Monday, October 31, 2011

15 Ways to Stop Wasting Money on Food

Today was garbage day and what exactly does that mean? Well, it's a day to clean out the fridge from forgotten food that has been hiding in the back and buried in the drawers.

And how timely that an article on Yahoo called "15 Ways to Stop Wasting Money on Food" based on a book called American Wasteland by Jonathan Bloom was in the online news.

Here are some awesome tips based on his book on how to stop wasting money on food. I really need to follow these tips because I always feel terrible about throwing food out when there are so many people starvng in our world.

1. Buy less food overall. The European model of more frequent and even daily shopping trips can help reduce food waste compared with the more American-style mega-shopping sprees on the weekends. After all, when you're shopping on Sunday for Friday's meals, the chances of food spoiling in the interim is greater. Plus, shopping more frequently gives you flexibility to make use of unexpected leftovers, Bloom says.

2. Keep your fridge uncluttered. If you can't see the hummus, you might forget to eat it. Bloom also suggests putting new groceries in the back and pushing older items to the front.

3. Make French toast. The classic recipe uses slightly stale bread; bread pudding and bread crumbs serve the same purpose. Banana bread similarly makes use of old bananas. Bloom also suggests chicken pot pies, chicken salad, fried rice, and soups for getting the most out of leftovers and vegetables approaching their expiration dates. (The recipe finder tool on makes it easy to look up uses for extra food.) You can also use leftover chicken bones and vegetable scraps to make your own stock, which can then serve as a base for soups.

4. Ignore expiration dates. Well, maybe not completely, but because those dates tend to be conservative, Bloom recommends relying more on your own senses to determine whether or not food is still edible.

5. Decline the "extras" at restaurants. Once the bread basket hits your table, it can no longer be served to others, so speak up if you'd rather skip the carbo-loading before the main meal. Similarly, if you're not going to eat the fries that come with your meal, let your server know.

6. Bring home leftovers. Some restaurants are famous for large servings; don't let the leftovers go to waste. Bringing your own container for them makes the choice more environmentally-friendly, too.

7. Use smaller plates at home. One of the families Bloom profiles in the book uses smaller plates to encourage taking smaller servings, which can then be refilled if necessary. That way, children (and adults) are less likely to take more than they will eat.

8. Cook more. Bloom found that people are less likely to waste food that they or a loved one made, which means home-cooked meals have a better chance of avoiding the garbage disposal.

9. Grow your own herbs. The small amount of basil or mint often called for in recipes can lead to big waste, since you often have to purchase a larger bunch. Instead, consider growing the herbs yourself in small indoor pots, or plan several herb-heavy recipes in one week. Bloom also suggests dicing and freezing herbs in ice cube trays with water for longer-term storage.

10. Shop for fruits and vegetables last. Most of us do the opposite, since produce sections are usually the first we enter, but Bloom recommends saving it for last to protect them from getting buried and bruised by heavier items, and also to keep them refrigerated as much as possible.

11. Eat before you shop. Shopping on an empty stomach tends to lead to impulse buys and unnecessary stocking up.

12. Limit bulk buys. As research from Harvard Business School has shown, stocking up on items can lead to overspending (and waste), especially if we don't get the chance to use up all that cream cheese before it gets moldy.

13. Save and eat leftovers. Some items, such as chili and meatloaf, taste even better the next day.

14. Use your freezer. Putting long-term leftovers in the freezer, along with other freezable items that you can't use right away, can help reduce the amount that ends up in the trash. Using sealed bags will help prevent freezer burn.

15. Label items. Writing down the date and a description can help remind you to use them up. Bloom adds that including the monetary value of items can also provide an incentive to avoid waste.

Article source - 15 Ways to Stop Wasting Money on Food

Friday, October 28, 2011

Friday Etsy Favorites

This week's Friday Etsy Favorites are so lovely! ♥

1. Dream of a dream ► Autumn Heart Fine Silver Necklace
2. The Polkadot Magpie ► Columbo Recycled Brass Bird Pendant
3. Missing Pieces Studio ► Keep Calm And Carry On Vintage Necklace
4. Simple Joys Paperie ► Vintage Song Book Hymnal Wreath
5. lunashineshine ► Antique Brass Feather with Glass Beads Bracelet
6. BettyAnneProductions ► Set of 10 Decorative Clips


Monday, October 24, 2011

Breakfast Date

I went on a breakfast date with my dh this morning. I don't think we've done that since the kids were born, but now that Tobias is in school a couple of days a week we'll have a few mornings on the days dh is off to catch up on 'us'.

