Sunday, August 20, 2017

Frugal Happenings 8/20

Good morning my friends.  Hope you are all safe and well.
I am anxiously waiting for tomorrow to be done - I am so over hearing about this eclipse thing!  I know it is a rare occurance, but I prefer it was even rarer!!!!  LOL
I just know we are going to hear horror stories of people damaging their sight despite ALL the many warnings!

Summer came back to our area this past week with hot temperatures.  We did get rain on Thursday (nice gentle rain) which was desperately needed.  This coming week is supposed to cool off again I believe!
The hummingbirds have been so active and just a delight to watch.

My frugal week:
  • I have been diligently preserving my garden produce - I love harvesting from the yard!!!!!
  • Chopped and froze a dozen bell peppers
  • Stuffed and froze many servings of jalapeno poppers
  • Canned 28 jars of tomato products - pasta sauce, pizza sauce, and plain tomatoes
  • Dehydrated tomato skins, basil, thyme, and rosemary
  • Finished filing a second jar with ground tomato and a 2nd jar with basil
  • Made a blend of tomato skins, basil, thyme, dried garlic, dried onion, and broccoli leaves.  Made a full pint jar.  My own homemade veggie bouillon!
  • Used the scalding canning water along the drive and killed weeds
  • Noticed we have lots of baby cabbage and 2nd round broccoli coming on in the garden.  The peppers are loaded with blooms and baby peppers!
  • Picked round 1 of grapes.  De-stemmed and froze enough for a batch of jelly when I am ready to make.  Lots more hanging out there!  YAY
  • Line dried laundry
  • Made a dozen hard boiled eggs
  • Dr. Housecall came this week for G.  Good check-up.
  • Used rain water for my potted garden plants - cucumbers are really reviving!
  • Went to the Grand Opening of Safeway in the old building of grocery that recently closed (glad they re-used that building)
  • At the stands outside store I received 3 - 16 oz. bottles of Prairie Farms chocolate milk FREE, a cheddar brat sandwich and a bottle of water FREE
  • Got 8 packages of Colby cheese (8 oz. each) for 1.49 a package!  8 was all they had on the shelf.  2.98 a pound for cheese is a bargain every day here!
  • I stopped because ad said they had bananas for .39/pd.  YUM.  I can never find for less than
  • I got a ginormous local cantaloupe for 2.99.  I had never seen one that large and took a chance hoping it would be good.  It is wonderful!
This cantaloupe weighed in at 11 1/2 lbs.!!!!!!!!!!!  Mmmmmmmm good.

I love that we are gaining so much harvest and food for our pantry from the yard.  What a wonderful blessing.  Are you adding to your pantry via your garden?  Are you doing any canning?
I have spent an active week canning and dehydrating.  More to do this coming week!  I LOVE IT!

Meals this week:
Had a leftover day to clean out frig
Skillet goulash (new recipe)
Leftover goulash, steak burgers and sliced tomatoes
Dinner from the 50's diner (I was tired from canning)
Spaghetti with meat sauce, coleslaw and sliced tomatoes
Roast beef sandwiches and salad
Taco casserole
Quick snacks - cheese and crackers, pickles, yogurt, and apples

WHAT did you do FRUGAL this week?  Canning, gardening, crafting, special buys???????
I look forward to hearing from you.

THANK YOU ALL for such interesting posts this past week.  I enjoyed everyone's stories and contributions.  I think it was fun for all.

I pray you each have a safe, healthy and frugal week.  May the Lord bless you and keep you in His loving protective arms.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Life Before Grocery Stores

Here is something to ponder.  The first major grocery stores in America didn't show up until 1946!  That was definitely BC (before Cheryl!),  but not by much!  I was born in the 50's.
We had a couple small family owned 'grocery' stores in our area and both were in walking distance.  Those continued to last for several years (into my teen years).

I remember going to Standard grocery and once in a while the A&P.  Green stamps were given at the store and those were saved and used to make special purchases with.  I loved the job of licking them!  I felt so grown up.  LOL

Prior to the major grocery chains opening up, there were the small family stores and general stores in more remote areas.  It is crazy to think you couldn't just run in somewhere every block or so, and buy anything and everything you could imagine.

Most families were like mine.  We grew so much food and preserved it.  Daddy had a quarter acre in garden, and poor Momma had to preserve it all.  We had apple trees, a cherry tree, rhubarb, raspberries, 2 huge grape arbors, strawberries,  and the neighbors had a peach tree.  Apples were bartered and traded for peaches.

Before I arrived on the scene, there were chickens, both for meat and eggs (and selling).  There were goats for milk.  Daddy raised rabbits for years for eating and selling.
He fished and fished when he had free time (mostly in winter and ice fished), as did my brothers.  They hunted squirrel.  I don't remember ever hunting anything larger, as we weren't real close to the woods.
We had a milkman after I arrived, who delivered milk and milk products.
Mom and Daddy would save and save and every few years, they would purchase half a cow or hog from someone they knew.  That was a huge big deal.  Meat was a side like everything else in the meal.  You got a piece of meat with your dinner - no one got to make pigs of themselves! 
Leftovers were used for another meal of some sort.
Absolutely nothing was wasted.  If there were scraps of something, that is what fed the pets.

Mom made all sorts of snacks - cookies, candy, cakes, pies, donuts, you name it.  I don't remember how old I was when I first ate sliced bread from the store!  I do remember it was disappointing!
Never in my Moms house was a store bought noodle ever served - up until her death at almost 91 years old.  I was an adult and married, before I had a store bought noodle - and I was the one who bought them.
Still to this day, store bought cookies just don't satisfy me.  Of course there is nothing like Mom's cooking!

I do remember going to my grandmas, and she lived about 65 miles away - which took forever to get to.  There were NO interstates! 
On the way home, it was an adventure to forage for nuts, pears, mushrooms, persimmons, or whatever was 'in season'.  Sometimes the farmers who were about done with their season would let folks glean corn, field tomatoes, pumpkins, etc.  That was a huge find.

Daddy not only grew every kind of veggie you could imagine, and some I still am not sure about, but he also grew popcorn and melons of all sort.
He made wine as a hobby (much to my Mom's horror) from green tomatoes, dandelions, grapes, elderberries, mulberries (we collected those too), etc.
Mom made jellies and jams from all different types of berries.

Soups were homemade -  NEVER  from a can.  All meals were from scratch.  We did drink tea, water, milk, and the folks had coffee.  Once I came along - soda pop was a once a year treat.  Daddy would take me to the hardware store up the street, and let me pick out a case of Nehi flavors.  It took me forever to decide!!  It lasted all summer/fall and was considered a real treat!  That day would be the highlight of my summer!!!!  LOL
At Christmas we would sometimes get a six pack of those little Cokes because Daddy thought "Santa" might want a change from milk!!!

Never did any of us go hungry (there were 5 older than me) - never did we feel a want for something.  We were happy and didn't really know any different.  Life was simple (albeit hard work).

DID ANY OF YOU have this type of life?
Do you REMEBER  life before big grocery stores?

How many folks could survive today - if trucking stopped, gasoline was short, railways stopped, disaster happened?
We all now grocery stores would be empty within a week or less, so we would be on our own.

