Friday, December 31, 2010

Pregnancy Tests for $1!

Recently, I shared the news that Dollar Tree had microfiber towels, which are great for dusting, swiffing, and stuffing cloth diapers. That was the first time I'd been to a Dollar Tree in ages. What I didn't tell you is that the reason I made that trip in the first place.

I went because a good friend told me that she got her pregnancy tests there, for a dollar of course. The awesome thing is that either her doctor or a nurse told her about it! Turns out, that is where at least that doctor's office gets their tests. I don't have any cited source or research, just word of mouth. However, I don't doubt it since I found that Dollar Tree does have a website from which you can order in bulk!

I've been using these, and they seem to work fine. This is great news if you're hoping to have a baby and want to be able to check more often without throwing away $15-$20 every time!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Every Good Gift...

"Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change."
~James 1:17




*Another special thanks to Shutterfly for the lovely photo cards!*

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Comfy Rumps Winner!


Winner of the 2 Comfy Rumps One Size Pocket Diapers:


Congratulations Chany!

Winner has been emailed!



Tuesday, December 21, 2010

More than this Monday: Ripping Razors

I realize that it is Tuesday, but we just got back from our trip, and it feels like Monday to me. I also had a little something I wanted to share...;)

Tom and I enjoyed a weekend away this past weekend in Asheville, NC while Lydia hung out with my Mom and Dad. It was fun, and I think absence made the heart grow fonder...made me more aware of the blessing that Lydia is. When we got back last night we were loving on Lydia and talking with my parents.

I was letting Lydia play with a paper that seemed unimportant. She tore it and my mom said that it was something she wanted to hold on to. I almost grabbed the paper out of Lydia's hand, but then remembered my resolution to not yank things out of her hand that she shouldn't have, but to ask her calmly to give it to me. When I did so she handed me the paper me without hesitating. I said "thank you," and she went on chattering and playing happily.

I told mom how I'd realized that she may not understand why I grab things out of her hands. I thought at that moment how kids are so prone to yank things out of others' hands and it suddenly occurred to me that perhaps we train them to do that without even realizing it! Then we turn around and scold them for "taking away" and not sharing.



I shared these thoughts with my mom and it reminded her of a story told by a teacher years ago, which I have embellished a little...

A family and friends were sitting around enjoying each others' company when someone realized that the baby on the floor in the middle had a sharp razor blade in his hand. Expecting the mom to grab it instantly from his hand the guests were surprised and nervous to see her run to the kitchen. The mother briskly, but calmly walked back into the room, quickly approaching the baby with something in her own hand. She reached out with a loving hand and offered to baby a cookie. The baby in turn instantly dropped the razor, which was immediately grabbed up by wiser hands and enjoyed nibbling on the cookie. The relieved family paid no mind to the crumbs falling all over the floor and all sighed and relaxed back into their seats with relief.

 How often do we rip razor blades from the hands of others, young and old alike, only leave them wounded and bleeding, instead of offering them something better.

The wrong things we see in our loved one's lives, that may indeed be harmful to them, perhaps would be forgotten and abandoned if we would instead of trying to take those things from them, just showed them the love of Christ...

I needed to hear that. I can't tell you how timely it was. God show me how to just give your love, and leave the razor blades to you!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Taking the Surprise Factor out of Christmas

We only buy gifts for immediate family in order to keep it simple, and I *try* to make handmade gifts for extended family and friends each year. (This year I've made a few, and the relative silence on the blog is me trying to make some more!) In spite of all this, Christmas came as a surprise to us last year, and the year before, and the year before, and...


We ended up buying gifts using a credit card, and ended up carrying a balance for a couple of months, because we didn't think about it until...December!

My husband and I both have always had frugal "tendencies," better said,"intentions." Neither of us would make big purchases without serious thought and prayer and would always look and wait for an amazing deal. Neither of us enjoy shopping. As a matter of fact, we both rather loathe it. We don't feel a need or desire for a big house and new fancy everything. My motto is "less is more." I've always wanted to travel light, and not accumulate a lot of "stuff". I'm the opposite of a pack rat, I go through closets and drawers periodically looking for things to give away, throw away, or sell. My mom used to go through the trash cans after me and pull things back out. (It's really amazing that I still struggle with being messy in spite of this. I've been wanting to get rid of all furniture that provides a place to put random things and get cluttered up, like our dresser. I don't think we need it, but my husband is not convinced! He definitely will not let me get rid of the kitchen table. I can't imagine why! ;)

All this said, because of our lack of need to "keep up with the Jones," we fancied ourselves quite frugal, but in reality, in spite of my husband's disciplined attention to our finances and wonderful organization, we still managed to only be able to save very little relative to what we should have been able to and we would regularly "get in trouble" come Christmas or any other totally "unexpected" need or occasion.

