Sunday, October 20, 2019

Weekly Wrap-Up 10/20

Good morning all.  Hope this Sunday finds you well.
We have had warm and cold this week.  A little rain and wind.  It appears a storm is coming through tomorrow and temps this week should be about normal for this time of the year.  It looks like it will stay in the 50's and 60's as high this week.
The leaves are changing color a bit more - but I am afraid after tomorrow's storm - there may not be much left to see.  The wind is supposed to be pretty gusty.

My week:
  • Got the furnace all checked out for this season and it is good to go.  No charge for this check
  • Did a lot more paperwork - UGH
  • Cleaned the ceiling fans and have been working on more deep cleaning
  • I told you I went to Dollar Tree and Kroger this week.  A few goodies had - not much.  While out that day I also stopped at the hardware and used the $5/$25 card I had.  I got enough furnace filters to last through next summer and some bird seed
  • Put 4 - 2C bowls of potato soup in the freezer
  • Froze 1/2 of the cake I made last week
  • I ran to a church sale yesterday and got a few goodies.  I was surprised to find anything.
 I got this BRAND NEW - never used - iced tea pot for .50!!!!!!!!  DEAL OF THE YEAR!!  I love making tea this way (have for 20 years or so) and mine quit several months ago.
 This fleece throw to put on the love seat cushions.  Kitties love to sit here - so this keeps fur off couch and easy to wash.  .75
 2 Ideals books.  I love these old books/magazines.  One is from 1956 and the other 1967.  I love the poems and pictures for making cards.  .50 each.
BRAND NEW (never used) handbag in a tapestry type material.  3 separate compartments and a zipper section.  .50
I also found a pair of wrap around sun glasses (goes over your glasses) for $1.  I got those for driving until I decide about prescription sun glasses again.
  • FINALLY got the bathroom sink taken care of.  Of course nothing is simple!  Little leak became replacing all drain pipes and water lines on the sink.  Faucet was also leaking, so that got replaced as well.  Drain, water lines and faucet were over 30 years old and were stubborn about coming out!  Also the sink is a pedestal and sits between tub and toilet with very little room to move.  My goodness it was a process.  My neighbor did most of the work and I was the assistant and gopher.  JOB DONE - so happy.  Now I can feel confident about replacing paper and flooring.  (Also get to return some items for a refund - as got everything we thought of that we might need).
  • Went to my brothers for a cook-out last night and got to see several of the nieces and nephews.  Brought home a couple cupcakes to eat today!
Meals this past week:
Potato soup
Cheeseburger and salad
Burrito supreme
Cheesy/beef spread (with leftover beans from burrito) on buns (open face)
BLT and a bowl of Ramen soup
Mashed potatoes w/chives and chicken breast
Cookout at brothers - hot dogs, chips, cider and chili (all by a fire)!!!!  Oh, Smores too!

Cheesy/beef spread (with beans added) over buns - so yummy!  Used a packet of the Velveeta with seasoned ground beef.  Buns have been if frig for a while and needed to be used (toasted first).

So there you have my week.  Nothing exciting, but did get some things accomplished.  
I have laundry going this morning and I plan on doing a deep clean in the bathroom today (after yesterdays mess).  It is cloudy today, but decent temps.

What did you do this week?  Did you get any great deals?  Are you working on Christmas projects yet?  I look forward to hearing from you all.
Stay safe and frugal this week.  Prayers for health for you and your families.
Blessings from my humble little home to yours.  

Thursday, October 17, 2019

A Couple Simple Solutions

I do believe we all like simple solutions and creative ways to make life easier and to be frugal as well.  Easy-peasy is for me!!!!!
I am one of those people that like Velveeta.  Yes, I know it really isn't cheese - but I like the taste and LOVE the creamy consistency.
It is very expensive for the brand name (in my opinion).  I have purchased Aldi brand, which costs about half as much (and it is good).  It seems that I don't use often enough to justify buying a big box of it (and the smaller ones are expensive too).  I do have a 'keeper' for the frig that is Tupperware, but after time the cheese still gets dry and much of it gets wasted.
I found just the thing for me to satisfy my FIX!

I get these at the Dollar Tree for $1 a packet.  It comes in original flavor and jalapeno.  It is already creamy and soft - not the hard chunk of the boxed cheese.  Ready to use.  This is just the right amount to add to a batch of rice, potatoes,  macaroni, meat, etc.  It sure works for me.  It still has the same taste.  You might want to give it a try.  Great for that occasional 'need' for Velveeta!

