Seasonal Foods

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Pamper Yourself Wednesday!

Well, it’s my very first “Pamper Yourself Wednesday”! So I hope that this will be a good start for everyone. This may not be everyone’s “cup of tea” so to speak, but if you’re not interested, you can always check out my other posts for other things.

Now, to REALLY get started! I figured for the first one I’d go with some basics, so here goes:

Basic Body/Facial Scrub

2 parts either Sugar/ Salt
1 part Oil

From what I can tell, this is the average recipe in my research. You chose either the sugar (easier on the face, and delicate areas like the stomach), or salt (which gives a better grit for scrubbing, but you have to give a delicate touch for scrubbing the face and stomach). I figure it’s up to you which one you use. I personally tried the salt, since salt is cheaper to purchase. I went with ¼ cup oil, and ½ a cup of salt. I also put in 3 drops of ylang-ylang to make it smell nice, but it is not necessary.

This was a very invigorating rub for me, or maybe it was just the fact that it was my morning shower that (thanks to my kids) was getting quite cold when I was doing this. I did wind up making my stomach and sides a little red from rubbing it too hard, so now I know not to do that (I’ll probably forget tomorrow, *sigh*). It definitely exfoliates, which is the point of a body scrub, I think that when I run out of this batch, I’ll be trying the sugar instead.

Avocado Face Mask

This is basically taking 2 avocados, mashing them, and putting the mash on your face for about 15 minutes. It sounds horrible, but it’s really refreshing for your face. At least it was for me, after I stopped fidgeting and scratching at it, but I’m not big on facial masks (the things I do to thoroughly research things for others...and my curiosity, but that’s BESIDES the point...).

Oatmeal Bath

½ cup Oatmeal
clean non-matched sock (I swear the washer eats the other ones!)
A tub of water
music and candles (if you wish)
¼ cup of powdered milk (optional as well)

Fill the sock with the oatmeal, making sure to tie the end into a knot. Then place the sock in the tub, and start running the water. If you wish to add the milk powder, do it while the water is running. Usually at this time I grab my candles and set them up, and I try to remember the towel too (I’m occasionally successful at it too!). If you want music, please remember that this is a bathroom with water, so keep it as FAR from the water as possible (after all, if you’re reading my blog, I want you around to read them some more!) :)

The oatmeal is great for helping moisture the skin, and the milk is great for giving it softness. Oatmeal is also great for helping with getting the itch out if your skin is irritated from being dry. I know I made my kids have oatmeal and baking soda baths when they get sunburned, which is thankfully not often. I also use the sock filled with oatmeal as a scrubber, instead of getting a cloth. I don’t know for certain, but in my mind it adds that extra “oomph” to my skin. Remember to rinse off, or you might get itchy afterwards.

Well, I hope everyone enjoyed my first “Pamper Yourself Wednesday”, and hope to see you back here again. If you have any thoughts and/or concerns, feel free to leave a comment. I look forward to hearing from you! :)

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

DIY Tuesday!

So I have decided to make a schedual for my blog, and decided from now on that on Tuesdays I will be blogging DIY posts. This will be the first one, and I hope it will be up to snuff! :)

Making a netbook case:

I know, a netbook is not exactly frugal, but it was a christmas present (a cool one at that). Unfortunately mine did not come with a cover or case, and the ones that were available were not what I wanted or needed. So I looked around on the web, and found an idea that was almost perfect  for me!, he shows how to make a case for a laptop out of a binder. The absolute BEST thing about making something yourself is that you can make changes to suit you.

For me, I started with the basic items I would need to make it for myself: A zippered binder ($1 from the Salvation Army Thrift store), a rubber bath mat ($2 at the dollar store), and scissors(already on hand). Here are the pictures of them:

This is of the closed zippered binder.
This is of the binder open.
This is of the bathmat that I chose.

First thing's first, I had to get the rings out of the binder. I was VERY lucky with the binder I bought, as the rings were not riveted to the "shell" of the binder. All I had to do was use my scissors and cut out the piece of cloth that held it in!
Snip, snip!

Next I took the bathmat, and folded it in half, cut it to fit in the case, and rounded the corners to make it look nicer(I'm a girl, what did you expect?!)!  :)
Cut to fit.
Rounded corners.
Here it is inside(I sewed the mat together with my sewing machine, but it is not a necessary step).
I use the bathmat to further protect my netbook from being smashed, but it has an added benifit!
It's a wrist mat, AND....
Gives my netbook extra air movement underneath it for better cooling! How's that for multi-tasking!  :)
I know this may not be for everyone, but I really enjoy my new netbook case. If you like parts of it, and want to change things, or "tweak" it, I'd love to hear about it! I hope that people enjoy this post, and I hope to continue regularly with making Tuesdays my DIY post day!  