This year we took Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University, and gleaned a lot of ideas and insights that have pretty much revolutionized the way we handle our finances. We learned that in spite of our mindset, we were still not living frugally. This will be the first in a series about some of the things we've learned and practical examples of how it works for us.



As a result of that course, this year we started a "Christmas Envelope," putting a little in each month since. It has been WONDERFUL to have that envelope and know exactly what our limits are and to be prepared. It has made this season much more peaceful so far, and most of our gifts are wrapped and under the tree in record time! :)


I will discuss in coming weeks the four essential things that have changed our lives in more ways than just finances:


1. A new perspective on debt and credit.


2. A zero based monthly budget.


3. What I like to call "The Envelope System"

4. A bigger than ever desire and passion for giving.


Stay tuned!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Swiff and Fluff on the Cheap!

 As we have all hard floors I had become quite a fan of the Swiffer Sweeper. I also used the Swiffer cloths for dusting. We went through them very quickly until some time ago I saw an article on the Diaper Pin about using microfiber cloths (typically sold the auto section of most department stores) in the place of disposable Swiffer sweeping cloths.

This is my most recent microfiber towel that I haven't cut yet.
While at a discount store I picked up a super cheap microfiber cloth and tried it out. It was amazing, doing exactly what the Swiffer cloth did only...it was reusable! I just shake off the excess dust over the trash can and then toss the cloth in with the dirty towels.


The microfiber cloth was a little large for my purposes so I cut it in half and did not sew the cut side to see if it would fray and after washing it for months, it has not frayed at all!

Later, I received a Nykibaby One Size pocket diaper for review from Monkey Toe Diapers that came with a microfiber towel as an insert. I discovered that it was a very absorbent and trim insert. I didn't even realize how cheap the towels were at the time, but was seriously hoping to find more to use as inserts!

I didn't have to wait long! On a recent trip to Dollar Tree and discovered that they have microfiber towels for a dollar each!



I snatched up a few white ones for dusting and sweeping and a few pastel ones for stuffing and fluffing my pocket diapers. They work SO well and are so cheap. PERFECT for adding serious extra absorbency to an overnight diaper!

And yes I did match them on purpose...pitiful I know! I also have a purple diaper and a purple cloth but it was dirty! :)


Thank you Dollar Tree!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Making Christmas Cards Easy with Shutterfly!





I've always been one to plan on sending Christmas cards, and even buy some most years, but never get around to writing them, much less sending them. I wanted to send a greeting to people I loved, but I think I felt the need to write a long letter to everyone and as a busy teacher that was never a realistic goal. Then, when our little Lydia came a month early in October of last year. It was such a shock and we were so overwhelmed with keeping her fed and warm and growing strong that we never sent out a special announcement. I was sad about it, but at Christmas, when she was two months old and we were a little better adjusted, we had the great idea of doing Christmas photo cards and making them like a late Christmas birth announcements! With a beautiful Christmas red background and picture of our little treasure, it read, "A late announcement of our early arrival....(insert birthday, height and weight here)...Merry Christmas!"

It was really special and two goals were met in one! It was a very satisfying experience which as it turned out it was super easy, so we decided to photo cards again the following year...which would be NOW!

If not for Shutterfly, perhaps I would have regressed into my old ways of good intentions and lack of action in the way of Christmas cards! However, when I found out from a fellow blogger about this promotion, and took a look at their HUGE selection of Christmas cards and Holiday cards, I got really excited and motivated about doing it.  I immediately started picking out pictures we could use with the different designs.

