Sunday, June 17, 2018

Frugal Happenings 6/17

Good morning to you all.  Happy Father's Day to all the Dads out there.

We woke to a scorcher of a day.  It was 80* when I got up and the humidity was about the same!  You could cut it with a knife - I do believe.  We are supposed to hit a record high today of close to 100* actual temp. UGH!  It wouldn't be so bad if it weren't for the humidity.  No cooler temps till mid week. 
Making sure to keep plenty of water available for birds, squirrels and cats.  The birds sure do enjoy their daily 'swims' or 'baths'.  They line up on the handrail waiting their turns!  Can't say that I blame them.  Kitties spend most of the day under the deck in the shade.

They garden is growing like gang busters!  I have a banana pepper about 2" long, little squash starting, tomatoes on vine, and the cabbage is starting to head.  Cucumbers are blooming, so hopefully soon we will be picking fresh veggies!

Noticed this week that the lightening bugs are back.  I just love seeing them - it reminds me of childhood.
We had a neighbor 2 doors down move this week.  He was nice enough, but I sure won't miss his very foul mouth! 
We also got a new neighbor next door, on the triple lot.  We know him.  He and G have been friends since they were kids.  He's renting with his adult (autistic) son - and he is making a lot of positive little changes to the property!  It will be nice to have someone I trust and who could help (if need be) in an emergency.

                       We have a lot of assorted lilies blooming now.  They are all so pretty.

My frugal week:
  • We had a lot of rain first part of week - so worked indoors a lot.  I re-arranged a lot of the extended pantry down stairs.  Cleaned and straightened
  • Re-arranged and organized the upstairs pantry
  • Came across my electric skillet in storage downstairs.  I haven't used it in ages.  I got it out and brought it upstairs.  I forgot how much I do love cooking in that thing! 
  • Got the 'new' rain barrel raised up so as to be able to access spout with hose connector 
  • FOUND a small hand gun that had been "lost" for several years!!  Oh my - we have looked every where and it was just very well hidden in the basement.  G was a happy camper. 
  • Worked on my sewing/craft area and got a lot straightened - so much more to do.
  • Cut G's and my hair and colored mine at home.
  • Line dried laundry
  • Patched and repaired 3 pairs on my old jeans
  • Got lots of yard work done on Thursday - the best day of the week.  It was cooler and no humidity or rain that day.
  • First of week was wet, but cooler than predicted.  I got have AC off for 3 days.
  • I fixed our backdoor alarm.  We both feel better about that, mainly in case G is alone - he will be for-warned if someone is entering that shouldn't be!
  • Ran to Kroger Friday.  I got grapes for .99/lb., 2 cantaloupe 2/$5 (they are huge), and milk for 1.69/gal.  That is all I got this week.
  • I forgot to mention last week - when I went to Office Depot, they had school notebooks for .25/each already.  I got several for the kids holiday baskets.

Meals this past week:
Homemade 'sliders' (like White Castles) and fries.   Sooooooooooooo good!
Shrimp poppers, spicy mac-n- cheese and garlic bread
Cube steak, leftover mac/cheese and salad
Homemade pizza (supreme-like)
Homemade sub sandwiches and chips (they were way better than Subway!)
Beef Manhattans
Open face Sloppy Joes and salad
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I did seem to get a lot accomplished this week - and for the most part, nothing cost a cent!  I love weeks like that.  It is always nice to get things organized and in order again.
It is truly amazing how quickly it gets messed up.  Come home in a hurry to put things away - and poof there goes organization out the window!!!
The work never ends that is for sure.

How was your week?  Did you get much accomplished this week?  Did you stay frugal?

God bless each of you and get you through your most trying days. Hold tight to one another, love openly and deeply and help another.
Prayers for health and happiness in the coming week.

Blessings from our humble home to yours.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Have Some FREE Fun

Summer is here, the weather has warmed, and we all get out more.  There is no need to spend a fortune to have fun, either by yourself or with the family.
There are lot's of things to do that can be fun and even helpful that cost nothing.  Many of these ideas can be put into use all during the year - not just summer.

