Sunday, October 20, 2019

Weekly Wrap-Up 10/20

Good morning all.  Hope this Sunday finds you well.
We have had warm and cold this week.  A little rain and wind.  It appears a storm is coming through tomorrow and temps this week should be about normal for this time of the year.  It looks like it will stay in the 50's and 60's as high this week.
The leaves are changing color a bit more - but I am afraid after tomorrow's storm - there may not be much left to see.  The wind is supposed to be pretty gusty.

My week:
  • Got the furnace all checked out for this season and it is good to go.  No charge for this check
  • Did a lot more paperwork - UGH
  • Cleaned the ceiling fans and have been working on more deep cleaning
  • I told you I went to Dollar Tree and Kroger this week.  A few goodies had - not much.  While out that day I also stopped at the hardware and used the $5/$25 card I had.  I got enough furnace filters to last through next summer and some bird seed
  • Put 4 - 2C bowls of potato soup in the freezer
  • Froze 1/2 of the cake I made last week
  • I ran to a church sale yesterday and got a few goodies.  I was surprised to find anything.
 I got this BRAND NEW - never used - iced tea pot for .50!!!!!!!!  DEAL OF THE YEAR!!  I love making tea this way (have for 20 years or so) and mine quit several months ago.
 This fleece throw to put on the love seat cushions.  Kitties love to sit here - so this keeps fur off couch and easy to wash.  .75
 2 Ideals books.  I love these old books/magazines.  One is from 1956 and the other 1967.  I love the poems and pictures for making cards.  .50 each.
BRAND NEW (never used) handbag in a tapestry type material.  3 separate compartments and a zipper section.  .50
I also found a pair of wrap around sun glasses (goes over your glasses) for $1.  I got those for driving until I decide about prescription sun glasses again.
  • FINALLY got the bathroom sink taken care of.  Of course nothing is simple!  Little leak became replacing all drain pipes and water lines on the sink.  Faucet was also leaking, so that got replaced as well.  Drain, water lines and faucet were over 30 years old and were stubborn about coming out!  Also the sink is a pedestal and sits between tub and toilet with very little room to move.  My goodness it was a process.  My neighbor did most of the work and I was the assistant and gopher.  JOB DONE - so happy.  Now I can feel confident about replacing paper and flooring.  (Also get to return some items for a refund - as got everything we thought of that we might need).
  • Went to my brothers for a cook-out last night and got to see several of the nieces and nephews.  Brought home a couple cupcakes to eat today!
Meals this past week:
Potato soup
Cheeseburger and salad
Burrito supreme
Cheesy/beef spread (with leftover beans from burrito) on buns (open face)
BLT and a bowl of Ramen soup
Mashed potatoes w/chives and chicken breast
Cookout at brothers - hot dogs, chips, cider and chili (all by a fire)!!!!  Oh, Smores too!

Cheesy/beef spread (with beans added) over buns - so yummy!  Used a packet of the Velveeta with seasoned ground beef.  Buns have been if frig for a while and needed to be used (toasted first).

So there you have my week.  Nothing exciting, but did get some things accomplished.  
I have laundry going this morning and I plan on doing a deep clean in the bathroom today (after yesterdays mess).  It is cloudy today, but decent temps.

What did you do this week?  Did you get any great deals?  Are you working on Christmas projects yet?  I look forward to hearing from you all.
Stay safe and frugal this week.  Prayers for health for you and your families.
Blessings from my humble little home to yours.  

Thursday, October 17, 2019

A Couple Simple Solutions

I do believe we all like simple solutions and creative ways to make life easier and to be frugal as well.  Easy-peasy is for me!!!!!
I am one of those people that like Velveeta.  Yes, I know it really isn't cheese - but I like the taste and LOVE the creamy consistency.
It is very expensive for the brand name (in my opinion).  I have purchased Aldi brand, which costs about half as much (and it is good).  It seems that I don't use often enough to justify buying a big box of it (and the smaller ones are expensive too).  I do have a 'keeper' for the frig that is Tupperware, but after time the cheese still gets dry and much of it gets wasted.
I found just the thing for me to satisfy my FIX!

I get these at the Dollar Tree for $1 a packet.  It comes in original flavor and jalapeno.  It is already creamy and soft - not the hard chunk of the boxed cheese.  Ready to use.  This is just the right amount to add to a batch of rice, potatoes,  macaroni, meat, etc.  It sure works for me.  It still has the same taste.  You might want to give it a try.  Great for that occasional 'need' for Velveeta!

I know I have listed my Rice-A Roni recipe a couple of time.  I will list again today - since we are all thinking about 'jar' recipes for gift baskets.  I will be adding this to the brother/sister baskets.

2 C uncooked rice
1 C broken thin spaghetti pieces
6 Tbsp. instant chicken or beef bouillon powder
2 tsp. onion powder
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. dry thyme
Mix all ingredients together and store in an airtight container.  
TO USE:  Shake up to distribute all ingredients.  Mix 1 cup mix and 2 Tbsp. butter and 2 cups of water.  Bring to a boil, cover, and reduce heat.  Cook until rice is tender.

Now with this recipe you have 3 cups of mix (equivalent to 3 boxes of mix).  

I have always just broken up spaghetti for this (by placing in a baggie and hitting with a hard object) - but I found a quick and simple solution which if frugal and makes this recipe even more like original Rice-A-Roni.
I purchased this very thin vermicelli that is already in tiny pieces just like those in Rice-A-Roni. It was at Kroger and was .45 a bag.  This bag will do 2 batches when measured out.  It doesn't pack into a cup - so a loose cup of pasta is what you get.  Give or take a little in each batch. 
It doesn't have to be precisely a cup - you can divide the proportions of rice/pasta out any way you choose.
This is a handy mix to keep on hand.  Makes a great side dish for any meal.

So there you have a couple easy solutions to your cooking/pantry needs.
I hope this gives you some ideas that maybe you might use.  
Simple solutions are always nice to have on hand.  
Keep these simple solutions in the pantry!!!!!

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Gift Ideas for Preppers, Campers, Etc.

Today I am going to give some ideas for those hard to buy for people!  We all know them.
These ideas can be used for campers, hikers, new preppers or hard core preppers.  I like to think many can be used for new homeowners and students as well.
There are just many things that we never think about - UNTIL they are needed.

Tooth brushes... wipes... antihistamines... aspirin... ace bandages... calamine lotion... aloe... cayenne pepper (can be used for blood clotting on cuts)… tweezers... facial masks... medical gloves... thermometer... cotton balls... gauze... tape... band-aids... antiseptic cream... peroxide... Listerine (antiseptic)… honey (many uses)… duct tape... super glue (good for small wound closure)… skin lotion… Vasoline (so many uses from health to fire starter)… life straws... Mylar blankets

So many of these items have many, many uses.

Flashlights... candles... fire starters... batteries... lighters... stick matches... head lamps... solar lights... rope... twine... wire... clothespins... zip ties... super glue... duct tape (good for everything!)… garbage bags... pocket knives... long knives... sharpeners... fishing line… baggies... screwdriver (multi-size)... pliers… bungee cords... utility knife
My goodness the list could go on and on.   So many little things that could be so beneficial!