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Links For February's Article

Most of these links show the same, or similar recipes to the one that is in my Article for The Stew Magazine, although a few of them do have powder recipes for those who find that liquid is too messy, or dislike it. Have fun!  :)

How to Educate Yourself on the Cheap

This is my magazine article for "The Stew" magazine, found at

Is there such a thing as a free education?

I’ve done some

digging on this very

subject and the answer

is surprising, and it

depends on exactly what

you want from your

education, whether you

are taking the course

to learn something just

for you, or if you want

the course to prove you

learned something.

If you want to learn

something just for your

own knowledge, then

the answer is most


“Yes.” And there

are many places online

that you can go to learn

practically anything for

free. However, if you want

to take the course to

gain credits, degrees,

or certificates, then the

answer is, “No.” The

only way to actually

gain credits is to pay for

those courses, although

I did find out that there

is an online school

called ‘University of the

People’ that charges you

a $50 application fee and

only charges you $100

per exam.

There is a small problem

with this, however

— it is not an accredited

University in the State

of California, where it

is headquartered. In

other words, you can

do all the work with

this University and get

Associate (A.S.-B.A.)

and Bachelor (B.S.-B.A.)

degrees in Business

Administration and

Associate (A.S.-C.S.)

and Bachelor (B.S.-C.S.)

degrees in Computer

Science, but no other

school will allow you to

transfer any credits from

there. To top it off, here

in Canada you may have

trouble getting anyone

to acknowledge those


If you want to keep

education costs down,

you can go to a college

or university to challenge

their courses, if

you feel comfortable in

your knowledge of the

material, but that again

will cost you money to

challenge each exam.

And depending on

which school you challenge

at, you may be

covering information

that is not applicable to

our province, let alone

Canada. And always

make sure you check the

laws and regulations in

your area that are applicable

to the material you

wish to challenge.

If you are interested

in a certain program at

college or university but

are unsure how well you

may do, then I highly

recommend finding a

free online school that

covers that interest. This

way you can discover if

you can do the courses

without spending any

money, plus there won’t

be a grade put on your

record if you don’t succeed.

I spend a great deal of

time reading books on a

variety of subjects, simply

because they interest

me. However, I have no

intention of going to

college or actually doing

these things for a living.

I am fairly sure that I’m

not a great acupuncturist,

masonist, house

builder, or gardener (I

have a black thumb), but

I still try to read or learn

about them anyways.

I highly recommend

learning new things.

Scientists say that it is

the best way to keep

your brain sharp, aside

from a healthy lifestyle.

With all the information

that you can find online,

in the library

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Make Your Own Laundry Soap!

Well, I have recently become aware of something that I thought was great! There are recipes online everywhere for laundry soap, and that is a huge financial cost, especially for families. So I searched around for a recipe that would make a large amount for the lowest cost, and found one at The Grocery Cart Challenge blog (

This was not the only site that had this recipe, and I do not know who originally made this recipe — if I did I would definitely make sure to give them recognition.

This blogger also does a grocery cart challenge, where she only spends $60 a week on groceries for a family of six. No I am not getting paid to advertise, I just want to make sure you check her out, her ideas are awesome!

Anyways, back to the laundry soap recipe. Here it is:

⅓ bar of Fels Naptha Soap (I used sunlight bars instead, at a cost of $1/bar)
½ cup of Borax (cost approximately $6 for a big box)
½ cup washing soda (cost approximately $6 for the box)
32 cups warm water (free from the tap)
5 gallon bucket (I used a REALLY big stock pot that I have had for that was free)

Grate ⅓ bar of soap (try not to grate your knuckles or fingers, as I did), and put into a large pot. Add six cups of warm water and heat until the soap is completely melted (this took me about a half hour, but my soap was grated really fine). Add washing soda and Borax, stirring until dissolved. Pour four cups of hot tap water into the bucket. Add the soap mixture and stir together. Add another 22 cups of water and stir to combine. Let the soap cool and set for 12-24 hours. It will have the consistency of hand soap. You would use ½ cup for a top loading washer, and ¼ cup for a front loading washer.

Let’s see how this breaks down financially. All the materials that I paid for came to $13, but I still have enough left to make several more batches. The amount of laundry soap made by one batch of this recipe is just over 4.43 liters.

How well does it measure up to name brands? Well, I did a weird test to find out: I used a name brand laundry detergent with a colour safe bleach on a white cloth shower curtain (left unwashed for two months) and it took three washes for it to get completely white. The laundry soap I made took four washes, but that was without the colour safe bleach, Oxy, or vinegar. Had I used any of these, I am fairly confident that it would have taken one less load.

All in all, my laundry soap materials cost as much as one 4.43 litre bottle of name brand detergent, but it will make three times the amount of detergent. And if you spent one more dollar for another bar of sunlight, you could make six times the amount of detergent. And it took just a little over an hour (and few accidentally grated knuckles) to make!

I’m fairly certain that you could do it too, and probably without the band-aids!