JenLinks

Search This Blog

Cleaning Your Dishwasher With Kool-Aid

Sunday, May 31, 2009


About a year ago I wanted to clean my dishwasher and looked up a few ways on the internet. I learned that you can run the dishwasher with a packet of lemonade Kool-Aid to clean it. I have been using lemonade Kool-Aid (or off brand) in my dishwasher for a year now, and have liked it. It doesn't get it perfectly clean, but it is better off than doing nothing and it is easy to do. Just pour a packet into your detergent dish, close the lid and run your dishwasher. I looked it up on the internet and found an article about it at Real Simple. You have to use the lemonade flavor because it has citric acid in it and it is the citric acid that removes the stains. If you tried any other flavor you could have a real mess on your hands. So stock up on lemonade Kool-Aid while it is on sale this summer!

Summer Ideas to do with your Kids

Saturday, May 30, 2009

My friend Stephanie posted this cute Summer Calendar
that she made over at her blog.

She also posted tons of things you can do with your kids this Summer.
I think she has some pretty lucky kids!

Click Here to see her full post at Just Us Visnaws.

May's Thrift Store Treasures

Friday, May 29, 2009

Here are some of my favorite finds from the thrift store this month:

I found these red leather Steve Madden Mary Jane Mules yesterday and they are in perfect condition. I adore them and they are my favorite color! I love shoes that just slide on and they are so comfy! A bargain at $7.99
I found these Dr. Martens a couple of weeks ago for $5.
I love these black leather boots for $7.
I have always wanted a jogging stroller but they are soooo expensive. I picked this one up for $20 and then looked it up on the internet and found out that it is a $400 stroller. I love rollerblading and have already taken my toddler out a few times. We both love it! I love having breaks; it is hard to stop on roller blades.
I couldn't resist getting this for my daughter. She styles her dolls hair in it every day. Only $3!

My son is turning 11 next month and going into boy scouts, so I was thrilled to find this shirt. It would have cost me about $25 to get it at the scout store. I was thrilled to get this one in perfect condition for $5.99. I also found this beautiful red leather wallet that I looooove for $3!

I just found this really great blog that I am instantly in love with and had to link up this post. I am hoping that Jen from Balancing Beauty and Bedlam will inspire me to be able to shop for more than just shoes next time. Go to her link party to check out other thrifty fashion finds.


Here are some other great links:
Shabby Nest Frugal Friday.
Southern Hospitality
Thrifty Decor Chick Goodwill Party.

Sean's Burgers

Thursday, May 28, 2009

I disliked anything with hamburger my entire life until I was pregnant with my 3rd child. I found myself craving a good hamburger, so I perfected this recipe. Now that I am not pregnant, I’m back to disliking hamburger, but I still love this recipe and often substitute ground turkey or use both.

Sean's Burgers

INGREDIENTS:
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese
1 small onion, chopped
1 egg
1-2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon ketchup
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground pepper
1 pound ground beef or turkey or half and
half
6 hamburger buns

OPTIONAL:
6 slices of bacon cooked
1 tomato sliced
Lettuce
Ketchup and mustard

DIRECTIONS:
1. Put everything in a large bowl and mix by hand.









2. Form 6 patties indenting slightly in the middle
So they cook evenly.









3. Freeze patties on a cookie sheet with wax
paper underneath.
4. Place in a freezer bag









COOKING:
If you don’t want to freeze the patties you can cook them on a pan or use an indoor grill like the George Foreman. If you try to cook them on the outside grill unfrozen, they will fall apart.

5. To cook frozen just grill them on medium-low
heat until done.









Top with bacon, lettuce, tomatoes, etc…

Yeilds: 6 servings
Note: I always double this recipe so I have enough to freeze.
Great to pull out of the freezer on a busy night!










Click Here for a printable copy.

While I was pregnant I also craved asparagus and oranges.
What are some things you craved while pregnant?

Easy and Inexpensive Garden Window

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

I love plants, but have no where to put them in my home. The way my layout is, I don't have space in front of a window that is available. I dreamed about installing a garden window like this one in my kitchen, but that was too expensive.
I kept a small plant teetering on my small kitchen window ledge, but I could never close the curtains at night. One day as I was looking at the BH&G magazine I found my solution! They had taken an IKEA kitchen rack and placed it in the window. It doubled as a curtain rod and plant stand.

