Sunday, November 18, 2018

Frugal Happenings 11/18

Good morning.  We are on the downward spiral of the month.  For those in the U.S., Thanksgiving will be here in a few short days.  It seems that Christmas comes very quickly after that - then the year is over.  2018 has gone by in flash.

We have had a lot of winter weather this week.  It seems like we got about a split second of Spring and a split second of Fall this year.  Summer came and went and then it became winter.  It does appear that we will have more fall like temps this next week, which is nice, since so many people will be traveling.
We had ice, cold, wind and flurries this week.  No snowfall accumulations like many had - thankfully. 
It is kind of funny - we are all so used to snow, ice, cold and ick (not that we like it), yet others can not even fathom what that could be like. 
For some strange reason, my allergies have been raging this week.  That is crazy considering everything outside is dead and it is so cold.

My frugal week:
  • I put away all my canning supplies until at least after the holiday season!
  • I did do a little bit of Christmas and winter decorating.  Trying to get myself into the holiday mood - it hasn't worked yet!  LOL
                                                               My little baby tree
Came across this candle holder I had forgotten about.  It holds jar candles nicely and gives a pretty glow
  • I rearranged some smaller furniture items - not much I can move, but it feels good to have it a little different
  • Air dried all the bread for dressing
  • Continued working on deep clean.  Just about done - then it will just be normal daily, weekly stuff
  • Washed and polished the hard wood floors (on hands and knees)
  • Thawed & strained some  watermelon juice I had in freezer and added it to fruit juice.  Tasty.
  • Had about a half inch left in the bottom of a wonderful smelling jar candle - chipped it out and using as melts
  • Preparing ice for company Thursday
  • We received a $250 Wal-Mart GC using bank card points!!!!
  • Ham and turkey are both out of the freezer and thawing in frig
  • Did NOT shop at all this week. Did NOT leave the property!  WOO-HOO
  • Made up my menu for Thanksgiving and checked my pantry for ingredients.  We have all we need
  • Normal weekly activities - making tea & cooling outside, laundry in cold, meals at home, using what we have, etc.
Meals this past week:
Chili with crackers and butter (I love that combo)
Chili/cheese covered rice
Chicken/rice casserole and spinach
Sloppy Joe's, green bean/corn mix and pickled veggies
Grilled cheese and tomato soup
Shepherd's Pie and salad
Chicken salad sandwiches and fresh veggies with ranch dressing
We ate apples and peanut butter, some peaches from freezer and ice cream for treats

I have absolutely enjoyed the day or two that we have seen the sun this week!  I sure do appreciate small things like that.  Cloudy skies can get you in a gloomy state for sure.

This week  (probably today) I will finish the deep clean.  I will probably start my holiday baking on Tuesday.  I have a small kitchen, so I have to do things in shifts!  There won't be many here, but I think my brother-in-law may be coming (doubtful on MIL) and we have a friend (next door) coming for dinner.  Of course I will send goodies home with both and we will enjoy leftovers for days.  That is my FAVORITE part - little or no cooking for a few days!!!!!!!
Can't wait for that cold turkey sandwich the day after.  I think I look forward to that more than any part of dinner.

What have you done this past week to stay frugal?  Any good stocking up deals?  Working on Christmas yet?
Are you all ready for Thanksgiving?
Let us know what you are up to.  Love hearing from each of you.

May you and yours have a safe and wonderful week.  Praying that all that are traveling have a safe journey.  Remember to take time to be grateful for the small things and give blessings to others whenever possible.  A smile, a kind word, a dollar - could change someone's day, week, or month.

I saw this quote the other day and loved it.  "The best you can do is the best you can do."  Bob Costas
We all need to remember that and not beat ourselves up.  NO ONE is perfect.
Just do what you can - and let the rest happen.  Life is a journey we can't predict or control.

Blessing from our humble home to yours!

Thursday, November 15, 2018

The Rule of Half

Have you ever heard of this?  
It is basically the story of my life, and has been for ages.  Now there are stories about this idea on the news!  They are saying it's the new way of thinking!  LOL- it's been the frugal way forever!!

The idea is to use half or less of just about everything.
Manufacturers recommend serving sizes, measures and uses for items.  Their purpose?  To get you to use up the product and buy more - thus making more money.
Frugal folks have been using LESS for ages and SAVING money.  This principle can be utilized for just about anything.

If you go out to eat - try buying one meal and splitting it.  Buy just appetizers and split.  Order water.  Buy one dessert (or better yet - eat dessert at home).

I like to buy concentrated fruit juice - I always add at least one extra can of water than that it states to use.  If making kids drinks like Kool-aid - use less sugar than called for.
Try using a little less coffee in a pot each day.  Use a tea bag more than once.

Soaps of all kinds can be watered down.  I have a bottle that I fill 1/3 with shampoo  - then add water.  Let it 'melt' for a day then shake.  It makes more suds than full strength.
Make you own foaming soap - 1/3 bottle (soft soap bottle) of body wash or liquid soap and fill with water.  Works perfectly.
Liquid laundry soap - I always use a lot less than recommended.  Soap doesn't easily wash out of clothes and can actually damage them.  Most people don't actually get their clothes that dirty - so less soap works fine.  Now if you have mud or grease on clothes you will need to experiment.

                       Dish soap watered down and a splash of vinegar added to help cut grease.

Along the lines of laundry soap - cut fabric softener sheets into 1/3 or 1/2 size pieces - works just as well.  Better yet, just use vinegar in your rinse - or throw in a drier ball or ball of foil into the drier.

All cleaning products can be diluted down.  Simple remedy - use vinegar and baking soda to clean.  Works for most things.
I also like peroxide instead of bleach - keeps whites white and colors brighter.
Toothpaste - use a pea size drop on brush and it works great.
Lotion - a little goes a long way.  Think about using a natural ingredient like coconut oil - a big jar can be purchased cheaply and will last for ages!

Food - if we eat less it is healthier.  There are many of us that could stand to lose a few pounds.  Meat should be consider a side, not a main course.  Use a palm size piece per person.  (I know this may take some getting used to - but try).
If using meat in soups, stews or casseroles - use half of what is called for and load up with veggies.
About the only place I don't recommend using half - is in baking.  Baking is more scientific than everyday cooking.
Meals for CHILDREN - place half of what you think they should have on the plate.  Odds are that will be enough - if not then give them more.  No more waste!!!!  Same idea with milk or juice - start with a half glass - then add more is needed.

Think along these lines with things like cable as well.  I can bet money that you only watch a portion of the channels you receive.  Cut back your package to basic!  Think Netflix or other service.  Cheaper and you still get variety.
Go back one level on Internet speed if possible.  Odds are you will not notice the change at all and it is cheaper. 
Do you really need that fancy phone?  Seriously - who  needs internet connections while shopping or in the car???  Use a simple phone and keep it for emergencies only.  Saves money on phone and plan!
I wish we could eliminate 'smart' phones - as they have truly DUMBED UP the world.  No one interacts much any more - they are spending all their time looking at the phone.
(OK - sorry that is a whole other rant!!)

Utilities - can be halved as well.  keep of lights when not truly needed.  I very seldom turn on a light during spring and summer months - as well have daylight early and late.  I use more in the fall/winter.  Turn them off when leaving a room.  Turn the heat down or the cool temp up.  Dress accordingly.
Don't just run water all willy-nilly!!!  Be mindful of what you use.  Do full loads of laundry.  Don't leave running when doing dishes, brushing teeth, etc.

The RULE OF HALF works for about everything.  It is the frugal way!  Use less - save money.
Consciously think about everything you use and at least TRY to half it.  You may be quite amazed!
You surely will save dollars and foil the plan of the manufacturers!!!!!  WIN - WIN!

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Frugal Habits That I have Slowly Learned

Sometimes I think I must not be the sharpest knife in the drawer.  There are many hints and ideas that it has taken me years to learn.  Some days I am doing something, and BOOM I get this brainstorm!  LOL
I then stand there and shake my head and wonder why did that not come to me years ago.

