Sunday
Mar312019

How to Host a Frugal Baby Shower

Here are some fun and frugal ways to host a baby shower! 

The Invitations

Homemade invitations are generally the least expensive way to go when it comes to making invitations for your baby shower. I plan on buying some colorful cardstock and a border punch used for scrapbooking. Other embellishments include die-cut paper (wonderful for dressing up the cardstock), die-cut ribbon, and rub-on borders. For ease of printing, plan on making two or four invitations per 8.5”x11” piece of cardstock. Lay out your wording in Microsoft Word or with a free online template (search for “free baby shower invitation templates”), print, cut, and decorate.

Other inexpensive (or free!) invites include e-mail invitations like those found on Evite.com, or you can buy pre-printed invitations relatively cheaply from a site like Tiny Prints, a personal favorite of mine. Invitations on Tiny Prints start for as low as $0.59 per card.

 

The Venue

Baby showers are often held in the hostess’ own home, which is, of course, free. If you’re not so lucky or if you prefer to think outside the home for a baby shower venue, consider having the shower in an outdoor location like a park — just remember to keep the comfort of the guest of honor in mind before planning an outdoor shower in August! Other frugal venue choices include churches, where rental fees are generally less than banquet space at a hotel or restaurant.

 

The Food

You can recruit friends and family to bring a dish or check Costco for great party trays. 

Here are recipes we like:

For dessert, consider making your own cake or recruit a friend to make the cake. Cupcakes are also fun- baby shower-themed cupcakes at MarthaStewart.com.

 

The Decorations, Games, Etc.

Here are some fun and cute decorating ideas:

34 awesome baby shower themes

Wishes for Baby

Free Printable baby shower games

50 Diaper Cake Tutorials

Ready to Pop popcorn

Decorate a Block

How to Make Tissue Paper Flowers

Baby Sprinkle Centerpiece

 

Monday
Mar252019

9 Easy and Delicious Cast Iron Recipes

Cast Iron Pizza

The cast iron pan is so versatile, here are 9 delicious recipes!

1. Pizza

You have to try this Cast Iron Pizza recipe. This is also a fun party idea.

2. Cornbread

Skillet cornbread is one of those old-fashioned treats that I love to make. Skillet Cornbread is delicious with warm butter!

3. Lasagna

So easy and simple, make lasagna in your cast iron skillet — in only 20 minutes. Here is a great recipe.

4. Brownies

Skillet brownies are a quick dessert idea. Use peanut butter, Nutella or your fave chocolate. Here is a great recipe!

5. Grilled Cheese

This delicious grilled cheese from Family Fresh Cooking is perfect for the skillet. Plus be sure to mix it up with different kinds of breads and cheeses. Yum!

6. Egg Bake

This easy breakfast, one pan meal is a cinch to make, pin this Easy Breakfast Skillet recipe.

7. Biscuits

This Skillet Biscuit recipe is like a favorite buttermilk variety. Quick and easy in the cast iron pan!

8. A Big Cookie

This has got to be the perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe, baked inside a cast iron skillet. Perfect for a snack on the weekend or a party!

9. Baked Mac and Cheese

Did you know you can make Baked Mac and Cheese in the cast iron pan? Only 20 minutes to baked, cheesy goodness!

Saturday
Mar232019

Natural Ways to Clean and Organize

1. Use cloth instead of paper.  My grandma had a bucket of clean rags, that she used to wipe down everything. She rarely used paper towels. Microfiber cloths are also a great option, washable, durable and reusable. 

2.  Buy and use green cleaning products, or make them yourself! Just search on Pinterest for eco-friendly green cleaner recipes. Plus, shop for eco-friendly beauty products,  eco-friendly fashion lines and eco-friendly home decor. I really like Green Works and Method

3.  Laundry.  Wash laundry in cold water instead of hot.  Line-dry when you can. There is nothing like line-dried clothing, that has dried in the sun! You will never forget that clean air smell. 

4.  Go Paperless. Pay bills online. I pay most of my bills online, along with getting paperless copies of bills. It is now so much more fun to go to the mailbox! Put a stop to unsolicited mail and sign up to opt out of pre-screened credit card offers.  

5.  Conserve Energy - Turn off the lights when you leave the room, or open the curtains and blinds and rely on the sunlight to cut down on electricity use. Only run the dishwasher when you have a full load.  Shut down and turn off your computer completely at night. 

6.  Change your light bulbs.   Switch a few of your light bulbs to CFLs , which use about 75 percent less energy and last seven to 10 times longer than regular incandescent bulbs, until eventually you have all of your house switched over. This was a hard one for me because I love my old-school bulbs. Now that they are phased out of most stores, I have had to bite the bullet and buy the new bulbs. Six years ago, my 90 year old grandfather, was light years ahead of me because he used CFLs and preferred them! 

