Thursday, March 31, 2016

Frugal High Protein

Sometimes we all need a quick and easy go-to snack or light meal on the cheap.
Perhaps unexpected company drops by and you need a little something-something to snack on.  It may be the end of the month and the grocery budget is depleted (as well as the groceries).  Or maybe you just want something quick and easy that is healthy too.

1 (15 oz.) can of beans - garbanzo, red, pinto, black, etc., drained and rinsed - or 2 C of prepared beans
2 Tbsp. yogurt (or sour cream)
1/2 tsp. chili powder
2 Tbsp. chopped onion (use some onion powder if no onions)
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 garlic clove, minced (garlic powder if no garlic)

Place all ingredients in the blender and mix to desired consistency or mash by hand.  Spread on pita bread, whole wheat, or tortillas.
The cost for this will be less than $2.
Will make a great snack, lunch, or light dinner and still be packed with protein.

Tuna  salad can be made with one can of tuna or as many as you desire.  I have no set recipe for it.  If you have no mayo, use ranch dressing or thousand island.  Mix in some pickle relish or chop up some sweet pickles.  I always add some chopped onion and celery if I have it. 
I like to add frozen peas to my salad (mom always did).  You can even make it a little zesty by topping tuna with a little Italian dressing and some chopped olives.
There is no right or wrong way to serve.  Shoot I have even drained tuna and ate it straight from the can.
Serve on bread, or with crackers, or even on a lettuce bowl.  It is super high in protein, inexpensive, and healthy.

We all know peanut butter is high in protein and very filling.  Great in sandwiches with jelly or jam, or sliced bananas.  I like peanut butter with fresh apple wedges (I have had many a lunch of that).  Great on crackers, pita, you name it.  Of course you can cook and bake with it as well.
I try to keep at least 12 jars of peanut butter on hand at all times.  We don't eat it real often, but it sure is handy to have in case of an emergency.

So remember to have plenty of beans, canned tuna, and peanut butter in your pantry.  Should times get bad for whatever reason - you will be able to have some high protein and high fiber meals.  These could be a life saver.
**All 3 of these items can be eaten as is without other ingredients as well.  They are well worth their weight in gold!

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Dryer Maintenance

The other day I needed to do a small repair on my dryer.  The lint trap filter handle broke.  It made it quite difficult to get it out.  I guess considering it is 30 years old and has been pulled out literally thousands of times, it might break!

I brought it upstairs to work on it in better light.  I did a good glue job on it and hopefully it's good as new.
I clean the lint out every time I use the dryer.  I ran the mesh screen under the faucet to clean a little better.  OH MY!!!!  The water stayed in the screen like it was a bowl.  Not ONE DROP went through the screen.  That is NOT good!
You figure if water doesn't flow through the screen, air doesn't flow through it well either.

The coating has to be from using fabric softener sheets. 
So PLEASE, check your lint traps and wash and scrub them thoroughly every so often.

If there is not good air flow, this could damage your appliance, lengthen drying time, or it could cause a fire, which could cost you your home or your life.

Sunday, March 27, 2016


Happy Easter to each and every one of you and your families.
May you and yours have a blessed day.


Saturday, March 26, 2016

Frugal Happenings 3/26

Hi all.  I am going to post frugal happenings today instead of Sunday due to holiday.  I wish to observe the day in a solemn and thankful way - as I am sure you do as well.

We have had chilly weather, warm weather, rain and sun this week.  No snow here, but I guess parts of the nation did!  Oh my!
Today is absolutely gorgeous - lots of sun and around 60*.  I just love this time of year.

The grass is vivid green, and the forsythia and daffodils are just glowing and dripping in yellow!!  They are so pretty.  The contrast between the green and yellow is beautiful.  Heck, the forsythia even seem to glow at night.  The other trees are starting to get buds, and the WEEDS are popping up every where.

It's been a very quiet week here.
  • Did a bunch of much needed paperwork, and got rid of a bunch
  • Did yard work, which was FREE exercise
  • Cut grass for the first time this season, and used the last of the gas I bought last year! (Even cut part of the neighbors yard)
  • We thought about getting Popeye's chicken - so I decided to try to make my own knock-offs.  It was great - just not like theirs.  That's ok - cause I didn't spend any extra money!!!
  • Cut chives from the herb barrel 3X and used this week
  • Stayed home 7 out of the last 8 days
  • Made dressing for salad from a bit of onion dip leftover with milk added.  It was really good.
  • Made our own Almond Joy candy
  • Easter dinner will be from what we have in pantry.  Nothing new bought.
  • Minimal heat this week.  Lots of fresh air in house.
  • All meals from home and from scratch
  • G's uncle came and put his new batteries in his power chair for him.  WOOHOO he ready to "ride" outside
  • Gallon of milk was the only groceries bought this week
  • Shopped from the basement a lot this week

Almond Joy candy before covering in chocolate.  Aren't they cute? Look like little bird nests!

Not as pretty after dipping in chocolate.  But as G said "who cares what they look like - they taste great!"  AND THEY DO!!!

