Monday, October 23, 2006

Do you have an I-Pod?

Several years ago my oldest daughter bought an I-Pod. She loves music and she wanted a way to listen to her many CD’s without having to carry them all around. The I-Pod came out and it seemed a logical answer to her question. She could download her many CD’s on to her I-pod and only have to carry around the one unit. She had friends who had purchased them and they gave her a good recommendation. She bought her I-Pod and was as happy as a lark with it.

My husband became intrigued with her little machine and decided that he wanted one too so I bought it for him for Christmas that year. I got him the 40 gig unit so that he would have all the room he needed for his music. His next quest had him downloading all of his CD’s on to the computer so that he could download them onto his I-Pod. This kept him busy for several weeks. What we discovered was that he could also download books on tape. He put the scriptures, several of his favorite books and other audio favorites onto his unit.

Then came the extra expenses of owning an I-pod. TF purchased a device that would allow him to play it thru his car stereo. Bonnie purchased some little speakers that she could take with her when she traveled. She would put her unit in the speaker box and be able to listen to it in her hotel room. Both of them have all the little extras for their units. Occasionally TF will purchase music from the I-Tunes store. This weekend, TF decided to purchase a new car radio that is designed with the I-Pod in mind. He went over to Best Buy and purchased the unit and had it installed. All you have to do is put your I-Pod into the glove box and plug it in. Everything comes up on the screen, on the radio, so that you can select what you want to listen to. This new radio has all the bells and whistles. Bonnie saw it and now she wants one. How spoiled can you get? I do have to admit that they have some pretty good music and books on it.

On a frugal note: I was reading my weekly Dollar Stretcher email this week and found some good articles. I have listed a few here that I thought were interesting.

Weddings are a billion-dollar industry in the United States, and the figures grow every year. How do you have the wedding of your dreams without waking up to a nightmare of debt the next day?

Did you ever work for a company that went out of business or changed hands? Were you paying into a retirement plan and never receive any benefits. Check out this website to find your hard earned money?

What’s hot in Halloween costumes this year? How much will it cost?

Homemade Halloween make-up, bruises and blood:

Ever buy a car at an auto auction?

Save money when buying appliances.

One a personal note: Felicia is moving at the end of this week and we are down to the wire on getting her ready. We still have the last minute packing to do, get the U-Haul rented, get rid of everything in her garage that she doesn’t want, pack the U-Haul and get her out the door. Needless to say, it will be a busy week for me. Wish me luck and have a great week.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Fleas!.....How to kill those pesky buggers..

With two dogs and one cat it’s not hard to get fleas in the house. It’s happened to us and we had to take action or get eaten out of house and home. Bonnie and TF noticed it about the same time. TF called the boys from “Splat Pest Control” and had them come out and spray the yard and house for fleas. We washed the dogs with flea shampoo and dipped the cat, not an easy chore, into a solution of flea killer and water. I decided to do some investigating on my own and traveled the Internet reading about natural ways to kill fleas. Here are some of the things I learned.

1) 20 Mule Team Borax is a dandy at killing fleas. You can find it in your laundry section at the grocery store. What you do is vacuum your carpets thoroughly and sprinkle it on your carpet and sweep it in with a broom. Give it about 3 to 4 days to do its magic and then vacuum it up. Make sure that you throw the vaccumn cleaner bag away immediately after vaccumning or the fleas will escape and come back out if you don't. I also found out that borax will kill ants, roaches, and termites. Make sure that you put it in little nooks and crannies where the pests can hide. I sprinkled it behind the piano, under the stove and refrigerator, under the kitchen sink and elsewhere. Caution: Borax can be irritating to the eyes, skin and lungs. (It did not bother me.) I also read that you can dust your house once a year to keep fleas out. Do not use the borax on your yard or houseplants.

2) Fleas don’t like the smell of Eucalyptus leaves. You can buy them at a craft store and put them under the sofa, into cabinets in the kitchen or in places that are hard to reach. I also put them in closets and in my food storage areas. They are harmless to humans but unpleasant to those pesky creatures.

3) An inexpensive way to rid your yard of fleas is to sprinkle DE (diatomaceous Earth) all over the yard. I found an 8 pound bag at a feed store for $ 11.00. I read that you want the regular strength and not the “pool” strength that is used in swimming pools.

4) Putting cedar chips along your fence line will keep the fleas from other people’s yards out of your yard. The fleas don’t like the smell of cedar. Another thing I read is that you can buy pet bedding with cedar chips in it. I’ll have to check that out.

5) Someone mentioned that planting tansy (an herb) around the dog’s pens kept the problem in check. It is safe and will keep fleas of your children if they play in the back yard.

6) Set a flea trap. At night you put a dinner plate on the floor (preferably in the room with the worst flea problem) and put a couple of drops of dish soap in some water on the plate. Put a lamp on the floor next to the plate. The fleas are attracted to the light and jump on the plate. Without the dish soap the water surface tension is enough that they can jump off but with the soap they sink and drown. I tried this one and it worked. I was amazed at the number of fleas on the plate in the morning.