That little silver gadget is in my handbag at all times.  It does all kinds of things.  There is a screwdriver or 2, it is pliers, has a tiny knife, etc.  Folds up tiny.  A Swiss army knife is a great gift, but may be a bit expensive.  I have knives of all types - for all uses - Glen collected.
Freeze dried fruit... MRE's... #10 size cans of foods (long term prep)… jerky... Himalayan salt (good for seasoning, canning, drying & preserving & even health)… rice... instant potatoes... honey... dried beans… baking soda (baking, cleaning, deodorant, toothpaste, antacid, deodorizer)… hand can opener... foil... tea bags or instant coffee (lasts for years unopened)… powdered milk... protein powders... powdered drink mixes... canned meats... garden seeds... Epsom salts (many uses)… dehydrator... canning jars... lids... small grill... coffee filters (use for draining, food handling, filter water/drinks, etc.)

Bandanas... battery weather radio (also any battery radio)… warm socks... ski caps... mittens... hand warmers... Mylar blankets... water repellant for shoes, jackets, tents... tarps... buckets with lids (oh so many uses from storage to potties)… wordbooks... decks of cards... pens, pencils, paper... BOOKS, both self-help and entertainment... shop cloths (many uses)… mortise & pestle (herbs, medications, berries, etc.)… baggies of different sizes

There are tons of items that can be purchased for very little money and could possibly help or save a life.
Think about looking at places like farm stores (Rural King or Tractor Supply), places like Harbor Freight (they have lots of cheaper and sometimes FREE items), and YES even the Dollar Tree!  Many bandages, gauze, antiseptic creams, twine, rope, clothespins, and other items can be had for a dollar.

If you need an idea for 'wrapping' a multiple item gift think about buckets with lids!!!!!!  All campers and preppers need them for all sorts of things.  Throw all you items in a bucket and wahla you are set to gift!  Buckets can be purchased at most hardware/home building stores and you can also often find them for FREE or extremely cheap at any deli or bakery.  Those are food safe and may need a good cleaning - but they can be had for little or no money!  If you are doing a smaller selection of items - just use a plastic/lidded ice cream bucket.  Granted it may not be as sturdy and water tight - but if sure would be handy and FREE.

I hope this gives you some ideas for those hard to buy for people.  Think outside the box folks.  Wouldn't you love to get something useful vs. some knick-knack you would never use?  Wouldn't it be nice if that gift helped you in some odd predicament?
We never know what could happen and we all need to be prepared.

This is a good list of things YOU should have around as well  Get creative and prepared!

Sunday, October 13, 2019

Weekly Wrap-Up 10/13

Good morning all.
Well, we are finally in full fledged fall here.  It has been chilly, windy and rainy.  This morning I actually turned the furnace on for one cycle as the house was pretty darn chilly.
Yes I have the sweatshirts out and my socks and slippers!  LOL
Some leaves are starting to change color - but there is also a lot of green out there still.

My week:
  • Made up all 3 lbs. of green beans I received.  Ate on them a couple times and put the rest in the freezer for future meals
  • Put the balance of the chili I made on last Saturday in the freezer
  • Got the garden hoses drained and put away.  Only used them a couple times this year as I had plenty of rain water to use.
  • Mowed the yard and did a bunch more yard work
  • Brought in a couple houseplants that I had kept on the porch this summer.
  • No AC - windows open several days for fresh air
  • Picked another bouquet of roses 
  • Got flea meds on the kitties (except Fluffy outside - she was having nothing to do with them).  I had the meds here already.
  • Picked all the green tomatoes.  Colder nights and also Mr. Groundhog was thinking they were his for the picking!  Fat old thing - UGH!
  • Still working on cleaning and doing all the normal things - only left the house on one day
  • Used the oven on 2 different days instead of turning on the furnace.  Took the chill off the house.
  • Baked 1 1/2 lbs. of bacon - froze much for other meals
  • Baked a yellow cake with peaches.  Used a cake mix that needed using and a can of peaches diced with other ingredients called for.  Tasty treat!  Will probably freeze some it.
  • I DID go to the grocery this week.  I went for litter, dry cat food (for later), cat treats, milk and fruit.  I found a few other things because I ROAMED the aisles!!!!!!!  I got a deal on egg roll wrappers (one in freezer now), fried rice seasoning on manager's special for .49 pkt. (got 4), Marshmallow cream for .80/7 oz. jar.  I also got 4 cans of canned chicken to add to preps and I saw canned pulled pork for $2 a can.  Never had it, so got 2 cans to try (may use some for egg rolls)
Decent size can.  Sure worth a try - if tasty I will add more to my preps
20 egg roll wrappers for 1.39.  One package in freezer.  I will make/bake some egg rolls soon.  Fried rice seasoning was .49 packet (had never seen this before)

Meals this past week:
Chili topped with cheese & crackers
Burger made in a Portabella mushroom and green beans (burger fried one side then placed in underside of big mushroom and continued frying - both sides.  Mmmmm)
Cold cut/cheese/tomato/cucumber sandwich
Loaded baked potato
Macaroni & cheese and green beans (no meat day)
Grilled mac/cheese, bacon & tomato sandwich (OH YES I DID!!!!!)
Potato soup (from recipe I listed last week)

OH MY GOODNESS - this was good.  I have seen them on cooking/restaurant shows and figured why not!!!!!

Not a lot exciting happening here.  How about your house?  What have you been up to?  Any new frugal ideas?  Did you save money this week or get any great deals?

Prayers be with you all for health and safety and for healing for all of those in need.  Have a great week and enjoy the smallest things as they are all important!
Blessings from my humble little home to yours.

Thursday, October 10, 2019

Need A Jump Start?

Do you need to jump start your frugal ways?  Do you need to tighten the budget?  Do you need to get back to the frugal life?
Have new bills accumulated?  Are old bills getting behind?  Just wanting to save more?

I think any of these things can happen to anyone.
Many people want to get back to being their BEST frugal self.  2020 is just a couple months away and can be a new start with a new year.  Get yourself back on track slowly in the next couple months.  Make lists of what to cancel or cut back on.  Make lists of ways to improve your financial situation.  Start cutting back now.  Get yourself to make small cut backs and then really work hard at it in the new year.

