Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Winter Enjoyment Tips

As I look outside my window, and snow keeps piling up and the temps keep dropping, I guess I could get tickets and head for a warmer place. But that cost money, and besides I remember really loving winter as a kid. You know before winter meant shoveling snow, scrapping windshields, and paying heating bills. So today I’m going to let you on a few tips for winter survival, that don’t cost much money, and you’ll have fun doing.

You have to be out in cold and snow from time to time. If you can’t wear gloves while working, rubbing baby oil,Vaseline 100% Pure Petroleum Jelly
, or my personal favorite Vermont's, Original Bag Balm Protective Ointment
on your hands or any exposed skin, will keep some the cold at bay [plus this does wonders for preventing that dry winter skin].

If it’s icy out there is nothing like a pair of Yaktrax
, but they do cost about $20. You can easily increase your boots traction by cutting V’s in the soles about an inch apart.

Your getting ready to shovel snow or going sledding, but you have that annoying gap between where you mittens end and the sleeve of jacket meet. The simple fix is a pair of men’s tube sox’s. Just cut a hole in the end for you thumb and another to slide the finger through, pull up to your elbow, put on the jacket and gloves, and no more gap.

How about some fun with all that snow in the yard. Build a snowman. Wet snow [right at the point of melting] works best for making snowmen. For more support you can put a sticks in the middle of your snowman. Don’t forget to give him a little caricature. His face can made from left over Christmas chocolates, a mouth from cut apples, he can be dressed in your old coat, or a prom dress. Heck I saw I snowman the other day who was holding an umbrella, with a sign that said don’t forget your sun screen [now that’s a sense of cheerfulness].
If you have an old ice cream freezer collecting dust in the basement, winter is a great time to drag it out. You’ll find mixes for ice cream in stores [if you bought at the end of summer you got them at a very low price] prepare using the directions and pour into the freezer. Pack the ice cream freezer with snow and rock salt in layers, than find help cranking. When it gets hard to turn the crank, you’ve got ice cream. [This is a really good easy homemade recipe for ice cream.]
Remember the feeling of whizzing down hill. All you need to go sledding is about four inches of snow, a hill [look for hill that is safe, avoid roads, trees ect], and something to slide on. You don’t need to buy a sled either, slip inside a large trash bag, a piece of cardboard, or even sitting on your snow shovel, will give you a great sledding ride.

After a day of being out in the fresh air here are a couple of fun cheep ways to top off the night.
Say to heck with the diet [after all you burned a lot calorie out in the cold] and make a cup of hot chocolate. Use full-fat milk, warmed in a pan to just below boiling. Add chopped up chocolate [about a 1/3 of a cup of chocolate, for each cup milk], the higher the coco count the richer the drink. Stir slowly until the chocolate melts. Don’t forget to add some interest, stir with a left over candy cane, perk it up with a dash of chili powder, or stir in that little bit of strawberry jelly from the bottom of the jar.
Make a really old fashioned treat; Sugar on Snow. You’ll need 100% pure real Maple Syrup [bet you’ve got some in the back of the fridge]. Pack some clean snow in four bowls and put it in the freezer while you boil 2 cups of syrup and half a stick of butter for about 5 minutes. Pour over the snow and enjoy.

Winter doesn’t have to be a drag. Get outside and enjoy the cold and snow. Don’t fight it enjoy it. And if nothing else winter weather is a great excuses to curl up with a good book.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Spend A Little Now, To Save Latter

It’s the new year, and if you haven’t already done it, it is time to wrap up Christmas, and start getting ready for Christmas 2009. Yes that’s right I said it is time to start preparing for this years Christmas, which now only 51 weeks away. My husband and I both come from big families, which means that I have a long gift list. Of course after you get all those gifts there will be late nights of wrapping. Oh and than you kind of have to make the house look festive, ok you feel the need to keep up with the neighbor, who really does it up every year. So let me give you a few ideas, and tips to make next December’s Holiday Season a little less expensive and stressful.

Let’s begin with the importance of lists. Since your reading this on line, I’m going to assume that you have a computer. This makes list making easier and keeps them in one place. And yes I said lists plural. If you send out Christmas cards, this is the time to set up an address book of people who you send to. Than at this time every year, add people to and take others off your list. Make a list of people you buy gifts for. I use a spread sheet for this including name, age, and size of recipient, and a space to for the gift I buy them. Print this one out and carry it with you all the time [you never know when you find a great gift]. Again this is the time of year to make changes and update your gift list. The last of my lists should have been written already, and I know that next year you will, but for now wing it; keep a running list of wrapping supplies as you run out of them or are getting low.

Now you are going to go shopping and save some money. On December 26th every year, no matter where you live all Christmas items lefts on shelve in stores get marked down 50% or more. This is the time to take lists in hand and buy, because trust me Christmas will be back. First buy your Holiday cards, since you now have a list of how many card you’re going send out next year, you know how many boxes you need. Actually boxed cards go on sale usually about a week before the 25th, but individual cards [like the really nice one for the in-laws] don’t get marked down until after. Same thing goes here for wrapping paper, gift boxes and bags, ribbons, bow, etc. With the list you kept while wrapping you know what you need for next year, so stock up. This goes for lights and other decorations, all also now 50% or more off.

Don’t forget that this is the perfect time to start buying next years gifts. In the bigger chain stores you will find toys, and outdoor wear and children’s PJ’s on sale. Book stores drop the price on seasonal titles, and many of their gift boxed sets. The only things that I wont go for; is buying cosmetics and food related items, a year is way to long to keep these items [however if there is a birthday coming up in a month or two, go for it]. In case your wondering I’m already 16 gifts into Christmas 2009.

Of course none of these things will save a dime if next year you can’t find that great sweater you bought for your sister, or those cards got wet when the shower leaked through the ceiling. You need to spend a little money on storage. There is no right or wrong way to store things, it really is what ever works best for you, but there are a couple of things you should keep in mind. A big tub with an easy to open cover, that you can’t see through, makes the best place to store gifts as you buy them [and keep all gifts in the same place or you’ll never be able to remember where you hid that truck for you nephew]. Your storage item should have a cover that will keep dust and moisture for getting in, and keep little crawly things out. I’ll tell you that I love those Giant Zip-Loc bags [click here for a coupon] for keeping my gift boxes and bags in, I have found that if I place a coat hanger through the handle, I can hang them in my coat closet. I also like just a plain old black heavy duty Construction trash bag to keep my rolls of wrapping paper neat and clean and ready to use next year.

Anyhow with a little planning and a little money spent now, you’ll be ready for an easier less expensive Christmas in December. Just one more money savers for you, never throw out the Christmas cards other people send you, because they can become next years gift tags [trim around the design, punch a hole in one corner, write name on the back added a ribbon and tape to your package]. Have a Happy New Year, and a Merry 2009 Christmas [bet I’m the first to wish you that].

Saturday, January 3, 2009


First Post will be here shortly