I think we definitely could - if for no other reason, than the lessons I learned from my parents growing up.
If we ran out of meat, it would be ok.  That is not something we HAVE to have on a daily basis.  I know how to grow, can, and preserve and we have a nice, nice stockpile built up.  I know people I could barter and trade with, and I could glean and forage.  We would be ok for a long haul., although life would be different.

This sure is something to think about.  I know not everyone would know what to do.  Young folks today would probably die simply for lack of knowledge!
This is why so many of prepare for whatever.

I would love to hear your stories, as I am sure others would.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Creative Pantry Storage

I know we have talked about this before, but it is always good to get some reminders of things we can use, and places we can keep our pantry stockpile.

We are at a volatile time in history again - where just about anything can happen in the world.  It is very scary to think about.  I know we all want to be able to take care  of our families and keep them nourished no matter what happens.
I have faith in the Lord to hold my hand through whatever turmoil we may bare - but I also know that He expects us to help ourselves as well.

I want to be prepared for whatever may happen, whether it's world events, mother nature, illness, loss of funds, no mater what!  I can pretty much bet you are the same way.

There are so many great ways to store our pantry items in out of the way places, and in pretty neat and original ways.

JARS - keep them all.  You can store all kinds of things SAFELY in jars.  I love the half gallon and gallon glass (and plastic) jars I have accumulated over the years.  Some came from the store with product in them and others I got a flea markets and yard sales.
Anything can be stored in jars.  They are bug free - safe zones.  I have some large plastic (gallon) ones - that I store products in, that I leave in their original containers.  Bags of beans or pasta, small packets of mixes, extra health and beauty items, etc.  They stay nice and dry and clean!
Check out Annabelle's site on the blog roll at right - at The Bluebirds Are Nesting for some adorable and creative ideas on labeling.  She makes everything look pretty!

BASKETS - oh my we all love baskets.  I have received many over the years as gifts and every one has become useful.  Extra storage for TP in bathroom, Extra storage for books or magazines that I choose to keep.  Small baskets hold recipe books in the kitchen, packets of mixes, fruit or veggies that aren't refrigerated.  Can goods can be stored away in baskets, linens, snacks, you name it.  Baskets are pretty so they fit just about any where.

BOXES - never discount good old fashioned card board boxes!  I have many canning jar boxes, that I use for storing my canning.  I simply label the outside of the box as to contents and date canned, and place in storage area.  Boxes from liquor stores are great - they are heavy and many times they are compartmentalized.  Boxes stack easily, for out of the way storage. (Back corners of closets, etc.)  I also buy lots of items from Aldi by the case, and those items stack nicely.

POP BOXES - can be used - even decorated to hold canned goods.  Not only are you creating storage but you are recycling.  Old cereal boxes can be done this way as well.

TOTES of all sorts can be used.  Small ones for certain items or large ones for are variety of items.  Keep your products safe, dry and clean.  Totes can be stacked and labeled for those long term storage items.
PLASTIC ICE CREAM container are good gallon size storage as well.

MILK CRATES are wonderful if you can get them.  I have several older ones that are nice and sturdy.  They are easy to stack, have great air flow, and take up little space.

POPCORN TINS from the holidays are another storage solution that is great.  I have many of these, and they are used from storing bird seed - to holding bags of powdered sugar, sugar, flour, etc.  Insect free, and items are dry and safe.

Make some additional storage in out of the way places.  Behind doors is a great area.  I had a nephew make me an extra spice rack that fit inside my pantry door.  Now I can keep extras (of much used items) in an out of sight way and on unused real estate!

Shoe bags can also be used for storage of things other than shoes!  Small toys, bathroom supplies, packets of seasonings, anything that is smallish.

Again this is on the back of a door - so you are creating storage from unused areas of the home.

I saw an idea for a rack that was made to store all those pots and pan lids.  I think it is cool, but I think it could be done easier.
My idea is, instead of building something like above - attached old fashioned cafĂ© curtain rods to the backside of the door.  I think it would work superbly - and I may try that on the inside of a couple cabinet doors.  If the rod is too deep - it could easily be cut off on the ends to make a shallower rack.  I have a ton of those old curtain rods stored in the basement, so all I need is a few brackets from the hardware store. 
I think it would be a great solution on the back of closet doors for scarves, jewelry, belts, etc.  (I know that may not be considered pantry - but it is extra storage)

RECYCLE - coffee cans for storage.  They can be painted or contact paper added to pretty them up.  Coffee creamer jars are good for holding popcorn, candy, dry milk, flour, etc.  Peanut cans, oatmeal boxes, you name it - it can be used for storage.

Get yourself some METAL SHELVING, or an OLD BOOK CASE, or a ROLLING RACK.  Use whatever you can find.
Here is an old rolling rack someone gave me - it works great for lots of smaller items.  The shelving behind it is in our laundry room.  I don't store laundry down there - so I utilize it for extra long term pantry items.  Behind those curtains are shelves that are full on home canned goods.
There is no limit to the ways to store stuff.
We also have a bar in our basement that is no longer used - I cleaned off and got rid of most bar items on shelving under it (gave to someone who would use), and now I use those shelves for long term storage.

Keep turntables or lazy Susan's in the corners of cabinets so as to utilize every space you can.
Tension rods placed in open areas of the pantry or in cabinets allow you to hang items.  Use those plastic pant hangers you get at the store - or add clothes pins the metal rings for hanging.  You can even get clip type shower rings.
Old drawers from unused furniture can have rollers added to the bottom.  They make great under furniture or under bed storage.  Takes up less space than a big ugly piece of furniture.

Utilized the back corners of closets for stacking boxes of labeled pantry items or packages of toilet paper or cases of water. 
DON'T FORGET under the stairs.  That area is such an unused area in our homes.  Add shelving, racks, or if enclosed add a door.  Turn it into usable space.

I have even used a couple of G's old t-shirts (bigger ones he no longer wears) and make hanging storage for bags of snacks, nuts, or any light packaging.
This works great.  Any size shirt could be used, depending on what you are wanting to store. I have a much smaller shirt cut this way and hanging on the back of the basement door in the kitchen to hold onions. I like that because it's breathable material. (you could even add slits ever so often for more air flow - since material will not fray).


Another neat idea if you have a basement with rafters - place some heavy wire shelving on the underside of the rafters and you can store ON it and in between the rafters.  No wasted space.
If rodent free - paper goods can be stored in attics or garages.                                      

I have a couple of those older wicker laundry hampers from days gone by (the ones with lids attached) - I use those for storing extra blankets and quilts.  I have put some cedar blocks in them to keep any buggers out.  They would also be good storage for extra warm clothing or even dry goods for food storage.


When you think you have no space for storing those maybe life saving long term pantry items - think again.  THINK hanging - think vertical - think behind and under - think above. 
Just stop and think and get creative with your storage plans.


Be prepared for ANY emergency!

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Frugal Happenings 8/13

Hello friends!  Happy Sunday.
I truly hope all are well, safe and staying frugal.

We have had some lovely weather this weeks.  Lots of down time for the A/C!  We did get some rain on Friday and it was truly a splendid rain.  My rain barrels were happy to get an addition of water as well.

One of my 'newer' neighbors moved out yesterday.  The single mom with two children left.  I thought she was going to be a good addition to the neighborhood at first, but part of me is a bit happy she left.  The kids were adorable, but she was the most negative person ever.  She let it be widely known that she deserved to live somewhere better and around better people!  Really?  Well, the people in this little burg are hard working people, and good neighbors who watch out for one another.  Come to find out she received a notice of eviction this week for not paying rent for 4 of the last 6 months!  I think that speaks volumes!!!

