Thursday, May 24, 2018

A Little Humor

Today should be part 3 of a the pantry project - but honestly my brain and my body are fried!
I am beyond tired.  Summer yard work has taken it's hold on me this week. 
I have been working on finishing the garden and getting the yard mowed and trimmed and cutting bushes and.........................................such is life! 
It is going to get hotter this weekend and the humidity is supposed to be back - so now is the time!


So I thought I would share a bit of humor with you today.  At least I thought it was funny.  I was out mowing the front lawn this morning and a car came down the road.  It stopped in front of the house.  Now normally I would not stop, as you just can't be too careful nowadays! 
There was a sweet looking white haired lady in the car, so I stopped the mower.

She rolled her window down, and I am thinking she probably needs directions or something.  She says "Honey, it just warms my heart to see you young kids taking and interest in your yards and homes.  You have everything so pretty."
OK, the funny part - "you young kids"!!!!!!!

I walked over to the car, and thanked her .  I told her it means a lot that others find it pretty - but I wasn't a kid any more!!!  She says "You sure are, just look at you."  She says "I am 72, I should know a kid when I see one".  Again I thanked her, and told her my age - and she just stared at me.  Laughingly, I told her my brother and my sister were older than her.  She was amazed.
"Well" she says "you look like a kid and your yard is lovely".  How sweet.
I smiled and chuckled to myself the rest of the morning.

I guess it is all about perspective - maybe that is why I  call people in their 40's kids!  LOL
All I know is it sure made my day.  Me standing there in my old grubby t-shirt and jeans, sweating like crazy, and all red faced.
I guess I was 'rocking' that 70's workout headband I had on!!!!!!!  LOL



So all you KIDS take it easy today and don't work too hard.  Sit back and remember, what you see and feel may be a blessing to someone else.  They MAY be glad to have your worst day.
We just never know how we affect the world.

BLESSINGS FOR A WONDERFUL DAY!

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

An Arbor for Food and Food for Thought

Good morning everyone.
Today I am going to post about two different things. Ellen was curious about our grape arbor, so I will post a couple pictures.  Hopefully it will help someone else as well.  Growing our own food is such a wonder, and anything we can do to be more efficient the better.

We just made a simple upright arbor.  Main posts are 4 x 4, top rails (4) are 2 x 6 and cross rails (up the sides) are 1 x 1.  All are treated.  This has been in use for over 15 years and it is still as sturdy as day 1.
We even put eye bolts on the ends of 1 x 6 to hang pretty baskets the first few years, until grape vines really grew in.
Last fall the vines got a drastic "hair cut", so they aren't hanging down as far this spring.  BUT they are loaded with little bunches of grapes!

Vines growing up each side and converging on top.

You could paint or stain if so desired.  We left it natural - basically no upkeep at all.
I trim out the vines each fall - that is it.
 
My folks had a huge arbor years ago that was made over the sidewalk leading to the garage and built in between the garage and chicken house.  They also had other grapes at the back end of the garden/property that actually grew on the fence.  So there are many options for training your vines.  I like having mine UP, it takes up less room, they are pretty, and it makes picking a breeze!

***********************************************

I read an article this morning that the UK is doing away with the "best by" dates on over 70 pre-packaged produce items.  Too much is being thrown away.  GOOD FOR THEM!!!!!! 
I also read an article the other day that says those dates are all arbitrary any how - the retailer makes them up.
It also stated that some retailers remove items from shelves (getting close to date) - and change the dates and put them back out.  LOL - I am sorry, but I find that hilarious!!!!  There are so many people I see each day on FB, that swear they would never eat anything that has EXPIRED!  They have no clue.
Nothing really expires.  I don't think I have ever thrown something away that was past the "best by" or "sell by" date.  Really - EVER!  All you have to do is smell something in most instances - and you know.

Food waste is a absolutely HUGE problem all over the world.  There are so many that are hungry in our home countries as well as other places.  Food pantries could use so much of this food, homeless could use this food, poor people could use this food, WE ALL could use this food.  There is nothing wrong with it - we should all use it.  I am not advocating giving spoiled food to anyone - I am advocating using it all BEFORE it spoils!

When did people get so darn picky??????  I truly do not understand.  That is why I love the concept of the new Imperfect Food company that has started.  They are selling food that grocers don't deem "nice enough" to sell.  Excuse me, but when did someone decide that a perfectly formed tomato tastes better than a misshapen one? 

                                             This is a sin against humanity in my opinion!

It is not just businesses, but individuals, and even farms, that do this.  Some farmers will let other come in a glean what is left at the end of season.  BRAVO to them.  Many will sell 'seconds' for a cheaper price.  BRAVO.
I just don't know where the shift in thinking happened.  It wasn't that way when I was a kid.


We need to DEMAND that these stores quit wasting/trashing food.  We need to DEMAND that what is left get used by the needy or sold for cheaper prices.  We need to DEMAND that our fellow humans being quit being so wasteful.  We need to DEMAND that there be some sort of educational  system set up to inform.

I know progress is being made in some areas.  Many restaurants send leftovers food to places like "Second Helpings" here in town.  They revamp the food into new meals and feed the hungry  The chefs are homeless people learning a trade.  WONDERFUL!
Panera and other places donate day old baked goods to many food pantries.  They are still yummy and fine.  Kroger has the .99 produce bags now - that is produce that is not perfect.
We need so much more of this.

Please speak up when you see waste.  Maybe if enough people complain - we can change this horrible trend.  We all have to work together to make the world better.
 
Thanks for being part of the solution - and not the problem!
 



Sunday, May 20, 2018

Frugal Happenings 5/20

Good morning all.  I hope this past week has been good to you.
I seemed to get quite a bit done, but also spent a chunk of change as well!  Glad I had it to spend - sometimes necessary spending can be costly.

Woke to a lovely morning.  It has been pretty darn warm this week.  Currently AC is off and has been for a couple days.  We have been as high as 90* for highs and down to low 70's for highs.  Threatened rain all week, finally came in yesterday and will have more today.  It is needed.  Could just do without storms!
April was one of the coldest Aprils on record, and May is now going down in record books as one of the hottest!  Crazy.  May is supposed to be our wettest month - but not so far.

My frugal week:
  • I went Monday and got new tires for the Blazer.  Choke, choke!!!!!  I can't really complain though - it's only the second time we have bought tires in 16 years.  I did get them for $50 less than my quote in March.  At least they are safe now.
  • I got a $20 used tire for the truck. 
  • We have 2 people interested in the truck - one being the tire shop!
  • Made some homemade tartar sauce
  • Ran to the greenhouse and got most plants/garden stuff I need
  • Made up 8 hanging baskets/planters
  • Made a new bird feeder of sorts.  I had an empty hanging basket (had dirt in it) and I added a tin pan with drainage holes and hung.  The birds are loving it, and it keeps more birds off the ground (away from kitties)
                              The tin pan keeps seed from dirt and no germinating weed seed!
  • I kept several cat food and food cans (clean) from the recycle, and used them in the bottom of a couple planters as fill - not as much dirt needed (also good drainage)
  • Got the rain barrels out and set up
  • Lot's of yard work done and yard mowed
  • Line dried laundry
  • Picked 3 bouquets of peonies for around the house.  I sure love them.  Hope to be able enjoy bouquets for another week or two
                                        Peonies are just starting to bloom - covered with buds
  • Repaired my garden hose with a new female connector that we had on hand. Changed out the Y connector for hoses at hose.  No leaks!
  • Ran to Kroger on Friday to look for clearance - not a lot to be had.  I did get 2 bags of Folgers vanilla flavored coffee (as a treat for G) on clearance for 2.59 bag.  I also got 5 jars of Newman's Own salsa con queso cheese sauce on closeout for 1.20 each (nice for an easy treat/meal add-in).  I did buy some sour cream and on the vine tomatoes (blah) for .99/lb.

