Sunday, January 15, 2017

Frugal Happenings 1/15

Happy, happy Sunday everyone.
I hope you are all well and doing good.  We are great and have had an especially quiet week on the home front.

The weather has been all over the place this week.  We went from frigid temps to almost 70*.  We had rain, 50 mph wind, hail, thunder storms, ice and light snow, all in the past 7 days.  It sure has been a roller coaster!!  Temps this coming week are to go back up to the 40's and 50's with rain.  Our winter sure has been mild to say the least.
I know many of you have had to deal with unusual weather events this week as well - some not being as lucky as we were!

I sure have been enjoying watching the squirrels and birds.  This morning there were 14 squirrels in the backyard at one time.  I walk out to the back walk and about half of them come running up to me, looking for a treat!  They are just too cute.
We had a ROBIN at the bird bath this week!!!!  What a shock to see - as they stay gone all winter around here.  I am not sure if the poor baby was lost, or if it knows something we don't about Spring!

My uneventful frugal week:
  • Got a .20/gallon discount on gas
  • Bought 2 gallons of milk for a total of $3.18 (1.59/gal)
  • Got an email from the orchard about their pre-season closing.  B1G1 offer on apples - no matter what size you buy - 5 lb., 10lb., bushel, etc.  I don't need to can any more this year - but I did go buy 2 - 10 lb. bags for eating.  Price $14.75 for 20 lbs. of apples!
  • Been snacking on fruit and cheese/beef sticks/crackers that we have
  • Made an apple/peach crisp - YUM
  • Made a big pot of vegetable beef soup
  • Watching shows and documentaries on Netflix and You Tube
  • Doing all the normal stuff - making tea, filtering water, fixing meals from scratch with what we have, air drying laundry, etc.
  • Eating all leftovers for either lunch or breakfast (we aren't real picky)
  • Stayed home a lot - which saves money!!!!  NO TEMPTATIONS!
Meals this week:
Homemade individual flat bread chicken pizzas with all kinds of extra goodies on top
Kraut (leftover from Rueban day) with hotdogs and mashed potatoes
Homemade  vegetable beef soup with bread/butter (2X)
Home fried fish sandwiches and baked beans
Homemade red beans/rice, chicken strips and biscuits
Leftover biscuits with sausage gravy and scrambled eggs

So far this month I have spent ONLY $17.93 on groceries!  I think I am doing pretty darn good on my no spend month!  (Sure beats spending $40-50 per week).   How have you been doing on your grocery budget for the month?

How has your week been?  Were you prepared for the nasty weather that many of you got?  I hope no one had to do the "milk/bread" fight at the groceries this past week! 
Isn't it crazy how panicky people get?  It's like they think they will be trapped for weeks on end!  No matter how much they bought this past week - they would do it again this week if the weatherman gave the same predictions!!!! 
It is so nice being prepared for whatever comes our way.  I LOVE THE PANTRY!!!!!
Had I not bought fresh milk on Monday - I would have just used my shelf stable milk from the pantry.

Check in and let us know what is going on!  Love hearing from you all.
God bless and have a wonderful week ahead.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Treats for the New Year

Here we are again at that time of the year that we all THINK about losing a few pounds.  The holidays and the yumminess of the food and treats can be brutal on our waistlines.  If you are like us, we are finally getting to the end of the special treats that we have had around the house.  Those that we haven't eaten have gone into the freezer!

It is now time to start eating better and having healthier snacks.  We don't ever NOT have snacks - because then it seems that you are depriving yourself - and that in turn makes us want more!
So we try to eat healthy snacks.

We love fresh fruit.  Yes, fruit still has calories, but it is better than eating so many sweets.
If we have the ingredients on hand - we love to eat a small salad for a snack.

3 mashed ripe bananas
1/3 C applesauce
2 C oats
1/4 C almond milk (or reg. if that is what you have)
1/2 C raisins or craisins (optional)
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. cinnamon
Mix, drop by spoonful and bake at 350* for 15 to 20 minutes
These are healthy and absolutely NO sugar or flour!