I know I have listed my Rice-A Roni recipe a couple of time.  I will list again today - since we are all thinking about 'jar' recipes for gift baskets.  I will be adding this to the brother/sister baskets.

2 C uncooked rice
1 C broken thin spaghetti pieces
6 Tbsp. instant chicken or beef bouillon powder
2 tsp. onion powder
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. dry thyme
Mix all ingredients together and store in an airtight container.  
TO USE:  Shake up to distribute all ingredients.  Mix 1 cup mix and 2 Tbsp. butter and 2 cups of water.  Bring to a boil, cover, and reduce heat.  Cook until rice is tender.

Now with this recipe you have 3 cups of mix (equivalent to 3 boxes of mix).  

I have always just broken up spaghetti for this (by placing in a baggie and hitting with a hard object) - but I found a quick and simple solution which if frugal and makes this recipe even more like original Rice-A-Roni.
I purchased this very thin vermicelli that is already in tiny pieces just like those in Rice-A-Roni. It was at Kroger and was .45 a bag.  This bag will do 2 batches when measured out.  It doesn't pack into a cup - so a loose cup of pasta is what you get.  Give or take a little in each batch. 
It doesn't have to be precisely a cup - you can divide the proportions of rice/pasta out any way you choose.
This is a handy mix to keep on hand.  Makes a great side dish for any meal.

So there you have a couple easy solutions to your cooking/pantry needs.
I hope this gives you some ideas that maybe you might use.  
Simple solutions are always nice to have on hand.  
Keep these simple solutions in the pantry!!!!!

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Gift Ideas for Preppers, Campers, Etc.

Today I am going to give some ideas for those hard to buy for people!  We all know them.
These ideas can be used for campers, hikers, new preppers or hard core preppers.  I like to think many can be used for new homeowners and students as well.
There are just many things that we never think about - UNTIL they are needed.

Tooth brushes... wipes... antihistamines... aspirin... ace bandages... calamine lotion... aloe... cayenne pepper (can be used for blood clotting on cuts)… tweezers... facial masks... medical gloves... thermometer... cotton balls... gauze... tape... band-aids... antiseptic cream... peroxide... Listerine (antiseptic)… honey (many uses)… duct tape... super glue (good for small wound closure)… skin lotion… Vasoline (so many uses from health to fire starter)… life straws... Mylar blankets

So many of these items have many, many uses.

Flashlights... candles... fire starters... batteries... lighters... stick matches... head lamps... solar lights... rope... twine... wire... clothespins... zip ties... super glue... duct tape (good for everything!)… garbage bags... pocket knives... long knives... sharpeners... fishing line… baggies... screwdriver (multi-size)... pliers… bungee cords... utility knife
My goodness the list could go on and on.   So many little things that could be so beneficial!

That little silver gadget is in my handbag at all times.  It does all kinds of things.  There is a screwdriver or 2, it is pliers, has a tiny knife, etc.  Folds up tiny.  A Swiss army knife is a great gift, but may be a bit expensive.  I have knives of all types - for all uses - Glen collected.
Freeze dried fruit... MRE's... #10 size cans of foods (long term prep)… jerky... Himalayan salt (good for seasoning, canning, drying & preserving & even health)… rice... instant potatoes... honey... dried beans… baking soda (baking, cleaning, deodorant, toothpaste, antacid, deodorizer)… hand can opener... foil... tea bags or instant coffee (lasts for years unopened)… powdered milk... protein powders... powdered drink mixes... canned meats... garden seeds... Epsom salts (many uses)… dehydrator... canning jars... lids... small grill... coffee filters (use for draining, food handling, filter water/drinks, etc.)

Bandanas... battery weather radio (also any battery radio)… warm socks... ski caps... mittens... hand warmers... Mylar blankets... water repellant for shoes, jackets, tents... tarps... buckets with lids (oh so many uses from storage to potties)… wordbooks... decks of cards... pens, pencils, paper... BOOKS, both self-help and entertainment... shop cloths (many uses)… mortise & pestle (herbs, medications, berries, etc.)… baggies of different sizes

There are tons of items that can be purchased for very little money and could possibly help or save a life.
Think about looking at places like farm stores (Rural King or Tractor Supply), places like Harbor Freight (they have lots of cheaper and sometimes FREE items), and YES even the Dollar Tree!  Many bandages, gauze, antiseptic creams, twine, rope, clothespins, and other items can be had for a dollar.