  • I went on Friday and used a coupon for double fuel points.  They are offering that on weekends for a while this summer - thank goodness - gas prices have sky rocketed.
  • Used leftover spaghetti sauce in another dish along with some cottage cheese that needed to be used.
  • Saved another shaker lid from Parmesan cheese container
  • Got about half of the garden stuff planted.  My mission is to get it all done this coming week.

My meals this past week:
Loaded burgers and seasoned fries
Fish sandwiches and baked beans
Hominy/pepper/beef skillet dinner
Tuna salad sandwiches and fresh veggies
Spaghetti & meatballs
Lasagna and side salad (2X)
**********************************

I hope to get the garden all finished this coming week, trim all the bushes out back, and just accomplish a lot more yard work.  It never ends!

What was your week like?  Did you get any good deals?  How are the gardens coming along?
Give us a shout and let us know what is going on in your area of this glorious land.

Welcome  - come and sit a while!
 
Blessings from our humble home to yours.  May you be blessed in all ways this coming week.  Prayers for your health and happiness my friends.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Project Pantry - Part 2 (Uncoventional Stores)

Time for me to take a brief break from yard work and laundry.  So I guess I will chat awhile about supplying our pantries from unconventional stores and retailers.
There is no ONE place to shop and there may be options that some haven't thought of.

My favorite is DOLLAR TREE.  There are other Dollar stores - but I must admit, I don't go to those very often at all.
Dollar Tree or ,99 Store that others have are wonderful resources for all kinds of things.  Remember a well stocked pantry IS MORE than food!

You can get lots of health and beauty items, cleaning supplies, stationary and school supplies, candles, disposable kitchen ware, and food!
Our store is now selling a lot of brand name food items.  I see Campbell's, McCormick, French's, Chunky soups - all sorts of things.  They are also taking manufacturer coupons.
I have purchased 28 oz. can of baked beans there for a $1 - add a few extra seasonings and they are yum.
I LOVE their canned asparagus - 12.5 oz. can (enough for a side for 2) for $1.  I am not sure about where you live - but canned asparagus can't be touched here for less than $3 a can.  This is young and tender shoots!!!
Pie  fillings are nice to have on hand as well.  Snacks can be had as well as 3 liter bottles of Pop all for $1.
2 lb. bags of dried pinto beans are $1, as well as bags of rice and other types of beans.


ETHNIC STORES are fun to shop.  If you have never been, you need to make a special adventure by going.  Oh, the things you will find.  I have seen 50 lb. bags of fresh yellow onions for $7!  I get 25 lb. bags/boxes of rice for next to nothing.  Spices galore!  Every kind of dried bean and pea you can think of - and some you have never heard of!!! 
Fresh fruits and veggies - the likes of which I have never experienced.  It is a great way to try new items in your diet!

DRUG STORES - often have advertised and sometimes unadvertised grocery items for great prices.  I just read this morning that a gal purchased eggs at the drug store for half the price they are selling for at the grocery.

AMISH MARKETS - some folks are lucky to be close to Amish markets - I LOVE THEM.  They buy most everything in bulk and then re-package it in smaller packs.  That makes their prices really good.  I love the markets for any type of baking products, and most all have an area of scratch and dent items.  Oh, and then there are the special home baked goods you can buy if you so desire!!  Mmmmm - YUM!!

SALVAGE STORES - These are fun if you can find one in your area.  We had one here, until this past summer.  All kinds of scratch and dent items, and some items, that just didn't sell well at other stores.  You have to watch, as some things are really past 'best by' date - but they are still good. (Google salvage store by state - and you should find a list available)

BIG LOT'S or OLLIES - they sell surplus that doesn't sell at other stores and they often buy out retailers that are going out of business.  They have all kinds of goods - food, H&B, cleaning, decorating, etc.  Ollie's is a wonderful place to buy books!!!!!!  They have the best prices I have ever seen on them!

RURAL KING  - I love that store.  Not only do I get a lot of my pet food there (really cheaply), they have canning supplies, prepper supplies, food, clothes, farm supplies, garden seeds, feed, etc.  This is becoming one of my favorite places to shop.  I can get great snack items in really large containers for pennies compared to other stores.  I buy Jerky seasoning there, and I can buy gifts................

DON'T FORGET  YARD SALES AND FLEA MARKETS  there are a lot of couponing queens still out there, that get stuff for pennies, and then sell it at cheaper than normal prices to make money.  I have purchased food  like cheese  dip and greens beans in #10 cans before for like 1 $1 a can!!!  All well within date!  I have purchased laundry and dish soap for 1/4 of the retail price, and bath items like soap and new lotions for .25 and .50 a bottle.
Make sure there is no rust, the dates are good, and that they haven't been opened and you are good to go!
REMEMBER TOO - there are people out there that have more cents than sense (obviously) that buy things to be buying them.  No one likes it or wants it, and they sell it for pennies at yard sales.  CRAZY - but it sure can benefit us!

THRIFT STORES generally aren't going to give you any groceries - but boy can you get other things for your extended pantry.  Clothes, toys, books, pretties, bedding, etc.  I know folks that get all kinds of neat stuff at thrift stores.  Ours around here aren't that great any more - but I do like to look.
If purchasing bedding or clothes - you might want to bag up in black trash bags and leave in the car for a day or so - then launder.  You will kill any trace of bedbugs that way - you just never know.
I have purchased items for my gift pantry, cards, candles, towels, etc. 

BIG BOX STORES - Sam's ad Costco.  I tend to go to Sam's once - maybe twice a year.  There are just some items we like to buy in bulk that I can't get as cheaply any where else.  I get a year's supply and I lessen the temptation of going to often.  It is best if you can split the membership with someone else - that makes it cost effective.

FARM MARKETS - CO-OPS, and FARM SURPLUS  stores.  Farm markets may not be the cheapest places to buy groceries, but they generally sell really nutritious items.  Co-ops  often sell at good prices, and members often get a great discount.  I have heard of some gals that have farm surplus  warehouses that they get crazy cheap produce at.  Like bushels for pennies on the dollar.
ORCHARDS - are great places for lot of fresh fruit. (ask for seconds - often cheaper)

There are now companies selling products that you order on-line and  they deliver on a specific day.  IMPERFECT FOOD is one.  It is fresh produce that grocery stores won't take, because it isn't as 'pretty' as it should be.  This started in our state at the end of April - I have not yet ordered, but plan too.
I know one of our followers here, uses it and really likes it and what she gets.  She told me about it.
WHY should food that isn't 'perfect' be wasted when there is so much hunger every where?
What a fantastic concept - I wish I had thought of it!!!!!!