  • Look into library activities.  There are lots of things for kids to get involved with during the summer.  Many libraries even have activities for adults (book clubs, lectures, etc.)
  • Take a nature walk.  Walk in a park, the woods, by a lake or ocean - whatever is close by.
  • Plan a neighborhood social/potluck - get to know the neighbors
  • Have a picnic - it can be at home or in a park
  • Backyard camping is always a fun thing for kids
  • Bird/animal watch - it can be fascinating
  • Take pictures - photography is easy and the more you do it the better you get.
  • Visit a FREE day at a museum or zoo.  Many patriotic holidays are offered as FREE days.  National parks generally have a couple FREE days a year as well
  • Geo caching is a big thing now.  It's a literal scavenger hunt using GPS.  Go to geocaching.com and look up your zip code and see what is available in your area
  • Take a bike ride
  • If you have a projector - try having a 'backyard drive-in' movie.  Put up a white sheet and show old movies or family movies
  • Have a yard sale - WIN - WIN - you make money as well as get rid of stuff!
  • Front porch sitting!  Sit and read a book, listen to nature, talk to passers by, meditate, etc.
  • Take a nap!  Remember it's not a punishment any more like it was when we were kids!
  • Volunteer - check out a food pantry, the local animal shelters, parks, hospital, etc.
  • Play under the hose/sprinkler - great fun for kids (and adults too!)
  • Help an elderly or disabled neighbor
  • PLAY - horseshoes, volleyball, Frisbee, kickball, corn hole, bubbles, etc.
  • Take a FREE community class - how-to home repair, cooking, gardening, identifying local plants/birds, canning, etc.  Many craft shops offer FREE craft classes for kids too.
  • Clean out the garage - maybe not so fun - but frees up space!  Same with closets.
  • Walk a farm market or flea market JUST to get ideas and look around.  You don't have to buy.  It is a great way of socializing with others getting fresh air, and people watching!
  • Yoga - learn some Yoga positions from a class or watching You Tube and relax!
  • Do crafts - make cards or start of projects for the holidays and gifts
  • Genealogy - research your family history.  It is easier all the time with the computer and the internet.  This can be fun and it can be done all times of the year. 
  • Garden - raise your own veggies.  Healthy food and enjoyable.
  • Have a neighborhood clean-up
  • Walk an area creek and find interesting rocks.  Take the kids - they will love it.
  • Go fishing
  • Have a family reunion & pitch-in

There are endless ways to have fun that cost nothing or next to nothing.
I hope you all have a lovely summer.  Let you creative mind take over and have some FREE fun.
LIFE IS BEAUTIFUL - ENJOY IT!

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Few Fun Tips to Save $

I am sure you are like me, in that you love to find new ways to save money.  We like to use what we have and get creative.  We like to find inexpensive alternatives.  We like to have fun with things.

Here are a few ideas.  Some you may already do - but I hope you get a couple new tips you can use!