I am always learning.  Here are a few ideas I have come across over the years that seems to make my life a little more frugal, or so it seems.

NOW is the time to ASK for those special gadgets you have been wanting.  Crockpots, Instant Pots, bread makers, vacuum sealers, canners, etc..  Maybe just maybe - Santa will bring it to you! 
Also check thrift stores and-or yard sales for those gadgets.  So many people HAVE to have the latest greatest new craze in gadgets and then they don't use them.  You can often find them for pennies on the dollar.  The biggest non-used item people sell cheaply and buy expensively is exercise equipment.  You tend to see it every where.

Get your FREE items whenever possible.  Check out Bath and Body Works - they often have coupons for FREE items.  Keep for yourself or gift.  Victoria Secret has a FREE panty program.  Crazy Kroger days (and maybe affiliates) have FREE downloads for Fridays.  Items can be received for nothing!  Sign up for WalMart freebies - I used to get lots of free samples from them.
Along these lines - REMEMBER if you love an item or hate an item - let the company know! 
They may send you coupons or free products.  They want your feedback.  There is generally a website address or toll free number on most products.

I hate being cold.  I also hate shoes!  I wear socks in the winter, but I still get cold.  NO I don't want to turn the heat up.  We all know to layer clothing and bedding to help.  I have finally learned that house shoes warm my feet in no time and then the rest of me stays warm.
We lose much heat from heads and feet.  Hats keep your head (thus you) warm outside and slippers keeps you warmer inside.

I found these memory foam slippers on a pre Christmas sale for $10 quite a while back.  They warm me up in no time.  They also have rubberized bottoms - so I can go get the mail or feed the kitties outside with them on (NO I don't wear to shop!).

We all get to the end of condiments in bottle and there is such a bit in the bottom - it doesn't seem to come out.  Things like ketchup, BBQ sauce, spicy mustard, etc. - add some water to the bottom of the jar.  Swish.  It is great to use in jazzing up your cooking.  No it probably won't work over fries or on a sandwich - but it extends the product  and makes great seasoning. NO waste.

Make sure you STOCK UP when you find great deals on seasonal sales.  Odds are you won't find the same prices for 'at least' another year (and then who knows) - so if at all possible with finances and space - stock up for a year.
Figure out how many pasta, canned good, etc. you use a week or month and multiply to have enough of a cheaply priced item for the year.  Prices are bound to go up and this is just like money in the bank.

I used to use a Tea Pot (brand name) to make my tea for iced tea.  It quit after years, so I went back to brewing tea on the stove.  We neither one was happy with it.  One day a light bulb went off - use the coffee pot!
I place my tea bags in the 'coffee' holder and fill the pot with water and run through a total of three pots - then add plain water to my jug. (I make a gallon at a time).  It is quick and works like a charm.
The coffee pot is also a great way to make 'quick' hot water for a cup of hot tea or for anything else - like hot chocolate.  Quick and easy. 
The coffee pot is for more than coffee!

Many times sponges, scrubbers (store bought) or even Magic Erasers are kind of big for most hands.  Cut them into the perfect size pieces.  I like to cut into fourths and they work great.  I tend to have to purchase less often.  It seems any time I have used a Magic Eraser, most of it is actually wasted and melts away.  No sense is just throwing money/product away.
I have many loofas that my Dad actually grew many, many years ago. (He passed in 1984).  I cut them into 3"-4" lengths and they last forever.  You can buy them at a lot of places - cut them and have more than one.  These are great for bath and kitchen chores.

Think about getting inexpensive wash cloths (same color so different from others) and use as  every day napkins or purchase cheap bandanas for napkins.  You can get different color sets for different occasions.  Darker colors are great as they don't show stains!!!

Lastly - utilize, utilize, utilize the library.  Books, movies, music - it's entertainment and educational items all for FREE!!  I realize computers offer a world of information - but there is just something about going to the library and wondering the aisles.  You find things you didn't even know you might be interested in.
Not everyone gets cable or Netflix (or other services) as they do cost.  You can get movies/videos at the library, video games, and so much more.  ALL FOR FREE
No better deal any where!

I hope this gives you something to think about.  What are some of your "DUH" ideas that hit you like a bucket of bricks?????  LOL
We all need new tricks!

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Frugal Happenings 11/11

Good morning.  Happy Veteran's Day to all of our veterans past and present.  Thank you for your service.

It is a cold November morning in my area.  We have had very windy (20 mph - 45 mph) and much chillier days this week.  Friday night got down to 18* - brrrrr.  It looks like our highs will stay around the 30's and 40's this week.

Wednesday (one of 2 days that was NOT windy) there was a house fire 2 blocks south of us.  The smoke was awful and I stood on the front porch and actually watched the flames rising to the skies.  It was very scary to see.  Everyone got out, except their doggie.  I just kept thinking what a blessing it was that we were not having a windy day.  Had the usual wind of the week been blowing, many houses would have caught fire.  As it was, it sounded as if every fire truck in the city was in our area.
I can not imagine what the people of CA are going through.  Prayers for their safety and for containment.

Got a bit nostalgic yesterday.  While going to a bazaar, I drove through the neighborhood I grew up in.  Sadly our home burned years after out of our hands.  Then at the bazaar I ran into the daughter of a lady that lived 2 doors from us back in the day.  She is older and grew up with my siblings.  We talked about the old neighborhood.  Yesterday was also 2 years since my brother passed.  Just kind of a sad, yet remembering happy times, kind of day!

I am a little stiff this morning.  This body doesn't  rebound as quickly as it used to!  Things need to be done - it just takes a little longer to  re-coop from the physical labor!

My frugal week:
  • I patched and mended 3 pairs of jeans
  • Refilled all the spice bottles from bulk jars
  • I salvaged about 8 lbs. of cheese powder this week.  We had bought 10 lbs. quite some time ago. (I use a lot - just not as quickly as I thought!).  It had solidified - so I chunked it and ran through the Ninja.  I placed in smaller bags with oxygen absorbers.  All is good and I have it tucked away in old ice cream containers.
It had been in a plastic bag in a box.  Solid cheese powder it was!!!!

Now I have 13 bags and a jar for the kitchen.  I am pleased it was savable.  I am good for cheese powder for ages!!!!!!
  • I was cleaning the corner cabinet in the dining room and found a $50 bill!  YAY - I have no idea when I tucked it away or why - but it was found just in time for Christmas shopping!
  • I did a major stock-up this week on pantry items.  Turkey .37/lb. - over 20 lbs.  Baking goods and can goods .45 ea..  Aldi and Meijer shopping.  Good for the winter!
  • Ran to a Christmas Bazaar at an area church on Saturday (my first of the season).  Only spent 50 cents in the 'Grandma's Attic' section.  I got a bread machine recipe book.
  • Stopped at Kroger which was a couple blocks from bazaar and got Saturday specials.  TP and 8 oz. cheese blocks.  I also found a .99 bag of sweet potatoes.  G likes them and I don't get often.  I got 3.5 lbs. in the bag. (5 potatoes and 1 is huge)
  • I then dropped in Sav A Lot on my drive back home.  10 lbs. of Russet potatoes for 1.89!
  • I reorganized and inventoried freezers, cleaned out the frig and made some new storage areas for overstock of pantry.
  • Made a batch of grape jelly (5 pints) from freezer grapes.  Ran water through the pulp left, and made a light grape syrup to add to sparkling water for flavor.
  • Meals at home this week.  Laundry in cold.  Tea cooled out on porch handrail.  All the normal stuff
  • Made dip
  • Got the last rain barrel totally emptied and put away for the winter
  • Took the 'kitty' heater from the greenhouse apart and thoroughly cleaned.  Heater and all water bowls all plugged in for the babies and birds and squirrels. (teens and low 20's at night)
  • Raked the back yard and got leaves out on the garden area.  Still have more to come down - but made great progress
  • When reorganizing freezers - I brought inside (from garage freezer) - 5 lbs. chicken breast, 10 lbs. ground beef, 3 OJ concentrate, 2 lbs. butter, frozen peaches and grapes.  Made room for turkey/ham deals
  • Got a big bag of items ready for donation

Meals this past week:
Fried cabbage, carrots & sausage with rice
Pork chops, asparagus and tangy mac n cheese
Breaded tenderloins and leftover mac
Chicken & cheese baked spaghetti and side salad
Homemade pizza and salad
Mini cheeseburgers and baked potato wedges
Chili/cheese dogs, chips and dip

This coming week I plan on working more on my fall cleaning.  I also plan on getting all my bread dried for Thanksgiving dressing.  I hope to color my hair (oh it needs it badly).  I plan on spending a couple dark early evenings (it's dark by 6PM) addressing Christmas cards.  I can get it over with and actually do something constructive on those boring dark evenings!!!
Oh so many things to do - it just never ends.