So as you can see, there are a lot of UNCONVENTIONAL ways to shop for our pantries.  Think outside the box.  Try new places and new things. 
You may be amazed at what wonderful things and prices you may find.

DO YOU have any UNCONVENTIONAL place you like to shop?  Please tell us - as I am sure I have missed some.
Happy pantry stocking!!!!!!

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Walk with me!

I have been busy the past few days.  Summer always brings a new set of projects to handle.  I hope to get the garden in sometime in the next week.  I am not worried about it being late - daddy always said nothing really ever really grew and produced before the end of May.  I think it depends on where you live.
Today I am going to take you on a walk-about - nothing real exciting - but our little homestead is coming back to life.
Walk with me!!!!

Poppies - originally from plants older than me


   Columbines started out with one color - have developed into two colors of purple.

Just a swinging!!!!!  Mr. Squirrel thinks the seed for the birds is his!  Crazy acrobat. (Click on picture to enlarge)
Baby bunches of grapes are starting!


                                     Rhubarb getting some growth - it won't be long now!

Tiger lilies and phlox are really growing.  Love the blooms of both.
 
Peonies are loaded with buds.  They will be blooming in a week or so.  One of my favorites - wish they lasted longer.

Chives have bloomed out.  This bunch of chives has come back for years.
 
Millions of maple whirly-gigs on the ground!!!!  Oh my, they are every where. The squirrels DO like eating the 'seeds' in them.  LOL 

A cheap hanging basket I found last week - hummingbirds should like it!
 
I will give you a better tour as baskets get planted, peonies bloom, and the garden is growing. I love this time of year, when everything is in re-birth. 
Each day as I walk around the yard or look out the windows - I am reminded of the miracles of God.  Beauty is absolutely every where, and everything 'knows' just what to do and when to do it. 
Amazing!!!!!
 
Blessings to you all.
 


            

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Frugal Happenings 5/13

HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY to all you Moms of human and fur children.  I hope you each have an absolutely lovely day!

It has been a warm week.  Yes, we did go straight into summer.  It has been in the 80's most of the week and will be the same all next week.  We have had to use the AC some this week.
I am not complaining  - please don't get that idea.  I swore I wouldn't gripe after all the cold and wet we had this winter.  So far, so good!

We saw  a groundhog yesterday in the yard.  The first time this season.  UGH!  It is a shame they can be so destructive, because they are really cute!  Guess, I will be getting the live trap out, in case he hangs around.
You'd think we lived in the country with all the critters we see.  It amazes me how many animals live in the city/suburbs!

My frugal week:
  • I have kept 3 net bags from the veggies/fruit I have purchased in .99 bin at Kroger.  I tear off  the label on bottom, and I will use myself as re-usable produce bags at the store
  • Lots and lots of yard work - FREE exercise
  • Chopped and froze some celery that was getting older
  • I picked 2 bouquets of lilacs from next door.  No one living there till June - and I didn't want the lovely flowers to go to waste!  OH the smell!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • Cleaned out G's underwear drawers.  Kept several old socks to use for Swifter and replaced many t-shirts with new that we had put back.  Old ones will be cut up and used in some projects
  • Was 'gifted' another gallon glass jar from a neighbor
  • Made a dozen hard boiled eggs and made salad with them
  • Ran to Kroger to check out clearance and markdowns - I found 2 Manager Closeouts that were great.  I got 5 boxes (40 pieces ea.) of shrimp poppers for 1.74/box and I got 6 - 24 oz. cans of spaghetti sauce for .47/can (all they had left).  I make my own spaghetti sauce, but these are nice to have around to help others.  They also had canned cat food on sale - sale saved $1 per 20 cans, plus I had coupons.

  • I received a coupon for a FREE box of Nice & Easy hair dye (value to 8.99) from a computer friend I have know for years from Iowa!  How sweet
  • Bought a new lawn mower to have as a second when other is down.  I earned rewards at Ace and it actually cost me $70 less than the shelf tag stated!  It was the last one of that type.  I really like it, light weight and easy start!  Just a basic mower - no bells and whistles.
  • I stopped at a charity yard sale while out for the Kroger run.  I got 2 - 3 picture frames (new) and a cookbook for .50 each.  I got a bag of 5 oven mitts, 7 pot holders, 2 crochet top towels and a full apron for a total of $3.   I don't need the pot holders - but I am going to make patchwork  pieces to re-cover them and use for gifts.  The towels are older but will be great for cleaning up messes.

                                                        The red in front is a full apron.
  • Did get to have windows open a lot this week - early mornings and late evenings
  • Line dried all laundry

Meals this past week:
Leftover pasta salad and BBQ chicken wings
Egg salad sandwiches and fresh veggies
Breaded pork burgers, cauliflower steaks and a side salad
De-constructed cabbage roll skillet dinner
Shrimp poppers and homemade bean/corn salad
Mexican chicken grilled soft tacos
Crockpot pork chops and kraut and mashed potatoes

It sure has gotten pretty outside.  There is suddenly a hundred colors of green every where, and bird calls that are so pretty and varied.  Flowers are starting to bloom.  Bees are buzzing around every where.  I hope to get a lot of the flowers and garden done in the next week - in between rain storms!

How was your week?  Did you get any great deals?  How are your yards and gardens coming along?
Prayers for blessings large and small to you all in this coming week.  Good health and happiness.

Blessings from our humble home to yours!

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Project Pantry Part 1

I am planning on doing a PANTRY series over the next few weeks.  Each segment will deal with a different way the fill the pantry and be ready for anything.
We all know that a pantry is essential for so many reasons.  Financial hardship can be caused by a variety of reasons.  Loss of job, cut-back on job, health,  unexpected financial hits (car problems, household maintenance, etc.), and even events from Mother Nature.

The more prepared we are the better.  Not only can we feed our families, but we may be able to help our extended 'family' - how ever that is defined.

Today I want to talk about MONTHLY DEALS.  Each month, for various reasons, there are specials that are hard to pass up.  The examples I give for May, are for the U.S..  I would love to know what specials are being had in the Southern hemisphere, as it is winter there.  Any of you gals care to give us a shout out?  Inquiring minds want to know!!!!!


MAY
This is the beginning of summer and picnic time.  Memorial day, car races, and back yard BBQ's and graduations.

Hot dogs and sausages of different sorts
Hamburger & other ground meats
Steaks and whole loins
Condiments - mayo, catsup, salsa, mustard, Miracle whip, salad dressings, hot sauces, A-1, etc.
Chips and dips of all sorts
Soda pop and bottled water
Check deli items and the bakeries for sales and markdowns as well.  With graduation planning, there will be some deals.
Rolls and buns
Charcoal and grilling supplies
Paper products like plates, napkins, and cups  (always nice to have on hand in emergency situations)
Garden supplies and kids pool items (think ahead to birthdays and Christmas gifts)
It is also "pet month" - so there are many pet food sales as well


Now is the time to take advantage of those super sales and stock the freezers and the pantry.  Condiments and chips, soda and water, grilling items, and paper products and pet food - last for ages.  Stock up and you may well be good for several months - or at least until the next major holiday.

Fresh fruit, berries (strawberries are big now), and veggies are great to get cheaply for every day eating, freezing, canning, and jelly/jam making. 
FARM MARKETS are going on as well - so check them for deals.  Make sure you check them at the end of the day as well as early - as you may get some awesome deals at the end of sell time - as they don't want to load up stuff.

