How Much Toothpaste?

The directions tell you to put a pea-sized amount on your brush, but the ads show the entire toothbrush covered in a strip of paste. I didn’t think much about it until I replaced my toothbrush with one designed for sensitive teeth. It has a teeny, tiny head! There is only enough room for a pea-sized amount of paste!

I think I am using about half of the amount as I was using before. It may not seem like much, but I should have run out of toothpaste sometime last week and there is still paste in the tube.

I have found another bonus with this toothbrush…I am brushing longer. With the smaller amount of paste my mouth does not fill up with foam and product.  I can feel whether my teeth are thoroughly cleaned or not.

It reminds me of the number one rule of frugality….

Waste not, want not!

A smaller toothbrush head saves on toothpaste.

Wrong About the Rug

I posted on August 29, 2012 that you could put the hook side of the Velcro self-stick dots on a rug and it would stay in place on the carpet.

I apologize, I was wrong. The hooks catch the carpet very well, but the adhesive is not strong enough to withstand the traffic by the front door. I am replacing the self-stick dots with sew on Velcro.

I will have to test my theories a little longer before I post them.

Throw rug by front door.

Furnace Check

Every year I try to keep from turning the furnace on until the last possible moment. The longest we have waited was the day before Thanksgiving. This year the weather won the contest because I was sick for a couple of weeks and it got cold!

Our furnace was installed in 1971 when they built the house. We have the money to replace it, and the central air, but the plumber told us to just keep using it until it stopped working.

So, how do you keep your furnace working for decades?  Maintenance.

I have severe allergies and we use a permanent allergy filter. Once a month my husband takes the filter to the car wash and blasts all of the dirt and dust out of it. If you use disposable filters, put a new one in once a month.

And every year we have the plumber come in and check the furnace. We are lucky in our area because our utility company gives a rebate that covers part of the bill.

Programmable Thermostat

College Boy Makes a Pumpkin Pie

My youngest son, aka “College Boy” already demonstrated how easy it is to make a pie crust from scratch. See my post on 4-25-2012.

Today he will show you the process of making a pumpkin pie.

Pumpkin Pie

Pastry for a 9” pie

2 eggs

16 oz. can of pumpkin or 2 cups of pumpkin puree

¾ cup sugar

½ teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

¼ teaspoon ground cloves

1 2/3 cup evaporated milk

Heat oven to 425 degrees. Prepare pastry. Beat eggs slightly with hand beater; beat remaining ingredients. Place pastry-lined pie plate on oven rack; pour in filling. Bake 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees. Bake until knife inserted in center comes out clean, about 45 minutes.

Beat eggs.

Add pumpkin.

Measuring spices.

Be careful, it may splatter.

Oops, the cord!

Pour fillings into prepared crust.

Put on the pie crust protectors. You take them off during the last five minutes of baking.

Place pie in oven.

Wash your dishes.

Wipe off the counters.

Sweep floor and throw away the garbage.

Test the pie by putting a knife in the center. If it comes out clean it is finished.

Make Pumpkin Pie Filling from a Sugar Pumpkin

Thanksgiving is one month from today! It is a good idea to practice any new dessert before the big day. If you want to make your pumpkin pie filling from scratch, here are the directions.

Wash a sugar pumpkin and cut in half. Remove the seeds.

Preparing sugar pumpkin to cook.


Place in a roasting pan, with a couple of inches of water, cover and bake in a 350 oven for an hour.


Pumpkin that has been roasted in a pan with water.

When cool, the skin should easily come off of the pumpkin. Cut it into chunks and place in a food processor.  Puree it until the pumpkin is smooth.

Puree pumpkin in a food processor.

You will need 2 cups of pumpkin puree for each pie. I made two pies last Thanksgiving.

Two pies ready for baking.

Here is the finished product. I will give you step-by-step directions on my next blog.

A pumpkin pie from last Thanksgiving.

Once a Year “Wash and Wear” Haircut

I always fought my curly hair. I thought it was wavy and it always waved the wrong way. Then I met Amanda Brown, the owner of “The Bee Hive” in Richland, IA.

The Bee Hive, Richland, IA

She told me curly hair is usually dry and needs lots of conditioner. I washed my hair and let it dry naturally before I went to the salon. She cut my hair, one curl at a time. This was my haircut for family pictures in October, 2008. It is my profile picture.