We make these from time to time.  I get the 4 packs of low calorie yogurt on clearance once in a while, and when I do we freeze and make yogurt pops.  They freeze pretty darn hard - so it does take a while to eat one (which is a good thing).
Insert popsicle sticks (we scald and re-use).  Freeze till hard.  YUM

1 1/2 C pineapple
1 banana
1 1/2 C coconut milk (I have used reg. milk)
1/2 tsp. vanilla
Blend and freeze.  You can freeze in popsicle molds or re-use your yogurt containers. 
I am thinking you could also substitute peaches for the pineapple.  Experiment with your favorite fruits.

10-12 eggs
1/2 C milk
1/2 C shredded cheese (your fav)
ANY pieces of ham, sausage, beef, etc. that you have on hand.  Approx. a cup of your choice of veggies diced - onions, peppers, mushrooms, broccoli, etc.
Salt and pepper to taste
This is a great dish to use up all your leftovers!

Mix everything together and bake in a lightly greased 8 x 8 pan at 400* for 50-55 minutes (until the middle is set).
This makes a great healthy alternative for dinner with a salad (very filling) - or you can cut into sections and have an easy breakfast alternative as well.  Great to take with you and heat up at work.
So much healthier than stopping and getting fast food and cheaper too!

I hope this gives you some ideas for healthy eats that shouldn't hurt the waistline or the budget!
Do you have any HEALTHY yet FRUGAL treat suggestions?

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Health and Beauty Frugality

We all talk at the beginning of the year (every year) about how we need to get healthier, exercise and eat better.  WE ALL KNOW WE NEED TO DO THESE THINGS!
We eat pretty healthy for the most part (except at the holidays), and considering G's physical ailment, we are both pretty darn healthy. 
I DO NOT like to exercise at all!!!!!!!  I consider doing housework a form of exercise - I do go up and down the basement stairs a lot.  I love working in the garden and yard when the weather permits.  That is great exercise - lot's of bending, lifting, digging, tugging, pulling, squatting, etc.
I spend at least an hour every day in the fresh air - regardless of how hot or cold it is.  Then there is snow shoveling!
I drink lots of water and watered down fruit juices (they have lot's of calories too).

There are lot's of ways to get into shape without paying the expense of gym.
WORK OUT AT HOME!  You can do all the things I mentioned above, or you can increase your exercise with things that you have around the house.

*If you have any stairs at all - you have the same thing as a stair master.  You just use two or three of the stairs and briskly go up and back down (backwards) in many repetitions.  Great cardio and works on your legs.
*Use canned food for weights if you have no weights.  Start with 15 oz. can and do lifts and such, and then gradually work your way up to larger juice cans.
*Get a big heavy plastic kids ball - there are so many exercises you can do with it.  Leg lifts, arm exercises, belly exercises, etc.
*A heavy kitchen chair works well for working on squats, and doing half push-ups.
*Use the handle of the broom when doing toe touches.  Hold the broom in both hands - bend to touch broom handle to floor - rise.  Repeat.

There is no limit to the number of exercise you can do at home with what you have.  NO need what so ever to spend the money on a gym. 

*Do all your manicures and pedicures at home yourself.
*Take care of your own eyebrows
*Do you own facials.  There are all kinds of "recipes" on the computer to make homemade facial scrubs.  My favorite is a little brown sugar and honey mixed together.  I scrub my face with it - let it sit for 5 minutes - and wash off with warm water.  I do this 2X a month.  It makes your skin feel so soft. 
*I use coconut oil as skin lotion. (We also use it to cook with and in baking recipes) 
*Aloe Vera gel (99% pure) is wonderful.  It is wonderful for any skins abrasions.
*Tooth whitening - mix into a paste peroxide and baking and brush.  I use this once a week.  Use salt water as a mouth rinse - it's very healing.
*Shampoo - should always be watered down.  Hair experts will tell you that there is no way that we need so much chemical on our hair.
*Rain water or vinegar is great for conditioner.  It's natural and makes your hair soft. 
Mayonnaise is a great conditioner too.  Put a little on wet hair, wrap in plastic, and let it set for several minutes - rinse out well.
*Highlight your hair with lemon juice and sun
*Soften feet by soaking in a nice warm foot bath with Listerine added.  It totally "melts" the hard callus skin.  Soak, use a pumice stone lightly, and dry dead skin is gone.
*Lip gloss - first you can use just plain old coconut oil.  You can also melt a little oil and add the 'crumbs' from deep down in a lipstick tube - stir - and you have colored lip gloss.  I have made my own for years.

