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!

🙂

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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!

🙂

3 Delicious $5.00 Cakes

3 Delicious $5.00 Cakes

If you love cake, you will love these delicious cake recipes.  They are seriously the best cakes I have ever made!

Baking a “from scratch” cake is always a very satisfying process for me.  It’s like alchemy; assembling the ingredients, gently stirring them together, smelling the spices, then watching them transform into mouth-watering creations.  I even love greasing and flouring the pans, which was my job when I was a child, baking with my mother.

I call these $5.00 cakes, because I take for granted having the “staples” of flour, eggs and butter on hand. LOL

I can vouch for two of the three cakes being outstanding!!  Haven’t gotten around to the Raspberry-Laced Vanilla Cake yet, but I hope someone can tell me how it tastes. 🙂

3 Delicious $5.00 Cakes

3 Delicious $5.00 Cakes

3 Delicious $5.00 Cakes

BENEFITS:

  • Saving money
  • Having fantastic recipes for bake sales and benefits
  • Special “baking time” with family
  • Learning or teaching baking skills
  • Delicious cakes to eat!!

Store bought cakes are very expensive.  A triple layer cake can easily cost $40.00 +.  Baking from scratch, cakes cost around $5.00 each (give or take a little).

MONEY SAVED:  On these 3 cakes: $105.00!

🙂

Investing in Seeds

Investing in Seeds

If you are like me, you impatiently wait for seed catalogs to arrive in the winter, and then eagerly immerse yourself in the colored photos of beautiful flowers and mouth-watering fruits and veggies.  (I also look at seeds online and I do my ordering online, but there’s just something so special about getting those catalogs!)

I browse all the seeds that interest me, including sales and clearance, loading up my virtual cart until it’s brimming.  Then I look at the total.  O_O

Sometimes, seeds can seem a little expensive.  However, I like to think of it in the long term.  If the seeds are not hybrid, I know I can save seeds from each planting and keep that initial “investment” going for years.  If we have some extra money, I’ll go ahead and order a few extra seeds.  I’ve used seeds that are 4 or 5 years old and gotten excellent crops, so I’m comfortable in getting ahead of myself and having a nice sized “stash”.

I also consider that starting my seeds and selling some plants can bring in extra money that can be “seed” money for the next year.  (Pun intended!)

Thinking of all the possibilities, seeds are really a bargain!

When I look at all my seeds, I see life; beautiful flowers, delicious veggies, nutrition for us and our animals, and the promise of food, in good times or bad.  🙂

Investing in Seeds

Investing in Seeds

Investing in Seeds

BENEFITS:

  • Inexpensive, nutritious food
  • Stockpile of potential food
  • Flower seeds that can be grown and sold
  • Veggie seedlings that can be sold or bartered
  • Saving lots of money on groceries

MONEY SAVED:   I’m not sure how to quantify the savings on this.  The cost of the initial pack of seeds goes down each year you save seeds and replant.  If you sell enough plants to cover the cost of buying more seeds, your cost can go down to zero.  It is a self-sustaining venture!

🙂

Strawberry-Rhubarb Muffins

Strawberry-Rhubarb Muffins

Recently, our local grocery store had a nice sale on strawberries; two pints for $3.00.  Heck of a deal!  A great time to make jam and freeze berries for later use.  Unfortunately, I wasn’t in need of jam or frozen strawberries, but I did need some fresh berries to compliment the rhubarb harvest I had in the freezer. 🙂

Fast forward to the kitchen and having everything ready for a delicious Strawberry-Rhubarb pie, when I realize I have way too much filling.  I prefer fresh pie, so I don’t want to make an extra to put in the freezer.   What to do?

Make Strawberry-Rhubarb muffins, of course!

I had never made these before and just used another berry muffin recipe, that I tweaked a bit.  I think you’ll want to try them.  They were amazingly delicious!!

Strawberry-Rhubarb Muffins

Strawberry-Rhubarb Muffins

2 eggs

1/2 cup oil

1 cup milk

3 cups flour

1 cup sugar

4 teas baking powder

berries

Beat egg.  Add oil and milk.  Beat well.  Add dry ingredients and stir until blended.  Fold in the berries.

(I tweaked this recipe by reducing the milk to 3/4 cup and adding 1/2 cup sour cream)

BENEFITS:

  • Buying something to compliment what you already have
  • Strawberry-Rhubarb yumminess
  • Homemade desserts
  • No preservatives
  • Saving money

We ended up with a pie, 6 jumbo muffins and a small loaf.   A pie would cost an average of $10.00, jumbo muffins are $1.40 each and a small loaf is about $4.00, for a total of $22.40.  My strawberries cost $3.00, I grew my own rhubarb, and the flour, sugar, etc cost about $2.00.

MONEY SAVED: $17.40!!

🙂

Reasons to Be Outside

So Many Reasons to Be Outside!

I try to get some fresh air every day.  Nature has a way of calming my senses and clearing my mind.

We have often been witness to spectacles of nature, just because we were outside.  Geese flying overhead that appear golden in autumn’s setting sun, shooting stars racing across the night sky, rabbits teaching their young how to find food.  I’m never bored being outside; I have Mother Nature’s symphony and theater to entertain me.

Reasons to Be Outside

Reasons to Be Outside

Reasons to Be Outside

Reasons to Be Outside

Reasons to Be Outside

Reasons to Be Outside

Reasons to Be Outside

Reasons to Be Outside

Reasons to Be Outside

Reasons to Be Outside

Connecting with nature is priceless.

🙂

Spiced Grape Syrup

Spiced Grape Syrup Recipe

Valiant grapes are delicious, small grapes that work well for jellies, jams and syrups.

As I was out taking propagation cuttings from my main plant, it reminded me that I wanted to share a wonderful recipe I use for pancake syrup!

When we harvest the grapes, I boil them for 15 minutes, in a large pot, with a small amount of water.  When they are soft, I put them through a canning sieve to remove seeds and skins.  From there, I either continue on to the recipe, or stick the juice in the freezer for later use.  (Sometimes, I do that just so I have something fun to can in the winter!)

Spiced Grape Syrup

Spiced Grape Syrup

Measure juice and bring to a boil.  For each cup of juice, add 3/4 cup sugar.  Add 1 tsp ground cinnamon, 1/2 tsp ground cloves and 1/2 tsp ground allspice to every 3 cups or juice, or to taste.  Boil rapidly to syrup stage.  Pour into sterilized canning jars and continue with safe canning practices.

This recipe is a family favorite!  We pick the grapes together, can them together and enjoy the syrup together!  How much better can it get?

BENEFITS:

  • Growing your own fruit
  • Making home made syrup you won’t find in stores
  • Great items for gifts
  • Satisfaction of being involved in every step of the process

The plant originally cost me about $5.00.  (I have propagated many plants from it, which I have shared with family and used to expand my own crop.)  Specialty syrups in the stores are $8.00 for 8 ounces. (1/2 pint)   Every year we get at least 12 pints!

MONEY SAVED:  $192.00!!

🙂