Sunday, July 5, 2020

Weekly Wrap-Up 7/5

Good morning my friends.

Those of you who have followed for a while know how much I hate fireworks!!!  Last night was the worst year yet!  It was nerve wracking and horrifying.  Think a professional fireworks display X50 surrounding you on all sides and lasting for 5 1/2 hours NON-STOP!!!!  It was a nightmare.  I cried for all the poor animals.
Recession, no money for food or bills - didn't seem so in my neighborhood.  There had to be 10's of thousands of dollars spent on fireworks for just last night, just in my area.
OK - I am sorry for the rant and negativity.  I was just so upset and I am really tired today - not much sleep.
P.S. - my kitties were all here this morning for breakfast as were the squirrels.  So happy!

It has been HOT this week - my goodness.  We got some rain at the first of week and then yesterday  evening at about 6:30 a decent rain storm came through - thank goodness it wet everything down.  It was much appreciated.  I have been watering everything like crazy this week.
Garden is growing nicely.  Finally getting blooms on the cucumbers and they are now vining.  Pepper plants are growing some.  We have broken records for the number of consecutive 90*+ days - more to come all this week.
Have seen this several times this week - this was taken at about 5PM - the heat of the day.  HOT!!!!

My week:
  • I raked the yard again - free mulch
  • Cleaned up the over growing plants on the front walk - they have been taking over again!
  • Got my registration and new plates for the Blazer JUST IN TIME!!!  YAY!
  • My dryer knob broke again (the back part).  I have repaired before a few years back - and did so again!  It is now working fine again - for free
  • I had a couple chap-stick tubes that were close to empty.  I used a toothpick and removed what was left in one and put in the other one.  Not wasting any of it!
  • Weeded garden - boy was that hot!
  • Picked a bouquet - phlox, echinacea and lilies - enjoyed them all week
  • Cut my hair
  • Made a run to Meijer this week.  I received an ad for the first time in months and what a deal they had for the holiday!  Ground beef was 1.89/lb. (limit 2 packs).  I got 2 packs which weighed close to 10 lbs. total.  I also got a watermelon for 1.99 - my goodness it is good.  I found a package of Portabella mushrooms marked down to 3.29 and I picked up some additional fresh veggies and a couple household items
You can see the 1.89 sticker here.  Did I need it?  NO  - but I will and best to buy at a cheap price
3.29 for 3 huge Portabella mushrooms.  A great deal around here

  • Ran across the street to Staples (from Meijer) and got ink for printer.  Hoping that fixes my printer problem.  First time ever in a Staples!
  • All bills for the month paid
  • Made some turkey burgers and froze extras
  • I drove over to the park just to drive around and look at the flowers.  Noticed hardly no cars at the library (it opened back up a little over a week ago).  I ran in - there were 3 people, counting me, and 2 were in computer lab.  I had the stacks all to myself!!!  I missed just browsing the aisles.  Got myself 3 books
  • Had several neighbors visit from over the fences and from the curb this week.  We all caught up on gossip!!!  
  • Made some watermelon water - using the juice left from cutting watermelon and adding to a bottle of water.  Tasty.
  • Picked 3 zucchini
Meals this past week:
Leftover zucchini skillet and a leftover veggie burger
Turkey cheese burgers
Pasta/veggie salad (lots of veggies)
Pasta/veg. salad and a pork chop sandwich (small chop already cooked from freezer)
Jalapeno/cheese stuffed Portabella and sautéed onion and peppers
stuffed mushroom topped with peppers and onion

Smaller stuffed shroom and 2 chicken tenders
Fried zucchini (yum), chicken tenders and cuke/tom/onion side salad
Munching on watermelon all week!

What did you do this week to stay frugal and add to your household?  Did you find any deals?
How are the gardens doing?
I look forward to hearing from you all.  

Stay safe, cool and healthy my friends.
Blessings from my humble little home to yours.

Thursday, July 2, 2020

Some of My Off the Wall Recipes

I know I post some unusual food items sometimes.  I am pretty easy to please and I hate to waste anything.  I like finding new ways to fix food.
I know that come heck or highwater - I will be eating - and eating well.  I have learned to experiment with food and have fun with it.  Waste has never been in my vocabulary.

I will try to give recipes for a few 'odd' things I make (sort of recipes) - as I just usually wing it!
**********

VEGGIE/RICE BURGERS (from last week)
I had leftover dirty rice and leftover refried beans.  Mixed them together - added some finely chopped onion, a bit of beef bouillon, and bread crumbs.  (You could use crushed crackers or even oats).  Got it a consistency that I could form patties.  I then fried on a non-stick griddle.  Browned both sides and topped with cheese as they were about done.  Made for a very tasty sandwich and a side the next day.
If you just have regular red or black beans (or any kind) just smash them up a bit and add to any type of leftover rice.  You an also use lentils as a base for veggie burgers.

Rice mixes available at Aldi.  These are very good and provide enough for a small family.  No need to make a huge pot of something when you can use these mixes.  Very comparable to name brand and less than a $1 a box.  I always have these on hand.


STUFFING PATTIES
I mixed a box of Stovetop cornbread stuffing mix (you can use any type) with an egg and about 3/4 C water.  I added a small can of chunk chicken.  You could add any type of leftover meat.  I have done with chopped turkey and ground sausage.  You can also leave meat out entirely.
Form into patties and fry on griddle until golden brown on each side.  These are very good.  Great as a side instead of meat.  You could also do these in a waffle iron.  I have done that as well.