(Click on shelf to see it at IKEA)

I went to IKEA and found this kitchen shelf, but it was too big or too small for my window. I bought the bigger one for $26.99 and my DH used a hack saw to make it smaller for me. I also bought some curtain clips for a couple of dollars. I sewed up some material (In the magazine they just used kitchen towels to hang). The shelf also doubles as a curtain rod and I hung my curtains on the back rod of the shelf.

I went for a couple of months with only 1 little plant on the shelf until I found a bunch on clearance at Lowes this week. Now I get to enjoy my plants and I can easily open and close the curtains! Also, when I water my plants, if I spill the water just falls into the kitchen sink.
I wish that I would have thought to take a before picture, but I did this before I had my blog. Just picture a regular kitchen window with blinds.

1 Year of Better Homes and Gardens for $5

Tuesday, May 26, 2009












They had this deal last year and now my subscription is up I am doing it again. It says to treat a friend so I am sending the magazine to my DH who is my best friend. I have missed not getting it for the last few months that my subscription has been up.

Click on the picture for a link to the promotion.

Suburban Dollar

Find tons of ways to save money at the Suburban Dollar. I was mentioned in the Memorial Day edition!

Welcome to my newest Thrifty Friends Mama Nut, Shari, and Row!

How to Remove Hard Water

Monday, May 25, 2009


I clean my sink with ajax every day after washing the dishes, but that doesn't prevent this nasty build up. I have very stubborn Utah hard water.


I have tried all of the hard water products out there, saturating my faucets and soaking my fridge tray overnight. All I have gotten from my efforts are deadly fumes from the toxic chemicals in the cleaners. A couple of years ago I learned the cleaning power of VINEGAR. I used it to clean my humidifier because the instructions said to. It took off the hard water like it was nothing! I started using vinegar on my faucets and everything else and it was amazing!!! I now buy vinegar in bulk at Costco and use it for my heavy duty cleaning needs. Vinegar is cheap and non toxic.



Here is how to use cheap plain white vinegar to get rid of hard water:



For the refrigerator in-door dish:
Pop the dish out, pour a little vinegar in it and let it sit for about 20 minutes. I use an old toothbrush and the hard water just wipes off without any scrubbing.


To clean faucets:
Soak some paper towels in vinegar and placed them on the areas with hard water. Fill a spray bottle filled with vinegar and spray the towels every time you walked past. After about 20 minutes take the towels off and scrub off the hard water with an old toothbrush. For areas with thick hard water, put the towels back on, spray with more vinegar and wait another hour keeping the towels soaked with vinegar. You shouldn't have to scrub really hard, the hard water will off easily after soaking in vinegar.
Warning: Do not use vinegar on marble countertops or other stoneware, as it can cause the stone to pit and corrode.






You can also use vinegar on shower heads to unclog all of the holes. One of my shower heads detaches from the base and is easily soaked in a bucket. For the other one I have to tie a bag filled with vinegar to it.

Update:
Since writing this post, I bought a water softener and no longer need to use vinegar to remove hard water. Having a water softener has made cleaning much easier!

Bed Bath and Beyond

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Bed Bath and Beyond is one of my favorite stores. They have really great quality bedding that is comparable to Pottery Barn and I love it when it goes on clearance. I always wait until I have 2 BB&B coupons (one for 20% an item and one for $5 off a purchase) before going. I don't always buy something or even use my coupons, but yesterday I hit the jackpot. They had a bunch of really nice quilts in their clearance section. About 8 years ago I bought a really nice queen quilt on clearance for around $30. When I switched to a king size bed I sold the used quilt for $80 on ebay. I bought a beautiful new king size quilt right after for around $30 (original price was around $150). The quilt on my daughters bed is hand quilted with flowers and a really cute design. I paid $17 for her quilt with an original price of $150.
Yesterday they had 33-50% off the clearance price of some really great quilts in all sizes. This last winter I had to steal a blanket from another room on some of the colder nights. I bought a great king size blanket that will fix that problem for next year. It was originally $149.00 on clearance for $49.99 and 33% off the clearance price. My 20% off coupon brought the price down to $26.79! I bought a twin size quilt for my toddler's bed (he will move to a big boy bed next year). It was $99.99 on clearance for $39.99, and 33% off the clearance making it $26.99. I had just taken my kids to see Bedtime Stores at the dollar theater last month and saw this quilt on the kid's beds in the movie. The last quilt I got was another twin that was originally $99.99 on clearance for $39.99 and 50% off the clearance price with my $5 off coupon I paid $14.99! I debated buying more and selling them on ebay, but decided that I didn't want them taking up space until fall when I could list them (They wouldn't sell for a good price until fall or winter). So they are still there at the Orem store, but I'm sure their other stores have great quilts.
 For great bedroom furniture click here.
This one is in the kid's bedroom in the Movie Bedtime Stories

This one was a steal at $14.99

I also bought some bathroom rugs at 50% off. I had one of those rubber back rugs in my basement bathroom and after washing it a few times it was all crumbly on the back. I really like these rugs because they can go in the washer thousands of times and still look great.
I was happy to throw this mess away.

