Tips and Tricks

The Homemade Way to Clean an Icky Microwave


I grew up without a microwave in our house.  It wasn’t until recently that I realized this was odd.  When I asked my mom why she never installed one in our kitchen, she said quite frankly, “They kinda freaked me out.” Good enough reason for me! Although I now have a microwave in my small [...]

How to Feed a Family of Four (Mostly) Organic Food for $150 a Week

Although we live on a tight budget, we also want to live healthfully and thoughtfully.  When my husband decided to start his own business, we made plenty of sacrifices like fewer meals at fun restaurants and no more new clothes.  But the one area I refused to compromise on was our food.  Just because we [...]

Sneak Peek – Homemade Vanilla Extract

vanilla extract

I recently saw an advertisement for a premium vanilla extract in the Sunday newspaper. The ad pointed out that many popular brands of “pure” vanilla extract actually contain high fructose corn syrup, a highly processed food additive that I don’t let in my house or in my body.  Certain that the brand of vanilla extract [...]

Pickles for a Picnic


Chicago has enjoyed a very pleasant and mild October. Today was no exception. With sunny skies and the temperature in the 70s, it was a perfect day for a lunchtime picnic with my family. Evelyn packed her pink soccer ball and Mack packed his smile. I packed sandwiches, fruit, and a jar of sort-of homemade [...]

Perseverance to Preserve!

jarred tomatoes

I recently conquered one of my fears. For years I have been interested in jarring and canning to preserve foods, but the process always intimidated me. All that boiling water…and fears of botulism contamination if the process wasn’t done exactly right…and what a waste of time and money if the jars didn’t seal…I was getting [...]

Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder


Today at the farmer’s market Lane’s End Farm was selling baskets of “ugly” organic tomatoes for $1.50 per ound. While most people would look at the misshapen, bumpy, and uneven colored tomatoes with suspicion, I knew I found a little gold mine! My favorite was this two-for-one tomato that looked like a portly and friendly [...]

"Free" Pizza in a Flash!


As I wrote about last week, we’re on a pretty strict budget. When we go over in one area, we have to take out of another. Usually the first thing I trim is the grocery bill. Last week I managed on just $20, and this week we’re getting by on $70 (this includes breakfasts, lunches [...]

A Week’s Worth of Groceries for $20

My husband is starting a few businesses, which means we are on a strict weekly budget that I am in charge of enforcing. With the 4th of July holiday last week we went a little over budget for entertainment. So, I have to compensate this week, and I decided to cut our grocery bill to [...]

My New Grocery Store

A few months ago I wrote about how I believe the milk we drink is over processed. All milk sold in grocery stores is pasteurized and homogenized. These processes kill off beneficial germs and destroy some of the natural nutrition found in milk. So, I set out to find a local source for raw milk, [...]

The Homemade Way to Clean the Floor

floor cleaner

I have a confession I am ashamed to make: during my pregnancy I broke down and bought a Swiffer. The thought of getting on my hands and knees to scrub the floors was too much for me to handle, so I let laziness get the best of me and I opted for what I thought [...]

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