a "been-there" mom of six offers encouragement
to wives, young mothers, and those not so young,
and simple common-sense approaches to
the "ings" of life:
child-rearing (hints and helps), homemaking (all areas),
cooking (simple, cheap, and do-it-yourself)
making (toys and gifts), preparing (for the unexpected),
maintaining (sanity and peace in this increasingly crazy world) and more---
all aspects of making the most of making do on little---
and having fun in the process.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Organic vs. Conventional Produce? . . . What You Need to Know

A consumer's guide to
Organic vs. Conventional Produce . . .
and Why
More and more we hear about the importance of buying organic produce. 

We are trying to eat healthier but our budget is limited and the higher prices for organic can be a challenge. Also, we don't want to be fanatical---if it is not necessary.

An acquaintance, who seems to us overly cautious, told us of the dangers of eating non-organic bananas. It seemed to me that the tight covering of the banana peel would protect it.

For help in determining what produce was most important to be organic I sought the insight of  a produce manager.  He was less help than I had anticipated.

Recently I read an enlightening book by journalist who went "undercover" and obtained employment as a California farm worker, a fast food employee, kitchen help in a popular chain restaurant and as a produce worker in a large big-box store, where her manager
was a young man with no previous produce experience.

I started researching and this was the common-sense list I settled on.


What? Fruits and Vegetables with thin or edible skins
Why? They tend to get sprayed more and absorb more pesticide residue.


Apples are heavily sprayed and often washing and peeling doesn't get off all of the chemicals. Also, because the skins have lots of vitamins it is best if you can eat the peel.

Blueberries, the highly touted anti-oxidant powerhouse, are sprayed with dozens of pesticides making them, unfortunately,  among the "dirtiest" of fruits.

Grapes have thin skin and are sprayed various times during the growing process.

Peaches and Nectarines are heavily sprayed and their delicate skin absorbs the chemicals easily.


Celery has no protective skin; they absorb harmful chemicals rapidly that don't wash off. The chemicals have been linked to ADHD.

Bell Peppers have soft skins and lack a protective layer putting them on the must-buy organic list.

Potatoes are among the most contaminated vegetables. If you can't find organic, it is best to use sweet potatoes.

Spinach is loved by bugs and is among the most heavily sprayed leafy greens. I am trying to buy most salad greens organic.

Fortunately we have had our garden to rely on these past few years.  Each year we expand and try new things. Many items can be simply grown in bags and pots.  For the cheapest, safest, and healthiest try growing some of your own.

For ideas, check this out.


Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Organize Lots of Kitchen Stuff for Next to Nothing . . .

Just a reminder --- It is okay to be cheap and it is even more okay to think outside of the box and "re-purpose." Just keep your thinking caps on and your eyes open. You will be amazed what you can come up with.

My cookie sheet, cupcake pans, tray organizer doesn't pull out from the cupboard like this (9 inch wide) one shown below but mine didn't cost $81.93 either.

My cookie sheet, cupcake pans, tray organizer fits in the cupboard like the one below but I didn't pay $11.95 for each section of the divider and I didn't have to get down on my hands and knees to screw each section in.
12" High Tray Divider Organizer, Chrome

My organizer isn't plastic coated or chrome but it is heavy duty metal and totally does the job!

Actually I have two of them . . .

This bottom plate holder was a $1.00 garage sale find.

Do you recognize what I am using to organize my assorted bake ware and dishes? 

They are simple steel heavy duty office dividers/sorters, 
exactly like this one below ---- an e-bay item that was already sold so it's price was no longer listed but the shipping was listed as between $8.87 and $15.90

vintage tan metal office file divider
It has 5 different 2" slots

10" side to side
11-1/4" front to back
8" tall

I found  new metal ones ranging from $25.00 to $55.00 and a plastic one for $22.00

And ----

I found both of mine at thrift shops for $1.50 each!!

Here's to creative chic cheap.