Look What Mommy Made

A creative, home-made, hand-made blog

Sun Tea: How to Make Tea Using the Sun

Making Sun TeaOkay, so some of you think this is the simplest and easiest thing ever, and you’re wondering why I’m writing about it, others of you are thinking.. “What tea?”

Sun Tea. It’s easy. It’s a very frugal way to not heat up the house with a burner from the stove, and save the energy you would use heating that stove, and the A/C it would take to cool it back off.

And it’s just fun for the kids, a lot of the time!

What You’ll Need:

A Jar (I used a clean pickle jar)

Your favorite tea (in bags or if you want to use loose tea, you’ll need a tea ball/infuser)

Fill the jar with water and throw in your tea bags (or the infuser with your loose tea). Now find a sunny spot outside. Leave the jar in the sun for a while, until you like the strength. It will take a while, depending on how warm it is outside. Now, in Oklahoma, it can get pretty hot, so a few hours will do. But if you live in a place where it’s not as warm, you might be looking at 4 hours or more. This is not a speedy thing.

Sun Tea

Once you like the strength, pull the jar inside and finish it with your sugar (because around here, that’s how we drink it). If you don’t like sweet tea (what is WRONG with you?) than you’re all done!

Kids think this is pretty cool, so its a great thing for them to help you with. ๐Ÿ™‚

Leave a comment »

How to Get Your Own Mint Plant for Free

Mint Plant for Free
If you like to garden so that you can really home-make things yourself, than you’ll enjoy this one.

I like mint flavor. I like the smell. I’m not in love or anything, but I find it pleasant, and even enjoy mint tea on occasion. When I found out that mint plants were easy to grow (and I mean, they-turn-into-a-weed-if-you’re-not-careful, easy) I wanted one.

I’ve actually grown it before, having tried sowing it from seed. This is uber difficult. Apparently, mint seeds have a 50% chance of growing, so out of a seed packet, you’ll get lucky if you get 50% of those seeds to grow. (However, germinating the seeds in a paper towel first, does do some good, that’s another post!).

So anyway, if you’re like me, and you’re broke more often than not, You’ll love finding a way to get this plant without paying for it.

Here are some ways to do it:

  1. Ask around! Mint is SO prolific and easy to grow that if someone has ever made the mistake of putting it directly into their garden, they will be digging it up for years and years. Most people that have a decent sized plant will be more than happy to provide you a plant or two.
  2. Ask for a cutting. If your friends or family don’t really have a lot of mint, but they do have a plant. Mint is SUPER easy to grow from a cutting, and I will explain how to do this in a moment.
  3. Freecycle.org : Go look on Freecycle.org and ask for a plant or two. If you’re frugal, you should know all about this site. It’s like an email list/group of people that all post things they want/need or are looking to get rid of. It’s all for free.
  4. Lastly, you can do what I did, and find some!

Okay, so number 4 is pretty vague. What I did was found out that one of my favorite restaurants had mint growing outside. I have been their enough to have seen them hacking at it with a weedwhacker. That smell is distinct. You can’t mistake mint.

So the last time we went to eat there (which was nearly 6 months or more ago, now) I pinched off a decent stem with my fingers. I had planned to do this before we left, so I had a wet paper napkin from dinner. I put the “cutting” into this paper napkin, making sure the “cut” end was inside the wet napkin.

Once I got home, I picked off the last two leaves (make sure you get one that has 3-4 leaf “sets”, for good measure) and I put the cut end into a cup of water. I also made sure the area I had picked the leaves off was in the water, because this is where the roots will shoot out from first. I put it in my window and made sure to keep the water at the same level.

Growing Mint in a cup

After about 2 weeks, I had roots, and the plant was ready for the outdoors! TA-DA! Mint plant for free.

Growing Mint

Here, you can see the roots starting to grow.

Now all you have to do is get some soil (I used top soil), poke a hole, put the plant in, and cover. Water regularly until you begin seeing new growth (which won’t be long). Once it gets in there, it will start going crazy! It likes sun, so put it somewhere sunny!

Growing Mint

I put mine into cinder blocks, as part of a raised bed. This will keep it from spreading anywhere I don’t want it!

Good luck on your search!

3 Comments »

How to make DIY Applesauce

Making-ApplesauceDo you have some Ugly Apples? You know what I mean, maybe they sat on your counter or in your fridge, neglected and forgotten. Maybe they were home grown, so they aren’t all perfect and pretty.

I hate the thought of throwing out good food. (Think of those kids that don’t ever get to eat, besides the money that you’re wasting!) Well, here’s a solution for those apples that people might have otherwise thrown out. Are you ready?

Make Homemade Applesauce

..In your crockpot, no less!

I peeled..

Making Applesauce

..cut, and cored these apples into regular size pieces.

Making Applesauce

Then I added them to the crock pot with the water, sugar, and cinnamon.

Making Applesauce

I covered with the lid and turned it on to cook all day (8 hours on my machine). I was going to be home so it didn’t matter how long it took, to me.

Essentially, all you’re trying to do is get the apples mushy. Once they get there, all you need is a masher (or a fork if you only have a few apples) and mash them all up. I liked the long time, low temp method, mashing when I thought they were soft enough, then I cooked it longer. It made the house smell AWESOME. I just kept mashing until I got it to a smoothness I liked.

Voila! You’ve just made applesauce! Once you’ve made it the first time, you can always take away some of the sugar, or add more cinnamon, or take out the cinnamon, you know? Play with it a little. You won’t be disappointed!

