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Friday, July 30, 2010

Frugal Lifestyle Tips - 21 Simple Ways to Save Money

Financial debt can certainly consume you in more ways that one. It can rob you of sleep, it can cause major anxiety, it can interfere in your marriage, and it can cause you a severe bout of depression. While some of these go hand in hand, there are a growing number of financial debt affects that can result in an unhealthy lifestyle.

With the worldwide failing economy, there has to be certain things we can do to alleviate some of that burden. Well, there are quite a few practical money saving tips that can economically benefit you and your family. Let's take a look at some of those things.

1) Drink Water: The beverage you drink on a daily basis should be water. Not only will this save you money, but consuming at least 8 full glasses of water each day is extremely healthy for you.

2) Eat Out Less: Stay at home and cook more often verses going out to eat. You can still have that scheduled Friday or Saturday night evening out, but otherwise stick to cooking at home more throughout the week and you will be surprised at how much you save in a year's time.

3) Ditch That Daily Morning Latte: You know that daily morning latte that you think you have to have on the way back home from taking the kids to school? Ditch that, you don't need it. Make your own at home and you'll save a bundle in just a month's time.

4) Dryer Vent Seal: Make for sure your clothes dryer has a dryer vent seal. This is an air leakage control device. We have one on ours and it's definitely a money saver.

5) Grocery Shopping Online: Try doing your grocery shopping online. Sometimes you are able to save a considerable amount of your hard-earned dollars by doing this. An added plus, you will save on gas and time as well.

6) Downsize To One Car Family: Downsize from a two car family to a one car family. Look at some car pooling options as well as re evaluating your family's transportation needs.

7) Homemade Gifts: When giving gifts, look into your creative side and make your gifts verses buying them. Maybe you love scrapbooking, or perhaps you like to crochet. Most people appreciate the homemade gifts better than the expensive store bought.

8) Your Children and Finances: Teach your children early on that money doesn't grow on trees, as the old saying goes. An allowance is a good thing for them to learn the process of earning money. Furthermore, instill in them the importance of saving.

9) Phone Bill, Internet, and Cable: If you haven't done so already, look into combining all 3 of these into one bill. You can save a bundle by dong this. I know Charter and AT &T has some good deals.

10) Combining Insurances Into One Bill: A lot of people have their medical, life, and home insurance all through one company. A lot of insurance companies offer this. It's worth checking into, as it can save you money.

11) Online Coupons: There is a wealth of information on the Internet, including coupons. Just type in the type of "printable coupons" you are looking for into Google.com and you will come up with a lot of sites to check out.

12) Timeshare Vacation Deals: We all get those calls don't we? Would you like a "free vacation?" Well, of course there is always a catch for these deals. You often have to sit in on an hour or hour and a half long sales presentation. A lot of people take advantage of this. This can save you a ton of money. Type "timeshare vacations" into Google.com and you'll find lots of options.

13) Saving Leftover Foods: After meals if you have quite a bit of leftovers, don't throw it out! Freeze it and make something different with it for another meal time. Also for small leftovers, save it for lunch for the next day.

14) Yard and Rummage Sales: If you have time for these, go to them! Often times, you can find some really good bargains. And there are some people that have clothing items for sale that have never been worn (with the tags still attached) at extremely low prices. These items may be just your size and what you've been looking for.

15) Walk Instead Of Drive: Whenever possible and when in walking distance, leave the car in the garage and walk to your destination. Not only will you save on fuel and wear and tear on your car, you will also get some needed exercise.

16) Saving Coins: Coins can add up quickly. At the end of each week, gather any extra coins that have accumulated in your car and your purse, and keep them in a piggy bank or a good size container. Every so often take those coins to the bank and either put the money in your checking account, savings account, or just get the cash for it. This is great for saving up for vacations or home improvement projects.

17) Enjoy Time At Home Instead Of Going Out: Have friends over or have a family night instead of going out. If your family enjoys these planned special nights, make it a weekly routine. You'd be surprised at how much you will save in a year's time doing this.

18) Store Credit Cards At Home: Instead of keeping your credit cards in your wallet or purse, store them at home in a safe place. This way, you will resist the urge to buy on impulse. Use them only for emergencies.

