Monday, March 30, 2009

Fabulous Home-Made Smoked Chicken Liver Pate

I've been experimenting with this recipe a lot lately. 

The inspiration for the recipe is this one that I found at

I use it as a basic guide, but each time play around, adding what I have handy.  Smoking the chicken livers instead of frying them creates a more delicate texture, and complex flavour.  

It costs almost nothing to make. Takes almost no time. It's a lot leaner than most pates, it's delicious, and it looks fancy to serve at parties. I sometimes take it for my lunch, or to share with my coworkers.

1 pound of smoked chicken livers (you can read the instructions on how to make these here. It is truly a one-step recipe. Just put 'em in the smoker on a pie plate.)
1 onion
one clove garlic
2 tbsp butter
fresh herbs (Ive used thyme, rosemary, tarragon) plus salt and pepper to taste

Toss the onion, garlic, herbs and butter into a pot over low heat and allow them to simmer until soft...or slightly golden if you prefer. I've added mushrooms to this mix also, and an occasional splash of red wine or brandy just at the end. Feel free to experiment.

Once they are cooked, toss them into a blender or food processor along with the smoked livers. You can also toss in a boiled egg or two (makes the pate fantastically light-tasting).  You could add olives, splash of wine, brandy or whatever at this point.

Process for a couple of seconds. Not too long.

Scoop into some decorative little dishes and allow to set in your fridge, covered. Done.

a couple of mushrooms
a boiled egg or two
a splash of brandy or red wine
a few chopped almonds or pistachios
some orange zest
roll it in dried parsley

For Homemade Melba Toasts

Take a leftover stale baguette, and slice it paper thin on a diagonal, and spread the slices on a cookie sheet to toast in your oven on the lowest setting. Store in an airtight container to serve with your Smoked Chicken Liver Pate.

This recipe freezes very well.

Frugal Gourmet: Recipes for a Whole Chicken

We picked up a whole chicken from the butcher on Saturday, with plans to use it as part of our sunday barbecue. I'll use it to make:

Succulent Smoked Chicken
Herbed Chicken Liver Pate
Curried Chicken Empanadas
Carrot Orange Ginger Soup

How to Smoke a Chicken

Every Sunday at my house we have a barbecue. It's a feast for the whole family, plus whoever wants to drop by, and we do most of the cooking for the week ahead.

A little after lunch on Sunday afternoon, I extracted the innards neatly packaged in the belly of the chicken I'd bought for this week.

I separated the liver from the rest, and set it aside. The neck, heart and whatever other stuff was in there went into a small pot with an onion and some celery, a bay leaf and a few herbs to make stock. I can either turn that in to gravy, or freeze it for later use.

I always keep the livers from roasting chickens in my freezer for making pate. This week I picked up an extra couple of pounds of them from the butcher. They run about eighty cents a pound on special around here.

Next I dumped the bird in a bucket of water for about an hour. About 1.5 gallons, with a cup of sugar, a cup of salt and fresh herbs from the garden (I used tarragon and rosemary this week). This is called brining. It's a quick, easy, cheap way to boost the flavour of your bird that I learned about here:

I never leave my chickens to brine as long as they recommend. I don't want the flavouring to be overpowering, plus I tend to leave things to the last minute. An hour or even 30 minutes has worked out well for me in the past.

Once we were ready to start cooking, I dropped the whole bird in to our smoker, and left it to slow roast.

The term "smoker" really makes this contraption sound a lot more sophisticated than it actually is. In reality, it's a galvanized can I bought at a local market, with a couple of wires strung from the lid to form a harness to hold the bird over the fire. It stand about 2 feet high. It's rustic, but turns out a perfect, deep golden, succulent smoked bird every time.

Underneath I slipped in a pie plate with a pound of chicken livers to smoke alongside. This is the secret to truly fantastic home-made chicken liver pate.

