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Posts tagged with: recycle

Upcycled Presents – DIY Present Idea

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I mentioned a week or so ago that I had completed my Christmas shopping for my immediate family in Texas. Everything I bought is handmade and mostly upcycled out of recycled materials. I am thrilled with my finds. I just picked up the items for my brothers today and wanted to share this really neat idea with you.

These Tiki Torch/Bug Repellant bottles were made for me by Susanne at Upcycled Inspirations. She lives on the lake and they fill these with Citronella to keeps the bugs away when they are out on their dock or deck by the water.

The Perfect Gift

While my brothers don’t live on the water, they LOVE the Cowboys football team and are definitely outdoorsy kind of dudes. I thought this would be perfect AND they are made from upcycled liquor bottles that Susanne collects from neighbors, restaurants and wherever else she can find them (can you say dumpster diving – my words, not hers.) How cool is this idea? And how affordable since probably most of know someone that could provide some bottles.

I love DIY presents, and this would be a great one to do for those outdoor living people in your life. And if you are like me and don’t have the time or desire to gather the supplies and put them together…well, you can hit up Susanne and she will take care of you.  She loaded some images of the other cool stuff she does on her Facebook page.

I do not know Susanne personally, I just met her at a craft fair downtown in our tiny town a couple of weeks ago. I am not receiving any kick back for this post (although I wouldn’t turn it down.) I just wanted to let you know about this cool DIY present and give credit where credit was due.


Mended Knees: A Lesson from the Kiddos

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Yesterday as our kids were getting dressed for preschool, one of my daughters picked out a pair of pants to put on that had a big hole in the knee.

My initial thought to myself was, “well, those pants now belong in the trash.”

I told my daughter the pants-with-the-hole weren’t going to work and that she needed to pick out different pants.

Her initial reaction (in stark contrast to mine) was to say, “That’s okay! Grandma knows how to sew and she can fix it!”

I was initially a little surprised – Grandma sews? How do you know?

And then my surprise turned to embarrassment. My own daughter doesn’t even know that know how to sew, too. Here I am, trying to teach these life-lessons over water bottles and I’m just going to throw away a pair of pants that still fit just fine when I could easily mend the knee with a couple quick stitches. I don’t own a sewing machine or anything fancy, but we sure do have some little sewing kits and mending a knee by hand is no-big-deal.

I sent my kid off to school with different pants, but that same evening I busted out the old needle-and-thread. It took all of 5 minutes to mend the knee until the hole was no-more.

How easy it is to forget and slip back into old habits. I was thankful for the gentle reminder from my 4-year-old to live frugally, try not to waste, and to take care of our things rather than simply discarding them.

In other news, we sure did run out of money before the month was over this month. Don’t you hate it when you end up with more month than money? lol ; )  We’re doing a no-spend week all week. I did semi-cheat a little because I had a Fry’s gift card (which is a local grocery store). I had to use it to get some gas (they have their own gas pumps) and some very basic necessities (lunch meat, bread, milk). But no money is coming out of our account for anything for the rest of the month. I know there are only 4 more days at this point, but we started 3 days ago so it will be a solid week in total. Fingers crossed there are no disasters and nothing crazy comes up! (knock on wood)

What are simple ways that you try to reduce waste at your house?


National Family Game Night!

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Tonight is National Family Game Night according to the folks at Hasbro. They encourage families to turn off the electronics and spend quality time together.

My parents have always been huge proponents of family time without electronics. Growing up, we were VERY limited on TV and gaming console time. Weekends were intended for family and that meant playing card games and outdoor sports together. Nearly 40 years later, not much has changed. Most of the time at my parents’ home is spent in the kitchen cooking together or in the dining room around the family table playing a hand of Skip-Bo.

Sure, there were disagreements and yes, dad may have once thrown the Monopoly game into the air and lost half the pieces… but that’s where the folks at Hasbro come to save the day! Hasbro is offering to recycle those old games with missing pieces. In exchange, you can get coupons for savings on new games (you can get coupons without recycling as well). Worried about paying postage? Hasbro has that covered too! Pre-paid shipping labels can be printed directly from their website.

For more info, check out: http://www.hasbro.com/games/en_US/familygamenight_promo.cfm


Diving into our Emergency Fund…Again

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We received an interesting letter from our insurance company. They ‘asked’ us to install safety flood lighting in front of our home due to the continuation of the seemingly never-ending legal battle we’re in. If changes are not made by the date listed, we would be dropped.

Murphy’s Law has moved in to our home.

Let’s see, the incident happened nearly three years ago, didn’t happen on my property, and wouldn’t have been prevented by flood lights but…

Sure. Now seems like a great time to demand a change (To be fair, there are 5 watt nightlights brighter than our porch lamp so I can’t exactly fault them for saying we are inadequately lit).

My husband knew how to run the wire and install the fixtures but the $300 price tag for materials pushed us over the edge. We had to…

Dive into our emergency fund.

The whole weekend, as my husband made repeated trips to Lowes, I tried to figure out how we could possibly pay for it without dipping into our emergency cash.

When the job was done, my husband suggested we recycle the stack of cans he had been saving and I thought, ‘Sure. $5 of recycling is going to save us’ but went along anyway to help him sort the bottles and cans.

30 minutes of sorting in 95 degree heat really helped my attitude problem.

How much did we net at the recycling place? $477.85.

How? My husband took the $27.85 earned from recycling and, since neither of us had our wallets, lifted the lid to put it in his truck center console and found a $450 check payment from a side job he was paid for a month and a half ago and forgot about. (Yes, that was a long run-on sentence)

If I wasn’t so happy about putting it back into our emergency fund, I probably would have smacked him for forgetting about it in the first place.

Emergency floodlights and part of the vet bills… covered. Whew!


Some things should be left to the professionals…

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Encouraged by the free landscape designer (and the sage advice from my awesome readers), I decided to save some money and grow several plants from seeds. The $1.25 seed packets vs. the costly $6.99 plants looked to save me nearly $100.

Realizing my planting skills barely rivaled a 4th grader, I sought planter packs designed for small children. I spent $10 on supplies, read the directions (twice), and gently planted the seeds.

According to the seed packets, sprouts would appear in 10 days.

2 weeks passed and there was no green in sight.

After another long week, I finally gave in after day 24 and threw the sproutless pots into the green recycle bin.

A few days ago, while trimming some hedges, I opened the bin, tossed the branches, and noticed something funny…

Every single pot I had angrily thrown away was sprouting with life in my recycle bin. Plants are safer in my trashcan than they are with me.

I can’t afford a landscaper… but my husband is hereby the official garden keeper in this house. I’m sticking to what I’m good at – cleaning!

Stupid Plants.