You need a 2-Speed Fan and a 2-Speed Motor When You Add AC

It was 1988. My son and I had just been diagnosed with asthma. I already suffered from allergies and it was strongly recommended that we get central air to keep the pollen out.

We had a small income tax return, so I went to my favorite plumber, the plumber we used at work, and a plumber who attended school with my husband. The third plumber’s bid was half price of the other two.

Now our memory gets fuzzy. I say we chose the last one because my husband wanted to help out a classmate. He says we chose the last one because I was so cheap.

Frugal is being smart. Cheap is taking the cheapest bid.

It was a mistake. A week after the central air was installed the motor burned up. The classmate installed a different motor and that was the last we heard from him.

Then the nightmare began. It just wouldn’t cool. Our favorite plumber tried every test and every trick, but the house was always 10 degrees warmer than the air outside.

We had our electric company do an energy audit twice during those years and still could not figure out why it didn’t work.

Finally, in desperation, we called in a friend who handled industrial heating and cooling in businesses in the area. He listened to everything we had tried over the years and ripped the thing apart.

What he found was a one speed motor that was wired to a two-speed fan. When you have central air you must have a high-speed on your fan to push the cool air up. In the winter, heat rises, so you can move air with the low-speed.

He put on a two-speed motor and IT WORKED!!!

We had three days of temperatures over 100 degrees and my house stayed consistently at 77 degrees where I set it.

Then we were sick when we realized for over two decades we had been cooling the bottom two feet of the house and since the cool air never reached the thermostat, the air ran constantly for weeks at a time.

I called my favorite plumber and reported what we found.  I am not going to see him as much now. At least not to work on the air conditioner! I also wrote a letter to the electric company with the findings in case the auditor ran into a similar situation.

It was a painful lesson to learn. It is better to wait until you can do it right than to take a bargain.

We added central air to this furnace.

We added central air to this furnace.

Can You Find My Toaster?

Below is a photo of my kitchen and you can tell how small it is! As I shared before, I try to keep my counters empty, see here. Yet, some appliances are used more frequently than others…like a toaster.

My toaster is in plain sight…but can you find it?

Clever Toaster Storage

Clever Toaster Storage


I learned this tip from my friend, Paula. She kept her toaster in a rectangle basket and stored it in one of her cupboards.

I wrote down the measurements of my toaster and found a tray of the proper dimensions on which to keep it. When I want to make toast I pick up the tray and move the toaster to the counter. The tray traps all of the crumbs and keeps my counter and storage area clean.

Did you find it? It’s right next to the bread maker on top of the china cabinet. The slides are facing the wall.

There is an oval tray under the bread maker to make moving it back and forth easier. It is also a good way to store your turkey platter or other large trays.


Yes, Christmas is only 6 months away. If you plan on finishing that quilt, or making something else special, you need to start carving time out for it now.

Everyone is so busy and you may want to set your annual Christmas celebration date now while you are gathered around the campfire.

At the family reunion this summer you can talk about the Christmas traditions you loved and want to repeat. What a wonderful walk down memory lane you could take as you share your favorite memories with your children and grandchildren.

If nothing else, at least you could make your list!

Manger theme ornament.

Manger theme ornament.


Tennis Balls Saved Me From Ironing

Unfortunately, ironing is a weekly chore at my home. I wear mostly 100% cotton clothes and some do require ironing. When I got up on my regular ironing day, and realized I didn’t have any ironing to do, I decided it would be a good day to wash my bedroom drapes and sheers.

Then I remembered how the tennis balls kept my jeans from twisting and tangling and decided to throw them in the dryer with the curtains, see here. I pulled the sheers out of the dryer halfway through the cycle and let them finish air drying on the curtain rod.

When the dryer shut off, I took the valances out and hung them on their respective curtain rods. All of my drapes are energy-efficient and they took longer to dry. They were still damp when the dryer stopped. (They have to be washed and dried on the delicate cycle.)

I was thrilled when all three items came out of the dryer without needing ironed. I guess if I were picky, the valances may have looked better if I had starched and ironed them. I compared them to the ones in the office that I had starched and ironed and I couldn’t tell the difference.

The drapes had a few wrinkles, but I hung them before they were completely dry, and the weight of the material pulled the wrinkles out.

I have fresh, clean curtains hanging in my bedroom and I didn’t even have to plug in the iron!

This trick saved me from ironing when I washed my drapes.

This trick saved me from ironing when I washed my drapes.

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In Lieu of a “3 in 1 Slow Cooker”

It started out like any other potluck. I made chili, but the Crock-pot was only half full, so I added cooked macaroni and corn and ripe olives and green peppers until the Crock-pot was full. I found if it was only half full it burned around the edges. Besides, you don’t go to a potluck with a half full Crock-pot.

I was envious of my sister-in-law who received a “3 in 1 Slow Cooker” for a gift. She gets the best gifts. (I think she goes through the store and makes a list like a bride filling out a bridal registry. She always gets the latest thing, and usually, I have never heard of it.)

