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Posts Tagged ‘Tips’

As a mom, I want Grace to stay healthy.  No mom wants their child to be sick.  As a single mom, I REALLY want Grace to stay healthy because if she is sick and I stay home with her, I fall behind on things at work and that creates more stress.  Don’t get me wrong.  It’s not like I don’t stay home with her when she’s sick, it’s just that I like to prevent her from getting sick in the first place if I can help it.

Here are a few of my tricks for staying healthy.

  • Daily Vitamins.  Grace takes the Enfamil daily vitamins for infants.  I put them in her first cup of juice in the morning and she drinks it with her juice.  No fuss trying to get her to take them 🙂
  • Vitamin “C”  I found vitamin C’s that are gummy bears and she takes two each day.  At first, I had to watch her closely with them to make sure she got them down, but now she’s a pro at taking them.  If she’s coming down with a cold, or doesn’t feel well, she takes two of them 3 or 4 times a day to help boost her immune system.
  • Drinking lots of fluid.  Grace drinks lots of juice and water everyday to help flush things out of her system and stay hydrated.
  • Staying home if she doesn’t feel good.  I am a planner and I like to have things scheduled, but if Grace doesn’t feel well, we use plan “B” for the day, STAY HOME.  This helps her relax and take a longer nap if she needs it, it keeps her from catching something additional since her immune system is already weak at that point, and it keeps her from spreading what she has around our community.
  • Staying away from friends who are sick.  Some people think I’m crazy when I don’t want her around their children if they have a cold or a fever.  My theory is that a lot of illnesses present themselves as a “cold” and then they end up being strep throat, tonsillitis, sinus infections, mono and more.  So if her friends have runny noses or are coughing, we STAY AWAY from them.
  • Wearing 2 pairs of jammies to bed.  I started this because last year, Grace kept kicking her blankets off at night and I couldn’t get her to stay covered and I was afraid that she’d get sick, so she wears a pair of pants and long sleeved shirt jammies (kind of like long johns) and then she wears a fleece pair of zip up jammies with the feet in them over the long john style jammies.  It keeps her nice and cozy warm all night long.
  • Naps or rest time.  Grace is going through a phase where she doesn’t want to take a nap every day.  I’m sorry, but rest is a MUST especially when you are two years old.  My policy is that you don’t HAVE to take a nap, but you do have to rest.  This entails getting in bed and covering up.  She takes a toy or a book with her and 99% of the time, she falls asleep.  Sleep not only helps children grow, but it also helps them recoup from all of the activity in the day.  If I allowed Grace not to take a nap when she said that she didn’t want a nap (about 90% of the time) I think she’d catch more illnesses just from the fact that she’s not getting enough rest.

This is not to say that by following what we do your child will NEVER get sick, but it can cut down the number of illnesses in a winter.  Last winter, Grace had two colds and that was IT.  No flu, no ear aches, no perpetual cough.  Just two colds.  I attribute this to vitamins, staying home when she’s not feeling well and staying away from other people who are sick.  It’s much more fun to have a toddler who’s able to enjoy the holidays than a toddler who’s miserable because he or she is ill during the holidays.  An ounce of prevention goes a long way!

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As Grace and I were eating our Taco Bell tonight……I was thinking that it will be so nice for me to have more time to cook and bake for our meals once I quit working and am able to be an “official” Piano Teacher.  I like eating out once in awhile, but I confess, like most Americans, Grace and I eat out more than we need to (another great way to save $$$ Beth, …..eat at home more often!)  We do spend a lot of time in the kitchen on the weekends, and we eat several home cooked meals a week, it’s just that especially lately, it’s much easier for us to eat out than it is for me to work, teach piano, pick up Grace, go home, cook, clean up the kitchen, run the dishwasher, do laundry and clean the house.  I’d much rather grab something quick on the way home and head outside to play with Grace. 🙂

Here are some of my favorite kitchen tips and timesavers.

#1 When baking chicken: Cover the pan with foil, bake your chicken, then roll up the foil and toss it away instead having to soak and scrub the chicken goo off of the pan. (This is my very favorite kitchen trick!)

#2 Save old banannas, put them in the freezer and use them to make bananna muffins. (Yum!) Or bananna bread, if you prefer it.

#3 Here’s a tip to make any kind of breakfast muffin even better.  Mix cinnamon and sugar together in a coffee cup.  Put your muffin batter in the muffin pans and then sprinkle the tops with the cinnamon and sugar mix before putting them in the oven.  (I use this on almost any muffin I make and it adds just the right touch.)

#4 When making chocolate chip cookies, MELT the butter and add it to the mixture.  I’d never done this before, but I had a recipe that said to melt it first………the best chocolate chip cookies I’ve ever made.  I mentioned this to a friend and she said she always melts her butter for chocolate chip cookies.  They are YUMMY!

#5 Cut pancakes with a pizza cutter.