7) To keep fleas off of pets or kids when they are outside, slice a lemon or lime (peals and all) into two cups of water. Heat the water to boiling and let sit overnight, Sponge the child or pet in the morning with the lemon scented water, and let it dry. It will soothe the skin, smell really nice, and keep the fleas off for about ½ a day. Note: During this ordeal, I had to baby sit for my grand daughter. I cut a lemon in half and spread it all over her body and it kept the fleas off of her. It did work and I was pleased. One article I read suggested putting this, lemon water, in a spray bottle and it suggested “misting” your pet with it.

8) One of the best things that I read was to feed brewers yeast and garlic to the animals. I had some brewers yeast and some garlic capsules so I decided to give it a try. I put it in their food in the morning and they gobbled it up without even knowing that they were eating it. The fleas do not like the smell that is emitted from their skin and they will not bit them. I have noticed that neither dog is scratching so it must be working. I will feed this to them from now on….. When I was at the feed store, yesterday, I saw a bottle of brewers yeast and garlic, capsules on the shelf so I asked the lady about them. She said that it was a very good flea deterrent.

9) After giving your dog a bath, make a final rinse with Tea Tree Essential Oil or Lavender Essential oil

10) A flea collar can be made by rubbing a few drops of one of the following into an ordinary webbing or rope collar or even a doggy bandana: Eucalyptus Essential Oil, Tea Tree Essential Oil, Citronella Essential Oil, Lavender Essential Oil, or Geranium Essential Oil. Add your oil to the collar weekly.

11) Wash dog bedding in Hot water. You can add Eucalyptus Essential Oil to the final rinse to kill fleas and dust mites.

As you can see I learned a lot about how to get rid of fleas and keep your house, yard and pet pest free. One of the main things that I learned to do, for best results, was that you have to treat your house, yard and the animal all at the same time.

Now, for something a little off the subject: Here is an article I read about keeping mold out of your house. If you live in a moist environment or you have seen some mold growing in your house, I think you will find this article interesting.

Have a good weekend everyone. PS. Felicia got a contract on her house. Keep your fingers crossed that everything will work out…..If it does work out, she will be moving by the end of the month.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Working with groups can save you money…..

If you are trying to purchase items and save money, group ordering is the way to go. Today we had a group order for frozen berries come in and we saved a bundle over grocery store prices. We got raspberries, blackberries, strawberries, peaches, pineapple, apple slices, blue berries, cherries, etc. They came individually quick frozen or you could purchase it straight pack or in a puree for making jams and jellies. We get these berries from Oregon and Washington State and they are the same berries that are used by the big name companies. I usually buy the IQF black berries and put them up in 1 quart freezer bags.

Right now our group is working on purchasing Hershey chocolates. They come in 25 lb. boxes and we sell them in 5 lb. increments. We get a pretty good price and more of a variety than you would find at the grocery store. We even get some wonderful dark European Cocoa that is great for baking.

Next on our list is herbs and spices which we do annually in the late fall. We purchase at this time of year so that we can get our holiday spices. Go check out the website at: . When we do this as a group, we save money on the spices and shipping. When we get an order for over $500.00, we get enough discounts to cover the shipping. How much are you paying at the grocery store for a tiny little bottle of Bay leaves? I’ll bet you are paying over $2.00 for a ½ ounce bottle. With SF Herb you can get 4 oz. for $ 1.37. How about ground Cinnamon? With San Francisco Herb you can get a whole pound for $ 2.50. I will order several pounds and use them for Cinnamon Ornaments. For the recipe for these awesome ornaments check out one of my previous posts here. You will find many items that you can’t find at the grocery store. Check it out.

Have you ever been in a grocery co-op? Here is how it works. Twelve people become members. They contribute $10.00 every two weeks to the co-op. Each member in the co-op takes a turn going down to the local farmers market. They buy lettuce, tomatoes, potatoes, carrots, or whatever is on the weekly list. The shopper comes home and sorts out the produce and each member comes and picks it up at a certain time. You would be surprised at how much you can get for $10.00.

Do you want to save money on baby sitting? How about a baby sitting co-op? When my children were young I joined a neighborhood baby sitting co-op. When you joined, you paid a small fee and were given 20 tickets for 30 minutes of baby sitting. You were given a list of the members and you could choose who you would like to baby sit for your children. When I needed to go somewhere that I could not take my kids, I would call one of the members and arrange some baby sitting. If I was gone two hours, I would pay with four coupons. If someone needed my services, she would pay with her coupons. The small fee we paid when we joined was used for parties for the children throughout the year. We would have a Halloween party and a Christmas party and all the children and mothers would come and have fun and socialize. This can be a life saver for a young mother. If you would like to start a baby sitting co-op, get together with other mothers and come up with your own rules and have fun.

Ways that you can start a group co-op would be: 1) work with people in your neighborhood, 2) work with friends at church, 3) work with mothers in your child’s class at school. 4) If you work, get together with your fellow employees and start a group. Working in a group can be fun, you are meeting and getting to know new people and you are making new friends.

If you have any questions about starting a group, let me know and I will give you some pointers. Have a good day!