Monday, September 28, 2015

Probably Truth!

I love this little poem.  Someday - hopefully many, many years from now - this may be the scenario! 
Enjoy.


I was shocked, confused, and bewildered
as I entered Heaven's door,
Not by the beauty of it all,
Nor the lights or its d├ęcor.

But it was the folks in Heaven
who made me sputter and gasp--
the thieves, the liars, the sinners,
the alcoholics, the trash

There stood the kid from the seventh grade
who swiped my lunch money twice.
Next to him was my old neighbor
Who never said anything nice.

Herb, who I always thought
was rotting in hell,
was sitting pretty on cloud nine,
Looking incredibly well.

I nudged Jesus, "What's the deal?
I would love to hear Your take.
How'd all these sinners get up here?
God must have made a mistake."

"And why's everyone so quiet,
so somber?  Give me a clue."

"Hush child", He said, "they're all in shock.
No one thought they'd be seeing you."

JUDGE NOT!!
Author Unknown

The lesson to learn is the old adage - "judge not lest ye be judged".  So true. 

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Frugal Happenings 9/27

Good morning all.
Here we are at the last Sunday of the month!  A few more days and we will be in October.  Thanksgiving is less than 2 months from now and it will be here before you know it!

The weather has gotten very seasonal here - which means cooler.  I love it.  No AC and no heat!  It's perfect in my opinion. 
A few trees have started to change color - I imagine it is more noticeable in the country.
I do believe our hummingbirds have flown on to warmer climates.  I still have the feeder out, just in case any Northern birds come through - they will need energy and a drink.

My bell pepper plants have a lot of new blooms and several small peppers coming on.  I have several side shoot cabbages growing out there, and still have a bunch of green tomatoes hanging.

My frugals this week;
  • I did a big stock-up at Sam's Club, my first visit in a year!
  • Bought pork loins at Kroger for 1.49/lb. and got 2 for a total of $12.  Had the butcher cut them for me (free), and ended up with 24 center cut chops and a package of end pieces to use for soup or something.
  • While at Kroger I cleaned up at the clearance section.  Got so many great items, dated 2 - 3 years out, at a 70% discount.
  • Waxed the kitchen cabinets with product on hand.  They look brand new!
  • Picked the balance of the squirrel corn.  Those little buggers were busy this spring planting.  I managed to harvest about the equivalent to $10 worth purchased at the feed store.  GO squirrels!
  • I did a ton of yard work, getting ready for fall.  FREE exercise for sure
  • Went to our car/home insurance agent this week with a question, and ended up making some changes.  One change will save about $120 every six months of both vehicles, and a mistake they found will bring us a hefty refund!  One hour well spent.
  • Picked more tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, and 1 zucchini
  • Hard boiled a doz. eggs for quick and easy breakfast or lunch this week
  • Stopped at a yard sale, and found a box (100) of colored file folders.  It was brand new and I paid $2!!!  They will last us the rest of our lives - LOL.
  • Ran to the library.  Funny, I have literally hundreds of books here, dozens, downloaded on tablet, and the web at my finger tips, but I get a thrill walking through the aisles and through the stacks of books waiting for one to yell READ ME!!    I am sure I am not alone.  I got 4.
  • Our electric bill this month is .49!!!!!  WOOHOO!  We are on the budget plan, and because of the mild weather and lack of using the AC we don't have to pay the budget this month!
I guess those are the frugal items I can brag about!  Of course, we had all meals from home (even on G's birthday).  Made our own tea and filtered water, and all the other normal things.

What did you accomplish or save this week?  Please let us know.
God bless each of you and keep you safe through this coming week.
Take care.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Hints & Tips

Here are a few ideas that might make life easier, more interesting, and hopefully save a little money!

  • If you have partial cans of paint at home, try mixing colors together for a new color.  It will sure be a custom color!  Always mix latex with latex or oil with oil.
  • Add 1/3 of a standard bottle of vanilla to a gallon of paint.  You will not have that paint smell when using, and the small amount won't change the color.

