Saturday, December 31, 2016

2017 - New Beginnings

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I hope for health, happiness, and prosperity to each and every one of you and your families.
I look forward to a new year of teaching and learning from one another.
God bless you!

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Frugal Happenings as of 12/24

Hi y'all!  I am posting a couple days late because of all the holiday celebrations.

I hope you all had a lovely holiday with your families and friends.  We got to see many of our relatives and enjoyed the visits.
I can't believe how incredibly blessed we are and how many seem to love us!  We received so many wonderful gifts.
My goodness we were blessed with 4 GC's, fruits and nuts, lotto tix, family pictures, many specialty foods (in wonderful re-usable storage containers), homemade candies and cookies, smell pretties for the house, clothes,  and on and on.  BLESSED BEYOND BELIEF

My frugal week (last week):
  • Wrapped the remainder of our gifts with supplies I had on hand.  Still  enough for a couple more years!!!!
  • Made a batch of peach pie moonshine!  This made 7 1/2 quarts.  Will post recipe later if anyone is interested! (Many used in gift baskets)
  • Made from scratch cookies
  • Received a gift in the mail from a friend on the coast (pretties and homemade fudge to die for!)
  • All laundry in cold water and dried most by hanging in the basement.
  • Cleaned all the wood floors (will probably do again this week since company is over)
  • Waxed the kitchen cabinets
  • Washed windows - have to take advantage of those 55* days in mid-winter!  Used homemade cleaner and newspaper
  • Received 3 bags of kitty treats and some homemade cookies from an old neighbor who stopped by for a visit
  • All meals from home
  • No groceries bought
Meals last week:
Tomato soup and grilled cheese
Home canned cabbage soup - added sausage and leftover veggies from fridge
Dirty rice with beef and salad
Leftover cabbage soup and sandwiches
Fried chicken and side salad
Meat and cheese with crackers and a salad
Pizza flavored baked spaghetti

We went from sub-zero wind chills and ice last weekend to almost 70* yesterday.  Quite the roller coaster on weather.  Cooler this week and then back up to 50* after New Years.  I figure every warm nice day we get - just puts us one day closer to spring!!!!

How did your holiday celebrations go?  Any gifts that help with your frugal way of living?
Check in and say hello.  I love hearing from everyone!

Blessings to all!

Sunday, December 25, 2016


I just wanted to make a quick post to say MERRY CHRISTMAS to each and everyone of you and your families.
May you enjoy your day with family and friends.
God bless.

"For unto you is born this day in the city of David a savior, who is Christ the Lord."

Wednesday, December 21, 2016


We should all count our blessing each and every day - but it seems that we tend  to think of it more around Christmas. 
I read so much on FB about how awful life is, how sad people are, how they just don't know how they can deal with more, etc..  The thing is I know most of these people, and it makes me so sad that they concentrate on tiny things in their lives, when they really do have so much to be thankful for.

I try to thank the good Lord every day just for waking up each morning and giving me another chance on this big old Earth.  I am thankful for my family (regardless how dysfunctional some are!), I am thankful for the roof over my head, for heat, for food on my table (regardless as to how simple it may be), for health, for my sweet fur babies, and for my great neighbors.
Mostly I am thankful for the birth of Jesus Christ and His promises for us.

This year, I, as have many, have had many heartaches and upsets.  People have gone on to their new 'forever' lives, people have gone through illnesses and loss of their normalcy.  Despite all of that, I am forever grateful, because God gave me the capability to have MEMORIES! 

What a treasured gift that is.  Forever in our minds we can have our parents, grandparents, siblings, spouses, etc.  Forever we can have in our minds the simple lives we lived as children, and the wonders of those many special Christmas's past.  I love having my memories and I love being able to dream of those that are no longer on this Earth.
Yes, I look at those things as blessings.  Everyday is a new blessing to me.

This morning a lady rang my doorbell, and she was holding a wet and snowy $100 bill.  She asked me if I had lost it, as she found it on our front walk by the street.  I was amazed at that - as most people would not have asked.  I told her no, as much as I would have loved it to be.  Her eyes got wide and she smiled and said - "You mean it's mine?".  I told her congrats and told her that this must be her lucky day.  Her answer, "Oh, what a blessing".
Yes, yes it was.  She sure looked like she could use the money, and I haven't quit smiling all morning!  (I received a blessing of her sweet spirit).

So the next time you get down or frustrated - stop and think and take a look around.  You are receiving blessings large and small each day, each hour of each day, and each moment of each hour.  The fact that you are reading this is a blessing.  You have learned, you can read, you have the equipment to read it, etc.

                                                Christmas years ago at Mom and Daddies
                                                      What wonderful memories of family

My wish this Christmas is that everyone will take the time to count ALL their blessings large and small.
Thank you to all my friends here.  It is wonderful to be able to share with you and to learn from one another.  You are all blessings in my life.  Yes, indeed. 

God bless you all.


Sunday, December 18, 2016

Frugal Happenings 12/18

Good morning all.  I hope this finds you well and safe.

We have had quite a weather week in this part of the country.  We had extreme cold, snow, more cold, warmer temps and rain, then plunging temps again.  Now we have ice covering everything, the temperature is 17* and dropping to below zero tonight.  Getting a dusting of snow over the ice (which actually makes it easier to walk).  I guess this extreme cold is supposed to last a couple days - then back to close to 40* by weeks end!
Kind of crazy and all over the place!!!!!

I had a nice Christmas lunch with my sister, brother and sister in-law yesterday.  G couldn't be there, as we have no way to transport his power chair.  (He did get lunch brought home to him!).  We had a nice time visiting and reflecting back to childhood Christmas's.

My frugal week:
  • Cut G's and my hair
  • Colored my hair from supplies on hand
  • I did finish ALL gift shopping
  • Made my first batch of Springerle cookies (German cookie) for gifting
  • Made more cookies for the squirrels
  • Received a huge bag of homemade Chex Mix from one of G's aunts
  • Given 2 bags of jerky and cat treats from G's aunt and uncle when they visited
  • Got a great pasta deal at Menards.  Buy 6 pack bag of elbow pasta or spaghetti (ea. pack is 12 oz.) for $4 - mail-in rebate for $3 thus costing only $1 for almost 6 lbs. of pasta.  DEAL lasts till end of Dec.
  • Bought 2 gifts at Menards on sale for $12.99 - each had an $8 mail-in rebate, so each gift will be $4.99!
  • Cooled tea outside on the handrail so as not to heat up frig.
  • Mailed all cards and a package this week.  I showed up at just the right time at the P.O. to help an elderly lady with a heavy box.  Firm believer of we are where we are at the right time!!!!!
  • Shoveled snow - so good FREE cardio exercise
  • Stopped at Kroger as I needed anise seed.  They had a closeout on it for 1.79 bottle, regular $4.49 each.  I bought 3 bottles which will last me for a few Christmas's.
  • I also found 2 bottles of Bragg's liquid amino (natural soy sauce) on clearance for 2.19 a bottle.
  • Received 8 quarts and 2 pints of home canned goodies, $25 Kroger GC, and a huge meat and cheese assortment from my siblings yesterday.  YAY love getting free food!

Meals this week:
Leftover casserole and salad
Homemade taco salad
Pork, 4 cheese tortellini, veg. combo in sauce and mixed greens
Baked mac n cheese with turkey added and leftover greens
Mac n cheese leftovers and fried okra
Loaded baked potatoes
Goodies my sister sent home from lunch (breaded pork, green bean casserole, corn, and mashed pots)

I need to finish up my wrapping this week.  I will be doing some baking, and hopefully staying home most of the week.
Are you all ready for Christmas?  What are some of your traditions that you will be following this week? 

May the Lord be with you and guide you in the coming week.  Blessings to each of you.  Stay safe and warm!

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Wintertime Fun

Hello there from this cold, cold day in Indiana.  We have snow on the ground and frigid temps, but hey we woke up today and we are moving around and doing good - so all is good in our world!  Hope all is good in your world as well.

Thought I show a couple fun things for this snowy winter.  These can be used for yourself or can even be a hit for parties!

There is nothing better than some homemade snow cream to bring back memories from childhood.  I remember Mom doing this.   This would be a fun party snack as well.  (REMEMBER - NO yellow snow!!!!!)

I make these every holiday season and they are just YUM!  So easy.  These are great for parties, an evening watching movies, OR as gifts!  Once you start eating - it's hard to stop!!!