  • When you cook rice for a meal - make a double batch.  You may as well utilize the heat.  Put half of it in a freezer bag.  When ready to use - heat for 2-3 minutes and you are ready to go.  Saves cooking time and your time!
  • Make a big batch of mashed potatoes ( or have leftovers) - place a nice helping in muffin tins and freeze.  Pop out and place in baggies - pull out a re-heat a serving as needed.
  • Have fun with summer deals.  At the Dollar Tree buy several colorful plastic sand buckets (normally for kids).  Use them for a festive touch at the table (or picnic) to hold bread sticks, crackers, popcorn, chips, etc.  You could get different colors for different holidays!
  • Make your own tortilla bowls for taco salad.  Lightly brush each side of corn tortillas with olive oil.  Press into a oven safe bowl.  They don't have to be smooth - can be rippled.  Place in a 325 oven for 8 - 10 minutes, until crispy and golden.  Fill and enjoy!!!!
  • Make an easy throw for your couch or chair.  No sewing required.  Simply buy a 2 yard piece of fleece.  Trim edges, and make 6" fringe along one or two ends.  That's it!!!
  • Get cloth napkins.  Buy at thrift stores or yard sales.  You can make them as well.  It saves money (no paper) and it really jazzes up a table.
  • Freeze empty plastic soda bottles.  Fill 2/3 with water and freeze and then use in your coolers.  Solid ice keeps longer than pieces.
  • Need new dinnerware?  Think about mismatched.  That is very trendy right now.  Buy all solids colors or floral or geometric. etc.  Get them for pennies at yard sales or thrift stores.  Tables really look pretty with mismatched table ware.  Can do the same with glasses and flatware.
  • Make gravy look dark and rich in color by adding a spoonful or two of brewed coffee.  Makes the gravy dark, but does not change the taste (not the same as redeye gravy).
  • Make a tin can lantern from your trash!  Clean out various size tins cans and remove labels.  Fill 2/3 with water and freeze.  While frozen use a hammer and nail/awl to poke holes or design in can.  Thaw and empty.  Place candle in cans for pretty lights.  Citronella candles would be great for outdoor parties and sitting.
  • Use a counter top paper towel holder for holding rolls of various tapes.  I keep one in my kitchen base cabinet - and my tapes are always within reach and easy to find.
I was always trying to find a certain roll of tape for various projects - now they are together in one spot.
  • Buy cheap baskets at yard sales or thrift stores - clean free of dust - then paint.  Use a sponge (if desired) to lightly add a second color for a rustic look.  You can have pretty yet inexpensive baskets to use for towels, crafts, magazines, TP, etc.
  • Cut the stem end off bell peppers and scoop out the membranes and seeds.  Use the pepper (whole) as a serving 'dish' for dips.  Pretty and natural, and you can eat them when done!
  • If you have any vintage looking tablecloths that are stained - think about cutting into napkins or make a table runner out of the unstained part.  It still gives you that vintage look.  Stained ones can also be used for picnics.
  • Microwave whole onions in a covered container for 1 -2 minutes.  Makes them super easy to peel and takes away some of their 'hot' when using them fresh in salads or on sandwiches or burgers.  Great way to 'cool down' a hot onion!
  • Buy fancy or fun interesting plates at yard sales.  They are great to use for a special platter of homemade goodies to give to that special someone.  Place a little note with them to keep the plate or pass it on to someone else to brighten their day!
  • Need a stake for a vining houseplant - walk outside and get a sturdy stick.  It's all natural and just blends in with the plant.

I hope this gives you and idea or two that you can use to save a little money or time.
It seems we never have enough of either!!!!!

HAVE A BLESSED DAY!

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Frugal Happenings 6/10

Good morning my frugal friends.  I hope this finds you all well.

I awoke this morning, and the longer I laid there - the darker it got outside!  OOPS - made it out in time to feed the outdoor kitties in the greenhouse before it started pouring rain.  We sure do need the rain - our grass is getting so brown.  We are supposed to have rain/storms off and on all day and most of the week.
We had a great first part of the week - with wonderfully mild temps and low humidity.  It sure gave me huge opportunity to get much done outside.  I LOVED IT!
We are back to hot now - and will remain so for the next week.  Upper 80's will be normal.

We have had a new bird to our feeders and birdbath.  It appears to be a gray cat bird.  It is really neat looking - it has a very different beak from all the other birds.  We have such a neat variety of birds!

The garden is really growing with this heat.  I can't believe how big everything is getting.  Hopefully God will keep it watered this week, and I won't have to!  His water is always better!!!!


