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Frugal, natural, & fabulous beauty basics (and a lot you don’t need)

I think it’s a good idea to do a little homework on what in the world is IN  the stuff we slather all over our largest organ…our skin.  Most inexpensive products are made with cheap oils and waxes that do more harm than good.  The quality products are EXPENSIVE so what to do? 

The Oil Cleansing Method

I fee like I’m in on a little secret that most of the world doesn’t know…I wash my face with oil. Wait don’t click away, move the mouse away from that unsubscribe button, it’s not as crazy as you think.   

Washing your face with oil may sound weird and counteractive especially if you have oily skin but believe it or not oil does not cause acne or make you have an oily face.  Soap strips your face of it’s natural oils causing your skin to produce MORE oil to make up for what has been taken.  Even says “oil cleans oil.” 

I have been washing my face with a part olive oil, part castor oil mixture for almost two years now.  It is the only thing I need to remove my makeup, clean, AND moisturize.  My skin is very soft, not oily.  I love it!  Try getting all that for $10 a bottle (and it lasts for 6 months or more!). 

Details and step by step instructions here

Coconut Oil

I have a re-used baby food jar full of coconut oil on my bathroom counter.  I use it as my lotion, and a conditioner.  After I blow dry my hair I use just a “dab” on my ends as conditioner.  Coconut oil is an amazing product.  Lots of research shows us it can heal scars and even bruises!  There are plenty more details on the amazing product that is coconut oil here.

Shampoo Bars

If you are like me and just trying to get something to clean your hair, leave it feeling weightless, and prefer not to have 100 random things you cannot pronounce in the line up,  then allow me to introduce you to my friend, the shampoo bar:

The shampoo bar has seriously become one of my favorite things.  There are tons of yummy smelling varieties and I have NEVER, I mean never, had my hair been so cooperative! I have tried the “no poo method” and was not NEAR as satisfied as I am with the shampoo bar.  

No need for mouse, gel, spray, etc.  This is a big deal yall!  With hair as straight and volume-less as mine I used to be a hair product junkie. Now that my hair is not so heavy from waxy, yucky build up, I have some volume!  Plus I’m saving money buying less products!

Don’t miss a post! Have Imperfect People delivered to your inbox or your RSS reader…Don’t worry it’s FREE! Tags: frugal,simple living,natural,green

  Featured at Sorta Crunchy, the Greenbacks girl, Life renewed, and a Delightful home

Back to basics: Canning for rookies

I have always admired people who were able to preserve all of the yummy produce that is plentiful in the summer.  Making delicious jellies and pickled…well…everything, stocking up to last all winter.  What a fun way to make all natural food at a fraction of the cost!

This season I set out to learn how to can.  I was intimidated, to say the least.  But after watching some “how to” you tube videos (which of-course makes me an expert) and reading a few articles, I decided to roll up my sleeves and give it a go. 

My first experience was when I made strawberry jam.  In “typical me” fashion I got a little too overzealous and tried to make it sugar-free using low or no sugar pectin.  This is possible but a little tricky so I don’t recommend it unless you know what you are doing…which of course I did not.  The jam wasn’t a complete waste however, we can still use it, but it taste much better with a little added honey and it didn’t “jell”  very well. 

My next experience was WAY more successful.  And now I am a canning addict!  I have made scuppernong jelly, pickles, salsa, pear preserves, and pear sauce (the pickles didn’t make the picture because we already ate them already!).

How to get lots of FREE and or CHEAP produce

  1. Pick your own.  Many farms offer pick your own produce and the cost is MUCH less than retail. 
  2. Check out the “reduced table” at the produce stand.  Many produce stands move their fruit and veggies that are getting old, or have blemishes to the reduced table.  This is the perfect place to get produce for canning because it all needs to be cut up anyway so it is easy to cut out the blemishes.  The only trick is be ready to can that day because the fruit needs to be preserved quickly! 
  3. Don’t be afraid to ask.  My sweet neighbor was the one generous enough to let me pick off her scuppernong grape vine for the jelly.  Most people who have fruit trees are happy to share their abundant crop.  You just have to ask. 

