Hydrogen Peroxide To The Rescue

Posted on March 31st, 2015 by Discount Debbie

peroxide

A couple of weeks ago, I shared a few practical household uses of hydrogen peroxide. Among those uses was removing stains from light colored carpets. Well, I wondered whether the peroxide would have the same effect on our light colored furniture.

It has been a struggle to try to keep the furniture clean. I do my best to make sure that we keep food and drinks off the couches… not always very successfully. Sometimes I come home after making a quick run to work out to pick up groceries only to find all sorts of crumbs and stains on the couches. It’s like they wait for me to walk out the door to eat and drink on the “forbidden territory.” ūüėČ Okay, okay. So, it’s not that bad. But, you moms know that it feels that way, doesn’t it? So, I wash the cushion covers regularly.

The pattern I’ve described creates two tone couches. The cushions look white/off white and the arm rests and the rest of the frame, which cannot be washed, are yellow-ish. I haven’t wanted to cover the whole thing with a slipcover. So….

couch 1

I decided to put some hydrogen peroxide in a spray bottle and sprayed the peroxide onto a very dingy armrest. He thought it would be¬†more effective to pour the peroxide onto the material. So, we did half and half. (Welcome to marriage compromises…)¬†I was going to leave it on there until it dried. However, my chemistry-teacher-husband suggested that I put baking soda on top of it to ensure that the peroxide was absorbed back up through the dirty material and not just down into whatever that is under the dingy upholstery.

photo 2

I left it on overnight and vacuumed and brushed off the baking soda in the morning. Here is what it looked like when I removed all the baking soda. The only marking on the arm rest was where I “compromised” and let my husband pour (instead of spray) the peroxide. We can fix that easily now that I know how this works!

couch 3

I think we have an all natural, non-toxic, easy, thrifty answer to alleviating the two tone couch!

How do you get rid of stains on your upholstery?


Healthy, Grain Free Coconut Flour Cake

Posted on March 17th, 2015 by Discount Debbie

cake with text

The words “healthy” and “cake” are rarely ever used in the same sentence, much less the same title for a recipe. It doesn’t seem real or right to have cake that¬†tastes good and is¬†good for you, but it’s true and it’s possible.

There are generally two main ingredients that make cake bad for our health and for our waist line: white flour and white sugar. Replacing those two ingredients with other fillers that may not be as bad (like wheat flour or even gluten free mixes) don’t necessarily transform a cake into something nutritious. However, if you use coconut flour, it¬†is a good source of fiber, protein, and healthy fat. When you replace the sugar with raw honey, you reap the benefits of the raw honey. Raw honey has antibacterial, antifungal, and is full of antioxidant properties, all great for immunity.

Talk about having your cake and eating it, too. Once you have cake like this, you’ll have a¬†very hard time going back to cake that’s full of empty fattening calories. Keep in mind that you can adjust any recipe to your preference. So, if you prefer it sweeter, just add more honey. If it’s too sweet, just cut the amount in the recipe.

Here’s how to make tasty, good-for-you cake!

Ingredients:

1 cup coconut flour
1/4 tsp sea salt
10 eggs
3/4 cup coconut oil
3/4 cup raw honey
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. baking soda

Directions:

In a bowl, mix the coconut flour, salt, and baking soda. Mix until no clumps are left.

Combine the coconut oil, vanilla extract, and eggs until well blended.

Combine the dry ingredients with the wet ingredients.

Grease a 9 by 13 inch pan (I like to use Pyrex).

Place a piece of parchment paper in the bottom.

Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan.

cake 1

Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 25 to 30 minutes or until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean.

cake 2

Let cool 15 minutes before serving.

 

cake 3

Yum!


DIY: Make An Airplane Birthday Cake

Posted on March 2nd, 2015 by Discount Debbie

airplane cake

My son turned 4 years old today. Last year, I made him a fun (and very easy) construction site cake. Did I mention that it was easy! So, you might imagine that this year, when I asked him what kind of cake he’d want for his birthday, I was a bit intimidated by his immediate answer, “An airplane!” Why, oh why, did I let them watch Planes so many times before this?! HOW on earth am I going to turn a cake into an airplane?

I could have simply gone to our local grocery store and ordered a cake with ingredients I’d rather not have and with a price I’d rather not pay in order to come up with a birthday cake. Instead, I did what any mom today would do… run to Pinterest!

I had to adapt a recipe I found because the cake I made (a grain-free, honey sweetened one) was much thinner than the one pictured on the pin I saw. But, here’s what I did.

