Archive for June, 2007

Achieving Balance When Working From Home

Saturday, June 30th, 2007

Achieving Balance When Working From Home I knew that I always wanted to work from home because it would be the ideal situation for our family. I would be able to be home with my children and do all of the things that I could ever want with them, and I would also maintain a booming business in the process. I wanted the best of both worlds and never really thought about what it would take to achieve the balance of home and family life when both were so intertwined.

Working from home is an incredible blessing and is something that many people desire. Receiving a paycheck while being home with your children is ideal for many families, but how do you squeeze in time to work and also make time for your children, particularly with small children underfoot?

Here are some tips for achieving that balance in your life:

Make a Schedule and Stick to It

Just because you are not clocking into a workplace, does not mean that you don’t have the opportunity to create regular hours. Life does get in the way of this, but trying to set aside a specific block of time to work is ideal for you and for your children.  Set a timer for yourself and begin working during this time. When the timer beeps, it is time for you to turn away from the work you are doing and focus on the children. The children will be just as excited as you to hear the timer beep and will be more respectful of the time you need to get your work done.

Take advantage of any down times that you can. Do your children have a nap? Use their nap time to work. Do they have quiet time each day? Use this time to accomplish some tasks off of your list. Down times can also include time when dad can help with the children or when the children are tucked away in bed.

Sit down and write out an ideal schedule for your life and print it out and hang it somewhere visible for the whole family. Explain that these are your hours and that you need these hours to work so that you can continue being home with them. It will take some time for the family to adapt, but they will adapt. You will have a greater sense of accomplishment for the day and you will have more time for your family in the process.

Create a Kid-Friendly Office

Making your office child-friendly is very important, particularly when your children are small. It is important to incorporate them into your work environment and have fun things for them to do in your workspace.

In our office, for example, we have tons of art supplies and a small table and chairs for the children to sit at. While mommy is hard at work, the children can be “working” on their own projects. Other ways that I have included them in my workspace are a set of shelves for their own books, a special selection of toys, games, and a chair for them to sit on and talk to me. They are small additions to the office, but provide a welcoming place for them to visit with me while I work.

Conducting Business

It is hard to conduct business with children. The best way that I have found to do this is through email. I try to do the majority of my communications through email because there are no distracting noises on our end and I can do my replies at my leisure.

If emailing is not possible, suggest times during a child’s quiet time or during their naps so that you can have a time with the least amount of disturbance. Suggest a window of time to the person and make sure to specify your time zone.  I have had many an unfortunate conversation at the wrong time because I did not make this specification.

Just realize that it is Murphy’s Law that whatever time you pick, your child will choose an entirely different schedule for that day. I try to go with the flow and if there is a lot of noise on my end, I think it indicates to the other person that I am exactly what I say I am- a mom who is busy doing both roles at home. There will be the occasional person who is irritated, but more often than not, they say, “You really do operate your business out of your home!” If the noise begins to cause too much confusion, request a different time to chat and chalk it up to just another day of working from home!

Get Help When You Can

If you are having trouble with your workload, it might be a good idea to hire someone to help you.  There is no shame in asking for help and many times friends and family will feel proud that they can help you in achieving your goals.

Try and take advantage of the summer days and hire a mommy’s helper to take care of your children while you work in your office. Teenagers have more availability in the summer, but you will also have to work around their family vacation schedules and summer camps.

If you can’t afford to hire any help, check in with other people who have work-at-home businesses and see if you can trade babysitting with them. They are probably in the same exact predicament and would welcome the opportunity to trade with you.

Your significant other is also a great person to have help you during the evening and weekend hours. Explain to him the difficulties that you are having with time management and sit down together to tackle a plan of attack. Your spouse knows you better than anyone else and will know where your weaknesses are  versus your strengths.

Utilize Time-Saving Strategies

When you run a home business, you may still be responsible for the laundry, the dinner, and keeping up with the house. It is important to try and take advantage of ways to save time so that you can get these things done and still have time with your children and your business.

