Tip – Fix your busted powder makeup

This is a trick I wish I would’ve learned in high school. If I had a dollar for every eye shadow pot, power compact or blush I’ve busted…

Thanks to Pinterest, I found this handy tip. Know how to fix a busted mess of make up? Add a little rubbing alcohol, make a paste, smoosh it all back down to where it looks normal again, and let it dry overnight.

Don’t believe me? Here’s proof.

Busted hotness eyeshadow before:

Before.

And after!

Viola!

Is it perfect? No. Does it work just as well as it did before I dropped it? Yes! If I could make one suggestion it would be to avoid the urge to heat the makeup with a hair dryer to make it dry faster. My eye shadow dried with a few cracks because I was impatient.

Here’s another great tutorial here.

Recipe – Great granola

The money shot! You want to make this stuff. It

Ever since I figured out how to make yogurt in a Crock Pot, I’ve had it every morning for breakfast. But while I’ve saved loads of money on the yogurt, I was shelling out $3 for a tiny box of granola that could feed a hamster. Not exactly a win in the financial department on the breakfast front.

A few weeks ago a college friend of mine posted a recipe for granola that she recommended on Facebook. I copied it on a recipe card and went to work, making a few adjustments for my tastes and the ingredients I had on hand.

Result? Amazing! It’s sweet, but not too much. Store granola tastes like cardboard compared to the homemade version. (Sax Guy would argue that all granola tastes like a corrugated paper product, but I disagree). I added shredded coconut to the last batch I made and it was a great addition. You can really customize this recipe to your tastes.

Want to try it? It only takes a few ingredients, will not break the bank, nor is it complicated.

Great Granola
(adapted from “Baked: New Frontiers in Baking” by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito. Original recipe can be found at the Amateur Gourmet blog.)

2 cups rolled oats

2 tsps. cinnamon

1 tsp. salt (I used sea salt and it worked fine)

3 Tbsps. plus 1 tsp. canola oil

1/4 cup sorghum molasses

1/4 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar

1 tsp. vanilla

2/3 cup almonds (I used silvered).

1 cup dried cranberries

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Mix the first three dry ingredients in a large bowl and the wet ingredients in a separate bowl (you’ll add the fruit and nuts later). Mix the ingredients together and use your hands to press it together if you like a crunchy, chunky granola. Spread in the baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes. After that, stir the mixture and bake for another 5 minutes. Remove from oven, add fruit and nuts, and bake for a final 10 minutes. Stir the granola and let it cool completely before transferring to an airtight container. If you seal it up warm, it’ll stick together.

Tip: Measure the oil first, then the molasses. The molasses won’t stick to your spoon if you measure the oil first!

Let me know if you try it and like it!

Paper towel ninja

Ever get that feeling like you’re being watched?

Hmmm....why does my paper towel roll have ears?

Cougar’s getting too smart for her own good. She knows she’s not supposed to be up on my counter tops or she gets sprayed with water.

However, this is an improvement from the last time I caught her “hiding.”

Before she worked on her ninja skills.

I need ‘Couponing for Dummies’

I just started couponing this year to save money on groceries. It wasn’t originally listed on my 2012 bucket list (aka New Year’s Resolutions), but I should have added it. When is it not a resolution to save money?

Now that I’ve started, I have one question – How in the world do you crazy coupon ladies do this?! I’m having issues keeping all of the coupons organized, trying to decipher what’s a good deal and what’s not, and keeping track of all of the sales in my area to save the most money. Then there are the stores that double coupons and some that don’t….I can’t keep it all straight!

I had no idea couponing was this complicated. I’ve never seen “Extreme Couponing” on TLC (it’s kinda hard to do when I don’t have cable), so I haven’t learned the tips to get toothpaste for free and other stuff, but I want to. Two friends have steered me to Krazy Coupon Lady’s website (by the way, it’s huge pet peeve of mine to spell crazy with a K), and that’s helped, but I’m still a complete newbie when it comes to this. If you’re a newbie too, check out her site. It’s a blessing.

I know I’m not the only one who’s looking at couponing and thinking “There’s no way in crazy that actually works.” It does, but I had to ditch a lot of misconceptions first. Here’s what I’ve learned so far and where I draw the line at couponing:

  1. My old thinking: Coupons aren’t printed for the things I actually use. Wrong on that one, redhead. For one thing, I actually had to look and pay attention to what coupon inserts are in the paper and what’s online to print. I found coupons for Cougar’s cat food, my shampoo, my husband’s deodorant and tons of cereal coupons. It takes digging and about an hour of your time each week.
  2. Just because I have a coupon, it doesn’t mean I’m getting a good deal. An example from Saturday’s grocery run – I had a coupon for a $1 off Tums, which I did need. They cost $3.68 at the store, but the generic next to it was only $2. The coupon wasn’t going to get me a deal. Another case was Head and Shoulders shampoo – the generic was still cheaper even with the coupon. I held on to those coupons in case I find a sale at another store, but they didn’t get used that day.
  3. You’re not always saving as much money as you’d hoped. If I buy granola bars, I typically buy the store brand. I can get a box of 6 for $2 and always buy two for Sax Guy and I’s work lunches. I had a coupon for a $1 off two boxes of Quaker granola bars, which were $2.18 a box. So, with the coupon, the total was $3.36 for the two boxes. That only saved me 64 cents. Every little bit helps, but don’t look at the coupon and automatically think you’re saving $1.
  4. It pays to shop around. My typical grocery run usually involves stops to several stores in one trip depending on the deals. That’s something I’ve always done. Walmart is one of the stops (as much as I hate to shop there), as well as two local grocery store chains, a cheese outlet/deli and a drug store on occasion. Lately I’ve been shopping Rite Aid more because they have really good deals sometimes. For example, this week Rite Aid has Neutrogena face makeup on sale for 40 percent off and I have a $2 off coupon. I’m going to be hitting that place up for my powder foundation. I’ve also found that unless there’s a sale at one of the grocery stores, drug stores typically offer the best prices on milk. Who knew?
  5. Know your prices. I made a chart for items I typically buy and their prices at the stores I typically visit. I know Crest toothpaste is $1.96 at one store and the same tube is $2.79 at another. The store with the more expensive price doubles coupons, so I know that if I get a 50 cent-off coupon that doubles to $1 off, that store will be that best place to get it assuming there isn’t a sale going on.
  6. Sometimes the best deals don’t need a coupon. There’s a deli down the road that sells a pound of bacon for $3.29. Even with all of the bacon coupons I had and even if I could double them, the prices don’t come close to that deal. That place also has the best price on butter I’ve found in the area. And you know what? It’s all locally produced. That’s more important to me than anything.
  7. The Internet is your friend. You can preview your store’s circulars and their sales, compare prices with other stores, print coupons, and even preview Sunday coupons before you buy the paper.
  8. Get organized. Use a photo album or get a binder with baseball card inserts to keep track of your coupons. Make a list of what you will buy at each store. Find your sales and shop by them.
  9. I’m not spending a large amount of money to save $5. For example, Rite Aid’s deal this week is to buy $20 of Physician’s Formula and get $5 in +UP rewards. I’m not doing that because I personally think that’s a rip off. I will never spend that much on make up, but keep in mind I’m a tight wad and don’t wear an insane amount of makeup to begin with.
  10. I’m not stocking up on 30 bottles of shampoo. Maybe this makes me stupid, but even if I got it all for free it would take me years to use that much shampoo. It takes me at least two months to go through one small bottle. And doesn’t that stuff break down and go bad after awhile? Yep, sure does (read more here). Now if you buy a lot and share with friends and family or donate it, my hat’s off to you.

OK you coupon people – what did I miss, what am I doing wrong, or what can I do better?

Giving yourself a night off

One of my problems, and I think a lot of people can relate to this, is running myself ragged 24/7. Are you one of those people too?

Somehow I’ve gotten into the habit of thinking that if I’m not busy doing something during every single minute that I’m awake, then I’m a lazy bum. I’ve been in this mindset for years. Because of that it is very hard for me to just simply sit down, breathe, and do nothing but hold the couch to the floor. It’s gotten to the point where I can’t focus on a book or a craft because my mind is telling me I should get to work on something constructive instead of “wasting time” with things I want to do instead of things I “need” to do.

This mindset is causing problems for me, and I have a problem with the fact it’s causing me problems. I don’t give myself any time to decompress from a high-stress job and a packed weeknight schedule and my body is noticing it. Lately, my Friday ritual is to sleep for 10 to 12 hours because I’m so sleep-deprived and drained from the week’s activities. That’s not a healthy way to live.

Sax Guy has been telling me for years that I’m too hard on myself and reminded me again on Saturday of this. We had just returned from grocery shopping, put everything away, and I announced that I wanted to take a nap but probably wouldn’t do so because I hadn’t gotten anything accomplished that day so far. The house needed its weekly cleaning and I hate to let a day go by without crossing something off my to-do list. (For the record, Sax Guy helps a lot around the house. This is not a “the woman does everything in the house” situation.)

“We need to work on your idea of ‘accomplishment,'” he said. He ticked off a list of things I had finished that day, including all the laundry, putting the clothes away and stocking food in the house again. That’s not “nothing,” he told me.

So, on his advice, I gave myself the rest of the day off Saturday. I left the house cleaning and the rest of my to-do list for Sunday and decided to just do what I wanted to do, which was learn to successfully coupon and read all of the wonderful blogs that I follow on WordPress. And you know what? It was the hardest and equally the most glorious thing I’ve done in awhile.

I felt guilty for leaving the chores for later and felt like a slacker wife for leaving a scuzzy bathroom sink an extra day so I could screw around on the computer. I had to keep telling myself that taking a night off does not make me a bad person and that leisure time is something everyone needs in their schedule. After all, “All work and no play makes a redhead a dull girl.” (Paraphrase mine, of course.) Plus taking some me time keeps me from turning into a cranky you-know-what when my body is on high stress mode 24/7.

A goal for me in 2012 is to take it easier and to be wiser with my time. I obviously can’t quit my job to free up 40 hours of my life a week and I can’t (and don’t want to) give up my music/church commitments, but I can cut back on my one-sided battle with June Cleaver. Do I need to make granola bars from scratch every single stinkin’ week? No. Do I need to walk on the treadmill five times a week? Probably, but it’s not worth sacrificing sleep over and won’t kill me if I cut it back to three. Is it ok to dig up leftovers out of the freezer instead of cooking something new every night? Yes! That’s why you made extra in the first place, you silly redhead. Do I absolutely have to blog three times a week? No. Is the world gonna end if I don’t complete all my chores in a single day? No. Do I need to stop adding more things to my list if I do? Yes.

How do you balance work and play? Am I the only crazy woman who has issues with taking a night off?

Late night update: I wanted to thank all of you for your kind words in the comments. It was so therapeutic to read all of your advice and to know that I’m not the only one! It was kind of a crazy day, and to come home to read your thoughts was a good way to end the day. Bless you, bless you. I’d mail you all cookies if I could!