First, bake two layers of cake in 9 inch pans using the batter of your choice. Once baked, slice the first one in half.

cake 1

Use icing to “glue” these pieces together to form the body of your airplane.

cake 2 cake 3

Next, slice the next cake in thirds, as pictured.

cake 4

The middle pieces will become the wings and the ends will be used for the tail. Ice everything and put it all together. Hopefully, you’ll get a better looking plane than ours turned out. In the end, the children were both very happy that we had an airplane cake… and it tasted great!

cake 5

 

And, here’s the birthday boy, proud of being 4, blowing out his candles.

cake final

 

How do you make your children’s birthday’s special?


Yummy Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Posted on February 24th, 2015 by Discount Debbie

brussel sprouts with text 2

Did you know that Brussels sprouts are of the most nutrient rich foods you can eat? They are full of anti-oxidants, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K as well as fiber, manganese, potassium, choline, and B vitamins. Why aren’t we all eating this incredibly good for you food? Well, some surveys show that Americans simply don’t like the smell of the Brussels sprouts. My answer to that dilemma is always simply finding the right recipe. If you can cook something to make it taste good, people will eat it (and probably not care about how it smelled while it was cooking).

So, I’ve got an easy recipe for a great for you, a yummy side dish! The recipe is based on a recipe from a restaurant called Tin Roof Bistro in California. Here’s my version of that recipe (because I only used what I had and I didn’t have everything listed on their recipe).

Ingredients:

1 lb. Brussels sprouts
2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
3 Tbsp. butter
1 tsp. minced garlic
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. chopped parsley
Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:

1. Preheat over to 350¬ļ
2. Remove the ends and any rough outer leaves from Brussels sprouts and cut them in half lengthwise.

brussel sprouts 2

3. Put them in a bowl and add 2 tablespoons of olive oil.

brussel sprouts 1

4. Toss Brussels sprouts in oil and then lay out on sheet pan. Roast for 20-25 minutes until caramelized.

5. When Brussels sprouts are roasted and caramelized, heat up small saute’ pan. Melt butter and add garlic. Cook for several minutes until garlic turns golden. Add lemon juice, parsley, and salt¬†and pepper. Toss sprouts in sauce until they are thoroughly coated.

brussel sprouts 3

6. Then, the most important part: eat and enjoy… because, you know, it is possible to enjoy food that is good for you!

How do you like to eat your Brussels Sprouts?

 


Outdoor Party Planning: Always Have a “Plan B”

Posted on February 20th, 2015 by Discount Debbie

rain with text

My baby girl turned six years old today. And, I have enjoyed planning a party for her with just a few of her friends at a nearby playground. It was going to be my easy, inexpensive way to have a party for her. However, the closer we have come to the day of her party, the higher the percentage  of rain on that day has gotten. Yep, AccuWeather is saying that we have a 50-60 percent chance of rain right at the time that her party is due to start. Boo! :(

I knew it would be a possibility around this time of the year. So, I knew that we needed to think about a Plan B, but the time has come.

Here are just a few things that we will be adjusting as part of our Plan B.

1. Games. While I was at our local dollar store purchasing paper goods, birthday d√©cor, and balloons, I picked up a “Pin the tail on the donkey” game. I was hoping for something cuter, like “Pin the crown on the princess.” But, that’s okay. I needed an inexpensive game and I got it.

2. Crafts. Tomorrow I’ll head out to pick up an inexpensive craft that will work for girls and boys ages 4 through 11. I’ll be looking for something they can design or create with as few accessories (like scissors, tape, glue, and paint) as possible. It’s a 2-hour party, not an all day art class, after all.

3. Utilize covered patios. Even if it does rain, because it won’t be cold, we plan to use our patio because it’s a covered area. This is a great way to still get outside and to increase space for your guests.

4. Snacks and Cake. Don’t forget that food is the main event. So, we will let them play and then let them eat. That’s our plan! :)

What do you think should be included in a Plan B for outdoor parties?


Thrifty Tax Preparation Tips

Posted on January 6th, 2015 by Discount Debbie

tax season

Being thrifty is often synonymous with being a do-it-yourselfer. Often, you can save so much money by cooking your own food, building your own chicken coop, or sewing your own home décor. When it comes to taxes, though, the process can be very intimidating. Now, I understand that there are some very complicated income situations that make it easier and more efficient to take all your paperwork to a professional. However, with so many great online programs with answers for your every question (and which often predict the questions you might have before you ask them), you can do your taxes on your own!

Start gathering all the information and paperwork right now to make things easier on yourself.

