13 DIY Kitchen Projects from Our Favorite Bloggers is an iVillage article discussing a baker’s dozen (pun unintended) of great homemaking ideas on a shoestring budget. The ideas range from making more affordable versions of great recipes and drinks, to redecorating cabinets and recycling things to make into something both decorative and useful.
One of the best beginner-level projects described in the article is highly recommended for those who are still renting a home. Most apartment-dwellers are caught in that limbo between wanting to create a cozy home, and feeling apprehensive because they know they will move out any time. But if your kitchen cabinets look decrepit, you have to do something about it, especially if it has become an eyesore.
It’s also a great way to add character to your home, rented or otherwise. You can stencil some pretty images of flowers or birds onto the wood of your kitchen cabinet to cover up minor scratches and cracks. Or you can paint a “frame” on the cabinets (see image above) to lend an interesting visual punch to an otherwise drab paint job. If you are not confident about handling paint and a brush, consider gluing wallpaper border on the cabinet doors, instead.
If you need a bit of organization and a reminder to stay organized, why not come up with a creative project that does both at once? Part of a wooden wall in the kitchen can serve as your daily reminder board as to which pantry items you are running low on, and be an organizing board to hang things on, as well. You can simply drill hooks onto the the wood (make sure they’re in a row at just the right height so you can reach for kitchen things easily) so you can hang ladles and measuring cups and chopping boards and small pots on them. Then you can use some blackboard paint below the hooks and buy a box of dustless chalk for you to write the day’s menu, and what needs to be on the grocery list.
As for food, you may have gone through the vexing situation of having produce spoil because of different reasons. Greens and bread are some of the grocery items with the shortest shelf life. In the case of spring onions (which are sold in a bunch and have to be used right away or they will wilt), you can chop them up into tiny pieces and put them in a sealed plastic jar or bottle, then refrigerate it. This way, you can simply reach for the jar whenever your dish needs spicing up, and the spring onion bits will stay fresher for longer. Bread can keep longer by refrigerating the loaf, especially if the weather is humid.
If you like fudge, you’re in for a treat today. This recipe will show you how easy it is to make (and devour!) without having to sweat over a hot oven. It’s practically idiot-proof!
Step 1: Line an 8-inch baking pan with aluminum foil. Coat it with butter or cooking spray to prevent the fudge from sticking. Set it aside.
Step 2: Combine a small bowl of sugar, cocoa, about two teaspoons of salt, a quart of milk, and 2 tablespoons of corn syrup in a two-quart saucepan. Bring all the ingredients to a boil over medium-high heat while constantly stirring to combine them using a wooden spoon.
Step 3: Keep stirring to dissolve all the crystalline ingredients, but make sure to do it gently so as not to get the fudge batter onto the sides of the pan. If some of the crystals stick to the sides, wet a pastry brush with warm water and gently wash the crystals so they dissolve.
Step 4: When the fudge is beginning to boil, insert a candy thermometer at the side of the pan.
Step 5: Keep the fudge boiling until the thermometer reaches 234 degrees. This means it has reached the soft-ball stage.
Step 6: Remove the saucepan from the heat.
Step 7: Add a pat of butter to the fudge mixture. Let the butter melt into it without stirring.
Step 8: Let the mixture cool for ten minutes.
Step 9: Stir in a tablespoon of vanilla essence.
Step 10: Transfer the fudge mixture to a glass bowl. Avoid scraping the sides of the pan as you do this to prevent the mixture from becoming grainy.
Step 11: Beat with an electric mixer at medium-low speed for about 3 minutes, or until you see the mixture becoming less glossy and noticeably thicker.
Step 12: Quickly pour the fudge into the prepared aluminum-lined pan. Let the mixture cool completely.
Step 13: When the fudge has cooled and become firm, lift the foil out of the pan. It is not yet ready when the aluminum foil has not taken the shape of the pan! If this is the case, let the fudge cool some more.
Step 14: Place the foil on a cutting board and fold back its edges.
Step 15: Cut the fudge into one-inch pieces.
Step 16: Serve immediately on their own, or pour chocolate syrup on top. You can cut them into smaller pieces to serve with ice cream and hot syrup for a delicious and sinful hot fudge sundae.
Many “green” products are out in the market today promising to keep your home squeaky clean and shiny while keeping the environment safe…but at what cost? More often than not, these eco-friendly cleaning agents end up being a lot more expensive than the ones we’ve gotten used to. So what do you do to keep your house spic-and-span, yet stick to your grocery budget while keeping nature happy and healthy?
Raid your pantry, garage, or medicine cabinet for DIY cleaning ingredients, that’s what!