So have a little fun this winter.  Make a nice cup of hot chocolate or a hot toddy and have a hand full of spiced nuts on a cold winter's evening.  Go play outside a while and bring in some pretty white snow and make a delish treat for everyone!

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Snow and More

Happy Tuesday everyone!
We are finally getting some snow in this here part of the country!  This is how it looks from my front porch this morning, looking across the street.

I have to admit it is pretty, although I would gladly do without it!

Here are a few last minute frugal ideas for gift making at your house.  These could probably all be made things on hand.  I have been saving ideas all year - maybe someone can use one or two of these cute ideas.

Apples with caramel.  Caramel made from sweetened condensed milk.  You can Google the instructions.  So easy.

A "hidden" key holder to place in the rock garden!  Simply a pill bottle with a nice stone glued to the top.  Maybe paint a larger stone as well with "Welcome" or "My Garden" or some special sentiment.

Cute little pin cushion jars that can also hold some supplies.  Could use batting, a sponge, or even Styrofoam for the cushion part covered with a scrap of material.

Rustic toothbrush holder.  Could even add a small toothpaste inside the jar (Maybe some floss as well).

Frame a doily made by grandma or some other wonderful keep-sake.  There is no limit to what goodies could be framed for wonderful memories. (pieces from a worn-torn quilt, a piece of daddies tie or mom's apron, etc.)

Don't forget - a nice plate or box of homemade cookies, or candy, or sweet breads.
No money - no problem.  There are tons of sweet and lovely ideas out there to give as gifts this season without breaking even the piggy bank!!!!!!!
Have fun and stay frugal friends!

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Frugal Happenings 12/11

Good morning my friends.  I hope this finds you all safe and healthy on this Sunday morning.  It is hard to believe that 2 weeks from today is Christmas morning!!!!!  WOW - I am not ready at all.

This week work started on the house next door (the rental most recently vacated).  A couple weeks ago a hand made for sale sign went up with an unbelievably LOW asking price - and it was removed within 4 hours.  House SOLD!!!!!  Had there been a little more time to think about it - I do believe we would have considered it.  All that extra land (and extra garage) would have been great - and for the price, the house would have been great for anything - rental, a huge pantry, you name it!  Obviously, it wasn't meant to be.
BUT any way - it has now been gutted and he is putting in new windows.  He is really working to improve it and then find good renters.
He seems like a really nice young man and very motivated.

The weather got really cold this week.  We have had a dusting of snow once.  Rain is coming into our area today.  Decent temps should prevail for a few days then back to frigid! 
The squirrels have sure been hungry.  I have several squirrels that now come running up to me when they see me come out and beg!  They are taking food right from my hand.  They are so darned cute.

My frugal week:
  • I got out my Christmas sweatshirts and fluffed them - all ready for wear.
  • I emptied and put away the last rain barrel before the temps dropped
  • Cleaned and refilled all the heated water bowls and bird bath. **I also bought another one for $15 when I went to Rural King (also bought a GC for a gift).  Critters and kitties need their water!
  • I had a bulb burn out on the garage security light.  The bulb broke off from the socket part, and I couldn't get out (it had been screwed in for years).  G remembered he a tool that might help in garage - I got it out and it worked!  So glad I didn't have to pay someone to help me.  I got it all fixed on my own.  (Oh, I tried the potato trick - it didn't work!)
  • Started the week by doing laundry in cold water and hanging most of it in the basement to dry.
  • Went to Aldi and used the $10/$40 coupon.  I got all stocked up on snacks, specialty crackers and cheeses for our upcoming get togethers and probably for the next 2-3 months.      
  • Received a FREE magazine in the mail.  Not sure who is sending them - I didn't order!
  • Worked on a blanket my gr. niece wanted me to make for her brother in-law (like her son).  It has been a major pain because it's huge - but I am mainly done.  Just a few minor adjustments to be made.
  • Filled my gas tank  (even though I had a half tank) getting ready for the frigid cold.  Saved .10 gallon.  Didn't have many points to use as so little grocery shopping last month.
  • Made some bread/pizza sticks from frozen pizza dough I had.  Rolled into bread stick size - oiled - sprinkled with parm. and Kosher salt and baked.  Served with pizza sauce on the side.
  • All meals from home
  • Got the cards all addressed - just need to run down to the P.O. tomorrow
  • Received a $10/$10 Kohl's coupon in the mail - will use it this week for a gift
Meals this week:
Leftover pizza casserole and salad
Sausage gravy with biscuits and fried eggs
Soup beans with ham and homemade cornbread (2X)
Homemade super supreme pizza (I put everything on that baby)
Smoked sausage, fried potatoes/turnips/onions combo (yum)
Beef/potato/cheese casserole, bread sticks w/sauce

I really have to get everything wrapped up for Christmas this week - time is just slipping away.  I still haven't started baking, so I definitely need to do that.  I just feel like I need my batteries charged!!!  I have no gumption for any of this at all this year.  I love Christmas, so I think it all stems from the loss of my brother. 
I am looking forward to a new year and a new outlook for myself!

Are you ready for Christmas?  Have you started baking?  Are you done with the shopping and crafting?  PLEASE check in and let us know what you have been up to.

I pray you all have a wonderfully safe and healthy week.  Blessings my friends.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Aldi Holiday Reminder

Many of us are totally blessed to have an Aldi grocery close by.  Their prices seem so good on just about everything.

This time of the year they have so many specialty items.  They are limited in inventory and in the time the stores will carry them.  I think I mentioned this last year, but it is so worth the reminder.
If you have to drive a little distance to get to a store - this time of the year it is well worth the effort.

They have specialty cookies, cakes, and candies.  There are many specialty cheeses and spreads and crackers.  We love the cheesecake samplers that you can only get during Thanksgiving and Christmas. 
Check out the liquor section if you like a cocktail or two or the holidays.
There are specialty beers and wines, German ciders, and a lovely product that is comparable to Bailey's Irish Crème (only flavored).  These would also make great gifts!!!!!

Yes, many of the items are German in origin or in tradition, but oh my goodness do they have some yummy stuff.  It is worth making a trip and stocking up for later.  I found items throughout the entire store, but our closest store has one side of an entire aisle devoted to specialty products!
Once the special items are gone - they are gone till next year!!!

Can you say YUM?  They also had caramel flavored and mint.  When I saw this, I grabbed it, as it was the last one on the shelf!!!

I advise you take a little trip to the nearest Aldi and just browse through the aisles.  I can almost guarantee you that you won't be sorry.


Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Holiday Guilt

I think we have all had one of those years that we felt tremendous guilt on the money that we have spent.  For myself, it was years and years ago, in my VERY young and stupid days.
I would shop and shop for others, charge it, and then pay all year with high interest rates, and start the process over again.

How many of you have had 'holiday guilt' before?

I know it is tougher when people have kids.  Now a days, kids are bomb-barded from morning to night with commercials and ads for all the things they so NEED!!!!!!!  UGH!  Everything is electronic and high tech.  Kids seem to have everything by the time they just hit their teenage years.
So many young people (as in adults) think they deserve to have EVERYTHING right now - the same things their parents worked for, for years.  It has become a ME world full of instant gratification.

I have mentioned many times that I make most of our gifts.  The younger kids (nieces and nephews) do get some store bought stuff.  I am very lucky that the youngsters in our family have parents that have taught them restraint.  They get tickled to pieces to get fuzzy socks or new jammies!  Little cars, story books, and army men from dollar stores have been great hits in the past!That makes me happy.

I love to hear stories of folks who buy at sales all year long for their gift 'closet', or those who buy "like new" from yard sales and thrift stores, or those who limit gifts and funds for shopping.  I like to hear about the homemade gifts - as well as loving to receive them! 
I think it is great that many parents have " a want, a need. a read, a clothing" type of Christmas - YES, just 4 items!  They should be proud of themselves.

Giving young people ALL they want - helps no one.  They do not learn restraint, they don't learn responsibility, they don't learn anything about monetary values, etc. 
Don't allow your children or grand children to get caught up in that trap.
Hopefully they will follow examples throughout their lives, and turn out  to be frugal like their great teachers and mentors!