In total, It took me about 15 minutes of actual effort to set all this up. Fill the bucket with water, dump in salt sugar and herbs I snipped from a nearby plant, pluck the chicken from the bucket and put it in the sling, then add the pie-plate of livers over the smoking coals and wood chips.

My husband hangs out in the back yard and reads the paper or hops in to the pool with the kids most Sunday afternoons, or has a few friends over for a beer. He'll check the bird once in a while, and ad a few fresh wood chips or embers to the little can we have for that purpose at the bottom of the "smoker". All in all, it requires very little babysitting, and comes out looking picture perfect and tasting even better.

About an hour into the process, he'll pass me the pie plate with the smoked chicken livers, and I'll spend a few minutes whipping up some delicious Smoked Chicken Liver Pate, which we serve with homemade melba toast rounds and chutney or sour pickles, for people to enjoy while they wait for the main event.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

What's In My Freezer?

To me, a freezer is an essential tool in frugal cooking. It's also an essential tool in getting out of the house in the morning in a hurry.

I'm a confirmed foodie. Frugal cooking doesn't mean tasteless cooking. I have tons of lunch-sized treats waiting in there for me. Homemade peppercorn pates, the pierogies my kids and I made a couple of weeks ago, chicken and olive empanadas, stacks of pancakes and muffins....

For tomorrow's lunch I'll be packing a slice of quiche lorraine, and a green salad with roquefort, pears and walnuts (the crumbled roquefort, diced dried pears and toasted walnuts are in a bundle in the freezer alongside the pre-sliced quiche. I'll move both to the fridge tonight after I finish typing.)

Other salad topping bundles might include bacon and croutons, sunflower seeds, nuts, raisins, or sliced hard boiled eggs. I go assembling these in little tubs or baggies in the freezer, when I have something left over, then grab them as the mood takes me.

My freezer space is always at a premium. And its easy for stuff to get lost in there. So its important to plan what goes in. And to take stock. I do that on Saturdays before I go shopping.

That way, I go to the grocery store with a plan of attack. Saves me from impulse buying things that are more processed or expensive than I want. And saves my fresh produce from ending up in the garbage due to spoilage.

Here's what I usually have in my freezer on any given day. These are the basics.

Fresh Herbs and flavourings
basil and sage that I can use to whip up a pesto, stuffing or soup in a hurry
frozen chopped chives to sprinkle on pierogies, baked potatoes (these freeze really well if you chop them in bits and store in an airtight container)
orange and lemon peel and zest
chopped onions and celery for soup making (whenever I have a leftover little piece, I just chop it and toss it in to the container for future soups, stuffings or whatever).

Overripe Bananas
Plus cooked apples and other fruit waiting for me to whip up a batch of muffins or dessert.

Fresh Baguettes and Stale Bread.
I buy bread in bulk on sale. When I bring it home from the store, some of the fresh stuff goes straight to the freezer. I can defrost it later on a low oven and it still tastes almost as fresh as when I brought it home, if I get it in quickly. The stale stuff goes in until I have an afternoon when I can turn it in to french toast, bread pudding, or some other food for the family. I'll be posting on leftovers in another article soon.

Grated Cheese
Any time I have leftover bits of cheese that are starting to get hard, bits that got grated but not used or any other extra, I grate it and freeze it. Later I can use this grated cheese to make quiche, cheese sauces, toppings for pizza or casseroles or in baking breads.

Cheese is much too expensive to let it go mouldy, so at the first hint that it's not going to get eaten fast enough, into the freezer it goes. If I don't have the energy to grate it first, I'll just toss it in whole. Later I can throw it into the blender for some quick and easy quiche, like the one I'm taking for lunch tomorrow.

Wheat Germ, Bran, Linseeds...
I like to make my own muffins, breads, granola bars and cereal. Most of these ingredients are expensive where I live, but cheaper in bulk. If I leave them in my cupboards, they can get rancid or buggy. This way I always have some fresh on hand.

