2 cups brown rice
  • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 1/2 (16 ounce) package frozen broccoli, carrots and cauliflower combination


  1. Place the water, ground turkey, rice, and rosemary into a large Dutch oven. Stir until the ground turkey is broken up and evenly distributed throughout the mixture; bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes. Add the frozen vegetables, and cook for an additional 5 minutes. Remove from heat and cool. Refrigerate until using.

DIY: Three Different Homemade Dishwasher Deteregent Recipes: Powder and Liquid |

Click on the link below to go to the story:

DIY: Three Different Homemade Dishwasher Deteregent Recipes: Powder and Liquid |

Get Rid Of Black Heads In 5 Minutes

Honey and lemon for black head removal

Honey and lemon for black head removal
Honey and lemon for black head removal
Black heads on face are a common problem which all of us face, especially the blackheads on nose and areas around it. Though scrubbing helps to get rid of black heads to some extent but the results are not much satisfactory. Here’s one quick and very effective homemade remedy for your black heads and white heads.
You just need to grab half lemon from your fridge(doesn’t matter if some juice is already squeezed from it) and put 3-4 drops of honey on it. Now just rub the lemon on your face for some time, make sure you emphasize on the black heads prone areas like nose, chin etc. Leave the lemon and honey mixture on your face for 5 minutes and then wash it with cold water. You will be able to see the results immediately. Additionally, lemon juice will also fade other marks/spots on the face and honey will moisturize. So what are you waiting for friends , go and try this one out.

4 Cheap and Easy Homemade Mosquito Repellents

Cheap and Easy Homemade Mosquito Repellents

Lemon Eucalyptus Mosquito Repellent

  • Ingredients: Lemon eucalyptus oil and sunflower oil or witch hazel
  • Cost: $9.50 for 8 oz. of lemon eucalyptus oil (can be purchased on
  • Directions: Mix 1 part lemon eucalyptus oil for every 10 parts of sunflower oil/witch hazel. Rub or spray on skin.
Recipe modified from

Lavender Mosquito Repellent

  • Ingredients: Fresh lavender (the flower)
  • Cost: Free (if you have lavender growing in your yard); otherwise Home Depot sells the plant for about $12
  • Directions:
Rub a lavender flower behind your ears, wrists and neck. Not only will you smell great but mosquitoes will leave you alone.
Recipe from Garden Mandy

Vanilla Mosquito Repellent

  • Ingredients: Vanilla extract
  • Cost: Less than $5 at grocery store
  • Directions:
Apply some vanilla extract or vanilla essence to your pulse points.

Homemade Mosquito Repellent: {Recipes} - TipNut

If you’re interested in experimenting with homemade mosquito repellents, here are a few different recipes that you can try. Most of these have been sent in by readers and they’re all easy enough to make (thank you for sharing guys!). A few are made with assorted essential oils but there is one shared by Jennifer that uses simple ingredients (garlic cloves, mineral oil, water and lemon juice) so the expense is really minimal.
Make Your Own Insect Repellents Using A Few Simple Ingredients
Make Your Own Insect Repellents Using A Few Simple Ingredients
Here’s a tip sent in by Angela for her tried-and-true recipe:
This is a recipe given to me by my aunt to use as a mosquito repellent. I find that it stores well but should be used within the year.
1/4 cup vegetable oil mixed with these essential oils (mix and store in a spray bottle):
8 drops cedar
5 drops eucalyptus
4 drops lavender
2 drops rosemary
2 drops juniper
1 drop peppermint
1 drop cinnamon
1 drop clove
Here’s one from Mark:
I like this recipe because it only needs a few items and it’s a breeze to put together. Make sure you shake it up for a few minutes each time before you use it. I hope your readers try it because it does work just as well as bought and it’s better to use on your body than those poisonous sprays that they try selling us in stores.
2 cups witch hazel
1 teaspoon vegetable glycerin
20 drops citronella essential oil
20 drops lemongrass essential oil
Instructions: Mix in a spray bottle and shake well before use.
Jennifer sent this recipe in:
Mosquitoes hate garlic and so when I saw this recipe in a magazine a few years ago I clipped it, tried it and found that it did a good job keeping me bite free.
Directions: Mince a few cloves of garlic then cover with mineral oil. Allow it to sit for at least 24 hours. Next you take a teaspoon of *just the oil* and mix it with 2 cups of water and 1 teaspoon of freshly squeezed lemon juice. Strain through a cheesecloth if you have any floaties then pour into a spray bottle. Shake before each use.
Here’s another recipe from Mother Earth News:

Rose Geranium, Plantain Suggested Remedy For Itch Relief By
Rose Geranium, Plantain Suggested Remedy For Itch Relief By

Since the 1999 appearance of mosquito-borne West Nile virus in North America, it’s more important than ever to keep these pests at bay. You can outsmart mosquitoes with this homemade, Earth-friendly solution.
It couldn’t be easier to make, ingredients needed are any combination of these essential oils: basil, cedarwood, citronella, juniper, lemon, myrrh, palmarosa, pine, rose geranium and/or rosemary mixed with 190-proof grain alcohol (see article for suggested quantities).
Yarrow Bug Spray: Here’s one that’s super easy to make and only requires a few items: fresh yarrow flowers and leaves (can also use dried), vodka (or other alcohol), catnip essential oil and spray bottles. The yarrow is infused in the vodka for a week, strained then the catnip EO added before bottling.
There’s also this tip to try: Use plantain (the weed) by crushing it and applying to bite area (also mentioned in Tipnut’s big list of Over 40 Mosquito Bite Itch Relief Tips).
Prefer something that you don’t apply to your body? Here’s a project from Positively Splendid for making DIY Bug-Banishing Candles:

Since we spend a great deal of time outdoors in the evenings each summer (the time at which mosquitoes are the most likely to be a nuisance), I am always on the lookout for natural insect-repelling solutions. When I discovered that most citronella candles sold in chain stores are a racket, I decided to try my hand at making my own! After doing a little research, I was happy to discover the process really is quite simple.
If you’ve lost faith in the effectiveness of commercial citronella candles, this tutorial for homemade candles promises to help keep mosquitoes at bay by using Citronella essential oil (rather than citronella-scented oil found in many products). The containers used for the candles are pretty frosted glass jars (instructions for making these are included) and bits of colored crayons are mixed with the soy wax to tint the candles in a variety of colors.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Homemade Car Cleaning Products

By , Guide
A clean car needn't clean out your wallet. Here are a bunch of car cleaner recipes for you to try:

Car Wash Solution

What You Need:
  • A bucket of water
  • Liquid castile soap
Add a couple drops of liquid castile soap to a bucket of water, and wash.

Window Cleaner

What You Need:
  • White vinegar
  • A spray bottle
  • Newspaper
Spray full strength vinegar onto the windows. Allow it to sit for a few minutes. Then, wipe dry with a piece of newspaper.

Chrome Cleaner

What You Need:
  • White vinegar
  • Water
  • A spray bottle
  • A sponge or cleaning rag
Mix together equal parts white vinegar and water. Then, spray it on your wheels; and work it in with a sponge or cleaning rag.
Note: Vinegar should not be used on aluminum alloys.

Tire Cleaner

What You Need:
  • Baking soda
  • Water
  • A scrub brush
Mix baking soda and water together to form a paste. Then, work the paste into the tires with a scrub brush. Let it sit for several minutes. Then, rinse off.

Carpet and Upholstery Stain Remover

What You Need:
  • White vinegar
  • Baking Soda
  • A scrub brush
Mix white vinegar and baking soda together to form a paste. Then, work the paste into any carpet and upholstery stains with a toothbrush or something similar. Allow the paste to dry. Then, vacuum up the baking soda, and the stains should be gone.
Note: Some stains may need to be treated more than once.

Interior Cleaner

What You Need:
  • White vinegar
  • Water
  • A spray bottle
  • A cleaning rag
Mix together equal parts white vinegar and water. Then, spray it on any vinyl, plastic, wood, or leather surfaces in your car that need cleaning. Allow it to soak in. Then, wipe dry with a clean rag.
Note: As with any leather cleaner, you should test on a small area before applying to the entire surface.