We had a variety of meals again this week.  Made ham/cream cheese/veggie roll-ups, homemade Mexican pizza, faux Popeye's meal, homemade chicken pot pie (soooo good), grilled cheese with chips and salsa, burgers and a big salad, tuna salad sandwiches with leftover veg salad.

Easter dinner will be a pork loin I will prepare in the crockpot.  It is a whole loin, so we will get a big variety of meals out of it.  I will also make mac-n-cheese and baked asparagus fries.  I think I may make a crisp for dessert.

I hope you all had a frugal week.  Let us know what you have been up to now that spring has sprung!
God bless you in this coming week.  May you each be safe and healthy in your ventures.
Peace my friends!

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Easter Treats

I don't know about your house - but at ours, we love chocolate and candy!
One of our favorites is Mounds candy bars or Almond Joys.  G has been telling me forever that I should make some.
I am going to - and surprise him for Easter.

This recipe couldn't be much easier.

Chocolate chips
3 C flaked coconut
1 C condensed milk

Melt chips over a double boiler.
Combine coconut and condensed milk and mix thoroughly.  Make oblong bars and place on a cookie sheet in the freezer for about 20 minutes.
Dip in chocolate and let it dry.

For ALMOND JOYS - add an almond on top of coconut mixture before placing in the freezer.

I have everything on hand to make these.  What a special treat it will be, and it won't cost me an additional cent!

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

The Incredible Edible YARD

There are tons of options in our own backyards that could help feed us or provide medicinal help if SHTF! 
One doesn't have to wait till then - there are lots of FREE food options in nature.  There are some that I have used already, and others that I will be trying this year.  I will be keeping this info in my "practical ideas" notebook.  Yes, I have one of those. 
Do you keep a notebook of ideas of 'off the wall' things that can be used?

First and most obvious items, are fruit and nut trees, berry vines and bushes, and your garden.  Fruits and nuts can also be foraged - but one needs to be mindful of the area where foraging.  NEVER forage on private property without permission,  and it's probably a good idea to NEVER forage off the side of the road (good bet things have been sprayed with chemicals.)  National parks and forests are often protected, and it is illegal to remove items.  BUT, if you have your own woods or know someone that has one and allows you to wonder it - go for it!!

DANDELIONS - all parts are edible.  There is tons of vitamins A, B, C, and D, iron, potassium and Zink in this plant.  Young leaves can be cooked as greens or eaten fresh in salads or on sandwiches.  These leaves have more beta-carotene than carrots. 
The roots can be made into herbal teas that are medicinal.
The flowers can be made into jelly, syrup, and wine.  **I have made jelly before (Yum), and my daddy used to make wine.

PURSLANE - contains Omega 3 fats.  Lots of vitamin A, C, E, calcium and iron.
The are best when young - the older the leaves and stems are the more peppery it tastes.  great for adding in soups and stews, and good in salads.  **I have done this too. 

PLANTAIN - young leaves are tasty raw or cooked.  Great in treating sore throat and cold symptoms (made in a tea)

RED CLOVER - bees love it and so should we!  It is anti-inflammatory.  Use in small amounts in salads, sautéed or roasted

CHICORY - used a lot in Europe.  Can be bitter.  Boil leaves and drain, before adding to other dishes.  The roots can be baked, ground or added to coffee or used as a coffee substitute.  Can stimulate the appetite and help with upset tummy and relieve constipation.

CHICKWEED - great source of vitamins A, D, C, as well as iron, calcium, potassium and Zinc.  Delicate flavor like spinach.  Ad to salads and sandwiches or put in soups.  Can also be used as a topical treatment for minor cuts or burns.

STINGING NETTLE - helps fight allergies and hay fever.  High in vitamins A, B2, C, D and K.  Anti-oxidant.  Boiled it makes a great side dish or can be added to egg dishes or soups.

WILD GARLIC OR ONIONS - use in place of green onions or cultivated garlic or chives.  It is anti-septic, anti-bacterial, antibiotic, and anti-fungal!!!!!  Helps lower blood pressure.

WILD VIOLETS - leaves and stems can be eaten raw or cooked.  Leaves can be dried for a tea which is a mild laxative.  Flowers can be added to salads or made into jelly.   ***I will be making this year

LAMB'S EAR -or wooly woundwort - depending on where you live.
This is fantastic to use as a bandage - it is super soft and absorbs blood.  Juice from leaves seeps into wound and is healing.  Helps blood clot.  It is very anti-bacterial, antiseptic, and anti-inflammatory.  This has been used for hundreds of years as bandages.
Bruised leaves in a pot of simmering water - cooled - can be used as an eyewash for sties and pinkeye.
Young tender leaves can be steamed and eaten.
Make a tea from young leaves to help lower fever and relieve a sore mouth and throat.
Bruise a leaf and place on a bee sting to reduce swelling.  Also good for HEMORROIDS.
**Could be used as TP in pinch (it is soft and natural)

This is by NO MEANS the end of items that can be used from your yard.  I could go on for hours.  Here is a list of other edible plants that you can Google on how to use!
  • Daisies
  • lamb's quarter
  • mallow
  • curly dock
  • wood sorrel and sheep sorrel
  • elderflowers
  • yarrow
  • cone flowers (Echinacea)
  • all mints
  • lavender
  • roses
  • nasturtiums
  • marigold
  • sunflowers
  • geranium
  • pansy
  • bee balm
  • mums
  • hibiscus
  • hollyhocks
  • lemon verbena
  • peony flowers (I will be making jelly with these this year)
  • pine needles (into tea)
  • honeysuckle flowers ONLY - not berries
  • Cactus
  • wild strawberries - not sweet - but can be made into jelly
Gee whiz - it is  incredible to me that there are so many natural things that could keep us alive.  It is said that God put everything on this earth that we need to survive.  He is good!

