Mother’s Day is May 12th: Plan something special for Mother’s Day if you can, even if it’s only a picnic in the back yard. Just let Mom rest on ‘her day’ and let the rest of the family do the work of getting the food ready–and cleaning up afterwards.


A Gift For All Occasions

Spring brings all sorts of occasions where gifts are needed.  Mother’s Day, Graduations, Bridal Showers, Birthdays, Wedding Anniversaries, to name just a few.

This particular gift takes very little time to make and costs just pennies.  When I make it, I recycle old canning jars and decorate with ribbons, stickers (or both).

Scented Bath Salts

You will need:

1 cupful of salt
(You can use either Epsom salts, Kosher salt, sea salt, or any other coarse salt. I’ve even used canning salt when that’s all I had!)

1 cup of baking soda
(Yes, the kind you have in your kitchen cupboard)

6 to 8 drops of essential oil–more if you like
(I found mine at a craft store, but some discount stores and even grocery stores carry the stuff now.)

2 Tablespoons of glycerin
(I got mine from our vet, but you can also find it in craft stores and most drug stores.)

Food coloring
(Optional, but makes it pretty–just use a little tiny bit though. You don’t want to turn Grandma bright blue!)

Mix the salt and soda in a glass bowl.  Add the essential oil just 1 drop at a time and stir well after each addition.  Then add the glycerin in a drop or two at a time.  (Most of the commercial directions tell you to stir the salts with a spoon, but I like to use my hands so I can work out any clumps or lumps that appear.) The color is added drop by drop also and mixed in with my fingers.

The advantage of the color is to make it pretty on the shelf and to warn folks that this stuff is non-edible!

Put the completed salts in a wide mouth canning jar, tie on a tag with a decorative ribbon and give with pride.

To use:  Add anywhere from 2 Tablespoons to ½ cup of the salts, depending on how full you fill the tub. Light a candle, relax and enjoy. (If this is a gift, you might also purchase a scented candle to go along with the salts.)

(TIP: I use wide mouth canning jars for the container because if the lid is left off, the salt draws moisture and sets up like cement, and then you have to scrape out the remainder with a spoon.)


Phone Book Recycling

When you get your new telephone book for the home, take last year’s model and put it in your vehicle.  If you need a telephone number or an address, you can look it up in a jiffy from the safety and comfort of your car. –submitted by VB, NE

Water Saving Idea

Use a timer on your garden hose when watering.  I bought one a couple of years ago for just $10 and I know it’s saved me hundreds of dollars.  Mine will run for just 1 hour and then shut off.  I had a bad habit of turning the sprinkler on the yard, and then going shopping for the afternoon.  When we would return home, the water was running down the gutter and the water bill was out of sight!  –submitted by DE, CO

(TIP: I invested in some of those recycled black rubber oozing soaker hoses for the garden.  I put straw around the plants and then laid the hose on top of the straw right next to the tomatoes. There is almost no evaporation when I do this and it sure takes a lot less water.)

Cheap Plastic Bag Holder

Did you know that you can stash those plastic bags from the supermarket in a plastic gallon milk jug?  I used a cup as a pattern and just cut a circle on the side of a clean, empty jug with a pair of kitchen scissors.

My kids kept track of how many plastic bags we got in to one jug and it was almost 60!  Sure a lot easier for me to store them that way. I recycle all of mine by using them to line the wastebaskets in the bathrooms and the bedrooms. –submitted by CW, NE

Ring Around A Collar

My kids buy most of their clothing at yard sales and thrift stores (by their own choice).  But, every once in a while, they will find a really nice shirt that has grime around the collar and the cuffs.   My Mom told me to use some of the kids’ white blackboard chalk to fix this.

We take the plain white chalk and mark a heavy line along the ‘grime line’, concentrating on the collars.  We then let this ‘set’ for a few days before we wash them.  The chalk dust takes out the body oil that traps the dirt–and when we wash the shirt, all the cruddy stuff goes down the drain!  We have had a couple of them that we had to work over twice, but as my son says, “You can’t beat a new shirt for a quarter!” –submitted by Allison G, MI

Safer Jackets

This is the time of year when many of us spend long hours outside working with the livestock or helping with planting spring crops.
If you find a good deal on the hooded sweatshirts or jackets at the local mall–or run into a super deal at the thrift store, be sure to check for strings!

By the strings, I mean those that pull the hood down next to your face with a cord, or those that cinch up the waist or bottom with a heavy cord.


Too many people have been severely injured by getting a cord caught in a power takeoff or spinning motor.  You cannot move quickly enough to avoid injury!

To replace to cord, simply use a piece of hook and loop tape, available almost anywhere. (Velcro is one of the brand names.) Just stitch it on by hand or machine, and STAY SAFE. –submitted by GR, MN

Tape A Trap

We have ‘meeses’ (mice) in the granary, but I don’t want to use poison because of the cats and dogs–so, I use traps.  But the problem with this is finding the darn things afterward. I finally put a piece of reflective tape on each of the mouse traps so I can find them with the flashlight. This works! –submitted by LH, SD

READERS: If you have tips or ideas to share, send them to Pennywise, Box 518, Kadoka, SD 57543 or email them to [email protected]

P.S.: Please be sure to mention the "Farm And Livestock Directory" when you respond!