Interior Protectant/Dressing

What You Need:
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • A spray bottle or bowl
  • 2 cleaning rags
Combine olive oil and lemon juice in a spray bottle or bowl. Then, use a clean cloth to wipe a small amount of the dressing into the dashboard and any other plastic or vinyl surfaces. Finish by wiping off the excess with another cleaning rag.
Warning: Do not use on the steering wheel, pedals or any other controls where slipperiness could pose a hazard. Also be careful not to get in on windows

DIY Stainless Steel Polish |

Click on the link below to go to the recipe:
DIY Stainless Steel Polish |

DIY Room Spray - Make Your Own Fresh Room Spray Video

DIY Room Spray - Make Your Own Fresh Room Spray Video

How To Make Hand Sanitizer

Tired of paying for hand sanitizer? Then, grab a few ingredients, and make your own!
Difficulty: Easy
Time Required: 15 minutes or less

Homemade Hand Sanitizer Recipe

  • 1/4 c. aloe vera gel (as pure as you can get)
  • 3/4 c. rubbing alcohol (at least 65%)
  • essential oil

Here's How:

  1. Mix the aloe vera and Isopropyl alcohol together until well blended.
  2. Add 8-10 drops of essential oil to the mixture for fragrance (if desired), and stir well.
  3. Pour the finished hand sanitizer into an empty container and seal.
    Contains 65% Alcohol


  1. Many essential oils like tea tree oil and lavender have antibacterial properties. Use one of these to boost the germ-zapping power of your hand sanitizer.
  2. Save the bottles from store-bought hand sanitizer, and refill them again and again.
  3. A little goes a long way with this recipe. Once applied, just rub your hands together until the moisture evaporates and the stickiness vanishes.

By , Guide

Heavy Cream Substitute - How to Make Homemade Heavy Cream Substitute Video

Heavy Cream Substitute - How to Make Homemade Heavy Cream Substitute Video

How to Make an Ice Pack

By , Guide

Make your own gel ice packs for way less than they sell for at the store.
Difficulty: Easy
Time Required: 5 minutes or less

Here's How:

  1. Mix two parts water and one part rubbing alcohol together in one of the freezer bags. Seal tightly.
  2. Use the second freezer bag to double bag your mixture.
  3. Freeze until the rubbing alcohol and water gels.
  4. Use your new ice pack in place of store-bought ice packs.


  1. Make a variety of sizes to accommodate different uses. Gallon-sized bags make great ice packs for large coolers.
  2. Add a few drops of food coloring to the bag before you freeze it, to create a colored ice pack.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Yahoo! Auto Insurance | Stop Getting Ripped Off on Auto Insurance

Yahoo! Auto Insurance | Stop Getting Ripped Off on Auto Insurance

Substitute for Cream of Chicken soup - When the Dinner Bell Rings

Substitute for Cream of Chicken soup
--1 T butter
--3 T flour
--1/2 cup low-fat milk
--1/2 cup chicken broth
... --1/4 t salt (optional)
--1/4 t black pepper

Melt butter in a sauce pan. Whisk in the flour and cook on medium heat for a couple minutes to cook the flour. Gradually whisk in the milk, then the broth and season to taste (I don't use any extra salt, but sometimes add in a dash of poultry seasoning)
Subs. for 1 can Cream of Chicken soup in any recipe.

This is one of my favorite rice and beans recipes:
South of the Border Beans
2 T. Canola oil
1 large onion, diced
1 large red or green bell pepper, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced (or ¼ t. garlic powder)
*15 oz. can red beans (any variety you like- I usually have kidney on hand)
*15 oz. can white beans
*2 - 15 oz. cans black beans
28 oz. canned, diced tomatoes
2 cups frozen corn (may use canned – drain first)
1 ½ t. chili powder
1 ½ t. cumin
½ C. fresh cilantro, chopped (optional)

Cooked plain white or brown rice.
In a large soup pot, sauté onion, pepper and garlic until soft (about 10 minutes). Drain and rinse all cans of beans and (corn if using canned). Add beans, corn and spices to pot and stir to combine. Heat to simmering. Stir in cilantro. Serve over rice with a sprinkle of grated cheese, and your favorite corn chips on the side.