I hope none of you feel 'holiday guilt' this year.  Don't go overboard, keep things simple, stay within budget, and have a ball! 
Merry Christmas


Sunday, December 4, 2016

Frugal Happenings 12/4

It's beginning to FEEL a lot like Christmas!!!   Oh baby, it's getting cold outside.  It will be highs in the 40's for the next couple days - but by the end of the week our highs are supposed to be in the 20's!!  YIKES
I really dislike cold, cold weather.  I guess it has come with getting older.

We have only seen peeks of sunshine this week.  It has been so cloudy and overcast.  I think I could handle the weather better if there was sun - I really do NEED sunshine!  I feel sunshine is essential for my sanity!

My frugal week:
  • I made a pot of 'turkey' gumbo soup (and tossed in leftover green beans)
  • I made up 10 jars of mixed beans for gift giving
  • I went to Dollar Tree and got lots of 'stocking/basket'  stuffers
  • Found lot's of great deals for the young-ins I buy for.  Took advantage of sales.
  • No groceries bought this week
  • I got the few decorations up, that I will be doing this year. (Just not into it).
  • Door decorations up
  • Got my Christmas cards out and have started working on them (all bought for .50 a box last year)
  • Received a bag of turnips from my brother yesterday.  We love them raw!  I am going to try frying like potatoes too. (his recommendation)
  • Received another $10/$40 coupon from Aldi on todays paper.  Good till the 17th!
  • Worked on my health insurance this week.  My company is not offering in 2017.  Finally signed and got a new policy.  Not everything I wanted - but it will cover major problems (God forbid) and I will be saving $200 a month from what I have now!!!!!!  All in all I am pleased!
  • I have been working on getting gift baskets together
  • Still using tomatoes from our garden for fresh salads - they are slowly ripening!

Meals this week:
Turkey gumbo soup (2X)
Open faced cheeseburgers and salad
Made a batch of faux crab/pasta salad with fresh veggies (yum)
Fried chicken and leftovers
Leftover night
'Pizza' casserole (like baked spaghetti only with pizza toppings)

It has been a fairly quiet week.  I am slowly trying to get things ready for Christmas.  I will have to start baking in a week or so.  I don't like to start too early.
3 more weeks till Christmas!!!!!!!

What have you all been up to this week?  Has anyone gotten any great deals or done anything fun?
I pray you all have a glorious week.  Stay safe and healthy my friends.


Thursday, December 1, 2016

Jar Recipe Gifts & More - PART 2

Well here we are 24 days till Christmas!  The official  countdown has begun.
It is beginning to feel a little more like Christmas here, as the weather has cooled again.  Not as cold as it probably should be - but that is ok.

Today are a few more ideas for a homemade Christmas.  Hope they give you some ideas.

  • Dip some nice size apples in chocolate and cover with crushed nuts or candy.  Stick a popsicle stick in stem end and either drizzle or dip the apples.  Place in a cupcake pan liner to dry.  wrap in saran wrap for giving.
  • A pretty dollar store cup and several flavored tea bags for the tea lover
  • Dip plastic spoons in white or regular melted chocolate.  After dry, bundle up several and cover with plastic wrap.  Attach a note - saying coffee stirrers.
  • Use small jelly size jars - place wooden stick matches inside.  Cut the striker pad off box to fit the top of jar (under jar ring).  Great for campers
  • Make fire starters for campers or those with fireplace.  Dip pinecones in wax and let dry. (Pinecones can easily be found in parks and at the cemetery).    You can also stuff TP tubes with drier lint - then wrap the tubes in brown paper to look like wrapped gifts (or taffy candy).
  • Don't forget the pets of people.  A nice bag of treats would be appreciated - or a new toy.
  • Make some sweet breads (banana, zucchini, pumpkin, etc.).  Wrap in plastic wrap - then "gift wrap" in a dollar store kitchen towel.  2 gifts in one.
  • Dip pretzels in chocolate or almond bark.  SO EASY and yet a yummy gift
  • Homemade cookies and candies on a pretty dollar store plate

I mix whatever type of beans I have together.  Fill either pint or quart jars (depending on family size) or use any jar you have.  I leave space in jar for a small packet of dry ham base (I made a packet containing 5 Tbsp. per jar).  Make up a cute tag giving cooking instructions and attach to jar.  Cute and very useful.

Here are some I made up the other day.  Each pint jar has close to a pound of beans and a small packet of ham seasoning.  I used 8 lbs. of beans and made 10 jars.

(Layer items in a jar)
1 box (2 pkts.) onion soup mix (or equivalent of homemade)
1/2 C split peas
1/2 C small alphabet macaroni
1/2 C shells (pasta)
1/2 C colored pasta
1/4 C lentils

CARD;  "When you feel you are to busy and a meal you need to fix, get out a kettle, 7 cups of water and 1/2 pound hamburger and this jar."
"While you have your things to do, and when you sit and eat - REMEMBER  - WE LOVE YOU!"
**You could add a small can of tomato sauce or diced tomatoes too if you wish.

(I get requests for this mix from family - they love it)
1 package of Country Gravy Mix (2.75 oz.) - can be bought at most grocers (or equiv. of bulk mix)
2 Tbsp.  chicken bouillon granules
2 Tbsp. minced onion (dried type)
2 Tbsp. celery flakes
2 tsp. parsley flakes
2 1/2 - 3 C. dried noodles (like egg noodles)

Best to use a wide mouth quart jar.  Stir together first 5 ingredients and place in jar - top with noodles.  Give with can of chicken.

INSTRUCTIONS attach:  empty contents into a pan and add 8 cups water - heat to boiling on high.  reduce heat - add chicken and simmer till noodles are done.  Stir occasionally.

1 3/4 C instant potatoes
1 1/2 C dry milk
2 Tbsp. chicken bouillon
1 tsp. dried parsley
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/4 tsp. thyme
1/8 tsp. turmeric
1/2 tsp. seasoning salt
*(You could even a tablespoon or two of cheddar cheese powder if you have it on hand)
Combine all together and put in a quart jar.
INSTRUCTIONS attach:  Place 1/2 cup mix in a bowl and add 1 cup boiling water.  Stir till smooth.

***Great for taking to the office or a hearty after school snack.

NOTE:  These soups are all very hearty and yummy. 
Most of the ingredients can be bought at dollar stores or Big Lots cheaply.  You get several jars from purchasing a jar of most of the ingredients (spices, etc.).

I hope these give you some ideas for fun and different gifts.  There is not limit to what can be put in a jar and gifted.  Homemade is thoughtful and fun and FRUGAL!
If giving more than one item - you can gift in a small basket (thrift store) or a re-usable grocery bag (you could make that too!)
If you make up several - and don't give them all away - you are ready for a quick and simple dinner at home!!


Merry Christmas

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Jar Gifts and Other Fun Things

I promised some jar recipe gift ideas.  Jar gifts are so easy to make from supplies on hand.  Don't think you have to use canning jars - you can use whatever jars you have that "fit" the recipe.

I LOVE giving food items, and most of my gift recipients ask for them - my theory - we ALL HAVE TO EAT!  I love FREE groceries!!!  Any home canned good works in a goody basket or bag.
Salsa - spaghetti sauce - jelly/jams - applesauce - green beans - pickles - etc.................

There are a lot of fun ideas available to fill in with.  Here we go!

I mix salted peanuts, M & M candies, and raisins/craisins together in big pans.  I then fill jars or even baggies with the yumminess.
You can other things as well.  Frosted cereals, mini pretzels, banana chips, etc.
There is no set recipe for this - BUT it is always a winner.
**You can also buy HUGE bulk bags of Chex-Mix at Sam's or Costco and divide into smaller jars or bags.

2/3 C instant coffee granules
1 C hot chocolate mix (I buy big cans super cheap of Kroger brand - or make your own)
1 C powdered non-dairy creamer
1/2 C sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. nutmeg
Mix together thoroughly and put into a jar
Add instructions to jar :  Mix 3 Tbsp. to 6 oz. hot water
Maybe add a pretty coffee cup.

 2 C powdered sugar
1 tsp. ground ginger
1 tsp. allspice
2 tsp. cinnamon
Mix together and place in a zip lock bag
Attach together with a 15 oz. can of pumpkin and an 8 oz. cream cheese.
INSTRUCTIONS :  Mix room temp. cream cheese, powdered mix and pumpkin together.
Serve with gingersnaps or graham crackers.  (You could give the crackers/cookies as well)

This can be made for home use or divided up and presented as gifts.