19) Set Your Bills On Automatic Bank Draft: Instead of writing out checks each month, save on both time and stamps and schedule your bills for automatic bank draft.

20) Save On Electric: When you're away from home or during the night, adjust your thermostat. Do this for both heating and cooling.

21) Online Freebies: There are tons of freebie websites. You may have to take a quick survey to get those items for free. It only takes a few minutes, take advantage of these sites and do the surveys. It is well worth it to save a few bucks.

Article Written By Tammy Embrich

Tammy is an Internet marketer, article marketer, and ghostwriter. You can find more grandparenting and parenting articles, tips, and personal experiences, as well as photos and recipes at Grandma's Home Blogger Place









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Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Sign of the End Times - Man Selling Spaces in Underground Bunker

A San Diego man is selling spaces in a hidden bunker for people wanting to escape the coming doomsday 2012 catastrophes. It will cost you $50,000 per per person to save yourself and members of your family by joining Robert Vicino in the bunker, actually a huge complex he is building out of an old Cold War structure somewhere in the southern California desert.

The underground shelter will have supplies enough to accommodate 200 people for up to a year. It will be able to withstand almost any kind of natural or man-made disaster. Besides a blast-proof, 3,000-pound door, the bunker will be fenced off behind razor wire and other barriers.

The idea is that when disaster strikes, the people who've paid for a place in Vicino's hideout will meet at designated rendezvous points and be escorted in, possibly by helicopters. Inside, thanks to the $10 million Vicino is spending on the structure's refit, they will find such necessities as a decontamination room and such comforts as an exercise facility.

The California bunker is envisioned as just the first of several that will be built around the country.

Clearly, some people are taking the 2012 doomsday predictions seriously. And no wonder. Not only do ancient prophecies, from different cultures, all agree that something big is coming at us, but so does science, from seismology to astronomy.

Survival will be the key word from here on out. Your own survival might not depend on finding a bunker to crawl into, but it will require preparation -- and being alert to the signs of the times.

Want to learn more about what's coming for 2012?

Don't believe everything you hear about 2012 and what it will mean to you personally -- but don't dismiss it all, either. The truth is out there and can be known. See the 2012 Predictions site at http://www.2012alarm.com.


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Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Micro Farming For Your Survival Garden

Micro farming is not a new concept. In fact, 15% of the world's food comes from micro farms. Essentially, they make the most of the land they own. There are instances where there are self sustaining micro farms in the city on land as small as 1/5th of an acre, and provide food for a family of four! Micro farmers make the most of the land they have by using natural ways to cultivate the land for higher yields and by finding natural ways to feed the soil the needed nutrients for the plants. The use of composting, crop rotation and companion planting are a large part of the success for these tiny farms.

Currently, with the exorbitant increase of food prices, many people are literally taking this problem into their own hands. People are planting survival gardens in their back yards to supplement their tighter budgets as well as become more self sustaining in the process.

Survival Garden Basics:

- Plan out crops that will be planted and find companion plants to plant along side of them. Companion planting is an organic farming technique. Essentially, certain plants, when planted in close proximity to another will give off nutrients of what each plant needs for fertilizer.

-Only plant heirloom or Non-GMO (non genetically modified) plant varieties. The reasoning for this is because after the plants have produced, the seeds can be collected for the next season's use.

-Research the nutritional content of the seeds to get the most nutrition from what you grow.

-Find seeds for the whole season. Planting a garden is not only for Spring and Summer. Finding plant varieties for the colder months will help keep food on the table and take less money out of the bank accounts.

-After collecting the seeds from the plant, store the seeds in a waterproof container or bag and store in a dark, cool place.

-When the plant is finished producing, collect the seeds and toss the non-yielding adult plants in the compost heap.

-Make the most of the already existing space. Use floating or raised beds for added gardening space. Use fencing as a support for vine growing plants.

-Find information out about rotating crops to further feed the soil. Some plants have a tendency to need higher amounts of nitrogen, thus stripping the soil of the nutrient in the process. When the next season comes around, find plants that do not need as much nitrogen and plant in that area.

