Monday, December 16, 2013

25 Ways to Wear a $carf

25 ways to wear a scarf!

Scarves are all the range-so wear them differently to increase their appeal!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

$kin $aving Tip$

You can't stop time and the only cure for getting older is DON"T (not an alternative I embrace at this time)
but you can minimize the effects of aging with these tips

1)  Wear sunglasses.  Less squinting onto the sun equals fewer lines around the eyes.  Choose a pair with the appropriate protections (995 UVA and UVB) and use them year round..  Snow reflects the sun too!

2)  Use Sunscreen--it's essential to keep your skin younger looking.  Use it regardless of the weather.  Select a foundation that has built in sunscreen and has anti-oxidants too.  Apply liberally.  SPF matters

3)  Eat well and stay hydrated.  Drink plenty of water.  Eat foods rich in Omega 3-fatty acids (like salmon, walnuts).  Citrus fruits enhance collagen production, the lycopene found in tomatoes protect against skin damage.  Avoid sugar which causes glycation in the bloodstream-a principle cause of cellular aging.

4)  Wash your face and neck regularly:  Never skip washing your face before bedtime.  The skin on your neck is an extension of the facial skin and is just a fragile.  Treat it kindly, using cleanser created specifically for your type of skin.  Price is not always a factor of effectiveness.  Do your research to find a frugal skin care regime that is right for you and your budget.

5)  Moisturize your face with a product created for your skin type.

6)  Get your sleep.  8 hours is required for your immune system to do it's work and for cellular repair to take place

7)  Limit alcohol intake (and to help with hydration drink 1-8 oz glass of H2) for every alcoholic beverage you consume.  That will also equal less calories consumed.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

I made the$e!

I made these adorable treat boxes that are big enough mini loaves of bread.  

The boxes were purchased at Michael's and were available in red or green.  I used my rubber stamps and die cuts and punches to decorate.  These could hold the mini loaves of bread, a pair of socks or gift cards, etc.  Fancy Wrapping for pennies!  

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Cheap Chri$tmas Cheer

I always log on to the Library this time of year and reserve all the Christmas books, recordings and DVDs I can think of.   That assures me I will have Holiday reading, listening and viewing materials I need over the Holidays.  The books get me in the mood, DVDs keep our family entertained on a snowy evening or while we are wrapping gifts and the music works when we can't find a station this early in the season that plays all Christmas music all the time!
Best of all in this season of's FREE!

Here are a list of some books/DVD and Music we enjoy

A Christmas Carol
Mannheim Steam Roller-music
Trans-Siberian Orchestra-music
Charlie Brown Christmas
It's a Wonderful Life
Irving Berlins White Christmas
Holiday Inn
Miracle on 34th Street
Debt Proof your Christmas by Mary Hunt
Unplug the Christmas Machine
The Christmas Shoes
National Lampoons Christmas Vacation
Christmas with the Kranks
Christmas books written by Debbie Macomber
The Polar Express
The Perfect Holiday
Santa Claus is coming to town
The Santa Clause
Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
How the Grinch Stole Christmas (Cartoon and Live versions, the book and the SONG!)

Check Good-reads, Amazon or your library catalog for other ideas.  Please REPLY as I'd love to hear your recommendations!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Track your Chri$tmas $pending

Dave Ramsey posted this neat little Christmas Budget Device

I am planning on using it this year along with my normal spreadsheet

Friday, October 25, 2013

Enjoy the $eason

Fall is my very favorite time of year and there is so much to do that is virtually FREE!

Here are some of my favorites:

1)  Drive around a neighborhood that has good Halloween Decorations.  For us it is Hill-crest Avenue in Louisville, KY.
2)  Walk through a local nature preserve or park, enjoy the fall colors, listen to the crunch of the leaves underfoot.  Pick up 5 pretty leaves that catch your eye, or acorns, or interesting branches to use in your home.
3)  Check out local FREE Halloween activities.  Our church sponsors a Trunk or Treat!  Free candy for the kids in a safe environment.  We even serve FREE pizza. I am not sure who has more fun, the trick-or-treaters or the people who decorate their cars for the event.  Go to for more information (This years event is Wednesday, October 30th)
4)  Rent a scary movie from the Library
5)  Read ghost stories from books you've rented from the Library
6)  Sleep in under your winter linens!  (A personal favorite even though I don't get to do it very often)
7)  Make a pot of chili or bean soup and watch College football!
8)  Snuggle with your sweetie
9)  Rake the leaves in your yard and JUMP! in them
10)  Plan your costume using items you have around the house

St John UMC Pumpkin Patch

Happy Fall Y'all!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

What do you Wa$te ?