How was your week?  Are you gals taking advantage of any of the holiday grocery sales?  How is your Christmas gifting going?
Let us know what you are up to!

I pray you all have a safe and healthy week.  May we all be filled with gratitude for all we have and a giving heart for those who have little or nothing.
Blessings from our humble home to yours.

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Getting Holiday & Winter Pantry Ready

This is old gal is feeling kind of flushed today.  I have been a busy bee.  It is nice to sit down and rest my back for a few minutes.
I decided today was the day to get myself in gear and get the holiday and winter pantry sorted, arranged, cleaned out and ready to go.

I started with both of the freezers (actually last night).  I finally got outside and went through the deep freeze in the garage.  I brought a lot of items in, and placed in the upright freezer.  There was sadly a couple things that I just tossed.  I believe I had gotten them free (not that waste of free is ok), and they were very old.

Downstairs & frig freezers are now all sorted (AGAIN) and have new inventory.  Deep freeze is ready for sale turkey or hams!  YAY!

I totally cleaned out the refrigerator and combined bottles and got rid of a few.  If I have had a half bottle of something for a few months - it obviously meant we didn't LOVE it.  Washed all the shelves and re-arranged things.

I did my HUGE Aldi shop of the season this morning!  I get several things to last through the winter, just in case.  I like being prepared for anything during the holidays and I like knowing I don't have to run out for basics if the weather gets nasty.  I got several cases of veggies that I just don't grow or can myself.  I am great on fruit.  Got extra baking goods and some boxed items that we really like.

I then ran across the street from Aldi to Meijer and took advantage of .37/lb. turkey!!!!! WOOHOO.  I got a nice big one for $7 and change (limit 1).  I will use it for Thanksgiving and the others (2) that I already have went to deep freeze.  I will keep my eyes open for more cheap turkey in the next few weeks and for inexpensive hams.  Heck, you can't buy lunchmeat for .37 pound!
I got a few stocking stuffer gifts as well.

It was absolutely pooped after loading the car from Meijer, packing my groceries at Aldi and loading car - then unloading the whole mess and finding a place for it!  They need to send someone home with us to do that - don't you think???  LOL
Sadly much of my EXTRA storage is in the basement - and that gets tricky and scary, carrying things down.
I rearranged some things on some shelves we have in 2nd bedroom and made room for extra pantry storage upstairs.  That will help me make a lot less trips.  I can get extra from there - then replenish that at my leisure. 

I have one more store I want to go this week.  Sav-A-Lot has some good deals.  Potatoes are super cheap, as well as fresh sweet potatoes.  Both will last for a good while in the cool basement.

I basically had everything I needed for Thanksgiving here already - so we are also ready for whatever the holidays or winter throws our way.
I feel accomplished knowing what we have on hand and that it is orderly and accessible, and that I am well stocked for the winter.
BRING IT ON!!!!!!!

Now I just to need to finish making jellies - and using up all that fruit I brought in.  I do need to dry more bread for dressing, and finish the fall cleaning chores.  Then on to Christmas fun.

Are you taking advantage of the great deals that can be found this time of the year? 
Are you ready for Thanksgiving (in 2 WEEKS!!!!! YIKES)? 
Have you got your pantry in order and inventoried?
Now is the time!

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Challenges in Life

We all have them.  Has your life gone exactly as you thought it would 10 years ago, 20 years ago, 30 years ago?  Bet not!
Life changes daily and nothing is guaranteed.  We have to go with the flow, accept what is, and MAKE the future a little brighter.

It is not just those BIG LIFE decisions - but all the smaller ones as well.  I am a big believer that everything happens for a reason.  It may never be understood what the reason is - but I think there is one.
It could be to help someone else in a specific situation.
Learning to be a better listener.
Learning to be more thoughtful.
Being a better steward of what we have (money, things, relationships, etc.)
Learning that MONEY is not the only ANSWER.
I do believe that we are all put in certain paths for a reason.  I think even something so simple as taking to a stranger at the store, has consequences (may make a stranger's day).

  1. Seriously, nothing stays the same.  Everything will change at some point.  We just have to go on the ride.
  2. Remember back on those times that you just couldn't imagine going on.  YOU DID!  You will again.  You have survived EVERY worst day ever so far!  Sadly we all have horrible things happen in life that we feel we just can't bare, but we are given the strength to go forward.
  3. LEARN from everything that happens in life.  That is part of the journey
  4. Surely we all have experienced not getting what we thought we wanted or needed.  New opportunities come along and they may be what we NEED.  Remember that thing about "when one door closes......"
  5. We get one shot at this thing called life.  ENJOY IT!!!!  Play, sing, dance, eat, laugh - have fun along the way.  How boring it would be if we didn't have a little fun. You don't need permission and you should never feel guilty about JUST enjoying things.
  6. Like yourself.  It took me years to 'get' to this point.  I made a lot of mistakes along the way, and beat myself up.  But today "I like me" - and I wouldn't be who I am, had I not had those challenges along they way.
  7. Don't give a rat's patooty what anyone thinks!!!!!  Some people just CHOOSE to be negative Nellies in life and you don't need that.  Ignore them, stay away from them, block them, do whatever you need to - keep positive!  Put YOUR sunshine into the world.
  8. ALWAYS be THANKFUL.  I woke up today!  I live in a society where I got to freely vote today.  I have my husband and family for another day.  I have the cuddles of my sweet kitties.  I have a warm home and a roof over me.  I have made many lovely friends around the world. I have enough!    Need I go on?    There is ALWAYS something to be thankful for, and I am - each and every moment of each and every day!

Life can be discouraging at times, BUT there is so much that could be worse.  There are days that we all need to put on those big girl panties and march forward.
I just thought that perhaps someone might need a 'nudge' today to get past something negative (it doesn't matter what).  I had something else planned for today's post - and when I sat down at the computer this is the direction that was chosen.
This is the month of THANKS - and we all should be thankful for what we have present in our lives today.  No matter what gets thrown at you - go forward - it will make you stronger.

REMEMBER we have each other - to listen - to confide - to learn - to comfort.
Sending love and  blessings your way, my friends.

Sunday, November 4, 2018

Frugal Happenings 11/4

Happy November.  Wow, just a few short weeks and it will be Thanksgiving here in the U.S..  This year is just flying by.
I hope all that had to, got their clocks set back.  I hate this so much.  I don't feel drained in the fall, like I do in the spring - but it gets dark so much earlier.  This is not my favorite thing.

The color of the trees have finally started changing a lot - although many are now on the ground!  We had rain, rain and more rain this week.  We also had wind, wind and MORE wind.  If it wasn't so chilly I would think we are having spring storms. 
I know that November is considered one of the cloudiest months and we are seeing it.  Yesterday was gorgeous, so a little reprieve.

This week my computer decided to totally ignore Internet connection.  We had connection, G was using it, but my computer said NO!  G's uncle - who is a major computer tech, came and worked on computer for 6 hours!!!!  No go.  We had to save info and take computer back to day 1 of 6 years ago.  What a pain.  It took another 4 hours after uncle left.  Now my computer is like a new one!!!!
I guess I might not buy a new one for a while now.

