Sunday, February 28, 2010

Sunday Spotlight: Shark Electric Steam Cleaner

Starting tonight, I want to start a new feature on Sundays.  I will try to spotlight I product I really like and/or enjoy using in my home or something that my family has found really neat and helpful.  I want to know what your feelings are about these products too.  If you have any questions, please send those too.  I hope this is a feature that you will find useful and informative

For the past couple of years, I have been fascinated by the infomercials on the steam cleaners and mops.  So when I found one at a warehouse store, I bought it to try at home.  The one I bought was a Shark and had both a steam mop and a hand steam cleaner.  I have truly loved the one I bought and I highly recommend that each of you look at purchasing one for your home.

I haven't bought floor cleaner since I brought my Shark in my house.  If you are a true frugal diva, you need to get a steam mop.  It is probaly the most frugal household product you will bring in your home.  Not only does it not use any chemicals, only tap or distilled water (boiled water for me), but it is truly the safest way to clean your home if you have small children.  You have to be carefull what your little ones are crawling on.  I feel safer with my toddler crawling on the floor cleaned with water instead of chemicals.

The hot steam kills most all the bacteria and viruses that can interrupt your lives.  The steam also cuts through some of the stickiest, messiest mess your kids (or husband) can come up with on your floor or refrigerator!  Just like the infomerical says, the floor is almost instantly dry so you don't have to worry about keeping the kidos off the floor.  I have found that I can use my steam mop on my hardwood floors with no problem.  My hardwoods are over 50 years old and have been sealed.  The steam mop does a great job on my hardwoods especially since the steam dries so quickly!

If you have been thinking about getting a steam mop, quit wasting your money on buying floor cleaner.  Why pay for your water and your floor cleaner?  The steam mop is more expensive up front, but it will pay you back in the long haul.  You will also find that it is easy to use, but that you will need to slow down your mopping strokes as you mop. 

I have a link to purchase the Shark steam mop from  Their price is very compatable to just about anybody around and is lower than most of the big chains.  If you have larger floors than I do, you might want to look at the Euro-Pro Shark Steam Pocket Mop.  A little tip:  when you buy your steam mop, buy a set of extra pads.  You'll thank me later!

Let me know how much you are in love with your Shark Steam Mop!

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Weekend Baking

I have spent the day baking!  I experimented today with the Braided Egg Bread recipe I put up last week.  I wanted to see if I could use whole wheat flour.  Look for yourself....

This is my oldest, Knox, buttering the bread just out of the oven.  I used the same recipe but just substituted whole wheat flour for all-purpose flour, brown sugar for white sugar, and added a Tbsp of oil to the water sugar mixture.  Not only does it look good but it tastes great too! 

I also made two white bread loaves.  Don't really know why but I did!  I tried a new wheat bread recipe in my bread machine.  It didn't turn out to good.  So I'll try that one again.  I have my white bread cooking as I write this.  This is a great bread for sandwiches and when I cut it just right, it perfect for the toaster.  I think I am just about ready to stop buying bread at the grocery store!

Let me know how your baking as gone this week!

Friday, February 26, 2010

Free Nabisco Cookies...Got Milk?

Join Nabisco's Facebook page and come back March 1 learn how to get Free Nabisco cookies!  According to Southern Savers, Nabisco will be doing this every Monday for the next year!

Subscribe to Southern Savers and they will send out a reminder to your email every Monday that Nabisco does this offer!

Receive Settlement Rebate from Dannon

I found this on the blog Refund Cents Daily Blog and wanted to share it with you.

"Dannon agrees to pay up to $45 million in damages for false advertising of its Activia and DanActive yogurt products." See the story here.
If you bought either of these products in past years, you are entitled to part of the settlement. If you don't have receipts you can get a check of $15 to $30. If you have receipts you can claim $30 to $100. Claims must be made by Oct 1. Click here for the official website. You can submit the claim on-line or call 1-888-418-6122. This must be done before October  1, 2010.

Frugal Fridays: Baking Soda

Every Friday I'm going to try to give you some great frugal tips that I have discovered or use myself.  Feel free to try any or add your own!