10 C dry milk
1 3/4 C dry coffee creamer (could be flavored for a neat perk)
1 3/4 C cocoa
5 C powdered sugar (OR Stevia "for baking" in equivalent measure)

Combine and mix very well.  Store in a cool dry place.
INSTRUCTION:  Mix 1/3 C of mix with 3/4 C boiling water
Makes approx. 50 servings
**If dividing up into to smaller jars (maybe tie a small packet of mini marshmallows to the jars)
Gift with a pretty cup from thrift store or Dollar Tree

Here is a cute idea I made up today for a couple of newlyweds as a small token gift.

The oven mitt I have had in my 'gift box' for quite a while.  Added cookie mix and brownie mix ($1 ea.) and a spatula and whisk from the Dollar Tree.  I spent $4. 
This could be done even cheaper if you added a jar recipe of cookie mix or brownie mix you made yourself (or gotten for free with sales and coupons).

REMEMBER; Just about any recipe can be made into a jar recipe gift.  Layer your dry ingredients (to make it pretty) in appropriate size jar and add instructions of how to mix with their own wet ingredients and baking instructions.

I will post  soup "jar" recipes in the next post, and some other ideas you may like.


Sunday, November 27, 2016

Frugal Happenings 11/27

Good morning all.
I hope you all had a wonderful day of thanks this past week.  I hope you enjoyed family and friends and lots of yummy food.

We are still using leftovers - today what isn't used in soup, will go in the freezer at our house.  Desserts have already been frozen for a later date. 

I stayed home on Black Friday - there was absolutely nothing I needed bad enough to fight those crazy crowds.  I saw pictures on the news of people fighting from different areas around the country.  Really?  Acting like total idiots for stuff they really don't need  (and going in debt for) on the day after being thankful for what we have.  CRAZY!!!!

It's hard to believe that we are the last few days of November!  Hey folks - 4 weeks till Christmas!!!!
Don't hate me for continually reminding you!  I think I am reminding myself more than anything.  I need to get busy.  I am just not into yet this year.

My frugal week:
  • Stayed home for 7 days straight
  • Using leftovers and re-inventing them
  • I was gifted 2 Pennsylvania Dutch squash by my brother.  Together they weigh 15 lbs.!!

  • On Friday I made and canned 10 pints of Concord grape jelly from grapes I had frozen this summer (from the yard).  It helped clear the freezer a bit too!!!
  • 'Cooked' the turkey carcass and got 4 quarts of extra stock.  Froze into 'pucks' in my muffin tins. I then placed into freezer bags for use later.
  • Froze over half of the cheesecake for later.  We ate way too many sweets this week!
  • Made approx. 100 small squirrel cookies with items that I had saved back that were stale.  (Not wanting to waste or throw anything away).    Have plenty of supplies left to make more.  (old cake mix, stale cereal, some stale nuts - anything will do).  NOTE:  The squirrels love them and are starting to take from my hand!
  • Went to Kroger Saturday to buy milk and bread ONLY.  Did get a box of huge deli croissants (4) on clearance for 1.49.  Cooked up eggs and sausage at home and made my own croissant-"wiches".  G will enjoy them heated up this week.
  • I have been recording movies and programs we never get to see this weekend.  Noticed that we have a weekend of FREE premiere movie channels from U-Verse.  Taking advantage of that.
  • Brought in several of the free jars I received this summer and scrubbed them all.  Getting ready to make jar recipes tomorrow for my gift giving.
  • Did laundry in cold water and line dried in the basement. (Bonus - adds humidity to the house, keeping it warmer on cold days).
  • Stopped at the oldest 2nd hand bookstore in the city on Saturday.  I ended up with 6 different publications for $18.  I know it's more than many thrift stores - but I love helping out a small business, especially one in our community (just up the road).
I love anything Amish.  The Ball books (3) range in age from 1941 to 2006.  The Mayberry cookbook is a real hoot.  Lots of recipes and full of pictures and stories from the show.

I am going by my brothers' old home to pick up a family piece of furniture today.  It is a desk and chair that Mom worked a part time job for, as a gift for Dad's Christmas when I was about 3.  I have no idea where I will put it (for now in garage), but I don't want to see it get lost or sold. 

Meals this week:
Made a small pot of soup from frig. leftovers
Breaded fish, fries and slaw
Leftover fish and slaw
Grilled cheese and salad
T-Day meal
T-day meal of leftovers
Turkey Manhattens (YUM)  This must be a regional item, as I saw a diner up the road that was advertising them as their special yesterday!!!!!

How was your week?  Are you still eating leftovers?  Have you made any gifts for the Christmas holiday (or done any frugal shopping)?
Let us all know what you are up too.

COMING THIS WEEK:  Jar recipes for gifting - and more!

May the Lord be with you in this coming week and keep you in His safe and loving arms.  God bless you all.
I am so thankful for all my blog and FB friends!!!

Wednesday, November 23, 2016


The day after Thanksgiving is known as Black Friday here in the states.  That is supposedly the day that retailers finally get into the black with profits (I am not believing that).

We then  have Cyber Monday - the biggest shopping day of the year via internet. 

My preference is Small Business Saturday! 
Most folks that visit my blog are frugal folks.  We are also creative and try to step out of the normal flow of things.  We make gifts and get creative with gift giving ideas.
SMALL BUSINESSES can allow us to do that, as well as helping our local community.

There are so many options for gifts at small businesses.  One can buy gift cards/certificates at that small Mom & Pop diner or restaurant that everyone loves.  We have many small family owned shops that sell jewelry, art, crafty gifts, wine, pottery, candy, baked goods, cheese, handmade toys, wood crafts, area orchards, ethnic groceries..........................................................  I even include the small local thrift stores in these shops and used book stores.
Most larger communities and cities have a great variety of small businesses.
There will be lots of Craft Bazaars going on around the country this weekend as well.  Those are great options for buying unique gifts at an affordable price.  They also give a lots of great ideas for making homemade gifts.

If you are inclined to shop this weekend - stay away from the huge box stores that just make their millionaire owners richer, if at all possible! 
Help out that small guy who lives in the community, whose children go to local schools and participate in local sports................... help out a neighbor! 
Help save a job of someone struggling just like you and I.

SHOP SMALL SATURDAY  (and everyday if possible)!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Turkey Day Leftovers

Thanksgiving evening, most of us curl up to watch a movie and "roll" into bed!  Generally we are all so full that we can't imagine eating for days.
BUT there are always leftovers, and heaven knows we WILL be eating again tomorrow!!!!

My all time favorite thing on Friday is a cold turkey sandwich with salt and mustard!  I look forward to that every year!!!!!!

Many people just get tired of all the leftovers because they only eat them in their original form.  We do once or twice - THEN it comes time to get creative!

I love fixing a ham and potato and cheese casserole - baked.
Ham and cheese grilled sandwiches.
Ham and soup beans or split pea soup with ham added
Green beans, potatoes, and ham
Julienned ham on a large chef salad
Ham and eggs
Fried rice with ham
Potato soup with ham added
The list goes on and on...............................

Turkey/noodle or turkey/rice soup
Casserole (I layer dressing, mashed potatoes, turkey and gravy - top with cheese and bake till heated). Kind of like Shepherd's pie.
GO MEXICAN with tacos, burritos, enchiladas
Turkey chili
Add to a chef salad
INDIAN - spice it up and make a tomato/curry type soup with turkey
Grilled turkey and cheese sandwiches
Another FAVORITE at our house is turkey Manhattens (like the beef ones we have)  Turkey sandwich split - mashed potatoes in the middles all topped with gravy.
Turkey and noodles or dumplings
Use in ANY way you would chicken

Whether mashed or mashed sweet potatoes - they can be turned into potato cakes and fried
Add to soup as a thickener
Freeze in individual muffin tins for a later date
Make potato candy

Add to any type of soup or stir fry or fried rice or homemade lo-mein

Not a favorite here - but I do like them with added oranges, mandarins or pineapple
Great mixed with apple sauce - (Mmmmm over yogurt or cottage cheese)
Mix sauce with apples and make an additional pie
Serve over hot oatmeal
Add to Jello

Spoon portions into a muffin pan and bake till crispy on the outside.  These are good frozen for later too. (great for quick lunch or snacks)
I love to add to a waffle iron - heat till browned on outside - add a fried egg and make very hearty breakfast sandwiches

Cheesecake - is wonderful frozen.  I always have some in the freezer during the holidays - for a special frozen YUM when we get a craving.
Most pies and cakes can be frozen as well.  Same with cookies and brownies.
You could always send those desserts home with others...........NAH!