Find a flower or weed in your yard and do some research.  You will be absolutely amazed at the grocery store and pharmacy you have right outside your door and all for FREE!!
Our ancestors used nature as medicine and food for centuries.  Why shouldn't we?


Sunday, March 20, 2016

Frugal happenings 3/20

HAPPY SPRING !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
It is rather chilly here this morning - compared to days we have had in the past week.  It is supposed to get back above normal again in a couple days.  That's just fine with we are so close to having warm days every day.

I saw a pair of red-winged black birds in the yard this week.  They have been here all week.  They are normal in Indiana, but generally only see them in the country.  We have had a pair come each spring for a few years now.  The neat thing is they stay all summer!  They are just so pretty in my opinion.

The magnolia trees in the area have been magnificent in full bloom this week.  That has to be one of the prettiest trees ever.  Everything is sure coming back to life - I LOVE IT!!!!  Spring is definitely my favorite time of the year.

My frugal week;
  • Cut G's and my hair at home this week
  • Got 3 samples of Twinings teabags in the mail
  • G really wanted a Peanut Buster Parfait from D.Q. - so I made him one!!!!  He said it tasted just like I had spent $
  • Made tartar sauce from items on hand to go with dinner one night
  • Got 5 bundles of asparagus for $4.85 total this week.  Love asparagus
  • Bought 5 lbs. of butter at Aldi at 1.99/lb.  In the freezer it went.
  • 'Bought' 106 cans of cat food for FREE with a gift card.  Still have a bunch of money left on card
  • Made hard boiled eggs and rice to help supplement breakfast menu
  • Made a pot of soup at the first of week.  2 dinners and a lunch from that.
  • Ran errands for family and ran my own errands together to save gas
  • Got a .20/gallon discount on gas this week
  • All meals from home and scratch
  • Only used heat a couple chilly mornings
This may not be considered a frugal - but in the long run it will be.  We had to order 2 new batteries for G's power chair - boy those puppies were costly (a special kind).  However, we were gifted this power chair from a family member and the batteries on it were almost 15 years old.  So, these batteries should last for years - and will give G all the confidence he needs when using the chair outside!  YAY
The company (local) was very kind and delivered them for FREE.  They are 52 lbs. each, so it sure saved my back!

Also, we have been considering doing the DNA ancestry tests for a long time.  I love doing genealogy and so does G. had a special over St. Patrick's Day week for $10 off on each test.  We ordered 2 - they should be here this week.  How fun!  This is a big splurge for us.

We had taco soup, fish and cauliflower salad, homemade cabbage rolls, cube steaks with leftovers, loaded baked potatoes, and ham steaks and asparagus/penne (boy was that good) all made from home this week.
G said the asparagus/penne dish is a definite DO AGAIN dish!  We both loved it.  The cabbage rolls turned out wonderful - but I think I will go back to making my 'cabbage roll skillet' next time.  It is a lot less work, and tastes just as good!

What did you do this week to save money and enjoy life?  Share your ways, so we may learn.


Go forward during this special week and be blessed and happy.
Palm Sunday blessings to you all. 

Friday, March 18, 2016


Asparagus is plentiful right at the moment, and fairly inexpensive.  Tis the season!!!
It is so very good for you.  I know it is an acquired taste - but you might give it a try AGAIN!
I wanted nothing to do with it as a kid, and now I can't get enough.

Here's a recipe to shake it up a bit.

2 Tbsp. olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/8 tsp. red paper flakes
1 lb. asparagus - chopped
4 tomatoes - peeled, seeded, and chopped
1 C chicken broth
1/3 C fresh basil, chopped
salt and pepper to taste
8 oz. penne pasta, cooked
2/3 C grated parmesan cheese

Heat oil in 12" skillet; saute' garlic and red pepper flakes for 2 minutes.  Add asparagus, tomatoes, chicken broth and basil; heat, covered, about 8 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper.  Spoon pasta, sprinkle with cheese.
Makes 4 - 6 servings.

This would be a good dish for Easter dinner.

Our Easter dinner will totally from what we have here at home.  I am buying nothing special.  I can come up with a good menu from our pantry.

**Asparagus is also very good raw.  Many people don't realize that.  It has a mild taste.  We like it with dip on a veggie platter.

I am sorry I didn't get to "the edible yard" this week.  That will be a post at the first of the week.
Talk to you Sunday!

Thursday, March 17, 2016


Happy St. Patrick's Day to you all!!!!
It sure is a beautiful day here.  It's a little cooler than it has been, but all in all it's lovely.