Being frugal is more than just how you spend your money.

In my opinion it is includes how you utilize any of your resources.  Wasting time?-time is money, throwing out leftovers?-food was bought with hard earned money, have to buy something new because you can't find it in the clutter? get the idea...

Take 5 minutes this week (Time is money!) and don't over think this exercise.
1)  Set a time for 5 minutes
2)  Make a list of the ways you waste money-write down the first things that come into your head.
3)  When 5 minute are up, STOP writing

Now for the analysis of your list
1)  Try to classify the ROOT cause for the waste
Root causes may not be obvious.  For example, I occasionally have to repurchase a craft item because I didn't replace the product in the place it actually belongs.  I set it down in a heap of things and now (because there tend to be multiple heaps of things in my craft area) cannot locate the necessary product.  I could stop and put everything away properly but it usually ends up being easier to repurchase.  ROOT CAUSE:  too busy to put things away in their proper place and/or CLUTTER.  Reduce either of these bad habits and I save both time and money.   TO work on this root cause I spend 5 minutes before I craft (again, I set a timer) and after I craft to tidy up.

Other root causes might be boredom (shopaholic syndrome), unable to discern want from need, business (especially true in food waste for my household), etc.

2)  Do you have a theme among the ROOT causes (does one appear more frequently than the others)?  If so, attach this root cause first to reduce waste.

What are you wasting?  What are your root causes?

I look forward to hearing from you!


Wednesday, October 9, 2013

How to $pot a Knock off De$igner Pur$e

I am not big into designer labels but do own several real leather purses.  They just seem to wear better and last for years.  If you are shopping for a designer purse and find a deal that seems just too good to be true-look for these signs to help you determine if the bag is the real thing or a cheap knock off

1)  Check the stitching.  Stitching on real bags is even, straight and without loose threads or double stitches
2)  The hardware is SOLID (usually brass) and buckles often stamped with the logo. 
3)  Real leather is soft and supple.  Fakes are generally PLEATHER which is cheaper, thinner and brittle, which is particularly noticeable on longer straps.  
4)  LOGOs are perfectly symmetrical, aligned.  Knock-offs have crooked, blurry or slanted logos--always a dead giveaway
5)  Zippers move smoothly, do not stick and Coach purses have a YKK stamped on the pull.
6)  Linings are stitched-not glued
7)  Many have serial numbers in the lining. Check the serial number on the website to authenticate the bag.  

Happy Designer Bag shopping!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

4th Quarter Financial Goal$

We're down to the wire for 2013...
only 3 more months until we turn over the calendar to 2014

It is time to FINISH STRONG!

1)  Evaluate your 2013 goals to see how you are doing
If you are on target, or are at 90% of your goal; congratulate yourself and begin to formulate 2014 goals

If you are slogging along, or between 70-90% of your goal; time to ramp up your efforts as you still have time to be successful.

Not even close?  Evaluate WHAT prevented you from hitting your goals.  Occasionally, life's circumstances prevent us from reaching a financial goal (illness, loss of job, catastrophic event, accident, etc.)  but more frequently it is just that we never overcame the inertia to begin to meet our goals.  We didn't start saving, we didn't get serious about paying down credit card debt, etc.  In order to reach the finish line you have to start the race!
WRITE DOWN what prevented you from reaching your goals (I suggest you do this on a frequent basis-weekly if you are an impulse spender whose budget is wrecked by every cute pair of shoes you see).  Be brutally honest with yourself to assure success.

Didn't create any financial goals?  It is not too late!  How about a couple of the following?
1)  Have a debt free Christmas and pay CASH for all your purchases
2)  Save 10% of your paycheck beginning with the next check
3)  Give 10% of your take home pay to your church or your favorite charity
4)  Go on a credit card fast for a week, a month or the remainder of the year
5)  Ramp up your savings to at least $1000
6)  Pay just $10 more on the minimum on your credit card
7)  Read a book on finance by Dave Ramsey, Suzie Orman or similar
8)  Post your goals in a prominent place (like around your credit card or checkbook if overspending is an issue for you).  Read them often!