Frozen Meats pre-divided in single serving portions
One thing I've learned about myself over the years. If I put meat in the freezer whole the way I bought's going to be there for a long time. I get overwhelmed at the thought of having to wrestle to thaw it all out. So I divide it up before it goes in.

When I buy from the butcher, I ask him to put it into serving sized portions for me.

Pre-cooked Frozen Pancakes, Muffins and French Toast
for quick breakfasts

I just make extra whenever I am cooking up a breakfast for the family on the weekend, and freeze it in an empty bread bag. Both pancakes and french toast (and even waffles) are easy to pop in the toaster to heat, just like Eggos...but way tastier and cheaper.

Single serving and Family serving containers of
chile, stew, baked beans or lentil soup. These make fantastic single-serving lunches or dinners when I get home late from work.

Cooked Ground Beef
for spaghetti sauces, empanadas, tacos, chile and casseroles. I just fry it up with just a bit of onion and some salt on a back burner when I'm busy cooking something else. That way it's ready for whatever I decide I want to make with it.

Chicken Stock
I almost always have frozen chicken stock.

Whever I cook a chicken, the carcass gets turned into stock. I just toss it into a pot with a whole onion, some celery greens, a bay leaf, and a couple of cloves and peppercorns, and let it simmer away on low heat until a convenient moment presents itself to pour it off and store it. I cook it until the bones have basically collapsed into a pile.

I use every part of the chicken.
The livers get tossed into the freezer waiting to have enough to make a smoked chicken liver pate.
The gizards and the rest of the innards are cooked up for stock or gravy.
Whatever meat comes off the bones of the carcass in the stock-making are diced and prozen to make stuffing for empanadas.

Vegetable Soups
On Saturdays when I clean out the fridge, I'll grab a soup stock from the freezer, and turn it into a bean or vegetable soup to use up whatever's left in the kitchen. The kids are particularly fond of my carrot orange ginger, vegetable and cheese chowder and Ukranian borscht with a dollop of home-made yogurt. My husband's favourite is stilton and celery. These are all pretty low-effort, inexpensive when made with leftovers, and better than most of the soups you'll get in a restaurant.

Frozen Cookie Dough in a roll.
I can quickly slice off a few cookies when my kids invite a friend over after school, or to take to friends or have with tea. Makes it easier to convince my kids and husband to skip the packs of oreos they get all puppydog-eyed over in the grocery store, when I have something yummier to promise them warm out of the oven.

Quick and Easy "No Recipe" Plum Jam

I bought 4 pounds of plums at the market 2 weeks ago. They were on sale for 25 cents a pound.

My husband just shook his head when he saw me come in with them.

"The kids are never going to eat those," he insisted.

No problem. I made them into jam. And the kids loved it so much they've gobbled it all up already!

The great thing about fruits and vegetables is that they tend to be cheapest when they're at their peak. So it pays to find ways to buy in bulk and save for future use.

Quick and Easy "No Recipe" Plum Jam


A couple of pounds of plums (I used 2 pounds last time)
a few cups of sugar (I used about 3 cups)
some fresh lemon juice (optional)
glass jars for storage

The traditional ratio of fruit to sugar in jam is 1:1. Equal weight or volume of sugar and fruit. For me, that' much too sweet, so I make mine with half sugar. 2 cups cooked fruit for each cup of sugar.

To make impromptu plum jam, just wash the fruit, cut it in to rough chunks and throw it into a pot...pits skins and all, and cook it over low heat with a splash of water, stirring occasionally.

Once the fruit is softened, eyeball the volume, and add about half as much sugar, along with a bit of lemon juice for tartness and pectin if you like (once again, including seeds if they slip in...they're a great source of pectin). Then just let it cook away, stirring occasionally.

When I thought the jam was probably ready, the skins had become soft, and the mixture had thickened, I took a spoonful and set it out in a dish to cool, to see if it was thick enough. The first time I did this, it was still a little runny, so I left it to cook a while longer. I could also have added more sugar to reduce the cooking time a little, but I prefer less sugar.