It was strange for the two of us to be out at a restaurant for no special occasion without the kids. It was nice to be able to relax and talk to each other without interuption. :))

I think it's important for us to spend time together as a 'couple' and am grateful that my dh's work schedule allows for us to do that.

Here is to many more breakfast dates! ♥

me + you = love ►

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Inspiration Sunday - Felted Animals

I am so in love with felted animals. I imagine there is quite an intense process to create each masterpiece. But the results are so worth it.

Here are a few of my favorites. So, so sweet! ♥

The 3" Love Penguin - Handmade Needle Felted by Wooly Wonders


Needle Felted Squirrel with Acorn by PHDstressrelief


Cute Little Owl Felted Brooch by .ShishLOOK design.


Raccoon Soft Sculpture by ThePineappleCatz


Mr. Ruby - Crowned Kinglet by TCM Designs


Needle Felted Animal - Ferret or Weasel by Berrie Good Stuff


Triceratops Dinosaur by Felted Friends


Paul the Octopus by Mostly Mammals


Friday, October 21, 2011

Friday Etsy Favorites

Here are this week's fabulous Friday Etsy Favorites! Love! ♥

1. hip knotz ► My Little Button Boots
2. Vida Style ► Chevron Green Pillow
3. i am a bird ► Custom Fox Necklace- Hand Painted Pendant
4. Art's Delight ► Paper Garland - California Orange
5. felt jar ► Needle Felted Owl - Mini
6. Timber Green Woods ► Sustainable Wood Snowflake Ornament


Sunday, October 16, 2011

Inspiration Sunday - Where Germs Hide

Germs aren't inspirational, the opposite actually, but I thought it was really eye opening reading these articles from Yahoo about where they like to hide out.

6 Hidden Hot Spots for Germs
Article Source -

1. In The Laundry
Before loading the washer, you sort your clothes into whites and colors. Next time, consider also sorting by use: That means putting food-related items like dishcloths and kitchen towels into one load and underwear and bathroom towels into another. Why? “Most people wash all of their laundry in cold or lukewarm water, which only removes and kills about 80% of bacteria,” says Charles Gerba, PhD, a professor of microbiology at the University of Arizona in Tucson. Inside the machine, dirty wash water can spread germs through the entire load, even leaving them behind on the walls of the machine.

2. In Your Kitchen
You just made chicken cutlets for dinner, and you grab a sponge to wipe down the remnants of raw chicken, eggs and other ingredients left behind on your countertops. Stop right there! The mess you’re wiping up could include germs like salmonella (which can survive on hard surfaces for days, even months) that can cause very unpleasant stomach symptoms and fever.

Porous, wet and full of nooks for bits of food to hide in, the sponge is “a super-condo for bacteria,” says Elizabeth Scott, PhD, founder and codirector of the Center for Hygiene and Health in Home and Community at Simmons College in Boston. It’s even germier than the inside of a toilet bowl, says Dr. Gerba.

So if you’re using the same sponge to wash dishes and clean your counters, you could be just spreading more germs around.

3. At The Grocery Store
Those plastic covers made for the seat area of the shopping cart were created for good reason: “We find more E. coli on shopping carts than on toilet seats,” Dr. Gerba says. “In addition to germs from food, children’s dirty bottoms are going in the seat—and the carts are hardly ever cleaned.”

The checkout screens where you swipe your credit or ATM card aren’t great, either. In some grocery stores, up to 80% have E. coli on them—likely picked up from people handling leaky meat packages and unwashed produce, then touching the screen. Another germy spot: Your reusable grocery bag. Yes, you’re being environmentally conscious, but bacteria from meat and produce from your last trip are probably still in there. “Only 3% of people surveyed say they have ever washed their totes, and half use them for carrying other things, like dirty clothes,” Dr. Gerba says. “That’s like hauling your groceries home in your dirty underwear.”

4. In The Bathroom
Washing your hands is a no-brainer. Suds up for 15 to 20 seconds—about the time it takes to sing “Happy Birthday,” says Carlene Muto, MD, medical director for infection control at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. But the faucet itself may not be so sanitary: Constant contact with hands and moisture means the taps are teeming with bacteria. One study found that wet places like faucet handles were among the most likely places in the home to harbor superbugs like MRSA, a painful and potentially life-threatening skin infection.

Bathroom towels are another always-damp place where bacteria like E. coli (which cause stomach pain and vomiting) thrive, since they collect germs from hands and toilet droplets.