* You can also prepare this recipe using dried beans. You will need 2/3 cup each of dry white and red beans, and 1 1/3 C. of dry black beans. Sort and rinse the beans, soak for 8-12 hours and drain. Then cook the beans in a generous amount of water (add 1 t. salt) for a couple hours until they are to your desired softness. Drain the beans and prepare the recipe as directed.
Recipe by When the Dinner Bell Rings.  Visit them on Facebook and at

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Hot Dog Cheesies - When the Dinner Bell Rings

Hot Dog Cheesies
2 cup boiling water
8 hot dogs
8 slices bread
... soft butter
8 slices American cheese
1/4 cup butter

Drop hot dogs into boiling water and lower heat. Cover and simmer 5-8 minutes. Spread one side of bread with butter and mustard. Place on baking sheet. Top each slice with American cheese and a hot dog. Fold over to make a triangle shape. Fasten with wooden picks. Melt butter in small pan over low heat. Brush each triangle with butter. Set oven at broil. Broil sandwiches with top
Check out more recipes like this one at When the Dinner Bell Rings on Facebook or her blog at

Monday, June 18, 2012

Cola as Ham Marinade

Cola as Ham Marinade

For sweet, juicy ham without the goopy stove-top glaze, pour a 20-ounce bottle of regular cola over a 10-pound precooked ham and roast for 2 1/2 hours at 350° F, basting every 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from oven, cut a hatch diamond pattern into the top, rub with a tablespoon of dry mustard, stud the centers of the diamonds with whole cloves, and pat with 1 cup brown sugar and 1 1/2 cups bread crumbs. Return to oven for 35 minutes.
0303beef-roastPaul Whicheloe

Cast-Iron Pan as Recipe Board

Cast-Iron Pan as Recipe Board

Hang a skillet on a kitchen wall and you’ll have a convenient magnetic spot to display recipes, important reminders, and anything else your brain is too, well, fried to remember.

Cast iron pan as a recipe boardJohn Lawton

Crock Pot Pork Chops and Gravy - When the Dinner Bell Rings

Crock Pot Pork Chops and Gravy
1/2 c. all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp. dry mustard (optional)
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
... 6 1 inch thick, lean boneless pork chops
1 10 3/4 oz. can condensed chicken broth
2 T vegetable oil

Combine flour, dry mustard, salt and garlic powder in a shallow dish. Dredge chops in flour mixture and set aside. Combine remaining flour mixture with the chicken broth and pour into crock pot. Pour oil into a large skillet and place over medium high heat. Cook the chops in hot oil just until browned on both sides and then place in crock pot. Cook, covered on high for about 3 to 5 hours or until tender. Season with salt and pepper, if desired. These are great served with mashed potatoes. If the gravy becomes too
thick just add a little water. If gravy is too thin, add a little flour
or cornstarch.
Check out more recipes from When the Dinner Bell Rings on FB or at

Hobo Dinner - When the Dinner Bell Rings

Hobo Dinner I
1 pound hamburger
1 medium onion, sliced
1 medium green pepper, sliced
... 2 medium potatoes, sliced
2 carrots, sliced
Worcestershire sauce (Sprinkle on liberally)

Layer all ingredients in order given in 9x13 inch pan. Bake at 375 degrees F for 60-70 minutes.

Hobo Dinner II
4 hamburger patties
3 medium sliced potatoes
2 medium sliced carrots
1 small sliced onion

Put one patty on tin foil and add some sliced potatoes and carrots on top with a little onion and salt and pepper. Fold the tin foil to seal and put on the grill or in a 350 degree F oven for 1 hour.