7.  Repurpose glass jars as leftover containers, bulk storage or even pretty vases. I love mason jars for this. 

8.  Buy used and donate.   Shop thrift stores and craigslist for clothing, home items and more.  Grandma was a thrift shopper, she loved a good deal. She also loved to knit, sew and crochet. While I'm not much of a thrift shopper, I donate a lot to Goodwill. 

9.  Stop using disposable bags.   Purchase reusable bags. They are more durable and don't clog up land-fills! I love, love, love my Target reusable bag. I keep one in my car and one in the kitchen. 

 

Thursday
Mar212019

How to Make Tea Cup Candles

I love making homemade gifts for family and friends. So when I inherited some vintage tea cups from my grandmother, I knew they would be perfect for making these adorable tea cup candles! And this project is so easy. It was fun to customize the different types of candles and scents, matched to the perfect tea cup.  

I made several of these for bridal shower favors and they were a hit! 

MATERIALS 

Nested pans 
Partially burned candles 
Candy or candle thermometer 
Tongs 
New wicking 
Teacups 
Wick sustainers 
Wooden skewers 

STEPS 

STEP 1 

In a small pan set over a larger pan of simmering water, melt down old candles; clip the thermometer to the upper pot, and keep temperature at about 185 degrees. Remove old wicks with tongs. 

STEP 2 

Cut a piece of wicking to the cup's height plus 2 inches. Clamp one end to a wick sustainer; tie the other end around a skewer. Dip wicking and sustainer into melted wax to coat them. Remove and stick sustainer to cup's bottom. 

STEP 3 

Pour in the wax, stopping 1/2 inch below the cup's rim. Allow wax to set, about 1 hour. The candle will harden with a well in the center. To even it out, use another skewer to prick a circle of holes about 1/16 inch deep around the wick. Pour in melted wax until surface is 1/4 inch below rim. Cut wick. 

 

Monday
Mar182019

How to Make Water Marbles

Here is how to make these cool water marbles! 

Things You'll Need 

2 tsp. baking soda 
Vinegar 
Freezer 

INSTRUCTIONS: 

Make sodium acetate by combining about one teaspoon of baking soda and a few drops of vinegar. Mix these two products by carefully swirling the mixture in the cup. Add one more teaspoon of baking soda and a few more drops of vinegar and repeat the mixing. 

2. Set the sodium acetate in the freezer for ten minutes then remove from freezer. 

3. Pour a half cup of calcium bicarbonate into the sodium acetate in a taller glass cup. The mixture will bubble up for a few seconds. Wait for the mixture to calm down and mix the combination by moving the glass in the same circular motion. 

4. Pour a half cup of iodized salt into the newly formed mixture and mix. 

5. Pour the mixture into a medium sauce pan and bring to a boil. Boil the mixture for seven minutes. Stir the mixture continually. 

6. Pour the mixture into a plastic container and let it sit for 15 minutes. The mixture should turn into a gel. 

7. Reach your hand in the mixture, grab some of the mixture and pull it out of the container. When the substance is in contact with the air it loses its polar ability and sticks to itself. This causes it to become small solid water spheres. 
Monday
Mar182019

How to Clean Vintage Dishes


Here are some easy, old school ways to clean your vintage dishes.

Clean and Shine China
 

A mixture of lemon juice and salt cleans and shines china. Just rub it on with a damp cloth and rinse. Wash china in water that’s warm, not hot. Water that is too hot can lead to crazing—small lines and cracks in the glaze. 
If your china is already crazed, don’t use it to serve food. Butter, fruit, cheese and cream can cause staining along the crack lines. 
If you have dishwasher-safe china, stagger plates of different sizes when loading it into the dishwasher. That way their edges won’t touch, and you’ll avoid chipping and scratches. 

Remove Brown Stains from China 
To remove stubborn brown stains on old china, rub on a solution of equal parts vinegar and salt, then rinse. 
Remove Tea and Coffee Stains from China Cups 

Wash your china cups, saucers and teapots as soon after using them as you can. If there is a tiny crack in the glaze, coffee or tea left there will leave a stain on the china. 

To remove coffee or tea stains from a cup, wet the cup with vinegar. Then dampen a rag with water, dip it in baking soda or salt and swab out the stain. 
Another treatment to remove tea or coffee stains on china is to apply 20% hydrogen peroxide, wash and rinse. (Regular household hydrogen peroxide is 3% strength. The 20% solution — available at pharmacies — acts as a bleaching agent.) 

Clean Gold-Trimmed Dishes 

To clean gold-trimmed dishes, first scrape them with a rubber scraper and then wash with mild dishwashing liquid. Never use an abrasive cleaner. If the mild dishwashing liquid isn’t enough to remove food from the gold trim, try rubbing the trim with a paste of baking soda and water applied with a soft cloth. 
Remove Metal Marks from China 

Never wash china in an aluminum pan or allow it to come in contact with aluminum in the dishwasher. Aluminum rubbing against china can create gray, pencil thin lines that are often impossible to get out. 
If a metal utensil does leave a mark on your china, gently rub the dish with a mild scouring powder or plastic scouring pad. Be careful to avoid rubbing off any decorative trim. 