  • Add 1/3 cup of peanut butter to any crisp/crumble mix you use.  Really jazzes up the flavor.  Great in apple crisp
  • Garden remains - if you are down to having a handful of fresh veggies from the garden - mix them together, blanch and freeze in one bag for soup starter.  Ex:  carrots, beans, turnip, squash, etc.          The same can be done with any leftover veggies you have from your meals.  Just put al the veggies in a container in the freezer, and then make soup with it!  NEVER throw them out.
  • Check your spices NOW.  Winter and the holidays will be here quickly.  Make sure you have all the herbs and spices that you will be needing for that holiday baking and cooking.  **If you wait till you need it, the stores may be out (you probably aren't the only one that waited), the weather may be bad, or you may right in the middle of a recipe.  Be prepared!!
  • MIX salted peanuts and candy corn together in a bowl for a treat when you get a sweet tooth.  The mixture tastes like eating a Pay Day candy bar.  Both items can be purchased at dollar stores.  YUMMO - I love this stuff!!!!!!!!!!
  • Check with your local orchard to see IF they may let you go out and pick up the 'falls' for a lesser price.  That would be the apples on the ground.  They would be great for applesauce or making apple butter.  IT CAN'T HURT TO ASK!
  • If you are out driving and see a tree with apples, pears, etc. stop and ask if they want to get rid of them.  Many people never use the fruit from trees in their yard (it was there when they moved in).  Seems crazy to me, but there are people who just see fruit (or walnut) trees  as a mess.  Remember - ALWAYS ASK!

  • For a cozy fall/winter look - drape a smaller quilt over the back and arm of the couch.  It will also be handy for naps!!
  • Use small crocks or glass/ceramic water pitchers to hold fall flower arrangements, whether fresh or silk.  Just gives a fun rustic look.
Hope these give you some ideas.  More tips to come in the upcoming days.

Thought for the day:  Don't forget to try new things and have fun with it!  We only get ONE ride on this E ticket of life, make the most of it.

Later

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Grocery Tips

We all have to shop for groceries.  It is a necessary evil!  We need to be smart when we shop.  Here are just a few tips to help you stretch your dollars are far as you can.

  • Take advantage of loyalty cards.  I loathe them and I love them.  I feel that the store should sell to everyone at the same price - so the cards do tick me off, but I do use them.  They do save you money on sales.  They also often have extra perks, such as gas savings.
  • If you are a 'senior', many stores have a certain shopping day that you get an additional discount.  Call your store to inquire.  Many times seniors also don't have to buy required minimum purchases to get to the best price.
  • Be friends with your butcher.  Ask what days they most often mark down meat nearing it's 'sell by date'.
  • If items are out of season - buy frozen instead of fresh.  Fresh out of season will cost a lot.  Frozen is probably even higher in vitamins and minerals, as most fruit and veggies are flash frozen upon picking, where as fresh is picked under ripe and shipped.  Frozen can often be had for a $1 or less a bag on sales.
  • Know your sale cycles.  Many items regularly go on sale every 6 - 9 weeks.  There are also 'seasons' for sales.  SUMMER HOLIDAYS - stock up on ground beef, hotdogs, sausages, condiments, pop, buns, chips, etc.   BACK TO SCHOOL - cereals, lunchmeats, peanut butter, bread, snack foods, anything for a lunch box.  WINTER HOLIDAYS - hams, turkeys, sweet potatoes, cranberries, baking goods (cakes, pies, cookies, candy), canned goods, etc.  CHRISTMAS/NEW YEARS - corned beef, cabbage, citrus, after holiday markdowns.
  • Stay away from the deli if possible.  Meat and cheeses are almost always more expensive at the deli, that in the meat and dairy dept.
  • Don't shop (if possible) the first 3 days of the month.  That is when many that get assistance shop, and believe it or not, many stores INCREASE their prices at that time.  Shame on them!!!!!
  • Buy items at the right store.  Dollar stores will most often have the best prices on cleaning products, health & beauty, and paper goods.  Warehouse clubs often have better prices on fish and meat than grocery stores, except for a super sale.   Dollar stores also are selling many brand name items now - so knowing if a $1 is cheap is to your advantage.
  • Buy fish frozen.  Watch where it comes from, as many countries export fish that comes from REALLY dirty waterways. (Do your research on-line).  Frozen is generally frozen within minutes of being processed and it is most often cheaper than fresh.  Next time you go to buy FRESH fish, read the fine print!  I bet it will say "previously frozen".  Whatever happened to the old adage - do not thaw and refreeze meat?  Odds are if you buy fresh you will take it home and freeze it.  You also don't know the conditions or how long it took to thaw!  I don't want to take that chance.
  • Shop alone!!!!!  NO KIDS.  This just makes sense if you can possibly do it.
  • Keep a price book or log.  Know who generally has the best prices for what and when.  Keep track of sale cycles.  This will be handy, unless you have an exceptional memory, or only shop 1 or 2 places.
  • Try places like Aldi and Sav-A-Lot.  They both sell many national brands, and they just have great prices on most items.  Be willing to try store brands - many are just relabeled for that store and come from the same place as national brands.
Other than shopping Aldi, an occasional (and rare) visit to Sam's, I only buy items that are on sale, clearance, or that I have a coupon for.  I do NOT pay full price.
If you follow these guidelines, you should be able to stretch your shopping dollar, and still be able to add to your stockpile. 
That stockpile will come in handy when finances are stretched for whatever reason, or in the event of weather or worldly events that go down the toilet.