Strawberries and  rhubarb are in season now (at least here).  Other berries will be starting soon as well as sales on watermelon and other melons (due to holidays). 

Know you prices - know your market - get great deals.
Most items go in cycles.  Many of the items listed above will be on sale again come July for the Independence Day holiday.

Take advantage of the low prices.  The stores advertise many items, knowing they will draw you in and they may not make much profit on them.  BUT, they also know you will buy other stuff while there - therefore they make up for it.  They take advantage of you - you need to TAKE ADVANTAGE TOO!


Other upcoming segments of the series will include:
Gardening and fresh produce - and ways to preserve for later
Shopping at unconventional stores - other than grocery stores
Clearance and manager closeouts

I hope we all can benefit and give suggestions to keep our pantries full and ready for anything -  CHEAPLY!!!!!

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Save to Spend

It seems it happens this way at times.  We save and do a good job with our finances - only to HAVE to spend it on things we just don't regularly spend on.
I guess that IS WHY we are FRUGAL!!!!!!  It is always nice to have that savings to fall back on.

This is going to be the summer of spend at our home, I do believe.  NO, it does not make me the least bit happy.  YES, I have been putting it off as long as possible.  Some things just can't be put off any longer.  Maintenance on home and vehicles HAS to happen.  It is an evil necessity!

This year (soon):
Of course, there will be gardening and flower supplies to get.  I am OK with that!
New tires all around on the Blazer
Need some under the hood work done on Blazer as well
One new tire for the truck (and then hopefully selling the truck)
Mower needs  work - so thinking about getting a 2nd one to have for emergencies
Paint and tile the bathroom (have the paint)
Need new outdoor security lights installed (at least 2)
Lots of odds and end jobs indoors and out - that I just can't do myself (we both DO try) - hire helper
I really need a new couch - this one is 16 years old.  It looks nice - but isn't comfy any more

Oh my, I just cringe when I think about spending a lot of money. 
Then I think, what have we been saving for?  We can't take it with us.  We are getting older, might as well get what we want and need.  Why leave it all to someone else - we worked for it!

This is so true!  LIFE and TIME are the a couple of our greatest assets  

We have been frugal most of our married years and tried to do things right, so that we wouldn't have a lot of burdens when we got older.  We planned, knowing G would be probably be disabled at some point.  WE DID GOOD!  I guess now we can afford to play a little.

Now play is good - splurging once in a while is good - we all need to.
It is the MUNDANE expenses that gripe my bum!!!!! 
Tires - that's no fun!!!!!!  Makes me safe, sure - but not a fun expense! 
Taxes - no fun.  We have all our property taxes paid for the year now.
Insurance no fun.  We need it "just in case".
Tags for car - no fun.  Got to stay all legal!
The list goes on and on................

Hopefully, we get all our items taken care off this summer, and can still continue to save.  I am frugal with a purpose!!!!!!!

Hope you have a relatively frugal summer and can avoid the many pitfalls of NOT FUN spending!

Sunday, May 6, 2018

Frugal Happenings 5/6

Good morning.  What a lovely start to a day  - we had the most incredibly colorful sunrise this morning.  It was beautiful.

Weather has gone from winter to summer in a flash.  Seems we have by-passed spring this year!  In the past week, absolutely everything has budded out, greened up, leafed out, and sprung alive.  Flowers that were a few inches tall a week ago are now huge!

Farm markets started around here yesterday.  The ice cream truck made it's first showing of the season yesterday.  I actually saw the first hummingbird of the year yesterday (already had the feeders out).  I even saw a rabbit in the neighbors yard.  I haven't seen a rabbit around here in 20 years!
The robins and other birds are in a frenzy taking baths.  The robins are the cleanest birds ever!!!!

Too bad most of the weeds growing around here aren't a commodity - because this girl would be RICH!  Oh my, I have pulled and pulled and there is no end in sight.

We even had to have AC on one night, just to be able to sleep.  It was very humid.  We are now back to open windows and ceiling fans - loads of fresh air!   Love it.  70's all this coming week.
Aaaaaahhhhhh - I am in my element!


My frugal week:
  • Airing out house - no heat
  • Line dried ALL my laundry
  • Filled the hummingbird feeders with homemade nectar
  • Mowed
  • Yard work, yard work, yard work!!!!!!!!  FREE exercise and fresh air!
  • Needed 2 birthday cards and 3 sympathy cards this week - had everything in my stash
  • I went up to Kroger to check out clearance.  I found deviled egg holders/carriers on clearance - 2 in a pack for .99 each.  I got 7 packs -  for Christmas baskets.  That is ALL I bought at the store.

  • NO groceries this week
  • Doing all my normal stuff
Kind of a quiet week - but a very busy one with the outside work.

My meals this past week:
Homemade Rice-a Roni with beef and beans
Cheeseburgers, chips, and fresh veggies
Pizza and salad
Smoked sausage, fried cabbage and potatoes
Stir fry veggies and chicken over rice
Goulash
Cold pasta/crab/veggie salad (emphasis on veggies)


I am hoping to continue all the outdoor work this week.  We all know there is no end to it.  It will probably be a week or two until I decide to work on garden.  I don't want to get in a hurry, and then have a cold snap hit again.  It has happened!

Are you getting good weather?  What are you doing to get ready for summer?
How was your frugal week?
Look forward to hearing from you all!

May the Lord bless you with a safe, healthy and productive week.
Blessings from our humble home to yours.

Thursday, May 3, 2018

LIVING with Purpose

We often go day by day just following the crowds.  Doing the 'norm'.  Paying the price.  Doing what is easy.
Is that really "living"?  Is that living with a purpose?

There are stores on every corner that contain everything your can imagine.  Farm markets  will be in every community soon (not necessarily a bad thing).  There is E-Bay, Etsy, Amazon, and just about all grocery stores at the click of a few buttons now.  I know there are busy people in the world that love these options.  I know there are people who are non-abled that need these services, which is wonderful for them.
I am NOT there yet.  I have never bought from E-Bay or Etsy ever - I don't belong to Amazon Prime - and nobody is doing my shopping for me!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Not yet any way!

I think we have just become too complacent about technology.  Truthfully, I hate most of it.
I want to live a life OF PURPOSE - ON PURPOSE!

I want to grow things, fix things, and make things.  I want my life to be rich with meaning - NOT stuff.
I think it is so important that we keep the older ways alive.  What happens if life changes for all of us?  I could get by, you may be able to get by, many of my family could get by, but soooooo many people could not.  They don't have a clue how to survive without technology, or without absolutely everything being SO EASY!


We so need to teach the old fashioned values and ethics and ways.  We need to be leaders NOT followers.  We need to volunteer when we can.  We need to teach.

I want the younger folks to know how SATISFYING it is to grow what you eat.  I want them to know how to FIX things -  NOT purchase new.  I want them to know how to MAKE things - whether it be cooking from scratch or mending clothes or creating a gift.   I want them to know there is SO MUCH MORE than money.  I want them to slow down.
I want them to know there is PURPOSE AND MEANING IN LIFE!

How do we do this?  I try to spread the word as often as possible.  I try to show and tell as many folks as possible.  But I can't reach everyone in my community, nor can you.  Things like this blog and many of yours, help spread the word further - but so many will still miss out.
That truly saddens me.

