Tag Archives: microwave cozies

October 2007 Newsletter

I keep trying to convince myself that fall has arrived here in New England. Yep, the leaves are changing but instead of our average 60-70 degree Farenheit days, we’re experiencing record and near record temperatures in the 80’s and low 90’s! I was worried about keeping the heat off until mid-October but instead I’m catching myself wanting to turn the air conditioning back on. Alas, the fickle New Englander in me shows. Just wait until January when the temperatures are below freezing and the wind chill makes it feel like 20-below zero. I’ll be complaining it’s too cold then!

I really do love fall in New England. I especially love fall for all the apples, squash and pumpkins. Apple cider either icy cold or warm and spiced is another favorite. I love working in the yard in jeans and a sweater. I love baking lots of goodies for the boys as well. I have definitely noticed that my fall loves focus around food so I’ve worked at adding a few baking things to the site this past month.

I have several recipes that call for the typical apple pie spices like ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg. I found apple pie spice mix several years ago in the store and then eventually started mixing my own. Don’t hesitate to adjust this recipe if you prefer more of one spice to another (I’m a huge cinnamon fan but not so much a ginger fan for example. ). I’ve also put up a similar mix recipe for pumpkin pie spice mix.

Apple Pie Spice

Pumpkin Pie Spice

Another great recipe from my box is a basic baking mix. This is the same thing as the box you buy in the store that makes quick bisquits and such. You know the box, right? I have used the homemade version in every recipe that calls for the “quick” mix and never had a problem. It’s significantly cheaper and very easy to make.

Basic Baking Mix

In most parts of the country, fall can also mean that it’s time to prep your home for cold temperatures. Heating costs have sky-rocketed and we put up a new tips sheet on how to cut down on heating expenses. One of the ideas in that article calls for microwave cozies. I also put up the directions for these. They make fantastic inexpensive presents (yep, that time of year is fast approaching as well! ).

Cutting Down on Heating Expenses

Microwave Cozies

Speaking of the holidays, it isn’t too early to start shopping for bargains or better yet, making gifts that give more of your heart, than your pocketbook. In addition, spreading your shopping over three months versus three weeks makes it more likely that you can stick to cash purchases instead of hitting up the credit cards. Avoid those January blues that arrive with the first post-holiday credit card statement.

I almost forgot Halloween! In my home, we don’t get into the dark and scary side of this day but the boys enjoy dressing up and we visit friends and family. We have alot of great ways to dress up your little trick-or-treaters as frugally as possible and we also have some fun ghoulish recipes.

Halloween articles

Ghoulish Recipes

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Microwave Cozies

What IS a microwave cozie? A cozie is a filled cloth bag that you can heat in the microwave and use to keep you warm and cozy! They are excellent for heating sore muscles, acting as bed warmers at night, and keeping your toes warm while you read a good book on the couch. They make fantastic and inexpensive gifts! I’ve seen them selling at fairs for $15 each but they can be made for about $1 per bag if you use inexpensive fabric.

Fabric-

You can use any 100% cotton fabric that has NO METAL THREADS! Do NOT use any metallic fabrics. Yes, it’s important enough to repeat! These need to go in the microwave and you know how microwaves and metal are. The same applies to polyesters and any other fabrics. 100% cotton only.

More tips about the fabric you choose: If you are actually going to buy fabric, go for the least expensive cottons you can get. I hit the big box store for their $1 and $2 per yard stuff (apologies to my hometown quilt shop) when I’m making them for gifts. If you have a fabric stash, don’t use your $12.99/yard batiks unless you really want to. Personally, I save my good stuff for my quilts. Use what you have! If you have an old flannel shirt with worn elbows, then use that! Old flannel sheets, the legs off a pair of old flannel pajama bottoms? Use your imagination.

Filler-

I use what is called recleaned corn. I’ve also heard it called denatured corn (go to the feed shop and tell them what you’re doing and they’ll smirk but be happy to help you). Basically, it’s corn that has been dried so much that it won’t pop in the microwave. Normal corn will! 50 pounds cost me about $10.50. Trust me it will make LOTS of bags! The bags do come smaller, but cost almost as much, so even if you make fifty bags and end up feeding some to the local squirrels, it’s still cheaper. I have friends who have also used uncooked rice with great success. I don’t know about cost, but if you live in the city, rice might be more easily obtained than cow corn.

Construction:

You’ll need to have two squares of fabric the same size. I like mine to be at least 9” finished (so cut 9 ½” to give yourself a seam allowance) if you can make a bit bigger, then great, but I don’t do smaller. Simply place the wrong sides of the fabric together and sew about a ½” in, all around and leave at least a 2” opening to turn your bag right side out and so you can fill your bag. Fill your bag so that there is room inside for the filler to able to move around (like if you want to mold it over a sore knee). An overfilled bag doesn’t feel good. Once it’s filled to your satisfaction, sew up the opening! NOTE: I would NOT recommend using fabric glues or tapes when making these. They have to go into the microwave and I honestly don’t know if those would do well once they heat up.

How long to microwave? The fillers can burn (both the skin if too hot and itself), so opt for less time versus more and microwaves vary as far as power so I’d recommend starting with a minute but NEVER heating for more than 3 minutes. ENJOY!!!

Tammy Paquin is a work from home mom of 3 boys and the publisher of www.frugal-families.com, an online resource for frugality, budgeting and all things related to helping everyone stretch those hard-earned dollars.

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