What do you need?

The only things you REALLY need are a large pot, jars and lids for canning, clean clothes, a ladle, and something to get the hot jars out of the boiling water. 

Although you can do without it, a canning funnel makes the job easier and less messy. 

Making the recipe to can

  1. Decide what to can.  If you already have a favorite homemade recipe then you are already half way there!  There are tons of great ones to choose from here and here.
  2. Have no idea where to start?  Almost anything can be canned.  What is your favorite summer fruit or veggie?  What do you buy the most of and could make your own instead?  If you need a good place to start I would suggest a pickling recipe as your first canning experience.  Tomato recipes need added lemon juice or citric acid to get the right pH and jellies are a little more tricky making sure they “jell”.

We made these pickles (without the peppers) YUM!

Fill and process

Once your recipe is made, fill the jars (leaving 1/2 inch space at the top for expansion).
Place lid and ring around the jar and tighten.  Then place jars in the boiling water bath.  There are all kinds of instructions of how long to let them boil depending on your elevation and what you are canning.

I am way too lazy to do all those calculations and I read most sources suggest boiling way too long…so I just boiled everything for 5-7 minutes with success every time!

Remove from hot bath and let cool on the counter. As the jars cool you may have to re-tighten as they can become loose with heat. 

In the next few hours you should hear all your jars POP.  This is the sign of a job well done!  If for some reason one of your jars didn’t seal (you can still press the center up and down) then store in the refrigerator or eat that one first. 

***Update!  Reader, Sabrina, added:

Don’t forget, once your jars are processed and cooled, remove the rings from the jar.  That way if there is ever a jar that goes bad, the lid can dislodge itself instead of the jar exploding.

Good to know!  Thanks Sabrina!

Now all you have to do is label, and enjoy! 

Have you ever canned?  Do you want to?  What are your thoughts? 

Don’t miss a post! Have Imperfect People delivered to your inbox or your RSS reader…Don’t worry it’s FREE! I don’t know you have stopped by unless you comment so please do! Tags: simple living,frugal,canning,gardening,cooking

Eating organic…Imperfectly

Trying to eat everything perfectly organic can get overwhelming.  Honestly it makes me want to go eat a bag of cheetos and forget the whole thing.  I am all for eating 100% organic…if it were realistic, but most organic products are more expensive and many are just hard to find! 

That being said I know without a doubt it is important.  Pesticides, hormones, antibodies, synthetic fertilizers and genetically modified food does NOT sound appealing.  But being that our bank account is limited and our small town doesn’t have access to everything organic here are some ways we have found to make it all work. 


Many items in the produce section carry higher contaminates than others.  Oranges and Bananas for example have thick skin, therefore the fruit carries much fewer contaminates than say, grapes or lettuce. 

The “dirty dozen” lays out the 12 foods that carry the most pesticide residues.  It is  suggested  to buy these products organic if possible. 

I admit it, we do not buy everything on the dirty dozen list organically.  My “imperfect” way of resolving the problem is a vinegar bath.  Pesticides are made to be water resistant (because of rain) so just rinsing the produce in water won’t do the trick.  I give my grapes, apples, etc. a bath of (roughly) 3/4 cup white vinegar to 5 cups water.  I let them soak for a few minutes then wash them off as normal.  You can buy those fancy produce wipes too…but this is much cheaper and just as effective. 

Growing your own produce is also a fabulous option.  Think you can’t be a gardener?  Read Cheap and Easy gardning…for the rest of us.

Animal products

Meat, milk, milk products, and eggs all fall into the animal products category.   While pesticides on your produce are not great, hormones and antibodies are much worse.  If you have to choose, It is actually better to make wise decisions when it comes to your animal products than your produce. Need convincing?  Watch food inc.

