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Cheryl's Sensible Cents Newsletter - 9/1/2005 Raising Happy Children
September 01, 2005

Did You Know?....

Half the world's population is under 25 years of age.

The world's average school year is 200 days per year. In the US, it is 180 days; in Sweden 170 days, in Japan it is 243 days.

"You cannot bring about prosperity by discouraging thrift." - Abraham Lincoln

Updated: Home Decorating Tips

Featured Articles:

Lessons at Home. Raising Happy Children by Cheryl Johnson
7 Family Traditions to Bring Your Family Closer by Dee Davis


In this issue:

Whole Wheat Crackers
Puppy Chow (for people)
Dog Biscuits (for dogs)

Whole Wheat Crackers

Makes 20 ounces

1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
2 1/2 cups white flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup margarine
3/4 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup wheat germ

Sift the first five ingredients together. Add the margarine and process in food processor. Add the buttermilk, and process until it forms a ball. Set it aside for 10 minutes.

Cut the dough into four parts. Grease cookie sheets and sprinkle them with wheat germ. Roll each dough piece out an a cookie sheet. Sprinkle with salt. Cut into diamond shapes with a pastry wheel. Bake a 350 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes. Cool and store in a covered container.

Puppy Chow (for people)

A great snack

1 cup chocolate chips
1 stick of margarine
1 cup peanut butter
8 cups of Crispix cereal
2 cups powdered sugar

Melt the first three ingredients together in a saucepan, and pour over the cereal. Put the powdered sugar in a large plastic bag, and add the coated Crispix. Toss until evenly coated with sugar. Dry on foil, and then store in airtight container.

Homemade Dog Biscuits (for Dogs)

3 1/2 cups unbleached flour
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup rye flour
2 cups bulgur (cracked wheat)
1 cup cornmeal
1/2 cup instant nonfat dry milk
4 teaspoons salt
1 envelope (or 1 Tbsp. bulk) active dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water
3 cups chicken broth
1 egg slightly beaten

1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Mix first seven ingredients with a wooden spoon in a large bowl.
2. Dissolve yeaast thoroughly in the warm water (110-115 degrees) in glass measuring cup. Add to dry ingredients.
3. Add chicken broth to flour mixture. Stir until dough forms.
4. Roll out dough until it is 1/4" thick. Cut out bone shapes from dough.(you can use a paper pattern or store bought biscuit) Place on greased cookie sheets.
5. Brush dough with egg glaze.
6. Bake bones for 45 min. Turn oven off. Biscuits should remain overnight to harden. Makes about 30 large bones.

*all recipes this issue courtesy of The Complete Tightwad Gazette

Mo.ney Saving Tip: Pack your kid's school lunches with items like a sandwich, healthy snacks (fruit, veggie sticks, applesauce), thermos of soup, juice or milk. School lunches will cost more and most likely be less healthy (pizza, fries, soda...etc.)

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Your family won't miss eating out at all!

Mo.ney Saving Tip: If you want a night out, at least save some! I thought that all the restaurant certificate offers were a scam. Usually requiring you to complete some offer to get a certificate. Here's the real offers certificates for about half the cost. For example you would get a $25.OO off coupon for $10. No STR-IN-GS attached! Click on the banner at left to check it out.

Share Money Saving Tips, Recipes, and Frugal Living Ideas. Send in Your Readers Tips

Money Saving Tips:

  • Make your own wet wipes. You will need:

    Cut the roll of paper towels in half and remove the cardboard center. Mix the water, shampoo or bath, and oil in a plastic container (an old baby wipe container works nicely!) Place half a roll in the container, put the lid on and turn upside down to let the towels thorughly soak. When ready to use, pull the towels from the center of the roll.

  • 75% Ground Beef Best Buy? I used to believe that it might be more cost effective to purchase higher cost, lower fat, content ground beef. This rationalization came from the belief that most of the lower grade ground beef was fat content and would yield much less end product.

    Tightwad Gazette's frugal zealot, Amy Dacyczyn, compared the costs of different grades of ground beef. Doing a cost analysis based on how much lean meat remained after cooking, she determined that the 75% ground beef was the most economical, yielding the most lean meat per dollar.

