Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Have a free priceless experience

I am going to have a free priceless experience with my two teenagers. We are going to work a shift decorating a Rose Bowl float.

Several years ago, I spent the afternoon working on a Rose Bowl Parade float. I was next to a group of a dozen or so people who told me that they had gathered together for several decades, one day a year, to help decorate the floats. They had traveled from near and far to participate in the activity that they looked forward to more than any other in the year.

What makes this SUCH a special event? Here's what I can tell you.

Just thinking about going to work again on the floats gets me excited. There is an intensely creative atmosphere in that warehouse. The air smells of a mixture of glue and the most amazing flower scents. Everyone is engaged in an activity that requires their total attention. The actions are tiny, tiny, tiny... but they are all working together to create this huge, beautiful creation that will be seen around the world. There is anticipation and a sense that time is running out - since the floats MUST be ready in time for the parade. As the date gets nearer, people work around the clock to ready the floats.

Wow! To be a part of THAT. To share such a sense of accomplishment with your kids, your friends, your family. THAT is priceless.

As a homeschooler and a parent, I want my children to understand that great things do not happen just by wishing or dreaming. You must wish and dream to start, but then you must make it HAPPEN. It requires that you DO something. Sometimes it requires that you do A LOT of something or that you get A LOT of people to do something. But when you do that, and persist, you get a great product and a sense of achievement that money can not buy.

That is why I am going to go with my kids to work a shift on the Rose Bowl floats.

If you are in the Los Angeles area in the month of December, you too can volunteer to help decorate a Rose Bowl float. You do need to work a full shift and you must be at least 13 years old to volunteer. You must sign up ahead of time. If you are looking to create a new family tradition, I strongly suggest that you consider decorating a float.

Of course, not everyone can come to Pasadena, California to decorate a float, but there are parades all over the country and most of them have floats that you can volunteer to help decorate. Volunteering is a wonderful family activity and available to just about everyone everywhere.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Super cheap activities to keep teens occupied

So, you are about to have a houseful of family - young and old. The men want to watch TV, the women want to talk and the kids are bored out of their minds unless they are plugged into their electronic devices.

Wouldn't it be nice to have something different to do using just the items you already have in your house?
Here are five fun and time consuming activities to occupy your tweens and teens (and maybe their parents) without costing a bundle:
  1. Make this crazy paper toy. Watch the video. Good luck making this ingenious paper toy. Materials: sheet of paper, scissors a bit of tape.
  2. Cool paper pop up. This requires an exacto knife for cutting anLinkd a surface that one can cut on - like a thick piece of cardboard.
  3. Paper treat cups. These are cute cups that can be decorated for your holiday table.
  4. Learn to draw a perfect freehand circle. This one won't take up too much time to learn, but could bring about some great pictures of round objects.
  5. Origami transformer ball. This is a GREAT project. Requires a hot glue gun and patience.
Let me know if you make any of these great paper projects. Have a Happy Holidays!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Thanksgiving calculator for shopping

Here's a sweet calculator to help you figure out what you need to buy to cook up your Thanksgiving feast.

You can plug in how many people are eating. You can separate into meat eaters and non-meat eaters.

It's pretty helpful. It is set up in an excel spreadsheet. Pretty cool.

Handmade present ideas that I love

I love handmade presents. I love to give them and I love to get them. My most prized possessions are handmade gifts that I have received. They are irreplacable. You can always buy a new ipod, dvd, or car. But replacing a handmade, one-of-a-kind cross stitch, sweater, picture or poem is impossible.
For those people that think that they just aren't creative or imaginative and can't think of what they could possibly make for someone, here are five wonderful ideas from one of my favorite Do-It-Yourself sites,

  1. Turn a picture into a picture tiles. (see picture above) This is a truly unique, inexpensive and surprisingly easy gift. This would be a great idea for someone who just purchased a house, got married or had a baby.
  2. Beautiful pencil holders from recycled tin cans and styrofoam. I love it when I find a craft project that looks so much better than it should. This is one of those projects. This is an excellent project to do with your kids.
  3. Make chocolate balls. This confection making recipe looks super easy and super yummy. I think I will make it without the liquor. Make up a big batch of these goodies. Package them nicely and give them as gifts to your co-workers. They will be asking for more all year long.
  4. Turn a book into a clock. This is SUCH a great idea for a little one with a favorite book. Buy another copy of the book at a thrift store or get it from
  5. Sew a Santa Hoodie. This looks so cool that I am going to go out today and get a red hoodie and white fake fur. I want to see my skateboarding son decked out in this one.
I hope these homemade gift ideas get you in the gift making spirit. Do you have any of your own favorite gift making ideas?

