Dustin Hoffman, Tootsie and Frugality

Dustin Hoffman, Tootsie and Frugality

Dustin Hoffman, Tootsie and Frugality

I love movies.  In fact, it is very scary how much of my gray matter is used remembering lines from movies – the more obscure the better.  In one of my favorites, “You’ve Got Mail,” Tom Hanks’ character types a message to Meg Ryan saying that “The Godfather is the I Ching.”  For me, it is “Tootsie.”  I can take just about any situation and use a “Tootsie” line.

Recently, I saw a post on Facebook from the AFI with Dustin Hoffman being interviewed about his role in “Tootsie.”  Please take a moment to watch it, as it is very informative and insightful.

This really got me thinking.  (If you haven’t watched the video yet, please click it and watch it.)  After all, how many of us are “interesting women” (or men) but do not meet the predetermined standard of beauty set forth by others?  I could say that there are times that I’ve definitely had to define my own worth notwithstanding the parameters that others appear to have.

What does this have to do with Cheaper Greener Cleaner, you ask?  Actually, I see a similarity.  Frugality, self sufficiency and DIY are not really sexy.  (Forgive the term; it just fits.)  We don’t offer the bright labels; heck my laundry soap is in a re-purposed ice cream bucket!  What we do bring is knowledge, empowerment and the joy of saving money – giving you a new definition of what all of this really means.

Join with us in defining our own beautiful.


Cucumbers for headaches? Natural Headache relief – no kidding!

Cucumbers help with headaches naturally

Help soothe your aching head with this straight from the garden remedy

We’ve said that both of us are headache-sufferers.  True.  Removing the petroleum distillates from our homes and avoiding known triggers really can make a difference.  However, there are just times that we can’t avoid triggers such as barometric pressure, stress (if anyone can eliminate stress 100% – we need to talk), hormonal changes, etc.

When we have these headaches, we turn to both OTC medications and other home remedies.  Believe it or not, one of my favorites is chilled cucumber.  If you keep a few cucumbers in your crisper, you will be ready for this simple, effective and cheap solution – it gives some relief for throbbing headaches.

Placing cucumber peels on your forehead is SO soothing!  (They will stick to your skin.)  There is a substance in the outer flesh that when placed on the skin soothes the skin.

Now, if you will kindly excuse me – I am off to peel my cucumber!



Love to Save Money? Are You a Frugalista?

Do you like to save money? Money Saving household tips

Wear the badge of a Frugalista proudly!

Often, we look at saving money as something that we “need” or “have” to do and may dream about the day when we aren’t so aware of our family budget.  In reality though, is there something that is wrong with being a proper steward over our resources?  Shouldn’t we always be able to use the skills that we learn in being thrifty, no matter the balance in our bank account.

Thrift is simply finding a way to do more with less and does not have to be a shameful term.  With the current economic situation of may in our country, there has been a shift in the public view of thriftiness and frugality.  Back to basic lifestyles are becoming more chic.

We’ve coined the phrase “Frugalista” to describe someone who can enjoy a lifestyle of thrift, but at the same time have a life that is as rich (or sometimes more so) than what one might expect of a person watching their budget.  Frugalistas are joyful in their thrift and excited to save money.

So, here we go . . . .

You might be a Frugalista if . . . you know the best price for milk, bread and gas in your neighborhood.

You might be a Frugalista if . . . you have ever told someone the price of something (even if they may not have asked).

You might be a Frugalista if . . . you enjoy getting a bargain.

Please share in the comments below your best Frugalista moments.  We love to hear them.

In the meantime, if you want to become the ultimate Frugalista, the Kindle version of our book is available for about the price of a gallon of gas – giving you hundreds of recipes and tips to help you save many times over and pay for the cost of the book in its first use.


Summer Popsicle Drips Got You Down? Stop Them With This Quick Trick!

Catch popsicle drips with this quick and simple (not to mention cheap) trick! No more sticky hands from popsicles!

Catch Popsicle drips with this quick and simple (not to mention cheap) trick!

Confessions of a family who loves their Popsicles -

My kiddos are Popsicle Devotees!  We have these yummy treats in the freezer year-round.  They are not biters, so the juice would often melt and run down their arms, making a mess.  That is, until I found this simple trick.

We have moldss for homemade Popsicles (great filled with yogurt for a frozen and healthy treat) which had great drip trays.  I examined them and suddenly realized that I could make my own “drip catchers” with paper bathroom cups trimmed to size and a small slit cut into them for the stick.  This permanently ended the mess from Popsicles!

When we buy the “Otter Pops” variety, I slip the Popsicle into a baby sock and then I don’t hear about frozen fingers either.  (By the way, sometimes I can be found sucking a Popsicle since eating something cold often helps with my headaches – think brain freeze in reverse.  My personal favorite is watermelon flavored – and you can’t beat being over 40 and having a green tongue!)


Summer Stinky Laundry Solved

Forgot those clothes in the washer?  Get rid of mildew with this simple trick!

Forgot those clothes in the washer? Get rid of mildew with this simple trick!