I'm having fun looking through the HUGE selection of more than 800 cards! There are so many that I love. It's really hard to choose! Here are a few of my favorites:

These were just from the first few pages! When I realized that the pages went on and on, I knew there was no way I could post all my favorites here, but this gives you a little taste. I love reds and browns, but they also have lots for those who love black and white or that that holiday icicle blue!

We would like to choose a few pictures of Lydia throughout her first year, so probably I will end up choosing one of the designs that has several small frames. What a tough (but fun) decision!

I also got a fantastic Christmas gift idea for the grandparents! How cool would it be to make your own photo calendar for the doting grandparents!? What a wonderful gift that would be...

Thanks Shutterfly, for the nudge I needed to get into the Christmas spirit! Christmas cards are in the works, he tree's going up this weekend and plans for cookie baking and gift wrapping are being made. Maybe it will happen after all!

Merry Christmas!

(a little early ;)

Disclosure: Thanks to Shutterfly for the chance to receive 50 free Christmas Cards by blogging about their wonderful holiday selection! Bloggers hurry and apply for your chance to participate by tomorrow, 12/10/2010! Look here  for details.

 

Large Planet Wise Wet Bag- Review and GIVEAWAY! ***CLOSED***

Planet Wise is a family owned corporation that strives to provide the highest quality products while maintaining responsible environmental and social business practices. From an environmental standpoint, all of their products are reusable and designed to replace disposable items. They are also PVC-free and lead-free. I learned from Planet Wise's website that many zippers manufactured today still are being painted with lead paint. Planet Wise bags are totally safe and responsibly made, and even the packaging is made from recycled or recyclable paper using soy based ink.



All Planet Wise products are made in the USA, in a women owned and run facility near to the home of the owners, in fact. This provides jobs for neighbors and the local community, and everything is on a personal level. Family and community needs are priority.

Planet Wise offers diaper pail liners, wet bags in three sizes, wet/dry bags, hanging wet/dry bags, MINI wet/dry bags, and swim/diaper bags!

 



The award winning  Planet Wise wet bags can be used not only for cloth diapers but for shoes, swim wear, dirty clothes, toiletries, gym clothes, and more. They come in small (holding 1-2 wet diapers), medium(8-9), and large(16-17). Large Planet Wise wet bags come with a convenient strap with a snap for hanging. This is ideal as the large wet bag holds 16-17 diapers it can easily serve as a hanging diaper "pail"  as well.




All Planet Wise wet bags feature sealed seams to prevent wicking. Nicki had used and sold many kinds of wet bags over the years and had found that people often complained of leaks. After much research, she found quality materials and an innovative way of sealing the seams so that no moisture could get through. All Planet Wise wet bags have hidden seams and an outer layer of designer cotton fabric. Here's a labeled diagram of the Planet Wise wet bag: 


I received this large Planet Wise wet bag in "Playful Paisley" for review: (The diaper is for size comparison, of course I had to use one that matched, lol!)




Invisible seams and cute Planet Wise Tag


Matching inner PUL and zipper (I love matching colors! :)


And speaking of...


Color coordinating strap with snap!
My Review: 

This is by far my favorite wet bag yet, and no surprise, one my favorite things about it is the great print and colors of the designer cotton fabric. This extra liner also helps to keep odor in, makes it cute in the diaper bag, and just makes for a sturdier bag! The strap is great too. It has a sturdy snap which allows you to hang it on a doorknob or hook it around something.

I chose the large bag because my family goes on weekend trips pretty often as my mom and dad live about an hour and a half away. My mom is an advocate for cloth diapering. She had always kept the diapers she used on my brother and I, telling me I could use them someday. I thought the idea was disgusting, but here I am doing it (and it is not disgusting)! This means that we don't have to buy disposables every time we go visit my parents. I haul the whole stash and paraphernalia with us, and mom even washes for me while we're there! 

When I received this bag I knew I had my weekend (2 day) traveling bag! It's perfect. It holds a lot of diapers and is easily transportable. It worked out that we went on a trip to my parents' the weekend after I received the bag so I got to test it out. 


I ended up taking our clean diapers in it with plans to empty it there or throw the dirties in smaller bags that I had. It made me realize that two of these would make a perfect system.I would recommend a couple of these, one for the clean stash and another to throw the dirties in and you've got a simple, cute, practical traveling storage AND diaper pail for your short trips away from home, that you can hang on a bedroom and closet doors. Hang the one for the dirties to whatever door handle is closer to your changing station, of course. Then you can continue to use the bag that held the clean diaper throughout the week as your regular wet bag in the diaper bag while the other is being washed with the diapers.