Hummingbirds have been extremely active in the past week or so.  I hope that isn't a sign that they will be leaving soon!  They sure are fun to watch.

My cucumber plants are actually trying to revive a little.  I got very little off of them and planted new - the new plants are growing and the older ones are greening up and blooming again.  I think the cooler temps have helped a bunch.  That extreme heat and sun we had just burned them up.
The onions I planted a little over a week ago are really growing well.
Going to plant lettuce again today!

My frugal week:
  • Canned 16 jars of mild salsa (last week I made hot)
  • Used the last 3 peaches - cut up and sugared for short cake
  • Received a free Reminisce magazine as a promotional.  They want me back!!!
  • Used Italian bread, hoagies, and pound cake from the freezer (all were free)
  • Used a $10/$40 coupon at Aldi - all items were for long term storage
  • Line dried a ton of laundry
  • Did lots of yard work for free exercise
  • Dehydrated and ground all my tomato skins
  • Meals from home
  • Harvesting lots of veggies in the garden - love me some fresh and basically free food!
  • Did stop by Kroger to look at clearance.  I found 5 - 2 lb. 8 oz. bags of Hershey miniatures (9/2018) for 2.49 each!!!!! They were regular 9.99!   I also got 10 - 5 packs of cat treat sticks for .49 pack (regular 1.07).  My cats love these - although it is NOT a normal every day treat!
I split one stick up amongst the kitties for a treat now and then.
These will be great for Halloween or even the upcoming holidays.  There are 130 pieces per bag!
  • AC off and on this week.  More off than on - and windows open.  Sure have been enjoying the fresh air.
  • Our grapes are starting to ripen - YUM
Meals this week:
Lunchmeat/cheese and tomato sandwiches (a summer favorite) and salad
Sausage/spicy rice/zucchini/cheese skillet dinner
Italian bread pizza
Chicken strips, fried green tomatoes and fried onion slices
Mushroom/salsa beef hoagies and chips
Loaded hotdogs and salad/pickles
Pork chops, red beans & rice and sliced tomatoes

The weather has been so beautiful this week - it seems I have spent many moments just standing outside and taking it all in.  I don't know how many times I stopped and just said "Thank You God", for all the beauty I have enjoyed and the smiles it has brought me. 
I go out some days, and Momma kitty literally comes running up the path to me all wide eyed and happy, wanting petted.  It is just so sweet.
I have had hummingbirds just hover in front of my face.
Butterflies are every where.
The squirrels are a hoot to watch - they play and play.
Cardinals, blue jays, woodpeckers, gold finches, you name it - flitting all around.
The little bunny hopping all around showing his pretty white tail.
These precious moments make me smile!


May you all be blessed with health and happiness in the coming week.  PLEASE take a few moments to appreciate the "little" things in life.  Stand still and soak it in. 
God bless.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Tis the Season (for savings)

Back to school time is here.  Gardens are growing at maximum speed.  Stores are getting in the mindset for the holidays.  Labor Day is coming up (summer's last hoorah).
Sooooooo, there are deals to be found every where - if you take the time to look.
Now is the time to stock up on all those sales.

GARDEN PRODUCE is at it's cheapest right now.  If you don't have a garden - think of buying at farm markets or from farmers direct and can or freeze that wonderful produce.
PEACHES are coming in all over - now is the time to buy.
APPLES are starting to ripen - depending on the type.
MELONS are every where.  Jams, jellies, fruit leathers, etc. can be made with them.

Labor Day will be here before you know it.  This means a lot of GROCERY STORE deals!
MEATS - hamburgers, hotdogs, anything for grilling
CONDIMENTS - will be on sale
POP - and other type of drinks should be great deals
PICNIC SUPPLIES of all types.  Beans, buns, eggs, potatoes, etc...............
Cookouts and picnic times make some great sales.  Now is the time to take advantage and freeze  or stock up on non-perishables

**Undies, shoes, jeans, t-shirts, etc. are on sale for back to school clothes.  Stock up - if necessary get a larger size when the price is right.  Always be prepared for those growing kids.
**Buy stuff and keep it as gifts for the holiday - nothing says you have to buy winter clothes - especially for teens!!!
**SUMMER CLEARANCE is starting at all discount stores.  ALL summer goods are getting marked down as the stores are getting ready for the fall/winter holidays (UGH).
Buy beach supplies, swimsuits, beach towels, picnic stuff (neat idea for gifts), shorts.............

Office supply stores are having great deals.  Stock up for the kids entire school year, the office, or just for home.  Notebooks, pens, pencils, copy paper, markers, etc. are dirt cheap now.  Many grocery stores are having sales on these items as well.
I always get notebooks, markers, folders, pens & pencils as part of the kids stocking stuffers.  I like putting them in a little bin or storage container that they can use in their rooms.

Take some time and look around for the best bargains.  It is a wonderful time to help fill the pantry and to get the young-ins decked out for school, and to buy gifts for later.

What goodies do you stock up on this time of the year?

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

FRUGAL Homemade Gifts

It seems Sunday's post about me thinking about making Christmas gifts, got lot's of us talking!  Basically it is just a little over 4 months till that special day.
I know that some people that read the blog, maybe don't have any funds for gifts, and that can make the holidays so stressful and miserable.
I don't want anyone feeling that way.  That is supposed to be a magical time of the year, so I want to offer a few ideas (thank you Pinterest) that can be made at home with ONLY what you have on hand!

Money doesn't have to be spent to have some wonderful and thoughtful gifts to give.  I love homemade gifts, and I would gladly take any of these.
Enjoy and hopefully someone will find something they can use.

I love these wine holders.  It's simply the sleeve of an old sweater and some yarn.  You don't have to give wine (that costs money) - you can make herbed oil, flavored vinegars, or homemade extracts.  Shoot you could even add a cheap (Dollar store) bottle of bubbly fruit juice.

How cute - a button tree.  Could be any solid color or it could be done in miss matched buttons (how pretty).  Use an old frame - maybe paint it up, and a piece a plain fabric in the back.  We all have a button box don't we?

Love this idea for a young gal.  Any old picture frame painted (to match their room), and either back it with some chicken wire, or simply add some wire rows.  It could also be done with a corkboard back and stick pins or thumb tacks to hold jewelry.

Here you go - use some older balls or a Styrofoam ball and twine and pieces of ribbon.  These are the cutest country looking ornaments.

Anyone that has a fireplace or wood stove (or knows someone who does), can make these cute little snowman ornaments.  Twine could be added to the tops to hang - but I think they look cute for table/mantle decorations.

If you are anything like me, you have a pile of worn out jeans in your sewing stash!  Jeans make great pillows, potholders, quilts, etc.  Use your imagination on the decoration.  I see tooth fairy pillows - just made on a smaller scale!!!

Here is a cute way to use the rest of the sweater (from bottle covers).  Stuff with the guts from an old pillow, or old panty hose, dryer lint, or even shredded grocery bags.  Do a cute little rope stitch around the edges with scraps of yard and add a tiny ribbon to the top.  Cute decoration.
***You could even use old sweaters cut in squares to piece together a warm and cozy lap throw!!!!