 

Wednesday
Mar132019

10 Ways Bad Credit Can Effect Your Life

1. EFFECTS RELATIONSHIPS

Whether it's asking family or friends, asking for money to pay an emergency bill can lead to problems. Being late on a credit card payment will damage your credit rating. But being late on a promise to pay back a friend can ruin a relationship. It also effects marriages and is the #1 reason for divorce.

 

2. LACK OF ACCESS TO EMERGENCY CASH

Does your car need an emergency repair? Or your pet has gotten sick? Having a bad credit rating means you may not be able to access the cash you need in emergencies via loans, etc. Some people fall into using payday loans, which is a huge mistake.

3. HIGHER CAR INSURANCE RATES

Even buying car insurance can be effected by bad credit. Some car insurers have decided that there's a connection between on-time payments and reckless driving. They will increase rates or deny auto coverage accordingly. 

 

4. A STRUGGLE TO REFINANCE A MORTGAGE

The new banking rules have been applied that make borrower's creditworthiness even more critical to negotiating a reasonable interest rate for home loans. The ability to get a loan for home improvement can help you to be able to fix up your house to sell it, etc.

5. DIFFICULTY RENTING

Even just trying to rent an apartment, if landlords see late payments, bankruptcy, etc, you may not be able to rent. Some even just look at the credit score and don't allow potential renters to explain their situation ie. job loss, medical bills, etc.

6. NEGATIVE JOB PROSPECTS

As unfair as it may be, you can be denied a job due to a poor credit score. Employers are supposed to inform you if your credit is the reason you were not hired, but this is no consolation to any job seeker who really wants and needs to work. 

7. HIGHER INTEREST RATES

Even if you are able to borrow money, borrowers who are considered to be higher risk pay higher interest rates. This is especially true with car loans, with interest rates as high as 20% and up.

8. LOSS OF BASIC UTILITIES

Utilities regularly check credit before beginning service. If you have been late making payments — especially utility payments in the past — you might be required to pay a deposit in order to get service.

9. LACK OF DISPOSABLE INCOME

When all your money goes to bills and debt, there is a lack of money for extras--eating out, nice clothing, travel, books and electronics. The list goes on and on.

10. POOR QUALITY OF LIFE

Debt can hold you back from getting an education, which leads to a better job and better quality of life. Not to mention the stress of dealing with a bad credit situation.

 Source: Wisebread.com

Sunday
Mar102019

How to Save Money in Your New IT Venture

Taking the leap from being an employee to be your own boss and self-employed is a big deal, and a decision that you have likely stewed on for a long time. You have the IT skills and knowledge, but now you need to progress and build your business.

According to the Bureau of Labor’s statistics, approximately 20% of small businesses fail within the first year, and from those that survive, 50% will not see their fifth birthday. The principle reason for these failure rates is a lack of revenue and profit, and so you can see why making wise financial decisions in the early days of your venture is so important.

So, before you make any knee-jerk decisions, let’s look at where you can save money so that you can reduce your overheads.

  • Premises

While it would be nice to have modern and extravagant premises to house your business, the rental costs of office space can take a serious chunk of money that could otherwise be invested in the business.

In the early days of your business consider working from home or hotdesking in the offices of a local business. Many businesses would welcome being able to rent a desk or small office to you, rather than it being left empty. Ideally, you would find a space within an industry-linked business that you can collaborate or partner with, or at least swap referrals. If you need to meet prospective clients, you can meet them at hotels or spaces that you can rent by the hour.

  • Software Licenses

The downside of working for yourself is that you no longer have access to the software such as the PCB design system that you used at work; however, you need it to be able to do your job. While you can subscribe monthly for licenses, this can work out to be more expensive than purchasing a perpetual PCB design system license from Altium. Always look for the most economical way to purchase licenses – a little digging, and you will be able to find the best deal on the market.

  • Keep Personal and Business Finances Separate

When you start a new venture, you may be tempted to use your personal banking for business, at least until you get more established. This is a false economy. Not only do you risk having the IRS decline any tax deductions that you submit because they may consider your business as a hobby, but you will waste time sorting through your accounts. The messier your finances are, the longer you will have to pay for an accountant to prepare your tax returns. It’s best practice to start as you mean to go on.

Starting a new venture is exciting and terrifying in equal mix. The decisions that you make in the early days will impact the longevity and sustainability of your business. Keeping your running costs as low as possible is important, but that does not mean that you must compromise on the quality of the service or products that you offer. Good luck!