Today I wanted to give you Frugal Friday Tips that use good ole baking soda!  Baking soda is not only cheap (especially in bulk), but it's environmentally friendly.

  • This first one is one I read on the web site Hillbilly Housewife.  It's one that I haven't tried myself, but I think I'm going to pretty soon.  It's a cheap shampoo and conditioner.  Dissolve 2 Tbsp of baking soda in 2 cups of water, pour over your head, rub it in, and rinse well.  Then for the conditioner, mix 2 Tbsp of apple cider vinegar in 2 cups of water, pour over your hair (keep it out of the burns real bad!), leave it on for a few minutes and then rinse.  It can be used on man or beast (yes, your dogs or cats!). 

  • Use a cup of baking soda in with your regular detergent to help get your clothes cleaner.

  •  To clean out your dishwasher, run a cycle with just baking soda.  This will help to get odors out too!

  • Sprinkle baking soda over regular toothpaste to make a whitening toothpaste.

  • Use baking soda to clean jewelry.  Make a paste of 3 parts baking soda to 1 part water and apply to jewelry allowing it to sit for a few minutes.  Rinse the jewelry in water and polish with a clean cloth.

I could add dozens more, but I'll let you take over...If you have a great tip to use frugal baking soda, post it to share with everyone!  Have a great Friday!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Swagbucks Birthday Bash

Search & Win

If you are not Swagbucking, today is the day you need to start!  Today Swagbucks is having their big 2nd birthday bash!  I have really gotten in to earning great prizes with the Swagbucks search engine!
First, Swagbucks is not a scam!  It’s easy, it’s fun and it works!
You’ll usually earn between 10 and 40 Swagbucks a day for searches, and when you have 450 points, you can exchange them for a $5 Amazon gift certificate. There are many other rewards to choose from, but Amazon is the most versatile.
To celebrate Swagbucks 2nd Birthday, all new subscribers to Swagbucks will get 40 points for joining!  This offer is for today only!  So what are you waiting on....get Swagging!

New Google Service

I want you all to check out this new service by Google.  Its the lauching of ultra-high speed broadband connection!  The link I've posted takes you to their web site.  The cool thing about this new service is Google is looking for communities to try out this service before it goes all out.  They are asking people to nominate their community and/or groups to trial this program.  This is a great way to get your community involved in new technology and exposure from Google.  I challenge everyone to send in a Request for Information (RFI) and nominate your community!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

A Great New Store

I took a little detour from my trip to the feed store to stop by a great new store in Toccoa.  It's called Just Kids Consignment.  Just like the name implies it is a consignment store that has all kinds of kids stuff.  Margaret Perrin takes in all sizes of kids clothes as well as baby bedding, toys, and different types of carriers.  The prices are great and the selection gets better every time I go in!  The best thing about consignment shops is you not only spend money in them you can MAKE money in them!  Margaret takes your kids clothes and stuff and then puts them in the store.  Each month, she will send you a check for your clothes she sold that month.  This is a great way to have some money coming in each month and to clean out the kids rooms. If you are in Toccoa, come by and check out Just Kids Consignment Shop. I'll bet it won't be your last!

P.S.....Margaret is having a sale during the month of March on all winter clothes.  So next month would be a great time to stock up on next year's winter clothes!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Braided Egg Bread

I found a simple looking braided egg bread the other day while I was surfing for Swagbucks.  So today, I decided I'd try my hand at making a braided bread. And as my son Knox said, "Cool Moma, and it tastes good too!"  It was so good, that I only got a picture of one loaf.  The other one got eaten while it was still warm!  It does take some time, but if you are like me, I was washing clothes while I was baking bread. I actually finished the bread before I finished washing clothes!  I'm putting the recipe up for anyone to try.  Let me know how yours turns out!

Braided Egg Bread

4 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour or bread flour
1 package of dry yeast or 2 1/4 tsp of dry yeast
1 1/4 cups of water
1/4 cup of sugar
1/4 cup of butter
1 tsp of salt
1 egg

1. Combine 2 cups of flour and yeast in a large bowl.  Heat water, sugar, butter and salt in saucepan and heat until warm and butter is almost melted.