Practice Makes Perfect:

Farming is one of the ways that made the United States so great. Generations have passed since the United States citizens were primarily farmers, and now it seems the time is upon us to re-educate ourselves on this topic. It is important to add that gardening mistakes are made, and some gardens do fail, but the more someone sticks with it, the better off they and the garden will be. And though it may be true that some of us will inevitably be the hand of death to the plants, it is better to make mistakes now, than when a survival garden is really needed. In all honesty, the gardening process is rather easy once a little research has been done and action has been taken.

Tess Pennington is the lead content contributor for http://www.readynutrition.com. Ready Nutrition is an educational resource for those wanting to learn more about home safety preparedness, learning how to cope in disaster situations, and for those wanting to learn how to be more self sustaining. Her career at the American Red Cross left her with years of experience in safety and disaster preparedness. Tess is establishing herself as one of the foremost authorities on safety development and disaster preparedness on the internet. She describes herself as a mixture of Martha Stewart and Les Stroud.

Tess Pennington's work today encompasses:

• Teaching disaster preparedness
• Informing readers about the importance of preparing for any given situation.
• Writing
• Speaking
• Media consultation

Tess lives in Texas with her husband and three rambunctious children.
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Survival Books - A Treasure Trove of Unlimited Knowledge

For a survival researcher, it is baffling to see the large number of texts on display in library shelves, book stores, e-catalogs, and blogs, and choosing the right one usually becomes a nightmare. There are books on outdoor survival, emergency preparedness, disaster survival, and terrorist attack survival, as well as those covering the possibilities of nuclear, chemical and biological warfare. The average reader, therefore, is quite justified in questioning "Where do I start?" The answer, fortunately, is simpler than it looks. Since most survival books, and particularly those written in the last decade or two, target the average reader, the beginner can gain the knowledge he needs from a wide variety of books. The best approach usually is to select, as a starting point, one or two general books that cover almost all aspects of survival. Once you are familiar with the fundamentals, you can refine your field of study according to what you feel is your most urgently needed knowledge, or according to interests. I will present here a general selection of survival books, which should be a good place for you to start, and should help you identify the areas which you want top explore further.

The best book to start with is, I feel, "Ultimate Survival Skills - Secrets to Staying Alive, Anytime, Anywhere." The reason that it makes a good starting point is its approachability: it is written in easy-to-understand, everyday language, and the style is engaging so that it is a fun and informative read. The information given is new for beginners, so you learn a lot while avoiding information overload, and consequently, you can retain almost everything the author describes.

If you find it too brief for your liking, however, then Cody Lundin's "When All Hell Breaks Loose - Stuff you need to survive when disaster strikes" is an excellent alternate. It is more pertinent to our daily lives, as it focuses mostly on urban emergency situations and disasters. Therefore, even for those who do not intend to be part of an outdoor activity any time soon, this book contains useful information that might just help save their lives. Further, this book is extremely easy to read, as well as being enormously entertaining, and once again, easy to retain.

What do you do, however, once you are past the basics? Again, you certainly face an overwhelmingly large number of alternatives. John Wiseman's "SAS Survival Handbook: How to Survive in the Wild, in any Climate, On Land, or at Sea" is, I feel, a very strong candidate here. The key feature of the work is that it provides very detailed survival knowledge at the same time as being very approachable. If you are upset with the fact that books for advanced learners almost always use boring, tiring jargon and complex writing styles, then this book is a great option for you. The full color illustrations of poisonous and edible plants, animals and herbs are extremely helpful in an actual outdoor survival situation. This is also a good place to learn fire craft, hunting, shelter building and navigation skills.

Of course, if you simply want a carry along guide for a potentially life threatening situation, the US Army Survival Manual ought to serve you well. It deals with all types of survival skills in exhaustive detail, and you can find in it all the information that you could possibly need in the event of any disaster or emergency.

If you are a complete novice in the field of survival, you can read any one of these books for a start and then decide what particular aspect of survival you wish to research further. For more advanced learners, however, it is best to learn more about aspects that you do not already know about, just to ensure that you can hold your own in absolutely any kind of survival situation.