Hobo Dinner III
Cabbage (a lot because it shrinks)
Potatoes (sliced thin)
Carrots (thin)
Anything else you would like

Layer ingredients on large sheet of Aluminum Foil. Sprinkle garlic powder on vegetables (optional) or whatever seasoning you prefer. Add a pat of butter. Top with a medium hamburger patty. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Fold in aluminum foil and close up. Bake at 350 degrees F for 45 minutes. Could check after a half hour.

Another option is to make these up and take them with you camping. Cook individual dinners over the camp fire. Submitted by Brandy R.
Please check out When the Dinner Bell Rings on FB and at: 

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Make the Perfect Hard Boiled Egg (That's easy to peel)

I SUCK at hard boiling eggs. I never seem to get it right. They either come out undercooked or so hard that you could bounce them like a ball. I am also always left with annoying little egg shells that stick to the egg when I try to peel off the shell.

SO this week for the Pin-tester series I tested a method that is supposed to make peeling eggs super easy. The pin came from an awesome site called theKitchn, which I would have most likely never discovered if it wasn't for Pinterest.

The method which can be found here says that if you add 1/2 tsp of baking soda to the water it will make the egg shell easier to peel. I followed a simple method for hard boiling the eggs, which I found in the comment section of the post.

Final verdict:
It worked! The egg shell slipped right off. What a neat little trick.

Max loved the shell free perfectly cooked egg too. From now on this is the only way I will hard boil my eggs.

Want to deter mice??

Use peppermint oil to deter mice.
Use peppermint oil to deter mice.

Rodents are allergic to peppermint. Dab on cotton balls and place in area of infestation. Or, mix with water and pour into a spray bottle; spritz rodent-infested areas with the mixture.

Need to move a heavy appliance?

Use Windex to move a heavy appliance.
Use Windex to move a heavy appliance.

Spray Windex around and in front of the feet of the appliance you're trying to move. It will slide much more easily.

Keep roaches away

Put bay leaves in nooks and crannies to keep roaches away.
Put bay leaves in nooks and crannies to keep roaches away.

Put a duvet cover on in 24 seconds

Put a duvet cover on in 24 seconds.
1) Fold the duvet cover into quarters so one long opening is facing you.
2) Fold the duvet into quarters.
3) Slide the duvet, long crease first, into the opening of the duvet cover.
4) With your fingers, hold the two open corners of the duvet cover, along with the duvet corners. Shake it out.

Keep a bottle of soda from going flat.

Keep a bottle of soda from going flat.
Keep a bottle of soda from going flat.

Once you're done with your soda for the day, shake it up before putting it back in the fridge. It'll stay fizzy for weeks.
If you are sunbathing alone and you need help getting sunscreen on your back, try this tip.  It may look weird, but it is better then asking some random stranger to help (or burn in places that really hurt).  Use a small paint roller to apply lotion or sunscreen to your back. 
Use a small paint roller to apply lotion or sunscreen to your back.

What to do with an overly-sensitive smoke detector

Wrap a shower cap around an overly-sensitive smoke detector.
Wrap a shower cap around an overly-sensitive smoke detector.

Secure with a rubber band. Now you'll never have to get on a ladder to turn it off every time you cook or take a shower.

Dishwasher soap and hot water to unclog a toilet

Use dishwasher soap and hot water to unclog a toilet.
Pour hot water and dishwashing detergent into a toilet before plunging.

Use toothpaste to perfectly hang a picture

Use toothpaste to perfectly hang a picture.
Use toothpaste to perfectly hang a picture.

Add a dab of toothpaste to the back of the picture where the nail will go.

Once you've found the perfect place to hang your picture, press the picture against the wall so the toothpaste leaves a mark. Hammer a nail on the toothpaste spot. This is a great technique for hanging pictures in a straight row, or as a collage.

Ketchup Bottle for Pancake Mix

Pre-make pancake batter and store it in a ketchup bottle.
Pre-make pancake batter and store it in a ketchup bottle.

The pancake batter will stay good for a few days in the fridge.

Use scotch tape to put on a bracelet

Use scotch tape to put on a bracelet.
Use scotch tape to put on a bracelet.