My frugal week:
  • Spent a good 3 - 4 days working in the yard all day.  FREE exercise and it looks good too!
  • NO A/C for 3 days - got to air out the house.
  • Line dried laundry
  • Made a batch of dip
  • Had our A/C checked this week and all is in good order
  • Brother gave me an eggplant plant.  We aren't eggplant people - but sis in law has some good sounding recipes - so we will give it a try!  Got that planted.
  • I finally made my round of stores south of us this week.  I always hit them all up - since they are so close to each other and it saves gas.
  • Rural King - did a huge stock up of canned cat food (10 cases).  They have the best prices in town.  Gallons of white vinegar for 1.97 each (4).  TP - 12 packs of dbl. rolls on sale 3.99 (3).  Got a 50 lb. bag of black oil sunflowers seeds for squirrels/birds on sale for 10.99.
  • BB & B - got a refill on carbonator for the Soda Stream.   Turned another in for a deposit.
  • Office Depot - got ink for printer - good for the remainder of the year.
  • Another day I stopped in Kroger to check clearance.  I got 3 - 15 oz. Suave men's body wash for .99 each (will be gifts in baskets) and Stevia  tablets and drops for $1 each (reg. 3.59 ea.) - great to have for a back-up.
  • Been working on my 15 minute chores off and on during the hottest days.  Little chores inside make a difference.  I seem to get more done that way!
  • Did some re-organizing of things in the kitchen
  • Friday I went to the neighborhood garage sales up by our park.  It is such a lovely historic area.  I probably walked to about 25-30 sales - but only purchased at 3.  RESTRAINT!  I did have loads of fun and good conversation - so a lot of free entertainment!
Here's what I got!
These 2 books were FREE!  Gooseberry Patch are my favorite cookbooks and gotta love Chip & Joanna!

I fell in love with the old blue cabinet - I paid $10 (was asking more).  Another apple peeler - $3 (brand new).  It seems they last me a couple years then break - so I never pay much.  This has suction for the counter top.

Rain barrel - $5!!!!!!!!  I need to raise it up so the spout is easy access - but I couldn't pass up at that crazy cheap price! It is 50 gallon.

Cabinet now in use in the kitchen!
 
 
It sure was fun just wondering around that neighborhood.  There are some really sweet homes.  There are many that just look like they should be in a fairy tale.  It has always been one of my favorite areas.  Lots of vintage stuff being offered for sale - too bad I have no room!
*******************************

Meals this past week: (we were in a sandwich mood some this week!)

Cold cuts and chips/dip & fruit smoothies
Chicken/rice burritos - loaded (used Mex. chicken rice from freezer leftovers)
Hamburger hash, garlic toast and fresh veggies
Tuna patties, mac-n-cheese, and salad
Smoked cheesy sausages on buns with chips
Ham & cheese sandwiches and pickled veggies
Red beans/rice with sausage and side salad
********************************

I had a pretty darn good week.  I feel like I accomplished a lot outside, got some good deals, and had fun.  It doesn't get much better than that!!!

I plan on getting some indoor projects done this week - since it will be hot and rainy much of the week.  The pantry is in dire need of straightening again (the gremlins don't you know? LOL)
I need to do mending and sewing.  I need to cut G's and my hair - so we look civilized again!
So hopefully I can get a few things accomplished this week.

How was your week? 
Did you get any good deals? 
I see from some of the blogs I follow (on my blog roll) many went to garage sales as well!

Take care friends and may you be blessed beyond measure in the coming week.  I look forward to hearing from you.  Stay safe and healthy!

Blessings from our humble home to yours!





Thursday, June 7, 2018

Project Pantry - Part 4 - Clearance & Closeouts

Today is the last post on project pantry for a bit.  We have covered so many ways to get food for our pantries - I hope it has helped.

Today I will touch on clearance buys and closeouts.  I have told everyone before - basically I buy nothing unless it is a great sale or markdown.  That is just me.  I know everyone isn't a conscious of that as I am.
Sure, there is always a splurge now and then.  That is what makes life exciting.  But at our house, that also makes it a real treat - because it just doesn't happen often.
It's probably a good thing that G CAN'T go shopping with me any more - because he has always been much more of an impulse buyer than me.  If he wants it - he gets it.

Most all stores have clearance.  It may be in the produce department, it may be in the bakery, meat, or just a clearance section for dry goods.
Kroger has all the above.  You may find items marked clearance randomly throughout the produce department.  Meat is generally in a section of meat department.  We have a rack of bakery goods - and then we have a section MARKED clearance.  Those are my first looks each time I go.