I learned from my parents and grandparents.  I read and learn from history.  I want to be a sponge and absorb all I can, even at this stage in life.
WE ARE THE HISTORY AND THE ANCESTORS of tomorrow!!

We each need to do our part to teach values.  We need to do our part to teach living a simpler life.  We all need to be part of the solution  and of the purpose of a LIFE WELL SPENT.

I pray we all let our lights shine and share the wisdom we have.
Tell it, write it, share it and embrace it.
It's an everlasting gift for the future.

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

IT'S TIME!!!!! For Yard Sales!!

YAY it is that time of the year again.  I can't wait to go to the first one!  I have been reading that several of you have already started going to sales and you are finding some great deals.

I don't so much NEED anything - I just like going and looking.  Some days something just screams "YOU NEED ME" and I have to buy it.  We have a big neighborhood sale (not mine) coming up in early June.  It is a historic neighborhood with a lot of really neat old houses and it is surrounded by the park - so it makes for a really fun day.

I like yard sales, estate sales, flea markets, you name it.  It is called FREE ENTERTAINMENT.

 
If you are planning on having a sale to get rid of your gently loved treasures, you need to remember a few things to be successful.
  •   Make sure your items are ALL priced!!!!!  If I don't see prices - I walk away!  If you want people to buy - then mark items or have a sign saying all is priced the same.
  • Make sure your items are clean
  • Group 'like' items together for easy shopping
  • Have plenty of change!  KEEP IT ON YOUR BODY!  Don't not leave it laying on a table - too tempting!
  • If you have expensive items - keep them close to you or someone you have helping.  Sadly, people will steal
  • Put up signs or run an ad in the paper.  Advertise.
  • If you put up signs - make them readable from the car!!!!  Do NOT write in pencil or ink pen - make the address and date clear and bold
  • Be considerate and take your signs down after the sale is over
  • If you have electric items - make sure you have a plug available for testing.
  • DO NOT allow people in your house (unless it is basically empty). 
  • Keep your doors LOCKED - people could sneak in when you are distracted
STAY SAFE but have fun.  You can make some good extra money getting rid of all that clutter around the house.  I remember we had many a sale back years ago and the best day we had was about $650.  That was wonderful.

Think about keeping a list with you when you are out and about.  A list of things you need or might be looking for.  Keep a list of kids sizes and even adult sizes.  Know your prices.  Don't pay retail pricing at a yard sale. 

**Also think about roaming the neighborhood on the evening before or the morning of 'heavy trash' day.  People throw away good stuff sometimes.  I have found some nice items for my yard that way.


Do you have any great tips on having a sale?
I hope you all enjoy your adventures and maybe make a little extra dollars!
HAPPY SHOPPING!

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Frugal Happenings 4/29

Here we are at the end of another month.  May is starting in a couple days and from the sound of things - summer is starting as well.  Forget spring - go straight to summer! 
We did have some nice sunny days this week, and I got a lot done outside.  Last night we had a freeze!  At least no snow.  We are suppose  to hit the 70's and 80's this coming week.
We have had the coldest April in 35 years and one of the wettest.  Glad it is about over!

I spent a good part of yesterday attending a dedication at the place of my long gone grade school.  I know I have mentioned going to events for that school before - but it was such a special place for many, many generations.  It was the center of the community and even after school activities took place there.  We all donated to have a wonderful plaque and memorial placed.  After, we all went to a small local pub and visited.  So many friends and memories from long, long ago - priceless!



My frugal week:
  • Walked the alley and picked up trash 2 X this week
  • Worked on a lot of those 'I don't want to do them' jobs.  Working in small increments allowed me to accomplish so many things!
  • Inventoried and organized all my canning supplies.  Jars, lids, rings, mixes, pectin, etc.  I am ready!
  • Been continuing my efforts to de-clutter and organize
  • Cut G's and my hair
  • Colored my hair at home
  • Did some vehicle general maintenance myself.  Checked all the fluids and aired the tires
  • Renewed library books on-line
  • Did LOTS and LOTS of yard work!!  Feeling a little accomplished!!!!!!
  • Mowed and trimmed from front to back
  • Got to air out the house some and have no heat for much of week
  • Worked on all the monthly receipts.  I was looking a spreadsheet and realized I  ONLY spent a GRAND TOTAL of $179 for a combined total of March and April on groceries!!!!!!  WOOHOO!

Meals this past week:
Turkey, Stove Top stuffing, Brussel sprouts
Chicken strips, stuffing fritters, green beans
Tuna salad over a bed of lettuce w/crackers
Beefy, cheesy, bean nachos
BBQ wings, mac n cheese, salad
Cold cut & cheese sandwiches and chips (G's request)
Ravioli and meatballs

I had about half of the Stove Top stuffing left - so I added an egg, shredded cheese, and a little flour and made it into patties and fried as fritters.  OMG were they good.  Truly much better than the stuffing was.  G said that was a good reason to make stove top - just to make fritters!  I think he is right.  I will do that again.


How was your week?  How did you stay frugal?
I have been reading that some of you have been getting great deals at yard sales - I can't wait till they start happening around here!

May you all be blessed this coming week.  Praying for health and happiness for you all.
Remember all the bumps along the road, are part of the pathways we are supposed to take.

Blessings from our humble home to you and yours!





Thursday, April 26, 2018

Back in the Day - the Simple Things

I believe there are a few of us here that remember the 50's and 60's well.  You youngin's just have to take our word for things!!  LOL

Life was different.  Things were slower.  Things were simple.
My goal is to live a lot like we did then.  I want simple, slow and calm.  I don't need to be hurry scurrying  around, dealing with fancy smancy stuff.  I want simple.

I came across this picture the other day and boy was it right on the mark.  See what you think.

This is about eating and our foods.  It is soooooo true!

*Momma used lard or Crisco for frying and baking - we didn't have oil in a bottle!
*Healthy food at our house was anything that grew in the garden and anything that Mom made (from scratch).
*Water was the drink of choice along with brewed ice tea and MAYBE Kool-aid.  I still don't buy water - just can't male myself spend money on it!!!
*Grilled food was over an old grate which was over a fire in the yard - then it was chicken or something simple like hotdogs.
*We had oatmeal - no fancy mixed up grains for us.  It wasn't instant either!!!
*  I didn't "eat out" until I was a teenager and could afford to 'waste' my own money of fast food - which was just becoming a thing!  I remember Burger Chef was my first!! 
*Once in a great while in the heat of summer Daddy would take us to get a frosted mug of root beer.  What a treat!
*Mom made our potato chips - again I think I was a young teen before I had store bought.  I remember someone gave us a Charles Chips tin of chips as a gift - that was fun!
*My first pizza was on a date. 
I have surely dated myself!!  LOL


Oh the things we remember.
A Sunday afternoon, was coming home from church to a lovely noon tine dinner (our big Sunday meal was at 1:00), which often had many extended  family members joining in.  Then we either went out back and played croquet or horses shoes (the guys) or we just sat on the front porch in the swing watching the world go by.

My friends and I often had 'picnics' on the front porch during the summer.  We would have PBJ's and milk or Kool-aid.  Then we would play Jacks.

