Coffee heat rising

Make It from Scratch Carnival

Hurrah! It’s time to host the Make It from Scratch Carnival. Once again we have some splendidly tempting recipes, clever crafts, and useful gardening ideas. I hope you enjoy all these offerings as much as I have. Editor’s picks are flagged with adoring little red hearts:*


Sandies and turnovers, oh my!
Sandies and turnovers, oh my!

* It’s Frugal Being Green
Baking Day: Pecan Sandies and Cherry Turnovers
Provides links to the recipes for two fine-looking treats.

Christ’s Bridge
Delicious Shortbread Cookies
Mmmmm… Reminiscent of what we used to call “shortnin’ bread.” To die for!

Chief Family Officer
Recipe: Brownie Bites
Like CFO, I’ve also thought that brownies out of a box are better than the from-scratch version. But CFO finds a recipe that works. Not only that, but pretty clearly you could premix and store the dry ingredients, using later them just like a commercial brownie mix.

Linda Mundy
LJM’s Kitchen
Chicken with Pineapple
Check out a dish that looks quick, easy, and very tasty.

Feels Like Home
Broccoli, Cheese, and Rice Casserole
When my son was little, I lived for this sort of recipe: easy, nutritious, and family-friendly.


Simply Forties
Eggplant and Portobello Mushroom Melts

Cheap Healthy Good
Veggie Might: Curry World Tour ’09—Pindi Chana
Yum! If you enjoy curry at all, don’t miss this: it’s unusual to find a recipe that includes real make-it-from-scratch curry, rather than substituting commercial curry powder.

Nerd Mom
Nerd Family Food
Easy Crowd-pleasing Baked Oatmeal
Here’s an interesting recipe that would serve several people.

Local Nourishment
Of Parsnips, Pancakes, and Beans
No detailed recipes here, but an interesting lead about parsnips. My sister-in-sin used to put them in pasties, but otherwise I’ve never gone out of my way to eat them. This makes them look worth trying.

Funny about Money
Anna’s Biscuits
Here’s my contribution to the carnival.

Green & Frugal

*Condo Blues
How I Slashed My Electric Bills without Moving into a Yurt
Take a look at this. Determined not to get rid of functioning appliances or install expensive alternative energy systems, CB still managed to cut power bills by an amazing 32 percent!

Heather Levin
The Greenest Dollar
How to Recycle Tires in Your Garden
What a hoot! Even if you’re initially skeptical about the design possibilities of stacked rubber tires, you must see the amazing photos here. Good discussion, too, of the pro’s and cons and the question of whether tires make safe container gardens for veggies.

How to Put a Lid on Early Damage to Seedlings
Minigreenhouses for baby plants!

Crafty Ladies, All!

Bonnie Brewer
Nefarious Designs
Wicked Chair, i luv it
Zebra Mirror!!!!
Two closely related projects. Start with the first post, above.

My Recycled Bags
Recycled Plastic Can Cozy
Just in time for swimming-pool season, here’s something to keep those canned beverages cold.

Make It from Scratch
Tea Towel Travel Wallet
Here’s a nifty idea. You could also use it to put identifying information or a local phone number on a small child when you’re away from home.

The Tool Box

Jack Clifton
How to Build a Deck
Do It Yourself Deck Construction

Here’s a blog that relates the saga of a Happy Handyman who takes on the renovation and construction the redwood deck, garden, patio, and pool at his new-to-him home: a man who knows no fear!

And Finally . . .

I’d like to share this with you, because I think it’s important:
Use Caution When Making DIY Detergent

Next week’s Make It from Scratch host is Christ’s Bridge. Be sure to send in your contributions this week–you can use this convenient form at the Carnival.

‘Nother Moment

The Carnival of the Vanities is up at Dodgeblogium. Thôt I’d missed the boat, having seen an earlier edition and not noticed my squib about Life in the Big City—turns out it appears in today’s issue. Two separate essays ruminate on the nature of partisan politics at The Primate Diaries, pretty interesting. At Living the Scientific Life, Grrl Scientist writes a book review that, unlike the eye-glazing recitations too common on blog sites, makes you sit right up and take notice…w00t! The Smarter Wallet has found a freelance job board, said to offer better pay than others that we know. Overall, an eclectic carnival, worth a look.

Moments of Fame

OMG! If you think PF bloggers have no fun, you have got to see Broke Grad Student’s Carnival of Personal Finance, which just went live. There’ll be no topping this one! Absolutely positively do not miss the “Guitar: Impossible” video. Well…no: don’t miss any of them.

Amazingly, Funny’s rumination on job happiness hit the top of the Editor’s Picks, for which I am awed and delighted. Today’s round-up is awash in original and well written articles. Check out Pimp Your Finance’s charming, clever, and wise What Would Bilbo Do? 14 Money Lessons from The Hobbit. The Strump rang my bell with Millionaire Bag Lady—been there, don’t ever wanna do that again! Your Money Relationship talks about how long to keep tax documents, always a conundrum for those of us who itemize and who have limited space to store mountains of paper. Single Guy Money has succeeded in staying off tobacco for a full month, a major accomplishment that we all hope leads to even longer success.

Gotta race out to a meeting. Be sure to visit the Carnival for leads to lots of other great posts.