In total it took 3 or 4 hours. Meanwhile I was free to enjoy the day with my kids, just checking in on it briefly once in a while.

I always save glass jars when I finish with them, so I grabbed a few, and set them out on the counter.

When I decided my jam was ready, I took a couple of minutes and fished the pits out and let it cool down some. Then I poured it into the clean jars. As the jam cools, it contracts, and activates the seal on the lids to help preserve your efforts.

Sugar acts as a preservative. Because this jam has less sugar, it needs to be kept refrigerated, and won't last as long as more traditional jams.

I can't actually tell you how long, because my family always gobbles it all up on toast, or as a topping for yoghurt or ice cream WAY before it has a chance to spoil.

If you're feeling like adding a gourmet touch, you can also toss in a few cloves, or some almond slivers into your jam as its cooking, to give it a distinct flavour. Have fun with it, enjoy, and write to let me know what you tried.

For More Money Saving Ideas, Check out the Carnival of Pecuniary Delights, where this article was recently featured:

Quick Easy Breakfasts All Month Long

It's Sunday today. My family and I just sat down to a lovely breakfast of french toast and bacon, with fresh fruit and pure maple syrup.

While I was whipping up the french toast, I fried up a whole loaf extra for later in the month. When I'm done cooking it, and letting it cool, I just slip it back into the bread bag it came from and pop it in the freezer. With about 7 eggs and roughly a half cup of milk I can do a whole loaf of bread. I add a splash of real vanilla to the mix, a sprinkle of salt, and sometimes some cinnamon or orange zest.

French toast freezes very well, and can be heated easily in the toaster. That way, I can quickly give my kids the added nutritional benefits of eggs and milk with their morning toast. Plus they like it better than plain toast. Sometimes I make it with whole wheat toast for extra fiber.

Freezer french toast really cuts down on the morning rush. And cuts down on the mess too. when I cook in bulk.

This also works very well for pancakes too.

Breakfast is a great place to start with Whole Month Cooking. If you'd like to find out more great ideas for ways to cut down on your time in the kitchen check out these resources:

Once a Month Cooking World

A post on once a month cooking over at Get Rich Slowly

Friday, March 20, 2009

Stop Buying Expensive Bottled Water

When I heard that prominent environmental activist David Suzuki had come out against bottled water, I had to stop and do a little happy dance.  I was always bothered by the fact that some bottled water companies try and market themselves as "green".

Suzuki makes the following very good arguements
  • the plastic bottles are wasteful, contribute to pollution and are potentially dangerous to human health
  • the fossil fuels used to ship bottled water from overseas are environmentally destructive
Amen to that.  Plus it's expensive, and the stuff flows out of my taps practically free, straight from the water purifying plant.

I've been battling with my husband over this one for years.  Frankly, it pisses me off when he goes out and spends our hard-earned cash on little stupid bottles of designer water.  He says it tastes better than the stuff you get out of the taps.  Maybe I should do a little blind taste test and see if he can really tell.

Anyways,  here are a couple of things to do to make sure the water that comes out of your taps is safe to drink, if you're really worried.

Worried about parasites? Boil It.

If you're worried about parasites in your treated tapwater, first of probably don't need to be.  There have been a couple of highly publicized cases of tapwater making people sick but it hardly ever happens.  It's kind of like shark attacks and plane crashes...newsworthy but much less of a threat than slipping in the bathtub.

But if you persist in being nervous, here are some helpful instructions according to a post I found on Yahoo Answers

The main parasites which need to be eradicated are the cysts which cause Giardia and amoebic dysentery. Small amounts will not affect the body, but in large numbers these pathogens can take effect. They can survive in cold, even freezing water for several months because of their hard protective shells. Chemicals are generally needed to break through these shells, however boiling the water will automatically kill them...