An old mason jar can become anything!!  A little stuffing (cotton or batting) or a sponge, a little piece of fabric and some pins.  You can toss a couple spools of thread in jars, a tape measure, some needles,  buttons, etc..  I think this would be a cute idea for a college student - Momma isn't always going to be around!

Check the trash for 2 liter pop bottles.  A little paint, glue and imagination and you have the prettiest little bird houses.  I'd love to see these hanging about my garden!

Ok, there you have it.  Many gifts that can be made for nothing - nada -  zip - zilch - FREE!!!
There are so many things we can all do for little or no money.

I will try to give LOT'S more ideas over the next couple months or so. 
Let us all challenge each other to see just HOW FRUGAL we can be this Christmas and still give nice gifts!!!!
Get creative and crafting!


Sunday, August 6, 2017

Frugal Happenings 8/6

Hello everyone!  Praying this finds you all well and happy.
We are doing great this week.  Nothing in the world to complain about - and if we did - it would just be trivial stuff.  So all is good!

The weather has made a dramatic change.  Friday we didn't even get out of the 60's for a high!  It looks like it will be in the 70's most of this upcoming week - YAY!  This is perfect in my opinion - it could stay that way all the time.  It is a very cloudy day, today.  We are expecting a little rain off and on, and I am sure the flowers and the garden will love it.

This was the week that the surprise lilies bloomed - or resurrection lilies or naked ladies or what ever you call them in your area.  I love them so much - as they take me back in time to Momma and Daddies.  That is where they came from.  They had a 75' row of these out by the garden and it was so pretty when they bloomed.  I love having flowers that came from my childhood home.

Frugal this week:
  • Line dried laundry
  • Lots of yard work - free exercise
  • Used rain water for plants
  • Received a $10/$10 coupon for Kohl's - which I will use for a gift item when I am in the area
  • AC has been off since Friday morning - windows open
  • Dehydrated cabbage leaves and ground up - and dehydrated some older canned jalapenos
  • Picking lots of garden.  Tomatoes every day - zucchini at least every other day - bell peppers, jalapenos, and 3 heads of cabbage this week!
  • Cut up and jarred 7 quarts of kraut to ferment
  • Restocked many items in pantry from downstairs stock
  • Went to visit my brother and stopped at Kroger a couple blocks from his house.
  • Kroger deals - I found a shelving unit in the produce department that has special bags of fresh produce - each only costing .99.  Not seconds - it's all nice.  I got 2 bags of crunchy apples (6 in each), a 5 lb. bag of yellow potatoes, and 2 purple onions all for .99 per bag.  CHECK YOUR Kroger the next time you go!!!!
  • I also got 4 boxes of onion soup mix for .49 each (I don't usually buy), and 8 packs of 6 ea. of candy bars for .49 ea. (2018)  Those will be saved for Halloween time.
The same potatoes in a different bag 15' away in another aisle were $4.99!!!!  I don't know why they have this  area - unless to just help folks out - but it's nice.  I have seen this shelf for a while, but just never really stopped to look.  They have oranges, lemons, limes, apples, potatoes, onions, etc.  I will definitely be checking this area as well as the clearance area EVERY TIME I go in.

Meals this week:

Ham/cream cheese/veggie roll-ups in tortillas
Poor man Swiss steak, smashed potatoes, sliced tomatoes
Creamy zucchini soup with tortellini added (2X)
BLT's - Mmmmmmm baby!!!!!!
Chef salads
Smoked sausage/cabbage and fried potatoes

I have also been going through my stash of fabric and pile of old clothes to come up with some ideas for making Christmas gifts.  Thinking of making some lap throws, throw pillows, pot holders, etc.
Planning on doing some more canning this week as well.

What have you been up to?  Did you get any good deals this week or do any canning?
Give us a shout and let us know how you are staying frugal.

Be safe my friends.  Praying the Lord protects you and yours and keeps everyone safe and healthy.
I hope you all have a pleasant week - and stay frugal everyone.
God bless.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Great Depression Lessons

Some of us came along shortly after the Great Depression, but most had parents and grandparents that lived through it.  I even had siblings living through it.  We have all heard stories about what life was like then.
It wasn't easy at all - it was bad in some respects - but I think it also had many good things going for it!  Does that surprise you? 
Think about it - these folks learned things and lived in a way that many people today are striving for.  So many are going back to living a simple life, living off grid, homesteading, being frugal.......the list goes on and on. 

We can learn so much from the past, and unfortunately, many lessons that we SHOULD be learning, we are just oblivious too.             

The  usual motto back then was "use it up, wear it out and make it do".  This was the way of life for most families.  Almost everyone was affected by the depression in some way.  Nothing was wasted.  People improvised.  Many items weren't available or were in short supply - so you had to come up with news ways.
As bad as it was - it was good too!!!  People were creative.  People helped each other.  No one felt especially deprived.  Families and community was treasured.
Conserving what little money that was had - was vital.

1.  USE WHAT YOU HAVE - mend it, fix it, re-invent it.  We have such accumulations of stuff - we should all be able to get by with what we have for ages.  It is just a matter of getting creative!

2. SHOP FOR BARGAINS - do NOT impulse shop!!!!  If you are going to have to make a major purchase  - research, research and more research!!!!!  Have patience.  Odds are you can make do for a while without it.  Think hard about your purchases.  Odds are when I think I want something - if I think on it for a while - I realize I don't need it.  Get the best quality for the best price.

3.  NOTHING WRONG WITH USED - Check yard sales, thrift stores, Craig's List, Freecycle, friends and neighbors.  Someone you know may have just what you need just waiting for you!  You never know till you ask.
Electronics can be iffy - unless you are a pro and know how to fix.  I would avoid second hand computers, unless from a reputable upgrade store.  Beds are another thing you might be careful with.  Bed bugs can cause huge problems if you bring them home.

4.  COOK AT HOME FROM SCRATCH.  learn how to make your restaurant favorites - there are many duplicate recipes on-line and in cookbooks.  Restaurants can suck your money up quickly.  Learn how to make simple old fashioned meals.  Get cookbooks at the library.

5.  MAKE IT - Learn how to make simple but good home cleaners.  Make your own compost.  Learn how to do small projects around the house.  Learn to sew and mend.  Cook.

Here are 3 of my older siblings who grew up during the depression.  Don't they look nice?  Mom made the boy's shirts and clothes for the girls.  Homemade doesn't mean looking bad.  Being poor doesn't mean you can't have nice things. 
6.  FIX STUFF - so much of our society has become throw away - it is really disgusting and wasteful.  Check out You Tube for instructions on how to fix your stuff.  Acquire missing manuals on-line.  Call 800 numbers on products - they may be able to trouble shoot.  TRY your best to fix things before buying new.

7. DO IT YOURSELF - do your own yard work, pet baths, gutter cleaning, easy plumbing, cleaning AC and furnaces, etc.  No need to pay someone else, when you can do it yourself.

8.  PAY OFF DEBT - no brainer for most of us - but many don't get it!  Make any extra payments you can on car or mortgage.  Always try to pay more than the minimum payment.  Pay off one smaller debt at a time - it gives you a since of accomplishment.  If need be get an extra job or learn to make extra money to pay things off - DO IT.  Get out of debt!!!!!!  Budget.  Make a plan and a goal.  STRIVE FOR IT!

