Tag Archives: recycling

Maximum Grocery Efficiency

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How do you plan for a shopping trip?

I like to plan a menu, and then make a list. Then I check my coupon stash and match up my coupons to the items I need, and off I go to the store! This handy dandy little Grocery Checklist is helpful. I go down the list with my daughter, who checks how much we have/if we need more of an item. She feels good for getting to help, and I always have my little pantry stocked with the essentials.

I match my grocery list to my Wal-Mart ad (where we do most of our coupon shopping) and compare to our stock up stores ads (Aldi and Sam’s). Usually the best deal is at Wal-Mart, but we buy certain items at the other locations in bulk because the every day price is cheaper if you buy large quantities. It only makes sense for some items, especially since space is at a premium in our house.  I use one sheet for each store,printed on old school papers (recycling!).  Then I grab my coupons, and head to the store!

Do YOU use reusable bags?

Smaller bags for smaller trips

Big cart bags for big trips

I try to, as often as I can. Sometimes I forget to grab them. I got a neat set of Grocery Cart Helper Bags, which attach to the sides of your cart and are great for places like Aldi or Sams, where you HAVE to bag your own…I attach both to the carts and organize my purchases into the bags. They clip closed, and it means less trips to the car when bringing the food in!

I have four smaller bags I like to use for quick Wal-Mart trips, when I can remember to bring them….I bag my groceries the way I was taught back in my teenage days, when I worked in a grocery store. On either side I place a box, like cereal or a similarly sized item, and then fill the cavity in the middle with a layer of cans, then smaller boxed items, and any fragile items or bread on top. I try to spread heavy items like cans evenly through the bags, to keep them from being heavy. I also have a large Aldi insulated bag, for cold and frozen items.

Do you look up coupon/sale match ups online? 

No Wal-Mart Bashing here

I have a few places I like to look for match ups. My favorite blog is I Heart The Mart, since I go to Wal-Mart most often. It doesn’t hurt that I get a teensy discount, because *MH works nights there. 🙂 If I combine the sales, coupons and my discount I can save a pretty penny on our food. BUT on deal items, I certainly do a sale ad check, and compare my favorite stores for prices. Then I can go out and maybe get something free, or nearly free!

Do you rebate? 

I rebate within the parameters of each deal. If it says you need to be dissatisfied, and I am satisfied, I do not usually send out the rebate. It just feels dishonest to me.  But couponing in combination with rebates, if following the rules and ethics, can be a smart way to save!  Today I found a coupon for a local store (good for that location only, for one day only, from 3pm to 7pm only) for a dinner deal for Marie Callender’s new lasagna, 2 liter bottle of Coke (any coke product) and bag of Fresh Express salad – all for only $5! The lasagna alone costs $6.39 (on sale for $5) so it was like getting a bagged salad and bottle of Sprite for free.  THEN…I filled out my Marie Callender rebate, good up to $8. My final cost on dinner tonight was $0.00! I don’t often find deals THAT good, but today we ate dinner for free.

Tasty but small...

Stay tuned for more about menu planning…there are a few different systems you can use, depending on your family’s needs.  It will save you time, money and maybe even lead to healthier eating habits with time.  One quick tip : don’t introduce an entire meal of new foods to your family all at once. Instead, introduce a single new dish in a meal that is full of familiar dishes.  The new item will be associated with old favorites, and perhaps more likely to be accepted. You know your family’s likes and dislikes better than anyone else…don’t try to make liver and onions an acceptable dish if you know it won’t go over well. It is a frustrating waste of time, effort and money!

Happy shopping! 🙂

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Cottage Window Coffee Table Upcycle Project

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While I was browsing around our local ReStore (Habitat for Humanity resale shop) I came across their stacks of old windows. They do test for lead paint,which is nice – a lead free guarantee!   I was leaning towards making a coffee table, because we didn’t have one…so this was a very nice treasure hunting trip. I LOVE ReStore!

TONS of old windows at ReStore

Materials Used:
8 pane window
4 table legs
light grit sand paper
window calk (I had leftovers)
calk scraper
primer (I had leftovers)
spray paint (I had leftovers)

1. I picked out an eight pane window, and paid a whopping .60 cents for it. On my way out the door I spied a bin of old table legs, and grabbed myself 4 matching ones for .10 cents each.

I've got legs! And I know how to use them!

2. I had some primer in the garage and I have shelves full of half used spray paint colors…so this is also a stash buster for me.
I picked Aqua Turquoise.

3. I wiped the dirt and grime off the window as much as possible, then scraped the crusty loose calk from the edges of the panes. I did a quick hand sanding, lightly, then wiped the window down again. I calked the edges to even it out as much as possible  but I sort of suck at calking. I let it cure as directed on package.

Messy work

4. Next, I primed the window with one coat of Kilz primer. I used up the last bit I had left. Yay stash busting! Yay excuse to go to the hardware store!  I also sanded the legs and primed them, but somehow didnt end up with a picture of anything wet on the newspaper. I coulda swore I took those pictures, but they are not on the computer or camera anywhere…hmmm….

5. Then, I covered the panes with newspaper and taped them off.  Then I applied several coats of the aqua turquoise paint to everything and let it dry overnight. 

This is the result, my quaint little cottage window coffee table. I think it looks good with my dark blue sofa. It brightens up the room a bit! Now if I could keep my daughter from picking at the calk. She keeps peeling it (she is way beyond the put things in her mouth phase, just a compulsive peeler) so the middle pane divider thingies are not as pretty as I would like. Ah…kids. Aren’t they grand? 🙂

My Cottage Window Coffee Table

 

Etching Glass – Recycled Wine Bottle Vase or Votive Holder With a Finished Rim

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The etched look finishes the top of the vase

I cut the tops off of green wine bottles, then faux etched the rims. This is incredibly easy! So much more so than I had originally thought. I used the simple score, heat and cool method and got a nice clean line.

Materials Used:
Empty wine bottles (free from neighbor)
Glass cutting kit ($15)
Sharpie or other marker
Candle
Ice Cube

A donation from my neighbor

Directions for Cutting Bottle:
1.Wash bottle well and remove any label or glue residue.

2.Place the bottle on the cutting tool and line the blade up with where you want to cut yur bottle. I marked mine off with a marker first, so it would be even.

Score the bottle evenly

3.Gently heat the score line with a candle.

4.Now run an ice cube over the score mark, cooling the glass. You may hear a small crackly sound.

5.Once again, heat the score mark with the candle. It should not snap into two pieces for you!

6.Sand the edges so that they are not rough. I used a fine grit sandpaper, made for glass (found at any local hardware store).

Sanded Smooth!

I like to sand by hand, to keep my carbon footprint lower!

Also made amber ones

Now that your bottles are cut and sanded, we can ‘etch’ the top rim for a nice finished look.

Materials Used:
masking tape
cut wine bottles, edges sanded
Etching cream

Directions for Etching:
1. Decide how much of your bottle you want ‘etched’. I did the top inch for the rim. Tape off a straight line underneath where you want the etched look to stop. 

2. Apply your etching cream evenly. I recommend wearing protective gloves  for this part. Turn the vase by the bottom while applying. Follow the directions on the can

3. I let mine dry overnight before removing the tape and paper.

all dry!

A handful of daisies brighten up my kitchen in a bottle vase