Back to the “3 in 1 Slow Cooker” – it was hard enough controlling my envy the year she received it; but it got worse each year because it came to every family dinner after that. She always had the right size bowl for whatever she wanted to bring – usually “Little Smokies” wrapped in bacon.

At the beginning of the summer I started making many meals in the Crock-pot instead of heating up the house. I decided I was going to buy myself a “3 in 1 Slow Cooker” and justify it by the savings on the air conditioner.

Then I saw the price.

I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. So I wrote down the measurements of the two Crock-pots I already own. One was 4 quart and the other was a 1 quart. All I needed was a 2 quart Crock-pot for the recipes that were smaller in volume.

I went online and found one for $10.00. That was much easier for me to spend than the $50.00 to $70.00 on the “3 in 1 Slow Cooker”.

I  used all three Crock-pots for one family dinner in July. We had three hot dishes and the house did not get heated up.

The moral of this story is to look at what you already have and buy only what you need.

As for my sister-in-law – I give up, she will always be more trendy than me!

These are my three Crock-pots!

Smart Couple

We had a substitute drummer for a few months this summer and I would really like to get to know his parents.


Because he is driving the vehicle that his parents drove him home from the hospital in when he was born.

Many people change vehicles every few years, or when they pay off the vehicles they are using right now. I heard one couple say, “You are always going to have a car payment, why not let it be on a new vehicle.”

I have two problems with that statement:

  1. You do not have to always have a car payment. You can pay off your car and make those payments to yourself. Then when you are ready to get a different vehicle, you not only have a car to trade in, but also cash for a large down payment. If you continue to use this strategy, you will get to the point that you can pay cash for a vehicle.
  2. I would never buy a new car. A car depreciates the most in the first three years. I always buy a car that is over three years old and let someone else take the hit. Another bonus is, if there is a dangerous defect in any vehicle, hopefully it will be found during that time.


Keeping vehicles for years is a family trait on my father’s side. My uncle purchased a large car in which his children learned to drive. Later, I learned to drive in the same car out in a dusty field on their farm.

Fast forward a few decades and my then 12-year-old son wanted to help cousin Danny on his farm. Guess what car he learned to drive in…yep, the same green monster in which I learned!


Another farmer told me the secret to longevity in vehicles is in the fluids. He said to keep the oil, brake fluid, transmission fluid, etc. topped out. He also advocated timely oil changes. He drove a van until it was close to 200,000 miles. A friend acquired it from them drove it a few years more.

We own a 1995 truck. Our mechanic son replaced most of the guts of it: engine, transmission, alternator, etc. We put several new parts on it and had it painted, see here.

When we bought it, I told my husband I wanted to keep it until our youngest graduated from high school. Since the heart of it has been replaced, we decided to keep it until our granddaughter can drive it!


Below is a picture of Eric our substitute drummer. I got that smile out of him when I asked about his girlfriend. (Sorry ladies, he’s taken.)

He apologized for not washing it before we took the photo. Then he said, “There’s a little rust on it, but who cares, it’s paid for.”

Smart drummer!

Drummer Eric standing by the car he drives in which his parents brought him home from the hospital as an infant.

Drummer Eric standing by the car he drives, in which his parents brought him home from the hospital when he was born.


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Restaurant Peach Tea Syrup Alternative

Peach Tea

Restaurant Peach Tea Syrup Alternative

There is nothing more refreshing on a hot day than a glass of ice tea. It is a very frugal drink if you brew it yourself.

All it takes is three tea bags, in a tea jar full of water, set in the sun for a couple of hours. You can also brew it on top of the stove.

It is the flavoring that adds the expense!

I love the peach tea and raspberry tea served in restaurants. The little slice of peach makes you think you could have the same flavor by adding a slice of peach to your tea at home.

But restaurants use peach flavored syrup. Some restaurants will even sell you a bottle of the syrup for around twenty bucks.

I have found a frugal alternative!!!!

You can buy canned peaches in “heavy syrup”. That heavy syrup is what you need to make peach tea. Save the syrup and add a little to your glass of tea. This is a treat you don’t want to have every day because of the extra calories.

If you prefer raspberry tea, I’ll pass along the tip I read at Debt Proof Living, a couple of years ago. When you brew your tea, add a Raspberry Tea Bag. You can buy boxes of Raspberry Tea Bags.

My son bought me an ice tea maker, but since I don’t have an ice maker in my freezer, I didn’t use it very often. Then my ice tea jar broke. I made the tea without ice in the maker. It was really concentrated, so I put it in a pitcher and added water.

I think I will always make it this way when I want to make sweet tea. I put a scoop of sugar in the bottom of the ice tea maker pitcher before I brewed the tea without ice. The hot tea helped dissolve the sugar.

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Tennis Balls, Not Just For Tennis

There is a can of tennis balls in my laundry room. I admit there are a few other sports items in that room, but this can is marked, “Laundry.” I purchased them to use in the dryer when I wash comforters and pillows. They help to keep them from getting lumpy.

I have recently found a new use for them…I put them in the dryer when I am drying jeans.