9.  FOREGO FASHION - This doesn't mean look like a slob or have crumby stuff.  You can dress simpler when you stay at home.  Be comfortable and practical.  DON'T feel like you need to keep up with the Jones's.  An older well maintained vehicle is fine, older furniture and things are fine.  DO NOT worry about impressing people!!!!!!!!!!!!

10. LEARN TO HAVE FUN WITHOUT SPENDING - it is doable!  Have a picnic, play board/card games, play Frisbee, story telling, go to the library, camp (if nothing else in the back yard), have campfires, do family research together (great way to teach kids history and learn about your ancestors), do cooking or sewing lessons with the kids (and friends), garden together, hike, fly kites, play horseshoes, croquet, volleyball, etc.........................

11.  EMERGENCY FUND - pay yourself.  It is necessary and important.  You may have to start small  with $5 or $10 a week - but do something!  If you have an emergency that comes up and it costs $1,000 - even if you only have $500 - you are better off than having none.  You just never know what can happen - you MUST be prepared.

12.  FREE STUFF - find it!  Libraries have books, music and movies all for free.  Check out special days at museums, historical sights, state or federal parks.  Go to local parks.  Check out programs performed at area schools and colleges - there are may things that can be enjoyed - choirs, art, plays, etc.  Our local park has an event every week all summer - the symphony, art displays, movies in the park, local musicians - all FREE

13.  GARDEN - for the cost of a few packs of seeds (or free is saved seeds) - you can grow an abundance of food - healthy food!.  Read books, mentor with someone, watch You Tube and learn to can and preserve your food for later months.  Grow whatever you can - even if it's a few herbs on the patio.  It is food you don't have to buy!!!!!!!!

14.  MAKE GIFTS - make your gifts more personal than just giving generic store bought stuff.  Re-purpose items into new things - pillows, dish towels, quilts, lap quilts, pillows.  Make wood crafts if handy.  Make up small photo albums with family recipes from long ago (maybe add pictures if you can).  Give home canned goods, breads, muffins, candy, etc.  There is NO limit to the gifts that can be made when you have any special talent. 
Make coupon books, for baby sitting, home car wash and detailing, a meal a month, snow shoveling, leaf raking, baked goods, etc.

Quilts and pillow shams that I made from clothing scraps and yard sale materials.  I made each sibling a set one year for Christmas, when we had virtually NO money.  They loved them, and I felt proud to give a nice gift without spending much money.
I have done many small ones for new babies as well.

Take time and figure out what you REALLY WANT from life. 
Do you want to be in debt and have all kinds of fancy new stuff, that loses it's appeal after you get it home? 
Do you want to retire and relax? 
Do you just want to feel safe - IN CASE?
Do you want to do good things for the planet?
Do you want to slow down?
Do you want to have new experiences with family and friends?
Do you just want to be a good steward of what you have?

WHATEVER you do - be wise and thrifty!

Tuesday, August 1, 2017


Have you tried your hand at dehydrating yet?  I have dried my tomato skins for years - using the oven.  Last year I got a dehydrator and I LOVE it!  Mine is not a top of the line or super expensive one (well, I probably didn't need to say that - LOL), but it sure does work.
So, don't feel you have to spend a ton of money to practice dehydrating.  You CAN use your oven or even a toaster oven.  Herbs can be air dried.
DON'T be intimidated by dehydrating - it is so easy!

There is really nothing that can't be dried!  I have read about people dehydrating cottage cheese, mashed potatoes, noodles, cream cheese, watermelon, scrambled eggs. etc.  

Fresh fruit and veggies are pretty darn easy.  FROZEN fruit and veggies can also be done - so as to make more room in your freezers for meat and prepared meals.
Those who home can know that after a couple years - if you haven't used your home canned items, they start getting a limp or different.  DON'T throw these things out!!!  You DO have options.

I have pickles that are  getting older and are no longer crisp - well I am dehydrating them.  YES, pickles!  I will be draining, cutting into smaller pieces, and dehydrating.  Those pieces can be used for;
Tuna salad
Egg salad
Potato salad
Grind into a powder and use in sour cream as a seasoning
Dill pickles are naturally salty - grind and use as pickle salt on popcorn or zucchini chips or homemade potato chips
SWEET pickles an be dried and used the same ways or eat as pickle chips!  (Dill are really waaaaay salty for that - they don't taste great as chips - too intense).

The same thing can be done with peppers - hot or sweet- that have been home canned.  After a while they tend to get limp or mushy - don't throw them out - dehydrate.  They can be used in small bits and pieces in all kinds of recipes or you can grind them up as well.

There is no limit to things you can use veggie powders for.  Any veggies powders would be great in dips, dressings, or in soups or gravies for extra flavor.
Fruit powders would be great as extra flavor in any fruit dish, Jello, cakes, candy or in smoothies.

There are parts of things that we don't tend to use.  I used to always get rid of the stems of mushrooms.  Now I dry the stems (separately) and grind them up.  The mushrooms I slice.  I also like to dehydrate older woodier okra pieces and grind (for soup thickener).  I dry the big tougher stalks from broccoli and the leaves, as well as the big leaves from cabbage - grind and add to dishes.
You can de-seed squash that has gotten too big and dehydrate, as well as peeled and de-seeded cucumbers peels are usually bitter on big cukes).  Both can be seasoned and used as chips - or powders, or in soups.

I dehydrate zucchini and place one smaller - medium size per bag.  I then fill a gallon jar with bags.  This great for winter soups.  Tomato skins, dried and ground, is a lovely tomato powder or bouillon.

Dried mushrooms are lovely for all kinds of things.  I dry one 8 oz. package per tray - that way I can keep my containers with the appropriate amounts. I usually use 8 oz. of fresh when making soup - so now I know how many to use.

Leftover celery at the holidays can be dried, as well as celery leaves. Dry stale bread and make croutons or dressing bread.  I keep gallon jars of bread for dressing - ready at any time.
Leftover cooked veggies can be dehydrated (as well as store canned).  Place all kinds of different veggies in jars for a great soup mix!

Jerky is another favorite that I make from time to time.  That is by far  a favorite of G. 

Don't throw odds and ends away - don't throw away canned goods that are limp or a little older - don't throw away stale - USE WHAT YOU HAVE!
The more we use of what we  have - the less money we have to spend!

Experiment and have fun!!!!!!

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Frugal Happenings 7/30

Howdy Ho everyone.  WOW here we are at the end of another month.  Fall will be here before we know it - then Christmas!
How has everyone been this past week?  We have had a nice week.

The weather wasn't too bad - we had some partial days of no AC - then 2 very hot and humid days.  Yesterday I turned off AC and it still hasn't come back on.  Windows are open and it is lovely.  This coming week I guess it is suppose to warm up mid week (not too bad), then next weekend be in the 70's!  What a great way to start August!

I saw a rabbit in the side yard this morning - then it went next door.  That is the first rabbit I have seen in years (since having outdoor cats).  We have all kinds of other critters, but not usually bunnies.  Of course I went to the garden this morning, and there was a huge half eaten tomato!  Coincidence?  Maybe.  I always have a couple nibbled on - but something really liked this one.  At least it ate half and not just a bite!!