My frugal week:
  • Cut G's and my hair
  • Received a coupon for a FREE full size item from Bath & Body Works (going next week)
  • Made black raspberry jelly from berries in the freezer
  • Computer completely restored and updated - cost - 1 jar of jelly!  (Would take nothing else)
  • Put 3 bags of spicy beans/rice in freezer for future Mexican meals
  • Received a Martha Stewart Living magazine in the mail.  I did not order - so not sure why!  Enjoying reading it.
  • Put away any Halloween looking décor and just left out fall decorations
  • I went out on Nov. 1 to hunt for markdown candy - NONE TO BE FOUND!  2 Kroger stores said they ordered less, so as not to 'lose' money on it after Halloween.  Wal-Mart - removed candy from shelves at midnight and by the time I got to store at noon, the Christmas candy display was already complete!!!  CRAZY!
  • I did get milk and a few odds and ends at Kroger.  Found markdown heirloom cherry tomatoes for .50 a pack.  Gal was tossing into a trash can and I asked what they heck she was doing.  She said they were dated and they said trash them.  The date was Nov. 1.  I saved all from the shelf - she wouldn't let me take the ones she had trashed.  They were perfect and taste just like fresh!!!  I shared some with our neighbor.
                                                      These normally cost 3.99 box!
  • I also got blocks of cheese at Kroger for 2.99 pound!  That is super cheap in our area.  I bought 8 pounds - which should last the winter.  I am thinking about going back for more.  We love and use a lot of cheese (especially on holiday snack plates).

Meals this past week:
Homemade beef and bean burritos, chips and salsa
Pizza bites - chips, salsa and cheese dip
Burgers and fries
Chicken and wild rice soup and biscuits
Dirty rice with ground sausage, leftover biscuits and side salad
Poor man's  Swiss steak and mashed potatoes and salad
French bread pizza (from clearance bread in freezer)

We had approximately 50 - 60 kids show up on Halloween - that is the smallest amount of kids ever in 32 years!  About 7:00 PM it started pouring rain, so poor kids didn't have a chance!  I do have plenty of candy left, but sure thought I would find some bargains on it to last the year.  Guess it was not meant to be.  We'll see what happens after Christmas!

This next week, I really need to get more fall cleaning done.  I also have some errands to run in the next town south of us (about 20 minutes away.)  I like combining all errands into one trip to save gas.
I still need to make more jelly from frozen fruit.

How was your week?  Any deals this week?  Staying frugal?
Anyone getting ready for the holidays?

May you and yours have a great week.  Praying that everyone stays good, kind and happy.
Blessings from our humble home to yours.

Friday, November 2, 2018

Organizing - the different pantries

Good morning. 
I do believe we all have several pantries in our homes.  Many may not think of some things as pantries - but it helps when you do.

Yes we have food, but what about gifts, health, crafts, freezers?  I think we all have separate areas for these things - so if you look at them as different pantries - it will help when stocking.

FOOD pantries -
Try to keep them organized - it aids you in saving money and knowing what you need.  If you have things that have gotten stuck in the back - it may end up going to waste, and also you may go out and spend money on something you already have.
*  Always put oldest items to the front - use them first
*  Organize by category - keep soups together, fruit together, spices, baking items, dressings and condiments, pasta, etc.  You see where I am going with that?  It makes it so much easier finding things.
*  Don't buy things you won't use!!!!!!
*  Get creative - use up things that are getting older to make something new or different.  Don't waste. 
*  If you have a secondary or over flow pantry area - keep like items together and know what you have.  'Shop' from it before going to the store.
*  If you have little ones around - maybe keep a snack basket for them at their level
*  Check your pantry before you go shopping - know what you are low on, what you have plenty of, and what you might get if the price is right.  Don't run out of things - it costs you extra money!!!!  If you are anything like me - it is almost impossible to walk in a store and buy ONE THING!

It is harder (for me) to use older items first.  I have a tendency to get new items and stick them in the front.  I am usually in a hurry - and that is where they go.  NOT GOOD!  We need to be as efficient with our freezers as our dry pantries.
It is VERY wise to do a sorting, organizing, clean out, inventory, what ever you want to call it at least 2X a year.
I noticed reader LaurieS said on FB that she did hers this week.  It is amazing what we can find in there.  Her mission is to use up the older stuff.  I did this a while back as well.
Good job Laurie!!!!
If you all think about it, write down what you have and stick that on the freezer - it sure does help to use it up!
Keep those frozen goods organized as well.

Debby in KS mentioned in the comments on the last post - to get that cold/flu pantry stocked now.  VERY WISE!  It is that time of the year - that folks will be getting sick.  You sure don't want to run out or have someone else come in while your sick - no need making others sick.  Have tissues, cold meds, antihistamines, Pepto, Vitamin C and Zink,  clear liquids, soothing soups, etc.  Stock up on all those items that will help you feel better.
Keep it where you can get to it and have it sorted by product.  You sure don't ant to go searching for stuff when you feel bad.

I just recently went through my gift basket to see what I have on hand.  I have a huge tote that holds items I purchased on sales/clearance all year long.  It sure does help with Christmas baskets I make up.  It is also nice to have items on hand for special gifts - birthday, cheering up someone, maybe even helping a random stranger.
It aids in not spending as much money at the holidays.  This can be an expensive time of the year for a lot of people.  Some people go into debt for gift giving - DON'T do that!!!!!!  Buy along the way and you will be ready!
Keep an area JUST FOR gift items.  Keep it straightened so nothing gets lost in the shuffle.

Many of you craft items for gifts.  Keep those items together and keep you supplies organized and together.  Shop at sales and use coupons.  Keeping your crafting and sewing area organized saves money and time.
Norma does a lot of crafting for Vets and those in need.  She is always on the lookout for yarn in different places.  If she weren't organized with her supplies, she would spend a lot more money.
I know my crafting/sewing area is always in need of organization.  I see some gals post pictures of their areas and I am envious!

Organization saves so much money.  If you keep the many pantries of your home organized you will easily find what you need when you need it, you won't have items go to waste, and you will MOST DEFINATELY save money.
Each one of you has a special talent and can be so creative.  It is heartwarming to read all the comments you all leave, and know that there are so many special gals gathered together here willing to help one another.
It is nice that we each add ideas and tips to make life a little easier for all.
Thank you!

Now go and get organized!!!!!  LOL

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Quick Cooking Holiday Pantry

I'm late, I'm late ...... again!  Yesterday was absolutely nothing that I anticipated - oh my.  Today is a new day, and I have a new start.
Here we go!

During the holidays, we are all busy with visiting, visitors, buying gifts, wrapping, decorating, plays and musicals, bazaars....................  It is coming up on a busy time in all out lives.
Here is a great list to help you stay on track, and to help for those unexpected gifts and visitors.
We all love scratch food, but SOMETIMES it pays to have prepared things on hand.

Broth - all types (homemade or canned)
Bread cubes, crumbs - seasoned and unseasoned (homemade or store bought) - even a few boxes of stuffing mix
Canned tuna and chicken
Tomato products of all types
Canned beans
Quick bread mixes, cake mixes, baking/biscuit mixes - these really can help out
Condiments of all types
Soups - especially 'cream of' - canned or homemade mixes
Pasta - all shapes and sizes
Peanut butter - great for making sweets
Oatmeal - good for baking
Seasonings of all types
Nuts - all types for baking
Vinegars - great for cooking (flavored)
Chocolate chips and/or other flavors
Marshmallow cream and marshmallows
Canned veggies/frozen veggies
Baking goods - sugar, eggs, flour, etc.
Cheeses of all types - for eating and cooking
Whipping cream, canned or frozen whipped toppings
Tea, coffee
Canned milks (sweetened and evaporated) and dry milk
Frozen fruit and condensed fruit juices

If you keep basics on hand (I know this sounds like a lot) - it sure can help out. 
You can make gifts - jar mixes, baked goods, candy, tea/coffee mixes, etc.  You are ready to throw a few ingredients together for an impromptu lunch or dinner, or have items on hand for an afternoon visit.  YOU WILL ALWAYS BE READY for what life throws at you.  No unexpected runs to the grocery.