  • Stay home more.  Plan your trips to use the least amount of gas.  No eating out - no more stopping for coffees (take your own).  The more your stay home the less gas you use, the less upkeep on vehicle.  CHECK with your INSURANCE companies if you have made a major life change.  If you retired, work from home, work part time, work within so many miles of the house, etc...…..  you may get your rates lowered!!!!!!  I did - when G and I both retired - our rates dropped drastically.  ALSO if you hit some of those MAGIC AGES your rates will decline as well.  Call and check!
  • Watch for food and grocery deals.  Buy the markdowns, clearance and stock up on the seasonal sales.  Whatever you save this week on groceries is $$$ you can use for something else or save.  It is basically money in the bank.  Cook from scratch!!!!!    Shop from home first - use what you have and get creative.  Shop sales.  TAKE anything that you are offered.  Check with Marketplace and Freecycle - you can often find farmers gifting/or cheaply selling food - you can find jars for canning.  Check with local farms to see if they allow gleaning at the end of the season.  Many do - you can get tomatoes, pumpkins, potatoes, etc. for pennies or nothing just for asking.  KEEP YOU PANTRY STOCKED FOR ANY EMERGENCY!
  • Simplify your meals and snacks.  Makes soups, casseroles - use less meat.  Take snacks of veggies, fruits, nuts, peanut butter - homemade treats.  Use more pasta, rice and beans in your diet (they are great for stretching the budget).  Consider meat as an ingredient NOT a main event.
You can easily halve or quarter this recipe for biscuits.  Biscuits are easy and cheap.  Use biscuits, bread or cornbread to extend any meal.  All are filling and help the budget.
  • Be aware of utilities.  Turn off lights when not in rooms.  Use candles more.  Turn heat down or AC up - use fresh air.  Let sun in on cold days, pull curtains at night to keep warmth in.  Be mindful of water waste.  Unplug small appliances not in use.  Air dry clothes if possible - it not, use your drier sparingly and hang things to partially dry.
  • IF someone asks what you want for a gift - BE PRACTICAL.  Ask for grocery GC's, food, or any supplies you may need. 
  • Also be practical with what YOU give.  Give homemade goodies, lovely crafted items, re-gift any gift cards you may have that you won't use, check out thrift stores for new items, etc..
JUST GET CREATIVE with everything.  Remember the rule of  one half - use half of everything and/or water down items.  Most things you will never notice a difference.
ASK for discounts and better deals - they may say YES!
BUDGET (I hate that word) - is basically spending less than you make.  Pretty simple concept.  Stick to it.
SAVE what you can.

Pick and chose whatever works best for you and your family.  Not everything works for everyone!  Odds are you WILL fail along the way.  That is normal - it happens to everyone. Just get back up and start again.  Stumbling along the way is normal.  Don't beat yourself up - just don't quit!!!!!  Keep on trying.

So get busy now and do a little jump start to get yourself in the frame of mind that 2020 will be a good financial year for your family.   Make a plan and stick to it!
Start making and implementing small changes - pennies make dollars.

If you want to want for nothing - just want less!  Keep it simple and enjoy the little things.

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Dump Dinners - My Favorite Way to Cook

I do like to cook, but I also like things that are yummy AND easy to make!  I can take my time with dishes, but just prefer quick and easy.  Most people are leading very busy lives today, and anything that makes it a little less hectic is always good.
If you work or go to school, or have busy family/farm lives - dump dinners are for you!  So easy, so yummy, and very economical.  Generally easy clean-up as well.

1 - 30 oz. bag of frozen hash browns (you could substitute fresh if desired)
1 - 32 oz. container chicken broth (or homemade)
1 - 10 oz. can cream of chicken
1 - 8 oz. cream cheese
1 - cup shredded cheddar cheese
3 oz. bacon bits (crispy bacon)

Place hash browns in crock pot - add in broth and cream of chicken soup and half of bacon.  Cook on low for 7-8 hours OR high for about 4 hours.  One hour before serving stir in cubes of the cream cheese.  Stir to incorporate throughout the soup.  Once it is all melted - you are done.
Top bowls of soup with cheddar cheese and remaining bacon.
I am making this come the weekend!!!! Mmmmmmm

1 pound ground beef (or turkey)
1 onion, diced
1 packet of Taco seasoning (or equivalent of homemade)
1 small can green chilies (if desired)
1 jar (16 oz.) salsa
1/2 pound rotini (or any) uncooked pasta
2 cups water
Shredded cheese to top

Brown meat and onion in large skillet.  Drain fat.  Add seasoning, chilies, salsa and 2 cups of water.  Stir to combine.  Add pasta and stir.  Reduce heat and cook (covered) until pasta is cooked (15 min. or so)
Serve with a topping of cheese.
Doesn't get much easier!  Tasty too.
I make this often - sometimes I add a can of chili beans as well!

3 cans (10 oz.) cream of chicken soup (undiluted)
2 C  uncooked instant rice
1 C water
1 pound boneless skinless chicken
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. paprika
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/2 C diced celery (I like to use frozen peas)

Combine soup, rice and water in slow cooker.  Add chicken and seasonings.  Add celery or peas.
Cover and cook on low for 6 - 8 hours or high for 3-4 hours.
I also make this on top of the stove in less than an hour.  It depends if you are gone all day or home - how you cook it.

Busy people can still have hot, yummy and comforting food.  Dump dishes have always been my favorite things.  I figure most of my life has been spent cooking this way, and now it has a name!!!  If you think about it, ALL soups, stews, and casseroles are basically 'dump dinners'.  Dump in those ingredients - turn on the heat and soon you have a great tasty meal.
So easy!  

ONE POT dishes have always been my go to.  Not only easy - but easy to clean up.  Add a side salad or veggie or bread and you have a fantastic meal.

Hope these help someone on a busy day.  Good old comfort food at it's best.

Sunday, October 6, 2019

Weekly Wrap-Up 10/06

Happy Sunday everyone!  Hope this finds all well.

My goodness - fall is finally here!  We started out hot this week and ended on a cool fall note.  A front came through and BOOM, just like that it was fall.
It looks that highs for at least the next week will be in the 60's and 70's and lows will be 40's and 50's!
No heat needed yet.  I did get out my slippers!
We  got a little bit of much needed rain over night.  It is kind of gray outside right now, but I think the sun is supposed to shine at some point today.

My week:
  • As it cooled, I did get some more yard work done.  Slowly I am doing stuff.  It sure is easier now that it is cooler!
  • Got to turn off AC and open windows and air the house.
  • Scheduled my furnace check for the 14th of this month (it is free)
  • I worked more on the downstairs extra pantry - trying to organize some more and inventory.  This is a long process.
  • I went out only 1 day this week and ran to my brothers house.  He sent me home with squash, green beans and cucumbers!
  • I received a $5 gift card from the "Do It Best" hardware if I spend $25 for my birthday month.  I am sure I can come up with some items for gifts or yard
  • Got to pick some roses this week - they are blooming yet again.  I made two bud vases up. Oh how I wish you could smell these.  They are heavenly.
  • I have been watching You Tube videos about old ways of doing things and living simply
  • I made a batch of beans and rice - used for 2 meals and then froze balance.  That came out of freezer Saturday and I added it to a batch of chili
  • Fall cleaning has started - oh heck, cleaning never ends!
  • Got out my fall candles and melts - Mmmmmmm love the fall smells
  • No groceries or spending
  • Doing all the regular stuff - that is a given
Meals this past week:
Fried potatoes topped w/cheese, breaded shrimp (found in freezer and baked it), tomatoes
Beans and rice and sliced tomatoes
Burritos (using beans and rice) and lots of cheese & salsa
Mashed potatoes and chicken strips
Chef salad
Fried green tomatoes and small salad
Had popcorn for snacks a couple times and some tortilla chips and homemade salsa
**Had 4 meatless days this week!!!