5. The Bottom of Your Bag, Suitcase or Backpack
You come home after your bag has been in a shopping cart, on the floor and who knows where else and plop it on the kitchen counter. Get ready for the gross factor: Research shows that bacteria like E. coli cling to the bottom of 18% of bags. Keep bags off the floor and whatever you do, don’t set a bag on any surface where food is made or eaten.

6. The TV Remote
Everyone touches it, but very few people ever clean it. Swab it with a disinfecting wipe or a cloth using a solution of 1 part bleach to 9 parts water.

5 Germiest Spots in Your Kitchen
Article Source -

1. Kitchen Sink
Dishes left in the sink can serve as a breeding ground for bacteria. After you've cleaned them, germs can linger in the sink and simply rinsing it won't disinfect it. Pre-wash the sink with soap and water and mix 3/4 cup of bleach into one gallon water or use an all-purpose cleaner with bleach. Wipe the sink with the solution or the cleaner and wait at least 5 minutes. If you made the bleach solution, pour it down the sink to clean the drain. Rinse the sink well with hot water.

2. Sink Faucet
Most of us don't have sensor faucets like the ones in the airport, so dirty hands can definitely contaminate the faucet and handles. Wiping them with an antibacterial wipe daily will reduce germs but you may need to use several wipes to make sure that the surfaces remain wet long enough to be disinfected.

3. Sponges
Bacteria love to hide in their moist crevices. Using a dirty one can transfer germs to other places in your kitchen. Be sure to clean them weekly and throw them away when they start falling apart.

4. Faucet Spigot
When you clean foods like lettuce and spinach for dinner, the dirt that you're washing off can splash back onto the the spigot of your sink, giving germs a new resting place. Unscrew the spigot to remove the screen filter and run hot water through it. Then wash the screen with hot soapy water, rinse, and reassemble.

5. Microwave Control
Since splatters inside the microwave are very noticeable, you probably clean them up. But do you ever think to clean the control buttons that are touched by many sticky fingers? With an antibacterial wipe give them a cleaning too.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Friday Etsy Favorites

This week's Friday Etsy Favorites are truly one of a kind! So lovely! ♥

1. Nina Gibson Designs ► Penny For Your Thoughts Ring
2. sewingseed ► You Are My Sunshine Counted Cross Stitch Pattern
3. ylleanna ► Wool Knitted and Fabric Bracelet
4. Warm Yourself ► Sleeping Owl Bike Hand Warmers Gloves
5. aubepine ► Sunstone Necklace Oxidized Sterling Silver
6. Fairyfolk ► Wool Handmade Acorns


Sunday, October 9, 2011

Inspiration Sunday - Give Thanks

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving Day here in Canada. I have SO much to give thanks for. My husband, my children, a close family, great friends, and a God who loves me unconditionally.

Some days I just sit back and reflect, thinking how blessed I am to have a roof over my head, food to eat, clothes to wear, clean running water...the list goes on. Things that I just take for granted because they have always 'just simply been there'.

I need to remember to give thanks and be thankful each and every day for all that God has given me.

Here is a bit of 'give thanks' Etsy inspiration for you! ♥

Give Thanks Glittered Leaf Tags by Little Pumpkin Papers


Keep Calm & Give Thanks Vintage Spoon by REdiscover Vintage


Give Thanks Necklace by Little Lambs Eat Ivy


Give Thanks - Thanksgiving Decor by The Jenna Rose Collection


Give Thanks Pillows by Ryens Marketplace


Give Thanks Banner by Brandywine Designs


Friday, October 7, 2011

Friday Etsy Favorites

One word for this week's Friday Etsy Favorites! Absolutely gorgeous! Well that's two words :), but really they are BEAUTIFUL! ♥

1. Kateemarie ► Owl Stone Necklace
2. Robin's Egg Blue ► Vintage Fabric Applique Leaf Pillow
3. Snugars ► Birthday Sprinkles Headband
4. atelier pompadour ► Alice Mouse Plush In Match Box
5. Serendipitous Sisters ► Large Chalkboard Heart Sign
6. Beauty Spot ► Take Your Time Pocket Watch


Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Fabulous Giveaway at Simple as That

Rebecca, the multi-talented lady behind Simple As That asked if I would create a print in celebration of her {52 weeks of the simple things} anniversary giveaway!

The winner will win one of two wall print sets I created especially for this giveway along with some FABULOUS prizes from some AMAZING sponsors...worth $250!!!

Head over to {52 weeks of the simple things} anniversary giveaway and enter to win 1 of 2 fabulous prize packages!

Here is the set of 3 prints that I created for this wonderful giveaway.


And a close-up of each.




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