My frugal week:
  • Used rain water when I needed to water
  • Rain barrels have been staying full - with all the rain we have been getting
  • Did a bit of mower repair - then mowed, trimmed bushes, whacked weeds, pulled weeds, for a total of 8 hours one day.  It was nice weather - took advantage.  Boy was this old gal tired!
  • I pulled out all the lettuce.  It had gotten stalky and bitter.  Will replant in a couple weeks.
  • Planted more green onions sets
  • Dehydrated 6 trays of basil
  • Hard boiled eggs
  • Line dried laundry
  • Ran all errands on one day.  I stopped by an ethnic grocery to check out produce prices - way too expensive.  Now I know!
  • Picked zucchini, broccoli, bell peppers, jalapenos and many tomatoes - one tomato weighed 1 lb. 3 oz.!
One big and pretty 'mater!

  • Used all leftovers and re-invented some into new meals
  • Canned 14 pints salsa
  • Dyed my hair.  You know it's time for a touch-up, when hubs says "so, when did you decide to let your hair go natural?"  LOL
  • Stopped at Save-A -Lot (not a normal shopping place) and stocked up on coffee.  Maxwell House - almost 2 lb. cans for 4.99 each.  Got 6 - that will last a long time here with what we already have on hand.

  • G's aunt stopped by and brought some family history info and pictures for him.  What a gold mine!  One branch of family was researched back 24 generations, with the oldest birth year of 1150 in Normandy!!!!

Meals this week:
Onion/Swiss burgers, steamed broccoli, and salad
Chicken strips, green beans/pots, zucchini salad
Picked up dinner at the 50's diner up the road - too tired to cook (yard day)
Taco skillet dinner
BBQ wings and salad
Mexican pizza (used leftover taco stuff)
Big mess of fried zucchini and sliced tomatoes - oh yum!

How was your week?  How are your gardens doing?  Is anyone canning yet?
I hope anyone that planted a garden - is getting produce!  Any bounty we receive is a blessing.  It has been a strange (weather) summer for sure.

May the Lord keep you in His protective and loving hands this week.  Stay safe  and productive my friends.
Blessings to all.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

The Many Faces of Tuna

I love tuna.  It is a great protein and full of all kinds of good minerals and vitamins.  It is relatively cheap - it can be purchased on sales around here for .50 a tin.
Many people fish and can their own tuna - although I have heard it is a stinky process!

I know it isn't for everyone, but it sure is great to have in your SHTF stash of foods.  It can be fixed and eaten in so many ways, and the protein may be just what you need someday!

  • It can be eaten from the can - or plain on crackers
  • Make tuna salad
  • Egg salad with a can of tuna added
  • Any type of pasta salad - add a can for extra protein
  • Mix a drained can of tuna, a rinsed can of white beans, chopped onion, herbs and olive oil and lemon juice.  Makes a meal by itself - this is a great salad
  • I make tuna patties - like many people do with salmon.  It is cheaper, lighter in flavor, and it doesn't smell up the house when cooking!
  • White beans, tuna, and kale soup
  • Cheesy tuna & pasta - like a jazzed up mac n cheese
  • Tuna melts - tuna or tuna salad on bread, topped with cheese, and sliced tomato - great open face sandwiches
  • Stuff hollowed tomatoes with tuna salad  - can also top with cheese and stick in the broiler till cheese melts
  • Stuffed zucchini/tuna melt boats
  • Avocado and tuna salad
  • Sliced radish,  olives, diced tomatoes, cooled boiled potatoes (chopped), tuna - topped with a mix of olive oil, lemon juice and Dijon mustard.  This can make a yummy quick and easy meal as well.
  • Drain and top any green salad
  • Tuna/rice and broccoli casserole
  • Stuffed mushrooms - raw or baked
  • Tuna casserole - remember anything can be added to casseroles

Tuna has gotten a bad rap over the years.  It is really a healthy fish and should be added to our diets. (I just read labels to see where it is from - some waters contain bad chemicals).  You can prepare canned tuna just about any way you can prepare chicken - just substitute in recipes.
If you are lucky enough to know someone who fishes - perhaps you can get some tuna fillets and grill!  It is terribly expensive in this neck of the woods, in fillet form. 

I would imagine the coasts would have better prices - but one has to consider what is involved in tuna and salmon fishing. 
They have to pay for fuel and  labor on those big boats, then keep it cold and fillet it.  It is a pricey endeavor!
It is amazing that we can actually buy a can for .50!!!!

Watch your sales and stock up on this light flavored fish.  It is versatile and good for you.
You may be glad you have it one of these days.

Do you have any tuna recipes to share?

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Canning ideas

Howdy everyone.  I finally decided (needed) to stop working in the yard today and get the blog going!  Sorry it is later in the day.
I have had quite a busy day - all day!

Here is a recipe that has been requested.  It is a great use of peels/cores of apples when making applesauce.  We all like having additional uses for things - and no sense letting goodies go to waste.


 Please click on the recipe to enlarge.  Both the recipe and picture are separate.
5 LBS. shredded cabbage
3 1/2 Tbsp. salt
Mix salt and cabbage together.  Let it set 30 -60 minutes.  Pack into your jars, leaving 2" head space.  Fill to 1/2 " from top with plain cold water.  Place your lids and rings on tight (might use older rings).  Place somewhere out of traffic, and place jars in a catch pan.  This is to catch any brine that might be emitted due to fermentation.  Check your kraut every 5- 6 days to see if it has lost liquid.  Have a jar of 1 1/2 Tbsp. of salt in a quart of cold water ready. (I keep a jar in the frig during fermenting time.  If the levels have dropped - remove lids and add more salt water.  Re-lid.  Let it all sit for 6 - 8 weeks for best results.
At given time - remove lids - thoroughly wipe down the tops of jars - add NEW lids and your rings.  Put in a COLD pot of water in water bath - bring to a boil and process for 30 minutes after boil.
Makes 7 pints
This is the best kraut I have ever had.  Once you realize how easy it is to make, and great it tastes - you'll never go back to store bought!
**This is not an officially sanctified recipe by the powers that be.  NO rude comments**.
This is how I have done it for years, as well as many people I know. 
You have the choice as to whether you try it or not.
1 gallon water
6 Tbsp. white vinegar
2 Tbsp. canning salt
Bring this concoction to a boil, and add your sliced or whole okra.  Bring back to a boil for 6 minutes.
Fill your hot jars with the okra  - tamp down - but DON"T smash it.  Bring the liquid back to a boil quickly, and top off each jar - leaving an inch of head space.
Top with hot lids and rings.  Wait for ping.  That is it!  NO PROCESSING
This is shelf stable.  I am still using some I put up 2 years ago.
****There will be NO SLIME at all when you open your okra****
(There is also a video on You Tube showing how to do this)
When ready to add to soup or before breading and frying - simply rinse your okra and you are ready to go.  It is so good in soups in the winter (we make gumbo), and it great to batter and fry.
Have you started any canning yet?

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Frugal Happenings 7/23

Happy, happy day all!!!
It is a hot, dreary, wet day here in our area.  We have been hot and humid most of the week.  Looking forward to a couple cooler (80's) days coming up this coming week.  I absolutely 100% enjoy each cooler day we get!!!  I am trying to be careful what I wish for, because we know cold weather will be here before we know it! 

The skeeters are horrible this year.  I have been going out in the evening to deadhead and weed the big flower gardens (big weeds).  I sweat like I am in a sauna, plus I have to wear long sleeves to keep from getting eaten alive! 