Slow cookers can be an invaluable way to save time when preparing a meal. Make sure to chop everything and throw it in the crock before going to bed and all you will have to do in the morning is turn your slow cooker on.

Laundry is better tackled one load at a time so each morning, hunt through your hampers and see if you have enough for a load. If you let the laundry pile up, you will feel overwhelmed and it will require more of your time.

Keeping up with the house is easier if you just take short bursts of time and try and tackle one room at a time. Set a timer and devote fifteen minutes to each room, concentrating on the rooms that will be most seen, especially if you are having a sitter come. It is easier to shut to door to your bedroom than it is to the family or living room that the children play in. Pick the rooms that need the attention the most and worry about the rest later!

What is the best time-saving strategy of all? Involve your family in helping you with the house. Give the children daily chores and make sure that they follow through on them. While teaching your children to do things around the house can be tedious in the beginning, the rewards will be worth it! Have your spouse and children help you so that less of that work falls on your shoulder. Remind them that the help that they offer you will give you all more opportunities to spend time together as a family.

However you decide to balance your work and family life, remember the original purpose for working at home…it was so that you could spend time with your family. If you find your business begins to take priority over your family time, it is time to reevaluate your life and your goals.

How to Construct an Airing Rack

Saturday, June 30th, 2007

If you haven’t seen our Benefits of Line Drying Your Clothes article, please be sure to check it out. It is a basic tutorial on how to hang your clothing and why a clothesline is a beneficial addition to your yard.

I recently ran across a few more tips for line drying that I wanted to share:

Drying Socks– To save space on lines, hang pairs of socks on a hanger. This will also enable you to remove the socks quickly if it rains.

Drying Sweaters– Sweaters will not stretch on a clothesline if you string an old pair of hose through the arms and pin the pantyhose- rather than the sweater- to the line.

Pleated Skirts– After washing, hang on the line from the waistband. Clip clothespins at the bottom of each pleat so the pleats dry in place.

Constructing an Airing Rack– Large items are best aired along parallel washing lines, which will not only take the weight but allow air to reach the entire area of fabric. Air items such as pillows and blankets on the clothesline. To improvise an airing rack indoors you can construct an airing rack. To air or dry large items if you do not have a clothesline, stretch strong cord between two chairs. Using parallel lines allows air to reach both sides of an item , and will not leave creases or clothespin marks. Use this system for blankets, comforters and curtains. If you use the chair method, use plastic chairs, if possible, since wooden chairs can stain damp items. To help stabilize the chairs, you can put piles of books on the chairs to help with the weight of the clothes.
Others Entries of Interest:

Freebie Friday: June 29, 2007

Friday, June 29th, 2007
I thought we could do a question today. The question is- What area do you live in and what is your average electric bill? Any tips you have found to keep the electric bill down that you want to share? You can leave comments anonymously if you don’t want to be associated with your bills 🙂 Happy Friday, everyone!

Health & Beauty

Sign up to receive a free sample of Gold Bond Powder. Please limit one free sample per household.

Lucky Magazine is giving away some freebies on their site. Lucky magazine’s Gorgeous Look is your 9-piece clinique Bonus. Come to any Lord & Taylor store between June 27 and July 15 and you will get the Gorgeous Look bonus free* with any Clinique purchase of $25 or more. (It’s valued at $65!) You’ll also get three free months of Lucky!

Find the right size underwear for your child by receiving a Hanes KidFit tape measure for free. Please allow six to eight weeks for delivery. Offer good only while supplies last.

Neutrogena Age Shield Sunblock & O Magazine are giving away full-size versions of this product to the first 2,000 entrants.

Sign up to receive a free sample of Fizzy Wizzies. These are bath tablets that fizz in the bathtub for children.

Sports Authority is offering a free Nike gym sack at participating stores. You need to fill out a simple form, print out the coupon and bring it in to your local Sports Authority. The freebie is valid in Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Oklahoma and Texas so far. Offer valid while supplies last.