The general advice is to boil all water for 5-10 minutes plus 1 minute for every 300m above sea level, up to around 5500m where boiling becomes ineffective
Sorry if I just fed your paranoia by talking about the hard, protective shells on creepy crawly cysts living in your drinking water :)

Hate the Taste of Chlorine in Your Water?

Anyone who struggles to keep their swimming pool from turning green all summer knows that chlorine evaporates pretty quickly.  Want to get rid of the taste of chlorine in your tap water?  Here's a quick and easy way to do it for free.  Let it sit out in a jug for a few hours.

I keep two glass jugs of water on hand at home; one on the counter, one in the fridge.  

What about those water filters? 

I bought one of those once.  Well, the first question you have lead pipes?  A water filter..whether mounted on the tap, or in a jug, is primarily useful for filtering out heavy metals, according to an article on

The benefit of a water filter lays in its ability to filter out heavy metals and other impurities, such as lead, which are most likely not in your tap, but may be due to poor plumbing.

The article then goes on to warn that poorly maintained filters can actually be dangerous.

Water filters trap, but does not kill bacteria. Because the filter cannot kill bacteria, it actually becomes a breeding ground for the microorganisms if not changed regularly. An old, unchanged filter can be dangerous because its use may add bacteria, which had been killed in the tap by chlorine, back into water.

Want to Join the Fight to Protect Our Access to Safe, Clean Water?

A good cause fit for a tightwad like me.


Wednesday, March 18, 2009

More Beauty Products You Could Probably Do Without

You can see this post, along with Many others in the weekly carnival of pecuniary delights.

I remember when "buff puffs" first hit the market right around when I was in puberty...and desperately in need of skincare miracles.

It was followed by a bunch of high priced, and not so high priced (but often harsh) exfoliating cleansers.

I just wanted to share my 2 standard home recipes for keeping my skin exfoliated, soft and smooth. They share two of my favorite and easy to make.

Gentle face-cleansing exfoliant

1 tbl. of baking soda
enough water to form a paste.

That's it. Use the paste to gently scrub away layers of dead skin using the pads of your fingers.

Cheap and easy. No harsh detergents.

Moisturizing exfoliant for hands and feet

I hate callouses on my feet. A few years ago a pharmacist sold me a "miracle foot scrub" that really was miraculous. It left my feet feeling smooth and moisturized. Sloughed off foot callouses with ease...and also did a great job of preventing little bumps from ingrown hairs from leg shaving.

It contained some kind of essential oil that left my skin feeling tingly. It moisturized and imparted a healthy sheen.

It cost me $25.00 for a small jar. I bought it on one of those days when I was looking for a shopping "pick me up". The kind that always had me living from paycheck to paycheck.

And pretty soon I had used the jar up. I decided to have a look at the label to figure out where I could get more...and stumbled across the ingredients list. Turns out is was basically oil, salt and some kind of menthol.

So of course I had to make my own. I started out by going online and looking for basic recipes as a guide, like these ones

Then ended up formulating my own based on what I read. Here's the recipe.

1/2 cup of iodized salt
1 tbsp of honey (optional)
enough olive oil to hold the salt together (feel free to experiment with other types of oils).

Use a small amount of the salt scrub in the palm of your hand, and rub it in to your feet for 1 minute before rinsing (the water from the shower will dissolve the salts, and leave the oils behind to moisturize your skin). You can also use it as a body scrub to gently polish away dead skin cells and leave your skin smooth and glowing.

***Please note. Don't make too much of this in advance. If you do, it will go rancid before you get a chance to use it all up. Also make sure not to get it wet, as the water will dissolve the salt, and make it useless.

Because I am somewhat lazy, as well as cheap, nowadays I generally just keep a box of baking soda, a box of salt and a bottle of olive oil on hand in the bathroom, and mix it up as I need it at shower time.

Movies, books and Music all for FREE

When people talk, these days about downloading music or movies for free, they are often referring to sites like Pirate Bay, where people copy and post media, often in contravention of copyright laws.