Friday, November 18, 2011

My very best pregnancy tip - natural heartburn relief

If you happen to be pregnant, and you known who you are, then you may be experiencing now or in the future, HEARTBURN!

You can run out and buy yourself a bulk supply of TUMS or grab one bag of this magic, all natural heartburn remedy. I really like natural health remedies like my article on How to avoid heat exhaustion.

I know lots of pregnant women who have spent their entire pregnancies buying and eating Tums. Unfortunately, if you look at the list of all the ingredients in Tums, you will see that some of them might not be exactly what you want to feed a pregnant mom. Plus, the cost of Tums keeps going up.

So, here is my tip. It's my best tip. Don't waste it.

Blanched, slivered almonds.

Yep. That's it.

My midwife told me about this when I was pregnant with my first child. What a life saver.

I had little bags (divided up a big bag into smaller bags) of these almonds in my purse, bedside table and my desk drawer. If I started to get heartburn, I'd just grab a small amount, chew them well and, voila, no more heartburn.

I've been told by several women that this was the very best pregnancy advice that they ever got. I hope it helps you. Of course, you can use this tip even if you aren't pregnant.


This article is copyrighted by Bobbi Burger Brunoehler.

Monday, June 20, 2011

You're Invited to a Food Swap

Have you heard of Food Swapping? It's a great way to trade your homemade and homegrown goodies for other people's homemade and homegrown goodies.

Just a few weeks ago, I went to my first food swap and became a food swap junkie! Yep. I'm hooked. I think food swapping is the most fun... well, since clothes swapping.

So, I've decided to host a food swap this Saturday, June 25th at 11:00 am as part of the Frugal Festival Food! at the Canoga Park High School.

Food swaps are easy. You make some food item or pick some from your and your neighbor's trees. Package them and bring them to the swap.

The above picture is of the items that I brought home from the last swap. I took a basket of my famous chocolate covered chocolate chip cookie dough balls and swapped them for:
  • jam
  • mixed greens
  • 2 potted irises (not pictured)
  • oatmeal and lemon face scrub
  • brownies
  • lemons
  • squash
  • banana bread
  • shortcake
How yummy is that?!

For more information and/or to register for free go to

Don't be shy. It is super fun to food swap.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Frugal beauty tip

I received this wonderful beauty tip and movie trivia from Tanii, the daughter of movie and TV actress, Anne Dore.

"When I was growing up, Turkish towels were very much in vogue. (The Turkish towel has a long and rich history. Its weave is distinct in that it has “piles” similar to woven carpets, unlike regular towels with a flat weave so prevalent for so long.)

At the time, I didn’t know why these towels were special. All I knew was that Mother used them to bring circulation to the surface of the skin by rubbing them all over her body usually in circular motions. She never rubbed hard, but vigorously enough to where her skin glowed with vitality. This was as ritual performed after a bath or shower when the skin was warmed up.

Mother also owned and used body brushes, usually ones with long handles. She did a dry brushing of her skin before a bath or shower when she wasn’t using a Turkish towel. Both methods helped loosen and eliminate any dead cells and resulted in very soft skin requiring a lot less creams and moisturizers.

Story: Most of her work in the entertainment industry was as a showgirl - not much dialog, but lots of eye-candy. Among her credits was “The Colgate Comedy Hour” for NBC working with such stars of the time as Bob Hope, Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis, Abbot and Costello, Bing Crosby and others.

But her “claim to anonymity” was doubling for Tony Perkins in the Alfred Hitchcock classic, “Psycho.” Contrary to what audiences thought they were seeing, it was not Tony Perkins (dressed up as his movie mom) who stabbed Janet Leigh in the now-infamous shower scene. It was Mom! She got the part because she was tall. Hitchcock wanted a body double because he knew, quite rightly, that people would recognize Perkin’s body language and figure it all out before the end of the movie. Mother never got screen credit, and very few people in the world know this “secret,” but now you do!"

You can pick up a Turkish Towel at any good linen store or follow my yard sale tip and find the good towels in the linen closet at estate sales.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Save money by cooking fresh

I was lucky enough to grow up in a household that often included my mother, both grandmothers, and my great aunt. All of these incredible ladies felt most comfortable in the kitchen. I spent at least half of my early years sitting at the kitchen table watching them whip up stews, sauces, jams, cookies and pies. All from scratch.

It's not like they ever really showed me how to do anything. I just watched. When it came to the time in my life where I was standing in my own kitchen with no one there to cook for me, I didn't reach for a can opener. I reached for the raw ingredients that were needed to cook.

I knew from observation how to chop, grate, steam, broil, saute, simmer and bake just about anything that I wanted. I knew how to use a strainer, a grater, a rolling pin and a mixer. To my surprise, I even knew exactly how to make homemade pie pastry that was perfect the first time I made it.