Sign up to receive a free SoyJoy all natural fruit and soy bar. Please allow up to four weeks for delivery.
This is not technically a freebie because they sold out of the freebie they were offering, but you can receive a coupon for BOGO Free on the new Special K2O Protein Water. Fill out the survey and then print out the coupon.

Receive your free sample of South Beach Diet Sweet Nut Creations Bar. Only one sample per household and good only while supplies last.

Home & Garden

Beauty Riot is giving away a free Tide to Go Pen.


Claim a complimentary subscription to PC Magazine. Please allow six to eight weeks for delivery of your first issue.

Get Today’s Diet & Nutrition Magazine for free.

You will need to to sign up for a Coke Rewards account in order to access this freebie. Check all of the boxes to “No” if you don’t want to receive any emails from their partners. Use this multi-use code ( 100084616172235) to receive a free Blockbuster Rental. You can enter codes through their homepage, upon setting up your account, and the coupon will be in your email within three days. (NOTE: I was having trouble getting through so it might take a couple of times. The site is very busy!)

This is too good not to repeat. Don’t forget to sign up for a free subscription to Domino Magazine (a $12 value).
Pet Care

Sign up to receive a free six ounce sample of Purina Naturals Cat Chow.

The Dollar Stretcher Tips 06.28.07

Thursday, June 28th, 2007

For a sample copy of The Dollar Stretcher newsletter, send $2 to: Dollar Stretcher Sample, 6695 Cortez Road W., Bradenton FL 34210. Copyright 2007 Dollar Stretcher, Inc. Visit The Dollar Stretcher for even more tips & ideas!

Here is a double dose of tips since I wasn’t able to post last week! Enjoy!

Instead of Cash

Instead of keeping cash for emergencies in my car/billfold/house, I keep travelers checks. Most places will accept them in an emergency. Yet, they are just hard enough to spend that I am not tempted to use them just because I see something that I want. Plus, they never expire and can be replaced if lost. CB

Autopay Caution

I pay some of my bills automatically with a credit card that gives me cash back. I recently became aware that when anything changes on a credit card, such as a new expiration date, then you have to notify the appropriate billing departments of the changes. Otherwise, you may be hit with late fees when charges to the credit card are denied. This will happen even if the credit card number is the same and your credit is good.Some billing departments will let you know when a card expiration date is coming up and advise you to “resubscribe” to the auto payment. Some are happy to collect late fees. Sandy G.

Rainy Vacation Days

We take a trip to the beach twice a summer. We spend one week with my in-laws and one week with my side of the family. The kids love the beach and the pool, but sometime during the week, it’s going to rain or the kids are going to want to do something different. A couple of years ago, I thought I would head off the situation before it started. I surfed the Internet for free things to do in the area where we vacation. Tara G.

I’m Looking for…

I have several small grandchildren, and I like to buy a lot of their toys and play clothes at garage sales. However, with the high cost of gas, even that is not always cost effective. Now I post on our local library and grocery store bulletin board exactly what I am looking for (certain toys, clothing, etc.), and I have people calling me before their garage sale. I can get what I want without a lot of driving. The added benefit is that I have met other grandmas doing the same thing. Paula B.


After reading the catalogs and seeing a lot of capri pants offered for sale, I noticed that they gave the inside seam measurement as 20 inches. That gave me an idea. I had several pair of slacks that I didn’t like wearing because they were a little shorter than I liked. I pulled out the scissors and cut them to 21 inches inside seam. Then I folded the hem twice (1/2 inch) and hemmed them. I now have four pair of capri pants that cost nothing but the time to hem them. Pat in Kitchener

Coupon Control

I heard a great tip the other day. Make sure you eat before cutting coupons. Then the Oreo, potato chip, etc. coupons won’t be nearly so desirable to cut out. And if you don’t cut them out, you’re less likely to buy them. Carol