Here are a few signs that spring is about here.

Beautiful skies!
Forsythia blooming

Roses getting new growth

Daffodils blooming

I just love this rebirth of our earth.  Spring is a joyous time and so beautiful!

Enjoy your day!

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Frugal & Thoughtful Easter Gift

Here's an idea for a cute and inexpensive Easter gift.  I thought was cute for adult children, Church/Sunday school gift, co-workers, etc.

Buy one bag of assorted jelly beans ($1 or less) per gift.  You can either give the jelly beans in the bag, or "CUTE" it up by putting them in a mason jar or savaged jar you have at home.
Type out and attach this note with a pretty ribbon or piece of jute.

RED is for the blood He gave.
GREEN is for the grass He made.
YELLOW is for the sun so bright.
ORANGE is for the edge of night.
BLACK is for the sins we made.
WHITE is for the grace He gave.
PURPLE is for His hour of sorrow.
PINK is for our new tomorrow.
A bag full of jelly beans colorful and sweet,
is a prayer, is a promise, is a special treat.

I just think this is a sweet and thoughtful gift.

I was at the Dollar Tree last week looking around, and there were so m any options for gifts for kid's Easter baskets.  They don't have to loaded down with sweets, nor do they have to cost a fortune.

I saw puzzles, Nerf balls, Slinkies, color books, crayons, story books, hair accessories, nail polish, stickers, cute mugs and plastic glasses, hand held games, etc.   They also had the cutest Star Wars cloth re-usable bags that would be perfect for a fan.    
There was so much to choose from.
Don't forget to add homemade hardboiled eggs as well.  You can make homemade cookies and jelly bean fudge as well.

Get creative and think outside the box a little.  There are many ways to be thoughtful and frugal.

God's natural burst of sunshine for our yards!!!

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

The Wonders of Vinegar

OK, don't scrunch your nose up!  Don't say "Eeewwww". 
Vinegar is a tremendously useful thing!  It is fantastic for cleaning and ever so good for your health.

Vinegar has been called a mystical elixir, a liquid cure all, a remedy for what ails you.  This golden liquid contains a huge amount (dozens and dozens) of vitamins, minerals, and important amino acids.  Apple cider vinegar has the reputation of being an almost magical tonic and one of the most healthful, nutrient fluids known to man.

In 400 BC, Hippocrates, the father of medicine, used vinegar to treat his patients.  It is considered to be one of the earliest medicines, due to it's natural germ killing abilities.  It was used in Biblical times.  Vinegar is credited for saving thousands of soldiers during the Civil War.  It was used as a disinfectant on wounds.
Vinegar is antiseptic and kills germs ON CONTACT.

  • It is great when used on many skin conditions, such as sunburn, bug bites, stings, etc.  It is so good for skin disorders because it's PH is almost the same as the skin's surface!
  • It is said it can help you lose weight, because it is a treasure trove of complex carbohydrates.  Mix with water and drink at meal time.   It aids in digestions and will improve overall metabolism
  • It contains beta carotene, a powerful antibiotic.  It truly helps to rid the body of free radicals that are harming the body from numerous diseases.
  • It is supposed to be good for memory because of all the natural vitamins, minerals, and amino acids it contains.
  • Many people swear by the remedy of mixing one teaspoon of vinegar, one of honey, into a glass of water every morning, helps to drastically reduce arthritic pain. (It may take a couple weeks to feel the difference)
  • I have started using for restless leg syndrome
  • Drinking or gargling with a mixture of vinegar and water will help with sore throat, bad breath, and gum disease 
  • Many devotees claim vinegar helps with heartburn, diarrhea, asthma, coughs, colds, hiccups, etc.
  • It is great to mix vinegar, salt and water together in a sink - to kill garden pests on freshly picked veggies 
  • Add a dash of vinegar to cooking beans to remove the "gas"
  • It is great for pickling foods, and those foods can last for years!
  • You can mix any type of herbs with vinegar to make herbal vinegars used in cooking and foods
I am not a medical person - so this an informative post.  You can Google vinegar, and see all the uses and claims that have been made.  There are complete books written on the subject.
Vinegar and honey are two of the most perfect "foods" on this earth - and I believe that together they can work wonders.
It is mentioned in the Bible 8 times (both new and old testaments).  It has been used for it's health benefits by the Japanese for thousands of years.  It surely can't be bad!

I save all my dill pickle juice and olive juice for drinking.  It has herbs and flavorings added without being fattening.  I love it.  G loves pickle juice added to tomato juice (old timers have claimed vitality from this for years).  Even as a child, my sister and I used to argue over who got the pickle/olive liquid!!!!

Do some research on your own, and maybe you too will see the many benefits of vinegar.  It just may be the elixir you are needing to help with your health.
It is becoming a mainstay in our house along with drinking Aloe Vera juice (that's a whole other post!)

PLEASE don't turn your nose up and think yuk.  Give it a try - you just may be pleasantly surprised.
I love when there is something so simple and natural that can help save our health.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Frugal Happenings 3/13

Hello everyone.  Here we are again at Sunday - time to recall our frugal ways this past week!

