Archive for the ‘On the Cheap’ Category

So last week I got this brilliant idea that it would be really fun to make something for Christmas presents for my extended family. I scoured the internet looking for a (relatively) last minute Christmas gift that the kids and I could make ourselves and came up with nada, niltch, goose egg…but then I was perusing one of my favorite blogs and lo and behold there was my answer, Monogramed Mugs…which you can check out here!

After a quick search to find out what a Porcelaine pen was and a quick trip to Michael’s to pick one up (the last one!)…we were on our way to creating some fine personalized mugs…

First, we assembled all of the necessary tools:

Porcelaine pen


transfer paper

pen or pencil

stencils or initials printed out in the font and size you’d like to use


plain white mugs, we picked ours up at the Goodwill

delicious cup of Chai tea (optional)

Cut a piece of transfer paper the same size as your initial.

Tape both transfer paper and your printed (or stenciled) initial onto the cup with the transfer paper on the bottom side touching the mug.

Next, take a pen or pencil (we found a pen worked best for us) and using firm pressure, trace over the letter.

Now, gently remove tape and both pieces of paper. You should have an outline of the initial on the cup.

Now you can take your Porcelaine pen and outline the letter and then, being careful not to smudge the outline, you can fill in the letter any way you like, we chose to follow the design suggested on the website using smooth strokes all in one direction which looks like this…

But you can also just outline the letter and leave it unfilled.

When you have all your letters the way you want them (you can wipe them off and start over as many times as you need to), set them aside to dry for 24 hours.

The next day you just pop them into a 300 degree oven for 35 minutes and that’s it! The baking should make the letters dishwasher resistant, I’ll let you know how resistant they really are…

And here they are all finished! A cute and easy project that you can do with the Munchkins just in time to get under the tree!


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The Matchstick and The Onion

I recently heard an old wives tale that says the best way to avoid crying when you’re cutting an onion is to hold a matchstick in your mouth while you cut it. Immediately, I was intrigued by such a claim. My common sense told me this made no sense. What complex chemical properties or sword fighting skills could a matchstick possess and how could it possibly provide any kind of protection against the perils of onion juice and the inevitable tears that would follow? Were these, perhaps, magic matchsticks, made from trees cut from an enchanted forest where the fairies never cry when they slice up onions for their fajitas? And would I really want to chop up an onion with a stick hanging out of my mouth, not even a toothpick, a matchstick. What do I work at the bowling alley?


Recent (quick internet) research on the matter dredged up every opinion under the sun. Some folks were skeptical, feeling that the match was more of “Dumbo’s Feather” than any kind of real remedy, others swear by it, citing the sulfur base of the match head as its secret ingredient. Some people use a combination of tricks, first submerging the onion in water, then lighting a candle, holding a matchstick (or a piece of bread) in their mouth while wearing very expensive, William-Sonoma onion goggles (that is a real thing). The scientific community (and by that I mean a blog post entitled, Chopping Onions and Pragmatism) seems to think that none of these solutions really works at all, except to say that some of them may help a bit by slowing the time it takes the chemical irritants to reach your mucus membranes. For instance, when you put a matchstick or a piece of bread in your mouth, you force yourself to breath through your mouth and prevent the enzymes from entering your nose, or by putting onions in the refrigerator, freezer, or running them under cold water, you may make the chemical reaction less potent. Many culinary experts say that by simply lighting a candle or by lighting a gas burner and (carefully!) cutting the onion next to the stove, the flame will draw some of the gas released by the onion.
Well, skeptical as I was, I must say that putting a matchstick in my mouth really DID work for me! Do I know why? I do not.
But I do know this, I see a long and productive future for the matchstick and I, for at our house there are always onions to be chopped and now I don’t have to turn on the water works to do it!

How do you cut an onion?

Let me know how it works for you!

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Don’t you just love this time of year? I pulled out our collection of sweaters (and found a few, “Dr. Huxtable” classics among them), the Pumpkin Spice Latte is back, and a lovely, fall decoration graces my front door. Yes, fall is in the air and aside from feeling cool and brisk and cinnamon-y it always smells a bit like Kettle Corn to me, perhaps it is the one thousand pumpkin patches that I am constantly driving by, I don’t know. Whatever it is, it smells good.

Two weeks ago, a dear friend and I were brain storming about a food that would be easy and popular enough to serve to a church youth group on a Sunday morning and, well, it was fortunate for us that the good people at King Soopers were kind enough to put out a fine, gluten-free pamphlet and in it list their recipe for Brown Sugar-Cinnamon Popcorn or as I like to call it,

Home Made Kettle Corn!

  • 6 cups air-popped popcorn
  • 1/4 cup margarine or butter
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
Toss popcorn with melted butter. Sprinkle with brown sugar and cinnamon, and toss to coat.
Another way I have made it is to omit the cinnamon and add a dash of garlic powder and salt to taste.
Either way, definitely enjoy it hot!

This is utterly delicious and completely addictive. This is not a joke.

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National Coffee Day!

Hey there, Fellow Coffee Drinkers!

I wanted to let you know that word on the street is that it is National Coffee Day, and a few of our fine coffee retailers are offering great deals or free coffee today. I hear that Caribou Coffee is offering Buy One, Get One Free and that 7-11, McDonalds, and Krispy Kreme are giving away free or discounted coffee today, too. Starbucks, however, says it will not be handing out any free coffee today…I suppose they are so successful that they don’t need to humor the peasantry with our silly, promotional, free coffee days. Too bad, though, I could totally go for a Pumpkin Spice Latte.


Anyone wanna meet for coffee?

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Hello, Hello!

Today’s post is really just a money saving tip that I picked up from the delightful blog, This Week for Dinner (www.thisweekfordinner.com), but word on the street is this has been around for ages!

Okay, Ladies, did you know that you do not actually need a full dryer sheet to dry a load of laundry? Well, neither did I! But now that I do, I simply take my whole pile of dryer sheets and cut them in half. I promise it works just as well as a whole sheet! I haven’t had to buy dryer sheets in like six months which, of course, won’t make us rich but every penny helps, right?

Alright, my fellow Laundry Doers…I charge you to go forth and buy dryer sheets and cut those babies in half. Then, shove a load of Junior’s underwear or your best guest towels into the dryer along with a half sheet and share in the static free goodness!

Happy Drying!

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