Unfortunately, today's children are not growing up in households where they sit for endless hours watching food prepared. A huge number come home from a long day at school to an empty house. They take something out of the freezer and pop it into the microwave where short burst of radiation kills any nutrients that may have mistakenly survived the processes necessary to make food last well past nature's intended expiration date.

Fortunately, there is hope! The internet provides access to incredible videos and recipes that can teach you and your children how to prepare your own food. It's fun and its cheaper than buying prepared packaged food.

Here are five of my favorite sites to help you on your journey to real food:
  1. How to cook from scratch. This is a great article on that lists out some very basic recipes. This is a good place to start.
  2. Recipes from ingredients you have on hand. is an awesome site that allows you to put together something to eat from what you already have. It will also show you recipes that will require one or two items that you don't have but you might be able to borrow from your neighbor or pick up at the corner store.
  3. Videos that teach you the basics of cooking. This site has lots of short videos that show you all sorts of basics like how to cut an onion or how to fry an egg. Fun, fun learning.
  4. Learn to cook from a kid. I say that the best way to learn a new subject is to approach it like you are a fifth grader. Here's a kid with her own cooking show. I learned a lot.
  5. A list of the top 100 culinary blogs. If the above four aren't enough for you, check out this list. Whatever you need and want will be in that list.
I love food and I love cooking. It is so much better to give your family food that is fresh cooked. I hope that these links help you overcome any back-off you might have on using your kitchen for its intended purpose.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

The world changes when you become a mother

Almost 20 years ago, I wrote the following letter to my best friend. I was weeks away from delivering my first child.

19 December 1991

Dearest Amy,

Here I sit, much too early in the morning, awake not because my child is hungry (as will be the case in a few short weeks,) but because he now takes up the room that my bladder used to occupy.

Sitting here eating my prenatally correct organic granola with 2% milk and prenatally incorrect coffee, I realize why, years ago, a girlfriend of mine asked me to assist her at the birth of her child. She asked me because she wanted me to share one of the most wonderful and awesome experiences she was ever going to have. I realize this, because although I am a bit scared about what is going to occur physically to me in the next 2-6 weeks, I am also extremely excited about it.

Of all the adventures and misadventures that we have shared, I wish that you would be able to be there with me when I deliver my first child. Not only for the support, but to have the memory of it in common. The memory of the birth that I attended is one of my most treasured possessions. I wish that I could give you such a present.

This is the last letter I will ever write, to you, before I become an official “MOM.” A piece of me is about to become my own mother. Well, worse transformations could occur, I guess. I only hope that I do not become too boring for words to my single friends. Please forgive me, upfront, for my upcoming interest in drool, baby poop, the price of diapers and “Sesame Street.”

If I was much into praying, I suppose I would now pray to be insightful and patient with my child. To not be naïve to signs of whatever will pass for drug abuse. To always make time for my child without overwhelming him and without denying my own needs. In short, to be the perfect parent. Dream on, dream on. OK, then I would pray for an understanding child who will understand and forgive the faults of his own parents and love them because they love him.

I already know that I am about to embark on a love affair with my child that will have no match in my own love life experience. I believe that the kind and amount of love that I am about to experience will dwarf what I have always thought of as the height of emotion.

I think this because I remember what kind of love I had for that child that I helped to deliver over ten years ago. And that child was not my own. What will I feel for this child that I have grown a body for in my own belly and will soon push out into the world?

Well, my dearest friend, I’ve not thought about the above before and I probably won’t have a second to think about it again for about twenty years. I set it in writing to you - perhaps so that you will remind me of it in the years to come. Perhaps only to tell it to someone who has known me so well. Perhaps because at least this part of the experience you CAN share with me.

I love you and wish you every wonderful wish possible for the coming New Year.

Love, Bobbi

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Mother's Day freebies

There are so many great freebies out there for Mother's Day. Here are some of the ones that I have discovered.

Free Breakfast on Mother's Day before 11:00 am at IKEA

Free admission to public gardens on May 6th for National Public Gardens Day.

TCBY is giving free frozen yogurt to moms on Sunday, May 8th.

Your local Lowes is running a free Mother's Day Build and Grow Clinic on Saturday, May 7th. Take the kids to make a flower vase for mom.

Make a free garden stake and mother's day card at Jo-Ann Fabrics on Saturday, May 7th from 11am til 2pm. Make sure that your local Jo-Ann's is participating.

Buy one get one free lunch or dinner buffet at Souper Salad on May 8th.

Mom's get in free with purchase of one adult ticket at Medieval Times. Plus she'll get a flower.

Crafts for Mom ebook from FaveCrafts.

Free printable Mother's Day cards from 123printcards.