SALADS
I make pasta salads with fresh veggies - more veggies than pasta.  Any type of veggies work.  Can use Mayo or store bought or homemade dressing of any type.
I add whatever veggies I have.  Above is  brocolli, zucchini, cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, onion, carrots with a little pasta.  You truly don't have to add pasta - I do, to make it more of a meal.

Ham, tuna, chicken or egg salad are huge summer favorites.  Eat on bread or bun or just plate it up with some veggies and chips and you have a simple, cool and refreshing meal.
I often add frozen peas to my meat salads - my Mom always did and so do I.  It just adds a veggie to the mix and it is colorful!

VEGGIES
Most of us steam or cook our veggies.  Some veggies are better roasted - can do on the grill in the summer.  I like sautéed or fried veggies.  We all think about fried potatoes, fried/breaded okra (YUM), fried green tomatoes or fried zucchini.
I like to add a bit of butter or bacon grease to a pan and sautee up green beans.  They are so good, add a bit of chopped onion or bacon crumbles.  Fried corn (or hominy) with diced onion and peppers is totally yum.  Love fried/sautéed  asparagus.
The list goes on and on.  Get outside the box a bit and try fixing things new ways.  Trust me you may find a new family favorite.  You can fry any type of veggie.

Another easy and fun food is fried apples!!!  Melt a bit of butter - peel and slice apples (got some that need used up?) and then add a bit of brown sugar or sugar and maybe a dash of cinnamon and cook until tender.  OH MY they are so good.  Great as a side with pork or use as a dessert!

TURKEY BURGERS
Turkey, chicken or pork grind makes great burgers.  It tends to be softer in texture, so you  may need to add bread crumbs, oatmeal, or cracker crumbs.  If you want a 'beef burger' taste add beef bouillon to your mix.  Fry up as you would with any burger.  This can be a healthier version of meat and it can be cheaper with the price of beef now.
I found a package of ground turkey in the freezer this week that I got on a clearance and made that into burgers.  Made enough for my meal and to freeze for later - all from a pound of meat.
You can also substitute in chili, tacos, meatballs, sloppy Joe's, etc.
1.19 and I got burgers for several meals - doesn't get much cheaper than that! (empty package - forgot to take picture with turkey in it!)

RICE MIXES
The mixes that I pictured above can be used in so many ways for a non-meat type meal. (Of course you can add meat if desired).
I use as a side dish, mix into burgers or meatloaf, use in enchiladas, burritos, tacos, frittatas, you name it.  I often make soup in the fall/winter with these being my base - just add veggies, tomatoes, broth, meat - whatever you want to add.  Makes for a nice hearty and tangy soup.

PORTABELLA MUSHROOMS
Not just a shroom any more.  They are great to use as a substitute for burgers.  Grill or fry until tender and top with cheese and plop on a bun with all the fixings.
I like to stuff the bella's with a mixture of cream cheese, sour cream, a bit of shredded cheddar and jalapenos and bake or grill.  Oh my goodness these are so yummy.
I can make these as a main course.  Mushrooms are a wonderful substitute for meat - so hearty and meaty tasting.
You can stuff mushrooms with about any combo you can come up with and then bake/grill.  They sell stuffed Portabella mushrooms at the grocery and the are very expensive.  Make yourself a delicacy at home for much less $$


Hope this gives you and idea or two of lighter ways to eat this summer or just a lighter way to eat in general.  Get into using things in new and different ways - it really can expand your food adventures and your dollars!
ENJOY

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

FREEDOM = A Stocked Pantry

I truly believe that a fully stocked pantry (home) is FREEDOM.
As we have all seen this year STUFF HAPPENS - and then what?  Panic????  Why not just be prepared and go with the flow?

It sure pays to be prepared in all ways - not just your food pantry.  You need medical supplies.  You need paper products (TP) or alternatives.  You need pet supplies.  You need cleaning and antiseptic supplies.  You need food.  You may need cash.  You need seeds.
I know it sounds overwhelming and expensive - but it doesn't have to be.

Many people are on fixed incomes and stocking up seems impossible.  Do a little at a time.  Even if you can only do $5 or $10 extra a week - add to your supplies.  Each item you add - is something that will sustain you later.  Don't stop - don't slack - just DO IT!

I will give you an example from personal experience.  When hubs was here - we had to be careful to keep anyone away that was sick - getting the flue or even a cold could have had devastating affects for him.  I always had masks, gloves, and hand sanitizer on hand.  Honestly in all the years of having these things - they were only necessary a couple times.  BUT boy did they come in handy this year!!!!!  I had what I needed and I was not in a panic like so many trying to find supplies.  I still have ample supplies and I know I wasn't taken advantage of with price gouging!

Learn new recipes and open your mind to trying new recipes and alternatives.  Have good old basic recipe books on hand (you never know the libraries may close again).  It is nice to have your own - then you can mark special recipes or tag pages that you like.  Get creative.
Realize that you don't have to have meat everyday!  We have some plant foodies here and they are surviving just fine.  There are alternatives to meat for protein.
Go visit Belinda at Frugal Workshop (see side panel).  She has been listing a lot of recipes lately that are great for stretching the budget and the pantry.

Keep dry goods on hand.  Evaporated milk, buttermilk powder, powdered eggs.  You can get just about anything in powdered form - really!!!  Vinegar, butter, sour cream, honey, milk, eggs, horseradish...………..the list of powders goes on and on.  I have always found just about anything I can think of at Spices, Etc.  I get milk, buttermilk and eggs at the store - but other things can be hard to find at the grocery aisles.

