Too Many Irons in the Fire

Tales of a crafty, working mom of four.

Moved back to the main blog 08/02/2009

Filed under: Family,Fiber & Crafts,Geekery,Household,Issues,Misc,tips — TypeAMom @ 12:18 pm
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Visit me at linuxchic.net

Visit me at linuxchic.net

I have moved the posts from this WordPress hosted blog back to my main blog at http://linuxchic.net. Please feel free to visit, subscribe to the RSS feed, and leave a comment to say hi! We are embarking on a new adventure and I will continue to update everyone from there!

 

Frugal Friday – Printable Paper Dolls 02/13/2009

Filed under: Family,tips — TypeAMom @ 8:36 am
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Betsy McCall Vintage Paper DollsI grew up with paper dolls and just loved them. They were easy to dress and change unlike Barbie dolls with their annoying rubber legs. Paper dolls are also a great way to keep your little ones entertained in the car or while waiting at doctors offices and the like (you can slip them right into your bag or purse). Download and print you own free Betsy McCall paper dolls. These vintage dolls promise hours of entertainment!

Check out what others are doing for Frugal Friday at Biblical Womanhood.

 

Made It (Make It) Monday – Winter Berry Jam 02/09/2009

Filed under: Household,tips — TypeAMom @ 1:22 pm
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If you haven’t mastered the art of canning yet (I haven’t) then this refrigerator jam is for you. I use frozen berries here because fresh are a little pricey in the Midwest this time of year.

Ingredients:

  • 18 oz of frozen mixed berries
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice

Instructions:

  • Thaw, rinse, & drain berries.
  • Place a saucer in the freezer for later.
  • Combine berries, sugar, and lemon juice in bowl and mix well. Leave out at room temp. stirring occasionally for two hours.
  • Transfer mixture to saucepan & bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring to prevent burning.
  • Mash to thick puree then reduce to medium heat and gently boil for about 20 minutes or until the mixture starts to thicken & stirring often.
  • Remove from heat to test jam for gelling point. Drop a teaspoon full onto the saucer from the freezer and place back into the freezer for about a minute. Test by pushing the jam with your finger. If it is ready, it will wrinkle on the surface. Cook a few minutes longer if it fails to do this and test again until it gels.
  • When ready, ladle jam into a clean jar. Place in refrigerator when cool. Jam will last about 2 weeks in the refrigerator.
 

Frugal Friday – Books for a few bucks! 02/06/2009

Filed under: Household,tips — TypeAMom @ 9:31 am
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I am a book junkie and it is an expensive habit so I tend to chose wisely and pick only books that will be the most beneficial for the household as a permanent addition to our library. A few times a year tho I splurge on a whole box of books but the reason I can do this with a clear conscious is that I manage to get them for the cost of only one or two books at a large retail bookseller.

BookCloseouts.com has overstock, scratch and dent, and publisher returns for pennies on the dollar of retail book stores. I have never gotten a book in bad condition from them (I have been buying books from them for years) and am more than happy with their prices. This is also a great way to grab books for your homeschooling library.

For the next few days they are having a 50% all crafts and hobbies titles. I picked up 13 books for under $40 to add to my crafting library. You can save even more with coupon codes! I found that both of these worked:

Save $10 off any order of $65 or more:
Code: DealGuild-10
Password: bookcloseouts.com

Save $5 off any order of $35 or more:
Code: magic
Password: bookcloseouts.com

If you use the following link to head over to BookCloseouts.com I would appreciate it. It is my affiliate link and I earn 20% in store credit from all purchases people make from this referrer.

BookCloseouts 50% off sale

BookCloseouts Crafts & Hobbies Sales Page

Check out what others are doing for Frugal Friday at Biblical Womanhood.

 

Tackle It Tuesday – Twitter Purge 02/03/2009

Filed under: Geekery,tips — TypeAMom @ 11:50 am
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Tackle It Tuesday Meme This week I started my Twitter purge. I have pretty much just stopped using Twitter because the noise levels were so high that it was no longer useful. When I ran the podcast at Alternageek.com I followed anyone who seemed to be a fan or had anything even remotely interesting to say back. It wasn’t long before I was following over a thousand people and many of those I really didn’t have anything in common with. Some of the new media people I would still like to stay networked with however, I don’t think Twitter is the place to do it. With all of these social network sites you tend to add all of the same people, but I don’t think that is the most efficient way to handle them.

I originally signed up at Facebook (when it was still closed to the public) because higher ed used it and I work full time in higher education. I have branched out my Facebook relationships, but I won’t add just anyone who adds me. I like to keep Last.fm to those I know or are interested in similar music. I use Ravelry to connect with knitters and crocheters. Now I do have overlap on some of these networks and that is pretty awesome but normally I don’t want to talk web 2.0 in a yarn forum. Specialized networks should be used for the specific types of relationships they foster to get the most benefit from them.