1. Income and taxes paid

The first day to e-file taxes for 2014 is January 20. That’s only two weeks away. Even though you may not receive your W-2s until the end of the month, you can look at your end of the year pay stubs and records to find those year-to-date (YTD) final numbers on income, federal and state taxes, health insurance payments. It’s all on your last paycheck of the year. If you’re not anxious to file early, you can always just wait for all the tax forms to be mailed to you by January 31.

2. Donations

Don’t miss out on any tax credits. Whether you gave in-kind donations or monetary ones, you are entitled to those credits. Don’t forget about them.

3. Other tax credits

Car registration, mileage information (if you keep track of them), home mortgage insurance payments, any business or work expenses, education expenses and daycare costs will all earn you tax credits. So, get all that information together, too.

Put all these papers in a file (or pile, if you prefer) and you should be pretty ready to sit down at your computer and get your taxes done relatively easily and quickly anytime after January 20.

Do you do your own taxes?

When you’re ready to e-file your taxes…

Free Error Correction – This software will automatically check your tax return for common errors. If the software finds any errors, it will prompt you to correct them.

Get Your Refund Quick – Who doesn’t want their refund quickly? Filing online allows you to receive your refund quicker than off-line.

Helpful Software – The software will walk you through common deductions and credits that you may be eligible for with its easy and quick question & answer format.


Make Your Own Facial Scrub

Posted on December 31st, 2014 by Discount Debbie

scrub 2 with text

I have a relative who sells skin care products, very expensive products. She sent me a little sample “facial treatment” for me to try recently. It was a two part “treatment” of facial scrub and moisturizer and it felt great. But what was amazing was the simple scrub. It reminded me that I don’t have to spend a lot of money (especially if it’s money I just don’t have) to exfoliate my skin, look good, and feel good.

So, I did a little test and made my own scrub… just to see if it would feel as good.

I mixed 2 tablespoons of sugar with 1 tablespoon of coconut oil. (It’s hard to see it all in the picture since the sugar, the oil and the bowl are all white. Sorry about that!) Trust me, it’s in there. ūüėČ

scrub 1

I like coconut oil, but the same recipe can be made with any of your preferred oils (olive, grape seed, avocado). Since I had some vitamin E oil on hand and I know that it is so good for healing and replenishing skin, I added a few drops of it into the mix.

scrub 2

Once it was all mixed, I tried it out!

I put the scrub all over my face and massaged it for about 30 seconds. (I followed the instructions from the package on the fancy skin care products.) Then, I rinsed it off and, what do you know, my face felt as rejuvenated and smooth as it did when I used the expensive products! Only my stuff took minutes (and pennies) to make!

scrub 3 cropped

 

If your skin is sensitive, you may want to substitute baking soda for the sugar and create a paste using oil or water. But, if you use water, make sure to moisturize afterwards.

Who says you have to spend a lot of money to take care of your skin? Here’s to being thrifty and healthy in the new year!


Thrifty Tip: Make Your Own Gift Basket

Posted on December 22nd, 2014 by Discount Debbie

gift basket

I’m pretty sure that we’ve now officially entered the “late shopping” zone. If you are still shopping today, it’s late! But it’s not too late¬†to come up with some frugal and personal gifts for friends and family members. I actually thought that I was done with all my shopping until just a few days ago. We decided to get together with some friends for dinner this week. It dawned on me that we should get them a little something. I racked my brain trying to think of something that would be personal, practical, and frugal for a family of six.

Then, it came to me! (And I just had to share it.)

So, here are just a few tips to making a gift basket suited to the recipients tastes and to your budget.

1. Personal does not have to be expensive.

Our friends share the desire to eat healthy but have admitted to needing a re-start and not really knowing where to start. Since eating healthy (or, mostly healthy) is so important to us, it was easy to figure out what to put in the basket once the idea finally came to me.

I went to Costco and bought the same coconut oil we have been using lately… for just $12.

coconut oil

Then, I happened to find a coupon for one of my favorite brands of raw honey. So, I got this for $6.99.

honey

We bought an extra gallon of raw milk (from our local farmers) to add to the basket. That was $7.50.

milk

2. It can be pretty and practical.

Then, I put all three items in a basket that I’ve had around (and never used) and tied some ribbon around it.

basket

3. It doesn’t have to be complicated! I actually enjoyed doing it. Those of you who are much more creative will be able to make it look so much cuter than I made mine. But, you get the idea. It works. We know they will like it because of what we know about them and we were able to make it happen fairly easily.

So, even if you’re shopping at the last minute, you don’t have to spend a ton of money or time to make a special gift for a friend.

What other gifts have you made for friends or family members?


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