Be a smart shopper!!!!!!

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Frugal Happenings 9/20

Happy Sunday!
Wow, another week another dollar!!!!!
 I hope you all have had a great week.  We actually got some much needed rain on Friday and Saturday.  It seems funny to say "much needed" after the incredibly wet summer we had.  Our grass has started to brown and we had cracks in the soil at least 1/2" across.

We had a couple pretty warm days, but now we are back to more seasonal and comfortable temps.  Loving that!
It's been a pretty quiet week in these parts.  I stayed home a good part of the week and worked around here.

  • I picked more tomatoes and peppers
  • Harvested squirrel corn.  They planted it, so I figure they should get to enjoy it.  I have been taking down the stalks as I harvest - may use them as free decoration for fall.  Not sure.  I will finish that up this week.
  • Been doing lots of yard work, and cleaning out flower beds.  FREE exercise
  • AC only ran part of 2 days
  • I painted one of our security doors.  They are about 27 years old and getting pretty frumpy looking - so I got out Rustoleum paint we had, and re-did the side door.  It looks great.  Hopefully I will get the front door done this week.
  • I stopped at a yard sale on a fluke this week when I was out.  Found some great deals.  At least 4 stocking stuffers for Christmas at .50 each!  Oh hey, I'm not too proud.
  • Had one meatless night.  Fixed fried green tomatoes, zucchini and onions.  YUMMO!
I hadn't been to a yard sale in quite some time.  I probably only stopped at 3 or 4 all summer.  I found this handmade afghan (brand new) marked $3, and everything was 50% off when I stopped, so I paid a whopping $1.50.


Isn't it pretty?  That is over the recliner, so you can't even see the whole thing.  I am not sure if I will gift it or keep it.
I also got 4 - 20oz. bottles of scented body wash for .50 each.  Those will definitely go in gift bags.  I also got myself a new bottle of shampoo and a tube of very expensive lotion for .50 each.  I think that was a very good stop.

I made my first pot of chili for the season last night.  It sure was tasty.  We will have leftovers of that tonight.  I got a nice roast out of the freezer to thaw, and will crock pot it and veggies tomorrow.  I love the cooler weather, because I am more apt to make those kind of hearty fall dishes.  I have really missed them!

Well gang, that's about it for me this week.  I seem to do mainly the same old things each week.  I hope you all have a great week ahead.  May your week be frugal and fun filled.
May God watch over you and keep you and yours safe.

Friday, September 18, 2015

NUM NUM NUM

Aren't they pretty.  They are so tasty too.

Enjoy a healthy and frugal snack!

An Apple A Day......

I know that now is the time that it seems everyone is talking about pumpkin!   Pumpkin latte, donuts, pancakes, bread.....................  All I can say is ICK, YUCK, BLAH, POO!!!!  Is it obvious that I don't care one thing about pumpkin?  Not even the traditional pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving.  It's just not my thing.