All the "idealness" (to coin a new word) of this bag for weekend trips being expounded upon, I also use this as a regular wet bag in the diaper bag (because it's so cute), and found that it works great. It doesn't take up too much space in the diaper bag. As it holds more, obviously it would be ideal for a day trip or a day when you're going to be out of the house a lot. We have a lot of those!


All in all, I think this is the perfect wet bag. It works great, looks cute, and is super practical. I will stick with these from now on!

Where to Buy:  

Here is a list of Planet Wise retailers!

***GIVEAWAY***

Planet Wise is generously offering a large wet bag to one very blessed reader!

Here's how to enter:

Go to the Planet Wise website and come back here and leave a comment telling me something you learned or which print you like the best!

(Leave a separate comment for each entry. Include your email address if it is not easily accessible through your blogger profile.You do not have to have a blogger profile to enter, as long as you leave a valid e-mail address.)  

Additional Entries: 

Like Planet Wise on Facebook and tell them thanks for the giveaway on the Cheap and Choosy!

Blog about this giveaway.

Tweet about this giveaway using @planetwise, @cheapnchoosy, and #giveaway.  (Up to 3 times daily) 

Like The Cheap and Choosy on Facebook! (Right sidebar) 

Follow The Cheap and Choosy via Google Friend Connect (Right Side Bar).

Follow me on Twitter.

Grab my blog button (top right) and leave a link to where I can find it in your comment.

Subscribe to The Cheap and Choosy via email. (right sidebar)

Comment on one of my non-giveaway posts. (One entry per post commented on.)

 This giveaway is open to the U.S. and Canada until January 9, 2011 at 8:00 p.m. EST. The winner will be chosen using a random number generator. I will email the winner, who will have 48 hours to respond. If winner does not respond within 48 hours, another winner will be chosen. I will post the winner when the selection has been made and confirmed by the recipient.

This is not a paid post. The opinions expressed are completely my own! I received the product reviewed free of charge.  You can see my full disclosure here.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Easy Improv: Creamy Italian Chicken




I've mentioned before that one of the most helpful things I've learned from More With Less cookbook is how to make a simple white sauce, thick enough replace condensed cream of ____ soup, or thin enough to be soup. We have chopped chicken frozen in one cup portions in the freezer and I was feeling like something creamy. We also had macaroni noodles. In the past, a craving of creamy pasta led to the opening of a box of Pasta Roni! But now that I know how easy white sauce is, that didn't even occur to me!

I'm pretty excited because this "throw together" meal ended up being a new recipe! The impulsive tossing in of slivered almonds really set it off! This is huge because I am not a cook. I've been learning to cook, and using More With Less as my guide since it's simple and from scratch.

As a matter of fact, I'm pretty sure this is my FIRST "original" recipe! (Though influenced inspired by similar things in More With Less.)

My new recipe is hereby dubbed:
"Creamy Italian Chicken"


 Here's how to make it:

1. Put water for pasta to boil and continue with recipe, but add pasta and boil when ready.
2. Melt 2 TB of butter in a saucepan.
3. Add a crushed garlic clove, 1/2 tsp of salt, and basil and oregano as much as desired.
4. Stir in 2 TB of flour until it's all mixed.
5. Stirring with a wisk, add about 2 cups of milk.
6. Keep stirring at medium heat until thickened. (You can add milk if you want it thinner.)
7. Add 1 cup of chopped or pulled chicken.
8. Add a half cup or so of slivered almonds.
9. Drain Pasta and put in serving dish or dishes.
10. Top Pasta with chicken mixture.
11. Garnish with dried Parsley and/or slivered almonds.



I used to be a Pasta Roni Aholic!  But now... who needs it???? Seriously, this was just as easy to prepare, and much better!