When you download from there, you often also risk infecting your computer with viruses.

As an alternative, how about rediscovering the library?

Get to Know Your Local Library

I grew up in a community with a library close by.  Always lived within walking distance of the library.  When considering moving to a new neighborhood, it was one of the first things I looked for...neighborhood pub, a good bakery...a library I could walk to.

it's one of my favourite hangouts. 

They have books, magazines, cds, dvds, cassette tapes, music, movies.  Every kind of entertainment I could hope to put my fingers on.  All free.

If you're looking for a way to enrich your life without spending a lot, I recommend you rediscover the library.

Most libraries have their collections available to search online, so you can find and reserve your books before going down there.  

But for me part of the excitement is just heading down and wandering the stacks to see what catches my interest.  If a book I'm looking for isn't in, they'll usually bring it to my branch free of charge, and even call to tell me when it's arrived.

Many now even offer audiobooks for download from home.  So if I'm travelling, I don't need to take the books with me or plan ahead.  I can just go online and make my choices, download and listen to them on my computer.  All free of charge.

Where else could you hope to get that kind of service?

Monday, March 16, 2009

What Beauty Products Do You Really Need?

OK. This is where I go out on a limb.

I realize what I'm about to say is going to sound pretty extreme. It's not something I generally tell the people I meet. And fortunately they can't tell to look at me.

But some of you may want to try it. Write and let me know how it turns out if you do.

I Stopped Using Shampoo

About 2 years ago I was hanging out in a lovely country house with my sister-in-law. She told me she'd seen a woman on t.v. who claimed not to have shampooed her hair in years. She told me the woman's hair looked great. I was intrigued.

I decided to try it.

As with most things, I went on to the Internet to get a second opinion, while I was toughing out the first few days while my hair readjusted. For the most part, the opinion was that you need to shampoo your hair:

But I also came across a few accounts of people who, like me, stopped shampooing.

So I stopped shampooing my hair. More than 700 days ago. I still wash it daily with water. But no shampoo. I swear. And no one has any idea.

My hair is healthier than ever. Whereas before I struggled to tame the frizz and breakage from sun, blow drying, and chlorine, my hair is now healthy, silkey and shiny. And you'd never know to look at me that I haven't shampooed in over 2 years. My hair looks and feels clean (and smells clean too I'm told by the few people I have openly admitted this to).

Oh, it was pretty oily for the first couple of weeks. For about a month it looked kind of ....stringy. But now it looks totally normal. A little less frizzy on humid days maybe. A little more body perhaps. Nothing dramatic. Just good.

Better Than Those High-end Shampoos and Conditioners

After almost 40 years I moved to a new climate. My hair was a disaster. It's a lot sunnier and more humid here than where I grew up. I'd always had pin-straight hair. Now I had FRIZZ.

Every salon I went to, I polled them for solutions. They sold me lots of them. Kerastase worked a little. But I suddenly found myself spending $30.00 or more on a bottle of shampoo or conditioner.

Then my stylist introduced me to hair straightening treatments. Kach-ing. For $70.00 or so I could douse my head with harsh chemicals that would render my straight hair even straighter for about 30 days. I was told that formaldehyde was a key component.

Doesn't that cause cancer?

So finally, after that chat with my sister-in-law, I just gave it up. Cold turkey, baby. No shampoo. Ever. The last time we got together she told me she'd kicked the shampoo habit too.


The No Shampoo Challenge - Not for the Faint of Heart

OK, so yesterday I went public with my "stop buying shampoo" message, by posting it to a blog carnival. Turns out there are a lot of people out there mulling over this question. I got the biggest traffic spike I've had in the short life of this blog.

