We Hit 200,000 Miles!

200,000 Mile Odometer

Earlier today, while headed back from thrift shopping, our Jeep hit 200,000 miles. So, naturally, we did what any frugal person would do: we pulled over and snapped a picture of our odometer. Because hitting the 200k mark is cause for celebration. It might even be something to brag about. Forget about fancy cars and car payments; driving a car until the wheels fall off – that’s much more impressive.

And I even have a plan in the works to flaunt our high-mileage status. More on that soon. But, in the mean time, I’d love to hear from other high-mileage vehicle owners. How many miles do you have on your ride? Are you on your third transmission and your second engine overhaul? This is your chance to brag.

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Uses for Corn Cobs

Uses for Corn Cobs

I’ve been shucking, blanching and freezing lots of corn lately, and that got me thinking about the cobs. I don’t really like to add them to our compost pile, since they take so long to break down, but throwing them away just feels wasteful. Were there other uses for them that I was overlooking? There sure were. Check out all these cool uses for corn cobs that I recently discovered (and can’t wait to try). [Read more…]

Quick Fixes for Worn Out Shoes

I’m a big believer in buying well-made shoes. They’re more comfortable; they’re better for your feet; and they usually last longer, too. But even a good pair of shoes wears out eventually. So, what then? Most people would say you just toss them out and buy another pair. A few people might suggest taking them to a cobbler for a repair. But, I’ve discovered a third option that’s a heck of a lot cheaper: repairing them yourself.

Over the past few months, I’ve been experimenting with fixing our shoes as they’ve worn out, and I’ve found two quick fixes that really work. So far our efforts have saved three pairs of shoes from the trash. Not too shabby. Here’s the scoop:

Shoe Goo

Shoe Goo

I don’t know how it took me so long to discover Shoe Goo, but the stuff is amazing. It’s a glue that’s designed specifically for shoe repairs. Since it’s formulated to be flexible, it can stand up to all the bending that your shoes do. We had tried a few super glue repairs over the years, and they never held up. Within a few wearings we’d be right back where we started. Now, I realize it’s because the glue just wasn’t flexible enough.

I first tried Shoe Goo on my youngest daughter’s Chacos. I was thrilled when I found her a brand new pair at a kids’ consignment sale, but after wearing them a few times, the sole started to separate and flap in the front. Bummer. So, we ordered a tube of Shoe Goo, and attempted a repair. That was in the beginning of May. It’s now August, and that repair is still holding. Pretty impressive, since she wears them almost every day.

With that repair under our belts, we decided to try our luck at repairing my oldest daughter’s galoshes. One of the soles was starting to split along the side, so my husband glued it back together a few weeks ago, and so far that repair has held up to all the tromping around that we do at our weekend homestead. Now, I’m thinking I’ll see if it can repair the gash that a stick left in the side of my galoshes. The soles are still good, so it’s worth a shot.


New Insoles

Have a pair of sneakers that still have good tread, but just aren’t as comfy as they used to be? A new pair of insoles may be all they need to feel like new again. I recently bought a pair of Merrell sneakers from a thrift store that looked like they’d only been worn a few times, but the insoles were missing. That made me wonder if you could buy replacement insoles from the manufacturer. So, I jumped online, and found that Merrell does indeed sell replacement insoles. Better still: they offer free shipping on all orders. I spent $10, and now I have a set of insoles that fit my sneakers as well as the originals would have.

Merrell Sneakers

I would gladly spend $10 for replacement insoles, if it allowed me to put off a new shoe purchase for six months or more – especially if it made my shoes feel as good as they did when I first bought them. Wouldn’t you?

Now, that we’ve tackled these repairs successfully, I’m starting to wonder what other shoe repairs we could handle. I couldn’t help but notice that Amazon sells replacement soles and heels. Might be time to add some cobbler skills to my resume.

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Make Your Own School Supplies

My kids started back to school yesterday. Crazy, but true. We dropped them off with their backpacks full of all the supplies on their school supply lists, and as usually happens, they came home with another list of supplies that they needed.

Normally, that’s not a big deal because I keep a big stash of school supplies on hand – things that I’ve gotten free after rebate, on clearance or from yard sales. It’s pretty rare for us to have to run out for school supplies. But this time, they got me. My oldest daughter needed a five-subject notebook, a student planner and a sketchbook. I didn’t have any of those things on hand. Darn it. I did, however, have $40 in Staples Rewards that I’d been saving, just in case, so we headed out to pick up everything she needed.

And that’s when the sticker shock set in.

The cheapest five-subject notebook with a poly cover was $8. A sketchbook with halfway decent paper was $12.99, and most of the student planners were in the $25-35 range. They had a cheapie pocket planner for $6.99, but it didn’t really have any space to write anything.

Did I really want to spend $46, plus tax for three items? Um no.

The longer I stood there, the angrier it made me. A five-subject notebook is nothing more than a pack of filler paper and some dividers sandwiched between a cover and bound with a spiral ring. Why does it cost so much more than filler paper?

Then, it hit me. We could make one. We already had everything we needed at home, including binding machines. In fact, once I thought about it, there really wasn’t any reason we couldn’t make her sketchbook and planner, too.

So, we left the store without buying anything, and within an hour, all of her new supplies were tucked inside her backpack.

Check it out:

Homemade Five-Subject Notebook

We used a poly file folder to create the cover for her five-subject notebook. I had a bunch I’d bought at a yard sale a while back, so I pulled them out, and let her pick what color she wanted. [Read more…]