Popcorn cake: An alternative to birthday cupcakes
Many teachers are discouraging birthday cakes in the classroom. Simpler treats that are less time-consuming to serve are a better choice. While healthier treats are ideal, if you’d like to send in a sweet treat that’s different than the standard fare, try the first reader’s recipe:
Kids usually enjoy making it. It’s fun to make for birthday parties or any holiday, and it’s been a big hit when I’ve taken it in for work functions — everyone wants the recipe. (More for the novelty than the actual taste, I think.)
4 quarts popped white corn, plain (I use air-popped, but you can use store-bought popped corn as well)
1 stick margarine
1/2 cup oil
1 16-ounce bag small marshmallows
1 10-ounce package candy-coated chocolates, such as M&M’s
1/2 cup peanuts
1 cup of thin pretzel sticks broken in half, optional
Melt margarine, oil and marshmallows. Pour mixture over popped corn. Add candy-coated chocolates, peanuts and pretzels. Mix well with hands. Pour into well-greased bundt pan. Let it set for at least 2-3 hours, then turn out onto plate.
For Halloween, you can add candy corns. I’ve used seasonal M&M’s for holidays. I’ve also made this in mini muffin cups for individual servings. — Sue, Texas
Uses for Fels-Naptha:
I use the bar to make liquid laundry detergent. When I proudly shared some with my mom last week (she’s an avid DIYer/recycler/frugal type), she told me about some other uses for Fels-Naptha. Tonight I tried them and will share because this bar is going to replace so many expensive, toxic cleansers I have!
— Rub the bar in a wet, soft cloth and wipe kitchen cabinets. Use a damp cloth to go over them again and remove soap residue. Stand back and look at the beautiful result.
— Rub the bar in a wet cloth or nonabrasive pad. Wring out slightly and go to town scrubbing your no-wax floor. My mom’s floor is wood laminate, and mine is laminate tile. I went over the floor with mop and warm water, and my floor has never been cleaner!
— Do you use a Magic Eraser to clean walls? Use a cloth with Fels-Naptha rubbed in instead. I was amazed. And it smelled much better, too!
— Finally, I used it to wipe down the exterior of my microwave and remove grease, handprints, etc. It shines like brand-new! — Jenn, email
School fundraiser discount cards:
My husband just bought one of those shopping discount cards from his co-worker’s kid for the fourth year in a row. For $10 we get a card that gives us free items and discounts at restaurants and nearby stores. Of course, this is only frugal if you were planning to go to the places that participate anyway. Two of the participants on the card we have are Dunkin’ Donuts and Moe’s. We are not big fast-food spenders, but between those two places, minus the cost of the card, we save more than $80 a year. — Constance, Colorado
I use two three-drawer organizers to store all of my sack-lunch snacks and supplies. My kids know they are not to eat those snacks because they are for their lunches. I put their lunch boxes and reusable containers in there, too. I was tired of seeing them sitting on top of the counter. I label all of the drawers and place fruit cups, gelatin, applesauce and puddings in one, cookies, crackers, granola bars, etc. in another and drinks the other. Making lunches is much easier because the kids can help. I tried the bin idea, but with three kids, I needed more options and a bigger organizer. This way I still have my cabinet space, I have a place for the lunch boxes and the kids aren’t eating their lunch snacks. — Lindsay, Illinois
Use for baby powder:
Sprinkle powder on legs, then put on support stockings. They’re easier to pull up. This is good to know if taking care of parents or the elderly. — Ali, Indiana
Use for pantyhose:
Tie up your tomato plants, or place them over your cabbage heads to keep out worms and bugs. Fill them with rock salt and place them on your roof to melt snow. — P. Kelly, Connecticut
Discounted sporting goods:
Don’t overlook places like Play It Again Sports for secondhand sports equipment. Many dance groups and other sports groups have days when they can trade shoes and other equipment. — Mims, Illinois
photo by wrestlingentropy http://www.flickr.com/photos/wrestlingentropy/318580873/sizes/o/in/photostream/