Make sure you have cleaning supplies.  Soap, vinegar, alcohol, peroxide, laundry supplies, baking soda and health and beauty supplies.


NOW is the time to buy your holiday baking supplies.  I know that maybe prices can get cheaper at the holidays - but who says they will be there or you can get out to purchase them.  Get them now.  Be prepared.  I am not banking on the holiday season being 'normal' - but this girl wants to make it as normal as possible.  That includes some baking!!!!  That includes gifts - start NOW!

Think about buying extra veggie seeds for gardens.  Here in the U.S. it is about time for stores to be marking that stuff down.  Get garden supplies now - just in case.  They will be good for a long time.

I know we all get complacent and when things seem somewhat 'normal' and we tend to let our guard down.  You should have learned that is not what we should be doing.  We all need to be prepared for anything at anytime.

I keep seeing people on FB pages ask "I am new at this - what do I need to stock?"
My answer is always - stock what you use!!!!!!
Then they ask "how much should I have?"
Well - how long do you want to be prepared for?  A month, 6 months, a year or longer?  Decide how much of everything you use each week or month and then multiply it out.
Make sure you have FUN foods or treats as well.  If you are bored and stuck inside those fun things hidden away can make life seem more tolerable!

I know a lot of people are talking about this subject - but right now it is important.  We all need to make sure we take advantage of sales, clearance and deals.  Take advantage of gardens and fresh produce markets.
PLAN AHEAD - it doesn't get more clear than that!

IF "it hits the fan" AGAIN this year - do you want to depend on the stores to have what you need or do you want to depend on your PERSONAL store of goods?
Me - I want to have what I need and not depend on others.  I don't want the stress and worry about not finding things.  I want to stay home and be content - and just go on living a good life - no interruptions.
I want the FREEDOM my pantry supplies provide me.
Think about it.

GET BUSY and do SOMETHING - it will all be for the good in your future.
Do NOT be complacent.

Tomorrow: recipe ideas

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Nature - Pretties and Smiles

I have a busy day ahead, so I just want to put some pretties out there and hope it gives you a smile or two.
ENJOY
Lovelies out front
Rose Moss  - I have 5 pots of this - every color - it is so pretty
Regular eating tomatoes on vine - can't wait!!!
Roma tomatoes
Echinacea starting to bloom - loaded with buds.  Front and back yard both
Tons of tiger lilies blooming.  On the left is Coreopsis which will bloom soon - in foreground is phlox setting blooms.  Hopefully lots of purple soon!
Squirrel/bird planted and approved.  I have several coming up and blooming
Clematis just starting to bloom.  Normally they would be in full bloom.  This year the freeze we had in May killed all first buds - so finally re-budded.

My peonies only bloomed a bit as well.  I know it was because of freeze.  They were covered with big old buds when the freeze happened.  I did get to enjoy some - but most of the blooms/buds just dried up on the plant.
First set of grapevine did the same.  It finally re-leafed and now there are new bunches of grapes setting.  Not as many as usual - but looking forward to some.

Just a quick tour.  Have a wonderful day!
SMILE and be happy today - you have that choice!

Sunday, June 28, 2020

Weekly Wrap-Up 6/28

Happy Sunday all.  It is a gloomy, humid and wet last Sunday of June here.
We had storms and rain off and on yesterday.  Some rain predicted for each of the next 3 or 4 days and hot.
The rain is surely making the garden and plants grow.  They are thriving.  Nature's water is much better for the plants than hose water.

Enjoying watching all the animals around.  One night I had 2 adult and 4 baby racoons out back.  They were playing and scurrying around every where.  Up this tree and down and then up the other tree and down.  Big old opossum came walking by that night and the cats were just sitting on their chairs watching everything!  Bunnies were out playing and eating clover earlier.  Birds and squirrels and neighborhood cats visiting ...... it is a real menagerie out there.  My neighbor used to say I was "Alice in wonderland", now I am just "Jane of the jungle"!!!!!  LOL

We had a power outage Friday night in the neighborhood.  From the sounds of all the sirens, I imagine it was caused by a wreck somewhere close by.  My generator kicked on instantly and I was the only one with power!  Power was only out about an hour - but good to know I am covered.

Update:  The kids from two doors down came and apologized to me!  I don't believe it was their idea (teen just looked unhappy) - but they did apologize for being rude and for saying the things they said.  We had a nice talk out on the porch and I told them we were just all worried that they may do something that they can't take back and then they would have their lives ruined.  The young couple next door had a HUGE conversation with their Mom and told her she better start parenting - because that was her job, not theirs and not the neighbors.  We'll see.  Just figured I would let you all know.  It has been quiet this week!!!

