Thrifty Projects & Frugal Activities

How to Remove Water Stains from Cabinets

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I have been trying to figure out how I can remove water stains from the front of my kitchen cabinets for some time now. I have tried Mr. Clean Magic Erasers, baking soda mixed with water, wood cleaners, like Murphy’s Oil soap and Milsek. None of these seemed to do the trick so I went on Pinterest to see if I could find another way to go about this.

I was happy to find one lonely “pin” via Info Barrel, that stated you can mix baking soda with petroleum jelly. And let me tell you that it works!

Here is what you do:

Take a little bit of baking soda and mix it with some petroleum jelly. Then you simply rub the mixture over the water stain. Let it set for a few minutes and then wipe away with a clean, dry cloth.

I recommend using disposable gloves when mixing the 2 together and then when you apply it to the cabinets because the jelly can be quite messy. I found it to be easiest if I pour a little bit of baking soda in a bowl, dip my finger in the petroleum jelly and then dip it into the baking soda, mixing the 2 products together.

Here is the before…

side of counter water stains

And here is the after….

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I’m pretty pleased with the results!

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Ideas on How to Create a Cheap but Memorable Halloween Costume

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cowboy costume

If you don’t find yourself to be the most creative person, like myself. Not wanting to create a costume from scratch, but also do not want to go to the Halloween store and spend a lot of money on a costume, here are a few tips.

Plan ahead when piecing a costume together. A year ahead of time to be exact. Look for deals on costumes after Halloween is over. Stores typically take 50% off right away and then increase markdowns up to 90% off over the course of a few weeks afterwards.

Keep in mind that pre-packaged costumes at the store are kind of generic, made with cheap materials that are fabricated in mass production. You can help hide this fact by adding fun accessories. Look around your house for items you can add to your costume or borrow them from someone who you know has what you need to complete that spooky look. Still coming up short? Try your local thrift stores and consignment shops but start looking as early as possible. You’ll take the pressure off yourself plus you won’t be competing with other shoppers in finding that right piece.

Here is what I did for my son this Halloween. I picked up the base of the cowboy costume (the vest, chaps and hat) last year at Walmart for only $3.00. I bought the long sleeved shirt at Once Upon a Child for $2.80. It was originally $3.50 but I had a coupon for 20% of entire purchase. I bought my son a winter coat as well. I picked up the boots for $2.00 at Village Discount Outlet. They are the Cherokee brand sold at Target. The horse was a hand-me-down toy my son received from his Great Aunt and the hanky was borrowed from my father. Clean of course! All for under $8.00. You can’t beat that.

I have a feeling “Woody” will be watching Toy Story a few more times before this year is over. 😉

A List of Cheap or Free Activites on Halloween 2013

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chipotle boorito

Chipotle is offering a $3 burrito, bowl, salad, or order of tacos from 4 P.M. to close during their “Boorito” event. Make sure you wear a Halloween costume to qualify for the discount. More details can be found here.

Sonic is selling corndogs for $0.50 each all day on Halloween. More details can be found on their Facebook page here.

Krispy Kreme is giving away a free doughnut to each customer who arrives dressed in a Halloween costume. This will be going on all day while supplies last at participating locations. More details can be found on their Facebook page here.

ihop

Kids 12 and under can receive a free scary face pancake at IHop from 7 A.M. until 10 P.M. on Halloween. More details can be found on IHop’s Facebook page here.

outback free kids meal

Outback Steak House is offering a free kid’s meal with the purchase of an adult entree on Halloween. More details can be found on their Facebook page here.

Olive Garden, Red Lobster and LognHorn Steak House are offering a free kid’s meal on Halloween with the purchase of an adult entree. In order to receive this deal, you must sign up through their Facebook page or chain’s website to receive a coupon. Olive Garden’s sign up page can be found here. Red Lobster’s sign up form can be found here and LognHorn Steak House can be found here. Note that Red Lobster’s promotion is going on now through Halloween.

**I’ll add to the list as I see more offers pop up.

Growing Your Own Mini Pumpkins

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I acquired pumpkin on a stick from my local metro park back in the middle of June. I planted it by the month’s end. I wasn’t sure what to expect because frankly, I had never heard of pumpkin on a stick before, even though I had been exposed to the massive garden my grandfather planted every summer which included a variety of vegetables. This one seemed to miss out on the opportunity.

