Harvesting Aloe Vera Gel

How to Harvest Aloe Vera Gel

As you may have noticed in my last post, I have an out of control Aloe Vera plant.

Saving Money on Light Fixtures

This grand old Aloe has healed our burns, amazed us by blooming and given us many pups over the years.  However, it has grown into a gnarly, top-heavy plant that isn’t doing as well as it should.

I did a little research and decided it was worth the risk to cut the top off, replant it and hope that it re-roots.  I asked my husband to move my aloe for me, and as he did, it toppled itself out of the pot and broke off a few leaves.  Definitely time to take action.

The first step was to cut off the bottom most leaves and peel off any excess to leave a smooth stem.  I placed it in a different pot and gave it a little TLC.  Here it is, severely pruned and hopefully ready for its regrowth!

Harvesting Aloe Vera Gel

The next step was to harvest all that wonderful gel!!

Harvesting Aloe Vera Gel

Get a nice, sharp knife and make cuts along the edges to remove all those sharp ridges.  After that, cut the leaves off the rounded side, then lay the leaf on the flat edge and fillet the gel.

Harvesting Aloe Vera Gel

Harvesting Aloe Vera Gel

I put all of this wonderful gel into a pint jar and placed it in the fridge.  I believe it can also be frozen.

Harvesting Aloe Vera Gel

Aloe Vera gel is relatively inexpensive, so I’m not counting the cost here.  However, I am grateful to have so much healing gel from an old family friend. 😉

🙂

Saving Money on Light Fixtures

Saving Money on Light Fixtures

Recently, we needed a new chandelier for our dining room.  Being frugal, we didn’t want to pay full price for a new light fixture, so we decided to shop in a few thrift stores to see what we would find.

Some thrift stores handle items like light fixtures and some don’t.  I guess it depends on their policies.  There are also home improvement stores that sell used items at greatly reduced prices.

We got lucky and found a fixture for $6.99!  All the wires seemed to be good, and there were no obvious flaws or damage, so we decided to take a chance on it.  If you’ve never done anything like this before, there are videos on the internet.  Otherwise, have someone with experience show you how.  SAFETY FIRST!!!  Be sure to turn off the breaker!!!

We have replaced fixtures many times, so we turned off the breaker and set about changing the light.  If anyone was watching, I’m sure they were laughing.  I was trying to hold the light while David was working on the wires.  Our arms were getting tired and at one point, I moved a bit and accidentally hit David in the head with the light.  Anyway, it all went well and we have a nice, new chandelier!

Saving Money on Light Fixtures

BENEFITS:

  • Saving lots of money
  • Satisfaction of doing it yourself
  • Learning a valuable skill
  • Feeling empowered

I found a similar light fixture online for $110.00.  We spent $7.00 🙂

MONEY SAVED:  $103.00!!!

🙂

5 Star Bundt Cake

5 Star Bundt Cake

This cake recipe is one of our favorites and has been for many years.  It is simple, quick and delicious.  Baking this cake in a bundt pan makes it look a little fancy, which makes it perfect for family gatherings, events or bake sales!

We use cherry pie filling, but any type of pie filling would work well, so you can change the recipe to your liking!

5 Star Bundt Cake

5 Star Bundt Cake

5 Star Bundt Cake

5 Star Bundt Cake

5 Star Bundt Cake

Hope you enjoy this recipe!  If you don’t have a bundt pan, you should be able to find one at a thrift store.  Otherwise, any type of pan will work.

BENEFITS:

  • Baking something delicious for your family and friends
  • Having control over what goes into your recipe
  • Having fun with a “fancy” cake
  • Saving money

I can’t say I have ever found a bundt cake for sale at a bakery, but specialty cakes can easily cost $30.00.  This cake is generally about $7.00.  Cheaper if pie filling is on sale!  (Or if you make pie filling yourself!)

MONEY SAVED:  $23.00!!

🙂

frugal living, simple living, homesteading

Being Frugal: The Savings is Substantial

As you may have noticed, I like to show how much money I save by doing what I do.  Right now, the savings is a little over $5000.00 in about a year’s time.  To me, that is a substantial savings!

Everyone’s lifestyles and ideas are different, but here are a few things that saving that much money can mean:

  • More money for family fun
  • More money for charity
  • A little “breathing room” if money is tight
  • More time with family
  • Less stress
  • Possibly being able to work less
  • Satisfaction that what you’re doing is adding value

OTHER BENEFITS:

  • Being environmentally friendly
  • Feeling at peace with your lifestyle
  • Finding what truly is “enough”
  • Creatively looking for solutions
  • Learning valuable skills

Chocolate Chip Walnut Banana Bread Recipe Make Your Own Fish Fertilizer seed-saving-and-frugal-gardening Pear Butter Recipe

Yarn Slipper Booties Reasons to Be Outside  Seed saving and frugal gardening Reasons to Be Outside

Spiced Grape Syrup Sewing Clothes Christmas Cookie Recipes oxeye-daisies

What are your reasons for being frugal?