This week:
  • Steamed & sautéed some fresh veggies that needed used up
  • Towered my potato plants - they are really growing - don't know if there will be potatoes, but plants are really pretty & growing
  • Repotted several house plants.  Some very old and leggy looking plants and some from planters I got  last spring.  Had the pots and soil on hand
  • Placed some starts from old plants in water to root as well 
  • Raked leaves 2X.  YES, raked - the tulip poplar always starts shedding in mid June and July - ugh!  Used the leaves as a mulch grass barrier behind the shed
  • Mowed the entire yard while it still was a bit cooler
  • Rain barrels are both full again!
  • Picked my first zucchini on Tuesday!!!  Looks like I will be eating zucchini a lot in upcoming days!  YAY - free food.  There are many coming on.
  • Made up an Aldi dirty rice mix and used it in 3 different ways for meals this week
  • Used some sausage in a skillet zucchini dish and then sliced up rest of sausage into (7) patties and froze for future use.
  • Put together a new bottle of dish soap and one of  shampoo, adding vinegar to both
  • Just doing all the normal every day stuff
  • Did go out to fill gas tank and saved .20/gal. with points
Meals this past week:
Steamed cauliflower and sautéed mushrooms/pepper & fried chicken/cornbread stuffing patty
Repeat of above
Dirty rice with a single sausage, green beans and cherry toms
Rice (leftover) & bean/cheese enchilada 'like' burritos  (topped burritos w/sauce)
Homemade veggie cheese burgers (using rice and beans in burger mix) & slaw
Zucchini/sausage/cheese skillet (threw in leftover green beans)
BLT sandwich and chips and salsa
Dirty rice with an indiv. size smoked sausage - love dirty rice
Zucchini, ground sausage, onion, salsa, a handful of pasta and cheese - YUM (having leftovers today!)

I have just been hanging out here at home.  Only left to get gas (didn't want to lose my points).  Did some porch sitting the first part of the week when the temps were cooler and watched the birds and hummingbirds.  Weeding garden and pulling weeds from flower beds have been my main activity and just visiting with all my nature and kitties.  Kitties know where to lay to stay the coolest - they sure are smart.
Not much exciting in my neck of the woods.

How was your week?  Have you harvested anything yet?  So many of you are in places that so far ahead in crops than here.
Look forward to hearing from you all.

Stay kind and helpful and positive.  Prayers that you are all safe and healthy.
Blessings from my humble little home to yours.

Thursday, June 25, 2020

Six Months - IN and OUT

Well, we are a little over six months into this year - and all I can say is what a ride it has been!
I am sure none of us would have thought so much negative would have happened  at this point, on January 1, 2020.  We all know stuff happens - but enough already!!

Six months from today is Christmas!!!!!!  Oh my goodness.
Have any of you  thought about it yet?  Has anyone started planning?  Has anyone started making or buying gifts?  I bet I can guess who has!!!!!  (Annabel is first on my mind - she is always getting ready!)
What do you plan to do this year?
We have no idea what things will be like then.  Hopefully family get togethers will be back to normal and the craziness of the world will be settled down.

I have never been an on-line shopper - may have to think about it this year.  Most everyone is getting older - so money and gift cards are ALWAYS appreciated.  There are only a few 'littles', so I think I can handle that.  
I will continue to can my special goodies that everyone likes.  I will make up jar recipes - those are always a hit.  Food products and restaurant gift cards are what many in my circle like to receive.  I still have some sewing projects in the back of my brain - so I may work on those as well.
I know it will be simple and most likely edible.  

As the young kiddos get older - it really is getting easier.  They love gift cards to their favorite shopping places, they love snacks, and they love going out to fast food places.  I can oblige!!!
Most every gift card I might want to get, can be found at my Kroger or Wal-Mart.  At Kroger - I can often get extra gas points when purchasing gift cards!!  Win-win.
Gift cards card be purchased over time and put back for the holidays.  They don't expire.  You can spread the expenses over time.  
The teenagers love their snack foods.  I like to make up some sort of 'basket' or 'bag' of their favorite goodies that can keep in their rooms - and not have to share!!!  LOL

Do you have special go to things that you are getting for the holidays?  Are you thinking of preparing ahead of time this year?
Will Christmas look different for you this year?

I think the grocery store and my garden will be my go to sources of gifts this year.  It will still be personalized, it will be tasty, and it will be frugal.  
That's my plan and I'm sticking to it!!!!!

What say you?

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Jump Start your Frugal Budget #2

Jump starting the budget - we all need to do that from time to time.    This time let's talk about EDUCATION!
We all need to take the time to educate ourselves in new ways - in old ways - in all ways!
We are never to old to learn new things.  I learn from you all every week.  Each single solitary person has their own mind and beliefs - and they need to share.  My goodness, if we all shared the knowledge that is in our heads we would all be in good shape.

Educate yourself about how sales work.  Know the cycles that the stores follow.  They have them - trust me.  Certain items go on sale at specific intervals that can be pretty well followed.  Watch and know what goes on sale at holiday times.  You can save so much money if you follow and watch and buy during these sales times.

Educate yourself about herbs and 'weeds'.  Herbs can be healing on many levels.  Natural healing is wonderful - read and learn what you can use and how to use it.  'Weeds' are not always weeds!  They can be food - the same with some flowers.  There are many books on herbs and their use available.  Type 'edible weeds' in your search engine and learn tons about the 'weeds' growing in your yard and how they can provide food and medicine for you and your family.

Educate yourself  on gardening.  You don't have to have a yard to grow SOME food.  Heck, you don't even have to have a patio.  You can grown lettuce, onions and herbs on your window sill.  You can regrow celery and romaine lettuce and green onions from scraps (bottoms) of store bought  products right there in your kitchen!
Understand that anything you re-use or grow is something you no longer have to buy.  Thus saving money!!!

Educate yourself on using things in new ways.  Kitchen scraps can be used to make compost.  Coffee grounds and egg shells can be used in your garden.  Vick's menthol rub can be used to deter mosquitos on your body outdoors.  Milk crates can be used as storage and as decorative storage in your home.  Door mounted cloth/plastic shoe racks can be used to hold small items - toys, food packets, health & beauty, etc.  Get creative with cooking and use things differently.
Decorate with what you have.  There is no limit to what can be reused in a new way.