Today I used my $10 Kohls card to buy a swimsuit for my daughter that was already 50% off. Every once in a while Kohls will send out these cards and I love them! I also signed up my email and will be getting $5 off in my email soon.

Easy Batter Fruit Cobbler

Friday, May 22, 2009

I found this recipe at www.allrecipes.com and my family loved it. I loved it because it was quick and easy to make.


In this picture I used strawberries

INGREDIENTS
4 tablespoons butter
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup milk
2 cups of sliced fresh peaches, nectarines,
whole blueberries, strawberries, raspberries,
blackberries or a combination of
fruits (or a 12-ounce package of frozen
berries)
1 tablespoon sugar


DIRECTIONS
1. Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position, and heat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Put butter in an 8-inch square or 9-inch round pan; set in oven to melt. When butter has melted, remove pan from oven.
3. Whisk flour, 3/4 cup of sugar, baking powder and salt in small bowl. Add milk; whisk to form a smooth batter. Pour batter into pan, then scatter fruit over batter. Sprinkle with remaining 1 Tb. of sugar.
4. Bake until batter browns and fruit bubbles, 50 to 60 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature with a dollop of whipped cream or a small scoop of vanilla ice cream, if desired.

Yield: 4 servings.

Click Here for a printable copy.

Ummm

Thursday, May 21, 2009

In my last post about the cub scout trophies, I foolishly stated that my son has never won a trophy and was not likely to win one this time. I just got back from the Rain Gutter Regatta where he won the 2nd place trophy! I guess I am glad that we made them smaller now. He was so happy to finally win a race and at his very last pack meeting.

I noticed today that Andy over at Poppies At Play mentioned one of my projects. Thanks Andy, I am so flattered. I love Andy's blog and all of her creative ideas. Does this mean that I get a Creative Cat button? Woohoo!

And welcome to my newest follower, Mom's Mind, a fellow thrifty Mom!

Inexpensive Trophies


Last month when I was at DI I found these trophies for $1.50 each. There were tons of trophies to choose from, but I chose these because they were blue and gold and would be perfect for cub scouts. My DH is the Cub Scout Master, so I am always keeping an eye out for scout related items. I knew that we had the Rain Gutter Regatta coming up and these trophies would be perfect. Official Cub Scout trophies are expensive just like scout shirts are. While at DI I also picked up 3 cub scout shirts for $8 each. These cost around $25 at the scout office and I thought they would be great for new cub scouts coming into our pack.

When my DH saw these trophies he thought they were ridiculously big. I had actually bought the smaller of the trophies and I was thinking how excited a young boy would be to win such a large trophy. I did think for a moment about how the mother would feel about storing such a large trophy, but my son never wins these races so I knew it wouldn't be my problem.

Last night we put the trophies together and made them much smaller. We have enough leftover parts to make several more trophies for the future. My DH made some labels for the trophies and I used my xyron machine to turn them into stickers. I think they turned out pretty official looking.



Now go over to Reinvented and Poppies at Play for thier link parties!

Were Do You Keep Your Kitchen Knives?

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

I have wanted a good place to put my kitchen knives for a while. I have been keeping them in my drawer with all of my other utensils knowing that this could be dangerous for anyone digging around in the drawer. I hate knife blocks because they take up valuable space on the counter. Several months ago I bought a magnetic strip for knifes at IKEA. I went to hang it up, but couldn't find a spot for it so it went out in the garage. As I was cleaning out my garage this month I came across it and was reminded that I need to find a better place for my knives. My almost 2 year old has reached the height that he can get into the drawer with the knives, which has made me nervous. I have been thinking all week about where I can hang this magnetic knife holder when it finally came to me! I have a spot above my stove that would be perfect. I removed my pot holders that were hanging there and voila! Out of reach of kids, but easily accessable to me!
Where to you keep your kitchen knives?