Moments of Fame

carnival1Dollar Frugal hosts the Carnival of Personal Finance this week, with a funny Wizard of Oz them. Funny’s lament about getting practice for “early retirement” (read “layoff”) while still on the job (more or less) appears in this edition. The latest installment of Aryn’s series, “That Makes Me Stabby,” which has been running at Sound Money matters, is titled Over-Reliance on Retail Growth. Many of these essays are hilarious; all of them make good points. IMHO, this one is very thoughtful and makes some astute observations. Speaking of astute, over at Bible Money Matters Peter reflects that sometimes the best decision doesn’t seem to make financial sense. Another original observation comes from Michael James on Money, whose proprietor ruminates on the financial lessons he’s learned from poker.

Funny was amazed and pleased to see the the rant about cleaning up after the cleaning ladies appear at the Make It from Scratch Carnival, which appears this week at I’ve Got a Little Space to Fill. As usual, this round-up has some great recipes. In a hurry and feeling penurious? Check out this incredibly easy and economical recipe for crock-pot chicken stew, from Pseudo Life, Real Mind. And oh my goodness, over at Woman Tribune, here’s one for poppy-seed noodles. My mother used to make those, only in the good old days women used butter instead of healthier olive oil. And speaking of OMG, you’d better take a look at Ginger Won’t Snap’s post—and amazing pictures!—of her latest silversmithing adventure, in which she learns to do lost-wax casting. I want to do this!!!!!

Broke Grad Student hosts this week’s Festival of Frugality, with a winsomely funny theme about the advantages of being single for Valentine’s day. Funny’s calculation about the cost-effectiveness of riding the light-rail train to work (or not) appears here. In this line-up, I really enjoyed LAL’s rumination about whether frugality comes naturally to some people. Money Ning has some smart things to say about “free” offers and suggests ways to avoid scams. SuperSaver has a highly bookmarkable article about lowering one’s property taxes. Wish I’d read it a year ago…

Image: Carnevale di Viareggio 2008: Uer Iz de Parti by Sailko at Wikipedia

Money Stories Carnival in progress

Next Tuesday, Funny will again host the Carnival of Money Stories. So, don’t forget to send in your stories. That’s s-t-o-r-i-e-s: narratives of something that happened, as in first this happened, then the next thing happened, then the next thing, then it all added up to that. Not how-to’s, not lists, not helpful hints.

I love the idea of the Carnival of Money Stories. Story is the way cultures communicate their most important ideas and values: this is how we hand our ideas down to the next generation and how we speak to each other about the issues that concern us the most. Story is about things that matter. Some of them are great fun to read, too.

So, please: join the conversation! If you’re interested in hosting, BTW, you might check out the hosting guidelines, which explains how and where to volunteer your services.

Moments of Fame

MoneyNing hosts the 161st Festival of Frugality this week, with a very large selection of highly entertaining and interesting posts, among them (possibly not highly entertaining, but at least making the grade) is Funny’s report on the success of the space heater at cutting power bills. Christian PF has a really goodlist of legal places to score free movies and TV shows, which I’m bookmarking forthwith. Single Guy Money has made up his mind to kick the killer weed (by which we mean the truly toxic one, tobacco). Tiffany at NatureMom’s Blog talks about saving money (!) on organic foods. And if you’re in the market, as I am, for recipes that will produce several days’ worth of meals, check out Cheap Healthy Good’s list of 65 such dishes…plus the adorable George Clooney photos. ?

The Make It from Scratch Carnival is hosted at A Dusty Frame this week, with a presidential inauguration theme. Funny’s recipe for slumgullion made the cut here. For those of you who are enjoying temperatures in the negative numbers, HomeEc 101 offers some serious (fancy!) comfort food. Sherry at Happy to Be at Home offers a series of tasty-sounding recipes for ground beef, plus some good advice for how to handle ground meat; we’ll be bookmarking that one, too. Here’s one from Fine Crafts Guild that I wish I’d had a few years ago: How to make your own stencils. And speaking of DIY, learn to make your own bath salts from Mrs. Accountability at Out of Debt Again.

I’ve much enjoyed the renamed and redesigned Pecuniarities, which this week hosts the 188th Carnival of Personal Financewith a fun and pretty Jane Austen theme. Funny’s report on house-swapping appears in this round-up. Sound Money Matters holds forth on one of my favorite hobbyhorses: are we morally obligated to spend ourselves stupid? Speaking of hot topics in my frying pan, as I’m struggling through editing a textbook for personal trainers, FruGal’s post on how to get the best from a gym membership rings my bell. And speaking of heat and space heaters, as we were, check out the good survey of space heaters at The Paycheck Chronicles.

Pimp Your Finances came up with a very cool presidential theme for the 48th Money Hacks Carnival, with nifty and apposite presidential quotes. Funny’s squib about the importance of reading contracts before signing them appears under (gasp!) Ronald Reagan’s handsome photo. Budgets are Sexy brings up the question of pet insurance again. Here’s something interesting: The Strump has a thoughtful article about working for a family-owned business, a subject about which I once, in my magazine-writing days, published a long feature article. Living Almost Large has a moving story about her family’s escape from poverty. Are you military? According to Military Finance Network, you’re eligible for free tax preparation. (IMHO, you should be eligible for no tax at all…but that’s one woman’s opinion, I guess.)

So it goes. Funny will host the Carnival of Personal Finance on February 2 and the Money Stories Carnival on February 10. Looking forward to both—and hope to see something from everyone! Be sure to send your stuff in!