Homemade goodies for gifting and eating are always at the ready and easy to do.  Wrap or tin and you are ready for about anything.  Breads wrapped in plastic wrap and a ribbon - great for a gift OR slice with tea/coffee for an afternoon visit.  Candy, cookies always great for gifting or company.

I have noticed Aldi has already started marking down baking ingredients effective this weeks ads.  Meijer is having a sale on baking goods - now until Thanksgiving.  Let the sales begin.  LET THE PANTRY STOCK-UP BEGIN.

Here's a couple throw together quick ideas that may help.

1 pkg. stuffing mix
1 reg. can cream of mushroom
1 reg. can cream of chicken
1 C chopped onion
1 C chopped celery
Stir stuffing mix and soups together adding 1 1/2 cans of water, onion and celery.  Place in a greased 11 x7 casserole dish.  Bake covered with aluminum foil at 325* for 10 minutes.  Remove foil and continue to bake for 50 minutes - until top is golden.
Super easy to throw together with basic ingredients.

3 eggs
2 - 18 oz. lemon cake mixes
8 oz. container of frozen whipped topping - thawed
1 C powdered sugar
Combine eggs, cake mix and whipped topping - mix well.  Chill 1 hour.  Drop by teaspoon into powdered sugar, coat thoroughly and roll into balls.  Place on a greased baking sheet.  Bake at 375* for 10-11 minutes.  Makes 8 dozen.
Any flavor cake mix would work!

Make up different jar mixes for gifting for those unexpected drop by visitors/neighbors/co-workers.  If you don't give them away - they are great to keep in your pantry.  Google "jar recipes" - and will get so many ideas or go to the library - there are many books on the subject.

Be prepared, be stocked up, and be ready to ENJOY a simpler holiday season.

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Frugal Happenings 10/28

Good morning all.  Here we are - just about done with October.  The holidays will be here before you know it.  It just doesn't seem possible.

Leaves are finally starting to change color.  The horizon looks very pretty.  I drove past the park this week and there were many varieties of trees changing color.  It is getting pretty - if only for a short while.  Temps have stayed in the 50's this week.  We have had rain off and on.  Daylight hours are getting shorter and shorter and then we have daylight savings time to deal with next weekend - YAY (no one ever said)!  UGH - I just hate the fall time change more than any.  It seems it is always dark.

This past week wasn't my most frugal week ever, but a lot of things just HAD to be done.  I guess that is why we are frugal most of the time, it doesn't hurt so bad when you need to spend!

My frugal week:
  • Line dried a few things and hung the heavier stuff in the basement to dry.  Only used drier to fluff
  • Processed my home canned kraut
  • Had to make a run to the Vet for flea meds for kitties
  • Topped gas tank and got a .10/gallon discount.  Didn't spend much last month at the store - so few points.  BUT all savings add up!
  • Received a $150 check from bank points we had earned.  That will go for Christmas funds
  • Got a $20 refund from utility company
  • Stopped at a new branch of the church thrift store (real close by).  It is small and crowded - but the ONLY thrift store in that community.
  • Got FREE bread at the thrift store
                                          G has been wanting muffins for a while - so perfect
  • I also found a Vera Bradley handbag unlike any I have or have seen - it was .99!!!!!!!
All clothes, shoes, and handbags are .99 each at this thrift store 
  • I had to go renew driver's license.  I am still wearing older glasses (I haven't gone to eye doc yet since breaking mine) - and I aced the eye test!  I now have a picture that looks like a mug shot!!!  LOL
  • I got the oil changed and the Blazer checked out
  • Ran to the bank and cashed those refund checks (I did all my errands together - all in same area)
  • Ran into Ollie's.  I shouldn't have done that!!!!!  LOL.  They have such cheap books and I can NOT just say NO!
The most expensive one was 3.99 - so it wasn't bad.  I will read and then probably gift a couple of these at Christmas
  • I organized my gift storage tote.  I needed to see exactly what I had - so now it is all organized
  • I de-cluttered some more in the basement and did some straightening  (Rainy days are good for this)
  • Reorganized many of my home canned goods downstairs
  • Have another box ready for donation
  • Had our fall furnace check done - no cost this time (we pay once a year for maintenance)
  • Made 2 pints of beautiful chicken stock for the freezer from bones left from a whole fried chicken
  • Found a surprise outside even after the cold temps.  Got a sweet little bouquet that I have been enjoying and OH the smell is so sweet!

Meals this past week:
Chicken/rice/broccoli casserole & salad
Homemade fried rice and veggie lo-mein
Stew and bread/butter 2X
Ham & beans and cornbread
Fried chicken and salad
Taco Bell (my birthday choice)

Leftovers been used for lunches.  Have beans left and they will be used for a couple different meals and then go in freezer.

I spent money, got money, and got some deals.  I guess not a bad week when you stand back and look at it. 
I have a list of things I want to accomplish this week.  I will give it the good old college try!  It seems time is slipping by so quickly.

How was your week?  Did you find any great deals?  Do anything frugal?  Let us know.
I love hearing from everyone.

Prayers for each and everyone of you.  Be sweet and kind, keep your heart pure, and help one another.  Stay frugal my friends.
Blessings from our humble home to yours.

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Grocery Prices

I have been hearing so many people on FB pages complaining about the increase in grocery prices.
I see "prices 20% higher this week", "doubled in last month", etc.
I guess they know what they are talking about - but it sure isn't happening here.

I do believe we have maintained pricing or lowered for at least a year. Now I know this part of the country is known  for lower living costs than most of the nation.  Housing, food, gas, etc. are generally less expensive than other areas.

We have been having fantastic sales on all types of meat for at least the past 6 - 8 months.  Meat sales have given us meat for cheaper prices than we have seen in years.  Most of us know this probably won't last - thus stocking up big time when the opportunity presents itself.

Milk and other dairy and eggs have been cheap for most of the year.  I never pay over 1.39/gallon for milk.  Eggs range from .49 - .99 dozen.  I remember paying as much as 1.99 last year.  Milk was almost $3 or more last year.  Cheese has been quite inexpensive.

I see sales for canned goods 3/$1 - super cheap here.  Many items that have been close to a dollar are now .59 - .69 a can.

I have to admit that it IS SALES that offer these great prices, but they have been happening a lot!!!!!  Meat that isn't often on sale (like steaks) is still too pricey in my opinion.

Most ads are like this each week.  Prices lowered.  Those prices don't just stay low for a week in most cases - they have been staying low for WEEKS.  Sav-A-Lot and  Aldi constantly advertise "prices lowered".  Kroger constantly has BOGO and 10/$10 sales.

Now I have to admit the BOGO generally aren't all that great.  I tend to find sales that make items cheaper.  10/$10 isn't always a deal either.  Many weeks stores have specials that are cheaper.

EXAMPLE:  I noticed 6 pack bottles of pop were BOGO - reg. price 4.99/a 6 pack.  That makes them 2.50 each.  Kroger often has sales for 6 packs for 1.99.  Doesn't sound like much but .51 here and there adds up (I don't hardly every buy - just noticed prices).

Pasta is often 10/$10.  Certain times in the year I find it on sale for .69 - .89/lb.  I generally find it in the clearance aisle for .39 - .49/lb.  I stock up then.

I know that come November and December sugar, flour, all baking goods, stuffing mix, cream of soups, broth, rolls, bread, certain meats, fresh produce, etc. will be reduced.  TAKE ADVANTAGE - I know I will.

I am just hoping that the prices continues to maintain or stay low for the near future.  we have truly been enjoying the discounted prices.  Blessed for sure.

What is going on in your area?  Increasing?  Decreasing?  Same?
Do you take advantage of cheap prices when you can?
I love hearing about other areas and countries.