Homemade = Savings

I recently got sick of being in debt so I picked up a job delivering pizzas at night for a major pizza chain. They would kill me for saying this, but I was able to figure out how much people are paying for pizza versus if they made it themselves.If you order a pizza from us, you usually pay $15 dollars for two mediums (even with a coupon) with two toppings. I sat down and did the math. If you went to the store and purchased the pre-made pizza crust (about $3 for two), one can of sauce ($1.40), cheese ($2), and toppings (which of course can vary), you would save at least $5 to $10. Make your own pizza crust, which can be done in a bread maker or just by hand, and you save another $2 or so. And you can customize your pizza and get better toppings (a lot of the toppings in the restaurant are frozen and thawed out!). When you add in tip (which I hope you do) for the driver, you’re paying $20 for two medium pizzas that you could have made yourself for half of that! Not that I don’t want to be busy, but I couldn’t believe the costs!
Matt in Colorado

Handy Bags

We wash and reuse our resealable plastic bags, as long as there was no raw meat stored in them. But storing them after they’ve been washed and allowed to dry was a problem. They overflowed the “bag drawer” whenever the door was opened. Trying to stuff them back into the original box was futile. In desperation, I found three large storage containers, labeled each one with tape and a marker “Gallon,” “Sandwich Size,” and “Snack Size.” Now, when putting away bags, I simply stuff the bags into the appropriately marked container. My kids can pull what they need easily for packing lunches, and putting away leftovers is much easier when we don’t have to hunt for the correct size. Ann S.

Cooler Times Two

I live in Central Florida and just realized that I can have an ice cold drink after having the cooler in the car all day if I just place my small cooler inside a larger cooler. I find that one cooler just doesn’t do the trick here in our heat. Coolers are easy to find at yard sales and flea markets cheaply. This is especially refreshing after a day in a theme park. Sue in FL

Shopping with a Purpose

When I feel like shopping and know it is not good for my budget, I go shopping for gifts that I will need in the next several months. That way, I can satisfy my urge to go shopping, get nice things, but do not feel bad afterwards. Of course, I occasionally buy things just to please myself, but gifts are a good thing to shop for, as they are not overly expensive things. I just buy things like books or cosmetics. Jana

Going Cashless

Long ago, I received some very good advice about money from a local frugal businessman. He and I were discussing living on $5,000 a year and his first piece of advice was to carry no currency, no checks, and no credit cards at all. I thought about it and realized that I had a cell phone, a vehicle and the nearest help for a true emergency was minutes away. What did I have to lose? I have been doing this for several years now, and it has cut down on my impulse spending tremendously! On payday, I fill my tank, buy groceries (with a single check I put in my purse for that purpose) and pay the one bill I have each week. I also keep enough cash at home to pay my daughter’s allowance and lunch money for the week.Brenda T. in Frederick, MD

Look-a-Like Luggage

We recently returned from a trip. Retrieving our luggage is always hectic, especially when most of the suitcases are the standard black color. I have done a lot of painting with acrylic paint on fabric so I decided to paint pretty flowers on my black suitcases. I used chalk for the original sketching and then acrylic paints to make big, bold flowers on all sides of the suitcase. They really stand out and are easily recognized when they tumble down the airline chute. I sprayed them with a fixative acrylic spray to protect the paint. I am very pleased with the results. Mary Esther

Graduation Celebration

When my nephew graduated from high school (20 years ago), I had hardly any money at all and didn’t know what to do for a gift for him. I wrote out 12 checks for $10 with each dated a different month. Actually, I gave him $120 for graduation. He was thrilled with it, and it was easier for me to give. Joann S.

Easy to Reach

I have small children that are constantly throwing or dropping items behind dressers or under the bed where I cannot reach them. My solution was to attach pantyhose with a rubberband around the vacuum hose. Turn on the vacuum and th
e items can be pulled out without being sucked into the machine. This has saved my back on many occasions. C.