 Scratch Pasta Roni off my grocery list forever!!!!!!!!!! ( I told you there would be more :)

(It's been a while so if you're new here you can click on my "cooking from scratch," and/or "simplifying" button on the left to see more things I've enjoyed scratching off the list!)

bumGenius! Elemental GIVEAWAY from Natural Pure Essentials!***CLOSED***




Natural Pure Essentials is a special on line natural baby store. It was begun by a loving mother who, after having issues with diaper rash, started researching and discovered that many widely used and popular baby products contain harsh, toxic chemicals that can irritate the skin and that are hazardous to baby's health. While searching to find gentler and safer skin products she found that products labeled as natural often only have a couple of natural ingredients.

This family has searched through many so called natural products to offer you truly natural essential baby products!

Natural Pure Essentials therefore offers mommy tested and approved ALL NATURAL products for baby!
For baby's skin you can find a large selection of Earth Mama Angel Baby products, The Homestead Company products, and more! Not only this but find products for mom, baby wearing, sippy cups and water bottles

You can also find organic one size cloth diapers such as bumGenius!, GroVia, and Bottombumpers, organic hybrid cloth diapers such as the Flip, and GroVia, and high quality Chinese Prefold cloth diapers and diaper covers!

The Bumgenius Elemental Organic Diaper is luxuriously soft, 100% organic cotton against your baby's bottom.  Bumgenius Elemental Organic One-Size Diapers offer an industry first -tabs that stretch for a perfect fit. Stretchy tabs combined with our brand-new snap fasteners make cloth diapering easy.

 Bumgenius Elemental Diaper is an ideal solution for families with a child in day-care or family members resistant to cloth diapers! Use the snaps on the front of the diaper to adjust the size. Fit most babies weighing between 7 and 35 lbs
Highlights
  • Absorbent layer integrated into the waterproof outer layer.
  •  One step cloth diaper - no stuffing!
  •  Now also available in snap closures!
  • Two rows of snaps ensure a trim, bumGenius fit everytime!
  • Ultra-absorbent, certified organic cotton inner.
  • Gentle leg elastic contains the mess 


    ***GIVEAWAY***

    Pure Natural Essentials is offering my readers a chance to win a bumGenius! Elemental organic all in one cloth diaper in winner's choice of white, bubble, twilight or grasshopper!

    How to Enter:

    Go to the Natural Pure Essentials website and come back here and leave a comment telling me something you learned or another product that they carry that you'd like to try!

    (Leave a separate comment for each entry. Include your email address if it is not easily accessible through your blogger profile.You do not have to have a blogger profile to enter, as long as you leave a valid e-mail address.) 
     
    Additional Entries: 

    Subscribe to Natural Pure Essentials Mailing List!  (right side of home page)

    Like Natural Pure Essentials on  Facebook

    Follow @NaturalPureMama on Twitter! 

    Like The Cheap and Choosy on Facebook! (Right sidebar) 

    Follow The Cheap and Choosy via Google Friend Connect (Right Side Bar).

    Follow me on Twitter.

    Grab my blog button (top right) and leave a link to where I can find it in your comment.

    Blog about this giveaway.

    Tweet about this giveaway using @NaturalPureMama, @cheapnchoosy and #clothdiapers. (Up to 3 times daily)

    Subscribe to The Cheap and Choosy via email. (right sidebar)

    Comment on one of my non-giveaway posts. (One entry per post commented on.)

     This giveaway is open to the U.S. until January 6, 2011 at 8:00 p.m. EST. The winner will be chosen using a random number generator. I will email the winner, who will have 48 hours to respond. If winner does not respond within 48 hours, another winner will be chosen. I will post the winner when the selection has been made and confirmed by the recipient.


    This is not a paid post. You can see my full disclosure here.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!



Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!!! Giveaways ending between now and Sunday will be closed as scheduled (even if I'm not at the computer to write **closed**) Entries submitted after the ending date and time will be deleted before a winner is drawn. I will not pull anymore winners until Sunday evening or Monday morning! We'll be traveling and with family. It's time to cook, eat, and enjoy family and friends!
*Image Credit: The Graphics Fairy

Winners!



Winner of the Snap-EZ One Size Pocket Diaper:

 Congratulations Rachel!



Winner of the Emmaya Naturals Wool Wash and Lanolizing Product:
 

Congratulations Jill!


Winners have been confirmed.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Comfy Rumps Pocket Diaper- Review and GIVEAWAY! (2-pack!) **CLOSED**


 ...where our mission is to provide high quality cloth diapers that make cloth diapering an affordable and easy alternative...