The garden is doing well, except the cukes.  They are really looking scraggly and not producing a lot.  I guess I said I was hoping to not have to can cukes this year (still have a ton of pickles and relish), so again, I need to be careful what I wish for!

This week:
  • I did use a few of the cold, used tea bags I had saved - to reduce the poison swelling around my eyes.  It worked beautifully and even seemed to dry things out.  I am now good to go!
  • Hung laundry outside
  • Used dehumidifier water in the washer
  • Planted some cuke seeds last Sunday and the are up about 3" already.  Give it another boost of plants!
  • Ran to the UPS Store and returned all the old cable equipment.  They pack and ship and it costs me nothing. (Will save me $300 to get it turned in!)
  • Ollie's is right next door to UPS store - oh my!  Well guess what I bought?  You betcha - another cookbook!  Their books are so stupid cheap!  It's another Gooseberry Patch book - my love!
  • I went to Wal-Mart pharmacy to get script for G.  It was 3 mos. for $0!!!!!
  • Stopped at Christian thrift (across from WM).  I got a 12 pack of whole wheat hoagie buns, 3 pound cakes and 3 loaves of French bread for FREE!!  They just had a big delivery from Sam's and needed to get rid of some of it.  I came home and vacuum sealed 4 packs of buns, 2 of the cakes, and froze 2 French bread (triple wrapped in newspaper bags).  WOOHOO!
  • I also got a lovely Christmas bowl and a cool picture frame for .50 each!  They were having Christmas in July sale and everything was .50!  The bowl will be filled with homemade goodies and gifted to someone this holiday and the frame will be a gift as well.
  • I used the crockpot this week!  It has been a while.
  • I re-invented leftovers into new meals
  • Got out the spiral-izer I bought a while back at thrift and used it!  It works fantastic.  Made wonderful zoodles!  I slightly cooked in butter, garlic powder and parm!  YUM
  •  I picked zukes, a couple cukes, 2 heads of broccoli, bell peppers, jalapenos, and 4 tomatoes.  Oh yeah I did!!!  We will eat out first tom today - they weren't quite done when I picked!  Lots of cherry tomatoes picked.
  • Been using rain water from barrels when needed, and it keeps getting replaced with all the rain we are getting!
  • Only groceries bought - milk!

Meals this week:
Oven fried zucchini sticks and a salad
Roast, potatoes, carrots, and onion
Leftover roast & juice made into a stroganoff type dish using veggies and served over rice

Cheesy tuna pasta bake and salad
Homemade French bread pizza
Enchiladas made with burritos I had in freezer
Ground beef/ravioli 'spaghetti' sauce served over zoodles

All leftovers used for breakfast or lunches.  Also had fruit covered pound cake, fruit, and ice cream sandwiches for snacks.

What did you do frugal this week?  How are the gardens doing?
Is anyone canning yet?  I may get to start some this week!!!

My thoughts and prayers are with you all for health, happiness and safety.
Stay frugal my friends!!!!!

Thursday, July 20, 2017

The Downfall of Retail (?)

In our area it seems that more and more retail outlets that have been around for decades are closing up shop.  Many were existing before I was even a twinkle in my daddies eye!
I keep hearing that this is happening all over the country.  I don't know if this phenomenon is happening in other countries or not.

Now when I am out and about, I do see new shopping centers going up - then I drive by others that are virtually empty of stores.  What is with that?  Do these people not realize that this is such waste of resources?  Why not renovate and re-use the existing building?  It  leaves such a glut of unslightly buildings.

Retail pricing keeps going up, quality keeps going down.  It is very apparent to me why shops are closing.  More and more people I know (I bet many of you as well), ONLY buy at sales or clearance, shop cheaper dollar stores, buy from thrift stores and yard sales, and perhaps buy in bulk (so product lasts for ages).
If the retail industry were going to depend on me to survive, they would have collapsed ages ago!  I go to the mall MAYBE once a year, at Christmas.  That is so I can use my coupon for a FREE item at Bed, Bath & Body Works.  I get it and leave.
I go to Kohl's  maybe 2 - 3X each fall when using the $10/$10 coupons I get (so FREE).
I manage to go to Sam's 1 - 2X a year - that is it.

I can't begin to tell you the last time I was in a Target, Wal-Mart (other than pharmacy), or major department store.  It just doesn't happen.  If I want to buy a gift item that isn't from thrift or yard sale - I almost always go to a small area a few miles away, that is strictly small businesses.  There is so much variety and I am helping someone support their family business.
I know there are employees working at those big stores (so we are helping their income) - but I just have a problem supporting big chain stores.
Yes, there are times that we HAVE to go to them.  But when I do, I spend as little as possible, watching the sales!

More and more people are gardening, canning, bartering, and foraging.  Crafting is COOL again.  I truly believe we have come so far forward - that we are having to finally go backward a little, just to feel at peace with our lives.  It is "IN" to learn the ways of our ancestors!

If you watch so many of the new TV shows - this is becoming the way to live again.  I am loving it!  I never stopped living this way - so it warms my heart when the young-ins in the family ask "how to".

This morning in our newspaper there was a headline "SURVIVING THE RETAIL APOCALYPSE".  The headline cracked me up - and I couldn't resist reading the story.  Basically the new retail stores that are coming into our city are cheaper stores - that offer more of a value!  They are replacing the many big department stores in prime retail locations.
Every week there is another story of an expensive, fancy restaurant that is closing it's doors.  Fast food spots still dot the landscape, but nicer restaurants  are gearing themselves to more affordable family style meals.

It is amazing that it seems to have taken so long for retailers to finally understand that we just aren't as eager to throw our precious dollars at them anymore.

Do you see these trends happening in your areas?
What are the ways you avoid big retail?
Are there any ways to curb the "retail dilemma" that I am not thinking of? 

If so, please let us know.  We all need ways to keep our dollars in our pockets!

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Make INSTEAD of Buy Ideas (Recipes)

There are so many items that we purchase at the store, that are so incredibly easy to make at home.  In many instances I believe they are better - as you know exactly what is in them.  I know they are cheaper!!  We all like that!
Here are a few ideas to try at home.

Many people just use plain old vinegar.  So cheap and natural.  Honest, the smell of vinegar dissipates when your laundry dries!

Another option:
12 oz. bottle of cheap hair conditioner  (Suave is cheap and many scents)
1 1/2 c white vinegar
3 C warm water
Mix and put in a pourable container.

You can also dip a sponge or old wash cloth in mix - squeeze out excess and place in the drier with clothes.

In a old jar add 90% water to 10% rubbing alcohol.  Add a few drops of your favorite essential oil.
Bamboo shish-kabob sticks work great!

Pick the leaves of wild purslane and dehydrate - grind into a powder.  (It takes a lot of leaves).  This is a great thickening agent.
Okra dehydrated and ground is wonderful thickening soups and hearty dishes.
These could both be used in soups, stews, gravies, and hearty dishes.