We have had a pretty fair week weather-wise.  Many warm days, lots of rain, and some sunshine.  I noticed my first daffodil of the season was blooming yesterday and the rest are about to burst open.  The forsythia looks like it will be blooming within the next week or so.
The world is coming back to life!!!!

I am a little tired this morning with the time change.  Funny how losing just an hours sleep can affect you.
Hard to believe that next Sunday will be the official beginning to Spring!  YAY!!!  I do think our super nasty weather is gone for the year.  I hope so, I washed my winter jackets/coats and put them and my boots away!

My week at a glance:
  • Spent a whole day getting my brother in-law home from rehab, and getting all his stuff put away and set up.  I was pooped at the end of that day!
  • Only used heat a couple mornings - otherwise it has been off. 
  • Getting lots of fresh air in the house with windows open.
  • All meals from scratch
  • Used a $25 GC for Kroger to stock-up on non-edible items (mouthwash, shaving stuff, etc.)  $0 out of pocket.  **SIDE NOTE - After seeing how expensive some items were, G said "can't we make these ourselves out of stuff we have".  WOW - I love it when 2 come together and GET IT!!!  Yes, yes dear G we can and will in the future!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • I got 10 lbs. of cabbage for $2.20 total.  We love cabbage, and will use in different ways over the next couple weeks
  • Milk at Aldi for 1.49/gal.  It has been that price here for over a month!
  • I trash picked this week from a neighbor.  I noticed stuff put out for trash day in the alley and got a deal.  I found and brought home a Little Tikes picnic table and bench set.  Perfect condition.  I will be using it in a flower garden some where to set plants on.  I checked and they run between $65 and $105 on Amazon!!!!!!
  • I have a house plant that has grown quite tall over the winter and none of my bamboo stakes were strong enough or long enough to support.  Figured I would buy one next week.  While working out in the yard I had a major DUH moment.  I brought in a nice stick and cut it to length!  It's natural and FREE.  I can replace easily.
  • Gave myself my "spring" pedi!
  • My B&D saw came in the mail this week.  I can't wait to get out and use it!

Here's the table I snagged.  It's in perfect condition.  It will hold a lot of plants up and out of water if the yard floods.

Here is a pic of my plant and the 'new' plant stake.  Fits right in and it was FREE

We had quite a variety of meals from home this week.  We had pizza, spaghetti, 'poor man's' Swiss steak, smoked sausage, cauliflower salad, chicken tenders and hot dogs.  Going to make a pot of soup today.

I am truly enjoying this warmer weather we have been having.  I have been reading some new blogs I found.  Will pass on that info soon.
What did you do frugal this week???

I hope you all have a wonderful week.  Stay safe and healthy my friends.
God bless you all.

Thursday, March 10, 2016



ALDI now takes charge cards.  They take Visa, MC, AmEx, and Discover.
This may make it easier for people to shop, who don't always carry cash with them.
I am hoping that it doesn't make prices go up.


Next week I will be doing posts on the many health benefits of vinegar for the body and the home.

I will also be doing a post on foraging your own yard for edible plants!



Success comes from failure.  We often times look or feel silly when we goof up - but it's ok.  Just get back up and try again.  The only REAL failure is never trying.


Tuesday, March 8, 2016


Are you thinking about retiring?  Planning on retiring soon?  Already retired?
We are all in the sequence some where! 

If you listen to all the experts - you will never feel adequately prepared to retire.  We used to listen to Suze Orman - and let me tell you, according to her, we would never retire!  We did so many things that she talked against.

We probably got a late start saving, according to many people (we were in our late 30's).  I did get a 401K at a job that allowed contributions and company match.  Let me tell you, I jumped on that - I was all about getting FREE money.  It did quite well.  G had an investment opportunity at his job as well, and each time he got a raise (after we married - not before) it went into that program.

We lived below our means for sure.  We still had fun - albeit cheap fun, like camping and friend and family patio parties, or just wondering Indiana (when gas was cheap)!   We tried to never have more bills that one or the other could pay alone.  We just didn't want to be in a situation if one of us was unemployed (and it happened a couple times) that we couldn't pay the bills.

We worked really hard to pay the house off early.  We managed that in 15 years (our house was not real expensive).  We always had used cars that G maintained (he was a mechanic).  Finally after the house was paid off - we bought our first & only new vehicle (EVER) for either one of us.  We paid it off in 3 years.
We tried to never have more charge card debt than we could pay off in a month.
Granted it DID happen a few times, but we always had LOW INTEREST RATE cards.

We knew that G would be disabled at some point, so we made that our mission, to have things paid for, and some money saved.  We worked hard at it.
He retired at the end of 2004 due to physical disability.  He couldn't get his retirement (not old enough) till he was declared disabled by social security.  That took months - with just my income.
Once he got both - I quit work, as he really wanted me to stay home.
I was 51.

Granted I could have kept working - and maybe I should have - BUT it has all worked out and I love being retired.
Now that G can't get around - I take care of the house and yard.  I love gardening and canning.  I LOVE bargain shopping and getting deals.  So he has money coming in, and I do what I can to allow us to keep it.