It also turns out that the idea of not shampooing is gaining traction in other circles. I "stumbled" across an article on the subject recently (I'm a huge fan of You can access a link to that article here:

Other Beauty Products You Can Maybe Give the Boot:

More Beauty Products You Could Probably Do Without

Give Up Toothpaste? My Trip to the Dentist Today

This article was included in this week's Festival of Frugality. Read more here.

Insane Lengths in Hair Care, or an easy way to save $1200.00 this year

I get edgy when I go to the hairdresser.

I sit in the chair and stare in the mirror and hope against hope that the person I am paying will turn out to be a sorcerer, instead of a person with scissors.  

I've gone clutching pictures of nubile young celebrities, in hopes that I can pay to be transformed into a Hollywood Starlet with a few well-placed snips.  I've tried turning myself over to the care and artistic vision of the professional.  Hoping all that is required is a clearer vision to transform me into someone else.

I've gone to fancy award-winning salons, and budget hair dressers.

I always come out looking like me.  But with stiffer hair.  No taller, no thinner, no younger.

It usually sets me back about $100.00 with the cut, style and occasional highlights.

Sometimes I spend days researching to find just the right hairstyle.  Sometimes I just show up there on a whim, after catching sight of myself looking bedraggled in an elevator mirror.  

I do this about 5 times a year.  Plus the home dye kits, highlights, gel, mousse and other products, shampoo and conditioner, and a couple of hairstyle magazines.  All in all, I spend about $900.00 a year on my hair plus another $600.00 or so on the rest of the family.

Or at least I used to.

This year I'm taking $1200.00 of my haircutting money and putting it to better use.

A Salon Style Cut May Be Easier Than You Think
Which Beauty Products Does Your Hair Really Need?

I Stopped Dying My Hair

OK, so now my hair was less frizzy and damaged from the pool and the sun, since I'd stopped stripping it with detergents.  But the colour was still looking processed because I was dying it all the time to cover the grey.

So I decided five months ago to stop dyeing it.  

My natural colour is somewhere between field mouse and bark.... at least that's how I remember it, though I've been dying it so long it's hard to tell.  I started in my twenties.

I always wanted something more dramatic.  I'd watch Aeon Flux or that girl from the 5th Element and rush out to dye my hair fire engine red or jet black or platinum blond. 

The result? My complexion usually looked pale in comparison to the new unnaturally vivid hair.  Then after a few weeks it would start looking dull or brassy.  The roots would start to show.  

In reality the died colour is only better for about a week before it starts to  And I got trapped into the cycle because of the roots.  But now I'm biting the bullet and letting it grow out. 

And I'm discovering that my natural colour suits my skin tone, and the sun brings out natural highlights.  

I Started Cutting My Children's Hair

I went out last month and bought a pair of clippers and used it to crop my son's and my husband's hair short.   The clipper cost me less that the price of two haircuts, and my son loves it.  He's 4, and thrilled to have the same hair as daddy.  He thinks being able to towel-dry it in 2 seconds is magic, and shows off like it's a newly acquired skill.  

Also, He no longer has to worry when they send home notices about lice outbreaks at school.  

With their new cropped locks, they've both jumped on the no-shampoo bandwagon.

I Let My Husband Cut My Hair

I have pin straight hair.  My daughter has blond curls like an angel.

It always makes me smile to hear her complain about her natural curls, remembering the hours and dollars I spent trying to get mine to curl.  Perms.  Velcro rollers.  Curling irons.  Hot rollers.

Today We have matching hairstyles.  A blunt-cut bob, angled downwards toward the front.  But because we have totally different hair, the cut suits each of us in our own way.  Hers floats around her cherub face like a saucy blond cloud, hig at the back, with ringlets at the nape.  Mine hangs like a curtain, cuts sharply forward framing my features.

My husband cuts it for both of us with a pair of scissors that came as a free gift with the clippers he bought for himself.  

For a basic description of how to cut this style, see the link below:

So, that's about $1200.00 a year I'll be saving.  I'll put $600.00 of it away for a rainy day, and treat myself to something with the other $600.00