OK, this is all off the top of my head.  WHAT IDEAS DO YOU HAVE FOR LEFTOVERS?  We all need to know!!!!!!!
I know we will end up putting some meat in the freezer, as well as the ham bone, and I will make stock with the turkey carcass.  Thanksgiving food is the food that just keeps on giving!

I love this time of year and the special foods that we tend to eat only around the holidays.  I absolutely LOVE to re-invent things too.

I hope this gives you some ideas of new things to try.  Share any ideas you have for turkey day food reincarnations!

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Frugal Happenings 11/20

Oh baby it's cold outside!!!!!!  It sure feels more like winter than fall today.  We went from record breaking highs to frigid in a 24 hour period!  Friday out thermometer registered 80* and Saturday never got out of the 30's.  The wind Friday night was horrid, we had 60 mph winds, torrential rain, then plummeting temps.  All in a typical Indiana day!

This has been quite a stressful, emotional, and physically exhausting week.  Thursday evening I fell asleep at 9:15PM (something I haven't done in years) and slept till 7AM.  Now it is time to get used to a "new normal" for the entire family.  That is going to take some time to get used to.  Sadly, it is something we all have to do in our lives.

Friday I ran a bunch of errands that I have put off for a while.  I have been doing a lot of cleaning, de-cluttering, and tossing in the past couple days.  It is very therapeutic for some reason!

My frugal week:
  • Exceptionally warm temps meant having the windows open a couple days, and no AC or heat. Love airing out the house
  • Took extra blankets out to the greenhouse for the kitties beds.  Babies got to stay warm!
  • Filled all the bird and squirrel feeders before the cold snap happened.
  • Did laundry in cold water and with dehumidifier water.  Dried some in dryer, most was hung in the basement to air dry (this happened after it got so cold).
  • Hard boiled a dozen eggs
  • Used a $10 off $40 coupon that came in the paper for Aldi.  Used for Thanksgiving specials and more stocking up.  Out of pocket spent was $36.
  • Dried more bread for the dressing bread stash
  • Resupplied upstairs pantry from stock in basement
  • Received a gift card of $50 from a wonderful friend this week.  Note said "when you don't feel like cooking".  Touched my heart!!!!!

Meals this week:
Used leftover meat/bean mix and made 2 more crunch wraps and had with a nice salad
Tuna patties and mac n cheese
Loaded baked potatoes
Canned soup (got home late)
Church sent home dinner for both of us.  Fried chicken and lots of sides and desserts.
Homemade pizza
Dirty rice and chicken strips with side salad

I have my big old frozen bird in the frig. to thaw, and I have all my ingredients ready for cooking and baking this week.  Most of the ingredients have come from the pantry with the exception of the turkey and ham. 
I am going to keep it pretty simple.  Looking forward to re-using leftovers for many days in many ways!!!   (I will post some leftover ideas this week).

Are all of my U.S. readers ready for Thanksgiving?  Do you have any special plans?  Any unusual or family recipes that will be used?
Hope everyone is staying frugal!!!

May God bless you all in this coming week.  Praying all stay safe and healthy.

 5 WEEKS TILL CHRISTMAS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Frugal Happenings 11/13

Good morning all.  I hope this finds you safe and healthy.
First I would like to take moment to thank everyone for their kind words and prayers this week.  It meant so much during this very sad family time.
This coming week (Wed. and Thurs.) will be sad days as well - but the family will be together, and we will share our love and our stories.
Again THANK YOU all so much.

I did not get to my Christmas jars this week.  I have time.  Did you realize that Christmas is 6 WEEKS from today?   EEK! 
It is hard to believe that Thanksgiving is less than 2 weeks away, and then a few short weeks later is Christmas.

Our gardening season is officially over.  We finally had frost earlier in the week, then a hard freeze both Friday and Saturday nights.  We are having much cooler days and cold nights.  It does seem more fall like.  However I do hate the fact that it is getting dark so early - but as Ellen reminded us, in a little over a month, the days will be getting longer again!

My frugal week;
  • I got the raspberry plants all cleaned out and cut back, as well as the grape vines
  • Mowed (probably last time this year) and did a lot of yard work
  • Picked 2 zucchini and the balance of the green tomatoes

  • Cut G's and my hair
  • Spent much of Friday getting together pictures for my nieces to use in video at funeral home.  I am the keeper of all things family.  It was sad, but neat looking back at all the pics!
  • Pulled out all the garden plants
  • Made a 4 day supply of steel cut oats with cranberries and pecans added.  It's time for some hardier breakfast foods again.
  • Bought milk at the store and that is it!  No grocery shopping again!
  • Returned all books to the library
Meals this week:
Homemade chicken and noodle soup
Thickened chicken and noodles and mashed potatoes
Homemade fried fish sandwiches and stuffed jalapenos from freezer
Homemade Mexican beef and pasta skillet
Biscuits and gravy
Homemade Mexican crunch wraps (oh so good)

Crunch wraps - tostada shell set in large tortilla - smothered in stuffing and cheese - tortilla wrapped up around and toasted in quesadilla maker = YUM
Despite having a sad week - we have also been blessed in many ways.  We have tremendous love in our family.  We woke each morning to a new day, we have our health, we have a roof over our heads and food on our table, and we have our sweet fur babies to cuddle.  God is good all the time - and we know sorrow is part of life.
What did you do frugal this week?  Are you getting ready for the upcoming holidays?
God bless you each and every one.  Thank you for visiting, and I pray you each have a wonderful week.

Thursday, November 10, 2016


It with a tremendously heavy heart, that I report that my darling big brother Ron made the journey home to God this afternoon.
We all spent the day with him today, and he made his final journey about 2:30 PM.

Ronnie was such a good big brother.  I know he is healthy, at peace, and finally TALKING again!  Meeting people and talking, to him was always one of his passions, and since May he has basically been unable to speak.  I told my other brother this afternoon, that God is probably saying Sssshhhhhh!!
Ron was a Christian, so there is no doubt whatsoever that he is with God, Mom and Dad, our sister Linda and his wife.

There were many years between Ron and I.  He was a senior in high school the year I was born.  He used to take me riding around with him in his convertible when I was probably 3 or 4.  I got to stand up in the front seat, and he would have the top down.  This was MANY years before there were so many rules.
I always told him that I was his 'chick magnet' - as he always had girls come up to see the cute little girl!

We had so many good times.  We shared our thoughts on everything.  We have always had such a close knit family.  Now there is just 3 of us siblings left.

This is Ronnie and I  - oh, just a few years ago!

I will miss him so much, but I am at peace knowing that he is healthy again and in Heaven.
Please say a little prayer for his children and grandchildren - they are all so lost at this moment without him.

PLEASE hug someone you love tonight and tell them you love them. 

I'll be back to blogging soon.
Thank you all.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

More Holiday Favorites (recipes)

Good morning everyone.
I hope this all well today.  I feel better now that I VOTED!  I was in and out in 5 minutes.
Now comes the hard part ------ waiting!
God bless us all and our country.

Today I will be listing a couple more recipes that have always been favorites in my life.  They started with Mom and I have continued on  with them.

1 C butter, softened
1 C confectioners sugar
1 egg
1 1/2 tsp. rum extract
2 1/2 C all purpose flour
1/4 tsp. salt
(Colored sugar, icing, nuts, candied cherries, etc. optional - for toppings)

In a small mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Beat in the egg and extract.  Combine the flour and salt and gradually add to the creamed mixture.
Using a cookie press fitted with disk of your choice (for fancy designs), press cookies onto an ungreased baking sheet about 1" apart.
Bake at 375* for 6 - 9 minutes, until lightly browned.  Yields about 7 dozens (depending on design).

**You can sprinkle with colored sugar, top with a nut or cherry half before baking.  You can also add icing after baking.  Sometimes I make candy cane shaped cookies and add stripes of pink icing.  Or tree shapes and add a tiny bit of green icing.
**I have also used peppermint extract or almond extract instead of rum for variation.
*You can also add food color to the dough for pretty colored cookies
.These were always a family favorite.