Once in a while I find meat that is marked a great price - and I just can't turn it down.  Most times - it seems the markdown price of meat is still MORE than I will spend!  I do like super sales that are advertised at different holidays and event times.

Meat- wise I usually find ground pork, bulk lunchmeat, maybe ground beef, hotdogs in my good clearance finds. 

Our stores have CLEANANCE and they have CLOSEOUTS.  Clearance is items that can not fit on the regular shelves as they are being stocked. according our local grocers (they keep no back stock).  Closeouts are items that the store is getting rid of that they have decided not to sell any longer.

I have found some of the best deals on closeouts.  They are in the regular aisles with a black and white price sign in front of them.  They are not individually marked - they just ring up cheaply at register.
I get aisle goods and even frozen items for absolute pennies on the dollar.  I have purchased BIG cans of fruit for like .29 when regularly they are well over a $1 or $2.  I have found pasta for around .19 a pack - frozen items for pennies. 
YES, you do need to walk up and down the aisles and just hunt for the special price signs - but it sure can be worth it.  You did need RESTRAINT to not buy other stuff you see!!!!!

WM has great prices on their marked down bakery bread and rolls..  I have purchased Italian bread for as little as .37 a loaf.  Get several - wrap tightly and freeze.  Great for garlic bread or pizzas.  They sometimes have deli items marked way down.

I also go for the .99/bag area of produce.  Some days there are great deals - others not so much.   Markdowns are throughout  the produce dept.  Watch for salad goods or fruit - if you are going to be using it soon.   No sense spending extra money is you are having it for dinner tonight or tomorrow.

Even though you may be in the grocery store - there are other deals to be had.  Health and beauty items, OTC meds, supplements, paper goods, baking items, office/school supplies, candy, canning items, baby stuff, even items used in kitchens.  I have gotten some of just about all of those things.  I do buy items that are not food related for adding to holiday gift baskets - huge savings.

I got these on closeout for 1.74 each.  Good for a quick meal or salad toppers
 
Whole loins on clearance.  Came home and cut them up into chops and small roasts - so many meals for $6 & change
Items purchased for gift basket add-ins.
 
 
Just take time and look at each area and decide what is best for you and your family.  Items can be frozen for later.  Walk the aisles (IF you can be disciplined) and check out deals.  I consider it a game.  The store temps me at every move - I like getting only the deals - then CHECKMATE!!!  I win!!!!!!!!!

You may have stores like Big/Odd Lots or Ollie's - these are closeout stores - and deals can be had - but generally I have better luck with my grocery store.

You might even get acquainted with the manager or butchers or clerks - they can give you an idea when they tend to do markdowns.
Many stores markdown at the beginning of the week - if they have an abundance of sale meat or fresh items left after the weekend.  Some mark down right before the new ad  takes hold.  Just ask - all they can do is tell you to go they don't have a method!  They may just give you the routine!
They want to get rid of stuff and you want to save - WIN-WIN!!

Remember any money you save with great deals - is like money in the bank.  You can stock ALL of your various pantries for pennies.  Plan ahead and save.
Get as much as you can afford  and will use or that someone you know can use.  It won't be there next week!  You HAVE to take advantage when the opportunity arises!

EMBRACE CLEARANCE - most of the dry good items you can get aren't even close to the 'best buy' dates (not that a lot of us worry about that!).  Fresh can be frozen or canned for futures use.


HAPPY SAVING MY FRIENDS

Let us know where you find your best deals!!!!!!

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

A Thing or Two

I think we all need to be reminded at times, that we are really doing OK.  Sometimes we get all caught up in life and expectations (usually our own) and forget - we are OK.
Each and every day that you wake up is a new beginning and a gift.

If you need to save more - you can.
If you need to be more loyal - you can.
If you need to play more - you can.
If you need to use less - you can.
If you need to pray more - you can.
YOU CAN do whatever is needed.  You just need to try!


Life is a schoolroom and we are the students.  We should be learning all the time.  In my opinion if we aren't learning - then we really aren't living.

