Ask Miserly Moms: Teether Cookies, Giftwrap and Teens
by Jonni McCoy
Q Do you know of any recipe out there for teether cookies?
A Teether cookies (or Zweiback) are basically a hard cookie, much like biscotti. Here's the recipe. Enjoy!
- 2 c. milk/li>
- 1/2 c. lukewarm water
- 1/2 c. butter
- 2 egg yolk, beaten
- 1 T. salt
- 8 c. (approx) unbleached flour
- 4 T. sugar
- 2 T. active dry yeast
Warm butter, milk, salt and 2 T. of the sugar over low heat. Remove from heat and cool to lukewarm. In a separate bowl, dissolve yeast and the other 2 T. sugar in the lukewarm water. Cover yeast bowl and let set until bubbles appear on the surface. Combine milk and yeast mixtures and stir. Beat egg yolks then add to mixture.
Slowly add 3 cups of the flour. Mix dough well, then add the remaining flour 1 cup at a time to make a soft dough. If it gets too stiff, stop adding flour. Turn dough to a floured board and knead until dough is smooth and elastic.
Place in greased bowl, rolling dough so it is covered with grease. Cover bowl and let dough rise until double in size. Roll dough into small balls.
Place balls on a greased baking sheet 2 inches apart.
Let the dough rise until double in size. Bake at 375 degrees for 10-15 minutes or until golden brown. Makes about 2 dozen Zwieback.
Q I am looking for ways to save on Christmas gift wrapping without looking like I am being too cheap. Any suggestions?
A I have heard of many ways that people are saving on Christmas wrap. Some people save undamaged wrapping paper from the year before and reuse it. Others use wallpaper pieces that weren't used in remodeling (this makes the package look very rich since the paper is thick). Some use the Sunday comics and twine for the ribbon to give it a rustic look. Others shop the paper outlet stores at the end of the season and save 50-75%. Others buy blank paper rolls (either brown shipping paper or white paper) and decorate them. Some ideas for decorations are stamping decorations, children's hand prints in acrylic paint, paint splatters (do this outside), stickers, etc. I have also found gift bags very inexpensively (50 cents) at paper outlet stores. These can be dressed up with a ribbon very nicely.
Q After 14 years I am starting over again. I will be having a baby in August. Since I am not allowed to work by order of my doctor I am trying to be frugal. I am in search of a recipe for homemade diaper wipes.
A You came to the right place! I used this recipe for my 2 kids and loved it!
Homemade Baby Wipes
- 1 roll strong paper towel (I used VIVA Ultra)
- 2 1/4 cup water
- 2 T. baby shampoo (for sensitive skin use Mennen Baby Bath)
- 1 T. baby oil
- 1 circular wipes container
Cut the roll of towels in half so there are 2 small rolls. Use a very sharp knife. With a pair of pliers, grab hold of the cardboard center and pull it out. A few sheets of the paper towel will come out with it. In a bowl combine the wet ingredients. Pour half of them in the wipes container. Place the roll in the container on top of the fluid. Pour the rest of the fluid over the top of the roll. Cut the small opening of the container (where the wipes come out) to make it a bit larger. These wipes will last about 2 weeks then need to be replaced.
Q I see a lot of useful information for babies and younger children on your web site but what about those kids from 12 to 18? I have three teens living in my home and there are issues that need to be addressed and I could really use help with. Here are the areas that I need help with:
1) Clothing/Shoes: My girls are good about sharing and shopping together but they still love their clothes! They aren't so much into brand names (i.e. Tommy Hilfiger, Calvin Klein, etc.) as just being in style. Shopping second hand and consignment stores are DEFINITELY out with them and Wal-Mart doesn't offer a whole lot where we live.
2) Car insurance for teens. My oldest daughter got a good student discount but her insurance premium is $242.00 every 3 months and my youngest daughter pays $292.00 every three months minus the discount. This is through the same company we have our other two vehicles with and also our house, tractor, camper and contractors insurance. The girls are responsible for paying their own insurance premiums.
3) Food: Snacks in particular, As you can imagine my son is a bottomless pit and they are all PICKY PICKY PICKY. I spend on average $120-$140 a week on groceries and that doesn't include pop, chips and snack cakes, cookies, etc. It's milk, meat and bread, lunch meat and cheese for school lunches.
A There is no doubt about it...teenagers are expensive. But there are some ways to make a dent into HOW expensive they are. Let's take clothes first. What seems to work the best is to give the teen what you have allotted for their clothing budget. It should be enough to cover them with normal clothes (not stylish or brand name) that you could buy on sale at the department or thrift stores. If they want to spend more than that amount on stylish or name brand clothes, then they will have to make up the difference. This has been tried and works well. They make mistakes at first, like blowing the entire wad on one jacket. But after a few months of wearing the same clothes, they learn from it. These are the years where they have to learn to make choices with their money and should not expect to have everything that they want.
As for the car insurance, it appears that you have investigated the discounts that are available to you (good student, multi-policy, etc.) Make sure you are getting other discounts on your own coverage to reduce the overall cost (non-smoker, middle age, anti-theft devices, low mileage, etc.)
And you have enforced that they are responsible for their own insurance. These are great rules to have. The only suggestions that I can offer is to shop around at different insurance carriers to see if there is a cheaper one. Here are some sites to visit:
You mentioned having contractor's insurance. To investigate if you qualify for the self-employed group coverage, check out nase.org
Your last area was food. Snacks are what eat up a family's budget, whether it's because of teens or not. Snacks are handy and usually taste better than "staple" food. So we need to be careful in this area. We need to decide what they "need" and what they "want." If the family had a choice, they would make snacks their meals. At our house, we budget a certain amount of snacks into the budget, and if they eat them all in one day, that's their loss. The snacks don't get replenished until the next week's shopping. But they won't starve, because we have other types of food on hand. Aside from the healthier staples that they might prefer to avoid, we try and make as many snacks as we can from scratch. We have a supply of banana bread, cookies, muffins, popcorn, etc. on hand. For the pop, we ask that they drink water. Pop is a treat at our house. Their bodies don't need it anyway.
You will have to remember who's in charge of the budget...them or you :)
Jonni McCoy is the author of "Miserly Moms-Living On One Income In A Two Income Economy" and "Frugal Families-Making The Most Of Your Hard Earned Money!"
Visit the Miserly Moms Website at miserlymoms.com
There is a new way to learn what Miserly Moms and Frugal Families have to say. Get it on tape! Audio cassette tapes are now available for each. They are recordings of workshops given by Jonni McCoy. Each is 1 hour in length and costs only $5 ! For more details, please visit miserlymoms.com/MOMmmof.htm.
The advice given in this column is based upon personal information and experience. For further information on the disclaimer, please visit this address: miserlymoms.com/MOMdisclaimer.htm
We're still paying off last Christmas and worry how we'll afford the holidays this year without charging it again! Tell us: Yes, we could use help getting out of the debt trap we're in! or No, debt is not a problem for us but I'm always looking for ways to trim my family's expenses further!