Thrifty Thursday- Book Lovers

This thrifty tip is for all of our avid readers out there. After countless dollars being spent on books, we have a new way for you to save some money and still keep the books you want.  Paperback swap is a great way to read that next popular book with out having to dish out $10, $20, even $30 dollars for it. The service is free and easy! Start off by signing up at After you have registered, you can list any books you are willing to part with.  If you list at least 10, they will give you 2 credits to start with.  1 credit = 1 book. It’s that easy. You earn credits by mailing your books to people that request them.  Then you use those credits to request books from other people. You are responsible for paying the shipping but remember, this is media and media mail is much cheaper (Usually about $2). Search for our blog on sending media mail in 2012 for more info. Once your book arrives, it’s yours to keep. You do not have to relist it if you love it.  If you don’t think you will read it again and want to swap it, just add it to your list for trade.

This service is becoming very popular and may not be free for long. So jump on and sign up today!

Happy reading!

For full instruction on how it works, click here:

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Tip Tuesday – Mosquito Repellant

Spring is here and that means bugs. Specifically Mosquito’s! These pesky little creatures can be itchy, painful and just annoying. Before you head out the door make sure you protect yourself from these “buggers” with a nice smelling repellant made right from your kitchen.

Here’s what you need:

Combine in a 16 oz bottle:
15 drops lavender oil
3-4 Tbsp of vanilla extract
1/4 Cup lemon juice.
Fill bottle with water.

Hey that was easy. Now go play!

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Fat Letters??

What if your child brought home a letter for school, but instead of it being for behavior or grades it was because they were overweight? This is happening is schools in the USA.  Children with a high BMI are being sent letters stating their current health statistics, and ways to help get them to a healthier status. This has raised uproar in states where it is taking place, but is it necessary? Many parents would take offence, but some are simply unaware of their child’s health risks or how to change behaviors. In an age where convenience out weighs health, it can be hard to avoid high fat, sugar and processed foods. Could raising awareness help? We may not know how the results of these letters now, but we do have some statistics on how to prevent child obesity starting day one! BREASTFEEDING! You got it. A 17 year study showed staggering results on how breastfed babies have lower obesity rates. By age 5, children that were never breastfed had obesity rates of 4.5% compared to only 0.8% in children that were breastfed for 1 year. By age 12 children breastfed for a minimum of 6 months had 22% lower obesity rates than non-breastfed babies. Breastfed infants learn to control the amount of human milk and calories they consume better than bottle-fed infants, who are often forced to continue feeding and finish a bottle after they are satisfied. Energy-dense infant formulas may stimulate the endocrine system to secrete more insulin and growth factor than human milk does, which leads to increased rates of body fat in formula-fed babies (Hediger et al. 2001). – LLLI”

These statistics are hard to ignore. Breastfeeding starts a behavior of eating until full rather than eating until your “plate is finished” Of course this is just a small part of a long lone of benefits that breastfeeding provides. Breastfeeding can reduce your child’s chances of getting cancer, allergies, and diabetes to name a few.

To read more about the benefits of breastfeeding visit:


To read the full story about “Fat letters” visit:


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Food Friday – Apple Pies!

We saw these apple pies on another site and they looked awesome!  Here is the recipe.


5-6 Granny Smith apples (make sure they can stand on their own)
1 tbsp. cinnamon
1/4 cup sugar
1 tbsp. brown sugar
pie crust (homemade or pre-made)



  • Preheat oven to 375F. 
  • Cut off the top of 4 apples off and discard. Remove the inside of each apple with a spoon or melon baller very carefully, as to not puncture the peel. If you’re a skilled interior apple excavator, salvage as much as you can so you can use it for Step 2. I, on the other hand, am not skilled so I just had to throw my interior apples away and chop up additional apples for filling.
  • Remove skin from remaining apple(s) and slice very thinly. These apple pieces will give you the additional filling needed to fill the four apples you are baking.
  • Mix sliced apples with sugars and cinnamon in a bowl. If you prefer more or less cinnamon make adjustments as desired. Same goes for the sugar.
  • Scoop sliced apples into hollow apples.
  • Roll out pie crust and slice into 1/4 inch strips. You can also add a strip of pastry inside the top of the apple almost like a liner to add a little more texture/sweetness to the pie.
  • Cover the top of the apple in a lattice pattern with pie crust strips.
  • Place apples in an 8×8 pan. Add just enough water to the cover the bottom of the pan.
  • Cover with foil and bake for 20-25 minutes.
  • Remove foil and bake for an additional 20 minutes or until crust is golden brown and sliced apples are soft.