Good Luck-you can do it!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

20 things you should know about ObamaCare

Top 20 things you should know about the Affordable Care Act (ACA) or ObamaCare
1.       You must have health insurance in 2014 or pay a penalty (few exceptions)
2.       You can continue to subscribe to your employer  plan or explore the Health Care exchange options
3.       For most people, the new plan will cover more, for older people they may cost less, there will not be lifetime limits and out of pocket yearly expenses will be capped
4.       Preexisting and chronic conditions will not exclude you from coverage
5.       Children can be on your plan until they are 26 years old
6.       You can only sign up during the open enrollment periods (this year it lasts from October 1, 2013-March 2014
7.       You can skip coverage and pay the penalty…and if you are injured, etc. you will bear the full cost of the treatment
8.       If you reside in Kentucky you can compare the offerings in the Marketplace  at  In Indiana it is  These sites will help you determine if you qualify for free or lower cost insurance. 
9.       If you make up to $45,950 you may qualify for a subsidy that will reduce your premiums (you must purchase through the Exchange to receive the subsidy)
10.   Other lower cost solutions are available through brokers, etc.  Shop around
11.   Expect more emphasis on wellness programs
12.   Expect new arrangements between insurers and providers (hospitals, doctors, etc.) which may lead to better coordination of care, fewer choices, etc.  You’ll begin hearing about ACOs-accountable care organizations which will move payments away from fee for service toward incentives that reward providers for keeping patients healthy.
13.   Call ahead to schedule appointments-more people insured means longer wait times for the available appointments
14.   Don’t expect immediate cost savings
15.   Expect more pressure to adopt healthy habits—you may be incentivized to adopt in the form of lower premiums, gift cards, etc. 
16.   Business are NOT required to insure employees THIS year (that mandate was delayed).  However, in 2015 employers with over 50 employees will be required to insure or pay a penalty
17.   Undocumented immigrants will not receive subsidies
18.   Hospitals will be using their emergency rooms as places for the uninsured to sign up
19.   Keep reading all the information that is pouring forth to keep up on the latest changes
20.   The free market will continue to exist-perhaps in a more robust fashion than ever before

Monday, September 16, 2013

$aving with $pices-Cayenne peppers

The deer ate all the tomatoes this season but I had an abundance of cayenne peppers (as usual) so I dry them and put them up for use all year long.

 First wash the peppers and dry with a clean towel.  Then I allow them to dehydrate on a paper plate in my kitchen.

Once they are COMPLETELY DRY I remove the stems.  They pop off quite easily but I wear gloves for this step because they are HOT and can irritate my eyes if I touch them after handling the peppers (you have been warned).  Discard the stems.  

Place the whole peppers in the grinder and whirl away.  This part has the tendency to aggravate my asthma with the fine pepper particulate!  (Say that 3 times fast!) 

Here is what they look like after having been ground.  Notice the seeds!

I place them in an old, clean spice container and store them in a cool dry space.  These adds nice kick to pizza, soups and stews.  

Instant savings of about $4.00

Tuesday, September 10, 2013


Many people think that saving money requires some special theory, trick or formula but I am here to dispel that myth!  Sometimes saving money is more about discipline that it is any fancy formula!Saving money, from my perspective requires only a couple of things:

1) Desire or lack thereof
Often I find that spending money is a result my desire.  If I don't window shop, peruse the Internet or mall walk I am not tempted to buy things I don't need.  Amazingly simple...

2)  Reality Check
I have challenged myself to USE it up or GIVE it up.

I have a pantry and freezer full of food.  It makes me feel secure to have "enough" on hand and I feel like I am saving money when I buy canned goods on sale for half the regular price--but IF those go to waste, I have not saved anything.  Therefore, I occasionally go through a phase where I use up most of that which is lining the pantry and freezer shelves.  Waste not Want not...

Likewise, I collect items like fabric, craft supplies like beads, scrapbook paper and rubber stamps.  I have to challenge myself to use up the paper and beads before I buy new (a great motivation to finish a craft project which has been languishing).  This helps me create Christmas gifts, teacher gifts and other items to give away just because I have the supplies.  This mentality feeds my "Be Generous" goal too.  It feels good to give away something I have created to friends, family and co-workers out of my abundance.  Just this week, I cleaned off my craft table and made 34 pair of earrings (I could probably make 3400 more pair...) to prepare for a craft event I am participating in in early November.

I am also participating in a consignment event our church hosts.  This allows me to consign and donate items (that do not sell) in one easy process.

Since I have a multitude of stamp sets that I no longer use I will e-bay those to make a place on the craft shelf.

If I haven't worn an article of clothing, I pack it away for 6 months.  If I need it, I retrieve it.  Other wise, after the season change, i consign, sell on be-bay or donate.  Eliminates the clutter that use to accumulate in my basement and in drawers and closets.

Socks without mates?  Every few months we have a find a mate event and if no match is found, they get donated to a local charity that make money on used clothing that is not wearable.

3)  Make Do
If I need something new, can I replace that with something I already have?  I need a new iron and NO, the waffle iron will not make do-therefore I need to purchase a new iron.  However, I want a new white polo but will make do with a collarless white t-shirt I already have in the closet...