Free range animals usually come with a high price tag.  Here is how we make it work:

Our pediatrician says if you are going to buy only one thing organic, buy organic milk. Especially having two girls, I appreciate her advice protecting them from false hormones.   Not only is organic milk free of the bad stuff, it also has much more of the good stuff.  When milk is processed it is heated, the high temperatures cause milk to loose much of it’s nutrient content.  Details here.  Our local farmers market sells AMAZING organic milk for $4.50 a gallon.  Which is much cheaper than grocery store organic milk and the taste is significantly better than “regular milk.” 


Our eggs come from the local produce store.  They sell yard eggs for $2.75 a dozen.  We buy free range chicken, grass fed cow meat, and wild caught fish…and it is expensive.  This is just one of the things we feel is important and worth the extra cost.  To make it more affordable we don’t eat it every night.  Often we have a bean dish, omelets for dinner, or soups and casseroles that don’t require as much meat.  We also live in the south and have access to deer meat.  You can’t get more “free range” than deer meat.  Just don’t watch Bambi.

Geezzz i sound like such a hippy huh?  I used to not even like people like me!  Don’t judge!  For the record I am typing this post while eating a piece of chocolate cake so don’t be too impressed.

What do you think?  Do you eat organic?  How do you make it all work for your family?

Featured at Sorta Crunchy, the Greenbacks girl, Life renewed, and a Delightful home

Back to Basics: Making your own laundry detergent

There are tons of recipes out there on making your own detergent.  Many do-it-yourself recipes include less than 5 ingredients but for my imperfect self I need SIMPLE!  What about ONE ingredient?  Sign me up for that!  The secret is Soap Nuts.

Soap nuts are the dried fruit of the Chinese Soapberry tree. They contain saponin, a natural cleaner. They are simply harvested, de-seeded, and then dried in the sun. It is hypo-allergenic, brightens colors, and contains a natural fabric softener!  -Passionate Homemaking

It is so easy!  I place roughly 15 soap nuts in a pot with about 6 cups water.  Bring to a boil then simmer until cool.  Once it has cooled I pull out the soap nuts and place in my compost pile.  I then pour the apple juice looking liquid into ice cube trays and freeze (it is all natural so it won’t keep at room temperature).  Once frozen I place all my cubes in a freezer bag.  When it is laundry time I use 1 to two cubes per load of laundry (depending on load size). 

My laundry detergent:

Why bother?

    1. Cost:  Depending on what commercial cleaner you normally use, it is only a fraction of the cost to make your own. 

- All’s Small and Mighty 3x Concentrate for HE washers: $8.49 for 32 loads. ($0.265 per load)

- ECOS Laundry Detergent, Ultra Concentrated Fabric Softener: $9.49 for 26 loads ($0.367 per load)

- Tide’s 2x Concentrated Laundry Detergent: $14.99 for 32 loads ($0.468 per load!)

- Dreft’s 2x Concentrated Baby Laundry Detergent: $31.99 for 110 loads ($0.290 per load)

Soap Nuts: $0.07 to $.12 cents a load!  When you buy in bulk you get a better deal.  Great time to split an order with a friend.

  1. Better for you: Almost every detergent on the market includes sodium lauryl sulfate, Parabens, and other ingredients you don’t really want near your skin,  and eventually in our water system.  Just like many other things the jury is still out on whether these items are carcinogens, but I say why risk it? 
  2. Getting it REALLY CLEAN: Most commercial detergents leave perfumes, brighteners, and/or fabric softeners on your clothes to cover up the fact that the detergent really didn’t clean anything.
  3. Less Waste: Making your own detergent means buying less packaging, which means you have less waste.  Recycling is good but avoiding buying the (eventual) trash is even better. 

I highly recommend NaturOli Soap Nuts. They have a very high quality of soap nut that come de-seeded…which is important.  And I have yet to find a better price.