I am going to go in today and cook the green beans my brother gave me.  There are 3 lbs.  I will then place them in containers for meals later on and freeze.  I think I will have chili again today, then I will freeze the balance of it as well.  Hmmmm - thinking a loaded baked potato this week as well (w/chili).  Yum!

How was your week?  Has your weather made the change of seasons?  Are you gearing up for winter (or summer) depending on where you live?  Did you get any great deals this week?
Stop by and say hello and let us know what is going on in your life!!!

Prayers for all.  I know several readers are going through some hard things with their families and I have kept you all in prayer.  Gentle hugs to all.
May your week be blessed with health, happiness and financial security.
Blessings from my humble little home to yours.

Thursday, October 3, 2019

If IT Hit the Fan

If the day comes that IT hits the proverbial fan - could you survive?  Are you prepared for anything?  Are you stocked with food/water, medical supplies, seeds, pet & animal supplies, just the basics?  Or do you have a supply network where you could get these things?

There are so many things to think about.  I often wonder what would happen if the grid failed and we were all plunged back into the 1800's!  Statistics show that 70% of the earth's population wouldn't survive.  They have no clue how to do things manually without technology or energy.  THAT IS SAD!
Technology has given us many advancements in this world - but I also think it has become the DUMBING AGENT of society as well.
Yes, as crass as that sounds, people today are really ignorant when it comes to how to survive on their own.
Today I just want to give you some things to ponder and perhaps prepare for.

We really have no idea how the grid affects EVERYTHING!  Well, we may - but we don't think of it often.

NO GRID - means nothing is probably open.  Stores, banks, gas stations, everything is electronic and computerized today.    If a store opened and only took cash - odds are supplies would run out in a matter of a couple days.
NO GRID - means your vehicles would not work.  Even if you have a supply of gas - the cars and trucks today are computerized and won't run if the grid is down.  You would have to have a very old model vehicle if you needed to leave.  This also means no new supplies would be coming for stores (no transport).
Have a bicycle????  That is about all that would work.
NO GRID - no phones.  No computers, no e-mail, no FB, NO COMMUNICATION.
NO GRID - no heat or AC (unless you have a fireplace or wood stove or solar)  "I have a generator" you say - well once your gas is gone - there is no more.  In many cases it means no cook stove or oven - do you know how to cook over a fire?

It is amazing how life would change.
NOW, is the time that we should educate ourselves.  We need to read and have books that teach basic survival living.
We need supplies.  Food and water are number one (and seeds for food plants).  Simple medical supplies would be next.
NO GRID - there would be no running water.  Unless you have a well and a hand pump - you would have to rely on your stored supplies and rain, creeks and rivers.
You would need a way to dispose of human waste.

This is something everyone should have.  Life straws will purify any water so it is safe for consumption.
If there were no modern communication - we would have to rely on old school ways.  CB radios, walkie-talkies, battery radios (not sure what we would hear), telegraph, etc.
There would be no mail - as you need vehicles both ground and air for that.

We could possible be separated from family and loved ones with no means of communication.  We might possibly be left to fend for ourselves all alone.
Do you have the personality and attitude it would take to get through this kind of scenario?
Do you have people close by that you could POSITIVELY trust?
Do you have a means to defend what is yours?

Hopefully this never happens - but it sure is something to think about.  There is a lot of strife in the world today and attacks happen.  This is a way of everyday life for some places - but we are spoiled and pampered.  Yes we are!
We have been complacent for many, many years.

Our ancestors had what it took to survive.  DO WE?

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Computers, Horoscopes and Discoveries

Today is going to be a mish mash of things that are on my mind.

New month - new habits, new journeys, new discoveries, new realities and new praises.  That old saying about the only certain thing in life is change, is so true.  I am not a lover of change and never have been - but it happens.  I know that all things happen in God's time and there is a reason.  We do not always (most never) understand why, but I do believe it is definitely part of the journey that we have to take.  Some journeys are fun and easy and others just stink and they are hard.  BUT, we have them all happen in life - that is how we grow.
EVERY single morning and EVERY  single evening (and many times in between) I thank the Lord for my blessings.  There are days I don't feel happy or encouraged - but I am still blessed.  NO MATTER what happens in life - we still receive His blessings.
His blessings may not be exactly what we thought on a given day, but we are blessed none the less.
Enjoy the simple things - BECAUSE every single thing IS big and important.

Every morning while reading the paper, I like reading the lighter side of things.  I always read "Dear Annie", and there is a column called "Let It Out" - which is just whatever is on readers minds, and the comics and the horoscopes!  That is all in one section and it is my light read.
Once in a while those horoscopes seem fitting (not that I believe in them).  Last week I had one that read - I would be getting 3 happy surprises that day.  Hmmmmm - I did.  I got 3 phone calls from people that I don't hear from often and they all touched my heart.

Yesterday - "Don't build, simplify.  Shore up what already exists.  Get rid of the excess, and you'll be struck by the value that was there inside all along."  
OK - this is exactly what I have been trying to do lately.  These are sage words for everyone of us - don't you think?
Appreciate what you have, lessen the load, and LOVE what is left.  In the process we may bless others with our cast-offs.

I will NOT watch LIVE videos anymore on FB.  Yesterday I decided to watch a live Living on a Dime video as it sounded interesting.  This is the 2nd time I have tried to watch one of their videos LIVE - and the second time that my computer has completely frozen up.  I couldn't do anything.
That isn't going to happen again (to me).  Learned my lesson.  I even got my old computer out and charged up, as I didn't think I could get the newer one to open.
I finally got my Virus scan to work and did and scan and restart and it took care of the problem.  I have had this happen twice watching that same site.
Just be careful what you watch live - fair warning to all.

I have been cleaning, clearing and de-cluttering as you all know.  I have come across a few things that I had forgotten about.  Isn't that something?  We have so much today, that we forget what we have or put it away and are only reminded of it once or twice a year.  That truly says a lot about our society.
I was cleaning in the basement craft area and found this pattern I had forgotten I had.  It looks cute.  It would be cute to make a top for jeans (I don't wear leggings) - but it would be cute with those as well.  I think it would be cute sleeveless shorter top too.  I may have to work on something this winter.  It looks so comfy.
Then while cleaning out the bookcase and closet I ran across some of the books I have that were my Dad's or inspired by my Dad.  They are basic organic gardening and self-help books for gardening and ways of living a more organic life.  My Daddy was way ahead of his time.  He was huge into organic gardening.  He took this magazine for years.  I have so many of them, dating back into the 60's and they are still relevant today.
These are just full of useful information.  I think I have a relative that would thoroughly enjoy grandpa's books  - so one day I can pass them on
I bought the Country Wisdom book for my folks back in the mid 70's.  The other book I have had for years as well.  So much knowledge in them.  Great to have around.
I also came across my Foxfire books that had been put away.  I don't have a full set, but have several.  Those are a wonderful, entertaining and educational read (if you ever get a chance).