This is one of G's favorites!
1 can pineapple (crushed or chunks - we like chunks)
3 oz. Jello  (flavor according to holiday)
1 C evaporated milk
3/4 C apple
1/2 C chopped pecans
1/2 C mayo
1 Tbsp. lemon juice (don't leave out!!)

Drain pineapple and keep juice.  Mix juice with enough water to make 1 cup.  Heat.  Dissolve Jello into hot mixture and then cool slightly.  Stir in evaporated milk.  Add in the mayo and whisk until smooth.  Add the remainder of the ingredients.  Chill.

I usually double the recipe when making.  When I double, a can of evaporated milk does not make 2 cups - so I used the evaporated with regular milk added.  (Just a hint for you)

We make orange Jello for Thanksgiving, and either lime or strawberry or cherry at Christmas.  You can use any flavor you want.  It's all good! (I have made peach and pineapple Jello at Easter too).
**Another tip - sugar free Jello does NOT set up in this recipe well.  I have tried.

1 - 20 oz. can pineapple with juice
1 - 20 oz. can cherry pie filling
1 cake mix
1 C chopped nuts
1 stick butter

Dump fruit and juice and pie filling into the bottom of a lightly greased pan.  Pour the cake mix (straight from box) over the fruit.  Even it out.  Cut butter into pats and lay all over the top.  Top with chopped nuts.
Bake at 350 for 50 minutes.  YUM!!!

**You can really use any fruit in syrup you have and any flavor pie filling.  Experiment with different flavor combos.  (You can use equivalent of home canned).
**I have used white cake mx, yellow cake mix, orange and lemon.  All have been good.

These recipes are all very easy and fairly inexpensive to make.  Most of the ingredients are things we all have on hand.

I will be making all of these sometime over the next few weeks.  I will continue to share some of our holiday favorites in the upcoming weeks.
I hope you all enjoy. 

TIS THE SEASON for goodies!

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Frugal Happenings 11/06

Good morning everyone!
I hope this finds you well and I hope you had a good week.

Did those of you that need to - remember to change your clocks?  UGH - how I hate that.  I know there is a "good" reason for it - but it seems silly to me.  Most everyone in the  U.S. changes their clocks  and  are all still the same amount of time apart in different time zones.  Seems silly to me.  I wish we we'd leave the spring change alone - and let it be.
I just hate all the darkness we experience at early hours in the fall/winter.
OK - end rant!!!!!  LOL

Well, my long time next door neighbors are gone now.  I delivered their kitty to them this week to their new house. (I had a carrier - they didn't). 
A dear sweet older guy that lives behind us (other side of alley) moved this week as well!  I will miss him - he was such a sweet gentle man.  Taking care of a yard and the snow in winter, has gotten to be too much for him.
Have I ever mentioned - I HATE CHANGE!!!!

We have had traditional fall weather this week.  Nice, sunny days and chilly nights.  Leaves are changing and falling!

I have laundry going this morning.  Chicken legs are boiling in a pot of water.  YES all that talk about noodles this week, made me hungry for them!!!  LOL.  Will have yummy stock, and will pick chicken off the bones and make chicken and noodles this afternoon.  YUM!  Going out to mow the yard today.  Hmmmm - I wonder if it will be the last time this season?

My frugal week:
  • Picked a couple zucchini and some more green tomatoes (smaller) and more cherry toms
  • I got a FREE plastic table that the neighbors were trashing.  It will work well, to cover feed blocks for animals this winter (from the weather).
  • Got one rain barrel emptied and put away for the winter
  • Hoses all drained and put up
  • Did a TON of yard work this week  FREE exercise.  Still a lot to do before the snow flies.
  • Line dried laundry
  • No AC and heat only a couple cycles on a couple mornings
  • My HUGE FRUGAL - stayed out of grocery stores this week!!!  Using the pantry and freezers only
  • I did run by Ollie's after looking at their ad.  Decided to NOT buy anything I had seen in ad.  I did buy a 2.99 Gooseberry Patch cookbook of simple recipes for a male friend of ours who is learning to cook.  He will get it for Christmas!  (Book was regularly 15.99)  I love the book prices at Ollie's!!!!!!!!
  • Found some change laying in the parking lot.  Picked it up and in my change jar it went!
  • Been working on de-cluttering a lot.  Going through magazines and books.  Have MANY to donate
  • Finalized my ideas for "jar recipes" for gifts.  Will be starting those this week
  • Froze the last of the Mexican chicken to use at a later date
Dinners this week:
Mexican chicken over rice
Enchiladas (made with Mex. chicken)
Leftover enchiladas served over pasta cooked in salsa
Chicken strips, Au-gratin potatoes, sliced tomatoes
Pork chops, mixed greens, baked beans
Thick cut fried potatoes, burgers, baked beans
Homemade pork/veggie lo-mein

What has everyone been up to?  What did you do FRUGAL this week?
Check in and let us know how you are.

I pray you all have a safe, healthy, and frugal week.
God bless.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Holiday Favorites

We all have recipes that have become holiday favorites.  So many things that we love at the holiday time, I just don't fix any other time of the year.  Crazy, isn't it?  I guess that is what makes those items so special.

We do have some family favorites that do get made a few other times during the year.  These are always requested when there is a family get-together as well.

Here are a couple of goodies:

(This is one of our favorite ways to eat potatoes!)

1 - (32 oz.) pkg. frozen hash browns potatoes, thawed
1 (10 3/4 oz.) can cream of chicken soup
1 C sour cream
1 C shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 C butter - melted
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 medium onion, diced

2 C corn flakes
1/4 C margarine or butter, melted

Grease a 13x 9 baking pan.  preheat oven 350*.  In a large bowl, combine all ingredients except the topping.  Spoon into baking dish.  In a small bowl, combine topping ingredients.  Sprinkle over potatoes.  Bake for 45 minutes.  Makes 12 servings.
These are so good.  People will always ask for the recipe!!!!!!

(this is how I learned.  Everyone has their own way)

6 C all purpose flour
12 large eggs - room temperature
2 Tbsp. salt
1 Tbsp. baking powder

Mix all the dry ingredients well.  Beat the eggs together .
Make a small 'well' in the flour mixture and pour in the eggs.  Mix until all is well blended.  Needs to be about pie dough consistency.
Make several balls of dough (about 4" across) and wrap in saran wrap.  Let these balls rest for approx. 20 minutes.

Flour your board or counter well.  Roll out to approx. 1/8" thick. (thicker if you like thicker noodles).  I move these circles to another lightly floured surface, while rolling out all the remainder balls.  (Fold over and gently move to another table. Lay circle out flat again after moving)

Dry dough for approx. 1/2 hour - 1 hour.  You can tell if it feels like it has dried some.
Cut your noodles into strips.  Let them dry again for 1/2 - 1 hour.

Your noodles are read to cook or place in freezer.
I like to use gallon bags, that way the noodles are in the bag loosely and will not be crushed.  This makes a lot of noodles.  We get several meals from each recipe. (When cooking for 2)

Lay your bags as flatly as possible in an area of the freezer where they will not be mashed.
Your noodles are ready to cook at a moments notice!
To cook - place noodles into boiling broth and cook to desired consistency.

I used to get together with a couple friends and we would all bring flour and eggs - and we would have a noodle making party.  At the end we divided up everything into thirds.  It was a fun way to spend the day - we'd have lunch and talk and catch up on gossip!

I hope you enjoy the recipes.
I will be sharing some more of our family favorites as the month goes on.


Tuesday, November 1, 2016

November and More

WOW, here it is November.  We are definitely on the short end of the year.  A few short weeks till Thanksgiving and then on to Christmas.
It is supposed to hit 80* here today - unbelievable!
I will be hanging laundry out here shortly and I have flowers still going strong (and a little garden).

My clematis bloomed and died back after it's early summer flowering.  It has regenerated growth and it is BLOOMING again!  The plant is covered with big old fat buds as well!
I have never seen this happen this late in the year.  It is so pretty.

I know that many us open our hearts and pocketbooks to help others as much as possible throughout the year.  Many people seem to do more during the holidays and the winter.  I guess that is normal - as we all seem to see the need more then.

I save my change during the year and use it for special things. 
YES, it may be for extra Christmas money.
It may be for buying gift cards for people we know in need.
It may be for buying a couple gift cards (grocery) for ourselves to keep back in case times get tough.