I shared earlier my frustration with jeans getting twisted, tangled, and coming out of the dryer all wrinkled, see here. They also seem to take forever to dry. Throwing the tennis balls in the dryer with them cut down on the wrinkles and the time to dry them.

(What, you thought I used the balls to play tennis?)

You may wonder, why I don’t use “Dryer Balls.” I did try them out several years ago, but for some reason, they would hit the door of my old dryer hard enough to open it. I would return to the basement expecting to find a load of dry clothes to fold and would find the door open, damp clothes, and a dryer ball on the floor. (The same thing would happen when I tried to dry tennis shoes in the dryer.)

I’ll stick to tennis balls, thank you very much.

I throw tennis balls in the dryer when I am drying jeans.

I throw tennis balls in the dryer when I am drying jeans.




What Not to Wear When It’s 80, What to Wear When It’s Below Zero

It’s 64º while I am writing this and it was almost 90º yesterday. When the weather changes that drastically, it is hard to know what to wear.

I worked in an upstairs office and my desk was on an outside wall, The ceiling was high; it was cold in the winter and hot in the summer. Finally, in frustration, I made this list to survive my office! I would remove a layer when I went downstairs for meetings.

Dressing for the Weather in Layers

Over 80 Degrees – Sandals

Sleeveless Shirt & Shorts/Skirt (or)

Sleeveless Dress

70-79 Degrees – Sandals

Short-Sleeves & Shorts/Skirt (or)

Short-Sleeved Dress

60-69 Degrees – Closed Toe Shoes, Light-weight Socks

Short-Sleeves & Light-weight Pants (or)

Short-Sleeved Dress & Pantyhose (or)

Short-Sleeved Shirt, Skirt & Pantyhose

50-59 Degrees – Closed Toe Shoes, Light-weight Socks

Long-Sleeved Shirt & Light-weight Pants (or)

Long-Sleeved Dress & Pantyhose (or)

Short-Sleeved Shirt with a Jacket & Pants or Skirt/Pantyhose

Outer Wear: Light-weight Jacket

40-49 Degrees – Closed Toe Shoes & Medium-weight Socks

Long-Sleeved Shirt under Short-Sleeved Shirt & Jeans/Warm Pants/Skirt & Tights (or)

Two Long-Sleeved Shirts & Jeans/Warm Pants/ Skirt & Tights (or)

Example: Long-sleeved crew neck under a long-sleeved V-neck shirt or Long-sleeved button down shirt under a V-neck shirt.

Long-Sleeved Shirt with Jacket & Jeans/Warm Pants/ Skirt & Tights (or)

Long-Sleeved Dress with Jacket & Tights

Outer Wear: Coat, Hat, Gloves

30-39 Degrees – Closed Toe Shoes & Medium-weight Socks

Sweater/Sweatshirt & Jeans/Warm Pants/Skirt & Tights (or)

Two Long-Sleeved Shirts under a Short-Sleeved Shirt & Jeans/Warm Pants/Skirt & Tights

Example: Long-sleeved button down shirt over a turtleneck shirt and under a V-Neck Tee Shirt or A Turtleneck under a long-sleeved crew neck under a V-Neck T-Shirt.

Outer Wear: Winter Coat, Hat & Gloves

20-29 Degrees – Closed Toe Shoes & Heavy Socks

Sweater/Sweatshirt over a Long-Sleeved Shirt & Jeans/Warm Pants (or)

Two Long-Sleeved Shirts over a Turtleneck & Jeans/Warm Pants

Outer Wear: Winter Coat, Hat, Scarf, Gloves, Boots (Carry your shoes)

10-19 Degrees – Closed Toe Shoes and Heavy Socks

Sweater/Sweatshirt over Turtleneck, Long John Shirt & Long John Pants under Jeans/Warm Pants (or)

Two Long-Sleeved Shirts over a Turtleneck and Long John Shirt

& Long John Pants under Jeans/Warm Pants

Outer Wear: Winter Coat, Hat, Scarf, Gloves, Boots (Carry Your Shoes)

10 Degrees and Below – Closed Toe Shoes and Heavy Socks

Sweater/Sweatshirt over Turtleneck & Long John Shirt  under Jacket

& Long John Pants under Jeans/Warm Pants (or)

Two Long-Sleeved Shirts (Crew neck, V-Neck, or Button Down) over a Turtleneck and Long John Shirt under Jacket

& Long John Pants under Jeans/Warm Pants

Outer Wear: Winter Coat (Coveralls), Hat (Face Mask), Scarf, Gloves, Boots. (Take Extra socks & Gloves)

(You can always remove a layer if it warms up more than expected.)

Note: Clothes made with breathable polypropylene, (i.e. Under Armour, Dri-Fit, ClimaLite, Drylete, Vapor Dry, Technifine or Cool Max), should only be worn for exercising outdoors, shoveling snow, etc. If you wear it for normal indoor activities it will transfer any sweat to the next layer, which is very unattractive!

Me and Derek, right before prom.  I always dress in layers.

My youngest son right before prom. I always dress in layers.