AND I learned that I will never be TOTALLY  broke!!!!!  LOL  I came across 2 bathroom size trash cans that I have filled with pennies (tucked away back in a closet).  My goodness, I couldn't hardly move them.  I guess I should turn them into the bank for cash before pennies are NO more!  That is a lot of copper.  I also have little stashes here and there, that contain change that has been saved, and one with paper money.
I have a few silver dollars (from my childhood) and a few old $2 bills tucked away as well.

Ack - look how dusty those pennies are!  LOL  That little trash can is probably 12" across and maybe 15" deep.  That's a lot of pennies X2.
I guess being a pack-rat could come in handy some day.  Knowledge and money are 2 things that we will always need.

So there you have some random thoughts from me to start the new month.  I hope you all have a fantastic month and find some of your own treasures that you may have forgotten along the way.

Thank you for following my life journey.  You guys all keep me sane - you have no idea just how much your friendship and contributions have meant to me, especially in recent months.
Looking forward to another month of learning together!

Sunday, September 29, 2019

Weekly Wrap-Up 9/29

Good day everyone.  Here we are at the end of another month.  My goodness.
I have been reading about snow and frost in areas closer to the coasts - and here we are still hot and dry.  September has been one of the warmest and driest on record for years.
We did have some cooler and low humidity days earlier in the week and they were lovely.  I got to open windows and air the house.
We are back to warmer days 80's/90's for a few more days (and humidity) and then back to more normal temps by the end of the week.  Friday from morning to evening the temperature increased 40*!!
First day of October is supposed to be 92*!!!

This getting older stuff is so aggravating with robo calls!!!!!!  I will be 65 in October and I have been getting a minimum of 10 robo calls per DAY from insurance places.  I do not answer, and they don't give up!  Good grief you would think they would realize if you don't answer the first 3 times in a row that you probably won't answer the forth time either!!!  I know it is a computer - but still.  It sure is aggravating and intrusive!

This has been a sadder week here on the home front.  It was 5 months since my sweetie left for heaven and it was also his birthday on the 24th.  Well, let me tell you I tried to work my bum off and kept busy.  Got to do things that occupy the mind and tire the body.  I miss him soooooo much.  Not looking for sympathy - just stating a fact because it really is hard.

The birds and squirrels still are not as plentiful as before.  I have been seeing only 3-4 squirrels versus 10-12.  Maybe some of the older ones have passed on.  I know they don't live a lot of years.  Birds seem to come and go. We'll see how it goes this winter.  I enjoy them all so much.   Hummingbirds are gone now.

My week:
  • I did make a run to Rural King last Sunday (oh my - it was busy) for critter feed and canned cat food stock up
  • I cleaned all the bird feeders for fall/winter
  • Also cleaned out the metal trash can/bins I use for critter feed storage
  • Washed windows inside (seems weekly - kitty kisses!)
  • I cleaned out the storage area under the basement stairs.  Geesh what a mess.  I got rid of lots of stuff - have no idea why I had kept it.  FOUND  an unopened case of jelly jars and 1 unopened case of pint jars!!!!!!  WOOHOO.  ALSO found 7 gallon glass jars with lids and one half gallon glass jar with lid.  That area is all cleaned an organized now.
  • Put lots of plastic in recycle bin
  • Got to turn off AC a few days and open windows
  • Spent a couple nice mornings outside trying to do some fall clean-up.  I ended up with 3 huge black bags of rubbish for the natural green pick-up by the city
  • Picked a few tomatoes
  • Picked a bouquet of New England asters
  • I have worked on moving more store bought food storage upstairs
  • I straightened the upstairs pantry and organized better (AGAIN) and started some new storage for canned good overstock
Yes this is after!  It may look like total chaos to others - but I know what is where.  Soups together, veggies together, fruit, baking items, spices, condiments, bulk, etc.  This is the daily use pantry.  It contains basically ALL my food - kitchen cabinets contain dishes, canisters, and pots and pans. (small kitchen)
This is the 'new' area for overstock on canned goods I came up with.  Cookbooks are below.  I donated a ton of books (no longer interested in) and moved many to other locations in the house - to free this space.  I will be putting curtains over it in time.  Still more to move and do.
See why I don't need to go to grocery?  It is just me and that's a lot of food.  I will helping anyone that needs help as well.
  • Colored hair at home
  • I worked on de-cluttering a bunch more.  So many things I have no idea whey we kept.
  • I took an huge load of items to the church thrift store.  (Back seats down in Blazer and loaded to the back end).
  • I got a loaf of FREE bread from thrift store
  • No grocery store
  • Brought the bread maker upstairs for handy storage - plan on making homemade for holiday baskets
  • Using rain barrel water for plants.  I think this may be a year that I use all the water collected
  • I have a Wondering Jew plant that was my Momma's.  She passed in 2001 and had it for years before that.  It just got so nasty and spindly looking - SO I trimmed off starts and have them in water to root.  I plan on giving it a new and healthy start.
  • Using what I have, cooking from scratch, used the soda stream this week for sparkling water, laundry cold, line dried, working on organization and watched some You-Tube videos, just doing all the normal things.
My meals this past week:
Fried diced potatoes topped with beef and cheese - sliced tomato
Grilled ham & cheese
Easy chili mac - 2X
Pork chop, green beans (from freezer/cooked) and sliced tomato
Black bean/beef nachos

Easy Chili Mac - I browned ground beef with onion, added a can of chili beans and chili seasoning - served over macaroni.  Topped with shredded cheese.  Easy and tasty.

This coming week I plan of getting all my home canned goods a lot more organized and I want to inventory and organize (again) the upright freezer.  
I also have more dried goods stored downstairs that needs to be organized.
More paperwork to take care of.
I want to let you know, a relative/friend reached out to me (privately) and told me she made the Amish peanut butter that I listed recipe for - and that they loved it! Just to let you know - it is yummy and will be a hit if you decide to try it!  I think she plans on using it for gift baskets as well this year.  Thanks for letting me know Becky!

How was your week?  Did you get any deals?  So many of you impress me with all your freebies that I read about on your blogs!  You gals rock!
Are you still getting garden goodies/canning or is yours coming to an end?

Prayers for you and your families.  I hope you have health, happiness and thrift in the coming week.
Blessings from my humble little home to yours.

Thursday, September 26, 2019

A Jar by Any Other Name = Gift - #1

Today will be the first installment of some jar recipes.  I will continue to randomly post recipes as the season moves forward.
Hope this gives you some fun and new ideas for holiday gifts.  Most are pretty frugal as well.

1/2 C chopped walnuts (or pecans - whichever you like)
1/2 C white chocolate chips
1/2 C semi-sweet chocolate chips
2/3 C brown sugar, packed
1 C PLUS 2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
1/3 C baking cocoa
2/3 C granulated sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
Layer all the ingredients in order listed in a one quart - wide mouth jar, being sure to pack down after each addition.  Secure lid and attach baking instructions.