If you need an idea for 'wrapping' a multiple item gift think about buckets with lids!!!!!!  All campers and preppers need them for all sorts of things.  Throw all you items in a bucket and wahla you are set to gift!  Buckets can be purchased at most hardware/home building stores and you can also often find them for FREE or extremely cheap at any deli or bakery.  Those are food safe and may need a good cleaning - but they can be had for little or no money!  If you are doing a smaller selection of items - just use a plastic/lidded ice cream bucket.  Granted it may not be as sturdy and water tight - but if sure would be handy and FREE.

I hope this gives you some ideas for those hard to buy for people.  Think outside the box folks.  Wouldn't you love to get something useful vs. some knick-knack you would never use?  Wouldn't it be nice if that gift helped you in some odd predicament?
We never know what could happen and we all need to be prepared.

This is a good list of things YOU should have around as well  Get creative and prepared!

Sunday, October 13, 2019

Weekly Wrap-Up 10/13

Good morning all.
Well, we are finally in full fledged fall here.  It has been chilly, windy and rainy.  This morning I actually turned the furnace on for one cycle as the house was pretty darn chilly.
Yes I have the sweatshirts out and my socks and slippers!  LOL
Some leaves are starting to change color - but there is also a lot of green out there still.

My week:
  • Made up all 3 lbs. of green beans I received.  Ate on them a couple times and put the rest in the freezer for future meals
  • Put the balance of the chili I made on last Saturday in the freezer
  • Got the garden hoses drained and put away.  Only used them a couple times this year as I had plenty of rain water to use.
  • Mowed the yard and did a bunch more yard work
  • Brought in a couple houseplants that I had kept on the porch this summer.
  • No AC - windows open several days for fresh air
  • Picked another bouquet of roses 
  • Got flea meds on the kitties (except Fluffy outside - she was having nothing to do with them).  I had the meds here already.
  • Picked all the green tomatoes.  Colder nights and also Mr. Groundhog was thinking they were his for the picking!  Fat old thing - UGH!
  • Still working on cleaning and doing all the normal things - only left the house on one day
  • Used the oven on 2 different days instead of turning on the furnace.  Took the chill off the house.
  • Baked 1 1/2 lbs. of bacon - froze much for other meals
  • Baked a yellow cake with peaches.  Used a cake mix that needed using and a can of peaches diced with other ingredients called for.  Tasty treat!  Will probably freeze some it.
  • I DID go to the grocery this week.  I went for litter, dry cat food (for later), cat treats, milk and fruit.  I found a few other things because I ROAMED the aisles!!!!!!!  I got a deal on egg roll wrappers (one in freezer now), fried rice seasoning on manager's special for .49 pkt. (got 4), Marshmallow cream for .80/7 oz. jar.  I also got 4 cans of canned chicken to add to preps and I saw canned pulled pork for $2 a can.  Never had it, so got 2 cans to try (may use some for egg rolls)
Decent size can.  Sure worth a try - if tasty I will add more to my preps
20 egg roll wrappers for 1.39.  One package in freezer.  I will make/bake some egg rolls soon.  Fried rice seasoning was .49 packet (had never seen this before)

Meals this past week:
Chili topped with cheese & crackers
Burger made in a Portabella mushroom and green beans (burger fried one side then placed in underside of big mushroom and continued frying - both sides.  Mmmmm)
Cold cut/cheese/tomato/cucumber sandwich
Loaded baked potato
Macaroni & cheese and green beans (no meat day)
Grilled mac/cheese, bacon & tomato sandwich (OH YES I DID!!!!!)
Potato soup (from recipe I listed last week)

OH MY GOODNESS - this was good.  I have seen them on cooking/restaurant shows and figured why not!!!!!

Not a lot exciting happening here.  How about your house?  What have you been up to?  Any new frugal ideas?  Did you save money this week or get any great deals?

Prayers be with you all for health and safety and for healing for all of those in need.  Have a great week and enjoy the smallest things as they are all important!
Blessings from my humble little home to yours.

Thursday, October 10, 2019

Need A Jump Start?

Do you need to jump start your frugal ways?  Do you need to tighten the budget?  Do you need to get back to the frugal life?
Have new bills accumulated?  Are old bills getting behind?  Just wanting to save more?