We you retire - remember it is NOT about what you have.  It is about what you DON'T have! 
Have your home, vehicles, and any other large purchases paid off - then think about retiring.

Utilities are necessary bills - but you do have some control over how high those bills will be.  Groceries are necessary - but you can control that amount as well.
Insurance is necessary if you aren't old enough for Medicare.  That is by far our largest expense (for me) - it is bigger than any house or car payment that we had.

You can control other bills, as they are all not necessary.  Cable, internet, phones, vacations, clothes, stuff - it's all NOT really necessary!  Chose what you can afford ONLY!

Stop and really think about things. Experts say you need a million or more dollars to retire.  I find that totally hysterical!!!!!!  We would have nothing even close to that!   Granted - if you have that - more power to you.
We can get by on so much less than we think.  If you have been frugal through the years, you are way ahead of the game.  YOU KNOW WHAT TO DO.

You lose so many expenditures when you retire.  That in itself is a huge savings.  No lunches out, no transportation costs, vehicle insurance lowers, no new clothes, home to cook meals, and on and on.

Folks - take some time and really think about things.      Don't over analyze it - you will just make yourself scared! 
Get your large items paid off - then take the leap if you are inclined.
Yes, it is kind of scary at first - but you will learn to THRIVE and LOVE IT!


Sunday, March 6, 2016

Frugal Happenings 3/6

Good morning my lovelies!  Hope this finds you all well and happy.
It is an absolutely gorgeous morning here.  Sun is shining and we are to get into 50's today.  We have had it ALL this past week.  Cold, warmth, rain, snow, sleet - and one day had it all!  This next week we are to be in the 60's and low 70's with a lot of rain.

I took a walk about the yard yesterday and all the perennials are popping through the soil.  Tulips, daffodils and hyacinths are all about 4" - 5".  Lots of lilies are starting up.  I even noticed some little red points peeking out of the earth that are peonies and rhubarb!  Several of the trees in the neighborhood are starting to show buds.
I saw my first robins of the season this week.  It won't be long!!!!

It's hard to believe that in one more week we 'spring forward' for daylight savings time.  Two weeks from today is the official calendar SPRING!  Palm Sunday is in 2 weeks and Easter in three.  It sure has come upon us quickly it seems.

Yesterday, my GOOD neighbors of 4 years moved.  I was devastated.  They have been such good neighbors (renters).  They had 3 dogs which were all lovely individually - but chaos together!  I keep looking outside to see the dogs playing.  So sad.  I guess Zach (the owner) is going to sell the house.  I sure hope we get someone good to move in.  It is always scary - as you just never know.  I know I sure will miss the girls and doggies.

My week;
  • We received the $250 GC that we order with CC points the week before (that was fast).  I see a FREE cat food stock-up coming!
  • G's doc came for his quarterly visit.  He filled out a paper for us from insurance - stating that he advised of all necessary tests, etc. - and for that the insurance will send us a $50 GC.
  • I bought 14 lbs. of chicken legs for .49/lb.  Vacuumed sealed and froze.
  • Found organic whole carrots for .39/lb.
  • Had to go to bank to renew a CD and found out we have 'bank relationship rewards'.  Who knew?  I have no idea how we earned them - but they said we needed to use them.  Logged in and found a Black & Decker electric hand/jig saw that will come in handy for me.  It is a $59 value!  YES, there was kitchen and girl stuff - but that is what I wanted!!!
  • I fixed our indoor/outdoor weather station.  Changed batteries and it still wasn't working.  I took it apart - figuring I couldn't hurt it any more - cleaned the insides completely and guess what?  IT WORKS perfectly.  That saved $29 for an identical model.
  • All meals from home and from scratch
  • Been 'shopping' from our pantry overflow downstairs
  • Used all leftovers this week
  • We did splurge this week - G really wanted Chinese and it has been since early Oct. since we ordered.  It lasted us 2 meals.
We had Chinese for meals and also homemade pizza, soup and grilled cheese, a chicken dinner, homemade crab cake patties/Cajun rice, and homemade taco salad this week.  Quite a variety and it was all good!

I sit here typing and glancing out the window - watching the many, many squirrels play, listening to the birdies, and enjoying the sunshine.  What a lovely day.  I plan on going out shortly to rake up all the little sticks all over the yard.  I pick up any big ones when they fall - but the yard is covered with twigs.  Free exercise and fresh air!!!!!!

Say hello to my little friend!!!!!

I hope you all have a wonderful week and many blessing.  I just want to say I am so thankful to have you all in my life.  God sends us blessings in so many unexpected ways.

Friday, March 4, 2016

BAKING SODA - in the kitchen

Ok, we have gone over a lot on non-edible uses for baking soda.  there are a lot of kitchen hints and tips for baking soda as well.
This is definitely a pantry staple!

Here we go!!!!!