Empty brownie mix into a large bowl.  Add 3 eggs, 1/2 C oil and 1 tsp. vanilla extract.  Mix and pour into a greased 9 x 9 pan.  Bake at 350* for 22 - 25 minutes.  Cut into squares.

How cute to add a black ribbon around the top and tie as if a 'bow tie'.  Add you instructions and you have a yummy gift.  
Nice to keep several on hand as well - you will always have brownie "mix" in your pantry for a quick dessert.

2 C corn syrup
1/3 C brown sugar, packed
1/2 C water
1 1/4 C chopped pecans
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
4 (1 pint) jars and lids - sterilized  (OR 8 - 1/2 pint jars)

Combine syrup, sugar and water in a saucepan.  Bring to a boil over medium heat and boil for 1 minute.  Remove from heat; stir in pecans and vanilla.
Pour into hot jars, leaving 1/4" space at top of jar.  Secure lids, process in hot water bath for 10 minutes.  Makes 4 pints

Wouldn't this be a wonderful add to a basket - maybe an ice cream scoop and small bowls and sprinkles.  YUM

I think this would also be good to gift with pancake/waffle mix!!!!!

1 3/4 C all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 C quick-cooking oats (uncooked)
1/2 C chopped walnuts
1/3 C mini semi-sweet chocolate chips

Combine first 3 ingredients, stir.  Add remaining ingredients.  Mix well.  Store in an airtight container.  It makes 3 1/2 cups - so a quart jar would work.

Place scone mix in a large mixing bowl and cut in 1/2 cup butter until batter resembles coarse crumbles.  In a separate bowl whisk a 1/4 cup milk and 1 egg.  Add to crumble mixture, stir until moistened.  Knead gently on a lightly floured board 8 - 10 times.  Pat into an 8 inch circle on a lightly greased baking sheet.  Cut into 8 wedges, do not separate.  Bake 375* for 10-12 minutes.  Cut wedges apart and serve warm.

Too yummy, maybe gift in a basket with a nice cup and tea bags or hot chocolate mix.

So there you have three fun items to make ahead of time for your gift baskets, holiday or anytime.  These are also wonderful items to have on hand in the pantry.
I hope this gives you a few new ideas and is something you can use.

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

How Low Can You Go on Christmas Expenses?

How low can you keep the Christmas budget?  You actually keep it pretty darn low or almost FREE if you start now.  There are so many tricks to get goodies for pennies or no money.

You all know my favorites - home canned goods (jams, jellies, salsa, pizza sauce, spaghetti sauce, etc.), homemade candy, cookies, muffins, breads and yummies.  All kinds of homemade goodies can be made and placed in thrift store baskets or reusable grocery bags (maybe homemade).
You can simply wrap the outside of a box with gift wrap, contact paper, fabric, whatever.  Leave the top open like a basket - use what you have.

  • Have a 2nd hand Christmas.  Check with other family members and agree to do this (many families draw names at Thanksgiving).  Make sure your gift is from a thrift store, yard sale, an heirloom, or something from your home that someone likes.  Decide if you want useful and serious gifts or fun and frivolous gifts  SET A LOW $$$$$ LIMIT.
  • MAKE jars of soup mixes, or coffee or hot chocolate mixes, cookie mixes, etc.  Use ingredients from your kitchen and if necessary buy those ingredients ONLY when on sale
  • Keep a basket of mixes or small jars of jams and jellies by the door for that unexpected company
  • Buy a box of different flavored tea bags each time at the store.  Mix them up and gift (4 or 5 per gift) with a thrifted mug and a used book, or pair of warm socks
  • Watch for those FREE coupons for product like from Bed, Bath and Body Works.  Get the FREE items.  Many stores have coupons that gives you FREE products.  $10 off coupons if you spend $10 (Kohls and Pennies do this often).  Check on-line for coupons.  
  • Bankcards gather points that can be turned into gifts or gift cards.  Check with your card and see how many you have.  You can go online and see what you can get for points
  • I know there are many sites that offer points for GC's - I see many of you blog about them.  I don't do any of them - so if you do PLEASE ADVISE us.
  • Get on sample sites - there are lots of them and they will send you FREE samples of a variety of products.  Samples are great for gift baskets.
  • Have a swap party with friends before the holidays - everyone brings items they don't need and you simply swap goods.  You can get a lot a really neat items for FREE and gift them to family
  • Think DOLLAR TREE - so many stocking stuffers.  Calendars, books, puzzles, hair accessories, bins and baskets, nail polish, candles, candies, ornaments...…….
  • Yard sales and thrift stores - GREAT places to look.  I always see brand new items at yard sales for pennies on the dollar.  
  • Think about putting together a RECIPE book of favorite family recipes for everyone.  Ask all the family for their favorite and include it for all.  Maybe add some pictures of grandma or mom or auntie - whoever the recipe came from.  Make soft copies on your own printer at home.  This could be a fun project.
  • Make homemade CALENDARS - you can download the basic date part of the calendar and print.  For the picture use old or new family pictures.  It can be the kids, recent family pictures (weddings, holidays, showers, etc.) or they can be older vintage photos.  Have fun with this.
  • Frame the kids artwork in yard sale frames.  You can even use your own artwork.  Frames can be painted or left as is.
  • Frame the front of a beautiful Christmas card (that you kept from previous year).  They make great Christmas pictures to hang during the holiday.
  • Remember that you can use recycled gift wrap, pretty boxes, bags, etc.  I love to use the comics for wrapping kids gifts.  Wrap baked goods in a pretty kitchen towel ($Tree), or colored plastic wrap.
  • Provide coupons for a monthly homecooked  dinner
  • Give coupons for shopping trips, doctor visits, or just a fun excursion for a shut-in
There are a ton of ways to spend little or NO money for the holidays.  Yes, many require you to keep your eyes open and scour around for coupons and freebie ideas.  Be looking online for sample sites and start getting samples (usually takes about 6-8 weeks).

Take time to make fun gifts - you can make anything.  Sewing, crafting, crochet, knitting, quilting, paper craft, painting, baking, canned goods  -------- there is no limit.

I know many don't want to think Christmas yet - but it is a lot closer than you care to believe!
Get started now and have FUN WITH IT!

Sunday, September 22, 2019

Weekly Wrap-Up 9/22

Happy fall to all my U.S. readers.  Tomorrow is the official start to the fall season (according to the calendar).

It is still quite warm here and feels nothing like fall.  We have been in the upper 80's and low 90's all week.  At least the humidity was a bit lower, so it didn't feel quite as bad.  Mornings are quite pleasant.  Still NO rain!  This has been the driest September for our state in about 56 years.  That may change tonight, according to the weatherman.  We sure need some.
Projections are that it may be a bit more 'normal' for the first part of the week - and then going back into the 80's and staying that way to start October.
Kind of makes me wonder what the winter will be like.  I have heard all kinds of mixed forecasts - we will wait and see!