Back to Twitter static; I had to clean it up. I was missing messages from people who I really enjoyed reading updates from. One of the best tools to start my purge was Twitter Karma. Twitter Karma pulled in all my followers and friends and sorted them. First I could see who I follow but that doesn’t follow me. If you aren’t famous or a service, I would appreciate the follow-back. If you don’t follow me back, maybe you aren’t interested so I re-evaluate if I am really interested in your updates. Non-followbacks cut dozens of my follows out.

Twitter Karma shows how long ago user updated.

Twitter Karma shows how long ago user updated.

Next was the mutual relationships. I sorted these by Last Updated and cut everyone who hadn’t updated in at least the last 90 days then reviewed everyone who hadn’t updated in 30-60 to see if that was just their way of doing things before purging them.

I have cut hundreds of people and it’s sad I even let my account get to the point where I have to do that. The last phase of my Twitter purge is to watch my timeline and if I don’t recognize a friend or they tend to tweet things I am not interested in, I am manually removing them. It’s nothing personal, I am just not interested. There might be a few that get caught in the cuts that I want back, and I am sure I will find them again.

The moral of the purge is that it is easy to go to excess with social networks. If the network you are using isn’t teaching you something, connecting you with others, or benefiting you then either cut the site or figure out how to fix where it went wrong. I miss Twitter, hopefully this will get me back in gear again.

 

You might want to read… 01/24/2009

Filed under: Household,Misc,tips — TypeAMom @ 1:35 pm
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Links of the WeekHere are a few of my favorite posts this week, just in case you missed them:

The Thr33 Lies from the Modesty Writers Guild Blog – A great post (ignore the lack of capitalization and other things of that sort that make the eyes scream). This post talks about the three lies that one needs to overcome in this world for a full life. I loved it so much I printed it and put it in my project book so I see it every day.

The Tiffin Lunchbox at Stephmodo – Stephmodo discovered the two tiered Tiffin lunchbox at World Market for a measly $8. It is gorgeous, original, practical and reminds me of the little lunch pails on Little House on the Prairie all shiny and modernized. Fantastic!

DIY Yourself Washing Detergent Saves You Cash – Lifehacker posted an article on making homemade laundry soap. Directing readers over to TipNut for the recipes – not only is there the liquid recipes, but also the powder recipes. Ten of them to be exact! Just in time to make a batch.

My Ecologically Correct Move (Boing Boing) – If you are in California (only locations so far) the service RentAGreenBox.com will deliver recycled plastic moving containers for you to pack and move the next time you relocate then pick them up when you are done. We are still finding boxes of stuff around from our last move, how nice it would have been to help the purge if I HAD to unpack it to give back the containers AND didn’t end up trying to find someone who needed the crummy cardboard boxes so I didn’t have to toss them in a landfill.

How to Make a Super-Simple Recycled Quilt – This post at Craft Stylist shows you how to upcycle old blankets and sheets from the thiftstore (or from around the house) to whip out a warm and easy quilt in no time flat. I think this would be a great way to make blankets for kids beds in trendy themes that they seem to outgrow too fast. The character themed designs seem to cost a fortune and they get tired of them quickly. Using this technique you could repurpose decorated sheets for a warm coverlet that would dress up their room.

 

Frugal Friday – Make Ahead Frozen Breakfasts 01/23/2009

Filed under: Family,Household,tips — TypeAMom @ 8:51 am
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Stacks of Waffles from bcmom at Flickr

Stacks of Waffles from bcmom at Flickr

When I am left with too many eggs or bread on the brink of stale then it is time to whip out massive quantities of french toast. The kids love to mix up their breakfast with frozen convenience foods like waffles, pancakes, and french toast sticks and for pennies I can provide the same kind of easy hot breakfast as the more expensive store bought versions.

After the french toast has been cooled I pack it in small freezer bags or Press and Seal wrap (to keep the frost out) in groups of twos (I do the same with pancakes & waffles) and toss them in the freezer. When the kids get a hankering for something hot for breakfast before school all they have to do is open a pack of two and put them on a plate and zap them until hot in the microwave. I have found that by freezing them in two packs they don’t get wasted or accidentally left open in the freezer. If your kids are always begging for the fancy french toast sticks, just cut each slice of french toast into four strips before freezing. It’s a great way to save money on quick breakfast foods and I think homemade tastes better anyway.

Check out what other’s are doing for Frugal Friday at Biblical Womanhood.