Want to save 50% at the supermarket? Here's help.A lot of people have strong feelings about the TLC reality series “Extreme Couponing.” My own impression of the show is secondhand, since I don’t own a television.

Technically I could see the next two episodes because the TLC publicist kindly gave me online access. Ultimately I decided not to watch. Based on what I’ve read and also on what my daughter told me and wrote about the show, I would just wind up depressed.

read more

It takes me forever to use up a roll of paper towels. I wish I’d written the date inside the cardboard tube of the roll currently in my kitchen. It’s been there at least a couple of years. Even though I’ve been traveling a lot, that’s still a long time for one roll to have been operating – and to be only about 50% reduced.

It’s not that I’m particularly neat. It’s that I see no reason to use paper towels when I have plenty of rags.

Sure, paper towels are convenient. But they’re expensive, too. Why use and toss wads of paper when I can use a piece of cloth, launder it and use it again? And if you’re just draining salad greens or wiping up spilled water, you don’t even need to wash the cloth – just hang it up to dry.

Call that eco-friendly if you like. I prefer to think of it as common sense.


read more

Finally, finally I listened to the advice of two different masseuses who suggested that a deep-water exercise class would help me. Today was the third time I strapped on a buoyancy belt and stepped into 10 feet of water at the Helene Madison Pool in North Seattle.

I know it will make me stronger. Right now? It makes me tired. But not too tired to do some reading and share the results with you.

I am blessed at I Pick Up Pennies (sniffle…that’s my girl!)

read more

Anybody out there make a New Year’s resolution to take charge of da dollars in 2011?

Anybody out there who didn’t make that kind of personal vow?

Whoever you are, you need this book:

read more

I want to grow Pixie cabbages. Their heads are only 5 to 6 inches across – no more cabbage growing moldy in the vegetable drawer!

I want to grow Circus Circus carrots, too. They’re white, orange and dark purple, and they’d look so pretty shredded into Pixie cabbage coleslaw, or sliced atop Wine Country Mesclun, a mix of eight different lettuces.

My current unhealthy interest in the Renee’s Garden media kit reminds me of my years as a newspaper reporter in Alaska, during which I wrote a lot of features about gardening. The gardeners there are deeply committed – or should be, because most of them are absolutely dotty about their dirt.

Wouldn’t you be, if you couldn’t safely put plants in the ground until Memorial Day weekend? And then had to spend the summer fending off slugs and moose? (Hint: You can scare deer away. Moose leave when they’re full.)

read more