Fill a jar about 3/4 with peels and cores of apples
Mix 1 Tbsp. of sugar to 1 cup of water used.  Cover the apple scraps.  Leave a couple inches to top of jar.  Cover loosely with a coffee filter or piece of fabric.  Let it set in a cool, dark space for 2 weeks.
If scum develops on top, simply skim off.
After 2 weeks filter so that liquid is clear.  It will have a light apple smell - but it isn't ready yet.  Place clear liquid back (covered again) for another 2 - 4 weeks.  You can taste and smell to tell if it's ready.  IT WILL NOT go bad!
If a gelatinous blob appears - you have lucked out and made 'mother'.  Remove to another container (or leave it) - it can be used to start future batches.
Use this vinegar for the same things as store bought!!!
You can make any flavor (flavored is good in homemade dressings)

Another tip for salad dressings - you can dehydrate big or old cucumbers and grind and add as flavoring to homemade dressing.

2 C peach skins (or other fruit)
3 C vodka (brandy can be used too)
Let this set for a few weeks.  Strain through a coffee filter into a nice bottle.
This is very basic - like making extracts!
You could buy a large bottle of cheap vodka and make flavored liquor for gifts! (or home!!)

1 gal. water
1 Tbsp. Epsom slat
1 tsp. baking soda
1 Tbsp. powdered milk
1/2 tsp. ammonia
2 drops blue food color
Mix 1 Tbsp. of mixture to a gallon of water to hand water plants and fertilize.  Use once a month (I use every couple weeks).
Concentrate will cost about .35 for a gallon vs. $10 or more at the store.

1 gallon white vinegar
2 C Epsom salt
1/4 C Dawn dish soap (for sticking)
Spray or apply to areas you want to kill in the mornings after dew has evaporated.
DO NOT get this on anything desirable!
Best used for killing AN AREA of grass/weeds

Ok - there you go.
Most of these are made with things that we all have around.  It makes since to use what we have and save money in the process.
You now know that if you run out of something - you can make it at home.

Hope this helps someone!

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Frugal Happenings 7/16

Good morning and happy Sunday.   I sure hope this finds everyone happy and well.

We had some really nasty storms this week - 2nd worse I have seen here in the 31 years we have been here.  We had 4.5 inches of rain in our area in 6 hours.  The back yard/garden area flooded really badly.  Thankfully it went down within 24 hours - but it sure was something.  There was tremendous flooding around our state.  I pray for the farmers, as many fields are totally under water.  I also worry about the home gardeners, as many people depend on those gardens for winter food.  It is so sad.

I took advantage of a couple cooler days to get some necessary yard work done.  Whacked them weeds for the first time in a few weeks!  NOW, through sweat and flying debris I have poison on my face.  Not too bad except around my left eye.  It's on the eye lid and underneath.  Boy, does it itch!  I am doctoring it, and it is doing better today.

Here is a TIP that reader LAURIES told me about.  Until I get the recipe file thing figured out - there is a quicker way to find things.  At the top of the blog page on the left you will see a white box with what looks like a magnifying glass in it.  Type a key word in - and every post with that word reference will pop up!  I tried it and typed in the other word for zuke, a flower name, and the proper word for Xmas (I hate this abbreviation).  I didn't type those words here, as then this post would show up.  CHECK IT OUT - it does make it easier, and you can just scroll past posts you aren't interested in!!  THANK YOU LAURIE

This week:
  • Mowed and trimmed everything 2X - while cooler
  • Got to open windows a couple 1/2 days to air out the house.
  • Took my brother some zuke (his aren't producing yet) and he gave me a beautiful big bunch of fresh pulled carrots!
  • I cut the lacy green tops of carrots and chopped and put in ice trays with water.  Bagged - now I can add extra nutrition to soup this winter
  • Dehumidifier has worked over time this week in basement (we got dampness).  Used the water in the washer
  • Line dried laundry
  • Stopped at Kroger when I went to brothers (he lives 2 blocks from it!)  I got several boxes of elbow pasta marked to .39/box.  I also got 11 - 4 packs of organics beans (different varieties) for 1.29/4 pack.  That's .32 a can!  I don't need now - but they went into long term storage.  ALL are dated 2020!!!

Click on pictures to enlarge

  • Ran to the orchard and got fresh peaches, a lovely cantaloupe, and some berries
  • Picking zuke, bell peppers, jalapenos from the garden.  Getting a lot!  Picked 4 cherry toms so far!
  • I got COUPONS from Aldi - 6 - $10 off coupons!  Spend $40 and get $10 off.  These are good through the end of August.  They came in the mail.  WOOHOO!  These will be used to stock-up for the winter months. Watch you mailboxes - hopefully other areas get them too.
  • I ran to a 'yard' sale at the park up the street yesterday.  Proceeds went to an animal shelter for ill animals.  I got a lovely table runner (6') for $1, 4 packages of smaller Hallmark gift bags (each indiv. bag marked .99) 4 packs of 6/$1, and 3 big packs of all occasion tissue paper (each pack contained 12 packs of paper) for $1 each.  That was 24 gift bags for $1 - and 36 packs of tissue paper for $3 (Hallmark too - marked 1.79 each).  WHAT A SAVINGS!!!!!
Table runner draped over back of couch.  Bags of tissue paper and bags of gift bags.

Meals this week:
Cold cut sandwiches and zucc. salad
Made a big pasta/veggie salad
Veg. & faux crab lo-mein (homemade)
Chicken strips and pasta salad
Leftover chicken and lo-mein
Stuffed pepper skillet
Grilled ham & cheese and chips and dip

Made raspberry cobbler that was truly enjoyed, and had fruit.

All in all, I think it was a pretty eventful week here at my little homestead!  I know I should have stayed out of the grocery store (per my plan), but with the savings I got, it is like money in the bank in the future.  We added to long term storage so cheaply.
I am giving myself a break on this one!!!!!!!

Are you getting any goodies from your gardens yet??
What did you do to stay frugal this week?
Just remember - slow and steady wins the race.  You aren't competing with anyone - do what you need to do!

God bless my friends.  May your week be safe and healthy.
Prayers for all the farmers and gardeners.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Education NEVER Ends

I know most of us that are here are after the same end result - we want to be a frugal as possible.
There is no right or wrong way to get there.
We all take different routes to accomplish our goal.
We all have different reasons for being frugal.

Some people are saving for retirement.
Some are frugal do to necessity.
Some are saving for a special item or vacation.
Some save in one area to be able to afford something in another area.
Some are frugal, because it has become second nature.
Some just believe it is the right thing to do!
NO MATTER the reason, you do what you do, for you and your family.

I think these are all wonderful rules to a life well lived!  YES, some are hard to do - but we should at least try to accomplish them!

We continue to grow each day, hopefully we learn something each day, and hopefully we improve with each day.
My Daddy always said "You had a great day, when you can reflect on a lesson learned, when you lay your head down at night."  I try to live this every day.

Our education never ends while we are on this planet.
Take time each day to improve.  Whether we learn a new recipe, or a new tip, or a new word, or meet a new friend, or have a new feeling for something - it is all learning!
Life is like a huge book that goes on and on - and we need to absorb as much as possible.
Strive to grow and improve.

NEVER let someone tell you that is petty.  Education of any kind is NEVER petty.  However you go about things is YOUR way, and that makes it worthy.

Do all you can to make sure someone, someday says "They lived it their way!"
Be a good steward of what you have.  That says so much about a person.

REMEMBER - There is no right or wrong way to be frugal.  Every life is different, every situation is different, and every end result may be different.
All we can do is SHARE in hopes that someone will LEARN something new to better their lives.

Let us all live each day to learn and to teach!
Blessings to all my fellow students and teachers!