    Assuming that costs differences between different grades are about the same today(and I am inclined to say that there is actually a greater difference today), it is actually more cost effective to purchase the higher fat content and drain the fat after cooking.

  • Dollar Stretcher Tips 8/11/05-8/25/05
  • Cleaning Tips

  • Remove paint from clothes using finger nail polish remover or paint thinner. As usual, check for colorfastness. Of course, if you're considering the clothing ruined anyway I guess it doesn't matter if you take a chance. You won't be losing anything even if it doesn't work.

    I used this process personally and had great success. I simply saturated the paint stains with the polish remover and scrubbed paint loose with a stiff brush. It's a good idea to remove as much paint as possible first by peeling off or using a stiff brush on dry material

  • Recycling

  • Save a newspaper from the day a child is born to give as a gift when they are old enough to read the events of the day they were born. They will get to review popular movies, local events, and so forth also. Store in a dark, stable environtment of 60-70 degrees F. and 40-50% relative humidity to slow deterioration. Do not store paper keepsakes in basements or attics as they are the worst environments to keep these fragile paper keepsakes.
  • Use metal tops of frozen orange juice to make decorative hangings, gift tags or ornaments.

    Paint pictures or favorite sayings, personalize, or glue photos on the tops. Make a hole in the top (a strong hand and hole punch will work)to attach a ribbon, string, or other method for hanging. Decorate appropriately for decorative hangings, xmas (or other holiday) ornaments, or gift tags.


    Lessons at Home. Raising Happy Children

    -by Cheryl Johnson

    "Health is the greatest gift, contentment the greatest wealth, faithfulness the best relationship." - Buddha

    Now that the kids a back in school, there is an eerie peace about the house. However, I will truly enjoy the quiet days ahead. While the kids are off to learn their abc's and 123's at school, don't forget the lessons they learn at home are often the most valuable.

    For many years I was a single parent. Finances were always a difficult challenge. I lost count of how many times my kids expressed the desire to have something that one of their friends had and in fact "everyone but them" had. I eventually realized that the best way to deal with these feelings was to give them the gift of perspective.

    Since being happy is mostly a mindset determined by our perspective of what happiness is, the best thing I could do for my kids was to give them the proper perspective to always be happy with what they had, rather than unhappy about what they didn't have. Teaching them that so many others did not even have the very basics of life's necessities, as they did, would help them appreciate what many of us take for granted.

    Even when I think of it now, I really sounded so corny; my insistence that we should be happy with what we have because so many others did not even have the basic necessities of food, shelter, and love. But, I truly believed it. I was thankful to have what I had and desired nothing more than what I needed to sustain myself and my children with the basic needs. I entered a life of frugality out of necessity, but grew to understand the many benefits of such a life, and more and more began to want nothing more.

    Being frugal by choice gives a certain peace of mind, and happiness, that is hard to explain. I guess one of the reasons my lifestyle brings peace to me is because the feelings of inadequacy we sometimes have, because of our wanting more (or wanting what "everyone else" has )are non-existent.

    I actually feel my life is adequately fulfilled by the simple basic needs. I have eliminated the longing for more. The feeling that my life is not as good as it should or could be, or as good as "everyone else's", is just not there. If I choose to indulge in a luxury item or something I merely want, it is because "I want it", not because "everyone else has it." It is amazing how true happiness can come with nothing more than a change in perspective.

    When we understand that our purpose in life is to bring something of value to society, rather than owning everything considered valuable to society, happiness is a natural consequence. If I could teach my children the same I would not only do them a great justice but, the rest of the world as well. When you bring something of value to society, you see value in yourself. Seeing value in yourself brings happiness. I feel that raising happy children, who find happiness in bringing something of value to society, is one of the most valuable things a parent can offer the world.

    Raising happy and content children in today's world is yet another difficult challenge for parents. Offering your children a different perspective could prove to be the answer to raising "happy" children. Our society is more and more status driven. Your children's perspective of their status could play an important role in determining if they can be happy with their lives. Status is measured a great deal by the material owning of things. A measure of one's status is many times a consequence of what one owns.