Soap nuts do not have any fragrance and if you are like me and love the smell of fresh laundry, I suggest adding a  few drops of  Dr. Bronner’s Castile soap in lavender.  Nothing smells better than  all natural and frugal clean laundry!

Bonus: Dr. Bronner’s soap can be used for a number of house hold uses too!

I love to hear your comments. Have you ever made your own laundry detergent?  Do you make any other household products?

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What You Really Do and Don’t Need for Gardening

Today I am guest posting over at Remodeling this Life.  Where simple is beautiful!  I hope you will check it out!

I find it amusing there are so many different ways advertisers are trying to get you to spend money to make your garden beautiful. People have been gardening for centuries without all the fuss.  Over the years in the garden I have learned a few tips on what you really do need and a lot of things you don’t.

(to read the rest click here) Tags: gardening,frugal,simple living

Tips on how to get debt free

Our story on becoming debt free didn’t happen over night.  And it didn’t just fall in our laps.  We got intentional, we got serious, and we sold a bunch of stuff we didn’t need. 

If you are looking to get rid of your debt this is a all or nothing commitment.  The idea is you work harder, live on less and get out of debt as fast as you possibly can.  If you are still working on your debt in four or five years (baring no unforeseen disasters) there is a problem. 

A few tips that helped us:

  • eBay:  There isn’t much more exciting than selling something you no longer need on eBay.  If you have never tried, I PROMISE it is user friendly.  If you can send and email, you can sell on eBay.  Many items like books and DVD’s have the information all ready to go , you just describe your specific copy.  I pulled $500 from our paypal account to add to our down payment when we bought our home.  That money was just from stuff we no longer needed or loved. 
  • Yard Sales: Being a shopper or a seller, yard sales are the way to go. If you are trying to get out of debt I am willing to bet you have lots of “money” sitting around your home in the form of something you no longer need.  Plus it helps de-clutter!Yard sales are also the place to shop for the family trying to get out of debt.  You never know what you will find but I guarantee it will be way less than retail!
  • Coupons: I hear stories of these super coupon cutters and how they get everything for free.  I have no pointers as I only wish to be so coupon savvy but this site tells you where to find all the best deals each week.
  • Envelope system: Designate a specific amount of money for areas such as eating out money, clothing money, even grocery money.  When that envelope is empty for the month, you are done.  Make do with what you have.  More details about this here.

Remember this is a short period of time.  Stay focused, eye on the prize.  When you are debt free you will be able to afford more, go on vacation, or make your hobby become your job. 

Making sacrifices for a short time may help you to realize there are things you can live without for the long term too.  Very few millionaires get $50 hair cuts, pay retail for major purchases, or buy brand new cars. 

My husband lost his job in September of this past year.  We were debt free and had an emergency fund, making the situation much more tolerable.  He didn’t have to rush into the first job that came along and thankfully he was able to land a great job a few months later. 

Being debt free changes your perspective on things.  You worry less and give more…because you can.

Share your tips, how do you live frugally? Tags: frugal,simple living,debt

Our Financial Testimony on becoming debt free

Apparently we live pretty differently than the rest of the world.  We have lived debt free and without credit cards for so long now I forgot we are “weird”.  The average American a.k.a “normal person” is carrying roughly $25,000 worth of debt not including their mortgage…I’m glad I’m weird. 

It wasn’t always that way…

When my husband and I were engaged he heard about Dave Ramsey.  It was PERFECT timing for us to get on board with a PLAN for our money so I was all for it.  We got the book total money makeover.  And we were hooked! 

Our marriage started with about $20,000 dollars worth of debt between a car loan and 2 school loans.  We decided to live off of the smaller of our two incomes and put everything else toward getting rid of debt. 