We hope you enjoy

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Thrifty Thursday – Dish Washer Tabs

We all know that cleaning supplies take up a large part of the shopping budget! It’s crazy how much companies charge for these items knowing we will pay for them. Most of them are very simple recipes that can be made at home, or substituted with household items. We have all heard that you can make your own laundry soap, but dishwasher tabs? YES  you can, and it’s easy.

Here’s what you need:

1 Cup Borax

1 Cup Washing Soda

1/4 Cup Epsom Salt

Lemon Juice


1.Mix all the powders together well

2.Separate 1 cup of the powder into a separate bowl

3.Add 4 tbs lemon juice to the mixture. It will foam a little and get wet and sticky.

4. Pat mixture into the ice cube trays

5.Repeat steps 2 and 4 until your mixture is gone.

6.Place the mixture in the window for drying or leave out overnight.

For full instructions, visit Louise’s Country Closet at:

Fill the trays and pat down the mixture.

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Words of Wisdom Wednesday

We’re not sure if this would be considered “wisdom” but it sure is funny!

“Facebook just sounds like a drag, in my day seeing pictures of peoples vacations was considered a punishment” –Betty White

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Tip Tuesday – Bag Sealer

Do you have a bag of opened chocolate chips in your cupboard right now? Who doesn’t. It seems like there is always a 1/4 of a bag of chips in the pantry just waiting to spill.  Next time you open a bag and don’t use the whole thing, try this trick out.  Just cup the top off a plastic bottle and slide it over the open end of the bag.  Fold over any excess packaging and screw on the bottle cap for a tight seal.  You can use this for rice, beans or any other bag with no reusable seal.

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April Fool’s!

april-foolsUnexpected Dandruff: Sprinkle some salt in your hair, then start complaining that your head is itching like crazy. When someone looks at your head, they’ll see the worst case of dandruff they’ve ever seen.

April Showers: If you have a sink with a sprayer, put a rubber band around the handle when nobody’s looking. This automatically keeps the nozzle in spray-mode. Make sure the nozzle is pointing up and outward. The next person to use the sink will get a splash! I actually tried this on my older son last year. It worked like a charm and provided a bunch of belly laughs.

Buggy Toothpaste: Place a raisin in the end of the toothpaste tube. When someone squeezes out the paste, they’ll get what looks like a bug along with their minty tarter control glob.

Got Milk?: Add a few drops of food coloring to a container of milk. It’s harmless April Fool’s joke but the results are pretty colorful.

Spare Change: This April Fool’s practical joke is old, but it still works. Superglue some coins to the sidewalk or any spot that has a lot of people walking around. Make sure it’s an appropriate place, then watch people get frustrated when they can’t pick up the coins.

Year Round School: Type and mail a letter to yourself that says the vote went through and school is now going to be held all year long – no more summer vacation. Your kids will be mortified. Then tell them after dinner it was just an April Fool’s Day joke.

What’s That in Your Apple?: For a fruity April Fool’s practical joke, get a few gummy worms and carefully poke them into fresh fruit, particularly apples. Give your kids a wormy apple for lunch and leave a few apples on the table for friends and family members to snack on.

One Sick Joke: Fill a hot water bottle with pea soup. Keep the bottle hidden under your shirt and make a loud noise to attract attention. Bend over the table and squeeze the bottle, as your sludge spews out just like you’ve thrown up.

Look What I Can Do!: Ask your victim to put a quarter on a piece of paper and, without removing their finger, trace the coin with a pencil. Repeat the “test” with a few fingers. After that’s done, get the victim to pick up the quarter and roll it along the bridge of their nose. Then quietly snicker behind their back as they walk around with a black line along their nose. Don’t use a permanent marker because that’s just not cool.

Out of Gas: A few blocks from home, make your car lurch a little and announce that you’re out of gas. The children will moan and groan a little. Tell the kids they will have to walk to get gas as you watch the car, then drive by yelling “April Fools!” Make sure there is no one around and it’s a lightly traveled road. (By the way…this one works!  I use it all the time to get the kids!)

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Food Friday – Avocado Egg Salad

Yields 3-4 servings


  • 6 large eggs, hard-boiled and diced
  • 1/4 cup Greek yogurt
  • 3 TBSP pesto
  • 1 avocado, halved, seeded, peeled and diced
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 4 ciabatta rolls, toasted, for serving
  • Baby spinach, for serving
  • Sliced tomatoes, for serving
  1. In a large bowl, roughly mash eggs with Greek yogurt, pesto, avocado, salt and pepper, to taste.
  2. Serve sandwiches on ciabatta rolls with spinach, tomatoes and egg salad mixture.

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