🙂

Look for Free Stuff

19 Frugal Tips to Make Life Easier and A Little Folk Lore

Everyone has those moments when you say “now why didn’t I think of that?”.  I love little tips that help make life easier and use every day items that I have on hand.  Hope these frugal tips will help you as well!

  1.  Mini chocolate chips go further, because you use fewer to impart that delicious flavor.
  2. Use stackable cooling racks in your fridge to add extra storage space.
  3. Cupcake pans can be used to make large ice cubes for punches or blanching
  4. Plastic grocery bags can be used to wrap around items going to the freezer, as extra layers of protection against freezer burn.
  5. Use hot water, Borax and a flannel cloth to clean greasy kitchen walls.
  6. A Mason jar, a funnel and a piece of fruit in the jar, make an excellent fly trap.
  7. Boil a piece of Ivory soap for 45 minutes, in calcium stained pans and tea kettles.
  8. Boil vinegar and water for 10 minutes in pans with burned on food.
  9. Use baking soda and cold water to soak pans with egg and milk.
  10. Use hot water to soak pans with sugar and grease.
  11. Clean mills, grinders and mortars, by grinding rice.
  12. Flour the bottom of a roasting pan for thicker drippings.
  13. Wet sand on concrete helps keep the dust down for sweeping.
  14. Use paint brushes to clean wicker.
  15. Lemon juice can clean rust stains.
  16. Quickly clean tarnish using aluminum foil, water and salt.   Lay foil on the bottom of the sink, fill sink about half full, add salt.  Place items in sink so they don’t touch each other, but come in contact with the foil.  Watch tarnish magically disappear.
  17. Use a pumice stone to clean hard water stains.
  18. Buttermilk removes mildew from cloth.  Soak, let dry in the sun, then wash.
  19. Use a screen window for drying sweaters.

How about a some folk lore?

  1. Watch birds and animals.  They will alert you to bad weather and danger.
  2. The first twelve days after Christmas will indicate what each of the months in the next year will be like.
  3. The age of the moon, (number of days past new moon) at the first snow, will tell you how many time it will snow that winter.

Hope you enjoyed these!

🙂

Cleaning a Vacuum

Keeping Your Vacuum Clean

We take for granted that our vacuums clean our homes, but every so often they need a little attention to keep them running well too.

If your vacuum is just not picking up the dirt like it used to, it probably needs a good cleaning.  Time to take care of your equipment.

About every 3 months, I take my vacuum apart and really thoroughly clean it.  By the time I’m done, it looks and works like it’s brand new!

How to Clean a Vacuum

  • Start by taking all the filters out.  Remove the screws that hold the bottom plate on and this will give you access to your beater brush and belt.
  • Wash all the parts, that are washable, with warm soap and water.  If you have paper filters, a dry brush toothbrush will help you get the worst of the dirt out of them.  You can also take them outside and tap them against the ground to knock some dirt out. Take the attachment hose and run water through it, then hang it up somewhere to dry.
  • Clean the outside and inside of the main body of the vacuum.
  • Let all of your parts dry for 2 or 3 days!  Making sure everything is nice and dry before putting it back together will help prevent mold.
  • Put everything back together.
  • Now you have a nice, clean vacuum that will work much better!

Cleaning a Vacuum

Once a year, during my routine maintenance, I will replace all the filters and the belt with new ones.  For my model, this costs about $20.00.

This little bit of maintenance really helps a vacuum last longer and you will notice the difference in how much better it works.

BENEFITS:

  • Extending the life of your machine
  • Satisfaction of doing it yourself
  • Money saved in the long run, by buying fewer replacements

No money saved right now, but extending the life of your vacuum will reward you down the road.  Fewer vacuums bought, and fewer vacuums ending up in the landfills!

🙂

Garden Mailboxes, Re-Purposed Mailboxes

Garden Mailboxes

Old metal mailboxes hold up well under all kinds of conditions and have many outdoor uses, where you need storage that stays dry.

I use an old one on the corner of my garden, for holding my gardening hand tools, twine, gloves, and other little miscellany that I want to keep handy while I’m in the garden.  It’s not a new idea, but it’s a good one that bears repeating!

Garden Mailboxes, Re-Purposed Mailboxes

I also found an old wooden stand that was in really tough shape, but flipped upside down, holds my rakes and shovels as well!

Garden Mailboxes, Re-Purposed Mailboxes

The mailbox cost $4.00 at a thrift store and the stand I picked up for free during Clean-Up Week in our town.

Having tools handy during gardening saves a lot of steps, time and aggravation.

Hope you find this little time-saving tip helpful!

🙂