That meant NOT buying a home when we first got married like everyone else I knew. That meant NOT eating out much, NOT buying clothes (that we didn’t need anyway) and living as if the larger of our two salaries didn’t even exist.  We were “weird” we lived in a little duplex for two years when people with less money were buying big beautiful brick homes.  We lived like “no one else, so later we can live like no one else”

Although I had house fever I am FOREVER grateful for my husbands patience reminding me it will all be worth it in due time. 

In almost exactly two years of living solely off of our smaller income we:

Paid off ALL $20,000 worth of debt
Saved up a fully funded emergency fund (3-6 months worth of expenses)
Saved up a large enough down payment for a home that we were able to avoid the PMI loan

It wasn’t long after we bought our home we found out we were having a baby.  I worked throughout the pregnancy and until the baby was about 6 months old.  That gave us time to pay for a few household projects and save for the job I always wanted, to stay at home with our children.

If not for a PLAN for our finances, Dave Ramsey’s principles, and my husbands patience, this dream would have never been able to come true. 

Getting used to living off one income from the beginning of our marriage made it no big deal when we REALLY were living off just one income.  I am working a little on the side doing promotional items (if you need your logo on shirts, pens, hats, cups etc. email me) but for the most part I am able to be at home with our two children. 

Are we Rockefeller’s?  Hardly but we have learned how to make our money work for us.  Instead of living paycheck to paycheck. 

I’ll be talking more about money this week so come back as we discuss how to better manage our finances.

I’d love to hear your comments!  Do you carry debt? Tags: Debt,frugal,finance,simple living

Gardening Q&A

Imperfect gardeners you have blessed me by your encouragement and sweet comments during this gardening series!  Thank you for your questions!  Below are the answers.  Remember ANYONE can have a green thumb…I promise!

April asked: When is the best time to plant tomatoes?  And can you stagger plant all season long?

A:  Plants or seeds can be planted in the ground as soon as the last frost date has passed.  And yes tomatoes are the perfect crop to stagger all season long.  I have several started now and hope to start another batch in July or August.   FYI the same is true for squash and zucchini.  Mine were attacked by squash bugs in early summer but when I planted again in July the squash bugs have completed their life cycle and were no longer a problem.

April asked: How do I make a cheap rain barrel and what can and can’t be composted?

A: For the first question.  Here is a great how to video.  They used a recycled 55 gallon food grade drum.  If you don’t have access to a large container you can re-use a heavy duty plastic trash can will work just as good.

On the compost: As a general rule you can compost any kitchen scraps that are not meat or dairy.  Most of those are the “green contents” of a compost pile.  The “brown contents” are endless!  Anything from newspaper and sawdust to vacuum cleaner contents and dryer lint!

For a complete list of what can and cannot be composted click here

Suzannah asked: How do we discourage rodents? We fenced out deer/bunnies but the mice still got in and ate up our tomatoes.

A: Get a cat?  LOL Actually I have heard moth balls tossed around your garden will help.  They don’t see well and rely on smell to get them around.  The smell of moth balls will deter them.  Or you can make a homemade mouse trap.  Take a 5-gallon bucket and put some peanut butter or raw bacon inside of it. Place some bricks or blocks next to the bucket to work as a way for them to jump in. Once they are inside they cannot get out.

Robin asked Do you add coffee grinds in your compost bin or do you just mix them directly in the soil?

A: I do both.  When I get a big bag of them from a coffee shop who offers them to be recycled I put them directly in the garden.  But ours from the house go in my counter top compost container which gets dumped outside in the trash can turned composter.

Robin asked: How often and with what do you fertilize? Are fish emulsion and/or blood meal good organic stuff to use?

A: I am so “imperfect” I don’t really have a schedule but…as a rule of thumb the first of spring and fall are the best times to fertilize.  Spring is when all the growth happens and fall is when the roots get more established (a great time to plant trees and shrubs).

Veggies need to be fertilized more often as they have such a short but vigorous growing time.   If you plant in nothing but compost you don’t need to add anything but not everyone has that much compost for each plant.  I put a shovel full of compost around each veggie then water with fish emulsion every other week or so?  This garden sprayer makes the job much easier.