  • You are out of baking POWDER - substitute 1/4 tsp. b/s PLUS 1/8 tsp. cream of tartar.  Don't have cream of tartar?  Use 1/4 tsp. b/s PLUS 1/2 C sour milk, buttermilk or yogurt (decrease liquid in recipe by 1/2)
  • Make your own self-rising flour.  3 1/2 C flour, 1 3/4 tsp. baking powder, 1 3/4 tsp. b/s and 1 3/4 tsp. salt
  • yeast can be replaced in a recipe with equal parts of baking soda and powdered vitamin C.  The dough will rise while baking
  • In a recipe calling for sour milk or buttermilk, substitute fresh milk and 3/4 tsp. of baking soda!  Good to know when out of vinegar or lemon juice!!!!
  • Add a tsp. of b/s to cooking water for rice to improve fluffiness
  • If you add too much vinegar to a recipe, add a pinch of b/s to counteract
  • Omelets are fluffier if you add 1/2 tsp. b/s for every 3 eggs
  • When gravy separates, add a pinch of b/s to oils and fats to stick back together
  • Tenderize meat by rubbing it with b/s.  Let it sit for several hours, then rinse and cook
  • Rub the fat around pork chops with b/s to make it crispier when frying
  • Reduce the FISHY taste of raw fish by soaking it at least an hour in 2 Tbsp. of b/s in a quart of water.  Rinse and cook
  • Add a bit of b/s to dry beans or baked beans when cooking to rid of the gaseous effect.  I also soak my dry beans in water and baking soda overnight before cooking in clean water
  • Add a pinch of b/s to tomato products to reduce the acidity level
  • To test acidity of tomatoes - dip a moist spoon in b/s then in tomatoes.  Bubbling means they have a high acid level
  • Keep cauliflower WHITE and it's odor down by adding a tsp. of b/s to water or steamer
  • Tart blackberries can be sweetened by adding 1/2 tsp. b/s before adding sugar in pies and cobblers
  • If you have to boil water before drinking it - add 1 tbsp. b/s per gallon to soften the water.
  • Add 1/4 tsp. b/s to a cup of coffee to reduce bitterness
  • Add 1/4 tsp. of b/s to 8 oz. of orange juice, grapefruit juice or lemonade, and stir.  It will add fizz to the drink and reduce acidity.
To test your baking soda for effectiveness in cooking - sprinkle some b/s in a bit of vinegar - if it fizzes it is good to go, if not use for other things.

I hope that this post and the previous one has convinced you that you NEED to keep quite a bit of baking soda in your pantry.  It is ever so versatile and definitely FRUGAL!

BAKING SODA - non-edible uses

In the last post I mentioned keeping baking soda in your long term pantry.  It has a ton of uses, even when it is no longer usable in baking.
Here are some things to remember and some good reasons to keep baking soda around.  It is our FRIEND!!!

* A paste of b/s and water removes stains from plastic/rubber utensils    *Lemon juice and b/s removes stains from storage containers.    *Boil water and b/s to loosen dried/baked on food in pans.
*Cleans stainless steel sinks and hardware without scratching.    *Removes stains from laminate counter tops.  Apply, let it dry, rub off and rinse.    *1/4 C b/s, 1/2 C vinegar and 1 C ammonia to a gallon of warm water is a great grout cleaner. (Wear rubber gloves)   *1/2 C b/s and 1 C vinegar cleans clogged drains (good in a toilet for cleaning as well)   * Removes smells from fridge and freezer.     *Sprinkle on smelly carpet, let it set for a few hours, then vacuum.  Removes smells.    *Sprinkle on a fresh grease stain on upholstery , let it set, then vacuum up.    *Mix 3 parts baking soda with one part water and use as a jewelry cleaner.    *Mix b/s with white glue and use as a nail hole filler before painting walls (paint after it dries).

*Add 1/2 C b/s with detergent to freshen laundry (smelly clothes).    *Add 1/2 C to rinse cycle as a fabric softener.    *Make a paste and scrub into perspiration stains or ring around the collar.  Let it set for an hour then launder as usual.    *Clean suede with b/s applied with a soft brush.  Set and then brush off.    *Sprinkle into shoes to absorb moisture and absorb odors.    *Helps remove blood stains.  Dampen with peroxide and then sprinkle with b/s.  Dab up stain - repeat if needed.  Check for colorfastness first in hidden spot.

* 2 Tbsp. in a tub of water - reduces ring in tub and softens skin.    *Use instead of cleanser on tub and sink.    *Works great to clean mildew on shower curtains and walls.    *Place b/s in a diaper pail to eliminate odors.

*Add 1 teaspoon to a shampoo bottle - removes buildup from hairspray, gels, and conditioners.   *Can use as a dry shampoo in a pinch (I remember doing this as a child).    *3 Tbsp. to a basin of warm water works great as a foot soak/soother.    *Dampen your toothbrush and place in b/s and use for toothpaste.  **Mix with a little peroxide (a paste) and use as a tooth whitener. (I do once a week)    *4 Tbsp. into a quart of water works great for sunburn pain.  Gently apple and it soothes the pain.    *Mix 3 parts b/s to one part water and use on poison ivy.  Drying and soothing.
*1/2 tsp. to a 1/2 glass of water makes a great antacid.    *Make a paste of b/s and water to place on a bee sting - removes pain.

*Pour on pet accidents (wet) - let it set for a while to absorb - then vacuum.    *Use in the litter box to help absorb odors.    *Use as a dry bath for your dogs.  Rub in and brush out.  

