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FAQ

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Where is your homemade yogurt recipe?

It’s right here, and if you’d like, you can also read about why I bother making yogurt.

Still want more?

Read about why I don’t think you have to make yogurt.

What kind of camera do you use?

I started with a Canon Rebel (here’s the current starter model) and I currently use a Canon 7D (which is getting pretty old now!)

I shoot with two different lenses: a Canon 50mm 1.4 and a Canon 24-70 2.8.

Most of the photos on this blog are taken with the 50mm 1.4 because it’s light, convenient, and works fabulously in low light. I really cannot recommend this lens highly enough.

If there’s anything I’ve learned, though, it’s that knowing how to use your equipment is even more important than having good equipment.

So, take heart if you only own a cheap point and shoot, and take a peek through the series of tips about how to improve your photography without buying any new gear.

I want to blog! Can you help me get started? What software/hosting do you use?

Software

I blog on WordPress, and I will never, ever use any other blogging software.

WordPress is free, it totally rocks, and if you get serious with blogging, odds are good that you’ll end up on WordPress anyway.

So, you might as well start there!

Hosting

The Frugal Girl is hosted on Agathon, which is by FAR the very best hosting service I’ve had in 10 years of blogging.

SERIOUSLY FABULOUS.

The customer service is amazing, the care they take to make sure my site is running well is like nothing I have ever had before.

Agathon Web Hosting coupon code

Agathon’s hosting starts at $35/month, which might be a little steep for you if you’re just starting out.

So for newbies, I’d recommend that you go with Bluehost. They’re inexpensive, super easy to use, have responsive customer service, and they’re perfect for a new blog.

Basically, to get started, you’ll sign up with Bluehost, install WordPress on your site, and then you’ll be in business.

You might want to browse through my posts about blogging if you want to read some of my thoughts and tips on the topic.

How did you grow your blog?

I wish I had some magic formula to share here, but I don’t. My blog’s growth hasn’t been the result of a well-executed strategy. Mainly, I’ve focused on producing good content and on interacting with my readers and the growth has just sort of happened.

Word-of-mouth has played a large part in its growth, and for that, I’m grateful to my readers.

If you’re a brand new blogger, though, I would recommend commenting on other blogs in your niche. Leave your blog address in the comment form so that your name is clickable.

Does your grocery budget include all of your meals? What about toiletries and cleaning supplies?

Yes, indeed. My grocery budget covers food for all of our meals (we eat out only rarely, so usually I’m buying food for 21 meals a week), our cleaning supplies, and our toiletries.

Here’s how I save money on groceries without using coupons.

My bread didn’t turn out right. Can you help me?

Bread baking is a tad bit difficult to learn from a recipe book or a blog, but you might find it helpful to read my posts about gluten and about kneading .

(Even better, find someone in real life to show you how to knead. That’s how I learned!).

Though situations vary, most bread failures are a result of poor kneading, or from adding too much flour.

My post about troubleshooting yeast bread problems might be helpful in diagnosing your particular problem.

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Do keep at it, though…bread making skills are something that improve with practice.

If you’re new at yeast baking, you might want to try starting out with something fairly simple, like no-knead English Muffin bread, French bread, dinner rolls, or thin-crust pizza (most pizza recipes are pretty forgiving, actually).

How do you grind your own wheat?

I use a Whisper Mill, which makes wheat grinding as simple as turning a switch. Whisper Mill is no longer in business, but the Wonder Mill Grain Grinder, which is almost exactly the same, is now available.

I buy my wheat in 50 pound bags from Quail Cove Farms.

I grind my wheat flour not because it’s necessarily cheaper, but because the flour is fresher than the stuff you can buy at the store.

What bread pan/baking sheet do you recommend?

My favorite loaf pans are from Williams-Sonoma’s GoldTouch line.

I own 3 of the 1-pound pans and 3 of the 1.5-pound pans. They’re expensive, but I slowly accumulated my collection over numerous birthdays and Christmases. I think they’re totally worth the money because the nonstick coating works fabulously, holds up incredibly well, and because the pans distribute heat so evenly.

My favorite baking sheet is the Vollrath Co. Cookie Sheet .