Blood meal is pure nitrogen and bone meal is pure phosphorus.  Those are great fertilizers but you need to use both of them.  They are in a powder form so when using them work them into the soil  and water well.  There is an organic multi purpose fertilzer by Espoma that includes all the major nutrients you need all in one.

Amanda asked When you have too much produce do you freeze it, can it, give it to your favorite people?

A:  Excellent question!  And at the height of summer this is certainly a problem…a good problem but yet an issue.  I do all of the above.  You can slice many veggies and lay them out on a cookie sheet, freeze for about 15 minuites then throw in a freezer bag.  This prevents them from all sticking together.

Also one more option is to give your local food bank.  Our local food bank LOVES it when people bring fresh produce by.  He says it is a big need too!

Thank you so much for your questions.  If you missed anything please read up on the previous gardening posts:
Cheap and Easy gardening…for the rest of us: The Basics
It’s all about the dirt  and Making a difference through gardening.

Cheap and Easy gardening…for the rest of us

You have a black thumb but you want a garden? Or maybe you have tried to garden here and there but got frustrated with the work and the cost? Well I think I can help you out. I used to kill everything I touched or even shared a residence with until I bit the bullet, gave it a legitimate effort, and I have been a full fledged garden junkie ever since.

My first experience was with a tomato plant. I heard something on the radio one day on all the crazy stuff they have to spray on tomatoes to get them “pretty and ripe” for the grocery store (which were never made to be shipped).

 Not really wanting random chemicals on my tomatoes, I figured I would give this gardening thing a shot. My husband and I had just gotten married, we didn’t have kids yet and this tomato plant became my child. I tended to it’s every whim and not surprisingly had a great crop that year. Over the years as my garden and my family have both grown I have realized that tomatoes (and a million other plants) can do quite well without all the fuss. With children (besides plants), a job, and just life, I don’t have hours to dote on my plants anymore and I am assuming you don’t either.  Thus began my cheap and easy garden.

First things first: WATER

The number one killer of outdoor plants is lack of water (the number one killer of indoor plants is too much water…but we’ll stick to outdoor pants here).  I suggest a drip irrigation system.  It is MUCH cheaper to install and uses way less water than a sprinkler irrigation system.  It is also very easy to do yourself…no really it is.  Step by step instructions here.    Most garden centers sell everything you need. 

I have my drip irrigation on a $30 timer that automatically waters my  garden everyday and a hose on the other end for watering plants not on the drip.  A hose splitter like this is less than $5.

This makes watering much less of a chore and gives my veggies the water they will need EVERYDAY during the heat of the summer. 

Established trees and shrubs do not need to be watered so often.  But the first summer you plant anything it will need to be watered at least every other day (except when it rains) to become established….this is why irrigation is helpful.  Cooler climates may not need quite so much water, the best way to tell is stick your finger about an inch down in the soil, if it is dry water it. 

If a drip irrigation is for some reason not possible, make life easier for yourself and plant your garden on a regular route you walk everyday.  The walk to the car, the walk to the mailbox etc.  Above all, CLOSE TO THE HOSE! 

Know your zone

A lot about gardening depends on where you live.  This map will let you know your USDA hardiness zone.  Very handy information on determining planting dates and what will grow best in your area. 

Pick a spot

When growing herbs and veggies you will need a full day of sun (at least 6-8 hours).  Making sure you get enough sun and you have access to a water source you may also want to consider how close it is to the kitchen.  Not a necessity but if you have the option a veggie garden close to the kitchen is a nice plus. 

Get the soil ready

Wherever you choose to plant your garden chances are right now it is currently growing grass (and or weeds).  If you have a tiller, a friend with a tiller, or a budget to rent one that is the ideal way to go…but for the “rest of us”  Here is a good solution:

First get your irrigation laid, then lay several layers (about 10) of damp newspaper, or cardboard over the surface of your garden.  This is a great chance to reuse/recycle your waste.  If you are anxious to get started and don’t have that much newspaper or cardboard on hand you can ask some friends for theirs,  or contact the local newspaper as they often have end rolls of paper without print that they discard with LOTS of paper left.  FYI cardboard from cereal and cracker boxes work great too. 