Educate yourself about dehydrating and canning and freezing foods.  Figure out which is best for you or learn how to do all of them.  You can freeze, can and dehydrate store bought produce - it doesn't have to be home grown.  You can dehydrate frozen veggies and fruits - which saves you room in storage and you don't have to worry about loss of electricity.  There are many sites and many books that can teach you all of this.  
Go to the library!!!  It is your friend.  There are resources about everything there.  
Watch You Tube - my goodness you can learn how to fix anything - you can learn how to can - to dehydrate - to sew - to crochet - to garden - to prep - to fix a washing machine, change the oil in a car, ANYTHING!!!!
If you go to You Tube - type in whatever you are interested in - in the search space and you will find hundreds of videos on that subject.
I love looking at the videos of people's long term pantries and watching how other people are staying frugal.  So many ideas.
Follow BLOGS and VLOGS and learn from others.  There are many helpful blogs out there.  
Use you computer to LEARN - not just to follow communicate with others.  The world is at your fingertips!!!!!

Educate yourself on medical problems/solutions.  I have a couple helpful natural medical books that I keep on hand.  You just never know when you may need that information.  You may not be able to go to a doctor or get meds - know what you can do to help yourself.

Educate yourself on how to make your own cleaning products.  SO many natural things you throw away can be used to clean.  Many natural things are antiseptic (including herbs).  Learn the natural and frugal ways.

Educate yourself on living off grid.  WHAT IF the grid went down?  Would you be able to survive?  Do you know different ways of cooking, or staying warm or cool?  Something to think about.

What you know - may become your most valuable resource some day.  Learn everything you can.  Keep reference books on hand.  Keep cookbooks.  Keep books on canning, freezing, dehydrating, gardening.  Keep books on "How To"....  Make yourself an educational library at your home.  You may be glad you did someday.
I hope this gives you something to think about and maybe some ways to help yourself in the future.
We need to prepare for anything.  Better to be prepared and have knowledge than not!
Education  and knowledge IS frugal!!!!!


Next week we will talk about expenses - and what we can do to help our budgets.


Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Mis-behaving and a New 'Title'

Today I am going to tell you a story.  It is a true story and a sad sort of story.
FIRST - background.
I live in an older (1947) neighborhood.  It is mostly quiet.  It is older but nice.  Everyone takes care of their homes and yards.  We are mainly an over 50 (age) neighborhood - with the exception of about 4-5 families.  Our block is a very long block and our houses are fairly close to each other.  We front porch sit, we 'fence' talk, and most everyone has pets.
Peace has been the normal for years.

The house 2 doors down from me, seems to have trouble keeping people.  When people rent there - we have not had good luck.  There is almost always something that happens there.  It is a nice well kept house and the rent isn't cheap. (Realize we do have several rentals around and they are all long timers).  Personally, I think the house is being 'haunted' (so to speak) by the original homeowner.  She was very particular - but she was a nasty/hateful woman.  She died there.  It seems there is just bad energy there.

OK - now up to date.
We have a woman and her 3 children (approx.  8, 11, and 14) and her boyfriend living there since March 1.  MOST of the time the kids are ok - but other times they are a horror story!  They can be so disrespectful and they cause fights with other kids.  These kids ALWAYS start it.  (there were never fights before EVER).  The language that comes from their mouths is horrid!!!!!  They are OK as long as an adult is home - but often both adults are both gone.
Mind you, it has become known that the boyfriend is an abuser (to them all).  She has been with him 6 years.  He has lost 4 jobs since living here (March).  He has cut grass twice since March!
They young couple next door have kind of become confidants to the kids.  That is good - they need someone to turn to.  So we all hear the stories.  We all try to be kind to the kids and speak nicely to them and use moments to 'teach'.

Sunday the young couple was camping (I watch the dog).  The kids were home alone.  I am in my house on the phone and hear all kinds of commotion outside (2 doors down).  The person on my phone call even asked if everything was ok. (that loud).
I hang up and decide to go out and adult!!!  These kids and some from the next block were carrying on.  The other kids were there - though not being loud or abusive.  I went out on porch and told them to leave and told the neighbor kids to be quiet and get inside.
20 minutes later - it all starts again (this is the worst altercation since they have been here).  Younger boy had a metal baseball bat and 11 year old had a hammer.  Older girl was in the street screaming at the other kids and name calling and cussing.  The other kids even said that a knife had been pulled on them as well.

I tell the other kids to get home or I would go talk to their parents and I would call the police on ALL of them.  Well, they left and haven't been back! (smart kids).  The other kids, started giving me grief.  I told them this crap was going to stop and it was going to stop now.  Threatening people and carrying on like that in what WAS a peaceful neighborhood, wasn't going to tolerated any more.  Next time I will call the police!  Older girl was like "so - go ahead".  I told them I was going to talk with the adults when they got home.  She says "Mom is almost home".  Knowing myself I would NEVER say anything to the boyfriend - I said how about I talk to the man of the house.  "Mom is almost home" kept being said!
Mom shows up and doesn't even get out of car until the girl is at the car screaming -  "we didn't do anything, they started it, not our fault...….."  AND "that mean old b**^^  said she would call the police".  They then get in the car and Mom drives off - she really didn't want to talk to me!!