Finished Garage Wall

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

All month long I have been working on one wall in my garage. It is the only wall that has drywall on it and in 30 years has never been painted. I decided that since this is the first wall that we see when we come home, it should look good. I spent a couple of days cleaning out junk and hanging a shelf and nicer pegs. Then I spent last week putting some texture on the wall to hide all of the holes and gouges. Saturday I spent my entire day painting the wall. Can you blame me for not doing anything to this wall in the last 8 years I have lived here? What a lot of work for one wall!

I used up a half can of primer and 2 different leftover paint cans for the base coat (I just mixed them all together.) I used some leftover green kitchen paint for the bottom part of the wall and some leftover living room paint for the top part. I would have never put these 2 colors together intentionally inside of my house, but they go well for the garage.

Total cost for this project:
1 shelf = $0 used an old one from a closet
2 wooden boards with pegs = $0 left over from one of the kids rooms
1 box of plaster for texture = $7
5 different paint cans of leftover paint = $0
1 framed puzzle discarded years ago from son's room =$0
Grand Total = $7

I almost forgot about the new door! I was tired of having a dog door in our door when we no longer have a dog. I listed our old door on craigslist and sold it an hour later for $25 right off the hinges! My DH came home to no door and he had to go to the store for a new one and install it right way. That was sneaky of me to pull such a trick on him, but I had been asking for a new door for 2 years. This way he had to get me a new one! LOL! The new door was $116, but with my $25 from the old door it was $91. So technically the total cost of my garage wall re-do was $98.

The fun part was that I let my kids help me paint. They always want to help me paint, but I don't usually let them because I want the finished job to look good. I wasn't so picky about the garage wall so I let them loose! They felt very important and are now very proud of that wall.

Before Pictures (All same wall I just don't have a wide angle camera)



After Pictures


The new door came with a frame that we didn't need. Any ideas of what to do with a door frame? I guess I can take it apart and save the wood for another project. Maybe I should try selling it on craigslist. I definitely do not want it taking up space in my garage!

Painting Tips

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Yesterday I painted my garage wall from 9 AM-5 PM. I will post after photos later, but for now I want to post a couple of painting tips.

1. Save your empty plastic mayonnaise jars. They make great containers for your leftover paint. Leaving a small amount of paint in a large paint can takes up more space and can get rusty and old after a while. With a mayonnaise jar, it is easy to see what color the paint is and easy to access for touch-up jobs. Write the name of the color, code number for color, what type of paint (satin, eggshell, etc.) and what room you used it in.

2. Save old containers to put paint in. Who wants to carry a big can of paint around when cutting in the corners and ceiling? I really liked this old vinegar container. I cut part of the top off and had a nice handle to carry my paint around with.

3. Teflon Paint Tray
I have always put a grocery sack over my paint tray so that I don't have to clean the tray when finished. Last year I found this Teflon paint tray for around $5-10 and thought it was genius! It claimed that the paint would just peel off after drying. I have used this several times now and can tell you all of the pros and cons. Sometimes I like to switch colors and don't want to wait a day for the old paint to dry before using the next color. If you leave it for a week or longer it will dry too much and be very hard to peel off. When peeling off the paint, the thicker areas come off great, but where the paint is thinner it is harder to get off.
Thick part peeling off great!Thin parts that wouldn't come off.

Since this tray didn't cost much more than a regular tray I think it is a good find. I like it and will keep on using it. I will just continue to use my grocery sack over it when I want to paint with more than one color in the same day.

I Haven't Forgotten My Garage

Friday, May 15, 2009

Remember my first post about cleaning out my garage? Well, I am still working on it. I decided to focus on the one wall that actually has sheet rock on it. It is the wall that we see as we walk into the house, so I want it to look nice. I organized everything on that wall but felt it still looked pretty drab.
Before Pictures

After Pictures

I decided to stucco this wall to hide all of the gouges and imperfections. I have spent about an hour every day this week (son's nap time) stuccoing this wall and finally finished today!!!
All I did was buy a box of joint compound and spread it on the wall. I didn't do the best job since this is the garage and I wanted to get it done quick, but I am happy with the results.

Cost of 1 box of joint compound = $7
Now I just need to choose from my selection of leftover paint. Maybe I will mix 2 colors together, or do the upper half a different color from the lower half. It will be interesting to see what I come up with.