I think any of these things can happen to anyone.
Many people want to get back to being their BEST frugal self.  2020 is just a couple months away and can be a new start with a new year.  Get yourself back on track slowly in the next couple months.  Make lists of what to cancel or cut back on.  Make lists of ways to improve your financial situation.  Start cutting back now.  Get yourself to make small cut backs and then really work hard at it in the new year.

  • Stay home more.  Plan your trips to use the least amount of gas.  No eating out - no more stopping for coffees (take your own).  The more your stay home the less gas you use, the less upkeep on vehicle.  CHECK with your INSURANCE companies if you have made a major life change.  If you retired, work from home, work part time, work within so many miles of the house, etc...…..  you may get your rates lowered!!!!!!  I did - when G and I both retired - our rates dropped drastically.  ALSO if you hit some of those MAGIC AGES your rates will decline as well.  Call and check!
  • Watch for food and grocery deals.  Buy the markdowns, clearance and stock up on the seasonal sales.  Whatever you save this week on groceries is $$$ you can use for something else or save.  It is basically money in the bank.  Cook from scratch!!!!!    Shop from home first - use what you have and get creative.  Shop sales.  TAKE anything that you are offered.  Check with Marketplace and Freecycle - you can often find farmers gifting/or cheaply selling food - you can find jars for canning.  Check with local farms to see if they allow gleaning at the end of the season.  Many do - you can get tomatoes, pumpkins, potatoes, etc. for pennies or nothing just for asking.  KEEP YOU PANTRY STOCKED FOR ANY EMERGENCY!
  • Simplify your meals and snacks.  Makes soups, casseroles - use less meat.  Take snacks of veggies, fruits, nuts, peanut butter - homemade treats.  Use more pasta, rice and beans in your diet (they are great for stretching the budget).  Consider meat as an ingredient NOT a main event.
You can easily halve or quarter this recipe for biscuits.  Biscuits are easy and cheap.  Use biscuits, bread or cornbread to extend any meal.  All are filling and help the budget.
  • Be aware of utilities.  Turn off lights when not in rooms.  Use candles more.  Turn heat down or AC up - use fresh air.  Let sun in on cold days, pull curtains at night to keep warmth in.  Be mindful of water waste.  Unplug small appliances not in use.  Air dry clothes if possible - it not, use your drier sparingly and hang things to partially dry.
  • IF someone asks what you want for a gift - BE PRACTICAL.  Ask for grocery GC's, food, or any supplies you may need. 
  • Also be practical with what YOU give.  Give homemade goodies, lovely crafted items, re-gift any gift cards you may have that you won't use, check out thrift stores for new items, etc..
JUST GET CREATIVE with everything.  Remember the rule of  one half - use half of everything and/or water down items.  Most things you will never notice a difference.
ASK for discounts and better deals - they may say YES!
BUDGET (I hate that word) - is basically spending less than you make.  Pretty simple concept.  Stick to it.
SAVE what you can.

Pick and chose whatever works best for you and your family.  Not everything works for everyone!  Odds are you WILL fail along the way.  That is normal - it happens to everyone. Just get back up and start again.  Stumbling along the way is normal.  Don't beat yourself up - just don't quit!!!!!  Keep on trying.

So get busy now and do a little jump start to get yourself in the frame of mind that 2020 will be a good financial year for your family.   Make a plan and stick to it!
Start making and implementing small changes - pennies make dollars.

If you want to want for nothing - just want less!  Keep it simple and enjoy the little things.

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Dump Dinners - My Favorite Way to Cook

I do like to cook, but I also like things that are yummy AND easy to make!  I can take my time with dishes, but just prefer quick and easy.  Most people are leading very busy lives today, and anything that makes it a little less hectic is always good.
If you work or go to school, or have busy family/farm lives - dump dinners are for you!  So easy, so yummy, and very economical.  Generally easy clean-up as well.

1 - 30 oz. bag of frozen hash browns (you could substitute fresh if desired)
1 - 32 oz. container chicken broth (or homemade)
1 - 10 oz. can cream of chicken
1 - 8 oz. cream cheese
1 - cup shredded cheddar cheese
3 oz. bacon bits (crispy bacon)

Place hash browns in crock pot - add in broth and cream of chicken soup and half of bacon.  Cook on low for 7-8 hours OR high for about 4 hours.  One hour before serving stir in cubes of the cream cheese.  Stir to incorporate throughout the soup.  Once it is all melted - you are done.
Top bowls of soup with cheddar cheese and remaining bacon.
I am making this come the weekend!!!! Mmmmmmm

1 pound ground beef (or turkey)
1 onion, diced
1 packet of Taco seasoning (or equivalent of homemade)
1 small can green chilies (if desired)
1 jar (16 oz.) salsa
1/2 pound rotini (or any) uncooked pasta
2 cups water
Shredded cheese to top

Brown meat and onion in large skillet.  Drain fat.  Add seasoning, chilies, salsa and 2 cups of water.  Stir to combine.  Add pasta and stir.  Reduce heat and cook (covered) until pasta is cooked (15 min. or so)
Serve with a topping of cheese.
Doesn't get much easier!  Tasty too.
I make this often - sometimes I add a can of chili beans as well!