It'll keep one end in place while you hook the clasp.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Tips To Kick-Start Your Way To Debt Freedom

When people email me and ask me how we save our money and are practically debt free except for the mortgage, I have a lot to say. Instead of having to repeat myself I thought now would be the perfect opportunity to share some tips on how to take some steps towards debt freedom.
Debt Freedom isn't something you can buy nor won't happen overnight. Perhaps look at it as a long-term goal in which you need to set smaller goals in order to achieve the preferred outcome- Debt freedom.
There is no magic age for debt freedom, only you can decide. If you are 20 and have no debt you are debt free but what about your net worth would you like to build on that? I assume so and to do that you have to take on that debt sometimes in the form of a mortgage . Saving for a down-payment on a mortgage is your first step to building that net worth.
Most times newlyweds ask me how should we budget now that we are married. I often tell them they should have done this prior to getting married. If don't do this step then you should start learning to budget now. Newlyweds make mistakes sometimes and those mistakes can cost them dearly down the road. Be prepared, sort out a budget and work together before tying the knot.

Tips To Kick-Start Your Way To Debt Freedom.......
  1. You NEED A Plan!- Without setting short-term and long-term goals it's difficult to process the rest of the information in the budget. If you are a couple sit down with a piece of paper and pen and think of all the reasons you want to be debt free. Collaborate on ways to get you both there so you are on the same page. The worst thing you want is 2 people not working towards the same goal.
  2. Spend less than you earn- this is a no-brainer for most but for some they don't live for the future they live exclusively in the now. Delayed gratification when spending money is much more important than creating a hole of debt which will take months if not years to get out of.
  3. Design a budget- Spend less money than you net to start saving for the future. Ask yourself do you have an emergency savings fund? Is there enough money saved for those projected expenses throughout the year? You need to balance your budget and save all of your receipts, without one you have no idea how healthy or unhealthy your finances are.
  4. Reduce or Stop Spending on "STUFF"- You can always go through your budget and see categories that you need to improve on or simply get rid of. Generally I think by the second or third month of budgeting you will pour water on your face. This is where people wake-up to their spending habits and most make changes one of which is to take a step back from spending. Example of this would be our grocery budget. We were spending upwards of $600 a month which was far too much for 2 adults. We decided to start The Grocery Game Challenge to combat this overspending and now our budget is $190 a month. We also cut back by shopping only 3 weeks out of each month and started meal planning. We took inventory of our pantry and freezer and worked around the food we already have stockpiled in our home. Knowing prices is the key to saving money on your grocery bill so focus on the price and the metrics.
  5. Learn To Negotiate and How to say NO!- Every person should practice their negotiation skills. Today there is so much in terms of competition in the markets that you may just spring a great deal with some smooth negotiating skills. An example would be lowering your communication and entertainment ( cell phone,cable, internet,home phone) by haggling a price that is less than the competition would give you. Continue to negotiate when you can like at a garage sale or when buying an item on Kijiji or Ebay second-hand. If you don't get what you want, say no. If you don't want to spend money, say no. It's as easy as that. Over time you will get comfortable and your skill will simply be the way you think about how much is too much.
  6. Pay Down Your Debt, Pay more or Pay Extra- I often say you can't save money when you own money. It is imperative to pay as much as you can on your consumer debt. Paying the minimum balance on credit cards is getting you no where and you are not saving. Get out of debt by piling the most amount of spare money on the highest interest card you have. When you finish paying that card you roll all that money on to the next highest while continuing to pay minimum payments on the others. In no time you will have your bills paid and more money in the budget to save for an emergency fund.
  7. Never give Up on your Dreams!- There are always going to be months where the budget simply isn't working out or perhaps something unexpected popped up. Don't give up, never quit. Pick yourself back up and try harder the next month. Make the changes, visit your budget often and make alterations if need be.
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Canadian Budget Binder is a blog run by Mr.CBB and is about a couple who writes about their financial journey using a budget they designed. They blog about Frugal tips, post their actual budget and Net-Worth Update and some lovely Frugal recipes that will make your mouth water!
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