I don’t know about you, but I NEVER forget about laundry in the washer and am left with a washing machine full of mildew-y clothes!  Now, if you believe that, I know of some nice waterfront property that you might like to invest in!

Seriously, I hate summer laundry – the clothes can mildew so quickly!  Next time that you have a slight mildew-y odor in your clothes, try this simple trick – grab a washcloth or hand towel and pour some distilled white vinegar onto it.  I sprinkle some lemon essential oil onto the cloth as well and toss it into the dryer with the clothes.  This works well for clothes that have started to go to the bad side, not those that are already there.  For those, use baking soda in the washer and re-wash them.

I have found that the simple and pleasant fragrance of the essential oil makes my clothes smell nice, but is not overpowering, since I suffer from fragrance sensitivities.  Simple, quick and easy!


We’ve moved (ok, half of us have!)



Dena is in Utah.                                                               Carolyn is in Colorado.

Hello all!  This is announcing that Cheaper Greener Cleaner is now a “multi-state” organization!  Those of you who have perused the site remember that I remarried and the love of my life and I were in a long-distance commuter marriage.  (Remember the bubble gum liquifying incident on the way to the airport?)


Anyway, after many months, our family is together at long last and we are so glad to bring the Cheaper Greener Cleaner way to anyone that wants to hear about it!


Asperger’s Syndrome Sensory Overload



Wherever you choose to go, go there with all your heart.


Like so many families, ours is touched by Autism Spectrum Disorder, ASD, Aspergers Syndrome.  My daughter was diagnosed in 2009 and while this was a challenging piece of information to initially digest, it answered so many questions about her general “quirkiness.”  So many of the traits she had now made sense and I had a way to categorize and help her. Autism Spectrum Disorder / Asperger’s Syndrome became my new topic of research. 

Being on the Autism Spectrum Disorder / Aspergers Syndrome, her life was filled with overwhelming and painful sensory stimuli, and the answers on some of these overstimulating situations were easier than others (sensory integration disorder).   


Before her diagnosis, a less than loving family member learned of her terror at any sound that was mechanical in nature – vacuum, blender, hair dryer, etc. caused her to cry.  Her advice was to place her into a small room with all of the offending noises, turn the appliances on, leave her alone, and shut the door.  The very thought of doing this to a three year old, even without knowing that she was on the Autism Spectrum Disorder or not offended every fiber of my mothering soul.  I didn’t do it, but used these appliances sparingly, even to the point of leaving the house with her and taking her to her Grammie so that I could run the vacuum.  

I learned that her sensory stimuli, resulting from her sensory integration disorder, was something she was always trying to avoid.  Her reaction to her stimulus at home was not her being naughty, but truly caused her pain;   Knowing the reason for her pain, associated with her Autism Spectrum Disorder, there are many things we now do to help her.  I I keep a set of earplugs in my purse (her school backpack, my church bag, and in the car) for her when the noise around her is overwhelming and making her life challenging.  She doesn’t react to light, but a busy mall, Target Store (Target sets her off – too many overhead signs), airport, and other busy public places are very distracting for her.  She also has sensory sensitivities to touch as well, associated with her Asperger’s Syndrome .  These are manifested in things like; her clothing must be very soft and she doesn’t like to be touched by someone walking up from behind, she has issues in having her hair brushed, and shower water is uncomfortable to her skin. 

As a result of her need for super soft clothing, she needed allergy free detergents and fabric softener.  I was using several times the recommended amounts and not getting the result that I needed for her to feel good in her clothes.  Nothing was working and she would pull at her clothes and had problems focusing.    With the help of my mother, we developed our own recipes to use in our laundry room.  I found that by removing chemicals contained in the retail laundry products my daughter did much better with her clothing softness issues. 

I quickly realized just how much I had been spending to try to resolve her sensory integration disorder challenges and in the process found I also received substantial savings.   I don’t know if it will work for you and your famliy, but i I can say that it worked for mine.

Learn how by replacing retail cleaning products you can help bring relief for sensory overload in individuals with Autism and Asperger’s Syndrome.



Portraits by Picture People for my daughter with Autism


Child with Asperger's Syndrome portrait from Picture People - captures her passionApril is Autism Awareness Month, my daughter’s birthday, and time for portraits again.

I have spent a lot of time reflecting on what it means to have a child on the Autism Spectrum Disorder  with Aspergers Syndrome and the day to day challenges that we have.  Events which are normally celebrated and pass with little to no recognition, can bring about major turmoil in our home.

I have a wall of portraits in my home, some professionally done, and most done by me.  I am not a professional, by any stroke, but I have always marveled at the difference between the portraits taken professionally and mine.  (Indeed, she is more comfortable with those when she feels safe and secure.  Once when my daughter was just a year old, I picked her up from the table and removed her from the studio because her pictures were turning out horribly and the woman taking the portraits was losing patience with her. If only I would have known she was on the Autism Spectrum Disorder  with Aspergers Syndrome!)

Once, when my daughter was older,  we were discussing having portraits taken, she expressed to me that the large lights scared her and she had felt that they were going to explode.  (That would explain the worried look on her face for several years’ portraits! With her now on the Autism Spectrum Disorder answered many whys for us.)