Yep - guess that it my new title!!!  "Mean old b**^^".
Mom sees me standing in the drive.  Does she tell the kids to be quiet - no.  Does she come and ask me what happened - no.  Does she tell her daughter not to talk like that - no.  Does she apologize to me for what her child has said - no.
I don't really care  - I just know this whole situation is so sad.  These kids have been raised to think this kind of behavior is ok and normal.  There is no discipline from Mom whatsoever.  IF there is discipline from boyfriend - it is REALLY BAD (from what we hear).
I can't tell you how creepy all the neighbors think he is.  Like wouldn't be surprised if there were bodies in the basement creepy!!!!!

I tell you IF anyone one of us actually witness him do something bad to those kids - police and CPS will be called.  No one here is going to tolerate that.  We just haven't actually witnessed it.

I guess my point is - this is my quiet little neighborhood.  One family - managing to disturb the peace of it all.  Just one - stop and think how many times and how many families this is in reality!!  This happens all over the place.  MAYBE this is why so much bad stuff is happening every where.
I just wish parents would parent, and teach their children respect and manners and teach them to be good people.
So sad.  The whole situation is sad.
Sadly, many people came out of their houses and were standing on porches watching and listening and nobody else said or did anything.  That saddened me - why wouldn't you stand up to and for kids?

If standing up to these little bullies (and obviously big ones) and reaching out to parents and even police brings back peace to the neighborhood - I guess I will wear the badge of MEAN OLD B**^^ proudly!

Keep your eyes open and reach out when possible.  You just may be the one that can make a difference.

Sunday, June 21, 2020

Weekly Wrap-Up 6/21

Good morning my friends.  Happy summer here in our neck of the woods.  Summer Solstice was yesterday afternoon and we are officially in summer!  In my opinion it happened a while ago - or so it has felt!
We did have a couple cooler low humidity days and they were lovely.  Now we are back to heat and humidity.  Looks like rain today.  It is needed for sure.  It seems funny to say that after the wet spring we have had.
It rained Friday evening (shower) for about 10-15 minutes and I stood out in the driveway.  I took off my glasses and stood there, face and hands looking skyward - after it ended I put on my glasses and saw that a couple neighbors were watching!  OOPS.  They all gave me the thumbs up and a wave!  Something about a rain shower that brings out the kid in me.  It felt so good.

The garden is growing well.  Tomatoes have lots of blooms and many tiny tomatoes.  I should be able to pick a zucchini in a couple days.  Everything is growing!
It smells so heavenly out back.  The yards around here are full of clover and it smells lovely.
The birdies are sure enjoying the bird baths!  I have to fill up the one just outside the bedroom window about 4X a day.  All the birds drink and bathe - but the blue jays and the robins LOVE taking a dip in the pool!  They are so fun to watch.
I am finally seeing more and more hummingbirds!!!  YAY!

My week:
  • I called in an order to the feed store and went to pick up
  • I finally got to have a one on one meeting with the tax preparer.  I had it planned to go earlier and they closed (thank goodness we got extensions).  I am glad to have that done.  First time in 34 years - I get a refund.  It all had to do with income and health insurance cost
  • Mowed the front yard - back is fine till this week
  • Filled all the feed bins
  • Cut another old t-shirt into hankies
  • I did a lot of cleaning.  All glass/mirror surfaces inside this week. 
  • Cleaned nooks and crannies in kitchen - beside both sides of frig.  It is like 2" on each side (store cookie pans on one side and holiday platters on other).  What a cumbersome job!  Dust bunnies? No.  Dust rabbits?  Yes!  Used a wet cloth and a yard stick while laying on the floor - oh my what a sight that had to be!
  • I am dog setting again with the neighbor doggie.  They went camping
  • I walked to a yard sale a half block up the road the other day.  I bought some indiv. baking dishes - not sure if I will keep or gift.  Brand new, never opened - Kohls price tag $34.99.  I paid $5
  • Been sorting through more paper work - so much
  • Got to have AC off a few days - and windows opened
  • Just doing all the normal stuff - laundry in cold, hanging laundry to dry,  making use of what I have, drinking water & Kool-Aid, using dehumidifier water in laundry and using rain water as much as possible (finally had to use the hose this week), staying home.
  • Picked a bouquet of various lillies
Meals this past week:
Cheeseburger and fries
Goulash - used a leftover burger chopped in it
Bean, cheese and salsa tostadas
Baked fish sandwich and coleslaw (home canned)
Homemade Subway sandwich
Homemade chicken nugget rolls
Chef salad topped with chopped leftover nuggets and a smoothie

Homemade Subway-like sandwich - roll from the freezer
Chicken nugget rolls - used hotdog buns

What have you all been up to this week?  Any deals or are you staying home as well?
How is the garden doing?

I keep thinking about going to the Dollar Tree and Menards/Home Depot - and keep talking myself out of it!  I do what I need to, but still not making a lot of trips out.
I guess it doesn't hurt a thing - I don't really need anything - and I am sure I would shop if I went out!  Oh well, when the times is right I will know it.

I hope you all have a wonderful week.  I keep you all in my prayers and wish you all health and safety.
Blessings from my humble home to yours.

Thursday, June 18, 2020

Moments and Change

Well, I have been thinking a lot lately (oh no!).  Sometimes we all get in those reflective moods.  We think about the 'what ifs'.  We think about what could be.  We think about where we are headed.

