Monday, February 24, 2014

My 32 Favorite Parsimonious Posts on My 32nd Birthday

Today is my birthday! I've made a solemn vow to never be one of those women afraid to own her age, so I will unabashedly tell you that I'm turning 32 today.

And since I've been itching to getting back onto this blog (all of my writing time has been going into working on the second draft of my novel) and since I enjoy a good list, I thought I'd share my favorite posts from this blog -- not just the ones that are most popular, but the posts that I had the most fun writing, the experiments that made me feel validated, the high points of my frugal journey, and the tips/recipes that have been the most useful to me.

So, without further ado, here are my 32 (in no particular order):

1. Another 100 Painless Ways to Live Frugally - January 2013
I surprised myself with this post. I wasn't sure I'd be able to come with 100 more ways. I'm currently working on list #3.

2. Out to Dry: How I Stopped Using Dryer Sheets - July 2010
Definitely one of the tips I use the most. I haven't bought dryer sheets since 2010. Vinegar in the rinse cycle does the trick.

3. How We Start Most Mornings: Blueberry Spelt Pancakes - July 2012
I've been making these pancakes for years and the family loves them.

4. Our New (and Healthier) Waffle Recipe - April 2012
Another breakfast staple at our house. These waffles are delicious!

5. The Quilting Post: The Reveal, Plus 10 Reasons Why You Should Try - March 2011
I was so proud of myself for finishing that quilt, back when I was uncomfortably pregnant with my second child (who's going to be three next month -- crazy!).  I still tuck him in every night with that quilt.

6.  Homemade vs. Pre-Made: Classic Chocolate Chip Cookies - March 2011
This post makes me all sorts of sentimental. I did all of it when I was was two days overdue with the baby mentioned in #5. It reminds me of what it was like when it was just me and Max one-on-one and all the baking we did. One of the pictures has him in it and he looks so little. Yep, all sorts of sentimentality going on there. Oh, and I should mention that the recipe is really good, too.

7. Why and How I Keep a Garden Journal - August 2012

I am seriously missing my garden journal. I can't wait to get my hands dirty and then keep track of it all in here.

8. A New-Old Method: My Husband's Experience with Traditional Wet Shaving - June 2010
My husband is pretty patient with all my frugal endeavors and experiments, so I'm glad that this experiment worked out so well for him. His skin has improved so much since he tried this shaving method and he doesn't hate shaving anymore. One other reason I love this post: I loved getting comments from guys about it and seeing it being linked to traditional shaving forums; it just made me happy.

9. Sudsy Savings: Two Homemade Hand Soaps - March 2012
One of my most popular posts on here and for good reason: homemade hand soap is much cheaper than the store-bought stuff. I mostly stick to the foaming one but both recipes are great.

10.  Some Thoughts on Open-Mindedness and Frugality - January 2013
This was the post where I had to eat some humble pie. I like this post because it pretty much shows what my entire frugal journey has been like. I've learned to never say never. Plus, I loved this post because I got some really nice and insightful comments on that post.

11. Expecting Wonders: How to Test Your Seeds Before You Plant - March 2013
Anything that takes some of the uncertainty and waste out of gardening is always a plus.

12. The Easiest {and Best} Roast Chicken Recipe -  May 2011
I love this recipe. A lot. It's crazy-easy and so delicious.

13. How I Learned to Knit - January 2012
It was a long road, but I was so happy when I finally figured it out. I've been pretty lazy in terms of knitting lately, but I still love it so much.

14. Off the Needles: Max's Birthday Slippers - October 2012

Hands down, my favorite thing I've knitted.

15. Off the Needles: Wintry Weather Cowl - February 2012
Another knitted favorite. Still used regularly when it gets cold.

16. Gardening Without Soil: How to Grow Sprouts in Your Kitchen - February 2012
I felt pretty awesome when this worked out, even though it was so easy.

17. High and Dry: Why I Use a Clothesline - April 2010
Another reason I'm excited for spring: using my clothesline again. There are few smells I love more than clothes that have been dried outdoors.