Child has portraits taken at Picture People capturing her personality

A few years back, I wanted to do a portrait with my daughters and me to illustrate their individual personalities.  I had a coupon for the Picture People studio, and had heard good things about their work.  I called the studio and explained what I was looking for in portraits, and that I had a child on the Autism Spectrum Disorder with Aspergers Syndrome and Sensory Integration Disorder.  The manager, Patty M., spoke to me, and we made an appointment.

When we arrived at the studio, Patty made my daughters very comfortable and captured each of my daughters’ personalities.  I have never felt so pleased with a portrait experience as I did from Picture People and will be back there many times.

I highly recommend talking to and “vetting” anyone taking portraits of your family, especially of a child on the Autism Spectrum Disorder.

Please feel free to post your portraits on our facebook wall.



Eye Contact and Aspergers Syndrome Children


Eyes of Aspergers SyndromeParenting or helping children with Aspergers Syndrome can bring its own challenges, and one area that provides many differences between parenting a child with Aspergers Syndrome and the Neurotypical child is eye contact.  The neurotypical paradigm on eye contact is that when we listen to someone, in order to show our interest, we use good visual communication.  For an individual with Autism or Aspergers Syndrome, direct eye contact is often fleeting and even non-existent.  My daughter has recently been able to find a way to describe how she feels about non verbal communication.  She stated that she feels afraid, threatened, and intimidated when she holds eye contact with a person.

Certainly, as a parent, these are the last emotions I want to invoke in my child, or anyone, for that matter!  I know that when she is not looking at me directly, that she is aware and very often listening to me.  (In fact, with her sensory sensitivities, she is hearing EVERYTHING around her, from the buzz of a light, the spinning of a DVD in the player, others breathing, and my voice.)  She is taking everything in, nothing is leaving.

So, how to balance the need of neurotypical individuals and “social convention” (using the words of “Dr. Sheldon Cooper,” from the CBS show, “The Big Bang Theory”) of appropriate eye contact with the needs of the person with Aspergers Syndrome to maintain a safe sensory input level and in their world, safety?

According to our society, direct eye contact is required when conversing with someone, or receiving instructions.  Hence the much used phrase we as parents always say, “Look at me when I am talking to you.”  For children with Asperger’s Syndrome, demanding direct eye contact could bring about the exact opposite result.  Your Asperger’s Syndrome child does not need direct  visual communication.  Their sensory sensitivities seemed to be always fine tuned to all that is around them.

I found the following information written for parents working with non verbal communication and their child with Aspergers Syndrome. This information is written with the parent in mind, but applies to spending time around all persons with Aspergers Syndrome.

  • Seeking opportunities to make direct eye contact attractive or appealing, such as holding some favored item up near your face, while requesting eye contact.
  • Accepting your child’s need to make fleeting visual communication, look away, and then look back.
  • Accepting your child’s “ballpark” approximation of non verbal communication if he stares at your ears, mouth, or some area of your face other than your eyes while you are talking.
  • Accepting your child’s need to look away from your eyes in order to formulate a thoughtful, articulate response.

It is simple to replace retail cleaning products and it can help bring relief for sensory overload in individuals with Autism and Asperger’s Syndrome.



Home Cleaning of Your Clothes Dryer from Fabric Softener Residue


Fabric Softener Sheets can cause allergic skin rashes in many peopleI have had many instances of skin irritations which became much less frequent after I removed retail cleaning products from our home, especially the ones in the laundry.

A few weeks ago, I found that my skin began that annoying tingle and demanded to be scratched.  It drives me nuts!!  I rotated the laundry soap recipe, and re-washed all my clothes.  This did not help at all, to my dismay!  I was disheartened and tried another recipe.  Again, still itchy.  After about a month of persistent itching (which always seemed to worsen after dinner for some reason), I was getting very frustrated.  I visited the allergist to see if he could determine another cause for my skin allergy, itchiness.  Nothing to be found and I left even more concerned.

When I got home, I found a dryer sheet on the floor between the washer and dryer.  I was, to say the least puzzled, since I don’t use these at all in our home, but the evidence suggested that it had been used.  I had a neighbor that had asked to use my dryer a while back, could she have brought it?  Anything was possible, and I went to her house to ask her.  She was surprised by my query, but replied in the affirmative.

I returned home, grabbed my favorite microfiber cloth, and poured a little bit of rubbing alcohol onto the cloth, wiping out every nook and cranny of the dryer.  I repeated this a few times, and after the alcohol disappeared, I did the same with white distilled vinegar.  Back to washing all my clothes again.  Amazingly, this worked.  I guess the dryer sheets left a residue in my dryer that I was sensitive to.

I am not advocating that anyone try to replicate this experience at home, but it might be worth wiping out your washer/dryer if you are having issues of the sort.  It takes a few minutes to do, and could provide excellent results.

Do you have skin irritations and rashes of unknown origin?  Get potential relief from skin allergies with: Cheaper,  Greener, Cleaner: Helping You to Protect Your Family’s Health.