For even more survival books, tips, and advice, check out the #1 site on the net for survivalists at:

http://www.survivalskillsoutdoors.com


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Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Get Creative With A Cheap Food!!

One of the best ways that I have found to be frugal at dinner time is to use Ramen Noodles!! I fix them many different ways and they are so cheap. At our local grocery store you can either get a six pack for 79 cents or sometimes they have them 10 for a $1.00!! The savings is great.

Here are some of my favorite ramen noodle cookbooks. You will be amazed when you see all that you can do with Ramen Noodles.
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Monday, July 19, 2010

Tips on Saving Money On Food

Use a combination of methods to save on food prices.


Food prices are going up. Blame it on the weather, gas prices, politics, or whatever, prices will always go up - sometimes faster, sometimes slower, prices will always go up. Instead of constantly trying to adjust your budget upwards, take another road... adjust your food skills to make your food budget work.
The only way to truly save on food is to use several different tactics at once. Don't get hung up on coupons or cooking from scratch or sales prices to the exclusion of other methods. The more ways you cut your food bill, the more money you can save.

Usually the first thing to consider is shopping for food. Saving at the time you shop is a priority. You must be aware of sales psychology to win the battle and you must be aware of the little and not so little tricks that food distributors use to get more of your money.


Watch out when they change package design, because they may be changing size and price, too.
If you find a good sale, stock up as much as you can without overdoing it. Don't buy at 10% off then find out it's 25% off the next week. It's hard to see how this works if you don't create a grocery price book . It's essential to your shopping decisions to keep a record of prices and sizes that will help you know if you're getting bargain prices or not.

Only use coupons on food you would buy anyway. You're not saving anything if you buy something you don't normally eat. If you use a coupon on a brand name, be sure it still doesn't cost more than the store brand. Call a spade a spade. If you want to use a coupon on something you seldom or never buy, call it a splurge or an experiment. It's not a savings.

Other places than grocery stores sell food. Look around. Convenience stores sometimes have lower prices on milk or bread cheaper than chain stores, so keep alert. Take advantage of every opportunity you find for getting food cheaply or free. There may be more opportunities than you realize - including the ones you create for yourself!

Grow your own food whenever and however it's possible. You might be pleasantly surprised at how much you really can grow, even if you live in a high rise apartment. A windowsill will grow herbs, garlic and chives... why buy them? If you have just a little room, container gardening can get you lots of cheap food.

Don't forget about the wild (free) food that's abundant almost anywhere - even in a city park. (But be careful of chemicals and animal droppings.)

Getting all that food won't do you much good if you don't store it properly. Even if you can't do a lot, do what you can. Find a way to not waste it.

After a good meal from your cheap or free food, use leftovers - all of them - creatively for even more savings. What you don't throw out is what you don't have to buy. You may even be throwing out some things without realizing they're edible. Don't throw away stems, leaves, parings, or even bones unless you're absolutely sure they're of no value.

Finally, make your own bread. There's nothing magic about it, although the taste sure seems like it! You can save a lot on the price of bread by baking your own. Here's a "never fail" recipe/method for doing it for beginners and old hands alike: Bread Making for Beginners and Others

Then save even more by skipping the commercial yeast. It doesn't have to be an old family secret and it's fine if it's NOT from somewhere else. Using sourdough starter is a little different, but not much. A time or two and you'll be comfortable with the method.

More ways to save:

Use cheapest cuts of meat and tenderize by marinating and/or cooking methods like boiling or slow roasting.
Use cheese, etc., for protein instead of meat.
Buy meat by the serving, not by the pound.
Have a vegetarian meal now and then even if you're not a vegetarian. Meat is usually the most expensive part of a meal. Eggs and peanut butter are cheaper protein than meat.
Never go shopping when you're hungry
Make a list, take a list, buy from a list
Check the sales circulars before you shop
Avoid junk food of any kind
Avoid "convenience food" - don't pay for something you can do yourself
Eat seasonally. No watermelon in January, no apples in July.
Eat regionally. Lobsters don't grow in the Rockies and beef doesn't grow in New York City. Limit the food on which you have to pay shipping.
Using every method, trick and tip you can find, you CAN keep your food budget under control.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Homeschooling on The Cheap

Homeschooling can be an expensive alternative to public schooling. But, its worth it. Right? Well, that depends. If you have extra money that you want to spend on schooling then by all means do it. But if you don't have the extra money don't let that scare you away from homeschooling. In fact, most of the homeschooling we did was done free or at least very cheap.