When your lipstick gets so low in a tube that you can't use it - use a lipstick brush or Q-tip to get all the color, before throwing it away.

Compacts or blush get low, and there is just a ring of powder or blush around the edges.  I have 2 separate small containers that I use to scrape all the powder (or blush) into.  Use it as loose powder.  There is no sense in wasting the product that you pay so much for.

WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR FRUGAL TIPS for your health and beauty regime?
We are all always wanting to learn new things that we can do with the items we have at home.


Sunday, January 8, 2017

Frugal Happenings 1/8

Happy Sunday morning my friends.  I hope you are all healthy and staying warm and safe.
There has been a lot of very nasty winter weather going on it different parts of the country this week.  There have been places that rarely see snow getting lots of it!

We started the week quite warm for January, then the temps went frigid.  We only got a couple inches of snow earlier on the week - but the air was feeling quite brutal.  We are currently up to 4* and will see the 20's today (that will be a first for a few days).  It is supposed to get back into the 40's and 50's this coming week.  We have had a relatively mild winter, and we are just getting closer to spring daily!  I  am not complaining at all!

How has your first week of January gone?  Are you starting the year by staying frugal?
Here's a look at my week:
  • Changed the furnace filter on the 1st with one I had here
  • Marked up and put up my new calendar that I got for a $1. (My free calendars are no more - the place I got them is now gone).
  • Started a new notebook/journal for 2017.  It was one I had on hand.
  • G found a bunch of holiday movies on You Tube that we did not see on TV this year - so we watched those at the first of the week.
  • G also found a series that he is now enjoying on Netflix - finally using it more.  I found several documentaries that I have been watching and saving for future watching.
  • I dehydrated 2 bunches of celery that needed to be used
2 big bunches of celery dried equals one half of a jelly jar when done!  LOL  Amazing!!

  • No groceries bought at all.  No money spent.
  • I ran to WM to pick up a new script for G on Jan.7 ($0 co-pay).  This was the first time I left the property since 12/29.  STAYING HOME SAVES MONEY!!!!!
  • Replenished pantry from items stored in basement
  • Been drinking lots of water and using the Soda Stream to make carbonated water for fruit juice drinks
  • Put away (in the freezer) LOTS of chocolate that we received for future enjoyment
  • Gave myself a great spa night at home.  Had a lovely soak (used Epsom salts in water), gave myself a much needed foot treatment/pedi and a homemade facial.  So relaxing.
  • Used some potatoes that were getting older to make potato soup
  • Used all leftovers in new ways
  • Made leftover black eyed peas into my own version of Hoppin' John (it was great).  Added cooked ground sausage, hot peppers, onion and salsa.
  • Actually did some reading this week!
  • Moved snow off drive once this week for a bit of cadio exercise
Meals this week:
Corned beef, cabbage, black eyed peas on NY day
Rueban sandwiches with leftover corned beef and homemade sauerkraut (these were awesome)
Hoppin' John served over rice (balance of mix went in freezer to add to soup later on)
Double stuff tacos (2X)
Potato soup (2X)

My double stuffed tacos.  Soft shell - melted cheese - hard shell and taco stuffing.  They were so filling and YUM!

Well, that has been my uneventful week!  It is pretty quiet around here.  I have also been enjoying feeding and watching the birds and squirrels in the back yard.  My outdoor kitties come out and sun in the afternoons - but stay in the greenhouse (on their warming bed) a lot in this kind of weather.
The indoor kitties are just being cute lounging around the house.  Pooty loves laying by the floor register - I guess ALL us older gals like to stay warm!

Please check in and let us know how your year is starting out.  Stay healthy and frugal my friends.
God bless each of you.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Kitchen Frugality

We all know all the standard ways to be frugal in our kitchens.  We are reminded some where, some how almost daily!

Grown your own and can and preserve - it's economical and healthy
Eat what is in season - it's economical and healthy
Eat smaller servings - it's economical and healthy
Eat less meat and less carbs - it's economical and healthy
Cook from scratch - it's economical and healthy
Hmmmmmm - I am sensing a  theme going on there!