3 cans (10 oz.) cream of chicken soup (undiluted)
2 C  uncooked instant rice
1 C water
1 pound boneless skinless chicken
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. paprika
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/2 C diced celery (I like to use frozen peas)

Combine soup, rice and water in slow cooker.  Add chicken and seasonings.  Add celery or peas.
Cover and cook on low for 6 - 8 hours or high for 3-4 hours.
I also make this on top of the stove in less than an hour.  It depends if you are gone all day or home - how you cook it.

Busy people can still have hot, yummy and comforting food.  Dump dishes have always been my favorite things.  I figure most of my life has been spent cooking this way, and now it has a name!!!  If you think about it, ALL soups, stews, and casseroles are basically 'dump dinners'.  Dump in those ingredients - turn on the heat and soon you have a great tasty meal.
So easy!  

ONE POT dishes have always been my go to.  Not only easy - but easy to clean up.  Add a side salad or veggie or bread and you have a fantastic meal.

Hope these help someone on a busy day.  Good old comfort food at it's best.

Sunday, October 6, 2019

Weekly Wrap-Up 10/06

Happy Sunday everyone!  Hope this finds all well.

My goodness - fall is finally here!  We started out hot this week and ended on a cool fall note.  A front came through and BOOM, just like that it was fall.
It looks that highs for at least the next week will be in the 60's and 70's and lows will be 40's and 50's!
No heat needed yet.  I did get out my slippers!
We  got a little bit of much needed rain over night.  It is kind of gray outside right now, but I think the sun is supposed to shine at some point today.

My week:
  • As it cooled, I did get some more yard work done.  Slowly I am doing stuff.  It sure is easier now that it is cooler!
  • Got to turn off AC and open windows and air the house.
  • Scheduled my furnace check for the 14th of this month (it is free)
  • I worked more on the downstairs extra pantry - trying to organize some more and inventory.  This is a long process.
  • I went out only 1 day this week and ran to my brothers house.  He sent me home with squash, green beans and cucumbers!
  • I received a $5 gift card from the "Do It Best" hardware if I spend $25 for my birthday month.  I am sure I can come up with some items for gifts or yard
  • Got to pick some roses this week - they are blooming yet again.  I made two bud vases up. Oh how I wish you could smell these.  They are heavenly.
  • I have been watching You Tube videos about old ways of doing things and living simply
  • I made a batch of beans and rice - used for 2 meals and then froze balance.  That came out of freezer Saturday and I added it to a batch of chili
  • Fall cleaning has started - oh heck, cleaning never ends!
  • Got out my fall candles and melts - Mmmmmmm love the fall smells
  • No groceries or spending
  • Doing all the regular stuff - that is a given
Meals this past week:
Fried potatoes topped w/cheese, breaded shrimp (found in freezer and baked it), tomatoes
Beans and rice and sliced tomatoes
Burritos (using beans and rice) and lots of cheese & salsa
Mashed potatoes and chicken strips
Chef salad
Fried green tomatoes and small salad
Had popcorn for snacks a couple times and some tortilla chips and homemade salsa
**Had 4 meatless days this week!!!

I am going to go in today and cook the green beans my brother gave me.  There are 3 lbs.  I will then place them in containers for meals later on and freeze.  I think I will have chili again today, then I will freeze the balance of it as well.  Hmmmm - thinking a loaded baked potato this week as well (w/chili).  Yum!

How was your week?  Has your weather made the change of seasons?  Are you gearing up for winter (or summer) depending on where you live?  Did you get any great deals this week?
Stop by and say hello and let us know what is going on in your life!!!

Prayers for all.  I know several readers are going through some hard things with their families and I have kept you all in prayer.  Gentle hugs to all.
May your week be blessed with health, happiness and financial security.
Blessings from my humble little home to yours.