You can find a ton of textbooks , crafts items, games, and more for very cheap at yardsales and thrift stores.

You can find tons of free info on the internet. They have free printables, free ebooks, worksheets, and even get free items sent to you. I went to google and did searches for free homeschool , free homeschooling, free samples, free printables, and more !! The ideas are endless.

Also utilize your library!! They have tons of books, videos, copy machine, etc. Also if there is a book you need and they do not have it they are able to get it for you.

There is alot of experiments you can do on the cheap, teach kids about math while cooking, teach about money when shopping, and more.

We always had fun going to parks, fishing, going to museums, zoos, and more.

There are ways to make homeschooling cheap. If you use your imagination you and your kids will have more fun and you both will be learning new stuff each day!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Advice on How to Survive the Recession

There are many ways a person can learn survival tools in this economy. One way would be to try conversing with one of those who have lived through the great depression. Such a person will undoubtedly be happy to share their struggles and would welcome a chat about how to make it on little. No matter how bad conditions are now, they pale when compared to then.

Here are some words of wisdom a depression era woman shared with the writer of this article. She was born and raised in Western Washington State and lived on a dairy farm where she and her family ate berries, cheese, milk, butter and the occasional meat and they were able to survive without much intervention from the outside. Her family ate from the produce of their land, trading vegetables with those who had neighboring farms. They canned their own fruits, and learned ways to store their vegetables. Meat was a luxury item and they would kill a chicken or other animal only occasionally and learned to make cakes without proper ingredients. Though it was hard, her family endured and lived to be stronger because of the experience. It really was a matter of adapting for them and living with what they were given. No matter what the circumstances she proved that if a person is willing to he or she can learn to make the best of their situation.

City dwellers practicing basic gardening skills can learn to grow some of their own food in backyard greenhouses or hothouses or even by growing small plants indoors. Chickens are allowed in many cities and eggs can be available without much extensive planning needed, and they eat from a diverse and naturally plentiful supply of food and do not need a lot of store bought feed. Plants can be purchased from plant nurseries and if given the right kind of garden soil and fertilizer are much more hardy once started then plants grown from seeds.

Americans have become much too dependent on grocery stores and banks and virtual money instead of old-fashioned trade. With a bartering system and a little tender loving care people can learn to be responsible for providing at least a little of their own food supply and if Americans would look to their forefathers they can learn to survive and weather the storms of a recession.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Is a Survival Seed Bank Enough For Urban Survival?

Survival seed banks have become increasingly popular over the last year or so. These are kits with seeds in them that can be saved for a few years that can in many cases grow up to an acre of food in times of need. It's kind of the ultimate backup plan for a survivalist when it comes to food. But is something like a survival seed bank enough for urban or city survival?

There is nothing wrong with relying on growing food to have food in a time of need or longer term disaster. But you still need something for today if you are in that situation. A survival seed bank will work appropriately assuming that you are plant and start at the right point of the year.

What you need for today is some food stored away that you can actually eat right now. Make sure that you have two weeks or better yet a thirty day supply of food that you can rely on at any point in time.

For fresh greens growing them from your seed bank is an option but also consider using sprouts. Sprouts like alfalfa, broccoli, wheat, and others can be grown in a jar with just water in about four day to a week's time.

This is a great option because these types of seeds can be stored for a few years as well and don't required soil and sunlight to grow. This can subsidize your diet with fresh greens when your acre of seeds may not be able to be planted or haven't yet produced a crop.

Do you have a plan for natural disasters or pandemics?

Click and learn Urban Survival Skills to properly prepare and be ready for these situations.

Discover Food Storage Secrets that let you have a good supply of food without constant worry about expiration dates.


http://www.urban-survival.info/

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Tips For Self Sufficient Living in Urban Locations

A lot of people believe they can't make changes to move toward a more self-sufficient life when they live in an urban area, but that's simply not true. There are plenty of ways to become more self-sufficient, no matter where you live.