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Shop and Compare

First, I apologize this is late.  I just have no oomph today!  I have felt cold and sleepy all day.  I think my get up and go - got up and went today!!!!!

We all strive to save out dollars for important things and moments in our lives.  Those things could be money to live on in retirement, medical emergency, school dollars for kids,  living through a weather catastrophe, or just for a rainy day!  It could be you watch your pennies because you have to, to live.
We all have different reasons.

The other day I was looking through the store and doing some research.  Right off the bat I noticed - red, yellow, orange bell peppers $1 each.  Directly across the aisle (maybe 6-8 foot) was a 3 pack of peppers (red, yellow, orange) for 4.99!  WHAT?  No it wasn't organic or different.  I walked another 15' or so and there was the .99 bin.  Guess what I found?  A bag with a red, yellow, and orange pepper in it - 99 cents total for all 3!!!!!!!!
You just have to look around!

 I don't care how many peppers I have raised, I will always get them when they are this cheap.

I noticed another day at Walmart that chocolate milk was .77 a half gallon (not special sale) - and right next to it was a gallon of the same chocolate milk for 3.98.
I guarantee you many people still bought the gallon.

Just because something is bigger doesn't mean it's cheaper.  Just because it's smaller it doesn't mean it's cheaper.  The store is playing a game and hoping they win and not you. 
Well this old chick can play the game as well as they do.  I LOVE WINNING!

Produce is not all the same.  If you are buying a bag of potatoes, or apples, or oranges, or onions....... whatever, WEIGH THEM!   I have done this for years and the 5 pounds isn't always 5 pounds.  I have weighed them in all amounts.  Always get the heavier one.

Always check out the sales ads and see who has what.  I read them first and many times, there is nothing that I need/want.  Those weeks I go just to check mark downs.  Markdowns are your friend.  The clearance section in the store is wonderful, then I check markdowns in meat, dairy, and bakery.  I then walk the aisles, because there are often CLOSE OUT prices posted by certain items.  Those are the things the store no will be carrying - so you need to stock up.

Check different aisles in the store  We love hominy.  In the canned veggie section (by the corn) it can be purchased for ? price.  I can walk over to the Latino aisle and a can twice the size is cheaper.  Generally they even have gallon size cans much cheaper.
ALWAYS check the ethnic areas.   I can almost guarantee you 100% that the same items will be cheaper there. 
This is especially true with spices and tortillas!  I see tortillas at the deli (pre-packaged) that cost at least 3X the price as Latino aisle.

Once I was 'shopping' TP and saw name band 12 pack single rolls for 5.99.  Not a bad price - but 4 packs were $1 each (same exact thing).  That made 12 rolls for $3.  Half price. 
I told several people in the aisle that day and they looked at me like I had 3 horns and 5 eyes protruding from my head!
In my opinion if you spend 2X as much for the same thing - YOU have 3 horns and 5 eyes!!!  LOL

I noticed side by side in the baking aisle - there was brand name evaporated milk, store brand evaporated milk, and a can with ethnic words - all 3 were different in price.  THEY ARE ALL THE SAME!
Buy markdown bread (those .39 loaves) for drying bread for stuffing/dressing.
Aldi generally has sugar and flour cheaper than most stores.  True, many stores will be having specials soon on baking stuff - but for every day I will make a side track to go there and get mine.

As soon as Halloween is over, the food deals will begin.  Compare and shop smart.  Get those turkeys, hams, potatoes, sweet potatoes, celery, onions, broth/stock, soups, canned veggies, etc. THEN!  Buy as much as you can.  IF you can afford it, buy enough for a year.  It will last and you will have your money for other things. 
Don't forget that drastically marked down Halloween candy that can be used in your baking or for stocking stuffers.

Be smart and compare prices from store to store and from aisle to aisle.  Think of alternative stores as well, such as dollar stores, Ollie's, Big Lots, Amish, closeouts stores, etc. You have options.

Save and stock up.  WIN - WIN!!  Be prepared for anything and still use your money for things other than food.

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Frugal Happenings 10/21

My oh my - where has the time gone?  This month is flying by.
It sure has turned into fall.  We woke this morning to 28* - highs will be in the 50's all week.
Yesterday was really something.  The sun was shining most of the day - but the wind started and got worse and worse and worse.
We had 40 mph sustained winds and 50 - 63 mph gusts.  The leaves were flying all over and they are shredded!  Limbs down all over.  Luckily our area did not lose power, but many did and still don't have power (and it's cold out).
It is beautiful and sunny this morning, just down right chilly.

Amongst all the weather happening yesterday, a neighbor's (2 doors down) dog got in the yard (jumped the fence) and my kitties were again 20'-30' up a tree.  This dog has gotten in the yard many times over the past 2 weeks and each time I take it home and have a talk with the owners.  Obviously I have been talking on deaf ears.  Yesterday I had had it.
I was beating on their door at 9AM (all were in bed) - and told them this was it.  I was done being nice.  It better stop.  Came home and called our neighbor and friend (their landlord) and told him.  Supposedly this will stop.  We have known him for almost 33 years (G longer) and he knows I don't complain about his renters (and he has had some real winners!).  We'll see.
I am so worried about the babies.  They finally figured how to get down with the wind screeching all around them after 4 1/2 hours.  They are really resting today!

It is amazing to me how irresponsible people are.  Even if I didn't have pets that are scared - it shouldn't matter.  I have a fenced yard - no big dog - and don't care to have someone else's dog pooping in my yard.  She gives me an attitude each time I take the dog home.  REALLY?  You give me an attitude, when you aren't watching your animal and it's in my yard?  Just shaking my head.
OK enough venting!!!

My frugal week:
  • G had a script ready and it was FREE
  • Laundry in cold - and mostly line dried
  • Filled 3 - 2 liter pop bottles I received with water for storage
  • I got all 4 of the pork loins I bought last week cut up.  Ended up with 50 chops and 3 packages of pieces
  • Made batch #1 of grape jelly - got 4 1/2 pints (for gifts)
  • Fixed the kitchen faucet.  The trim plate under the faucet was loose and I got everything tightened back up
  • Made grape water with all the scraps left from making jelly
  • Worked in the yard several times this week.  My biggest day was yesterday - in the cold wind - hoping the kitties would feel more comfortable with me being outside.  I got the entire garden cleaned out, and many of the pots.  The big flower bed got a good cleaning as well.  Trash bin is full - and I have stuff to trash for the next many weeks!  I sure felt aches and pains all over last night from being in the cold and wind.
Batch one  of jelly.  Several more to make.   I forgot to add vinegar to canner water and really need to wash those jars up. - hard water.

Meals this past week:
Deconstructed cabbage rolls with smoked sausage
Chipped beef gravy over toast and scrambled eggs
Chili mac with cheese & sour cream topping
Breaded pork chops, green beans, sautéed mushrooms & tomatoes
Loaded baked potatoes
Sandwiches and chips/dip/salsa (I was tired)

All leftovers were made into different meals, frozen, or used for lunch

This next week I plan on making more jellies and process the kraut.  I have to go and get my driver license renewed - UGH - so I will run errands while in that area (an area I rarely go).  Need to do more de-cluttering as well.

How was your week?  Did you get any deals?  Doing any canning?
Give us a shout out!

Prayers for your safely and health in this coming week.  May the Lord help us to live more simply and appreciate what we have and to be more generous with others.
Blessings from our humble home to yours.

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Useful Information

I hope that many of you will find the following charts useful and helpful.
There are so many varieties of fruits and veggies out - there is no way for any one of to know about all of them.
Hope these help!!!

Click on picture to enlarge.  There are so many varieties available this time of the year.  I know we all have our favorites - but this may give you a new idea.

Again, it's that time of the year - so many options.
I truly don't think I have found an apple or a squash that I didn't like!

I just love this time of the year for all the goodies that we an get.  Remember that winter squash can be kept for months in a cool, dark and dry place in your home.  Get them when the prices are good, and eat well all winter.
Make sure you check your local orchards and farm markets for apples - if you d the math - it is generally cheaper to buy fresh from the orchard (fresher too).