Summer Cookouts

Cover a cotton ball or swab with a light coating of petroleum jelly (Vaseline) and use as a fire starter in your open fire or fire range. This is much cheaper than traditional fire starters. And they hold their flame for about five minutes, which is plenty of time to add that dry wood.Ang
Savings StashedWhen I use coupons or a store rewards card, there is usually a total of what was saved on that shopping trip. I’ve started taking that amount and keeping a list of what was saved for the entire month. At the end of the month, I put the money “saved” by using coupons or the rewards card into a savings account. The amount varies from month to month, but it’s built up a nice emergency account. Heidi P. O. in Pittsburgh, PA

International Cuisine Saves Cash

A good way to save money is to learn to cook ethnic foods. Thai, Mexican and Indian, in particular, are cheap to make and so tasty with the spices that you really benefit, especially with vegetarian options. I’m not a vegetarian, but those dishes, along with ones with a little meat like a stir-fry, will save you money on your grocery bill. has a lot of good ideas, or you can get a (used) cookbook from Amazon. Erica C. in Chicago, IL

Traveler’s Alert

If you are like me and do not fly much, you sometimes are not sure what you can take and not take on the plane. I had knitting needles with me on one trip and they were allowed, but then on another trip, they were denied and my boarded bag had already gone to the bottom of the plane. Now, I carry a big self-addressed envelope with me so I can mail the items back to me without a financial loss. Susan W.

Sewer’s Secret

Need a few buttons for a sewing project? Don’t buy them at the craft store where they are expensive. Go to your local thrift store; they generally sell clothing items for less than a dollar. Search through the shirts for buttons you like. Cut off the buttons and use for your project. This is much cheaper than buying them new. Also, keep the fabric from the clothing item in your scrap bin for future projects. Melissa J. in Independence, KS

Bedclothes Storage Solution

My linen closet is small, and I find it so hard to keep things wrinkle free, especially pillowcases and sheets. So when my last guest left and the linens were ready to put away again, I decided to fold them in a manner that was the width of the bed they are used on. I then made the bed and placed the linens at the head of the bed. The pillows then went back on along with the coverlet. Not only is this a good place to store them, but also they stay fresh, and it makes the pillows look real fluffy. Alice

Frugal Momma’s Test Kitchen: Light Oat Bread

Thursday, June 28th, 2007

As I had mentioned in a past post, I have been looking for great recipes to make good sandwich bread. I decided to try this recipe from AllRecipes for Light Oat Bread and I am so glad that I did! I used my bread machine to make it, but just used our Dough cycle. I then placed the dough into an oiled loaf pan and covered it with a damp dishtowel. The bread had about an hour rise time and then I baked it at 350 for 35 minutes. It turned out perfectly for dinner that evening, and then I slipped it into a fabric bag to store.

The bread was great for toast the next morning and would still make a great sandwich, had we not devoured it for our morning breakfast.

There was not a crumb in sight left, but lots of full bellies and smiles from the kids.



Ask Frugal Momma: Getting to Know the Bread Machine

Thursday, June 28th, 2007

You have been talking about bread machines and making bread. I am interested in doing this since I am home all the time and I love fresh bread.

I was at the Goodwill and saw many of them and they were kind of cheap, like 20.00 or less. I am dumb so help me out. Does the machine knead the dough and bake it and everything in the bread machine?

If I would purchase one at the Goodwill how would I know if it works or not?

I am interested. Please help me find a way in a new venture.


Future Bread Maker

First of all, thank you for your question! The Ask Frugal Momma column can’t happen without your questions, so please keep sending them my way. You can email any and all questions to [email protected]. We have had some fun topics and I am very excited to share with everyone!

Do any of you have bread machine gathering dust in your house? A lot of people buy these appliances and then end up donating them at their local thrift store because they never use them. I think of the bread machine as a modern day convenience, but in a culture where we want everything NOW, waiting for a loaf of bread can seem like an eternity. Why wait for a hot loaf of fresh bread when you can grab a loaf at your supermarket? And what exactly is the purpose of that appliance that is taking up space on your shelves?