One of the best things you can do for yourself is to set up an indoor garden. This could be a hydroponic garden, or it could be a container garden. Either type is fine, as long as you can locate them near a very sunny window or use artificial lighting.

If you don't have a lot of space indoors, you can use a shelf system to do this. Simply buy or create a system of shelf units against a wall, placing the plants in containers on the shelves, with grow lights attached to the shelving units underneath each shelf. If you're going to do this, be very careful when watering your plants, because any water that drips down could short out the lights and cause a fire.

Another way to become more self-sufficient is to set up your own business. The job market is very volatile at the moment, and even people who have been working for the same company for decades are finding themselves unemployed. By setting up your own business, you will be able to control your future a bit more than you could if you relied solely on your job.

You can start your business on a part time basis while working at a regular job. Build it up slowly. Then if you ever find yourself unemployed, you have that to fall back on. It's a lot easier to grow an existing business with an existing base of customers or clients than it is to start one from scratch after finding yourself suddenly unemployed!

Finally, you should start building up a reserve of cash, food, and supplies. You should make it a priority to build up reserves of cash and food to last you for at least three months. If you can save up more, you should definitely do so. It never hurts to be prepared, and if you ever find yourself without a job or facing an emergency, you'll be better prepared to deal with it.

These are just a few ways to move toward self-sufficiency. For more information about Self Sufficient Living, visit http://www.SelfSufficientLiving.net. You'll learn about urban farming, sustainable living, renewable energy, and lots more!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

A Cheap & Healthy Snack


Peanut Butter Balls

1/4 cup honey
1/3 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup powdered milk

Can add 1/3 cup coconut, if you like.

All you do is mix these ingredients together and shape into balls and EAT!!
These are very good and nutritious and KIDS LOVE THEM!!



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Sunday, July 11, 2010

Have A Clothes Swap Party


Invite all of your friends over for a party and have them all bring clothing that they do not wear and have a fun night of clothes swapping. Have drinks and food. You could even play games and have Fashion shows. It would be a fun night and you would get some nice free clothing for free. Heck you could even make it a bring your own food type of thing also. Have a buffet set up. If you all have kids , make sure they include kids clothing. Download our free toolbar

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Easy Banana S'Mores

This is a easy and cheap snack to make your children.

2 Bananas; sliced

2 Flat chocolate bars

2 Small jars marshmallow fluff

Nabisco Honey Maid Grahams

Put 2 bananas slices on a graham cracker, add a square of chocolate and a
large spoonful of marshmallow fluff. Put another graham cracker on top and
squish together.

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Friday, July 9, 2010

Get Creative To Save Money!

The first rule of saving money is to spend less than you make. But, with prices on everything going up and up , it is not easy to do. So it's really important to make wise choices about what you do with your money. You need to be creative when money is tight.
Here are some ideas on how to save money in creative ways:

1. This is an obvious idea -- BUY LESS!! Before you buy anything , think about it long and hard! Do you REALLY need it???

2. Trade your stuff with others. Have a clothing swap party! Use that idea and come up with other type of "SWAP" parties that you could have.

3. Sell the stuff you already have and do not use to make the extra money for that "extra" stuff you want. Have a yard sale, sell it on ebay, or set up at flea markets.

4. Buy , salvage, repair, or re-purpose used stuff. Do not go out and buy new things if you have something that might need repaired. Shop at thrift stores and yard sales.

5. Make your own stuff. Learn how to sew. Bake your own bread, cookies, and cakes. Go to the library and get a book on how to make stuff homemade and do it.

6. Start your own garden!! Veggies taste so much better fresh! Get a rain barrel to catch water to use on your yard and garden.

Use some of these ideas and come up with your own to save money. Have fun with coming up with ways to save money. get the whole family involved.

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Thursday, July 8, 2010

Use Your Library

Bored and Low on money?? Go to your local library.
You can get books, movies, music, use computers, and more at the library. It is fun for your children to go to the library and it is a great tool for anyone that is home schooling. I love the library because it is all FREE!( unless you get a late charge!) I get to read all of the latest books. I do research. Whenever I have not had internet service at home , I can go to the library and use the computers there.
The library is a great place for anyone!! Go and check out your local one and have some fun that is FREE!