My week:
  • I have been going through more things and adding to the donation boxes and even trashing a few things.  I have rearranged some more things.  Slowly going through stuff.
  • Cleaning out a couple more drawers
  • Got a container of Mex. chicken out of freezer to thaw for meals
  • Canned 14 pints of salsa - mainly for gifts at Christmas.  I have more than enough from the past couple years for me.  I like making new for the gift baskets.
  • Cut my hair
  • I used the scalding canning water on the fence row for weed killer
  • Using rain barrels to water plants
  • I ran out one day to run a few errands.  I first went to a yearly yard sale that raises funds for the kids of an area school.  The sale goes for 4 days and is always huge.  All I found was a super heavy hooded sweatshirt for bumming around in this winter.   The quality is fantastic.  I bet it originally cost a good $40 and I paid $1!!!  
  • I then stopped in Kroger, although I was just looking.  Hoping to find some bell peppers to freeze (mine are in between stages).  4/$5 was the going price - and that is too much for my taste.  I looked at the .99 bin and Woop-Woop I found some.  2/.99 and bigger than the regular priced ones.  I got 6 peppers for less than $3.  Those and milk is all I bought.
That is a pint jar for reference on size!  They are lovely peppers - and got chopped for the freezer.
  • Ran into the Dollar Tree to look around.  I did get 2 Bible themed color books for my nephew for Christmas.  I making him an art box of assorted items for Christmas.  He is 5.
  • Cooking from home, laundry in cold, line dried, making my drinks, using what I have in new ways - just all the normal things
  • Picking what produce I can - still getting some
  • I found a leak under the bathroom sink.  I have a container collecting for now - but my neighbor is going to come and fix it for me this week.
  • Trying to get many of my extra pantry supplies from basement sorted and moved upstairs as much as possible. (that is a job)
Meals this past week:
Tomato and lettuce sandwiches
3 breaded chicken tenders and fresh veggies
Mexican chicken (from freezer) over rice
Enchilada's (made with extra Mex. chicken/rice)
Chef salad
Crunchy tacos
Tuna salad sandwich and sliced tomatoes

So as you can see, it has been a quiet week just hanging out at the house for the most part.  The day I went out to run errands I spoke to humans for the first time in 4 days!  I talk to my kitties non stop!!  I have just been trying to do lots of odds and ends around here.  Glen was not much for change at all - and I am at a point that I NEED some changes to help me move forward.  I call it therapy.  Change is tough.

How was your week?  I know some of you are still getting tons of produce and that is just wonderful.  You will have happy bellies this winter.  What have you been doing to stay frugal?

I hope you all have a wonderful week ahead.  May the Lord be with you and yours and keep you in His loving embrace.  Health and happiness to all.
Blessings from my humble little home to yours.

Thursday, September 19, 2019

An Amish Treat you can Make

Have you ever tried Amish peanuts butter?  Commonly referred to as "church spread".
Oh my goodness - if you have not, you are truly missing out.
This is probably one of my favorite things ever.

Many years back, when I would visit the Amish store, I would always stock up.  This tasty delight came in pint jars and back then would run me about $7 a jar.  That would be a super cheap find today.  It seems to range from about $11.49 upwards.  I have actually seen it on the Web for as much as $15 a pint PLUS shipping.
You can make your own for a whole lot less.

I plan on making several jars of this to add to my holiday gift baskets.  Peanut butter stays fresh for a long time once opened - as does this wonderful spread.  I think I will make and place in half pint jars - maybe pint.  It will stay fresh for quite a while being shelf stable.

Click on picture to enlarge - Place in your canning jars until ready to use.
I have everything on hand to make this - you can buy small jars of marshmallow crème for around $1 - just look around (got mine at Dollar Tree)

This is just too yummy on hot biscuits or homemade bread, served on a sandwich, served with crackers OR just eating it with a spoon!!!!!!
Seriously, if you have never had this delicacy, you need to try it.

This is a stable at most Amish tables.  NO, it isn't calorie free - but it sure is gooey and yummy.

I am going to try to make almost everything in my Christmas baskets this year.  This will a fun addition, that will surprise and please many.

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Tuesday Tips for the Fall Kitchen

It is now approaching fall in the U.S. and in Canada (not sure where else).  I know some of our readers are going into spring, but many of these tips may help them too.
Fall is that time of the year that I get excited about all those hearty comfort foods that I have avoided during the hot weather.  It is funny how we eat differently for the seasons.
It seems we eat much lighter foods in the summer, and then get into the warm and filling comfort foods in the winter.

Most of these tips will work for the whole year.  Things to think about if you are counting pennies or just can't or don't want to leave the house during the colder months.

  • Find that you are out of eggs in the middle of a recipe?  That's ok - use something else for the liquid.  Not using eggs generally will not change the texture or flavor of the recipe (unless making soufflé).  Add more milk or some mayonnaise, or fruit sauces - the recipe should turn out fine.
  • Extra coffee?  Freeze it in ice cube trays.  It can be used to cool a super hot cup of coffee.  OR use for flavoring ice cream, smoothies, or add to chocolate cake (enhances flavor) or frosting, fudge, brownies.  Add a cube or two to brown gravy as it really makes the gravy have a hearty flavor.  So many uses.  Do waste it!!!
  • No pizza or spaghetti sauce on hand?  Want to make a pizza?  That's ok - for about a 12" pizza you can use an 8 oz. can of tomato sauce and just add oregano, basil, onion/garlic powder, Italian seasoning - whatever you and your family likes and you have pizza sauce!  Those 8 oz. cans at Aldi are like .29 each.  Makes for a pretty cheap pizza, especially if adding whatever you have in the frig to your pizza.  I often use spaghetti sauce if I have no pizza sauce - pretty much the same.
  • Fall seems to be the time for corndogs (especially for kids).  I like them too - it is just a fun food.  You can make some fun corndog bites at home.  Make yourself a batch of cornbread (or use a box of Jiffy mix for pennies) and cut up a few hotdogs.  Place the cornbread batter in muffin pans (mini works super great) and place a chunk of hotdog in the center and bake as normal.  For a fuller bite of 'dog' - dice up your hotdogs and add to the batter.  You can still bake in muffin pans or just bake in a regular pan.  I like to add some chopped jalapenos for 'grown up' corndog bites.
This is a cheap and easy (fun) food for young and old alike.  Great after school snack or serve with a pot of soup beans or some mac n cheese for dinner!
  • Have leftover chili?  Use it over hotdogs as a topping or on baked potatoes, or even on top of burgers if it is thick!  Add some shredded or chunks of cheese and melt for a great dip for tortilla chips or pita bread. (super nachos)
  • Do you drive by a house each week that has an unused apple tree?  Apples falling all over the yard?  Stop and ask if you can glean them.  What is the worst that can happen?  They say no - but maybe they will say yes and you will get some free fruit!
  • Winter squash is about to be harvested.  There are many uses for it.  It should be fairly cheap this time of the year.  It is wonder in making 'cream of' soups, use in your favorite pie recipe in place of pumpkin (you will be amazed), roast chunks (oh so good).  Think about adding chunks to a hearty stew or soup recipe.  Cut in half - remove seeds - and stuff with sausage/tomato sauce/cheese (whatever you like).  Heavenly!  There are many, many varieties out there and they are so good.  Get creative and jazz up your fall recipes a bit.
  • Serve sliced apples with peanut butter and raisins - such a fall treat and healthy too.  Good to make a sandwich out of these too.  Super after school/work treat!
  • Make your own latte at home for pennies.  Heat up 1/2 cup of milk in the microwave for a couple minutes and add 1/2 cup of very strong coffee (sweeten if desired).  Sure beats going out and spending a fortune of a fancy coffee (lattes aren't really fancy - just a fancy price)
  • If you really like all things pumpkin (I can't fathom), watch for the upcoming sales and stock up.  Best bet is to get fresh pumpkins AFTER Halloween and carve, and roast and freeze your own OR watch for clearance of canned pumpkin after the holidays.  You can usually get very cheaply - so stock up (it will be good for ages).  If doing fresh - don't forget to clean and roast those seeds as well.
  • Like smores, but don't have access to a campfire?  If you have a gas stove - you are set!  I often place a big marshmallow on the end of a fork and roast - then add to your graham cracker or cookie along with your chocolate.  Think about using those shortbread cookies that are chocolate striped and have a chocolate back - they work perfectly! (or homemade chocolate chip cookies).  It is a fun treat!
  • This is a tip I use often.  I love Eckrich smoked sausage - wonderful flavor that not all others have.  It is kind of pricey unless you find a super sale.  I buy John Morrell smoked sausage and keep on hand for many dishes.  I can often get it for $1 or less for a 12 oz. package (Meijer regularly has on their 11/$10 sale).  It is great to slice up and add to spaghetti sauce, or to add to soups or stews.  Homemade Jumbalaya (sp.) or Gumbo is wonderful with it as well.  Slice super thin and add to pizza toppings.  It is much cheaper and can be used in a variety of dishes that still taste yummy with it.  Think about using different brands sometimes - especially when there is a lot of other ingredients to enhance flavors.