My childhood home (without the swing).  I wish I could still drive by and see it.  It burned down several years ago.  I played so often on that porch.  Lots of good times were had there.


I loved 'helping' Dad in the garden because he always carried a salt shaker in his bibbers and we would eat fresh picked tomatoes right from the vines.  To this day I love a warm fresh tomato. 
I would also sit behind the chicken house with my friends and we would gorge ourselves on sour green apples.  Many a tummy ache was had from that - but we kept doing it!
Loved going out back and filling up on grapes.  Mom would always come a stop me, because she had to use them for juice and jelly.

Bed sheets always smelled so good after laundry day.  Loved helping to take the laundry off the line - it always smelled so good.  It brings back memories every time today.

Boy did I wonder a drift on this post.  It started out being about foods of the past! 
I just wish I could go back for a while and visit!  I miss those days so much.

This is why I want my life to be simple and calm - it was heavenly.  I try hard to give myself some of those special things today and I try to remind all the younger family what it was like.  They just can't imagine.

As John Denver used to sing "take me home country road, take me home".
Spring does this to me every time!!!!!!
Thanks for taking a journey back in time with me.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Baby Steps.....Bit by Bit

I have been talking about Spring cleaning for what seems to be ages.  I guess it isn't all Spring cleaning, but just normal every day stuff.
We all have those projects that we hate to tackle.  I know I am not the only one!  It is those things that just look overwhelming.  Projects that take a few hours or an afternoon to complete.  I tend to put those off again and again...................then oh what a pile of dust I have.

My house is really never messy, it just is dusty, full of dust bunnies and cob webs.  Where do those bunnies and cobs come from???????  LOL
It is a never ending process.

So I am now working at it a little at a time.  Baby steps.  I find that if I give myself 20 - 30 minutes to work on something, I tend to get a LOT more done.  I have been doing this for the past few days and it is amazing how many projects (that I kept putting off) that have gotten done.
I may go back to an area 2 or 3 times in a day but it isn't overwhelming, because I know I will only do a little at a time.

I have always been one that goes gangbusters!  If I am going to clean all the shelves in the living room - then I am going to clean all the shelves in the living room!  I hate that job.  Now it isn't so bad.

 
See?  There is a lot of STUFF to dust.  Now I do a shelf and then go off to do something else.  I go back and do another.  It is so much easier for me.
I can clean a shelf when dinner is cooking or while watching TV.


My kitchen is the same way.  I have pretties and small appliances on top of my cabinets (do to such a small kitchen), and it gets dusty and greasy.  It is easier to do a segment at a time.  It gets done in MY time and looks lovely, but I am not stressed.

Yesterday I was downstairs doing laundry, and starting getting canning jars all together.  They were in a few spots - now they are sorted and neat.  I went to place clothes in the drier and went through the bags of clearance pectin and Mrs. Wages mixes I had.  They are all sorted and together.  I am now organized and ready to can!!!


It is amazing what you can accomplish in a few minutes.
You can clean all the pictures/mirrors on a wall.  Later clean off a table or a shelf.  Straighten a hutch.  Clear out that stack of magazines.  Clean and dust that 'hidden' corner.  Work on a shelf or two in the pantry.  Straighten up your home canned goods.  Get your canning supplies organized and together.  Clean a shelf in the closet. 
NONE of it will take very long and you have ACCOMPLISHED a needed task.

Don't get yourself in a huff trying to get your cleaning done.  Take your time and take baby steps and do it bit by bit!
I advise you to attack your house this way for a week...........you will be amazed at what you get done!

HAPPY CLEANING

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Frugal Happenings 4/22

Good morning my lovelies!  I hope this finds you all well and happy.

It seems we are finally getting a little sampling of Spring!  We have had a few warmer days, sunshine, and things are greening up.  All of that in between snow showers!!!  I can now see a green 'mist' in the horizon, as trees are finally setting buds and leaves. 
It appears our temps will average about 60* this coming week, BUT there is a chance of flurries next weekend.  SIGH!  It is what it is!!!!!!

My frugal week:
  • Cleaned out G's sock drawer and kept a couple pair of really old stretched out pair of tube socks to use on my swifter cleaner.  They work perfectly.
  • Used up older celery and older carrots in a stew this week.
  • Made a couple dozen BIG sugar cookies from dough from the freezer.  Stopped a sweet tooth craving - they lasted all week.
  • I worked out back in the berry patch and in the flower beds.  Cut so many things back and cleaned up a lot of yard waste.  So much more to do!!!!!
  • I found a couple BIG pieces of green plasticized chicken wire that neighbors threw out - I grabbed that stuff quickly.  It cuts easily and makes great little protective cages around new plants.  That saves a bit of change for me! 
  • Washed many windows
  • Got to have heat off and windows open a few times this week.
  • Mowed the front yard and cleaned out the front flower bed
  • I ran up to Kroger on Thursday to look around.  I did find 4 bottles of gummy vitamin C on managers closeout.  Normally 7.99 per bottle and I got them for $2 each!!  Bought all 4 they had on the shelf.  I also got a 3 pack of  'stop light' bell peppers in the .99 bin.  That's ALL I bought!
  • We are getting 2 premium channels FREE for 4 days this weekend.  I have been DVR'ing movies to have for later.
  • Cooked up a pound of ground sausage this week and put part of it in the freezer for a quick add in for another meal

Meals this week:
Breakfast - bacon, eggs, toast and hash browns
Stew and bread & butter 2X
Sandwiches and some chips
Dirty rice/sausage & salad
Chinese - 2X

Yes I was bad again this Friday and had take out again.  2 weeks in a row!!!!  Both times I was so tired from yard work - that needs to stop.  I am getting back into my groove - so hopefully I won't over work as much!
G wanted Chinese.  That always lasts us 2 meals a piece and still some leftovers for lunch.  I also got 2 really nice lidded containers to use for leftovers or sending home food with others.


Are you getting any SPRING yet?  I sure hope so.  We all need a dose of warmth and sunshine.

What did you do this week to stay on the frugal bandwagon?  Any great deals?
I hope you all have a lovely frugal week.

May the Lord keep you in His protective arms and bless you beyond measure.
Blessings from our humble home to yours.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

A Little Help for Your Heirs

Someday - our day will come.  Each of us need to make sure that we have our lives in order and our possessions as well.

I have to admit that we have NOT done our will yet.  Every time we talk about it - it seems we have a disagreement!  LOL.  If we had birth children there would be no question.  I do believe that we have finally come to a consensus of what to do and a will is happening this year.

We do have everything we own in both of our names - so that makes life a lot simpler (in our state) as spouses, if something happens to one of us.
We have many things with beneficiaries added in the event that something would happen to both of us. 

G decided to make some forms of his own that enables us to list all important information about banking, insurance, property, etc. 
I advise EVERYONE to have some place that ALL your info is together for the sake of your survivors.

I know  we all think if there is a will, that is all that needs to be done.  Not really - especially if you  are incapacitated for some reason or medical attention is needed, etc.  I know with just us, that I am not sure exactly where everything is (without going to safety deposit box), like what policy is here or there, and so on.

If you make up a set of forms PLEASE REMEMBER to leave the info off of them while they are on your computer!!!!!  You sure wouldn't want someone strange having access to all that info if your were hacked.  PRINT BLANK forms and write in your personal information.
We are keeping a copy here (so I have easy access) and we are giving one in a sealed envelope to a trusted family member (our soon to be executor) to keep.  He will be instructed to only open in the event of the last death (of G & I).