    Teach your children that looks can be deceiving. Not everyone who acts like they have wealth, actually have wealth. I like to remind my children of our own situation. How we had to struggle to get back to living within our means because of trying to keep up appearances. Many people are spending money they just don't have in an attempt to keep up with the joneses and "appear" to be wealthy. I remind them that, like ourselves, one day they too will probably have to pay a price for their pretending. That is not to say that there are not families who have no financial worries and actually are blessed with abundance.

    It is important, if not essential, to your child's success in life to teach them to look beyond appearances. Things are not always as they seem. Teaching them little lessons like this will engage them in analyzing all things they encounter in life and getting to the reality and truth of situations they are confronted with.

    For example, when confronted with choices your children will be equipped to look to the essence of anything. They will do better in life to see the true advantages, or disadvantages, of all things, when not influenced by mere appearances. Giving them this perspective will give them a great advantage in pursuing their goals in life.

    Let me reflect on a personal story that touched me so that I will never forget it. Remember, I constantly reminded my children from a very young age that we had more than many others, and should be thankful for having what we do have, not sorrowed by what we didn't have.

    One energetic day I decided to rearrange the furniture. Now let me interject that we lived in very confined quarters, myself and four small children. Even the doorways were more narrow than that of the average home since our home's foundation was built around a narrow older mobile home. This rearranging was a very ambitious task to say the least. But, I was determined to incorporate some change into our lives on that day!

    So, I began a long day of frustration. Since our home was so small, there were not a great many options for arranging the furniture. Well, the grandest moment of truth came to me on that day. I learned for a fact that my children were listening. That my constant reminders were not in vain.

    I was trying to move a bed from one room to another. And, having an extremely difficult maneuver through a narrow doorway, I cried out in frustration; "I'm so sick and tired of these doorways. I just want normal size doorways like everyone else." Well, I didn't even have time to reflect on my own statement when, my son (who was only 8 years old at the time) said to me, "Remember Mommy, we have to be thankful for what we have, some people don't even have a place to live."

    I was speechless of course, and very near a flood of tears. While I stood astounded at the comment, coming from the mouths of babes, I pushed back the urge to cry at the revelation that my son did understand what I had been trying to teach him. The realization, and consolation, came to me then, that he would always be successful in life no matter what hardships may face him.

    The lessons we teach at home could prove to be the most important lessons in life. Happiness is a natural consequence of contentment. Teach the lessons at home that will give your children the perspective to be content and happy!

    "If I do nothing else right in my life let it be to raise my children to be compassionate, moral, happy individuals." - me

    Man falls from the pursuit of the ideal of plan living and high thinking the moment he wants to multiply his daily wants. Man's happiness really lies in contentment. - Mohandas Gandhi

    Recommended Reading

    See if your local library has the following items for check out or click on the titles to purchase them for less than $4 at Book Closeouts.

    The Simple Life
    An ever-growing segment of society is saying no to the conspicuous consumption and wastefulness that is destroying our planet, our pocketbooks, and our peace of mind. This lively collection of essays explains this grass-roots movement - and shows how we too can avoid the vicious cycle of debt and stress that lies at the end of advertising's lure. With hundreds of tips, and a special resource section, this important guide shows how anyone can take back control - and rediscover the joys of the simple life.

    Loving Your Child is not Enough
    In this now-classic, straight forward approach to child raising, Nancy Samalin shows parents how to set clear, concise guidelines to ensure positive and constructive discipline. Based on her extensive work with parents and children, she offers the most recent and invaluable advice on avoiding daily battles, using alternatives to punishment, dealing with anger, learning to let go, diminishing sibling rivalries and much, much more.

    7 Family Traditions to Bring Your Family Closer

    -By Dee Davis

    The responsibility of being a parent is the most challenging job any human can undergo. Webster’s dictionary defines a parent as “one that begets or brings forth offspring, a person who brings up and cares for another,” but it is so much more. Parents from all over the world will tell you that no matter what your socioeconomic position or color, creed or culture, at some point and time in your life you will be angry, hurt, frustrated, happy, proud, confused and in need guidance.