I saw a sign the other that said "If you want to be successful at life - you have to try".  Aint it the truth.  Nobody is going to do it for you.  It is a journey you have to take.

Baby steps - that is all it takes.  It is not a race.  Do little bits here and there and your own pace, and eventually you win.  Don't compete against others - it's all you.

You can save change or dollars or fives - whatever works for you.  Just do something.
You can tackle the yard/garden a little each day - it isn't going any where.  You will get there.
You can reinforce the positive in your life once a day - it will eventually  stick in your mind.
You can be kind to someone else - it comes back to you BELIEVE ME!!!

Always remember what you have come through in this life - whether it be illness, loss of love ones,  divorce, abuse, etc..  YOU ARE STILL HERE - YOU MADE IT!
Look forward to tomorrow and strive for it to be the best.
Yesterday is gone and can't be changed.

HANG IN THERE - AND KEEP TRYING!!!!
WE ARE ALL WINNERS!!!!!

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Frugal Happenings 6/3

Good morning - here it is JUNE!  Oh my.  Time flies when you're having fun  OR getting older!!!!!
Hope you are all doing well.

It has been a scorcher around here this week.  It's been really, really hot and humid!  Didn't get a ton done outside - just too hot.  We did get a little rain - which is so needed.  Could definitely use more. 
I feel so sorry for those living is south eastern states - they are getting TOO much rain and flooding.  It's horrible! 
We had the craziest winds on Wednesday.  I went out 4X and picked up limbs and sticks.  It sure did clean out the trees!
We ended the month with it being the hottest May on record!  One of the driest too!  May should be our rainy month.
This week temps should maintain in the lower 80's and less humidity.  YAY!  Pollen is very high and my allergies are raging.  Such is life - I'll take it over snow/ice!

The garden has really grown a lot in the past week and a half.  It is amazing what the heated soil and a little rain can do.  I actually have a few buds on the tomatoes and peppers and the starts of buds on that volunteer squash - that thing is huge!

My frugal week:
  • Line dried ALL the laundry
  • Saved all the juices from the watermelon and froze.  We like to add it to tea or to add to homemade jellies
  • Made peach/pecan ice milk from peaches that needed used.  It made a quart and it was yummy (a little left).  May make more this week
  • Made a batch of strawberry/yogurt frozen treat.  Mixed fresh strawberries, yogurt, a little sweetener and a little milk - poured into ice cube trays.  A lovely cold treat!
  • Did accomplish SOME weeding this week
  • Did lots of cleaning inside since it was so hot outdoors
  • Replenished cabinets from downstairs pantry.  Brought up teabags, coffee, pasta, dressing, sugar, flour, TP, sweetener, and spices.  It's nice to walk downstairs and SHOP!  Filled up all the jars upstairs again.
  • Did run out and filled the gas tank on Blazer (it had been almost 2 months) and filled the gas can for mower (hadn't filled since mid summer '17).  saved .30/gal.
  • Doing all the regular stuff around here - there are so many frugal things we ALL do - that it's just daily stuff!
  • Stopped at Kroger when out,  just to look.  I got 4 boxes of wide mouth lids and bands in blue on clearance for 1.49 each (all they had) and a .99/bag of huge bell peppers.  That was it!


Meals this week were pretty simple:

Nachos
Poor man Swiss steak, garlic/ranch mashed potatoes and salad
Chicken/ham/cheese/veggie wraps
Chef salads
Breakfast - sausage gravy/toast & scrambled eggs
Pasta/veggie salad (tons of veggies)
Leftover pasta salad and cold sandwiches

We enjoyed watermelon, strawberry/rhubarb pie (made last weekend) fresh peaches and strawberries, and homemade ice milk and yogurt this week for snacks.

Not real exciting, just plugging away every day. 
How was your week?
Any frugal finds? 
How are the gardens doing?
Stop by and say hello!!!!!

May you all be blessed and protected by the Lord this week.
Prayers for all the farmers, that their fields  thrive and produce.  Prayers for safety to all those in the flooded south and for those facing other natural disasters around the globe.

Blessings from our humble home to yours!