I did not get my hair cut again until my son got married in November, 2009. By then Amanda had hired Brei, and after cutting my hair, she had Brei style it for the wedding.

My haircut for my sons wedding. (

Since I cannot leave the house, I decided to grow my hair for “Locks of Love”. They take donated hair and make wigs for children with cancer.  Then my youngest son was chosen for the “Iowa All State Choir”. The concert was to be televised and I decided I had better get it cut.

My hair after growing one year.

My hair cut at the “Iowa All State Chorus” concert.

I was disappointed how little hair I had to donate. Amanda told me not to feel bad; they can still use it to make extensions, which they sell.

In January, 2011, I heard about “curly girl”. It revolutionized the way I take care of my curls. I no longer wash my hair every day with shampoo…I wash it with conditioner! Some days, I just rinse it, scrunch it and that’s it! I never use a terry cloth towel to dry my hair; I wrap it in a 100% cotton tee-shirt.

I went to Amanda in May, 2011, and told her to pretend I would not be back for 18 months to 2 years and to cut my hair based on that information. She cut it really short on the back and the sides, but left the bangs long enough to tuck behind my ears.

It was perfect for my youngest son’s graduation and the next week which I spent at the hospital with my oldest son.  Unfortunately, I am the family photographer and I could only find one picture of me during that week. It was taken in the hospital with my granddaughter, who was 3 months old at the time. You can see the length of the bangs.

In my 20011 haircut, I had her leave the bangs long.

This year we had a long hot summer, (I started running the air conditioner in May), and I decided I wanted the short cut like I got for graduation last year. I went back to Amanda in August.  This is the haircut I have now.

My 2012 haircut.

The most important thing to do is sit down with your hairdresser and ask her how to take care of your hair. Also trust them to give you the best cut for your face. I swear Amanda makes up haircuts for me. They are original!

Don’t fight what you have, work with it, and soon you will have “Wash & Wear” hair.  You may have to get it cut more than once a year, though!

Tarragon Chicken

I love recipes that have only a few ingredients. This is one of my favorites. Sometimes I make it to warm up the house on a chilly day. On those days I bake it at 250 degrees until the internal temperature reaches 170. Other days I back it on 350 and bake potatoes with it.

Tarragon Chicken

Whole fryer chicken

2 Tablespoons butter

Tarragon leaves


I wash the chicken and rub butter all over it. I sprinkle salt and dried tarragon leaves all over it. I place it on the center of a Bundt pan and place the pan on a cookie sheet to catch the drippings. The chicken browns nicely all around when baked this way.

Tarragon chicken and baked potatoes.

Utensil Drawers That Stay Organized

I used to get frustrated when I was cooking or baking and could not find a particular utensil. My family would unload the dishwasher and just guess which drawer to put them in.

Finally, I decided to separate them into four categories:

  1. Silverware, Knives, Wooden Spoons
  2. Cooking
  3. Serving
  4. Baking

I wrote the four categories on top of the board that is inside each drawer. The writing is hidden, but when you open the drawers a few inches it is visible.

Open Drawers

Categories written inside my utensil drawers.

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My Glowing New Door Color

I have painted my front door several colors over the years. I really wanted a red door, but my husband didn’t.  The last color I painted it was a dark, smoky blue to match the shutters on the house. I noticed that the air between the door and the storm door was really hot in the summer. That blue door just absorbed the heat.

Two years ago, I decided to paint the door white on the inside and the outside. I thought it would reflect the light and cut down on the heat entering the house in the summer. It took me two days to paint it.

That night I noticed light in the entryway when I turned on the hall light. The hall light was reflected in a picture in the hall and by the mirror on the wall and the white door. It lightened up my entryway! I am sure glad I did not have a dark-colored door this last summer during the high heat and the drought.

My white front door.

Love My Red Accent Walls

I use many tricks to fool the eye and make you think my house is larger than it is. One of my tricks is painting a red accent wall. I have two of them in the house. One is in the entryway and the other is at the end of the hall. The red catches your eye and makes you turn to look. The dark color makes it look like the wall is further away.  When I first painted this red wall I kept thinking there was another room to the right as you come in the door. There is not!


My red accent wall in the entryway.