Make like a squirrel and get these fall goodies while the getting is good!  Stock up and store for the winter.  According to the way these little critters are acting (and the birds) it may be a cold one!!!!!
I do believe that sometimes 'nature' is much smarter than we are!!!

Enjoy the bounties of the fall harvest!

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Ideas to Save $$$ in the Kitchen

We are all looking for ways to save money today.  So many things just continue to raise in price, except paychecks.  They remain the same, and we all have the same bills, still need to buy groceries, and still need to live.  We need to find  ways to make those dollars stretch.

Some of these are common sense, others may be new ideas.  I understand that you won't save TONS of dollars doing these little tricks - but as Daddy always said "pennies make dollars"!!!!!

  • Start your shopping trip by going to produce, meat and dairy sections FIRST!  These are the healthiest REAL foods for your diet.  The center aisles are all full of junk and processed food.
  • Chop and cut your own!!!!!  Don't buy those backs/packs of pre-cut salads, fruits and veggies - they cost a small fortune per pound!  Do the work and save the money.
  • Shred your own cheese!!!!!  It will be 100% cheese.  The bags of shredded cheese you buy have chemicals added to keep the cheese pieces from sticking together.  YUK  Chunk cheese is often cheaper as well.
  • LOOK TO THE REAR!  Oldest items are on the shelves in the front.  If you want to extend your milk, yogurt, veggies, etc. - get your product from the back of the shelf.    ***OK I even have a habit of getting canned goods and such from the back of shelves - as they probably haven't been touched as much!  Less germs!  I know that may seem crazy, but do you have any idea how many nasty germs are on the items?  Sneezing, coughing, poo/pee from little's, who knows what!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  ICK
  • ALWAYS check mark downs, clearance and manager's specials.
  • When buying a bunch of celery - bring it home, remove from plastic and wrap tightly in foil.  It will last for ages.
  • Mushrooms and plastic do not go together!  Bring them home, wipe them off (do not wash) and put them in a paper bag.  They will stay fresh for so long!
  • Once you open your cottage cheese, sour cream, etc. - tightly replace the lid and store upside down in the frig.  This displaces air that cause your dairy to go bad
  • Buying fresh asparagus?  Cut a bit off the bottom end - and store the asparagus in a glass with about an inch or so of water in it.  Cover the top with a plastic bag.  It stays nice and firm and fresh.
  • Many stores have 2 day sales and specials using 'digital coupons'.  You don't have to have a smart phone or even print the coupon.  Separate the items from the rest of grocery items - tell the clerk UP FRONT and show the add.  You will get that special price.  I do this all the time at Kroger.  Just make sure you mention it before they ring it up!!!!!!
  • DO NOT over pack your refrigerator.  That causes it to work harder, and items in the 'middle' may not get as cool as they should be.
  • Keep you frig at the perfect temps to preserve your groceries.  Ideal is 35* - but between 34* - 39* will work.
  • Always wrap your lettuce in a paper towel and then place back in bag or bowl.  That will help keep the moisture off the lettuce which causes it to wilt and slime
  • Wrap your hard cheese in parchment paper when storing  (after opening).  It allows the cheese to breath and stay fresh.
  • NEVER keep onions or potatoes in the frig.  Do NOT keep them in plastic bags either.  They need a dark, cool and dry place and need to be in something that allows them to get air.
  • Never buy cards at the grocery store.  You get the best prices at dollar stores.  NO they may not be Hallmark - but they are fine.  Most people just throw them away - so why spend a fortune on them.  Same with wrapping paper.  I know this isn't a kitchen thing - but it saves money!
  • IF you buy cleaning products - do NOT buy at the grocery unless you can get for next to nothing.  Dollar stores are almost always cheaper.  It is the same with many beauty items (shampoo, toothpaste, brushes, conditioner, etc.)
  • ALWAYS get rain checks when allowable if the store is out of a sale item.  You can get it later for the same discounted price.
  • Even if you do NOT need groceries on a given week - it might be wise to go and check cheaper priced items  for your stock pile.  Your deep pantry/stockpile may save you some day.
  • If you find a great deal (too good to pass up price) - ALWAYS buy more than one!!!!!  ALWAYS!
  • Never waste food.  Use for other meals (lunch, breakfast), use as leftovers, remake into new item, or freeze for a later date.  USE IT UP!!
  • Buy clearance candy and goodies AFTER a holiday.  They last for ages on a shelf or you can freeze them.  It doesn't matter what the decoration on the wrapper is.

There are so many tricks and tips that save money.  Take care of those pennies and they will take care of you. 
Do you have any special tricks for making your groceries and  dollars last longer???

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Frugal Happenings 10/14

Happy Sunday everyone.  This month is just slipping by so very quickly.  I have been keeping busy - but haven't gotten nearly as much done as I would like.

The weather went from hot and humid (almost 90) to 30's at night this week.  It just dropped like crazy all at once.  I told hubs the first of week - just watch it will get cold and maybe snow by Halloween!.  It could happen.  They had flurries in northern part of state Friday night, and we had sleet.  We actually have had to turn on heat a couple times this week.  YUCK

I have been in such a 'funk' of a mood lately.  I think it must be that time of the year.  I just hate the shorter daylight hours!!!!  As my good friend said yesterday I need to "snap out of it"!!!!!  She asked me if it was because I have a birthday later this month - and I laughed.  I then went to the mailbox and opened a letter that stated "in just 9 months you can apply for Medicare".  Dang it - that made me feel old!

The last rose of the season.  Boy did it smell fantastic ALL week long.  It seemed like it lasted longer than normal.

My frugal week:
  • Picked all the last veggies in the garden - about 8 1/2 lbs.
  • Started on pulling out the garden - have it about half done
  • Rolled and drained the hoses
  • Mowed yard and did misc. yard work
  • Emptied and stored 1 of the rain barrels  - one more to go
  • Took the BBQ grill apart and cleaned thoroughly.  Ready for any winter use
  • Lined dried laundry
  • Cut and dehydrated garlic chives and thyme
  • Brought a pot of rosemary inside - going to try to keep it over the winter
  • Bottled 6 more individual bottles of water
  • Got lots of paperwork done this week
  • Made baked apples
  • Made cake mix cookies
  • Made a big pot of cheesy potato soup.  Added ground meat the 2nd night.  Froze the balance for another day
  • Ran to Meijer on Friday to take advantage of their 2 day sale.  I got whole pork loins for 1.15/lb.  (I bought 4)  I will cut mainly into chops.  Half pound packs of smoked sausage for .90 each (11/$10 sale)
                             Look at those prices - I am a happy gal!!!! (click on pictures to enlarge)
  • Went to Menards (across the street from Meijer) and got sale priced furnace filters to last for over the next year.
  • All normal stuff - cooking meals at home, using what we have, blending up new bottles of shampoo, dish soap & Febreeze, staying home a lot, making tea, and more

Meals this past week:
Baked beans with hotdogs added and salad
Cold sandwiches and chips and dip (hot mow day)
Sausage/egg croissants (from freezer) and oven fries
Cheese ravioli/meatballs in marinara and garlic toast
Cheesy potato soup
Soup with added ground beef and sour cream
Hamburger steaks topped with sautéed onions, mushrooms, peppers, tator tots & salad

We had apples with peanut butter, plain apples, baked apples, ice cream sundaes, and cake mix cookies for treats this week.
We either ate all leftovers for other meals or froze them.

I finally got around to adding up all the final receipts for SEPTEMBER this week.  I was sooooo proud of myself!!! 
My regular grocery totals for the MONTH was $87.30 and the total for "deep pantry extras for storage" was only $39.65 for the MONTH!!!!!    WOOHOO!

I tallied my garden produce totals this week as well.  Total picked was 281 lbs. of produce.  What a savings in money!  I have canned 120 jars of goodies and I still haven't done jelly from garden grapes/berries.  We gave a lot to others as well - so lots of people enjoyed it.  I know it isn't as much as some folks, but not too shaggy for my little backyard garden!  I am pleased.