On any given day in our house, you will find our bread machine happily humming along and whipping up fresh dough and bread for us. We use our bread machine almost daily, and spare ourselves the expense of fancy bakery breads. Not only that, but our bread machine has a regular performance in our house on Friday nights. This appliance makes our favorite pizza dough for our official “family night” together.

The purpose of a bread machine is to be able to make fresh bread when you want it. The reasons vary from person to person on why they choose to make their own bread. Many people have concerns about the additives and preservatives that are found in store-bought breads. Another reason that many people choose to make their own bread is because they just enjoy the taste of homemade bread. My reasoning for making our own bread is because I like to save our family money. Making your own bread costs so much less than purchasing a loaf of bread, and the rising grocery costs have only fueled my desire more to make it at home.

I am not a baker though and our days seem to be jam-packed with activities for our family. Taking the time to knead, rise, and bake bread…well, that hasn’t seemed to top the priority list at this point in my life. Lucky for me, there is an appliance that can do all the work for me and all I have to do is pull the finished loaf or ball of dough out.

To begin, all you have to do is put the ingredients in and select your setting. Some of the older machines have just a handful of simple settings. I find that the settings we use most on our machine are Basic and the Dough cycle, which can be found on every machine. The basic cycle is just the basic setting for making a loaf of bread. The Dough cycle just completes the kneading and rising of the dough. Once the dough cycle is complete, you can take the dough out and shape it into your loaf pan or do fancy braids or rolls out of the dough.

Inserting your ingredients into a bread machine is also very straightforward. If you are making the loaf right away, you can insert the ingredients in any way that you want. All of these ingredients will immediately be stirred together and so it will not matter what the order is. If you use a timer delay on your bread machine, delaying the start time of making your loaf, it is imperative that you put the ingredients in the right order or your loaf will not turn out right. The order of ingredients is liquid (liquids include water, oil, milk, eggs, or honey), flour, other dry ingredients (salt, sugar, baking powder, seasonings), and ending the ingredients with your yeast. The most important part of putting the yeast in is to make sure that you make a small indentation into the center of the flour so that the yeast does not react with the other ingredients.

Upon inserting your ingredients, your bread machine will take over the process from there. The machine will knead the ingredients together, give the bread its rising time, and then it will bake the bread. The bread machine will signal when the bread is ready and you can allow the bread to cool inside of the bread bucket.

There is no need to spend the money on convenience bread machine mixes; in fact, you can make your own convenient mixes handy for the week. I take plastic storage bags and make an assembly line of the dry ingredients and do my bags once a month. On the outside, just write what liquids you will need to add and you will only have a dirty kitchen once.

A quick glance at grocery store prices though and you will wonder how there could be any possible savings with making your bread at home. The key to making this the least expensive on your family is to purchase all of your ingredients at your local wholesale club. With proper storage, you can buy the ingredients in bulk and save your family loads of money. For example, our wholesale club has twenty-five pounds of bread & all-purpose flour for under $6 each. Two pounds of yeast will run you just under $4. What a difference compared to the prices in your regular supermarket!

For storage, flour can be stored for up to a year in an airtight container. With bulk storage, a large plastic bin that has been clearly labeled is ideal to keep your flour fresh. Yeast is the easiest ingredient to store and has a very long shelf life. I store my yeast in a clear jar in our refrigerator door. With both of these ingredients, writing an expiration date on the label will also remind you of when the item is going to expire.

If you do not have a bread machine and are looking for one, garage sales and thrift sales are a great place to hunt. I see these machines for $10 or less, and you will definitely get your money back from the savings of making your own bread. When you find one, ask if you can plug it in and make sure it is working. Just check that it actually powers up, that there is a bread bucket inside, and that there is a paddle in the bottom of the bread machine to stir the ingredients. Having a manual with it is handy, but usually can be found by searching online.