Now give me apples this time of the year and I am in heaven!!!  I like apple everything.  Apples are extremely frugal in the fall.  Most stores and orchards have them for a good price, home trees are loaded, and hopefully you just may see an abandoned or lonely tree some where, that you glean from. **Remember if the tree is in someone's yard - PLEASE ASK PERMISSION.

I absolutely love apple cider, even though it is pretty expensive around here even at the orchard.  I do manage to get a gallon or two during the season.   I love eating fresh apples, and one of my other favorites, is what I call fried apples.   Mmmmmm fried apples and pork chops - a fall fave!!
I love fresh sliced apples dipped into peanut butter.  It's a very healthy snack!

When making fried apples, I simply peel and core, then slice into a pan with about 3 tablespoons of butter.  Sprinkle with sugar or sweetener and a little cinnamon and 'fry' till tender.  Great with dinner, as a dessert, or a snack.

EASY HOMEMADE APPLESAUCE
1/2 C water
7 - 8 C apples, cored, peeled and quartered
1/2 C sugar
1 tsp. lemon juice
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/8 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. vanilla
Bring water to a boil in a heavy saucepan; add apples and return to a boil.  Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add remaining ingredients; stir well.  Serve warm or cold.
On the spices added, that is up to your desired taste.  I sometimes like to add red hot's instead of cinnamon.  I also use a potato masher to smash into smaller pieces - that is a matter of choice.
These can be made and frozen as well.

CARAMEL APPLE DIP
8 oz. pkg. cream cheese, softened
3/4 C brown sugar, packed
1/2 C butter, melted
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Combine all ingredients, mix well.  Refrigerate for 2 hours.  Makes 2 cups.  Dip fresh cut apple slices in this.  YUM
Cost probably around $2.

SLOW-COOKER CARAMEL APPLES
4 tart apples, cored
1/2 C apple juice
1/2 C brown sugar, packed
12 red hot's
4 Tbsp. butter, divided
8 caramels, unwrapped
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1 Tbsp. sugar

Cut 1/2" slice off the top of each cored apple.  Arrange apples in crock pot.  Pour apple juice over the apples.  Spoon 2 Tbsp. brown sugar, 3 candies, 1 Tbsp. butter and 2 caramels into each apple center; sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar.  Cover and heat on low until apples are tender - about 4-6 hours.
YUM - top with whip cream if desired.
WHAT A TREAT

I hope you get to take advantage of this wonderful and healthy fall fruit while prices are relatively cheap.  I will list more apple recipes throughout the month (and maybe even a couple pumpkin)!
ENJOY

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Frugal Happenings 9/13

Happy Sunday everyone.  It amazes me how quickly we get from Sunday to Sunday!  The time seems to be flying.
We woke this morning to very cool temps (47*).  Yesterday had highs in the 60's and today might get to 70 (but sunny), then we start getting back to normal this next week.  You folks out East get ready, as you will be getting a couple cool days this week.
I am actually loving the weather.  It has made for great sleeping, and no heat and no AC.  This is my favorite type of weather.

I know many had a short work week and a long weekend, so I hope your week was good.  Now that we are 'officially - unofficially' into fall, it's time to start getting all our fall projects done.
What have you been doing this week?

  • I am still picking a few fresh veggies - tomatoes (a few), peppers (lots), fall crop lettuce, and a few beans.
  • Did a lot of small projects and small maintenance items this week
  • Started my fall house cleaning
  • Did some yard work, gearing up for end of season - much more to do
  • Remade my fall door wreath from items I found in my craft tote.  It looks so pretty
  • Got some great deals this week between sales and clearance at both Kroger and Fresh Thyme.
  • Used an old box of baking soda from the fridge with peroxide (in a paste) for cleaning.  Replaced the frig box with some that was past date from the shelf.
I was cleaning in the basement and actually came across 4 big totes in storage, that I had no idea what was in them.  You ever do that?  Well, any way, I found several quart blue Mason jars, several nice size Coco-Cola tins (I used to collect), and several gallon glass jars that I had forgotten about!
Now I am trying to figure out ways to utilize many of them for nice storage.  I have already utilized a couple, and coming up with many ideas to make the pantry look pretty!  This is kind of a fun project.