2. Add butter mixture and egg to flour mixture. Beat in mixer at low speed for 30 seconds, scraping bowl constantly. Beat at high speed for 3 minutes.  Stir in enough of remaining flour to make a soft dough and shape into a ball.

3. Spray a large bowl with non-stick spray.  Add dough to bowl and coat dough.  Cover and let rise in a warm place for 1 hour or until the dough doubles in size.

4. Pinch down dough. Place on floured surface and knead until no longer sticky.  Divide dough in half, then divide each half into thirds.  Roll each portion into a strand 12 X 2 in. long.

5. Coat baking sheet with non-stick spray and braid the three strands together to form a loaf directly on baking sheet.  Make sure the ends of the braided loaves are turned under securely.  Cover loaves and let rise in warm place for 1 hour or until the loaves have doubled in size.

6. Bake in oven at 375 for 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown.  Brush the loaves lightly with melted butter while still warm.

Happy Baking!!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Noodle Casserole

I want to share a great recipe that I found last month.  It's one I've made a couple of times and have found that it is really versatile. 

Noodle Casserole

3 Tbsp butter
3 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1 cup milk
1 cup chicken or beef broth
Salt and pepper
8 oz. egg noodles or any type of pasta
2 5-oz cans of tuna or 1 14-oz can of salmon (can even use chicken)
2 15-oz cans of any type of vegetables
1/4 cup of bread crumbs
3/4 cup of shredded cheese

1. Preheat oven to 375.  Spray 11 X 7 baking dish.

2. Melt butter in pan over medium-high heat.  Whisk in flour for about 2 minutes.  Whisk in milk and broth and cook mixture, stirring it until mixture becomes thick and smooth.  This will take about 10 miuntes.  Season the sauce with salt and pepper.

3. Prepare boiling water for noodles.  Cook noodles for about half the normal cooking time.  You want them soft but not quite done.  Drain noodles and place in baking dish.

4. Stir in sauce, tuna, and vegetables and mix well.  Evenly spread in baking dish.

5. Mix bread crumbs and cheese.  Sprinkle over baking dish.  Bake for 20 to 25 minutes.

Let me know how this turns out for you.  This dish will usually last us for two and my lunch for a day or two.  I have found it's a pretty quick meal that I can make.  It's also a way to add fish into our diet.  Enjoy!

Chameleon Tom helps you to color your Facebook!

Chameleon Tom helps you to color your Facebook!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Big Brown and Mr. Bojangles

When I was a young girl, my dad and I raised some chickens.  We got them from a friend who had to cull some of his new chicks from his chicken houses.  We live in the chicken capital of the US.  You can't travel any where in our county without see, or smelling, long chicken houses.  I remember the great pride I had in raising my small brood of chickens.  I loved collecting the fresh eggs and learned what it meant to "run around like a chicken with its head cut off" when it was time to cull the brood.  When my husband and I first got married, his mother had a brood of chickens and kept his in fresh eggs.  She also raised geese and on rare occations, I was able to get geese eggs.  These made the best cakes!  So rich and smooth!

Well, as my oldest son, Knox, got older, he kept after his daddy to get some chickens to raise.  So last March, my son came home with a box full of chickens!  We were in the chicken raising business!  I was at first afraid that we may not get to keep them because the neighbors across the road have four chicken houses; but all is well with the neighbors! (You have to understand that because of very contaigous diseases, chicken farmers have to be extermely careful.  Yard chickens can't mix with farm raised chickens.  So as long as our chickens stay on our side of the road, all is well in the neighborhood!)

My husband and his buddy John, built me and the chickens a small (and might I say very cute) chicken coop for my birthday!  Of the orginal 6 chickens my son brought home, only 2 survived.  These 2 were both roosters.  So we went to the local feed store and ordered 6 hens.  By the time the hens arrived and the roosters got big enough we moved them into the coop.  This fall the hens started laying.  We are averaging 5 eggs a day when the temperature is low and more when the temperature goes up.  I have been shocked at how well our hens have been laying this winter. I am predicting that when it really warms up, we're going to be averaging around 10 eggs a day. 