Image borrowed from http://tusb.stanford.edu/2007/06/eco-friendly_cleaning_part_ii_-_in_which_i_start_to_wash_my_hair_with_baking_soda.html
A lot of people like to throw old newspapers, empty bottles, and other seemingly useless things away, thinking they can no longer be of any use to anyone. However, old crumpled newspapers with a bit of water sprayed on them are the still the best DIY tools to clean glass and mirrors with. You don’t have to keep stacks of newspapers around just for this purpose, but keep a few old issues handy for whenever you see specks and grime on your glass, and you’re good to go.
When it comes to cleaning silver and aluminum utensils (even jewelry!), forgo the pricey silver cleaner. Turn to your trusty box of baking soda, instead. About a tablespoon of baking soda for every liter of water is all you’ll need to make even the most tarnished silverware shiny and looking new! You will need a saucepan big enough to hold all the utensils in. Place them in the baking soda and water solution, then slowly bring to a boil. You can fish out the hot silverware using a pair of tongs, then polish them to a dazzling shine with a dishrag.
If greasy counter and stove tops are the bane of your existence, fret not. You’ll just need some vinegar and your box of baking soda (again!). You’ll also need a spray bottle and some rags to wipe the surfaces with. Pour a small amount of undiluted white vinegar into the spray bottle and spray it on especially sticky stove tops (make sure the gas is off or the stove is unplugged when you do this). Leave it for a few minutes before wiping off the grease with a rag. Don’t mind the vinegary smell, it will soon evaporate into the air and disappear.
Greasy kitchen counters are to be expected especially after you prepare a meal. Again, baking soda can remedy this minus the harsh chemical smell and toxic fumes. Simply pour a bit of baking soda on a damp sponge or rag, then wipe all the greasy surfaces with it. You will see the grime and grease come off. Wipe again with a dry rag so you can get rid of the powdery residue.
Another awesome and unexpected DIY tool for cleaning is…chalk! It’s especially handy for laundry stains. Just rub the stains on a fabric with a chalk (lipstick, ketchup, industrial-grade grease…it doesn’t matter what kind of stain it is) before putting it in the machine with laundry soap. The chalk helps absorb the grease and aids the detergent to remove it faster.
First, a hilarious, short, but practical reminder from Mr. T:
Picking up the doggy doo is a very practical pet cleaning tip anywhere you might be with a dog (or kitty poo if you have a cat). If you’re out walking your dog, make sure to bring a baggy, as Mr. T advised. Most parks won’t take too kindly at a Hansel and Gretel trail of dog poop your beloved pooch could leave behind.
In short, I pity the foo’ who can’t pick up the dog doo!
But seriously, before getting a pet, you must remember to prepare your home for it, no matter what kind of pet you’re getting.You don’t want to end up pinching your nose all the time and side-stepping “booby traps” while muttering darkly under your breath, right? While your kitten or puppy are wee little things, it’s best to toilet-train them ASAP. This way, they can pick up the habit at an early age and you won’t have to deal with picking up their “leavings” on a daily basis and being known in the neighborhood as the deranged dog-owner with a baggy in one hand and a paper towel in the other.
But let’s assume you’re in that interesting in-between phase when the cute little ball of fluff is still learning where and how to go to the toilet properly. If you’re thinking of getting industrial-grade house cleansers, stop right now. Your pantry holds a lot of potential pet cleaning stuff which will cost you no additional expenses and will keep the environment safe from harsh chemicals.
For starters, always be ready with a bundle of rags (cut-up old clothes and towels would do nicely) or old newspapers. Your pet could have an overactive bladder and spray everywhere. This is especially true of un-neutered male cats and dogs as a way of marking territory. To get the urine smell out, make a mixture of one part vinegar with two parts water in a spray bottle, and spray the spot they urinated on. The smell will prevent them from using that spot as a toilet in the future.
But if the aroma of eau vinaigrette isn’t your thing, better be prepared to wipe up immediately after they’ve gone to the toilet. For less of the icky feeling, wrap your hand in plastic, and then “swipe” the mess with one fluid motion. Flush the paper in the toilet (not the plastic or rag, mind), or throw in a covered bin to avoid bad smells.
If it is a particularly pungent smell they leave behind, you can wet a rag, treat it with a few undiluted drops of bleach, and wipe the spot. Leave it on for a few seconds before wiping the spot again. You can opt to use some lemon juice to add a fresh scent, but make sure the surface is made of tile or stone, not wood, as bleach and citrus acid can ruin its looks.
Cleaning may take very long to finish. This is particularly true if you are doing many things at the same time. But Granny’s magic formula which is doing little things all the time can truly do wonders. Let’s see for ourselves how such simply formula figures in the following house cleaning tips:
First is to learn how to declutter. Since everyday things are getting used, it would be a lot helpful to remove clutter daily. You can even do that while you are sweeping the floor or you are watering the plants inside the house. You can hang up towels, put away the shoes in the shoe rack, put the used clothes in the hamper and so on. Once this is done, you will surely see a clearer view of the place and it will be much easier to clean the house.