These aren't the only rules to follow.  There are many ways to save money and have a frugal kitchen.
BUT ALSO REMEMBER - NO rules are meant for everyone!  Every family is different - and we all have to come up with our own plans.  We are NOT competing with one another - we are trying to do the best we can with what we have for our own particular family unit.
So pick and choose what works for you.

MEAL PLANNING - lot's of people plan their meals ahead a week or two at a time.  This has never worked for me.  I fix what I am in the mood for!  I cook with what I have.  
You can plan meals from your pantry and/or freezer.  You can plan according to what sales are.  There are no steadfast rules.

PANTRY/FREEZER ORGANIZATION - I do believe this is very important.  If you can't see or find what you have - you can't feasibly figure out what to cook.  If you intend on using your pantry/freezer for meals - keep them organized!!  It DOES save money in the long run.

COUPONS - SALES - If you use coupons (yes, you can save money) - make sure you combine them with sale prices to save even more.

BUY WHAT YOU WILL EAT - don't buy things just because it is a good deal.  IT'S NOT if your family won't eat them.

EAT WHAT YOU BUY - Make sure you use the foods you preserve and the ones you bring into the house regularly.  Don't be wasteful

ROTATE STOCK - make sure you have your oldest inventory to the front.  Use that first then go on the more recent purchases.  Also REMEMBER - "Use by dates" are just that - dates.  Generally they are informing you that the product is of the best quality if used by a certain date. It doesn't mean the product magically goes bad on that day!!!!!

EAT TO LIVE - don't live to eat.  Overeating is not only unhealthy - it's expensive.    Eat well balance meals. and stop when you are satisfied - not when you feel like exploding!

KEEP OFTEN USED ITEMS close at hand.  Whether it be everyday cooking utensils, appliances, or coffee or seasonings, etc.  - if you use it daily - keep it close to your prep area.  it makes cooking easier and more enjoyable.  Thus you will cook from home more often (frugal)

LEFTOVERS - I hear so many people say they don't eat leftovers.  My response is generally "Holy Cr*p" - we wouldn't eat a lot if it weren't for leftovers.  Re-invent them into new dishes!
EX:  I fixed black eyed peas for NY Day (dried peas).  I made a pound.  Next day I made my own version of Hoppin' John (added sausage, peppers, onions and tomatoes - served over rice). then we used some of that as a layer in homemade tacos (2X) and the rest was frozen (it will get tossed in the next batch of soup).  It doesn't have to get boring if you use your imagination and change it up!
I do NOT understand the logic of not eating leftovers - if you don't, I think you are missing out and over spending!

CHECK UNIT PRICES - bigger is not always better (cheaper).  Most all grocers show unit prices on the price signs now.  Sometimes buying 5 of a smaller unit (if on sale) is cheaper than buying 1 bigger package.  I notice this regularly with milk and toilet paper at the store. 
Milk can be .99/half on sale, but the gallon is say 2.69.  WHY would you buy the gallon?
TP can be on sale a 4/roll pack for $1 - same brand is 5.99/12 pack.  REALLY? 
I have tried time and time again to point this out to other shoppers at the store - and they look at me as if I have a giant green horn coming out my head - and then they buy the most expensive!  WOW

VARIETY - read and use cook books.  Try new items so you and your family don't get bored.  Get on the computer and look up recipes.  There are tons of recipe sites.  Check out books at the library.  Experiment.
Don't forget about the site - that you plug in your ingredients on hand and then receive recipes.

Being frugal gets to become a mindset after you have done it awhile.  If you are just starting out - take baby steps, and try lots of new things till you see what works for you.  If you have a fail - DON"T give up!!!!  Keep trying other things.   You will eventually get into the fact that you REALLY ARE SAVING MONEY!  It then becomes a way of life and it's FUN too!  A side perk is that it can improve your health too!

What are some of the ways you save money in the kitchen?  Do you have any tried and true methods or tricks?  Let's all help each other.  Life is our school room!  Let's share and learn.

Have a great day all!

Tuesday, January 3, 2017


I don't make resolutions at the beginning of a new year.  I find that they just lead me to feel disappointed in myself and I almost always have to admit defeat.  I just isn't worth it to me.