Free Mother's Day printable coupon books.

Recipes, crafts, cards and more for Mom from Kaboose.

The FirstWatch daytime cafe has free chocolates for mom when you buy an entree.

Do you know of some other Mom's Day freebies?

BobbisBargains is now on Facebook

I'm excited to let you know that BobbisBargains is now on Facebook.

Just click on the "like" button on the top right of the blog page to get BobbisBargains notices on your facebook page. Or go directly to the page on Facebook and click on the like icon there.

The web address is

The reason I am so excited is that it will now be super easy for me to share with you all the awesome bargains and cool frugal adventures that I find out about each day.

The more people that like my page, the more inspired I will be to share lots of great stuff.

Like my page and pass it around.

Bargains here we come!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Free trees at Lowes on Earth Day

Lowes is giving away one million trees on Earth Day, Saturday, April 23rd, 2011.

What a great way to celebrate the day.

If you don't have a yard to plant this tree in, then get one and plant it in your mom's yard or your friend's yard or your kid's school yard.

Trees, planted in the proper place can shade your house, dropping the temperature considerably and saving you from 10-50% on air conditioning costs.

OK, maybe this baby tree won't shade your house this year, bit it doesn't take that long to grow into a proper shade tree.

Take a family picture in front of the tree each Earth Day and watch your tree and family grow together.

If you don't know the proper way to plant a tree, check out this video by The Division of Forestry. This video shows how to use a tree planting tool called a dibble bar, but you can also just use a shovel.

I figure Lowes will run out of trees fast, so go early if you want a tree. One per person. I also suggest you check with your local Lowes to make sure they are participating in the promotion.

In case you miss the Lowes give away, check to see if your town has a free tree program. Glendale, California residents can get a free tree by going to the Tree Power Shade Tree Program site.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Perfect hard boiled eggs

I love hard boiled eggs. They are relatively cheap, nutritious, and easy to eat. I have a pot just dedicated to just this task. My dad spent years perfecting the art of boiling eggs and he passed on his secrets to me. Now, I reveal them to my readers. The steps to obtaining perfect hard boiled eggs are:

  1. Purchase the best free range organic eggs you can find or afford. I get mine at Trader Joe's, the farmer’s market, or the lady down the street who has chickens in her back yard.
  2. Start with cold water in the pot. Put in just enough to cover the eggs. Too much water is a waste of energy.
  3. Place refrigerated eggs gently in the water. You want to avoid accidentally cracking the eggs. Even a slight crack can allow the expanding hardened egg to seep out and make your egg look disgusting. Actually, it is fine to eat, but if you have picky eaters, they will make faces and refuse to eat the deformed egg.
  4. Sprinkle a bit of salt on top of the eggs. I have no idea why you do this, but this is part of "the method."
  5. Turn on the heat and come back 20 minutes later. Voila! Perfect hard boiled eggs.

UNLESS you forget to come back in 20 minutes. If you forget about the eggs, like I have numerous times, then you will be reminded of them only when you hear a strange popping noise followed by a horrible burning smell.

Should this occur, do NOT put the pan under the running water in your sink. Instead, take the pan and run outside, place the pot on the grass and fill with your garden hose. Should you be unable or unwilling to follow this advice, prepare for some of the worst smells to fill your house. Also note that I said to put the pot on the grass. That is because it is very hot and will melt or ruin just about anything that you place it on at this moment.

The sheer fact that I know so much about this subject should lead you to believe that I have experienced forgetting about my hard boiling eggs many times. This is a true statement. Indeed, my inability to remember for 20 minutes that I have eggs boiling is a standing joke in my family. The most frustrating thing is that I seem to remember for 19 minutes and then forget right before I need to turn them off.

After setting off fire alarms, burning a perfect round hole in the astro turf on my backporch and destroying several pots, I finally realized that I need to set a timer whenever I hard boil eggs. I picked up a great little digital timer with a magnet on the back for a dollar at a yard sale. It has become one of my most essential kitchen tools. I recently had to get another because we had dropped it just one time too many on the kitchen floor. I immediately got a wonderful no-cost replacement from freecycle.

Over the years, my use of this timer has grown past just keeping me from burning my eggs. We use the timer to:

Unfortunately, it is not always convenient to go and grab the timer from its home on the side of the fridge so that I can remind myself that I need to get off the computer and ready to leave in 15-minutes. But, ta-da..., I have found a wonderful little online timer that is easy to use that is coming to my rescue. It’s the Tick Tock Timer. Just set the amount of time that you want to give yourself and press start. The timer starts to count down and makes a very noticeable sound when your time is up.

I’m excited to find this online tool. It’s usually the simple things that can solve big problems (like always being late for work because you can’t get off your computer.) I hope this helps you.