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Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Solar Shower

I cannot remember where I got this article from , but it was saved on my computer. A couple of years ago. If anyone knows where this is from please let me know.

ENJOY!



I'm not sure when I decided to construct a solar shower for my family, but I do know that I was inspired by an article in either COUNTRYSIDE or one of the other homesteading magazines. I remember thinking, "What a neat idea," and with five active little boys to clean up every day, I knew that it could be a very practical and money-saving tool, as well as just a nice way to cool off at the end of a hot summer day.

As I researched the subject on the Internet, I soon learned that most of the commercially available solar showers are of the small, five-gallon, camping type designed to be hung in the sun for a few hours. These are simple, convenient, quite expensive, but hardly adequate for a large family. Among do-it-yourselfers, water heater cores painted black seem to be popular as water reservoirs. One imaginative fellow used collected rainwater channeled through long lengths of black polyethylene pipe coiled in the sun (this shower was actually too hot!). I found many inventive examples, but none, I felt, were right for me.


Recycled wood and branches complete the rustic look of this solar shower. Gradually, however, I formed an idea of what I wanted and a set of principles for its construction. I wanted my solar shower to be totally unique (to my knowledge). I wanted it to be very rustic, with the appearance that it "had been there forever." I wanted it to have great capacity, because five dirty, sweaty kids use a lot of water at the end of a hot summer day. And finally, I wanted to use only materials that were available to me on the farm (zero expense).

This last rule was the most difficult to stick to, but perhaps the most important. As the prices of everything continue to rise, I find myself almost unconsciously looking for low-cost alternative ways of doing things. We have switched to wood heat, we rarely use our clothes dryer anymore, and I have been accumulating a pile of hardwood trees and branches for potential future use in construction projects. The solar shower idea was my own little personal challenge-could I build something unique and useful just by recycling items that I already had gathering dust in my barns and by using some of the natural resources of my property? Well, I came close to pulling it off.


Locking nuts, washers and two pieces of rubber from an old inner tube prevents water from leaking out of the bottom of the garbage cans. The rustic frame of my shower is made from treated landscape timbers that spent many years as a child's sandbox. Likewise, the treated 4 x 4s that I used as floor and upper deck joists worked in our orchard for 20 years supporting two long rows of Concord grapes. The wood is remarkably sturdy considering how long it has been exposed to the elements, but it is just that exposure that gives the finished shower its instantly aged, weathered look. Enhancing that look are the gnarly branches taken from trees in our yard and orchard, and used as cross braces.

For hardware, I scrounged through the barn until I found eight 3/4 x 10" bolts to fasten the frame. I assembled the rest of the structure with an assortment of galvanized screws and nails. (In other words, whatever I could find.) Obviously, I chose to flare out the legs in two directions for stability because of the high center of gravity (most of the weight on top). I have done a lot of building over the past 16 years, but I assure you, no advanced construction techniques were utilized in this little project. Tools required: hammer, screwdriver, drill, two wrenches, a level, an adjustable bevel, and some scrap wood to prop up the frame while I leveled and braced it. I don't think I even used a tape measure. My main concern was getting the angles of the flared legs reasonably similar and the top fairly level. Aside from that, I built the thing mostly by eye, right where it stands next to the garden.

The water supply required a bit of creative thinking because I wanted a large reservoir that would be easy to fill. And open container was out of the question because of debris and insects, but a sealed container would not work, because, in this type of unpressurized system, air has to flow in to replace the water that flows out. As I searched the barns once again, the only items that satisfied all the criteria were two seldom-used, rustproof metal garbage cans. They hold a lot of water, and the lids keep out foreign material while allowing for plenty of airflow.