Comfy Rumps is a Canadian based company that seeks to provide quality yet affordable cloth diapers by cutting out some unnecessary costs such as branding and special packaging. I think this is a wonderful idea! This blog isn't called "The Cheap and Choosy" for nothing. I like to be frugal, but still value good quality. My experience so far with this product makes it fall right into both of those categories. I'm all about cutting out unnecessary things to make things simpler and more economical.


Let's face it, most cloth diapers are expensive, even though less expensive than disposables in the end (unless bought in excess), the upfront cost is still often hard to swallow, at least for me anyway.

One size diapers are a great way to save since they are supposed to fit from birth to potty training more or less, you don't have to buy a whole new stash of diapers each time your baby grows out of a certain size. However, one size diapers are more expensive than sized diapers so the upfront cost can be discouraging, and even then you get a lot more use for your money!

Comfy Rumps combines the savings of a quality one size diaper for an affordable upfront cost! That is saving right there. As I've shared before, pocket diapers are now my preferred daytime cloth diaper, and I'm excited to know that there are very economically priced diapers that are great quality!

About the creators of ComfyRumps (taken from their website):

"ComfyRumps.com Diaper Services was born on a rainy November day in Vancouver, BC by Christie and Trey. After paying over two hundred dollars for 11 name brand diapers, and noticing 11 diapers was enough for a day and a half (max!), we decided washing them every day was not another chore we wanted to add to the list. Soon after, we launched our company with a great single product! Today we are continually working to provide affordable and environmentally friendly diapering alternatives to families across Canada and the USA.
Our goal is not to make a killing on selling diapers and diaper services.  Our goal is to ensure that after our time, our children, grand children, and future generations can proudly say “Our parents/grandparents did their job to ensure we can breathe clean air, and drink clean water”.  Our modern world war is the war on climate change and pollution.  We are all responsible for making sure that our future generations do not suffer from the way we choose to live today.  Nearly everything comes in disposable versions these days offering convenience in many aspects of our lives, but at what cost? We are proud to say we are trying to do our part, to promote a healthy planet for future generations and we strive to offer encouragement and education to everyone we can in order to help them do the same"

Comfy Rumps offers a variety of affordable pocket diapers.  On their site, you can find:


PUL One Size Pocket Diaper with Velcro Closures

PUL One Size Pocket Diapers with Snap Closures


Minky One Size Pocket Diapers
Organic Bamboo Diapers





I received this PUL one size pocket diaper for review:




The outer layer is polyester PUL, the inner material is a extremely gentle micro fleece. Each diaper comes with one 3 piece microfiber soaker, each soaker can last up to 3-4 hours. The diapers have 3 snaps on each wing, and 2 rows of snaps. 



My Review:

This diaper fits my little one extremely well. I have found it to be an extremely great value because the microfleece and PUL used are nice and seem to me to be totally on par with that of many more expensive brands. Not only that, but the snap settings are very convenient and assure a good fit for any size baby.


I actually prefer this diaper so far to most snapping diapers that I have so far in terms of  ease of use and good fit. There are four snaps for possible leg settings, and the bottom snap on the wing is far enough back to pretty much qualify as a newborn side snap which will help assure a snug fit and prevent wing droop. I can easily find a perfect fit for my little one. They are indeed "comfy"!

It also has cross over snaps so that it can be snapped up teensy tiny!

This is definitely one of my favorite pocket diapers, and without further ado, here it is on my 13 month old 20 pound baby:







Buy it!

You can purchase this diaper for $8.75 (Canadian Dollars) at www.ComfyRumps.com! (Um...wow!)

Current Promotion: Buy 18 diapers get 4 free diapers, 1 free wet bag and 4 free soakers!**
or Buy 12 of any diapers and get 2 free**

Win it!

Comfy Rumps is offering one very blessed reader TWO Comfy Rumps pocket diapers!

Here's how to enter:

Go to Comfy Rumps' website and come back here and leave a comment letting me know which product you are most interested in and/or something you learned!
(Leave a separate comment for each entry. Include your email address if it is not easily accessible through your blogger profile.You do not have to have a blogger profile to enter, as long as you leave a valid e-mail address.)