Within a week of planting it had doubled in size. I began to scratch my head every time I looked it, wondering what a pumpkin on a stick looked like at maturity. I finally decided to do a little research on it and see what I was dealing with. It turns out it is an ornamental eggplant. It grows 3 to 4 feet tall. First, small flowers will bloom and then from that, tiny green fruit will spring. As the season goes on, the fruit will grow bigger and change color. Once the fruit have ripened to a deep red-orange color, they are ready for harvesting. Use them to create a wreath for your front door or an arrangement for a table. Just make sure you dry them out first so they last longer. If you don’t have the crafting bug, you can also eat them. Many Asian stir-fry recipes include pumpkin on a stick in the ingredients list.

If you decide to plant some pumpkin on stick here are a few things you should know. Plant 2 to 3 feet apart to allow room for growth expansion. They enjoy full sun but will tolerate partial shade. Fertilize the soil when first planted and then again every month, to keep the soil rich. Make sure the soil stays moist but not wet. Add mulch around the base to keep the weeds at bay. About mid way through the season, stake the plant because once it starts bearing fruit, it will become top heavy.

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Notice the large leaves. These are to help protect the plants inner core from bugs and other pests. 

You can purchase seeds online or check out your local garden retailer.

For more information on growing, check out the Gardner’s Network.

I plan on updating this post with pictures of what I did with my “mini pumpkins” once they are ready to be picked.

Get Ready for Fall with an Apple Crisp Recipe

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Apple Crisp is my favorite dessert to make in the fall. It is quick and easy plus most of the ingredients are already on hand in my kitchen.

Here is what you’ll need. All the ingredients shown, I previously bought at my local Aldi grocery store and I purchased the apples at a local apple orchard for $0.70 a pound.

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Ingredients:

NOTE: My sister reduced the sugar content by adding less than 1/2 cup of white sugar and eliminating the brown sugar altogether. It still tastes great and allows the sweetness of the apples to take center stage. 🙂

10 cups of apples, peeled, cored and sliced (Approximately 8-10 apples depending on their size.)

1 cup of white sugar

1 Tb all-purpose flour

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 cup water

1 cup quick-cooking oats

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 cup packed brown sugar

1/4 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp baking soda

1/2 cup butter, melted

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Place the sliced apples in a 9×13 inch pan.

Mix the white sugar, 1 Tb flour and ground cinnamon together, and sprinkle over apples, Pour water over all.

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Combine oats, 1 cup flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and melted butter together. Crumble over the apple mixture.

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Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.

Adapted from All Recipes.

Don’t forget to top it with vanilla ice cream!

A Trip to the Apple Orchard–Supporting Local Farmers

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Cooler nights and falling leaves is a reminder to me that fall is in the air, here in Ohio. My mom, sister, son and I love to go to the apple orchard in mid-September to pick our own apples. It is a great way to save money because at $0.70 a pound, you can not beat it. We are not only supporting local farmers but spending quality time together as well.

Here is a link to a comprehensive list of pick-your-own farms categorized by state.

I’d also like to share my favorite apple crisp recipe. So yummy over vanilla ice cream!

Ingredients:

NOTE: My sister reduced the sugar content by adding less than 1/2 cup of white sugar and eliminating the brown sugar altogether. It still tastes great and allows the sweetness of the apples to take center stage. 🙂

10 cups of apples, peeled, cored and sliced (I use approximately 8 apples of various sizes.)

1 cup of white sugar

1 Tb all-purpose flour

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 cup water

1 cup quick-cooking oats

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 cup packed brown sugar

1/4 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp baking soda

1/2 cup butter, melted

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Place the sliced apples in a 9×13 inch pan.

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Mix the white sugar, 1 Tb flour and ground cinnamon together, and sprinkle over apples, Pour water over all.

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Combine oats, 1 cup flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and melted butter together. Crumble over the apple mixture.

Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.

Adapted from All Recipes.

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Enjoy!

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Fruit Loops cereal– Use as Toilet Targets for Potty Training

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If you are potty training a toddler and your trying to come up with creative ways to get and KEEP your child interested, you may want to consider buying Fruit Loops cereal and use them as toilet targets. Start out by placing a handful in the toilet water so your child can aim for them and then as your child gets the hung of it, add fewer and fewer. This is a cheaper alternative to buying those specially made dissoluble toilet targets.

Thank you Renee for the great idea!

And even better, from now until 9/21, at Walgreens, you can snag a box of Fruit Loops for only $0.67 a box!

Use the $1.00 off coupon printable here.