We all know a moment in time can change the world we know.  YES, just one moment.  In that moment everything changes, and NOTHING will ever be the same.
I am starting to finally realize how true that saying  is - that the only constant thing in our lives is CHANGE.  It happens - like it or not.
What do we do?  Do we sit and fill ourselves with regret?  Do we give up?  Do we trudge forward?  Do we realize we have a purpose?  Do we keep on trying?

Well, I hope you don't give up!  Naturally we will do all the others.  You may have lost your love, you may have lost your income, you may have lost your health - and so on.  Often that means you have lost your direction.

I think I am learning and growing, and I want to offer some words of hope.  As bad as it gets at times - it is all part of what we are supposed to experience.  It is all part of what makes us who we are.
I have been through a lot - but I wouldn't trade my experiences.  YES - absolutely, I wish I still had my loved ones - but I am so glad I HAD them in my life - they all helped form me.  
I am who I am today because of EVERY experience I have had in my life.

If you do something to help another or yourself - it may just take a brief moment - but life is made of moments.  Everything can change (good or bad) in a moment.  Those tiny moments when you reach out or smile or touch another life - can forever change someone.  
Never give up and never give in.
You are worth fighting for.  If you are sad and depressed about loss - just remember those before you, and those who are here with you today - go forward for them and FOR YOU!  
It takes tremendous COURAGE to take ACTION.

We all know that this life will not last forever (on earth).  Make your life count through the journey you take.  
You can help choose the journey - so make it a good one.  Make this life count and leave a legacy for others to follow.

MOMENTS MAKE A LIFE - so make it as good as possible.
Blessings my friends.


Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Staying Frugal and Still Re-decorate

Yes, you can re-decorate and stay frugal.  You really do not have to spend a bunch of money to make changes.  Small changes can make you feel happy.

PAINT
*This is one of the cheapest fixes.  Paint can make you feel happier, make things feel fresh and new, and totally change the look of everything.  Paint can be expensive - so get creative.
*You can mix like types of paint (latex or oil - do not mix these together).  If you have a color and want to lighten it - add white.  Use partial cans and mix together for a custom color.
*Ask friends and family if they have any extra paint.
*Paint just an accent wall - if not enough paint for an entire room.
*Check with the paint dept. for cans of 'mistake' paint.  Paint the was not mixed properly for customer.  These are usually much cheaper.
*Paint or white/color wash non-antique furniture.  This is easy and makes a piece look new and fresh
*Get samples at the store (less than $4) and use to paint trim, doors, any small area.

USE WHAT YOU HAVE
*Put your treasures out to be seen or used.  What are you waiting for?  ENJOY them.  Odds are the next generation won't care about them like you do - so enjoy them!
*Frame family photos, kids art (some are better than classics!), pretty pics from calendars or magazines, card fronts.  Frame pretties like old doilies or memorabilia.
*Think of using unlikely and unconventional items.
*Use an old frame and add a padded back or painted piece  of peg board and display pretty jewelry.
Old advertising matchbook covers that my Dad had collected.  Framed and on display in the kitchen.
*Frame old documents or awards.

RE-ARRANGE
This is by far the cheapest thing you can do.  Re-arrange any furniture that you can.  Take things out of storage and change them out.  Get creative.  It makes you feel good to change things up.

RE-PURPOSE
*Make some pillow covers out of old sweater or shirt
*Use sheets to make pillow covers, window coverings, furniture throws, shower curtain, etc..
*I have an old bench (bought years ago at a yard sale) and I use it as a side table
*Use pictures, boxes, books, pretty boxes, etc. in different locations or in new ways
*Use old table cloths, pretty hankies, old aprons, etc. as window coverings
Above my headboard.  Some may not think these things go together - but I like it.  All that matters!!
Old ammo crate, old books, old pictures, and family pictures - I display what I like

If you don't have enough storage areas - think outside the box.  You can get creative for a little money.  I have no room for cabinets where my stove sits.  It is in a cubby of sorts.  There was no countertop either side - well I used leftover pieces of the counter and installed (with brackets) and Rubbermaid drawer stacks and solved the problem.
As you can see, I now have room for utensils and spices on each side.  The drawer stacks JUST fit in each side and gives me drawers for extra spices, utensils, storage of all kinds of things.  I also keep my homemade recipe books in the green/red box (pretty shoe box).  You could see through the drawers - so I added black poster board inside each drawer and now everything is hidden.
**I also have NO electric outlet on this wall area.  I ran an extension cord with several outlets up behind stove from the basement.  On left in pic see that white object on counter top?  That is the plug in and I can use my mixer or a crockpot there if needed.  (Had to get creative).  I could even add a light if I so desired.

OTHER
*Think about changing out knobs or handles.  I know they can be expensive - but look at rehome stores or at yard sales and thrift stores.   MAKE new pulls or handles - kids room - little toys, cuts of wood, old utensils..... get creative!
*Change out area rugs.  You can many times find them at a thrift store or yard sale.  I have purchased 2 (living  & dining rooms) before at Big Lots.  Discount stores often have lots of pretty designs for little money - Ollies, Big Lots, even places like Menards, Home Depot - just look around for inexpensive items.

There are just no limits as to what you can do to change things up a bit.  It doesn't have to cost much - if anything.  Get creative and think outside the box.
Paint and moving furniture are your 2 most frugal changes - but there is so much that can be done.

Give yourself a boost and change your indoor world up a bit.
No money - no problem.