Additional Entries:

Like Comfy Rumps on Facebook.

Follow Comfy Rumps on Twitter.

Make a purchase from Comfy Rumps.

Blog about this giveaway.

Tweet about this giveaway using @ComfyRumps, @Cheapnchoosy, and #clothdiapers. (Up to three times daily.)

Like The Cheap and Choosy on Facebook!

Follow The Cheap and Choosy via Google Friend Connect.

Follow me on Twitter.

Grab my blog button and leave a link to where I can find it in your comment.

Subscribe to The Cheap and Choosy via email.


Comment on one of my non-giveaway posts. (One entry per post commented on.)

Get two entries for posting the Fluff Your Pockets! button on the main page of your blog. Just leave a link to where I can find it.

This giveaway is open to Canada and the U.S. until Dec. 23, 2010 at 8:00 p.m. EST. The winner will be chosen using a random number generator. I will email the winner, who will have 48 hours to respond. If winner does not respond within 48 hours, another winner will be chosen. I will post the winner when the selection has been made and confirmed by the recipient.

This is not a paid post. I received the product for review free of charge. The opinions expressed are completely my own! You can see my full disclosure here.

Monday, November 22, 2010

In the Kitchen this Week: A Work In Progress


Lately I have not been posting much about learning to cook since I took on quite more than I could handle with review and giveaway events. I had no idea how challenging that would be since I started planning for it when Lydia was sleeping and eating the majority of the time.  That was quite a few months ago. Around that time I also had begun learning to cook from scratch. I was excited about finding ways to simplify our grocery list and eat more naturally, and that is what got me motivated about cooking, along with the timely purchase of  More With Less Cookbook.

I'm looking forward to focusing on cooking again in the coming year. I am continuing to plug my way through More With Less Cookbook, and plan to continue to do so until I have found all of our favorites and have made them enough for it to be second nature.


Here are a few random things I've learned along the journey so far:

~ Yogurt is a perfect substitute for sour cream. Really. I know it doesn't seem like it would work on a taco but it totally does, and it's healthier too!

~ Salt really brings out flavor...try adding a bit more salt before adding anything else.

~ Freezing meat in one cup portions majorly stretches your meat supply and your budget. It also makes cooking simpler. More With Less has a lot of recipes that you can used chopped chicken, ground beef, or any left over meat that are very tasty.

~Homemade pizza sauce and spaghetti sauce are both easy to make. We no longer keep Ragu and Papa John's in business.

~We don't keep Pillsbury in business anymore either since biscuit dough turns out to be easy to make and can be used in my all time favorite recipe in place of Pillsbury Crescent Rolls.

~Bread crumbs are really easy to make yourself...just save the heels or any bread that got a little too dry but hasn't gone bad in the freezer and when you have enough, toast it at about 250 degrees until it's hard all the way through...crush or process in a blender or food processor. For Italian flavored crumbs, add garlic powder, salt, sugar, onion powder, basil, and oregano. (I add a teaspoon of each of those per approximate cup of crumbs).

~We no longer keep whatever company has the best coupons out for Ranch dressing in business either since we discovered a simple but DELICIOUS oil, vinegar, and garlic homemade salad dressing recipe.

~No more Cream of {Whatever} soup for us! A basic white sauce at the right thickness provides the perfect substitute...add chicken stock for cream of chicken and the possibilities are endless!

~Kellogg's, General Mills and whatever other producers of boxed cereal no longer have our business either since it's overnight steel cut oatmeal in the crock-pot, homemade granola, or eggs and toast for us in the mornings!

~You can grow lentil sprouts on your counter, and they work great in stir fried dishes.


Things I really need to work on are:

~Learning to make some easy healthy snacks.

~Storing homemade bread without it drying out.

~Dealing methodically with the bigger mess and increased amount of dirty dishes that cooking this way creates.

~Remembering to start things ahead of time that need to be chilled, sprouted, etc.

~Chopping up vegetables that I know I'll need ahead of time and storing them in the freezer/fridge accordingly.

~Some simple but tasty vegetable side dishes. (Trying to incorporate a few that sound yummy this week.)

~Figuring out what I'm doing wrong when I try to make tortillas!

~Making realistic menu plans... :)
 

*Image Credit: The Graphics Fairy