4)  Put it away
I don't know how many times I use to have to buy new because I couldn't find the (fill in the blank).  If I put something back it is always there when I need it next.

Sometimes saving money REALLY  is more about discipline that it is any fancy formula!
Please share your ideas

Have a Frugal day!

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Crock pot cooking-"Ti$ the $ea$on

Some of the benefits you’ll find from dusting off that lovely retro-crock in the back of Grandma’s attic are:

■You can buy tougher (and less expensive) cuts of meat, since the crock acts as a tenderizer.

■Meat shrinks less when cooked in the crock, and doesn’t dry out.

■A crockery cooker doesn’t heat up the kitchen nearly as much as the stovetop or oven, so it’s a perfect hot weather cooking appliance.

■Frees up space in oven and stove top, great to use for parties, large gatherings, or doing a large cooking session for the freezer.

■Flavors have time to develop while your meal slowly cooks all day.

■Tofu tastes better cooked this way because it has time to soak up the flavors from broth, spices and other ingredients.

■Can be used on a buffet table for serving hot foods (soup, stew, sauces, meatballs in barbeque sauce, etc.).

You’ll want to keep the following tips in mind when choosing and using your crockery cooker:

■Choose a crock with a removable liner. You’ll have more flexiblility in ways to use it, and it’s easier to clean.

■Buy a large one (6-quart capacity is good).

■Best if used for recipes with a high water content — things you’d normally prepare on the stovetop such as spaghetti sauce, soup, chili, stew.

■For best results, fill the crock at least half full with food and/or liquid.

■If you’re cooking something like a stew or soup, leave at least an inch empty (preferably two inches) at the top beneath the lid to allow for the food to bubble when it reaches a simmer.

■Don’t peek! Lifting the lid adds time to the cooking process by letting heat out. Add 15-20 minutes to the cooking time for each time you lift the lid to peek or stir.

■High altitudes need longer cooking times. Check with your crock’s Manufacturer’s User’s Guide for their recommendations.

■Brown meats ahead of time for additional color and flavor. Browning also removes some of the fat from the meat. Fatty meat cooks more quickly in the crock than lean meat.

■Meat and poultry cooks best if cut into smaller pieces or chunks rather than cooking as a whole roast or a whole chicken.

■Fish and seafood should be added near the end of the cooking time in seafood soups, stews and chowders.

■Vegetables such as carrots and potatoes, should be added to the bottom of the crock beneath any meats, etc. Hard vegetables need a longer cooking time, and the bottom is the first part of the cooker to heat up, so they’ll start cooking sooner.

■Stir in cheese at the end of cooking, or use processed cheese.

■Milk curdles during long cooking times. Add milk near end of cooking time (the last hour, or so).

■Add spices near the end of the cooking time.

■Stirring usually isn’t required during slow cooking on Low heat. You might want to stir once or twice during the last hour, but remember that every time you lift the lid, you’re adding to the cooking time. Two stirring sessions equal a minimum of half an hour longer cooking.

The crock itself should be safe to use providing you don’t have an old one with frayed cords or some other defect. The following tips on safe user ideas can help keep your family healthy and the cook from being burned:

■Use fresh or completely thawed meats. Don’t add frozen meats directly to the crock.

■Be sure the crock is clean before using.

■Keep perishable foods refrigerated until ready to use.

■Always include liquids in all crockery cooking recipes.

■Remove the cover by opening away from your face. The steam is hot enough to burn badly.

■Don’t leave the cooker turned off with food in it for any length of time. Start cooking right away, and serve hot from the cooker. Don’t let food sit at room temperature to cool.

■Keep the crock covered while cooking. The lid on a crock doesn’t provide a tight seal (it isn’t suppose to), but it’s important to keep the lid in the center of the crock for best results.

■Don’t set the hot crock on a cold surface unless you put a hot pad, trivet or thick towel underneath.

■If the power goes out while you’re away from home with the crock running, throw the food away even if it looks hot and done. The power might have been off long enough for the food to cool, start growing bacteria, and then reheat by the time you arrived home.

■Don’t reheat leftovers in a crock, but you can use the crock as a food warmer for foods that have been cooked and heated in the oven or on the stovetop.


–Deborah Taylor-Hough

I$ a $hower is more efficient than a bath?

Unless you like your bath water to be freezing cold, a shower is probably a more efficient use of energy.  To determine if this is actually so, try this simple test to see if you are using less water by taking a shower or a bath:  When taking a shower, plug the drain, bathe as usual
When done, check the height of the water in the tub--if it is less than you normally use when bathing then a shower is the more efficient route for you!

