Clean Dog Dirt Cheap ~ Penny Pinching Wednesday

“But I don’t want a bath!” Well, Sam, bathing you isn’t my favorite chore, either, but at least I’ve finally found a pet shampoo that I LOVE! I started searching when my sweet old dog, Millie’s health was declining and she wasn’t grooming herself the way she used to. Also, her bladder was showing its age and she tended to leak a bit. Add to that the fact that she’d always had very sensitive skin and multiple allergies, and I was in a bit of a pickle. I needed a shampoo that was gentle enough to use quite often (sometimes twice a week) without irritating or drying her skin. It also had to have some odor-control properties without containing perfumes, AND it needed to be reasonable priced since I was going to be buying a LOT of it. Needless to say, none of the pet shop stuff fit the bill, so I started researching and experimenting. Here’s the the fabulous result. Try it once and you’ll never buy pet shampoo again!

2 cups Ivory or Dove dish soap

2 cups water

2 cups apple cider vinegar

4 oz. liquid glycerin (Try the first aid section at your grocery or drugstore for the cheapest option, but you can always get it for a little more at a health food store.)

Mix gently, and it’s ready to use. I store mine in old Gatorade bottles, and you can cut the recipe in half if you have a small dog or don’t need to bathe them often.

Got a frugal tip to share? Head on over to The Thrifty Home’s Penny Pinching Party every Wednesday and join in!

Potato, Corn, and Ham Chowder ~ Lunchbag Week 11

It got chilly here last week – in fact, we got a hard frost last night! So it’s officially soup weather. I made this one last week because I had a couple of leftover ham steaks from another recipe, and it was gone so fast I didn’t get a picture. It’s a meal by itself. You could have some nice crusty bread with it, but a sandwich would just be too much. This is one of my Aunt Beverly’s recipes, and hopefully she’ll be coming out with a cooking blog of her own sometime this winter, because she is truly the BEST cook ever! Whenever I try out a new recipe the guys always ask, “Is it a Beverly recipe?” If so, they dig right in. If not, they tend to have the pizza delivery number handy just in case.
Potato, Corn, and Ham Chowder
6 or 7 medium potatoes, peeled and quartered
1 medium chopped onion
2 cups chicken stock
1 stick butter
2 tablespoons flour
1 cup chopped ham
3 cups milk
2 cans corn, drained
Tabasco, salt, and pepper to taste
Place potatoes and onion in pot with enough water to cover. Salt and pepper lightly. Boil until potatoes are soft, then drain and mash (leaving some chunks for texture). Melt butter in frying pan, add flour and ham and cook over low heat for a few minutes to blend flavors. Pour over potatoes. Add stock, milk, and corn and bring ALMOST to a boil. Let it sit on low heat for about an hour if possible to bring out the flavors. Add salt, pepper, and Tabasco at intervals as needed.

Happy Birthday, Aaron!

It doesn’t seem possible that eighteen years have passed since this picture was taken. I get weepy even looking at it. I gave my heart away that day, to a chubby, bald, red-faced baby who was only happy when he was being held. He’s snoozing away this morning while I pore through old pictures and sniffle. If he were awake he’d grin at me, lean down and hug me, and whisper in his deep voice, “Loser!”. So I thought I’d share a few pictures from before he became such a smart-ass.

Toddler Aaron – note the chubby cheeks, blonde hair cut in a sweet little-boy cut, and big blue eyes. I still remember how warm and cuddly he was in this particular outfit, even though it made him look like an oomploompa.

Second grade, First Eucharist. Evil look notwithstanding, he was SUCH a sweet little boy. Parent-teacher conferences were a joy (now I pre-medicate for them) and he loved his new baby brother dearly.

Eighth grade, and I can already see the young man he will soon be. He’s tall and thin, and tolerating his little brother just a little less easily. Look at that wonderful thick blonde hair, cut so attractively. Look again, isn’t that a great hairstyle on him??

Here’s my little sweetheart now – eighteen today. I still get plenty of hugs, even though he has to reach down to me. He works hard in school, has wonderful friends, and is quite a talented musician. He has a sweet girlfriend and is making plans for college. Yes, his room is a pigsty and his hair makes me crazy, but I’m so proud of him. He’s all I could have hoped for that day eighteen years ago when I held him in my arms for the first time. I love you, Aaron – Happy Birthday!

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