Good luck in your quest to find a bread machine and I hope it is a well-loved appliance in your home!

Related & Helpful Information:

Hillbilly Houswife’s Bread Machine Basics

Buttery Bread Machine Rolls

My Favorite Pizza Dough (after much trial & error)

Storing Homemade Bread & Bread Ingredients

Homemade Croutons

Dinner is in the Bag

Storing Homemade Bread & Bread Ingredients

Tuesday, June 26th, 2007

As I had mentioned in a past post, our local bread outlet doubled their prices, due to the rising gas prices. My girlfriend had suggested hitting our local Kroger, which can be a goldmine of deals at the end of the day, for my bread needs. Recently they announced though, that they are now shutting down our Kroger because they were not getting the business that they needed. This not only stinks because of the bread factor, but also because it was the quick place I could run into and get a gallon of milk or the once missing ingredient for our dinners. Kroger- you will be missed on our side of town!

I love to make homemade bread in my bread machine though so I am trying to do this more often. As we speak, I am trying a new recipe for Light Oatmeal Bread and I will let you all know how it turns out. I am testing recipes to find the perfect sandwich bread and this sounded like a yummy alternative to the traditional recipes.

My main problem with homemade bread though is the stale factor. Without the preservatives to sustain the bread, as in our store-bought varieties, how can you keep your bread fresher longer?

I looked to the experts at Cook’s Illustrated for the answers to these questions. One of my main questions was, does bread last longer in the refrigerator or by just leaving it at room temperature? My other question was, what is the most effective way to store your homemade bread?

Cook’s Illustrated ran a test to see which bread loaves lasted the longest, testing temperatures & storage devices. I was very interested to see what the results would be, in particular, if a storage device really preserves the shelf life of the bread longer.

It became quickly evident in their research, that the refrigerator is actually the least effective way to store bread. Retrogradation occurred six times faster in the bread stored in the refrigerator versus the bread stored at room temperature. Although this was not included in their findings, I do believe that room temperature may be worse in some cases depending upon your climate conditions. Those who live in humid conditions may find that bread molds much quicker if left out on the counter, rather than their refrigerator storage methods.

For homemade bread, they did find the most successful way to store the bread was in a twill bag they found on Golda’s Kitchen. This twill bag is both machine & dishwasher safe. The bag is $20, but can be used over and over again. I am thinking that I might try the fabric totes that came with my reuseable grocery bags first, and see if these fabric bags might be the ticket for effective storage.

Homemade bread is much more cost effective than buying store bought bread. Pretty much all of the ingredients needed to make your bread can be purchased in bulk at your local wholesale club. Here are some examples of the pricing on ingredients at our local store (Prices listed are for Sam’s Club in Mishawaka, IN):

Yeast (2 pounds)- $3.87
Bread Flour (25 pounds)- $5.54
All-Purpose Flour (25 pounds)- $5.26

If you buy your flour in bulk, you can store the flour in a large Rubbermaid tote with a lid to keep it fresher longer. I keep my yeast in a Mason jar in our refrigerator door. It has worked really well for me and is always there when I need it.

These are just some of my ideas for making and storing your homemade bread and bread ingredients.

Sound Off: How do you store your homemade bread? Any bread making tips that you have found help with making amazing loaves of bread?

Too Cool for School Momma Tees

Monday, June 25th, 2007

With a tag line like, “Motherhood doesn’t define us. We define it” what is not to love? PeaceLoveMom is a great t-shirt company that offers fun phrases of motherhood on their t-shirts, which have made them a popular choice among the celebrity mommies.

Anyone who knows me, knows that I have a mad obsession for funny t-shirts. Among my favorite in my collection are my Martha is My Homegirl (with Martha Stewart surrounded by pretty spoons), my Drop It Like It’s Hot (with a waitress holding a heavy tray), & my Hip Hop You Don’t Stop (with a bouncing kangaroo) shirt. The funnier the t-shirt, the better.