MOSTLY, it is for purchasing items for the area food pantries and soup kitchen.
For buying inexpensive hats and gloves and throws and passing out to the homeless at the soup kitchen and area park.
For gift cards given to the food pantries - so they can buy specific items they need.
For buying gifts for the 'giving tree', so a child gets Christmas.

Our spare change can make a big difference in OUR lives and also in the lives of OTHERS!
Take some time this fall/winter and do something nice for someone less fortunate.

****Remember when donating to pantries that the basics can be the difference between existing and living.  Children's bellies may get full.
*Dry packaged goods (pasta, mac n cheese, dried beans, rice, etc..)
*Peanut butter and jelly
*Canned goods and sauces
*Canned fruit
*Fresh potatoes (find a great deal - buy them)  One year Aldi had 10 lb. bags for .99 and I bought a 150 lbs. and donated.  The pantry was so excited - as everyone would get a few fresh potatoes - and usually they get no fresh.
*Don't FORGET laundry soap, bath soap, dish soap,  hygiene products (Dollar Tree is a great place for these items)

I realize that many people reading this may be struggling financially.  If so, I hope someone donates, so that you can receive some help.  If you are doing OK - then do something nice for others.

Give with an open heart and love. 

It is only by the grace of God.............
Thanks everyone!

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Fruga Happenings 10/30

Happy Sunday to everyone.
Here we are on the last weekend of the month, Halloween is tomorrow, and Thanksgiving will be here in a few short weeks.  EEKS - how did this happen so quickly?????

We are having beautiful weekend here in Indiana.  Last week we had some mornings that we needed to run the furnace a cycle or two.  This coming week, both heat and AC will get to be off.  YAY.  We are to have upper 60's and low 70's all week!  I am sure loving this.
It is giving everyone a little extra time to get all the fall yard work done - and who doesn't need extra time for that?

I have had a roller coaster of a week.  Many highs and lows and much laughter and tears.  I guess this is how it will be TILL it's not!  So I will graciously accept it a day at a time - as the "NOT"  will be too soon, no matter when it comes.  I hope you all appreciate your family and friends and give them a hug when you can.

I have the crockpot going this morning with Mexican taco chicken, laundry going, and getting ready to go out and do a little work in the flower beds before the sprinkles come in.

My biggest frugals this week were my Kroger savings.  I ran to the feed store and passed a Kroger I have never been in before - sooooooo I needed to check it out!
  • I got 8 cans of various veggies for .19 each   (scratch and dent)
  • 2 boxes of Oreo's for 2.50 each.  Each box had 10 packs of 13 cookies!  That's 260 Oreo's for $5.00.  I couldn't  hardly buy a package of cookies for that!
  • I got many  different packs of candy for .75, .49, and .25.
  • 2 non-stick cake pans for 1.75 ea.
  • L.E.D. light bulbs for $1 a package  (I have enough bulbs now to last for years)
  • No-cook pectin .25 can (freezer jam) - (good till 8/2018)
  • Liquid pectin - .10 box (2018)
  • 10 cans of refried beans for .25 ea.
  • Pita bread .25 a pack and several loaves of bread for .25 ea. (for drying for dressing or croutons)

Not a bad haul!!!

  • G has a little stool that he uses to roll around on in the house instead of using his big power chair.  The rollers were starting to go wonky - and he figured out a way to fix them very cheaply.  Beats spending $80 on another heavy duty stool!  He's so handy.
  • Had the furnace check done this week.  We are good to go for the winter.  It was paid for at the beginning of the year as our yearly check-ups, so no money spent this week.
Spent the remainder of the week doing all our normal stuff.

Meals this week:
Last of the leftover hamburger stew
Roast, veggies  (in crockpot)
Beef Manhatten's with leftover beef
Homemade pizza
Homemade beef/bean/rice burrito supremes  (yum)
Dirty rice with beef and salad
Burrito filling leftovers with cream cheese in pitas

How was your week?  Tell us about any bargains you got.  Making any gifts or crafts?  Give us some ideas!

May you each have a splendid week and be blessed in every way!
God bless

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

60 Days and Counting Down

Today is exactly 60 days till Christmas.  Hard to believe - isn't it?
Have you started getting ready?
Buying gifts - making gifts - making menus - planning, planning, planning??????

Last week I went through the gifts I have accumulated over the past year  at various sales, clearance bins, yard sales and thrift stores.  I have all gift items in a very large tote.
I also have all kinds of containers to use in wrapping and presenting gifts in another tote.

Today let's talk about wrapping options.  I hate doing what everyone else does!  I like to be a little different (ask those who really know me!).
So begin thinking outside the "box"!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • I always keep a few individual water/pop bottles (people leave them when visiting).  I wash, de-label, and use for all sorts of things.  They make cute holders for M&M's, Skittles, etc..  Also for nuts or even birdseed.  You can add your own labels.
  • Jars from coffee mayo, etc. are great for jar recipes.  You can use Mason jars - but this way you don't have to worry about getting them back.  These are great for soup mixes, bean mixes, cookie/brownie mixes......
  • TP tubes - are great for very small gifts.  Stuff in the tube and wrap up like a stick candy or piece of taffy!
  • Confuse those people who ALWAYS seem to know what is in a box!  Use cereal, cracker, cookie boxes.  Any type of box will work and you are recycling.
  • Get a strainer/colander and fill with a jar of pasta sauce, pasta, and parm. cheese.  Maybe a cute dish towel in the bottom
  • Wrap homemade bread or sweet breads in a pretty kitchen towel (Dollar Tree)
  • Buy cute holiday or pretty china plates or dessert saucers at yard sales or thrift stores.  Use as trays for giving homemade cookies or candies.  They get to keep the dish and pass on the love to someone else
  • 2 liter bottles are great for gifting t-shirts or logo hats.  Cut the bottom off the bottle - stuff with tissue paper and gift - then use clear tape to put the bottom back on
  • Gallon or plastic jars are great for filling with all kinds of goodies for teens (then their moms can use when empty!)
  • Buy cute coffee mugs at Dollar Tree and add some flavored tea bags or a baggie of hot chocolate mix  
  • Baskets from thrift stores are great for giving home canned goods, or misc. goodie baskets for adults or kids
  • I love giving goodies in re-usable cloth bags - they can then be used all year
  • Flower pots (plastic or clay) can be filled with gloves, tools or seeds for the garden
  • A bait bucket with fishing lures, filet knife, or 6 pack of their favorite beer
  • Find a nice straight glass (bottom and top same diameter) and fill with homemade cookies.  Not only do they get cookies - but a nice milk glass to go with it.
  • Pringles cans are great for gifting cookies
  • I keep the plastic containers that I buy mushrooms in - wash and dry - and use to give fudge and other homemade candies
Hopefully this gives you a few new ideas.   You can start saving items to use now. 
Have fun with your packaging.


Sunday, October 23, 2016

Frugal Happenings 10/23

Happy Sunday my friends.  I surely hope this finds you well.

We have had all types of weather this week.  Started out quite warm, then rain, and very chilly.  We are having normal fall weather finally.  I have had to run the furnace one cycle on two mornings to take the chill off.

I found out this week that my other next door neighbors are to be moving soon.  They have rented for 26 years!  The landlord (I call her a slumlord) will never fix anything.  I know she wants them out, as she has not raised the rent in all the time that they have been there, and she wants more money.  She is one of those nasty, greedy rich folks.  She IS wealthy - probably because she doesn't spend any money.  I can't imagine what kind of new people she will get to rent.  This really scares me - I DON'T LIKE CHANGE!

I got my Blazer back on Friday!  YAY!!!  While they were bleeding the brake line they fixed, another broke, and then another!  WOW did I get lucky.  They also fixed my 4-wheel drive, my driver's side window and the back window and hatch.  I feel like I have a new vehicle.  LOL
It all cost us less than one third of what we had saved back for vehicle repairs!!!