I SET GOALS!  That is different.  I don't put myself in a position of facing defeat.  I have no time restraints.  All I have to do is TRY!
That is so much easier for me.

My goals include:

For January:
  • I want to have a no spend month for the most part.  My GOAL is to spend much less than $40 on fresh produce, milk, etc. for the month.  I want to use strictly what I have.
  • I want to read more.  It seems that I haven't really set and read and enjoyed a book for months and months. 
  • I want to work on de-cluttering more
  • I want to perhaps do some crafting.  I haven't seemed to have the time for that for months as well.
Goals in general:
  • Spend less and use what I have more
  • Educate myself more - I love learning new things
  • Continually de-clutter - we just have way too much stuff and it  could bless others
  • Work on myself - just try to be a better person and a better Christian
  • Reduce, re-use and recycle all that I can
  • I want to allow myself more "down time" to do whatever "I" want - (I think it's called fun!)
  • Garden and can and work on our self sufficiency
There are a lot of things that I hope to achieve this year - I just have to allow myself to do them.

Are you a resolution person or a goal person?
What plans do you have for the month?
What for the year in general?

Let us know.  We can encourage one another and perhaps give each other some new ideas.
Blessings my frugal friends!

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Frugal happenings - last week of 2016

Good morning and Happy New Year.
WOW, here we are in 2017 - it sure seems that 2016 just flew by.

We had our last Christmas celebration on Monday, Dec. 26.  It was fun and we made good memories.  I made all of our food from things we hade on hand for the festivities (even the ice).  We had BBQ mini wienies, BBQ meatballs, meat and cheese platter, chili cheese dip, chips and cracker assortment, dip, cookies and goodies.  All finger foods.

We spent much of the week eating some sort of leftovers or remaking them into something new.

Our weather has been pretty decent.  We are starting the year warm - 40's today and 50's for a couple days, before getting back to winter weather.  The days are getting longer again - YIPEE!

My frugal week:
  • Using all our leftovers
  • Got all the Christmas stuff put away and the house back to normal before the end of year.
  • All laundry done to end the year right!
  • Saved all the pretty bags, boxes, bows, tissue paper and card fronts for next year
  • Got my basement back in order and all cleaned up
  • Cleaned and organized the pantry - WOW had it become a mess
  • Froze a lot of the sweets we received
  • Made a new bottle of foaming hand soap
  • Made fruit salad from fruit we received as a gift
  • Still using garden tomatoes!!!!  I have 2 left!  I have never had them this long before
  • I did go to Kroger to get corned beef brisket for our NY's dinner.  They were on a great sale of 2.99/lb.  I got 3 - $7.83, $6.52, and $9.06.  These will last till after next NY day!!!!!
  • I also found 5  - 1 lb. rolls of Jimmy Dean sausage on clearance for 1.79/lb.
  • I used my $25 GC at Kroger, so very little money out of pocket
  • Got several nice containers (as gifts) that I can use for storage
  • Made a frittata from the leftovers of meat and cheese (along with eggs)
  • Did NO after Christmas shopping!!!!!  That is a huge savings.  Nothing I 'couldn't live without'.
  • Did my Kroger points for gas credit
Here's the frittata.  It was yummy.  Made a nice dinner for us, and a couple breakfasts for G

Some of the containers I got that can be used for pretty storage.  I got a couple smaller ones too.

Meals last week:
Christmas Day - Small pork roast with veggies
Leftovers of meat/cheese, crackers and BBQ meats
Leftover pizza baked spaghetti
Fried hominy with onion and leftover pork - smashed potatoes (leftover)
Frittata and fruit salad
Taco salad and fruit salad
Shrimp and sauce - leftover meat/cheese and crackers (We always have shrimp on NY Eve)

Today we will be having corned beef and cabbage and black eyed peas - it is a good luck dinner to start the new year.  I have had this dinner every NY all my life.  I guess it has been lucky - I am here and still kicking!!!!!   I think it is a regional thing - they sure did have all items in one display at the grocery.

How was your last week of the year?  Did you get any great deals or did you stay home?
I look so forward to the coming year and sharing ideas and learning.

Happy New Year and God bless us all in this coming year!