*    Sprinkle lightly around your tomato plants to sweeten the flavor of tomatoes.  Lowers acidity.    *Use as a cleaner for patio furniture.  Makes them smell nice and removes mildew and grime in a jiff.    *Sprinkle over light grease stains.  Scrub in lightly - let it sit overnight - then sweep up.    *Removes hardened paint on old paint brush bristles.  Use a 1/2 gal. of water, 1 C b/s and 1/4 C vinegar and add brushes and bring to a boil.  Removes all old paint - that can save $$$.    *Cleans white wall tires easily.    *Take on a camping trip - it can be used for cleaning dishes and utensils, washing hands and teeth, used as a fire extinguisher, treat insect bites, etc.!!!!!!     *Great for deodorizing sleeping bags.  Sprinkle with b/s and set in the sun for 1/2 day.  Shake out and set in the sun again.  Sweet smelling sleeping bags!

I am sure there are many, many more uses.  This just goes to show it is really important to keep this product in your long term pantry.  If by some chance you could get ahold of NO other cleaner for a while - you would be good to go!
I buy the big bags at Sam's Club a lot cheaper than buying the same weight at grocery in boxes.

Don't you just love it when one product or thing can have soooooo many uses?  I sure do - as that is just down right FRUGAL!

You have any other uses?  Let us know!

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Long Term Groceries

I know we all like to be prepared for emergencies - whether it be natural disasters, bad weather, loss of job. economy that sucks, or just low on money.
I do believe that we need to really get our bums in gear and get prepared.  Things are getting bad all over the world.  It seems every couple weeks there is another article about a country whose economy is crashing.  Folks I don't think ours is too far behind.

I know a lot of people think I am crazy with my prepping, and they think I am nuts with my thoughts about the government and economy - but I trust ONLY ME!
Right now we are all worried about the upcoming election and who will be running.  There isn't a lot to choose from!  My personal thoughts - it doesn't really matter, as I don't think we will have an election.  I believe that we will be under marshal law by then, and the powers that be will remain in office.  JUST MY OPINION.
If that happens - sh** will hit the proverbial fan!

DISCLAIMER:  I am not trying to start a political conversation here - so no nasty comments please.

Prepping, stockpiling, deep pantry, general pantry, groceries - whatever you call it - it simply means being prepared.
There are many items that you can keep for YEARS without them going bad.  They are great things to have on hand for various reasons.
Prices go up each and every day, many items will be beneficial in cooking, some for cleaning or health, others for bartering.  ALL will be beneficial  in the long run.

DRIED BEANS - keep in a cool dry area.  These provide protein, carbs and fiber.  The older they get the longer they take to cook - but they won't go bad.  They are cheap and could keep you alive in a dire situation.
DRY PASTA - keep sealed, dry, and away from bugs.  Full of carbs for energy, and it is very filling.  Very inexpensive
CORN SYRUP - keep tightly closed and it will last for years.  Great for sweetening anything.
SUGAR - white, brown, or powdered.  Keep these dry and sealed from bugs.  It may get hard as a rock - but it will NEVER spoil.  Sugar can also be a great bartering tool
CORN STARCH  - used as a thickener for liquids.  Gluten free.  Can also be used as an antiperspirant, hair cleanser, and soothing bug bites, rashes, and sunburn
HARD LIQUOR - This is something to keep on hand even if you don't drink.  It can be medicinal (internally and externally) and is great for sterilization.  This is probably the number one barter tool!  It is fine even after opened.
EXTRACTS - these are good for flavoring or deodorizers for all sorts of things.
SALT  - keep dry.  It may harden or clump - but it will never go bad.  It is good for flavoring and preserving and cleaning
RAW HONEY - will NEVER go bad!!!!  Honey and bee pollen are about the most complete foods nature put on this planet.  It is full of vitamins and minerals, it sweetens, it's antiseptic and healing.  It is PURE food.  If honey crystalizes or turns color - it is not bad.  Heat up and use it.
WHITE RICE - keep it dry and insect free.  Full of carbs, protein and calories.  Quite filling and inexpensive. (Brown rice is more healthy - but can go rancid because of oils it contains)
WHITE VINEGAR - NEVER goes bad.  It is great for pickling, preserving, it's antiseptic, and is great for cleaning.
COFFEE BEANS - keep dry and they will last for years.  Granted you will need a grinder.  This is another item that is hot in bartering.  Instant coffee will last for years as well without getting stale if kept sealed and dry.
BAKING SODA - granted this will lose it's effectiveness in baking after so long, but it is good for other things as well.  It is great for cleaning, healing rashes, bug bites, sunburn, cleaning hair and teeth, can be used as deodorant on the body and in the air.  There are so many uses for it.
DEHYDRATED VEGGIES - will last for years!  Add hot water and rehydrate.  Keep in a dry, insect free container.

These are some of the items we should all have on hand for when things get bad.  The reason you are making a good pantry doesn't really matter - as we all have different reasons - but it IS and WILL BE important in the future.
Take time and inventory your goods, and try to add some LONG TERM item every week.