PeaceLoveMom has great trendy mommy t-shirts that are still tasteful, but show that you have a witty and fun personality. The offer a variety of choices that express motherhood in a fun way.

The company sent two of the cutest shirts to add to my collection. I now have a “Happy Mom” t-shirt, which THE Cindy Crawford has been seen wearing around town & a “Carpool Candy” tank. Their shirts are made out of the softest cotton, making it a quick favorite in your wardrobe, and the sizing is made for women and not teens. That means no post-baby body hanging out the sides of your jeans and we love that!
Not only is the sizing spot on, but the phrases are too. They let people know that you are not just another mom thankyouverymuch, but that you are a super fun and super cool mom so TAKE THAT. You might be driving around in your minivan, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still be too cool for school.
PeaceLoveMom has generously offered our customers free shipping utilizing the promo code, “momadvice” on any order that you place.
Thanks so much to PeaceLoveMom for giving us an opportunity to review their products and to add such fun t-shirts to add to my collection!
Want to see your name in lights? Email me at [email protected] and tell me about your company. We would love to try and review your product for our growing readership!

San Francisco, Baby!

Monday, June 25th, 2007

Well, I have just returned from my trip to San Francisco and it was AWESOME! Thanks to all of you for you prayers and well wishes for my travels. It was definitely one of the highlights of my summer. Not only was the trip wonderful, but I made some amazing blogging friends and had an opportunity to rub shoulders with some of the best of the best. I did, at times, feel entirely out of my league, but I was proud of myself for being around some of the most elite and amazing women. I got to hear about where everyone was going with their business, about the successes they had with their businesses, and we all got to voice our challenges with what we were doing. I don’t want to blah, blah, blah about everyone though because some bloggers do wish to remain anonymous, but if you were with me and want to give a shout out and tell everyone who you are…I won’t stop you!

San Francisco was one of the most amazing places that I have ever been to. We only had less than a day to really doing any sight-seeing, but I managed to take a trolley ride, eat at some wonderful restaurants, and dip my feet in the Pacific ocean. A girlfriend and I took the trolley all the way to the end of the line and got off for some pictures. Our return trip on the trolley was a bit more eventful because it was so busy that we couldn’t even find space to get back on. We ended up walking a good portion of the trip back and my legs have never burned so much EVER. After I told my husband about it, he laughed and said that we had walked up the steepest road in The Guinness Book of World Records. I treated myself to loads of calories after I heard that, because frankly, I deserved it!
When I returned, I had to get my house ready for the CBS Early Show’s appearance at my doorstep. I have just wrapped up my interview and I am hoping it is edited in such a manner that I appear slightly intelligent and that I do know a little bit about what I was talking about. The producer said that this will be airing in late July or early August, and promised to let us know so that we could let all of our friends and family know when I am on. I will be sure to share it with everyone, and if I do sound completely slow and uneducated, please realize that I was suffering from jet lag and exhaustion from getting my home in order. There is nothing like an Early Show appearance to make your house look better than ever. Now I can enjoy a clean home and some rest after such a busy week! We will be receiving a visit from The South Bend Tribune on Thursday though, but it will at least give me a few days to catch a breather!
We will be back to our regular programming tomorrow! In the meantime, I hope you enjoy some of my vacation pictures and I hope that you noticed the new look on our homepage. We have added a cool new feature where you can now check out what is going on in your area. If you are looking for something to do with the kids this summer, be sure to swing by there and have a look!

Cheap Outdoor Music System

Wednesday, June 20th, 2007

I love to listen to music outside, but we don’t have a spare radio that we can use while we are dining outdoors. I decided to create our own outdoor music system using our baby monitor. I hooked our baby monitor up next to our computer, and then turned on our computer with our music loaded on that. The receiver got placed outside and we were able to hear all of our favorite music without making any additional purchases.

Using my baby monitor outside works for me! Please visit Shannon’s entry for all of the other participants and their great Works-For-Me Wednesday ideas.