    Historically parents learned to be parents from their parents. Families lived in the same house or duplex, on the same block or street within minutes of a grandmother and father, aunt, uncle, cousin, in fact for many the community was your family. It was easy to derive support and advice from those who had raised and reared the neighborhood butcher, baker, barber or grocer. Unfortunately, today parents, aunts, and family members with the knowledge to lend a helping hand are separated by miles and in some cases oceans and the passing on of words of wisdom have been reduced to emails and family websites.

    Families have become smaller and the number of single parents may now out number married parents. This does not mean that we stop talking about or getting advice on how to raise our children and handle issues that can sometime be down right overwhelming. Some parents really need to know how to raise their children in a manner that is different from the manner in which they were raised. Parents born in another country are quickly discovering that the ways of the “old country” do not adapt to the new American way of living. What is a parent to do?

    It is certain that our children are living in a world that is vastly different from the one in which we were raised and the world they will live in as an adult will be different than the one we live in now. Can we prepare our children for the future and how will they raise their children. What will they value? Who will they look up to for guidance and support, a family member, a political icon, a mega minister or someone else?

    There are a few things parents can begin to do to make sure that the traditions of the family are maintained. And I know there are parents reading this saying. “I don’t have time to do anything else.” I beg to differ and reply by saying you really don’t have a choice, because your children are a direct reflection of the type of home they come from…so give it your best shot and keep them on a path that will make the family proud.

    Parents can continue existing traditions or be open to new ones by:

    1. Keeping a journal on family catastrophes - Seriously, children need to know that you struggled, went bank.rupt, lost your job, had a gambling problem. It shows you are human and that you still persevered. Remember “Life is a challenge…for everyone.”

    2. Leave notes under your child’s pillow, even when they are teens – Everybody wants to know that somebody cares…never stop caring, even when you don’t want to.

    3. Create a story-telling time with your children –You and your children must use your imagination and make up stories. This is a wonderful way to communicate and teach children to “think on their feet.” You can start them off by saying, “It was June 12th a hot sticky day and……let them take it from there for about 2-3 minutes then on to the next child. Practice this every week, or once a month and you will be surprised how articulate and creative your children will become. Just try it.

    4. Have each child in your family plan a family day; include a modest budget, time, food, the entire event. (Maybe it’s a pizza night or a bowling night or game night) If the children are very young sit down and help them. Do not allow them to plan what they want, but what the entire family would like. You want to teach your children not to be selfish and self-absorbed. You may want to do this once a month, so if you have three children they will be the family event planner four times throughout the year.

    5. Start a “fun” family business. Sit down with your children and talk about something the family might want to do earn extra c-a-s-h or save for a special va.cation. Let it become a tradition, i.e. six months before schools out start selling cookies at the Farmers’ Market. Your family might want to make preserves, start a lawn service in the neighborhood, collect books from neighbors and sell them on or have a monthly garage sell. Make a plan and see if the children can see it through each year to completion. Nothing is more satisfying than being successful.

    Family members should always end the day by saying something good about all the other members in your home (this can be done at the dinner table or before going to bed) and never going to bed angry a rule everyone in the family should follow.

    There is no doubt some of these suggestions may seem simple and old fashion, perhaps even a little nonsensical, but remember it’s the little things in life that really mean the most. Dandelions really are flowers if you believe they are!

    D. D. Davis is a writer with over 20 years of experience, and has produced a series of e-Books that support parents in creating a good life for their family. Dee may be reached at, or by mail at J. Davis & Associates Publishing, P. O. Box 44782, Detroit, MI 48244-0782, Attention: D. D. Davis. To learn more visit:

    Article Source:

    Family Friendly Sites - Resources for the Family - Articles, reviews and products for the family in the areas of entertainment, education, health, finance, lifestyle, parenting, technology and travel. -Family Activities
    A website dedicated to helping busy families enhance their family life. Website provides resources and tools to for family activities, crafts, and volunteering.

    Funny Pictures & Videos - Clean Humor - A great place to find some funny stuff to share with friends and family, or just to brighten your own day!


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