Another thing is to secure a place for storing all the cleaning equipment and supplies needed daily to tide up the house. You can place these stuffs strategically in areas close to where you should be cleaning every day. These are only for minor daily cleaning. But if you want to go full time in your cleaning, try to come up with a major clean-up schedule every week. It could be the master bedroom or the garage. Keep to that schedule and make sure that you finish it on time.
It also helps to break up the chores to make it easier and faster for you. This can be done by separating chores like doing laundry, vacuuming the floor and dusting the windows. Such heavy tasks should not be done all at one time. Another example is when you clean the bathroom. Try to do some minor cleaning in a few minutes. Then once weekly you should spend a good 15 minutes cleaning the entire bathroom. You can also organize a single kitchen drawer every day instead of having to organize all the drawers in one fell swoop.
Also it would be a little lighter on your part to do the job if you try to let your spouse and children help you. This way not only will you be cleaning the house; it is also a good bonding moment for you. You simply have to schedule the cleaning with your kids and spouse. Make sure that they are all free when they do the cleaning.
Another thing that can help you is to set a designated area for everything. This is especially true for toys and shoes or slippers and laundry. See to it that everyone is doing their part in fixing their clutter every day. It’s also a good idea to implement the rule “Clean As You Go” to all of the family members. This means that everyone has to clean their own clutter and wash their own dishes or do their own laundry. Of course this is only applicable to your adolescent or adult children.
These tips can truly work for your advantage. Just keep at it and you are on your way to have a clean and organized home.
Being a mother and a working mom is probably one of the most challenging job any woman in the world could ever have and achieve.
Maintaining the household clean, orderly and organized while balancing career work is not an easy task on a daily basis especially if you have three tiny little bundles of joy who still need your full attention and care.
But with the right attitude and a focused management of time, things can be easy – and even fun for you and your kids.
For working moms like me, a regular day starts at 5 a.m. or an hour earlier than the kids’ wake up time. I usually go straight to the kitchen for my morning cup of coffee and then a 5-minute walk towards the market for the purchase of our favorite pandesal.
Back home, it’s off to preparing the little kids’ favorite egg omelet, a jar of calamansi or lemon juice and a cooked chorizo or hotdog.
By the time the kids are up, everything is prepared while I’m off to change to my daily get-up, which is basically just a jeans and shirt. (A career in community journalism has its perks indeed as I don’t get hassled by having to put on make up and wear a decent blouse and skirt for work) In between these preparations of course is that I make sure the kids eat their morning pandesal and drink their hot chocolate milk with me.
After their hot choco milk and pandesal, the kids are then taken to a bath.
Mind you, taking them to a bath may be an easy task but putting three precocious kids together is one morning challenge I relish with surprise and patience! Turns out some good tips on nutrition for kids. It’s like going on a beach daily as kids go on a riot as they play with water on a wide expanse of sea. You’ll be a party pooper if you won’t get yourself wet!
Still, these are morning tasks that once done will be a breeze until the rest of the day.
Make sure that before the week starts, everything about the meals and snacks for the kids are already written on the corkboard on a 3 to 5-day schedule depending of course on your budget. Sundays and Monday’s are usually set for marketing the week’s consumption including milk, diapers, children’s toiletress and other basic needs.
As the week’s food and other needs are put in place, the next thing that should not be forgotten in the list of balancing motherhood and work, is always ensuring quality time with kids after work.
Afternoon’s on weekdays are always scheduled by fetching the eldest tot from kindergarten school.
After work time is then scheduled for home assignments and then eventually putting them to sleep.
Saturday’s are then spent on washing clothes, cleaning the house and tending to unfinished household chores from the previous week. Sunday’s are naturally spent the whole day bonding with kids at the local park and a regular visit to church.
Basically, these are the basic scenario for the rest of the week and usually minor adjustments to the schedule in fetching my eldest daughter or the Sunday stroll at the park occur once in a while as the call of duty on work beckons. Some moms would like to work at home. They can do that by putting up an online business.
If you are one of these mothers, you can ask help from a Los Angeles web design firm now to help you have your own business online. it’s a good thing to start learning on web design and all other related tasks too. You can make use of these skills when you set up affiliate sites for example. You can also advertise your skills and earn from them. These are only a few things you can do to earn online.
A household budget is very important for you to manage most especially if you don’t have enough financial resources. It is really difficult to create a budget for the first time. This is the main reason why you need to plan ahead and make your own strategy on how to make a budget list if you are planning to get married with your long time boyfriend. You really need to consider a lot of things when you plan to make your own budget list.