The next problem was how to deliver the water (remember my self-imposed rule-only what is available on the farm). Fortunately, years of plumbing projects have netted me quite a collection of spare parts. A simple 3/4" CPVC threaded adaptor, two locking nuts, two large washers, and two pieces of rubber cut from an old inner tube brought the water from the bottom of each can without leaks. The only usable showerhead I would find was an old metal watering can, but since I had no plumbing fittings that it would adapt to, I decided to hang the entire can horizontally from two small branches. I routed the tubing down from the garbage cans, through a simple valve, and right into the water can. It works perfectly, believe it or not, and the rustic "hillbilly" appearance is just priceless.

In the end, for the floor, I was forced to throw up my hands and buy treated deck boards from the lumber yard, but I mollified this violation of my construction principles by purchasing a package of culled decking and other assorted treated wood for pennies on the dollar. That's a good tip for those of you who don't mind working with imperfect lumber. The big box home centers in this area, especially Lowes, don't seem to like messing with damaged, twisted, etc., lumber. They regularly pull it out of their racks and offer it for sale in assorted lots. In my experience, if you make them an offer, they will practically give it to you rather than let it sit around very long. The 12'-16' deck boards that I bought were badly warped, but cut into shorter lengths, they are more than adequate for my purposes.

The shower has a capacity of 50-plus gallons and will provide full flow for about 20 minutes-plenty of time for us to clean up every night. I am still experimenting with temperature regulation, however. I currently have one can painted black, and yes, there is a noticeable difference in temperature between the cans after a sunny day. I will probably paint the other can as well. I have no detailed readings to report, but in general, if the outside temperature is 90°F or higher, the water is very warm-indistinguishable from an indoor shower. At 80°F, it is very comfortable, but cool enough to be refreshing. With temperatures in the 70s, it is like jumping into an unheated swimming pool, but you get used to it. When the outdoor temperature is in the 60s or lower, well, that separates the men from the boys, but not around here, because the boys have to shower outside with me regardless of the temperature. (Insert evil laughter here.)

The great thing about a project like this is that it never really has to be finished; there are always additions and modifications that can be made. For example, my wife, Stephanie (the solar rebel) refuses to use it for a "real" shower because it still has no curtain (the boys and I wear bathing suits). So next on the agenda will be finding some nice straight apple suckers to nail up around the inside for curtain rods. I currently fill the cans from the top, but one of these days I intend to run flexible tubing down from the top to a hose adaptor at the bottom to make refilling a snap. A soap and shampoo holder fashioned from branches is also on the list, along with a small tree, mounted vertically, with stubbed off branches for use as a clothes and towel rack. I might even get around to building removable mini-greenhouse boxes for each can to warm the water even more and extend the season earlier into the spring and later into the fall. Imagination is the only limitation.

I'm very proud of my solar shower, simple as it is, probably because there is no better feeling than conceiving of a unique, practical, money-saving idea and then having the freedom and ability to build, use and enjoy it with your family. In a way, that is what country life is really all about.


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Tuesday, July 6, 2010

$5.00 Dinners!!

5Dollar Dinners is an awesome website that is chock full of recipes for low cost meals. It was even featured on Rachael Ray!! I just love this site and I still have not looked through it all. I love the low cost meals that are on this website. With my husband laid-off , any time we can save money is a great time!!






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Monday, July 5, 2010

Make Your Own Bit-O-Honey Candy

Here is a great way to save some money and have fun with the kids. Make your own candy!!!

Bit-O-Honey Candy

1 cup honey
1 cup chunky peanut butter
2 cups dry powdred milk

Melt honey and peanut butter together in microwave. Add dry
powdered milk and knead well. Roll out on wax paper. Cut in strips
and roll into pillows. Wrap in wax paper to store.



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Sunday, July 4, 2010

What is your best Preparedness Tip??


I want to hear from all of you. What is your best tip for being self sufficient, prepared, and self reliant?? Share with everyone what you do to save money and what you do to be prepared. I want to hear it all. You can email me at indywahm @ netzero dot com or post in the comments. I will make posts over the next several weeks sharing all of your tips ( and if you have a blog or website make sure you give me that link so I can share it, also!!)

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Thursday, July 1, 2010

The Solar Cooking Archive

I just had to share this website with all of my readers. The Solar Cooking Archive is stuffed full of information about solar cooking. You can find out how to make your own solar cooker, news about them, recipes, and more.


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