My great deals at the stores this week included mainly items for stocking up my pantry.
  • Tuna - 2/$1 (24)
  • Eckrich smoked sausage - 1.49/pkg. (5)
  • Campbell's chunky soup - .99/can (5)
  • Speed stick deodorant - .49/ea. (4)
  • 4lb. bags of Pinto beans - 1.59/ea. (2 - all they had)
  • 5 lb. bag of potatoes - .99
  • Gala apples - .47/lb. (8 lbs.)
I make a lot of homemade soup during the fall and winter, but it's always nice to have some canned on hand.  The beans will last for a long time - geez they are dated 2018 - but will last longer is properly kept.
The apples are for eating.  Gala's aren't the best for pies or cobblers, but I may get more to make some crockpot apple butter with.  The price can't be beat, that's for sure (except if I could get for Free!)

Did you get any items for your winter stock-up this week?  What did you do to save a little money this week?  Give us your ideas, as we are all hungry to learn new things.

Guess that's about it for me.  I am off to the kitchen to start a nice pot of stuffed pepper soup - YUM.

May God be with you and bless you and yours in this coming week.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Medicine Cabinet Stock

Winter will soon be upon us, as desperately as we wish not!  It is a great idea to be stocked up on OTC essentials, in case of sudden sickness or illness during extreme weather conditions.  There are some basics that we should all have on hand ALL THE TIME!

  • Ibuprofen - it's a great anti-inflammatory for aches and pains
  • Acetaminophen - super fever reducer and pain reliever
  • Cold medicines - it's best to keep ones that are combos that work for many symptoms
  • Anti-histamines - great for allergies, respiratory issues, and itching
  • Medicines for intestinal cramping and diarrhea and heartburn
  • Basic throat lozenges
  • Neosporin - a great anti-biotic cream
This is a good place to start.  It is also important to always have band-aids, gauze and wound pads.  Also have a couple Ace bandages on hand for sprains.  Remember we will all be shoveling snow soon, and treading on ice.  Stuff happens  - be prepared.

** I also like to keep honey on hand, which is extremely good for a sore throat.  Honey is basically the perfect food and is just chocked full of vitamins and healing properties.

** I also keep Vitamin C, Echinacea and Goldenseal on hand.  All are extremely important in helping the body heal and they are natural.

**My other staple is Aloe Vera juice & capsules for taking internally.  It has great healing properties.  I also always have Aloe Vera gel (pure) on hand for wounds and skin abrasions.  I take Aloe capsules every day.

It is better to be prepared for an emergency than not.  There is nothing worse that getting sick in the dead of winter and having to go out to get some medicine.
Stock up now and be prepared for any emergency.  These items and some hot soup should get you through a bad cold or a mild case of the flu.

STAY HEALTHY FRIENDS

Monday, September 7, 2015

Mexican Taco Chicken

Ellen mentioned this recipe.  I have never posted on the blog, so here we go.  You can take liberties and adjust as you wish - it's not rocket science.

3 - 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (you could use thighs if you prefer dark meat)
1 can black beans or your preference
1 can corn - drained  (I use a half of pkg. of frozen)
1 regular jar of salsa
1 - 2 pkgs. of taco seasoning  (we use 2 - as one just didn't flavor it enough)

Place your chicken in the bottom of your crockpot and top with all the other ingredients.  I also add about 1/2 cup of water to the pot.
Heat on low for 8 hours.  (I usually cook on high for about 2-3 hours, then low for about 4 since I am at home most of the day).

Before serving, use a couple of forks and go about shredding the chicken into the mixture.

This is great when working all day.  Put it on before going to work, and it's done when you get home.

This is extremely filling and it really goes a long way.
We have served it as burrito and/or taco filling.  Served over rice.  Made nachos with it and served over chips and topped with shredded cheese and sour cream.  Makes a great messy sandwich (like a sloppy-jo).  I am sure there are many other ways to serve.   Ooooh, I thinking over wide noodles?  YUM

I believe you guys will really like it.  So simple and easy, not real high in calories, and good for you.