My frugal week:
  • Line dried laundry
  • Colored my hair with supplies I have on hand
  • Cut a bouquet of roses
  • Crushed up the remainder of a bag of stale tortilla chips and placed in a jar.  Will use as casserole toppings
  • Picked the last of the bell peppers, green tomatoes and one zucchini
  • Dried more mint
  • Made hankies out of an old t-shirt
  • I was gifted more canning jars!  I received 4 dozen pints, 2 dozen quarts, and 8 jelly jars.  ALL had rings with them.  Also got 5 boxes of lids and a turkey roaster.  WOOHOO!
  • I went through things in basement and got my gift tote all organized  - so I know what I already have for holiday gifts
  • I bought 5 - 1 lb. bags of 'crunchy' M & M's on clearance at Kroger for 1.59 bag.  They went in the gift tote!!  (Shoot I can't buy choc. chips that cheap)
  • I got 2 whole pork loins on clearance at Kroger as well.  I brought home and cut one into 14 thick chops and a bag of pieces for stir fry - and cut the other in half for 2 roasts.  Check out this savings! (Click on picture to enlarge)
  • Had enough points saved back to save .30/gallon on gasoline.  Paid 1.59/gallon!
  • Been working on organizing more daily use items in glass jars (in the kitchen)
  • Stayed home biggest part of the week
  • Made a library run - got an interesting cookbook to look at
Meals this week:
Homemade chicken gumbo (2X)
Chicken strips, mashed potatoes and side salad
Hamburger stew (2X)
Fried chicken and nice size salad (2X)
**We kept it simple this week

Snacks - a little of this and a little of that

HOW WAS YOUR WEEK?  Did you do anything interesting?  Did you find any great deals?
Give us a shout out - I know we all love reading about each other.

Take care of yourselves and your families.  May God bless you all with good health and safety this week.  Stay frugal my friends.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

More easy Homemade

We are having a very cool and rainy day today.  These are the kind of days that get me motivated to cook.  I have a nice big post of hamburger stew going at the moment.  YUM!

I thought I might list a couple more recipes that come straight from the pantry and that are quite simple.

4 C fruit juice - any flavor you prefer (I have also made this with flat  flavored soda pop)
2 envelopes (.5 ounce) unflavored gelatin
Optional:  2 C fresh fruit (frozen or canned is ok too)

Pour 3 cups fruit juice in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat.
Pour remaining juice in a large mixing bowl and sprinkle with gelatin.  Let it sit for 5 minutes, then pour the hot juice into the bowl and stir until the gelatin is completely dissolved.

If you are adding fruit, lay it on the bottom of the pan, mold, or individual dishes.  Pour liquid over the fruit and refrigerate, uncovered till set.  6-8 hours

Just think of the neat flavor combos you can come up with!!!!!
Make unflavored gelatin a pantry staple.  It has many uses.


1 large egg yolk (it won't be cooked - so use freshest eggs you have)
1 C olive oil
fresh lemon juice to taste (I use bottled)
salt to taste
Optional:  1 tsp. Dijon mustard

Whisk egg yolk and 1 tsp. water in a medium mixing bowl.
Using a measuring cup with  a spout - pour a few drops of oil into yolk mixture and whisk vigorously.  Add a few more and repeat.  Combine until you have a thick yellow sauce, then add greater amounts of oil at once.

Add a squeeze or dash of lemon and a pinch of salt and whisk again.  Add flavors to taste.
Store up to 4 days in covered container in frig.

**Don't over pour oil into egg - it can cause mixture to separate.  Just do a few drops at a time to start.  Be patient while you blend.
This is fresh tasting and keeps you from having to make a special shopping trip for a get together.

Hope you enjoy!  Have fun making homemade!

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Homemade Cheese Goodies

Last week we talked about homemade vs. store bought.  Homemade is always better in my opinion.
I just love knowing what is in the food we are eating.

Here are a couple of easy cheese recipes that I think you will enjoy.  Simple ingredients and no artificial stuff added.

2 C shredded sharp or extra sharp cheddar cheese
8 oz. softened cream cheese
1/2 C mayonnaise
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. cayenne powder
1/4 tsp. onion powder
1 jar (4 oz.) diced pimentos (drained)

Place all ingredients into a bowl and mix till thoroughly blended (use paddle if you have one).  Salt and pepper to taste.  I put mine in the Ninja (blender) and pulse 2 - 3times.  It makes it a little smoother blend (how we like it).  This is so yummy!!!!

1 1.2 C water - very hot
1/2 C instant  (dry) milk PLUS 1 Tablespoon
1//4 oz. envelope of unflavored gelatin (1 1/2 tsp.)
1 1/2 lbs. shredded cheddar cheese

Line a 8 x 4  loaf pan with plastic wrap.
In a blender mix 1/2 C very hot water - 3 Tbsp. of dry milk and 1/2 tsp. of gelatin.  Blend well.
Quickly add 1/2 pound of cheese and whip.  Pour into pan.

Repeat the above process 2 more times until all ingredients have been used.
Cover with plastic and refrigerate.  Keep refrigerated.
Makes 2 lbs.  So creamy!!
Better than store bought!!!

Both of these are easily made and use ingredients most people have on hand.  OK, maybe I am different, but I always keep plain gelatin on hand (use in suet too), and small jars of pimentos.

I hope you all give these a try. 
These would be fun gifts to make for Christmas as well.  Attached recipe and maybe a pack of fancy crackers!  It would sure be an original gift.  I would love to receive this!

ENJOY my friends.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Frugal Happenings 10/16

Hi there my friends.  I hope you have had a wonderful week blessed with good health and many savings.

We have continued to have great weather, which is really unusual for this time of the year.  The next couple  of days will be in the 80's and then the temps drop again to the upper 50's at the end of the week.  No frost in our area yet. 
The fact that we have had no frost, means that our trees have not really started to turn color yet.  There are a few changing (sugar maples), but for the most part there is a lot of green out there.

I was leaving to visit my brother this week, and got just up the road when my brake pedal went all the way to floor!  I guided myself slowly back home.  I had a brake line go, therefore no brakes to speak of!!  I was lucky to be so close to home.  I had to then clean out the Blazer (I store all kinds of stuff in it), and called a tow truck to come take it to the repair shop.
I have had a couple other issues with windows as well, so we are having them fix everything.
The GOOD NEWS is, we received $2,500 about 3 years ago for hail damage to Blazer (could hardly see it), and that money is still in the account just for the Blazer.  So it will not cost us any out of budget money!!!!!!   YAY!!
*I am just happy this happened now and not on ice in the winter.  God definitely had me in His hands.

My frugal week;
  • Laundry in cold and line dried
  • No AC.  Love having the windows open
  • I dug out blue jars and a couple old square jars I found in the canning jars I was gifted this summer.  I will use them for dry storage.

  • Have picked cherry tomatoes, 2 kinds of peppers, lettuce and green onions this week.  Have some small zucchini growing in the garden still
  • Aldi had squash on sale this week.  I got 2 spaghetti squash, 2 acorn, and 2 butternut for .99 EACH!  They are all firm and great size.  Great deal and they will last us through the end of the year.
  • I did a thorough scouring of the stove with vinegar and baking soda as cleaners.  I figured most of the canning is done - so get it ready for the holiday season!
  • Did a lot of yard work.  Bundled up a lot of refuse for yard waste pick-up.  I used strips of an old t-shirt to tie stuff up.  Much stronger and versatile than twine!
  • I went to the first craft bazaar of the season on Saturday.  Did a lot of looking and got a lot of cute ideas.  I did spend $5 (basically a donation to church) for a pineapple upside down cake!  My favorite.  My mom always made me one for my birthday - that is coming up at the end of the month - so I treated myself. (sweet memories).
  • Harvested some dried bean pods I found in garden to use for planting next spring.
Meals of the week:
All leftovers and some fried green tomatoes (yum)
Banana/pecan pancakes
Stuffed pepper skillet dinner
Flavored rice, sausage patties and salad
Soup and grilled sandwiches
Mexican baked potatoes (topped w/nacho cheese, jalapenos and sour cream)
Cajon rice with chicken chunks and brussel sprouts

Leftovers for lunches
Snacks:  cake, jerky, and Chex Mix

We have been enjoying watching all the nature in our backyard.  Seems they are all getting ready for winter.  We normally have 10-12 squirrels at any given time, birds of all sorts, "Chuck" the ground hog and "Opie" the little possum, and of course the 3 kitties are out there.  We have some very young squirrels, which I find unusual this time of the year.  One little guy has what appears to be a damaged tail (it's about 2" long), so it's name is "Bobbi".  I am crazy I know!!!!!!  I name everything.

Just at dawn - IF YOU CLICK ON PICTURE TO ENLARGE, you will see Chuck and Opie and in the back ground you will kitty eyes glowing.  Everyone gets along thank goodness.

I pray you all have a safe and healthy week.  Many your frugal finds and adventures be many!
Give us a shout out and let us know what you are up to!