 
Click on pictures to enlarge.  This gives you some idea of what I am speaking of.

There are kits that you can get at many funeral homes, that have forms you can fill out similar information on, to help your heirs.  If you have an estate lawyer - they probably have forms as well.
I just feel like it is a good idea for WHOEVER is left to have everything (as far as info) all together. 

The first big purchase we made together after marrying was our cemetery plots and headstone. Romantic aren't we???  We still keep talking about pre-planning and paying for our funerals - but the only time I feel certain that will happen is when there is only one of us left.  I don't want to put that burden on anyone else.

I know a lot of people don't like talking about these things or even thinking about planning for an event of death.  They just think it is gruesome or creepy.  Just remember - you are at your MOST vulnerable when someone close passes and people CAN and DO take advantage.
****************************

Sit down with your partner and get things in order.  Make sure that you both know where all your policies are, where all deeds and pertinent information is.  Have copies of each other medical insurance cards.
G has medical issues that would limit types of treatment he could receive safely, and that is all written down for me, and in a place that I could grab it, if emergency help was needed.  It is a good idea that you have this info with your children as well.  We can't all remember everything, especially in a stressful situation.

If you have a special wish that something you own, go to a certain person (jewelry, heirlooms, etc.) - PLEASE make sure your spouse knows.  Hopefully they will follow your wishes.  If you don't vocalize  what you want done - it may not happen.
*****************************

Please just take time and get your life in order.  It will help those left behind without a doubt.
BE PREPARED!

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

BE Part of the Answer

SIMPLIFY - BEAUTIFY - BE PART OF THE ANSWER FOR THE WORLD!

I do believe there are certain things that we all have in common - no matter where we live, what we have, or where we came from.
I think we all want the best value for our money - we want to provide ENOUGH for our families - and we want the world to be alive and well for our future generations.
I call all three of those things being a GOOD STEWARD of what we have.

Earth day is coming up on April 22 and will be celebrated all over the world.  I think we should be aware and celebrate this earth EVERY day!
We need to take care of it and replenish when we can, so that future generations will have a safe and healthy place to live.  We only get this one Earth.

There are many small things we can all do to contribute.  Think about your daily and weekly routines and see if there are some little changes that can be made to improve the environment.

  • Don't use Styrofoam - turn it down if you can.  That stuff will never break down in the land fills.  It is also harmful to nature
  • Make or purchase re-usable grocery bags and USE THEM!  More and more places are making plastic bags illegal and paper bags come from our forests (which are dwindling).
  • Compost your waste into rich soil (except meat and milk products).  Meat (minus sharp little bones) can be fed to nature or animals.
  • Keep  a plant or two indoors - they help add oxygen to your air.  Plants are healthy!
  • Plant a garden, flowers, trees, etc.  Not only are you providing food for your family but flowers and trees are beneficial to nature and the environment.  Birds, bees, and other critters can thrive with a little help.  Every critter has a purpose!!
This is so true.  You have faith tomorrow will come, when you plant a garden.  Have faith that there will be tomorrow's for younger generations as well.
  • Use netting from produce or from your stash to make your own produce bags - don't use those plastic ones.  I won't worry about my bag weighing an ounce or two, when keeping plastic from the trash
  • Collect rain water IF it is aloud in your area.  I find it so ridiculous that places have outlawed collection.  Use it to water your garden, flowers, flushing, hair washing, pets/critter water, etc.  God's water works the best for our plants.
  • DON'T use pesticides.  It will kill the bees - which we desperately need to keep, and it endangers wildlife.  Use as many natural things as possible.  THINK ABOUT every bird, squirrel, cat, dog, even children that walk across chemical laden yards are absorbing those chemicals!!!!!!
  • Re-use, re-cycle, and reduce whenever POSSIBLE.  Find new uses for things instead of buying new.
  • Use glass instead of plastic for storage if possible.  No chemicals and it provides more safety for food stuffs.  Use fabric instead of  throw away plastic.
  • Buy from bulk containers if possible.  Many newer 'health or natural' stores provide this service.  Take your own container and have them do a tare weight - then fill.  You will only be paying for product.  Many dried foods can be purchased this way, as well as teas, spices, pet foods, nuts, etc.

  • Limit your cleaning agents to as many natural things as possible.  Vinegar and baking soda should be your FRIENDS!  I love making citrus cleaner from peels.  Chemicals in the air and on surfaces are bad for your health and bad for the health of little ones and pets as well.
  • Eat local as much as possible - saves in so many ways!
  • Use God's natural air to air out your homes if at all possible.  A closed up house contains stale air (and germs) - air it out and stay healthier.  Get outside every day!
  • Plan your driving trips.  Make a plan and use less gasoline and less wear and tear on vehicle.  Less emissions going into the air.
  • Use insulated mugs for your 'to go' drinks.  Take a drink with you and save money and keep trash out of the landfill.
We use insulated glasses for hot or cold drinks.  Insulated mugs (which we have had for years) are used for longer driving trips and for working in the yard.
  • Use leaves and grass cuttings as mulch - instead of buying mulch.  Use fallen sticks and limbs for fire pits or use larger ones for plants stakes and tee-pees for garden.  Try getting FREE mulch from your municipality.  They often cut and grind trees that are dead and provide that mulch for FREE.  I have done this many times
  • Learn to RE-GROW some veggies from scraps - heads of lettuce, celery, onions, etc. 
  • Learn new uses for fruit peelings (jellies, cleaners), egg shells or coffee grounds (feed plants & compost), leftovers (new meals), etc.
  • Up-cycle old clothes, bedding, towels, etc. into new things.  Material can be used for all sorts of things.  Quilts, new clothes, pillows, grocery bags, pet beds, etc.  The material is already preshrunk and comfortable - not stiff and stinky new stuff.  Saves money as well.
  • Check your area for re-cycling centers and what they take.  We can not only recycle aluminum, but if separated out - tin can also be recycled, as well as plastic and glass, and paper and cardboard.

Just stop and think.  Little changes CAN make a difference - especially if we all do them!    This is our one and only planet - this our life and that of children and future grandchildren.   We truly need to wise up and make changes.  These changes cost nothing and provide a beautiful future.

Take some time each week to walk about your area and pick up trash.  We wouldn't have to do that if people quit littering - it is so aggravating.  Litter is not only unsightly, but it can be so dangerous to wildlife and pets.  If our neighbors can't be good stewards - WE can be!

BE A GOOD STEWARD OF WHAT YOU HAVE AND THE EARTH
BE PART OF THE SOLUTION!!!!!!!!
Thank you for being good caring people.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Frugal Happenings 4/15

Good morning everyone.  WOW here we are at the half way mark of this month!  Generally by this time I have my garden planned and tons of yard work done.  Not so much this year.  I did get an opportunity to work in the yard some this week, but we are a ways off from gardening.

We started with snow and cold rainy weather this week.  We managed to warm up and got to almost 80* for a couple days, which was heavenly!  We awoke to rain this morning, cooler temps and we have snow coming in tomorrow!!!!!  Not much - but snow none the less.  UGH!
Oh well - soon we will probably be complaining about the heat - LOL.