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Things your dentist wishes you knew

Research has identified periodontal (gum) disease as a risk factor for heart and lung disease, diabetes, premature, low birth weight babies and a number of other conditions. The 2000 Surgeon General's report, Oral Health in America, has called attention to this connection and states that, if left untreated, poor oral health is a "silent X-factor promoting the onset of life-threatening diseases which are responsible for the deaths of millions of Americans each year."

1)  Conditions in your mouth affect your body:  Bacteria under your gums can trigger an inflammatory response, which in turn can affect insulin sensitivity (of particular concern when you are a diabetic)

2)  Bleeding  or swelling of the gums and loose teeth can signal periodontis-which has no early symptoms (but can be detected and treated with regular checkups)

3)  Seeing a dentist on a regular basis is cheaper in the long run than not seeing a dentist.  Routine care prevents serious complications later on.

4)  Regular dental checkups are good for your.  Follow this link to learn more about the relationship between your mouth and your overall health.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Cooking at Home

One sure fire way to save money is to eat at home.  We rarely eat fast food because we live 11 miles from the nearest McDonalds.  I consider myself a pretty good cook and prefer to eat at home much of the time.  We usually dine out once on the weekend at a nicer establishment and with a fast food meal for 2 adults and 2 teenage girls topping $22 (which is 1/10th of my food budget for 2 weeks) it just seems a good idea to eat at home.

Successfully saving money by eating at home does take some planning.  I don't plan my meals around what is on sale (which would save me a LOT more money) but I find that too rigid for my taste-buds!

Thoughtful preparation of a weekly menu is critical to success.  I use a loose leaf notebook.  I make a note of what events occur during the week and make sure my menu takes those in to consideration.  If I only have 30 minutes to get the food to the table I need a plan to make that sure to happen.  I plan my weekly menus on Saturday or Sunday so I can grocery shop for any "exotic" or fresh ingredients I may need.  No last minute runs to the grocery on a busy weeknight!  This Dining with Diana post may give you some ideas to help you get into the habit of meal planning

Secondly, it is imperative that you have some basic ingredients on had at all times to use to create a home cooked meal.  By the time I decide what to prepare, shop and arrive at home I am too exhausted to cook!  This prevents that from occurring on a regular basis.  My Blog, Dining with Diana ( has some suggestions on how to stock a pantry. 

Don't these pictures make it look like my pantry is stocked with nothing but JUNK food?

Lastly, I always have a go to meal in the freezer.  It might be a Stouffers frozen pasta meal, a frozen pizza or my meatballs.

If planning a week's worth of menus is too overwhelming for you at first, start by planning 2 days worth of meals.  I guarantee the time you save is well worth the effort.

Happy $aving$!

Monday, August 26, 2013

Who doe$n't like Free?

  1. Get a free yoga class in Sept for National Yoga month

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Under the Weather

It is March 26, 4 days before Easter Sunday and we have snow and it is dreary and overcast in Louisville, KY.  My DD turned 15 last week and was suffering from a cold and flu like symptoms on her birthday-poor baby!  That combination has had us craving some warm soup. 
Canned and home-made soups alike, research suggests, quiet the activity of our immune cells that contribute to inflammatory symptoms such as body aches.  Adding few added ingredients to your soup can help you get over being sicker quicker:
Stuffy nose?  Add minced garlic
Trouble sleeping:  Add rice
Queasy:  Add ginger (remember your mom giving you a glass of luke warm ginger ale?)
Heartburn:  Chew gum
and get a good night sleep (I find that is the best medicine)

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Fitne$$ Freebie$

Maybe you are one of those Americans who make New Years Resolutions to improve your health lose weight or eat better. 
Here are a couple of easy free ideas to get you started:
  1. Keep a log on your daily calendar of the food you eat or the exercise you get
  2. Take the stairs
  3. Park far away from the door to your office or the shopping mall entrance
  4. Plan your meals
  5. Drink water instead of caffeinated beverages or soft drinks
  6. Try out some free APPS and websites to keep you motivated or to assist you in meeting your goals
Nike Run
My Fitness Pal
Lose it

     8.Use an acronym to help you remember to keep track of your goals. 
        I use CAVERNS with each letter representing an item I want to accomplish daily

C-Care, CALL or send a CARD
A-take my low dose ASPIRIN
V-take my VITAMINS
R-READ a non fiction book or work related article
S-Take the STAIRS

I add BFW which stands for
F-get 30 milligrams of FIBER and FLOSS
W-drink 64 oz of WATER and have a glass of red WINE with dinner

Here's to your success!