Here's a picture of what is left for day 3 for 2 of us.  It will be served as nachos this time.

Click on picture to enlarge viewing

I hope you all enjoy it.  I definitely give it a thumbs up as does G. 

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Frugal happenings 9/6

Hi there everyone.  Hope you are all enjoying a nice long weekend.  Holidays aren't the same once you retire - trust me.   They are all long weekends!  LOL  You even kind of lose track of what day and date it is - glad the computer tells me!!

We are having a heat wave in this neck of the woods.  Been 90 or above all week, and very high humidity.  Hopefully that ends in a couple days.  They are saying by Wednesday we will be getting back to more normal temps for this time of the year, and by next weekend have highs in the low 70's.  WOOHOO - I am so ready for that type of weather.  It could stay that way till Spring as far as I'm concerned.

The garden is really winding down, but still producing some.  My neighbor pulled his entire garden out the other day, as it wasn't producing much!  WHAT?  If it is producing at all, I will keep mine going.  Anything I get at this point is gravy - free food for the taking.

How was your week?  What did you do on the frugal front?
  • I am still picking some tomatoes, beans, zucchini, and lots of peppers.  Picked the end of the grapes yesterday.
  • Froze more peppers and beans.
  • De-stemmed all the grapes and they are in the freezer till I make time to make jelly or more grape juice.
  • Bought 6 - 16 lb. bags of dry cat food and 72 cans of wet cat food for FREE this week, using out Visa gift card.  Still have money left on it to buy more!
  • Line dried laundry on a couple occasions.
  • Used the crock pot one day, and made enough Mexican Taco Chicken to last for 3 meals for 2 of us! (using 3 breasts plus other ingredients)
  • Went to Value Village thrift store the other day.  I so needed a thrift store fix.  I need to go to another one or 2!!   I bought a nice pair of jeans for myself for 2.59, and bought a king size, one color QUILT for 20.89 (sure beats $100+).  It is very pretty! (peach colored)
  • Meals from home all week.
  • I got all my home canned goods organized.  Oldest on top or in front, and all like items together, so I can find what I want easily.
  • I have watered with rain water from barrels, and we did get rain Friday, which added some much needed water back into soil and barrels.
The jeans I bought are Riders, which seem to fit me best.  I can not remember the last time I bought a clothing item that wasn't on clearance, thrift, or garage sale.   The quilt still had all the tags handing on it, except the price tag (dang it).

Well guys and gals, that's about it for me this week.  Check in and tell what's happening in your neck of the woods.
Talk to you all later.
God bless each and everyone of you.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Frugal Recipes

Today I am going to list a couple frugal recipes that could easily be made from your pantry of basics.  These may just help jazz up your  diet, if SHTF.

IN A PINCH BISCUITS
3 C self-rising flour
1 1/2 C buttermilk or regular milk
1 Tbsp. sugar
Mix all ingredients together and drop by a large tablespoon onto a greased pan.  Place them close together. (personally I leave room as I like crunchy outsides).  Pour 4 tablespoons of melted butter over the top (optional).
Bake at 450* for about 20 minutes.

These would be yummy with gravy, jelly, butter, etc.  Love biscuits with soup and stew as well - you can stretch your main dish, by using less of it, when you add biscuits.




CHEESY PASTA PIE
3 C cooked pasta (any type you like)
2 Tbsp. butter, melted
1/2 C parmesan cheese (divided)
1 1/4 C pasta sauce
1 tsp. dried oregano (optional according to your taste)

Combine pasta, butter, and 1/4 cup of cheese and spread into a lightly greased 10" glass pie plate.  Pour sauce over the top, add oregano if using, and top with balance of cheese.
Bake at 350* for 30 minutes.  Makes 8 servings.

Would be great served with a little salad and some garlic toast.

Last night for dinner I made 'baked pasta'.  I made just a tad different from this.  Enough pasta for 2 cooked.  Mixed with one egg, and a jar of homemade pasta sauce (pint), and about 1/4 C parmesan cheese.  Placed in an 8" square baking pan, and topped with a bit more cheese.  Baking directions the same as above.  YUM

Frugal eating is the best!