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Various Updates


I keep thinking of things that I should give updates on. You know, things I say we are doing or thinking of doing. I’m not sure I could write a post about each, so I’ll put them all here. Here we go…

Bread Making – It’s fresh in my mind since I made some a few days ago. Yup, we still love our homemade bread. We still do buy bread from the grocery store when it’s on sale or we need sandwich bread (I’m still playing with recipes for a good sandwich bread). The recipe I use is here. I’ve even used it for bread crumbs and I make our own croutons now. Yummy!

Soda Pop – Are we still a non soda-pop family? If it has caffeine…yes. If it is caffeine free…no. However, we have only purchased one 2 liter of Sierra Mist since January 2nd. We had it as part of a special movie treat for the family. All of us had the day off but the weather did not cooperate for outdoor fun. So we got a few treats and rented a 3-D movie (Journey to the Center of the Earth).

Sewing Machine – I have tried probably 4 more times to get that thing to work using my non-mechanical brain. No luck. I did hear back from the company and they said that they don’t have any record of that model. Granted, the model is from the 70s, but I can find references to it. I did find a manual on eBay, but I’m going to shop around to see if I can find something else. I may also look into a sewing class, sewing tutor or find a sewing buddy that may be able to help me.

Grocery Price Book – I love our grocery price book. It does have a few drawbacks. Instead of suspecting that a price of something has increased – I know for sure. That happened the last time we went shopping. Numerous items went up 20 cents each. Ouch. I need to figure out how to downsize it a little because a four page shopping list (since I print our price book when we do our monthly shopping), pen and calculator are a little tough for me to hold/use.

Paper Towels – Paper towels are still hidden and our use of them has plummeted. We enjoy using our washable kitchen towels for hand drying and simple clean-ups.

Drying Clothes – We are still hanging a good portion of our laundry to let it air dry (shirts, bath towels and soft pants). Blue jeans still get put in the dryer since they air dry stiff as a board. As a result, we’ve cut our dryer use in half.

Swaptree – I haven’t traded again on Swaptree and I officially did not receive my book and probably never will. Swaptree has went through their procedure of trying to contact the other user and was unsuccessful. I did have a few successful trades and received some great books so I don’t regret it. I probably shouldn’t be spending money on books anyway. We still love the library!

My Trusty Shovel – My shovel is still broken (I wasn’t able to repair it) and we haven’t replaced it. Stubborn as I am, I figured out a way to hold it so I can still use that shovel! I occasionally use another one when I have to lift heavy snow.

Whew! I had more updates than I thought 🙂


  • Reply jaye |

    Do you have a stand mixer? The Barefoot Contessa’s recipe for Honey White Bread if fantastic and so easy. My kids love it. I haven’t bought bread in months!

  • Reply fitwallet |

    I just started baking bread a couple of weeks ago and absolutely love it! I’ve always been intimidated by baking bread for some reason–maybe because of all the different rising times, techniques, etc. But now I have a bread machine and feel much more confident. Last night I make my own whole wheat loaf by hand. Fun and tasty 🙂

  • Reply Tricia |

    jaye – we do have a stand mixer, so that helps a lot with making bread since it does all of the kneading. While we bought our mixer on the credit card years ago, it’s one of those purchases that I don’t regret. It’s been so useful!

  • Reply Donna |

    Tricia, the best sandwich bread recipe I have found is the White Mountain Bread recipe in Beth Hensperger’s Bread Bible book. It turn out an awesome loaf (actually 2) of bread. I make this bread ususally 2x a week (we go through a lot of bread!) and it never disappoints. See if your library has that book and copy down the recipe. You won’t be disappointed!

  • Reply Michelle |

    Tricia – I have a friend who air dries all of his clothes – he says that he still air dries blue jeans, but he just throws them into the dryer for a few minutes after they’re dry and that takes the stiffness out …

  • Reply mapgirl |

    1. Have you tried bread flour yet vs all purpose? I have found for pizza dough, the bread flour’s high protein/gluten content is amazing. Though I have yet to try it with regular bread, I think it will help me avoid the ‘cake’ texture I’ve been getting with AP and hand kneading.

    2. Have you had the sewing machine refurbished at all? They do need regular oiling and maintenance, so your sewing might improve with a once-over. The tensioning knobs will work better and stuff like that. Plus the ppl at the shop can show you the basics of things if you have forgotten. However, I found that a refurb costs about $100 in DC where I live. But well worth it to save my vintage machine.

