Your Made-to-Order, Free Iced Coffee

My hero, Mary Hunt of Debt Proof Living, challenged us to cook only what we will use. It was an effort to stop waste. She decided to make less coffee in the morning.

My husband makes the coffee in our home and he always made 8 cups, but we only drank 7 cups.  I found the best way to use at last cup. I make an iced coffee to drink in the afternoon.

You have to admit, the best cup of coffee is the one you brew for yourself in the morning. It is never too strong, or too weak. It is the same strength that you would want for an iced coffee.

Frugalfish’s Iced Coffee

  1. Pour the last cup of coffee in a glass, add sugar and stir until it is melted.
  2. Let cool to room temperature.
  3. Put in refrigerator.
  4. Make a few extra cups of coffee and freeze it in an ice-cube tray.
  5. When you are ready for iced coffee, add cream, if desired, and one or two cubes of frozen coffee.

Your coffee will not be diluted as the “ice” melts and the strength of the coffee will be perfect…just like your morning coffee.

Extra cup of coffee, with melted sugar in it, ready for the refrigerator and extra coffee to be frozen into “coffee ice cubes”.

Keep Those Rugs in Place

A sliding throw rug is one of my pet peeves. I have tried those rubber liners, that you put under the rug, but they don’t work well or very long. I came up with two solutions.

Throw Rug on Carpet

I attached several “Velcro” dots, the hook side, to the underside of my throw rug. The hook catches the loops of the carpet.

Throw Rug on Wood Floor

I have a small throw rug that I wanted by the back door, next to a matching 5’ X 8’ rug. I got out my upholstery needle and sewed them together with matching thread.

Throw rug sewed to a 5′ X 8′ rug.


Throw Rug on Wood Floor

If all else fails, I try to anchor the rug under a piece of furniture.




Retractable Clothesline Saves the Day

I have been thinking of my grandmother a lot this week…because both my dishwasher and dryer broke down. I have been washing the dishes by hand, just like she did.

The dryer stopped heating and I was so glad that I bought some retractable clothesline last summer.  I installed them in the basement. But my son did not like the scratchy towels and I ended up drying them in the dryer again.

Then my husband noticed that the towels were not drying us off as they did before. I use homemade soap, with vinegar in the rinse cycle, and apparently had dried them with dryer sheets.

When the dryer broke I had to hang them on the lines and I found that they now wick up the water like a sponge! It saves electricity and they work better.

As for my son, he leaves for college in a week, and won’t be using them!


Drying towels in my basement














The clothesline retracts into the small plastic container up in the ceiling.



Mr. Frugalfish Fixes Frugalfish Failure

I admitted my failure to stiffen the pocket flaps on my husband’s shorts, as I didn’t want to iron them, (see July 6, 2012).

Before we left for vacation, my husband came up with a better solution…remove the flaps. He said they just got in the way.

I removed them with a seam ripper, carefully taking out the stitches. I top-stitched the two pieces together that had the flaps sewn in between them. I even removed the flaps on his new shorts.


Shorts with flaps removed.

I Found a New Way to Shop!

I just returned from visiting my brother’s family in Virginia. I found that a man’s definition of shopping is different from a woman’s!

My brother asked me if I wanted to go shopping, and I said, “Sure”!

He took us to a BassPro shop.

I told my nephew, who was riding with us, that I couldn’t believe my brother was taking me to a “fish” store.

He replied, “There’s hunting stuff there, too!”

Actually, my brother picked up some pretty wonderful fudge there and I am glad we went! Then he took us to a mall.

My husband used to hate to shop with me because I have been Frugalfish my whole life. My goal was to find the best bargain. I wanted to go through each store in the mall and look through all of the clearance racks. It took forever!

After being housebound for the last eight years, my priorities changed. I get to shop a couple of times a year and I keep a running list of items I would like to find. I can order anything online, but the smaller items are not available and you pay three times the price in shipping costs.

This trip I took my list of items that I could not buy in my area.  It may seem odd that there are items I can’t find, but in the county next to the one I live in…

“… There’s not a single stoplight or fast-food restaurant…Nope – just small farms amid rolling hills and picturesque villages nestled along the meandering Des Moines River.” Our Iowa Magazine August/September 2012

When we got to the mall, with my brother’s family, I looked at my list and only went to the stores that would have those items. I actually finished shopping a half an hour before my brother…who was shopping with my niece!

Later, when coming home, we stopped at an outlet mall, and after looking at the available stores, I left!  I was shopping the list, not the mall.

My biggest test came on the final day when I got to the mall in St. Louis with a “Macy’s” store that had three stories. Since I had been in the other stores at other malls, I only shopped at “Macy’s”.  I still shopped my list and finished before my husband and son bought their matching “St. Louis Cardinals” baseball caps. (Buy one, get one half off!)

That does not mean I did not find any bargains on my trip. I did look at clearance racks, when I had time, but only in my selected stores.  I bought a couple of items that were not on my “Need” list. They were on my “Desire” list, but at 70% off, I could not pass them up. They were a large turkey roasting pan and three chafing dishes. I will “need” them this Thanksgiving when I host the extended family dinner.