My fugal week:
  • I got a chance to pull out the last quarter of the garden I didn't get done last fall.
  • Picked up tons of sticks that I am saving for the neighbor, as they do backyard fire pit nights once in a while
  • I did manage to get several areas of the yard cleaned up - berry patch and a couple big flower gardens
  • Mowed the front grass
  • Aired out the house and no heat for about 3 days
  • Printed out a lot of forms for G.  Getting  many of our affairs organized
  • Changed out the bedding from winter covers to summer
  • Line dried fleece throws and bedding - YAY!
  • Got my hands on 2 gallon glass jars with lids for future storage
  • Pickled a quart of brussel sprouts.  I used leftover pickle juice - a few jalapenos and a pound of trimmed sprouts.  Simmered it all together for about 15 minutes and put in quart jar.  Refrigerator type pickles - using what I had!
  • Picked a bouquet of tulips and daffodils
  • Made up a list for whenever I run to Rural King,  Have it divided into different stores in that area - only go when I need something from several different stores in the area.
  • I did run to Kroger and got a gallon of milk and 2 - .99 bags of seedless Halo type minis.  That was it this week for groceries.

Meals this past week:
From scratch lasagna (small one)
Small serving of leftover lasagna and a nice salad
Sloppy Joes and roasted mix veggies (potato, carrots, onion, sprouts)
Fried pork fritters, mashed potatoes and corn
Deconstructed egg roll skillet
Burgers and fries - Burger King 2/$6 burgers (I was tired)
Philly beefsteak 'like' French bread pizza and salad

Pineapple pretzel fluff for desserts


It sure felt good getting outside this week and actually getting my hands dirty.  I got scratched up working in the berry patch - but that's ok.  I was outside working, which was great.  I was sore, but it didn't last long - I sure did sleep good!
For now, back to doing inside things!


What have you been up to?  Any good deals?
Look forward to hearing from everyone.

Prayers for health and happiness for each of you.  May you be blessed with a great week.
Blessings from our humble home to yours.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Dinner and Dessert

I think from Tuesdays post I can say we all like yummy and simple meals and goodies.  Not everything has to be complicated to taste good.
I am giving you a couple recipes from my meal plans this week.
I hope you enjoy them!



PINEAPPLE PRETZEL FLUFF

1/2 C butter melted
1 C sugar - separated into 2 - 1/2 c measures
3 C of small broken pretzels
8 oz. cream cheese - room temp.
8 oz. container Cool Whip - thawed
20 oz. pineapple pieces (I used 2 home canned pints) drained.

Preheat oven 350.
Drain your pineapple (keep juice for other uses), and set aside.
Melt butter in a saucepan and add 1/2 C sugar and stir until sugar is melted.
Spread broken pretzel pieces into a 9 x 11 pan (I covered with parchment- no mess).  Spread butter/sugar mix over pretzels and mix it all up.  Place in oven for 10 minutes.  COOL COMPLETELY!
Mix final 1/2 C sugar and cream cheese until smooth.  Add in Cool Whip and pineapple and mix.  Break apart pretzel mix (it will be like solid chunks) and add into the mix.
Refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving.
**The pretzels get coated like sugar coated nuts do.  They actually taste like nuts when in the fluff mixture.
**I think this would be wonderful with about any kind of fruit added.
THIS IS SO GOOD! 

This what the pretzels look like after being in oven - before breaking up and adding to fluff.



DECONSTRUCTED EGG ROLLS
1/4 C diced onion
1 lb. ground sausage
1 - 16 oz. package of coleslaw mix
2 cloves of garlic - minced (or garlic powder to taste)
1 tsp. ground ginger
salt to taste (or add soy sauce)

Brown sausage and onion.  Add other ingredients - cover and cook for 5 minutes.  remove lid and toss together.
I serve with a can of Asian noodles to give a crunchy texture.
YUM
We are having this tonight!


There you go!  A couple easy recipes that are still very frugal.
Hope you enjoy!

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Convenience Foods

We all get busy and just don't have time to sometimes make a meal completely from scratch.  Sometimes we rely on convenience  items to make our meals semi-homemade.
I keep some things on hand just to make life easier on a busy day.  They are great fill-ins as well, when I cant (or don't want) to go the store.  Emergency stashes of certain items could be a life saver.

I generally always have a variety of canned soups on hand - both condensed and cream.  I do like to make my own soups and keep 'cream of' mix on hand, but sometimes it just  pays to keep some on hand.  Makes a quick lunch or dinner item when added with a sandwich.  Soups can be added as ingredients to other dishes as well.

I also keep beef and chicken canned broth on hand.  Most times I make my own stock - but that isn't always possible.  Another standard is bouillon  beef, chicken and ham - is always in my pantry.

I have a nice variety of store bought canned veggies and fruits on hand.  They add in nicely to garden produce that is put up, and there are just some things I don't grow and/or can or freeze.



I have been known to buy an Aldi pre-made fresh pizza and add more ingredients.  I can't remember the last time I purchased a frozen one.  Many, many years ago I had a REALLY bad experience with a frozen one - and well, let's just say I won't take that chance again! 

I generally keep at least a couple graham cracker pie crusts in the freezer.  I also have pie crust rolls or actual crust in pans (frozen)  just in case I need something quick (always purchased on clearance).

I keep a nice variety of canned meats on hand as well.  I get canned chicken, Spam, corned beef, tuna, salmon, and sometimes beef.  These are for convenience sake and IN CASE we have a scenario when we can not cook (SHTF).  I saw a few weeks ago that WM sells almost 1 lb.-12 oz.  cans of cooked ground beef.  I may think about adding a couple cans of that.


Of course I have spice mixes - purchased and homemade, gravy mixes (just add water), and baking mix.  I like to make my own baking mix for biscuits, pancakes, and waffles - but I also keep a couple boxes of pre-mixed stuff on hand.  I always have cake mix and brownie mix on hand for a quick dessert.  I think there are even a few packs of cookie dough mix around here.

I sometimes have some sort of potato (shredded, fries, tots, etc.) in the freezer.  Once in a while I may have meatballs in the freezer as well.

I have evaporated milk, instant milk, powdered butter, eggs, peanut butter and vanilla for those 'just in case' times.  They are convenient to keep to add to recipes and for the instance you can get to the store.  They take up very little room.  I keep a box or 2 of stuffing mix and instant potatoes as well.  Those come in handy in a pinch.  Potatoes are a wonderful thickener for soups and stews.

I use my own pizza and spaghetti sauces and my own salsa.  Haven't purchased any of those in ages.  I DON'T buy mac n cheese boxes either.  It is so easy to make and I always have everything I need.

I keep a couple boxes of shelf stable Velveeta around and generally have a couple jars of cheese dip/spread.  We are cheese lovers - and I generally have lots of blocks of hard cheese in the frig - but always keep some on the shelf as well.  I usually shred my own - I just don't like the fillers/anti-clumping ingredients they put in purchased shredded.

Most of my stock up canned goods are purchased on clearance.  I get pie crusts and such ONLY on clearance.  I have a love for either Aldi products or store clearance - they add greatly to my convenience foods for a fraction of the cost.


WHAT are your favorite convenience foods or ingredients to keep in the pantry?
Is there anything you WON'T buy?
Look forward to hearing from you all.