    3. I love real cloth kitchen towels. Now we use paper towels only for messy spills like dog pee or oil. It’s easy to run a load of jeans with kitchen towels included. But we don’t air dry them since the jeans are going in the dryer anyway.

  • Reply Susan |

    Michelle & Tricia,

    That’s funny – cuz I do the opposite. I throw the jeans in the dryer while I hang everything up to line dry in the basement. Then when everything else is up, I take the jeans out of the dryer and hang them. They end up drying nice and soft. I guess they need some dryer time – either at beginning or end – to soften them up.

  • Reply Stacy |

    Neat ways to save money (and go green at the same time). I’ve been doing several of the things you mentioned, but the one thing that I can’t handle is baking bread from scratch. I baked my first loaf a couple of weeks ago and ate half of it within the first day. Fresh bread is way too tempting for me! :-p

  • Reply Sally |

    Hi Tricia,

    You can go to Amazon.com and look up Beth Hensperger’s Bread Bible book. Click on the link just above the photo of the book’s cover labeled, “Click to look inside”. Then enter “White Mountain Bread” in the search box and it will take you that page. But you do have to have an account at Amazon.com to look inside. Accounts are free. You don’t have to buy anything.

    I did a “screen capture” with my computer of the 3 pages of the “White Mountain Bread” recipe. This way you can try the recipe before even checking it out at the library or buying it.

    Paper Towels: At my house, because we have a chopsaw in the workshop, I position my paper towel rolls under the blade, hold it in place with a gloved hand, and cut it in half! You get two clean edged rolls slightly bigger than a toilet tissue roll. It’s cheaper than buying the Select-A-Size paper towels and literally cuts our paper towel use in half. Plus the size of the roll seems to send the message of don’t use too much.

  • Reply Rachel |

    Tricia–What brand and model of machine is it? Perhaps someone who’s reading will have a lead for you.

  • Reply Tricia |

    Sally – I just checked out the recipe – it sounds delicious! Thank you for sharing that tip!! I’ll have to try it when I do our next batch.

    Rachel – it is a White model 793.

  • Reply CathyG |

    Hi Tricia –

    I’ve be en following your blog and a few others for a while now. Tonight I tried to go to “We Need to be Debt Free” and got a message that the blog has been removed. Do you know if everything’s OK with JW and his family?


  • Reply Ishtar |

    Perhaps you could leave the jeans in the shade instead? It sounds as though they are getting too much sun.

  • Reply danielle |

    Regarding soda- I gave up mountain dew, kind of (well, I cut back a LOT). I didn’t give it up for the caffeine, though, I gave it up for the sugar, aspartame, corn syrup, etc. I’m not afraid to take an exedrin if I have caffeine withdraw symptoms. I noticed that doing without all the sugary, bubbly soda made me drop a few pounds kind of quickly.

  • Reply MrPlasectomy |

    These are several great money saving areas. Like you we have tried to utilized some of them. We stopped drinking soda and that helped out a lot. When were consuming 12 packs every week down to maybe a 2 liter once a month is a big change.

    Paper towels are a huge expense for our family. With three small children spills and messes are everywhere. We finally wised up and started using the kitchen towels as washing them is a lot cheaper than buying 12 packs of paper towels for $10 every other week.

  • Reply momstheword |

    I have a mini notebook that I carry in my purse. At the top of the page I write an item (like Milk) or a category (like Dairy) and I write the prices in pencil. That way I can change them later. It’s nice to have with you because it’s small, doesn’t take up much room, and you always have the best prices at your fingerprints.

  • Reply Another Reader |

    You haven’t said much about your business or your husband’s employment recently. Is the business growing? Is your husband still employed at the same job? Are these income sources helping to pay down the credit card debt?

  • Reply Tricia |

    CathyG – I was pretty concerned too when I saw JW’s blog was deleted. I talked to JW and all is well with his family. Recent events led to him having to delete his blog.

  • Reply Tricia |

    Another Reader – my husband is still full-time and I am still part-time. We both are at the same jobs. The business is growing, and has been helping substantially with our debt reduction lately. Next month, it will also provide a big kick when a new product is launched.

So, what do you think ?