I spent the last eight years boxing up my bargains, from malls and garage sales, that I really did not need, and donating them to Goodwill.  If you don’t need it; it’s not a bargain. It’s clutter!

Shopping in St. Louis


Use Every Inch of Space

I have lived in this small house for over 26 years and I try to utilize all available spaces. I found a new place to hang my broom, dustpan and mop…between the refrigerator and wall. I put the nails in above the top of the refrigerator and hang the tools from them. I also hang my “green bags” from a magnetic clip on the side of the refrigerator by the wall. They are not noticeable, and are in a handy place.


Look around; there may be a couple of inches of space in your home that you can use. It is easier, and more frugal, to use all of the spaces in your present home than it is to purchase a larger home.

Broom, dustpan, mop and “Green Bags” are stored between refrigerator and wall.

Secret Keeps Crockpot Potatoes from Turning Black

I was having some dear friends over for dinner to thank them for hosting our son’s graduation party at their farm; and decided to use real potatoes, instead of hash browns, to make my cousin Diana’s cheesy potatoes in the Crock-pot. My friend is an amazing cook and makes lots of things from scratch.

She took one bite of the potatoes and said, “You used real potatoes!!! They are so much better.”

That was quickly followed by an appalling feeling when I realized some of the potatoes in the Crock-pot had turned black!!! She told me not to worry about it that they tasted the same, but I was still disappointed.

Later I remembered a recipe from the cookbook that came with my former Crock-pot. It was for scalloped potatoes and they instructed you to soak the potatoes in a couple of teaspoons of Cream of Tartar for a few minutes after you peeled and sliced them.

The next time I made “Cousin Diana’s Cheesy Potatoes” I tried the trick and it worked like a charm. I soak the potatoes I am cooking to mash with Cream of Tartar when I cook them in the Crock-pot also.

This tip works when cooking fresh sweet potatoes and yams, also.

Fresh, peeled potatoes, that I shredded in my food processor, which are soaking in water with 2 teaspoons of Cream of Tartar. I rinse the Cream of Tartar off before mixing in the other ingredients and putting it all in the Crock-pot.


Cousin Diana’s Cheesy Potatoes

©2009-2012 All Rights Reserved.

Add a Touch of Your Personality

I searched long and hard for a new desk lamp. My old one was a table lamp given to us when my husband’s grandmother died. I could not use the compact fluorescent bulbs in them and it would occasionally flicker. One night it set up off the breaker and I knew it had to go.

The thing I loved about grandma’s lamp was it took a three-way bulb and I could have a really bright light writing and sewing. (I keep my sewing machine under my desk. It doubles as a sewing table.)

I chose this lamp because it looks like it fits in a library and it takes two 60 watt compact fluorescent bulbs. That gives me the option of 60 watts or 120 watts depending on what I need. But when the lamp arrived, I found that it was about an inch too tall and the bulb would shine right in my eyes.

I debated about sending it back, but I loved it. I decided to add some tulle trim; I had in with my sewing materials, around the base of the glass shade. I loved the trim and had not found a place to use it. The tulle diffused the bulb glare without cutting down on the light that was directed below.

I now have a lamp that I love…with a touch of my personality!

Restore Faded Yard Art

Our Aunt Nellie has a frog collection. At one time her collection contained over 200 frogs! She displayed them throughout her house and in her yard.

Since I enjoy painting, Uncle Dean asked me to restore one of her outdoor figurines. He was so impressed that he put it under the Christmas tree to surprise her. I’ve lost count of how many frogs I have painted.

I do remember how many penguins…four. The penguins were made of concrete and stood two feet tall.




















This frog was made of plastic and I used the same acrylic paints on it as I used on the concrete penguins. I purchased a box with a variety of colors of paint. I even custom mixed colors from that assortment of paints. Of course I went through a couple of bottles of black and white paint on the penguins.

When your yard art starts to fade, don’t replace it…restore it.

De-Fringed My Rugs

I am not talking a “Fringe Haircut” I and talking about pulling them out by the roots!

Fringe is the first thing to get dirty on your rugs. It gets caught in the vacuum sweeper and torn off.

The area rug in my kitchen was the worst. The fringe was filthy. I removed the fringe with a seam ripper. When you cut one loop at the base you can remove the rest by untying the loops.

I folded the rug over an inch and sewed the rough edge using a darning needle in my upholstery needle set. I use two pieces of normal thread folded over so I have four strands to sew it down.

When my aunt saw the rugs after my “surgery” she thought I bought new rugs! I have since “de-fringed” four rugs. The rug for my entry way was a little larger than I wanted. I used a three-inch seam on each side and now have a custom-made rug that fits perfectly! (This rug had stripes that went from side to side.)

The binding on the sides of one rug was torn and stained. When I “de-fringed” that rug, I also folded the sides over and sewed them down. My rugs look new and they are much easier to clean.