Here is a fun fall recipe to try.  I hope you enjoy it.

8 oz. container of thawed Cool Whip
3 1/2 oz. package of instant butterscotch pudding mix
8 oz. crushed pineapple
3 C chopped and peeled apples
1 C dry roasted peanuts
1 C mini marshmallows
Mix pudding mix, cool whip and pineapple together until well blended - then add remainder of the ingredients.  Chill until ready to use.  It is yummy!

So there you have a few fall tips for the kitchen.
I hope you find one or two you can use or it gives you a few new ideas.  ENJOY!
It's almost fall!!!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, September 15, 2019

Weekly Wrap-Up 9/15

Good morning!  Here we are mid-month again.  It still doesn't feel like fall here.  We have had 90's all week and humidity and NO rain whatsoever.  This coming week looks to be about the same.  I guess we should enjoy it while it lasts, as winter will be here before we know it.

My neighbor had his grandkids over this weekend and the oldest was having a birthday weekend.  He turns 5 on Tuesday and the other is 2.  Forget the remote car he got - they had an absolute ball playing in the leaves (as grandpa blew them around) and playing with the big box the car came in!!!!!  I laughed and laughed.  They were having so much fun.  It took my back to my childhood.  I sure enjoyed watching them.  Simple fun!  Warmed my heart.

The birds and squirrels were kind of M I A for many days.  I think they were going for different sources of food.  I keep finding empty walnut shells all over the yard - and I don't have a walnut tree!  They are back to normal now for the most part.  I still a hummy or two now and again.
The bees and butterflies are every where - they sure do love the Live Forever plants.  AND SPIDERS - did I mention spiders??????  Everywhere - I dodge webs every place I walk outside!!!!!

Oh I saw my first (in real life) hummingbird MOTH this week.  Amazing!!!!  I have seen pictures and videos, but never one in real life. I wish I had a picture of it.   It truly did look like a itty bity hummingbird - it was hanging out on my phlox. So cool.

        Love the pretty butterflies.  They are every where and loving any flower they can!

My week:
  • Accomplished a bunch more paperwork and assorted paper projects.  If you have never been left alone - you have no idea how many things there are to do.  We had everything in order and everything in both names - but my goodness there is still so much.  I now have to get things in order so my new beneficiaries are taken care of (as well as me for hopefully many, many more years). Wouldn't wish it on anyone!
  • My chest freezer stopped AGAIN!  UGH.  (2X in 6 months) The breaker was still on and the GFI wasn't tripped - so it is the freezer.  It is done.  I did lose some butter and ice cream and a small ham - not much else this time.  I found it again just in time for trash day - I got lucky.  It sure did stink!  All cleaned out and unplugged - I will either give to a scrapper or use for storage.  Not going to replace.
  • No grocery shopping this week
  • Got my jars and canning stuff ready to go - and planned to can.  Didn't!!!!  Being a sloth!
  • I was given a nice wooden glider for the front porch.  It is painted the exact color of the shutters.  I now have 2 on the porch, opposite each other.
  • Have been using rain barrels to water plants
  • Washed some of the windows (inside)
  • Working on more deep cleaning and de-clutter
  • Picked more tomatoes and so enjoying them!
  • Cooking from scratch, using what I have.  Made Kool-Aid this week - that has been a nice flavorful treat.
  • I needed to get out on Saturday and see civilization!  I ran and filled my tank up and saved .40 per gallon on gasoline with my points.
  • I then went across the street to Ollies!  Mistake!!!!!!  I couldn't resist and bought 2 books  They have the cheapest books.  I got a Taste Of Home - Shop Smart Eat Great cookbook and Fix-It and Forget-It slow cooker cookbook.  One was 2.99 and the other 3.99.  Just what I need - more cookbooks.  I may end up gifting them after I read!
My clematis is blooming again (little flowers) as is the mallow
The impatiens are still gorgeous!

My weekly meals:
Homemade bean and beef burritos
Hotdogs with homemade relish (on buns)
Beefy/cheese dip and tortilla chips  (Mixed taco meat/Velveeta/salsa together and served with chips)
Mac n cheese with leftover hotdog cut up in it and sliced tomato
Homemade Rice a Roni and sliced tomatoes
Leftover rice mixed with beef - served over open bun with American cheese (so tasty)
Spicy summer sausage/cheese chunks/crackers & veggie chunks

How was your week?  Did you get any good deals?
I need to get busy this week and can!!!!!  I also need to cut my hair again.  So many things to do.

I pray for your health and safety this week and may you received healing if so needed.
I also pray we all appreciate the earth and it's beauty in the changing seasons and that we help protect it.  Consume less and conserve more - should be our motto!
Blessings from my humble little home to yours.

I love standing and looking up through the trees.  Limbs going here and there - no 2 alike - leaves falling and the sun shining down through.  Kind of like life!
(click on pictures to enlarge)