How to Protect Yourself Online

Do you purchase items online using credit cards? How about frequenting chat rooms and/or forums? Do you spend time sitting at your computer online reading news, blogs, emailing or searching for information?

If your answer to any of these questions is “yes” then maybe it is time to think about the security of your computer. It is so easy to think, “that would never happen to me! Why take the time and thought to worry over something that will never occur. After all, who would be interested in me, my identity or my computer?”

The answer:  Hackers!

[Read more…]

How to Make Spinach Lasagna

Spinach Lasagna

Whether you are making the only spinach version or the spinach with meat version, homeamade lasagna is quite easy. I usually try to make an extra pan as it actully tastes better the second day!

Spinach Filling

2 lbs small curd cottage cheese (may substitute Ricotta cheese if desired)

2 – 10 oz packages frozen chopped spinach – thawed

1 tsp garlic powder

salt to taste

Tomato Sauce

3 jars spaghetti sauce – your choice of spices

**For a meat version – Brown 1 lb ground beef (or more if desired) and add to spaghetti sauce before beginning to assemble.

**may use tomato sauce and add Italian spice (basil, oregano, garlic) to taste

Lasagna Noodles

1 box, I prefer the no-cook variety. Simply assemble dry noodles in the following instructions and bake as directed.


In a 13 x 9 pan prepared with nonstick cooking spray, assemble in layers:

  • lasagna noodles
  • spinach filling – use a spoon to spread a thin layer evenly over noodles
  • mozzarella cheese

End layers with mozzarella cheese.

Bake at 350F for 1 hour. Lasagna should be golden and bubbly.

Serve hot and enjoy!

by Expert Mommy, Dina-Marie Oswald

How to Make Homemade Laundry Detergent

As the mom of 10 children, with 8 still at home, you might imagine, that we do a bunch of laundry! Since we moved to west Texas to start a vineyard and have learned more creative ways to live frugally, I wanted to share my homemade laundry detergent recipe. I thought it might be beneficial for those of you looking for an economical alternative to store bought detergents.

I have found the following recipe to be less expensive to make than the cheapest detergent I can purchase. An added bonus is,  that it cleans better! My husband, being a chemist in his former life, says it is the borax in the recipe which causes it to clean so thouroughly. Borax is a whitening agent which may be used to brighten your laundry.

This recipe may also be made with unscented soap for those who might have sensitive skin.

It is tempting to use more than the 2 Tbs. per load of laundry which is called for in this recipe. In this case though, more is not better, it is just a waste. I was skeptical and started with more but found that decreasing it with each load, 2 Tbs. really does clean our clothes very well.

Homemade Laundry Detergent

Small Batch:

1 c grated bar soap (I have used Safeguard and Dial Soap but any will work)
1/2 c Arm & Hammer Washing Soda (not baking soda)
1/2 c 20 Mule Team Borax
Grate soap in food processor.
Mix all ingredients and store in airtight container.
Use 2 Tbs. per load.

Large Batch:

12 bars soap- grated
1 box borax
2 boxes Arm & Hammer washing soda (not baking soda)
Mix all ingredients and store in airtight container.
Use 2 Tbs. per load

I use an old plastic scoop in the airtight container on which I have marked a fill line for the children. Like me, they think more is better!

by Expert MommyDina-Marie Oswald

How To Live Frugally

Since our family’s move from the “secure” life in Alabama (job with a monthly paycheck) to the “exciting” life in west Texas to start a vineyard (no paycheck at all !), I have learned even more ways to be frugal.

I have always tended toward frugality, but watching our savings dwindle as we have payed for land, vines, trellising and other vineyard related items, and the rest going quickly for living expenses, I have had to take a crash course in frugality. Each of these actions individually may seem insignificant, but their cumulative effect over time has added up to big savings. [Read more…]