Not having to buy eggs is great!  Feed for the chickens runs us about $20.00 a month.  This is less than buying cereal and milk for daily breakfast each month.  It takes me just about the same amount of time to fix two eggs in the morning as it did to fix a bowl of cereal.  But the beauty and having fresh eggs is I can use them everytime I cook and not just for breakfast.  I also know that I am feeding my family food that I feel good about.   

We also let the chickens free range in the yard 2 to 3 times a week.  An added benifit is that the chickens have helped keep down the fireants that have invaded our property.  We were spending $20 to $30 a month trying to kill the fireants in the yard.  I'm hoping that we don't have to spend hardly anything on poison this summer, but only time will tell.  I'll keep you informed on the fireant problem. 

Let me encourage you to start raising chickens.  If you have thought about it and have the space to house them, do some research and get started.  You'll start seeing little chicks in the stores in a few months (Easter you know!) and your kids will want to take the cute little fuzzy babies home.  So indulge your kids and help your family be more frugal and eat healthier!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010


Last night I added some of my favorite links.  In the presiding days to come, I'll add more.  The one I love to use daily is the Southern Savers.  I love saving money and the tips and tricks on this website has helped me more than any other web site!  The best way to stay in touch with Southern Savers is to sign-up for the daily emails.

I also find myself going to Hillbilly Housewife a lot.  There are not only some great recipes, but good tips on how to save on just about anything you can think of!  She is also getting into healthy eating.

If you have been interested in my red tractor passion, check out the International Harvester websites I added.  One is our IH Collectors Club that we belong to.  You can see us in some of the pictures on the site.  Also check out Red Power Magazine and you will see that we are not the only ones in this world with passions for red tractors!  The 2010 Red Power Round-Up is one of our shows that we go to just about every year.  We love going!  Just when you think you've seen it all, you go to another show and there's something else to shock you! 

Have fun looking and exploring!  Check back for more later!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Umm...Soooo Good!

At our house, Sunday evenings are usually pizza night. We order out, pop in a frozen pizza, or make homemade pizza. This Sunday, Nanny came by and took us to Quincy's for Valentine's Day. Knox was not happy because he wanted to have our Sunday pizza!

So tonight for supper I made homemade pizza. I used a homemade pizza crust recipe that I found on the web site Hillbilly Housewife. The recipe makes 2 pizza crusts and you can make it out of all-purpose or whole wheat flour. We love it! Tonight I took out the frozen crust I made two weeks ago and let it thaw out to room temperature. Then I prepared it just as the recipe said. I used left over sauage, pizza sauce, mushrooms, and lots of cheese.

Now don't think it's too hard to make pizza crust from scratch--it's not. It just takes a little more time, but not more if you count the time you took to drive to the store to buy that frozen pizza. I highly recomend it! My house still smells like Pizza Hut!! And I grin knowing I saved money and time tonight.

Let's Try to This Again....

I keep wondering why I listen to the weatherman. I was hoping that my first blog would be about how beautiful the new snow looks this morning, but it's just not to be! Just because we live in the South doesn't mean we can't have just a little good snow! Oh well, come on wedge, we're not giving up on you yet!

Yesterday I baked most of the afternoon. I made my grandmother's Lemon Glazed Pound Cake. I found this recipe with her recipes when we moved into her house three years ago. It brings back so many memories for me! I love that I found it.

I also worked on perfecting my bread. I got a "new" breadmaker last month from a friend and we are trying to get use to each other. I use to have one when I first got married but sold it in a yard sale because I quit using it. I decided to start baking since money has been getting kind of tight with a new baby in the house. My husband said I'm getting close to the old bread, so I keep trying.

I have just discovered Swagbucks! If you have not discovered Swagbucks, check out my link and start earning your own points (by the way, you'll be help me earn too)! You can redeem them for really great stuff. You earn points for simply using Swagbucks to google. I have been doing My Points. It's different from Swagbucks in that they send you email to try new websites and if you click on the email you get so many points. I'm saving up for Red Loster gift cards!

The waterheater is, well, not being a good waterheater today. My husband is trying to but the life back into it this morning. I sure hope he can get it fixed. I would love to take a hot shower!

Thanks for reading this first post! Come back and let's share together!

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