What does a Garden Gnome do when she is not gardening, in the kitchen or doing genealogy? Well the answer might just surprise you so read the entries to find out more. This blog focuses on everything we do to make our house a home. There will be a strong emphasis on home energy efficiency and do-it-yourself (DIY) projects. At the same time there will also be crafts, knitting and crocheting projects along with any other little tips we do to create that down to earth, I want to be here home. Please enjoy your visit :)

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Last Friday's Bargain Finds

I've been a bargain shopper ever since I can remember, well before it was cool to be frugal or thrifty. I love checking out resale and thrift stores. Yard sales are always a delight! For years I saw buying used as the ultimate in recycling so it became a challenge to find good quality used household items and furnishing without them looking like they were used. I still enjoy finding good deals on used items that we need. I even keep a running list of needed items always hoping to find good used instead of new.

Friday I had to grocery shop for the weekend as the kids would be home and we were hosting a larger get together. After dropping off my husband I stopped at the local Sally Ann. I found a cute flashlight for the grandbabies' toy chest as well as a children's book and a book for us to enjoy. I also found a meatball former for one of the kids, stainless steal measuring spoons, a small covered casserole dish and two specialty shaped loaf pans (Pampered Chef). My total came to $4.35!

One of the loaf pans had never been used and was in the original packaging complete with instruction booklets. These will be perfect for making shaped loaves of bread for the grandbabies and entertaining! Both books were in like new condition. I was especially pleased to find the lidded casserole dish.

I'm in the process of eliminating plastic storage containers (eg. GladWare®) in favour of glass storage containers but not for the same reasons some are. The plastic containers can't be used for reheating in the microwave oven so I end up dirtying another microwave safe dish. Over time these containers become stained as well. I've even stopped using them in the freezer because they chip and break if hit the wrong way when frozen. I think that going to glass for refrigerator storage will prove to be a better chose for us since I'm already using mason jars for storage for dried foods and in the refrigerator.

About 10 days ago I awoke to a horrible noise that gave a clear indication that something had got into the house. It sounded larger than a mouse yet we have found no signs of an actual intruder. Most of the foods in the pantry are either in glass, metal or food grade plastic pails with lids. Still I had a few foods that rodents if they got in could chew through. With this in mind I stopped at the local dollar store to pick up plastic bins to put these foods in knowing that the food would not come into contact with the plastic yet would be protected just in case. I bought 5 covered bins. I also picked up 2 glass cereal bowls that I plan on using as small mixing bowls, two small covered storage bowls, rice sticks, fancy Dora cookies for grandbaby's treat, an ice cube tray, moisture remover and dishwasher rinse agent. The grand total was $17.65!

I was rather pleased at getting the glassware so will pick up more on my next trip. What I was really happy at finding was the dishwasher rinse agent. The manufacturer of our dishwasher (Bosh) says that using a separate rinse agent is a must even if the dishwasher detergent has a rinse agent in it. The brand name (JetDry®) cost us 6¢ per load but only if purchased on sale. My husband found a store brand at nofrills® that cut our costs to 2¢ per load. Now that's not a lot per load however the dollar store had the same size 250 ml bottle for $1 that brings the price per load to 1¢. That's a savings of $15.60 per year. Hey, that's not a lot of money but why spend extra if you don't have to?

The ice cube tray will likely not be used for making ice cubes. Each well holds 2 teaspoons, just perfect for freezing small quantities of roasted garlic, herbs and tomato paste. Once froze I pop these little flavour gems out and put into a freezer bag until needed.

Garden Gnome