#6 Have a pair of dedicated “Kitchen Scissors” and use them to cut pizza, green pepper, green onions, celery, etc.

#7 When you buy ground hamburger meat, seperate it into 1lb portions, wrap with plastic wrap and foil.  That way, you don’t have to thaw it out and seperate what you need from it.  Better yet, make your raw hamburger into hamburger patties, freeze and then put in freezer bags.  This way, if you’re making hamburgers, they are ready to go.  If you need to brown the meat, it thaws and browns much faster because it’s in smaller chunks.

#8 Make holiday cookie dough (sugar cookies, gingerbread, etc) ahead of time, wrap in plastic wrap and foil, and freeze it until you’re ready to bake it if you don’t have time to mix from scratch and bake it all in the same day. 

#9 Cut bacon strips in half (across) before frying them to make them more manageable and to help them fry more evenly.  (I hate burnt bacon, and pieces of chewy fat in my bacon, so to get them just right, I cut the strips in half.)

#10 Add a pinch of salt to the water before boiling corn, peas, broccoli, and  carrots to give them a great flavor without having to add any butter to them.

#11 Boil the water BEFORE putting pasta in to cook.  If you put the pasta in the water and bring it to a boil, the pasta ends up mushier. 

#12 Make your own syrup by boiling 1 cup of water and while it’s boiling, stir in 1/2 cup of  white sugar, let it dilute while stirring, and add 1/2 cup and stir in 3 more times (a total of 2 cups of sugar)  Add maple flavoring and you have your very own home made syrup!

#13 If you run out of brown sugar, make your own by mixing white sugar with molasses.

#14 If what you’re making is to salty, add a liittle bit of sugar.  If it’s too sugary, add a little bit of salt.

#15 Add chocolate chips to your bananna bread. (delicious!)

Feel free to add your favorite tips to this list!

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I am a VERY thrifty person.  I don’t like to waste any money and I’m always looking for ways to save money.  We all know that most single moms don’t have very much money, and even the ones who do have much better things to spend it on than putting gas in their cars.  Back in the day (five years ago when I bought my car….) I could fill it up for $23.50, and it lasted for 2 weeks.  (Gas was $1.29 a gallon then…..those were the days…..)  If I let my car go to empty and fill it up now, it costs me almost $60.00.  WOW.  That’s a lot of money.  It still lasts for two weeks, but that’s $120.00 a month in gas compared to the $47.00 that it used to be.  (I know that some of you who drive trucks, SUV’s and Vans pay WAY more than this, but I choose to drive a small car and I’d like it if I could spend less money in this area.) So I keep thinking “HOW can I save money on gas?” 

If you read my post  “Things I Can and Can’t Control”  you know that the price of gas is in the circle of influence.  It is something that influences our daily life, but we have NO control over it, so we have to accept it and try to change what we can control, right?

For weeks, I’ve been pondering this topic.  Can I cut back on my driving? No, I’ve cut back everywhere I can and I am very organized about running my errands so that I’m not waisting gas.  I turn my car off when I go to the drive up window at the bank and I try to park and go into fast food places instead of waisting my gas sitting in line.  I only run my A/C when necessary, and even then I keep the fan on 1 or 2 once the car is cooled down….I buy on-line whenever possible….all of these actions combined are not helping very much……so I’m back to square one.  How can I save money on gas?

Then I remembered something that my Uncle told me several years ago…..never let your tank go under 1/2.  Your fuel burns more efficiently when your tank is fuller than when it’s going empty……(my Uncle actually fills up every time the needle moves a little under full…..but that’s a little too OCD for me.)  Hmmm….he told me this tip back when gas was $1.29 a gallon and I didn’t CARE how efficiently my gas was burning…….now the price of gas here is $4.35 a gallon and I’m CARING how efficiently my fuel is being used. 

Another tip that my mechanic told me was to buy the mid-grade gas.  He said that he did a little study on it and it’s anywhere from .10-.15 cents more per gallon than regular, BUT it gives you several more miles to the gallon than regular gas does, so in the long run, you are SAVING yourself several gallons of gas a month by buying the mid-grade.

OK, so I tried it for myself.  I’ve been doing this for the last 6 weeks….Here’s what I do:  I buy the mid-grade AND I fill up when my tank is right at 3/4, which for me is usually once a week.  Now when I fill up, it’s $25.85 a week, which comes out to 103.44 a month……I just saved myself $16.56 a month on gas!!!!!  It may not sound like very much, but that’s a couple of trips to McDonalds for Grace and I, and it equals a savings of $198.72 a year.  WOW!  That’s money that I can put in the bank, put on a bill, or use for having fun.  I’d much rather give that $198.72 a year to McDonalds than to Exxon……I’m already giving them enough.

You may have already heard these tips, so this may be old news to you, but it’s a new revelation for me, so I’m very excited about it.

So, what ways have you found to save money on fuel?  I’d love to hear them!

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