The first thing that you need to consider is determining where you stand from the many financial expenses and resources in your hand. You need to gather all data needed with regards to all your expenses. You need to list down all your current bills to be paid. You should never disregard due payment if you have any pending loans at a bank. You should never miss any single detail from all those expenses. After doing this properly, you need to list down all your incoming money within a month. Once you have properly accomplished all these things, you can now begin to make a detailed household budgeting plan.
On the other hand, you should always track all your spending within a week. This will provide you sufficient information on where your money is being spent. With these, you can create a visual image of your money. You can also follow whether what part of the expenses most of your money is spent. This list will provide you a lot of advantages. By looking at this list, you will have a good idea on what part of the expenses you can cut down and start to save. You need to keep in mind that it is very difficult to save a good amount on the first month of your budgeting. Don’t be so upset if you can’t save more on this initial phase of your budgeting process.
The above mentioned tips are very simple for you to follow. Creating a household budget is really simple and straightforward. How to save up from your household budget is so simple if you are willing and determined to save over your spending. Keep in mind that in this unstable economy, you need to be very wise on how to manage all your spending. The word “budgeting” seems to be a complicated word to follow. However, even though you have an insufficient financial resource but you can still manage to do a wise budgeting strategy, for sure you can make it. You can always secure a good amount to save for you to use when there are unexpected emergency situations to arise. Keep in mind that you need to consider what you need and disregard what you want in the meantime. Your needs are essential things for you to consider and to be always be on the first on your list. Keep in mind that being a parent requires a wise decision all the time.
When your kids start going to school, there may be a lot of issues and questions that you may have to contend with. One of these is how much lunch money you should give your kids. To some parents, this concern is really very trivial. Because of this, they tend to just give an amount that they think is enough without really deliberating on the matter. If this happens, there are only two things that could take effect. First is that the lunch money may be short, which is something that would not make the kids happy at all. Second is that the lunch money may be too much which may result in the kids spending or wasting this in the process.
As a parent, you should only take into consideration three concerns. It is by referring to these three concerns that you would be able to determine the right amount of lunch money that you should give them. The three are your budget, the kids need, and the current prices of food in the school’s cafeteria. Each of these three actually has an impact on your decision regarding lunch money. As much as possible, you use these as your guidelines so that you could come up with a wise choice, one that would make the kids satisfied also.
Your budget is definitely an important aspect. Apparently, you should never give more than what your budget could take. This may be done by considering the expenses that you would have to cover within a month while referring to the income that you would get. As much as possible, you should not overspend in lunch money.
Otherwise, the other items in your budget would be affected badly. At the same time though, you should not scrimp, especially because lunch money is clearly related to your kids’ nourishment. You certainly do not want to see your kids lack nutrition simply because you cutting the costs.
It is best to listen to the kids’ needs when it comes to food. While they are in school, it is best that they eat in order for them to stay active and alert the entire time that they are there. If you insist on your choices of food, they may end up eating less instead. This is why you should ask them what they wish to eat. Of course, there is always a room for bargaining. Try to negotiate for less expensive fares but are also very nutritious and generally satisfying.
It would be wrong if you just decide on the amount of lunch money without really getting yourself informed on the prices of food being sold in the school cafeteria. Making yourself aware of the food prices is actually a very important requirement if you wish to make a decision that is really based on real conditions. At the start of the school year, you may have to inquire at the school cafeteria about the prices. However, the prices may change while school is going on. Because of this, it is better to check once in a while.
It will be interesting to note that you can cut your grocery bills and also get out of debt if you want to, and this you can do without coupons needed, although cutting coupons will also be of great help. Simple homemaking and frugal living is the trick in doing this, although it is not a secret at all. You can also be an expert on money saving, and you will not have a complicated lifestyle, financially. For the food on your table, there are lots of great recipes where you can have easy menu ideas that are not expensive, but will give you the nutrition that the family needs.
Food wastage can cost a lot, and if you will teach the children that food wastage will be a big drain financially, this will be a good start. This is simple homemaking, but is also a good frugal living tip that your family will understand and also will have fun doing. Putting some leftover beef in the freezer, but is properly wrapped in a plastic bag, will give you some things to good use when you need beef and cheese in your sandwich later. Simple sandwiches and following sound nutrition principles helped me with my ocular migraines. This is also a simple homemaking and frugal living tip that is not actually hard to implement.
Cutting coupons though will also give you a good percentage in savings when you go for grocery shopping. Not missing out on the weekly deals on some groceries will also help, and this can be a good savings on your grocery bills. This is also a simple homemaking tip that everyone can do easily.