These pans aren’t cheap ($28 at Amazon at the time of this writing), but my goodness! They are so heavy-duty, they’re worth every penny. I can’t imagine them ever warping.

Plus, they don’t have that stupid air-bake feature (I hate that!) and they don’t have a dark nonstick finish (hate that too! It burns the bottoms of my breads and cookies).

If you like to bake, save up your money or put these on your Christmas list. You won’t regret buying them.

Why is your diet not perfect?

(this question takes a lot of forms, such as “Why do you eat cereal? Why don’t you eat more produce? Why do you buy white flour? Why don’t you eat more rice and potatoes? Why do you eat meat? Why don’t you eat organic?)

Though I’ve never made the claim that we eat super-nutritiously, I think that this is still a somewhat relevant question because really, what is the point of spending a mere pittance on groceries if the food you eat isn’t nutritious?

You can save a lot of money by subsisting on ramen and boxed mac ‘n cheese, but I don’t think a diet like that is healthy.

On the other hand, we’d all probably agree that an organic, locally produced, unrefined diet is highly desirable, and yet, few of us have the cash to support that kind of diet (myself included!).

So I’m doing what a lot of people are doing, which is simply doing the best that I can without driving myself nuts and spending like crazy.

We don’t eat a perfect diet, but I don’t think our diets are an abysmal failure either.

If your resources and preferences balance out in ways that are different from ours and you eat more nutritiously than we do, I think that’s awesome.

Go for it, and I hope that you experience good health as a result!

But for us, our current diet is the appropriate balance between cost and the ideal diet, at least at this point in time.

How do you keep your house so clean?

First off, you should know that my house is probably not as clean as you think it is. I do hate clutter and I do work hard to keep my house fairly neat, but if you imagine that my house looks magazine-clean in every room all the time, you need to adjust that picture in your head!

There are always messes somewhere in my house, there’s always dust somewhere, there’s always some closet/cabinet clutter, and there are definitely toys on the floor somewhere.

My house is not an unmitigated disaster, though, and here are a few things that help me keep it from getting super-duper out of control.

  • We don’t own tons of stuff. More stuff=more potential mess=more time cleaning up
  • We clean up regularly. Pretty much every day, in fact. A little every day is better than a lot done every now and then. Maintenance, baby!
  • I make storage solutions simple and kid-accessible. Bins and drawers have simple categorizations, like Legos, Dress-Up, Stuffed Animals, and so on.

How do you get so much done?

Ooh! I wrote a whole series on that, so go read through the Productivity category to see all my thoughts on that topic.

Are you a Mormon/LDS?

Nope.  But a lot of you have wondered if I am!

(Which is why this is on the FAQ page in the first place.)

I do follow Jesus, though, and I’m part of the Presbyterian denomination.

Want more details?  Read on.

In a nutshell, I believe that I was dead in my sins, completely and utterly unable to save myself, that the Holy Spirit regenerated my heart and made me willing to trust in Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross for my salvation.

I believe that Jesus’ work on the cross was completely sufficient for my salvation…I can do nothing to save myself or to maintain my state of salvation. I trust that Jesus did it all for me, and I believe that there is nothing I can to do make God love me more or less than he already does because of Jesus.

So, I love my husband and serve my family not because I’m trying to be a “good Christian” but because I love God (how could you not love someone who relentlessly loves you even when you sin?). I work hard, try to put others first, try to be a good steward of my money and of the environment, and try to love others the way Jesus loves me not because I am earning something or maintaining my good standing with God…I seek after those things because I trust that the way God has told me to live is the best way.

And when I fail at serving God and doing what He wants me to do, I am comforted to know that there’s grace for that. Jesus already paid the debt for all of my sins, past, present, and future, so I don’t have to dwell in misery and guilt.

My faith in Jesus is the heartbeat of my life…it is what makes me tick. The Frugal Girl is first and foremost a child of God, and if you took that away, nothing would be the same.

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Want more Q&A with me?

Browse through the Q&A post archives or if you have a question, send me an email (thefrugalgirl {at} gmail {dot} com) with “Q&A” in the subject line. I can’t answer every email I receive, but I do read every last one of them, and I try to respond to most of them.

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