Make sure you overlap every piece because grass is RELENTLESS!   Then cover it all with mulch.  I use pine straw since I can rake it up for free but crushed leaves, bark, or cedar mulch is all great too.  When you are ready to plant just tear a hole in the paper/cardboard, plant the plant or seed and viola!

Believe it or not your plants can grow without ever having their leaves touched by water or fertilizer…its all about the dirt. Imagine the roots as the mouth of the plant. Everything it needs to eat and drink will be obtained underground.

Making the dirt “yummy” for your plants is all about what you put in the dirt. Being that I like cheap and or free, I use compost. I collect all my kitchen scraps (most anything but meat or dairy) in an empty coffee container on my countertop. But any container will do the job.
When it gets full, I take it outside to my compost container. A.K.A a trash can with holes drilled in the sides and bottom. I also add a shredded newspaper about once a week. I put the lid on and roll it around the yard a few times a week and there you have my $12 compost container that works way better than anything else I have ever tried. Instructional video here.

Compost has all the nutrients your plants could need but if you don’t think you are up making compost there are several commercial fertilizers that are great too.

Organic or Synthetic fertilizer?

I bet I don’t need to tell you what approach i use, but let me tell you why:

According to Paul James, my favorite expert gardener, synthetic fertilizers are like a plant drug. They give plants a quick high, produce abnormal behavior (growth), and are horrible for their health. They add salts to the soil which hinders water absorption AND microbial activity (earth worms and other helpful creatures). Not to mention all those chemicals are absorbed into the fruit or vegetable you will soon be eating.

For a backyard garden organic is cheapest and healthiest option for everyone involved. When I don’t have enough compost I buy Espoma fertilizer or chicken manure. A grab a few handfuls and throw it toward the base of the plant and water well.

Some other free organic fertilizers:

Coffee grounds
 when raking your yard in the fall dump those leaves in your garden!
Animal waste: if you have access to it, animals such as horses, cows, chickens, sheep, and even bats have the best fertilizer in the form of…well poop!

When your soil is well watered and fertilized your plants can’t help but flourish!
Even the blackest of thumbs can grow a good crop. 

Happy gardening!

Share your thoughts what are some of your cheap and easy gardening tricks?


Part of the Green Resource at Sorta Crunchy, the Greenbacks girl, Life renewed, and a Delightful home


Bird Seed Valentines

Looking for a fun alternative to the paper valentine? Bird seed Valentines!

Practical, Cute, and frugal?  It has my name all over it. 

They are very easy to make!

Just mix together

4 cups bird seed
3/4 cup flour
1/2 cup water
3 tablespoons of corn syrup 

Then place them into heart shaped cookie cutters.  Press with the back of the spoon to pack the mold.  It is also handy to spray the Cookie cutter with some non-stick spray.


After the bird seed mixture is firmly into each cookie cutter, use a straw to make a small hole in the top.  This will make stringing them with ribbon much easier.


You can let them air dry over night or bake them in the oven on the lowest setting for about an hour.  They will look prettier if you flip them about half way through baking or drying…but I do all things imperfectly and skipped that step and they look fine (although the flour settles more to the back side if you don’t flip).

After they are cool and dry just pull a ribbon or string and make a tie to hang in the tree.  You can attach a cute note or present as is.

Kids love them since they get to go hang them in the backyard and watch the birds enjoy from the window.  And teachers love them because they are fun, different, and USEFUL!

 Much for fun and than paper plus these guys won’t end up in the trash!  

 Part of the Green Resource at Sorta Crunchy, the Greenbacks girl, Life renewed, and a Delightful home