18. My Favorite Part of Halloween: The Homemade Costume - October 2010
It really is my favorite part. Granted, it's the part that keeps me up at 2 AM, bleary-eyed in front of the sewing machine. But, oh how I love it. The planning, the trip to the fabric store, the sewing, and then seeing my family in their costumes. Warms my heart. I'm already planning this year's costume (think kaiju).

19.  Our New Chickens and Our Homemade Brooder - March 2012

I'd wanted chickens for years. I remember driving home with the three little chicks peeping in their box in the passenger seat and thinking, "I can't believe I did this."  But here we are almost exactly two years later with our little flock of the same birds (minus one that turned out to be a rooster) who are still supplying us with eggs.

20. The Chicken Tractor Kevin Built - April 2012
I'm married to a really awesome guy. Just saying. And I kept my part of the bargain and played a video game the whole way through.

21. How We Made Our Chickens' Water Poop-Free - June 2012
Chicken keeping game-changer. Seriously.

22. When the Moon Hits Your Eye: Easy & Delicious Homemade Pizza - December 2009
I love this recipe because it takes only 45 minutes from start to finish. Works great for my family's Friday night tradition of pizza and a movie.

23. Abbey's Award-Winning Chocolate Zucchini Cake - August 2012

If you only grow zucchini to make this cake, it will be time and garden space well-used. A-MAZ-ING.

24. Meatless Monday: Homemade Macaroni and Cheese - August 2011
Skip the neon-orange boxed stuff and make this. My boys gobble it up, even including the broccoli I add to it.

25. My Garden Highlight of 2013: Homegrown Garlic - October 2013
My garden wasn't so great last year, due in large part to some serious water restrictions and some snails and slugs. But the garlic! The garlic alone was consolation because it was so good! I'm down to one large clove of it and I can't bring myself to use it. Keeping my fingers crossed that the garlic I planted last fall will start sprouting in the next few weeks.

26. Canned Heat: How to Make an Emergency Heater - February 2011
This is, by far, the most popular post on my blog (100,000 views. Crazy!). It got featured on a bunch of websites, including Babble and Buzzfeed. I love having these heaters in my car in the wintertime -- they give me a lot of peace of mind.

27. More Good, Cultured Fun :: Making Frozen and Greek Yogurt - July 2013
The homemade frozen yogurt I made this past summer is, without a doubt, one of the most delicious things that has come out of my kitchen lately. Or ever.

28.  Sweet Success: Our Very First Honey Harvest - September 2013

Awesome, in every sense of the word. I've never loved thousands of little insects more than I did that day in September when we harvested 35 pounds of honey. How those honeybees make such a perfect product will never cease to amaze me. And word is from my parents, our honeybees are venturing out of and buzzing around their hives again!

29. My Fall 2012 Canning Recipe Roundup - October 2012
I love canning and 2012 was one of my best canning seasons yet, even though I felt, at times, like I lived in the kitchen. Totally worth it.

30.  Only in December: The Best Gingerbread Cookie Recipe - December 2010
I made at least five batches of these cookies this past December. This recipe went nuts on the Internet this past Christmas season, even getting featured on the Canadian edition of The Huffington Post, alongside the likes of Martha Stewart, Nigella Lawson, and The Food Network. I'm glad so many people loved them as much as my family does!

31. How Empty Milk Jugs Changed My Garden - July 2012
I wrote this post as a guest post on another blog called The Green Phone Booth and it was wildly popular (not to toot my own horn or anything but I think it's still the most popular post on their blog, according to their sidebar).  Milk jug mini-greenhouses are THE way to start seeds. The second I hear anyone mention that they're going to start their own seeds, I can't help but go on and on about this method as if it were gospel truth or something. One of the best discoveries I've ever made.

32. "We're Debt-Free!" : Of Car Payments and Baby Step #2 - January 2013
Definitely the best highlight since I started this blog back in 2009. I mean, that's one of the main reasons I do all this stuff, right?
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