Plus, it’s a healthier alternative to the “high fructose corn syrup” they put into regular applesauce. ENJOY!

Recipe:

7 apples (whatever kind you want. Mine were Fuji.)

1 1/4 cups water

1/4 cups sugar (add a few tablespoons of brown sugar for a darker, different flavor)

1 teaspoon of cinnamon

2 Comments »

5 Childhood Dishes You Should Never Forget

I was looking through my cabinets the other day, realizing I had nothing really to make for lunch. Admittedly, I had bread and sandwich

Beanie Weenies

Beanie Weenies. Image from mommyskitchen.net

makings. I had Ramen noodles. I had peanut butter. Jelly. But nothing sounded good. None of it was appetizing. I was going through the fridge and found some hot dogs that had been opened, sitting in a Tupperware. Then it hit me, “Beanie Weenies!”
As I was eating, I thought this would make a great blog post. I started thinking of a conversation I had with some friends not long ago about the various crazy things you put together as a kid just to eat. Especially when you’re poor. :/
Mac and Cheese, Hot Dogs, Corn Dogs, Fish Sticks. These are all things you ate as a kid. Now here are some things you most likely ate as well, and should never forget about, just in case you wind up in the kitchen trying to figure out something to eat, like me.

5 Childhood Dishes

  1. “Beanie Weenies” – Good ol’ pork and beans, brown sugar, and hot dogs, cut up. YUMMY. Just a little sweet and filling! And CHEAP.
  2. Bologna and Cheese Roll-ups – I don’t know about you, but I ate these all the time. Sliced cheese and slices of bologna rolled up together and eaten. Another Cheap thing to eat, especially on the go! And to make it grown up, trade the bologna for turkey or ham!
  3. Tomato Soup and Grilled Cheese! – Pretty straight forward! Sometimes, I eat my soup with what my husband calls a “hot sandwich”. I use miracle whip, cheese, and those .50 cent packages of honey ham, turkey, or chicken. Then cook it like a grilled cheese! YUM! This is my favorite meal.
  4. Ramen Noodles! – Oh, this never goes away (especially when you’re broke.. or too lazy to make something better!). We keep the house stocked with Ramen noodles because they really are so versatile. I use the spicy chicken and creamy chicken flavors together (splitting them with someone most of the time!), add 1-2TBSP peanut butter, 1TBSP soy sauce, 1TBSP minced garlic, a little lime juice (like 1tsp) and voila! You have a makeshift pad thai! (stir together sauce ingredients beforehand to make it easy. The PB likes to stick to noodles.)
  5. Malt-O-Meal – Okay, I’m not sure who else eats this, but I still do. I grew up with chocolate malt-o-meal for breakfast. We added a little milk and sugar and it was super yummy, especially when it was cold. I still eat this on occasion, and still love it. ๐Ÿ™‚

There you have it. I love just thinking about these dishes because they bring back memories. I hope you guys enjoy some of your own and share them with me! ๐Ÿ˜€ I’ve got kids now and would love the ideas! ๐Ÿ˜‰

-Roxanne, LWMM

Leave a comment »

How to Make Chalk Paints

How To Make Chalk Paint

How To Make Chalk Paint – Easy to do!

Well, everyone, sorry I’ve been gone for a little bit! I had a weekend in Arizona with some friends (a tweetup, actually), and I’ve been working extra hard on trying to some work. Unfortunately, my non-existent budget is back in action! That could be a good thing, I guess. Lol. ๐Ÿ™‚

Anyway, I have been trying to come up with things for the kids for Christmas. Now, when I say kids, I mean my 3 year old niece, and a 3 year old little girl named Elizabeth. My 9 month old son, Luther, is a little young for hand made items like these, and I’ll write about what I’m doing for my 13 year old, later. ๐Ÿ™‚

Now, I love pinterest, and someone I follow is an addict. Haha. She always has such cool things to pin and I found this idea while looking through her boards. I changed it a little because I didn’t have any leftover bits of chalk, like that person did, and I wanted real colors, not mixed ones. Since summer came to a close in the retail stores, I managed to pick up a set of 20 pieces of chalk for .50ยข. Sweet deal!

What You’ll Need:

  • Water
  • Containers (I used baby food jars)
  • Chalk
  • Ziplock baggie
  • Something to crush the chalk with (I used the bottom of a measuring cup, and then later, the baby food jars)

Place two pieces of chalk in the baggie and smash it with whatever tool you decided to use. When crushing my chalk, I found out why it was so cheap; it had gotten wet at some point. This made it easy for me to mash up. When all of your chalk is pretty much powder, pour it into your container. I had four of each color and two little girls, so I used two pieces of each color in each jar to end up with ten.

After you have poured your crushed chalk into the container, add just enough water to give it that “paint” consistency. I filled my baby food jars about 3/4 full, and that seemed to work out pretty good. Shake up the contents. ๐Ÿ™‚ That’s it!

Now, you will also need a paint brush to actually use the “paints”, but you can pick those up at a local hobby store. Also, DO NOT USE FOAM BRUSHES! They tear up on the sidewalk and concrete, so there really is no point in wasting your money on them. A thin, 1 inch paintbrush used for trim and molding it just about perfect!

The paints won’t show up great while they are still wet, but after they dry, they look great! Just be sure to shake up your containers before using them, to make sure everything is good and mixed!

Have fun!

-Roxanne, LWMM

1 Comment »