How was your week?  Are your gardens done as well?  Are you getting ready for all the fall/winter holidays?  Any great savings or deals?
Let us know.

May your coming week be fruitful, frugal and fantastic.  Prayers for health and safety to you all.  Prayers going out to all those affected by yet another hurricane.  So many have lost everything.
Blessings from our humble home to yours.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Tasty Treats

It's that time of the year that we think about special treats for the holidays and for fall/winter.
There are so many to choose from!
Goodies can be made for your own pleasure or to use as gifts.

Here is a recipe for those that embrace their 'inner pumpkin'!!!!!

2 C sugar
1  C brown sugar, packed
3/4 C butter
2/3 C evaporated milk
1/2 C canned pumpkin
1 1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
12 oz. pkg. white chocolate chips
7 oz. jar marshmallow crème
1 C chopped pecans
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla

Combine the first 6 ingredients in a heavy pan, heat over medium heat till sugar dissolves..  Continue to heat until it begins to boil, stir constantly - boil until candy thermometer reaches 234* - 243* or soft ball stage.
Remove from heat; stir in chocolate chips until melted.  Add remaining ingredients, and mix well.  Pour into a buttered 13 x 9 pan - cool at room temperature.  Cut into squares, store in frig in airtight container.

                                                 Yep, it happened today in my town!

1 1/2 C chow mein noodles
1 C butterscotch chips
1/2 C peanut butter chips
1 Tbsp. shortening

Place noodles in a large bowl, set aside.  Melt chips and shortening together in a double boiler, until smooth.  Pour over noodles and stir to coat.  Drop by tablespoon onto wax paper - set aside till firm.  Store in an airtight container in the frig.  Makes about 18.
These are so good and so easy to make - I remember making them as a kid.  It was a very special treat!!!!

Just a couple fun and yummy treats to make for fall or the holidays.
I hope you enjoy!!

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Fall - On The Home Front

FALL?  Not so much today.  It has been in the 80's all this week (and last) and humid.  We are setting records on the heat index for these October days.
Well, from what they say the bottom falls out in a day or so.  High Thursday is to be 58* and lows this weekend in upper 30's.  They are NOT calling for a freeze, but patchy frost in and around the area.
I guess it's time.

Today it still looks pretty in some areas of our yard.  I have about half of the garden pulled out - more to go.  Yard is mowed, but flower beds need fall work.

     My decorations keep changing.  Kitties have decided to become part of the table decorations!

                                               Lilly in a box.  She sure does fill it up!

Okra is still blooming.  They have the prettiest flowers.  Cream colored with dark purple/burgandy centers.

                         Fall New England asters and spring begonias are both going strong.

A volunteer cherry tomato plant and hummingbird vines growing in the front flower bed.  The tomato plant is huge as is the vine which volunteered as well.  It is amazing how much they have grown in the past month.  Nature at it's best.

Geraniums still in bloom - not as full - but pretty color.  Mums are blooming.  The best of summer and fall.

And then there is this!  YES, we have a REAL headstone in our backyard.  There is a story!!!! 

When G was working, a guy he worked with bought a home that had a bunch of trash piled up in the back.  G went to help clear, and they came across this stone.  The guy was going to trash it.  G brought it home.  We did some research and found out that it actually belonged in a family cemetery about 30-40  miles from here.  We found the location - in the middle of the woods and straight up hill!!!  I managed to 'trespass' and climb the hill (many years ago) - and you would have a hard time knowing it was a cemetery - just little initialed blocks, scattered here and there.  The land owners never returned calls or answered the door.  We still haven't found a scout troop to help - as it is on private land.  (Scouts take care of a lot of small cemeteries around here).
The research we did, showed Mr. Hugh Boyd was the family head and his children, wife and himself were buried there.
Hugh Boyd died Oct. 12, 1876 at age 70.

So for now, his stone resides with us.  It is safe and it sure is a conversation starter!
Eventually we will get it back safely where it belongs.

Hope you enjoyed the walk around.  Fall is in the air and we will feel it soon.  For now, I am still enjoying the beauty of summer.

What is the weather like in your area?

Sunday, October 7, 2018

Frugal Happenings 10/7

Happy October my friends!
I am not sure if we have any Canadian readers - but if so - here is a wish for a Happy Thanksgiving!

The end of September was exceptionally cool - figured fall was here for sure.  First day of October warmed up - and behold - it's summer again!!!!!!!  We have been in the 80's and humid most of the past week.  This coming week is supposed to be much of the same till Friday - and then I think we will be able "to hear" the temps drop from what they are saying!!!!  LOL  We have had rain quite a bit this week as well - so the air is just full of moisture - ugh! 
Allergies are raging.

I know I am always behind the cool kids when it comes to learning things or doing or seeing things!  Haha. 
This week we FINALLY got around to watching the movie God's Not Dead.  What a great movie!  From what I understand there is a part 2 and 3 out now!   I will definitely look forward to those as well.  Just a note:  IF you are more behind than me - it's a movie worth watching!

My frugal week:
  • Used the crock pot and made a small pork roast  and got a couple different meals from it.
  • Used up several older mis-matched apples to make a crisp.  Added an 8 oz. can of cranberry sauce to it - YUM
  • Chopped and froze 4 quarts of peppers
  • Still picking a tiny bit of produce.  4 1/2 lbs. of tomatoes, and about 3/4 b. of peppers.
  • Did a bunch of printing of forms for G
  • Picked a bouquet of New England asters
  • G ordered a new battery for his computer.  NOT cheap - but we saved 10% by ordering and having delivered to their store.  I ran down there (20 minutes away) and got it.  10% is 10%!
  • Dropped off 2 big boxes of donations on the way to p/u battery (so glad to have those gone)
  • Made 2 pair of sleep shorts from old jammies I came across in the drawer.  I can't sleep with anything around my legs - so I made shorts.  Also used extra material to make 4 more hankies.
  • Bottled up 24 individual bottles of water for storage.  (was given the pop bottles)
  • Straightened and cleaned and organized under the sink base in kitchen this week.  Got rid of all kinds of stuff and organized by category of goods!
  • Cleaned out and straightened pots and pans cabinet
  • I have been organizing and de-cluttering like crazy
  • I ran to the orchard and got apples and cider - my fall splurge.  I got Honey Crisp apples - oh my they are good!  (like I said I splurged - those babies are expensive)
  • I vacuumed and vacuumed and vacuumed some more this week!  Cleaned floors, rugs, furniture, blinds, lamps and vents - also vacuumed over and under and behind everything!  I vacuum regularly - but this was a BIG FALL CLEAN!
  • Been combining things together.  Jars in frig.  Open packs of candy into quart jars.  Cleaning stuff in bottles.  Soap in partial containers.  You get the idea.
Meals this past week:

Pork roast, potatoes, carrots and onions.
Skillet pozole' (same ingredients as soup - just not soupy!) pork, toms, and hominy
Taco salad
Fried chicken livers, mashed potatoes and country style gravy
Dirty rice w/ground sausage and red beans and biscuits
Frittata - made with leftover over rice/sausage and leftover biscuits w/jelly

Apple crisp was enjoyed over many days.
All leftovers used for lunch or mixed in other dinners.

I managed to keep busy this week.  I just love the feeling of seeing things get cleaned for fall, things, getting trashed (just out of the house), things going out the door to bless others, things being accomplished.  It makes ME feel accomplished!
I work in short spurts on projects and seem to get more done.  I did spend a couple hours moving furniture and such when vacuuming - but I was on a roll! (tired too!)

How was your week?  Any good deals?  Add any garden goodies to your pantry? 
Give us a shout out and let us know what you are all up to.

Prayers that you al have a safe and healthy week.  Stay frugal and stay sweet!
Blessings from our humble home to yours.

EDIT:  If you need a ear to ear smile or proof of God's wonders today - please go over and read today's post  At Rivercrest Cottage