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Seeds and Food for the Future

We all work very hard to keep our pantries stocked.  We all work hard to can and freeze what we can.
We all prepare supplies for the future and for the fact that those supplies may be hard to get some day.
We all prepare for something.
Do you have seeds for the future gardens and your future food?

This year people seemed to have a hard time finding garden seeds in some areas.  Many of the on-line ordering places ran out.  People suddenly got all interested in growing food - as stores were lacking for a moment.  I don't think this will last for the general public (I wish it would), but for those of us who work at being prepared for anything - this is something you should think about.

You can buy cheap seeds or expensive seeds.  Keep them in a cool and dry spot.  Seeds last for several years if kept cool and dry.
I have several containers with seeds - both store bought and 'harvested'.  We had several empty containers that contained wet wipes - and I utilized those to hold my packets.  Works great.
Many people vacuum seal and keep seeds in the freezer.  That works well.
Harvest seeds yourself - it is best to harvest seeds from old heirloom varieties.  You will always get the same product over and over with heirloom seeds.
Crossed or engineered seeds - you just never know what you may end up with.  Sure you will get a tomato or a pepper - but what type?  It is usually a surprise. 

Did you know there is a world seed bank?  The largest is located 430 deep down in a mountain just above the Arctic Circle.  It has about 930,000 varieties of food crop seeds!!!!  Heck there are about 200,000 varieties of rice.
This is often called the Doomsday Vault.  Most people think about doomsday as being the end of the earth as we know it - well doomsday can hit various regions of the world at any time, and has.
Think about catastrophic weather events that happen.  Floods, fire, disease or insect infestation, earthquake, tsunamis, just complete devastation.  Crops and seeds can be lost.  That is why we have such reserves.
They also keep old and wild varieties of seeds that are no longer in much use.  

There are about 1,700 seed vaults around the world.  The range in size - but the Doomsday Vault is by far the largest and most secure.
https://time.com/doomsday-vault/
Go to this site if you are interested in reading about the seed vault.  It is quite interesting.

picture of the entrance of the Doomsday Vault

If you harvest your own seeds - you need to clean (wash) them  - then lay them out to dry completely!!!  That is vital - they have to be thoroughly dry before storing or they will mold.  Package up in jars or packets.  Keep them cool and dry.  Make sure you mark each package with exactly what you have.
Buy seeds when you find them.  Put them back for future use.  I know seed packets have  a year on them - it usually says packaged for 2020 (or whatever date).  They will last much longer.  Now maybe not every seed will germinate 5 years from now - but some will.  I have seeds that my Dad harvested well over 38 years ago - and I have tested them at various times and they are still viable!!!!!!

Think about getting seeds for things you EAT - not necessarily what you GROW at present day.  You never know - someday you may have to grow things you don't grow today.  Seeds would also be a great barter tool!!!!

I don't know that I want to be around IF things ever get this bad - but if I am I sure want to be prepared or have supplies to help others.
Plan ahead my friends.  Sad to say - you can NEVER be to prepared.

Seeds are plants and food of the future.
FOOD IS LIFE


Sunday, June 14, 2020

Weekly Wrap-Up 6/14

Hello everyone.  Hard to believe it already Sunday again.  The weeks go by so quickly.
I sure did not want to get out of bed this morning - it felt so comfy.  It is quite cool outside and I had the window open and the fan on - my goodness the bed was cozy and comfortable!

Lilies have started.  The Tiger lilies are covered with 100's of buds and will begin opening any day.
The hot and humid finally broke for a few days.  It is fantastic - and wonderful to have the windows open and fresh air coming in.  The kitties are sure enjoying the cooler weather.
The heat will be returning quickly this week.  We haven't had rain for several days and none predicted until the end of the week.  Water barrels getting good use and the hose got hooked up this week!
I haven't seen a lot of hummingbirds yet this year.  Every now and then a ruby throated baby shows up - just not a lot of activity yet.

I have blooms on the tomatoes and squash.  The cucumbers are growing.  The potato experiment seems to be working - plants are growing!  Pepper plants are still very small.

See the baby zucchini?  I have a few out there and there are lots of flowers!!!!

My week:
  • I made a batch of tuna salad, faux crab salad, and fruit salad this week
  • Made a chocolate pound cake - my goodness it was good (part saved for another time).  It was from a Tastefully Simple mix I received for Christmas gift
  • Mowed and trimmed
  • Did lots of weeding in flower beds and weeded the garden
  • Picked up what seemed to be a gazillion sticks and limbs this week.  We had unbelievable wind for 2 days (40-50 mph).  Sticks, sticks every where
  • I 'found' several sleeveless tops I had forgotten about in the back part of the closet.  YAY - like finding new clothes!!!
  • Got to have A/C off for a few days and windows open
  • Received a gift from an old friend this week (via UPS).  It is a nice wind chime with a special plaque  "In Memory of Glen" and his birth and death dates.  It is just so lovely and so thoughtful.
  • I worked on rearranging and organizing a part of my extra pantry storage.  Found many things that will be used soon.  I love getting things neat and organized.
  • I went out 1 day this week and ran to Kroger.  I wanted lettuce and tomatoes (still waiting on mine).  I got some deals!
Polaner sugar free grape jam .49 jar.  I got 4 of these for my sister.  Dated 2022.
6 boxes Lindor truffles (best date 2/28/2021) for 1.99 each - for Christmas baskets
Peppers - .99/bag of 2
Pure honey crisp apple juice 1.09 bottle.  Got 3
  • I ate a lot of popcorn as a snack this week, as well as dill pickles and fruit smoothies (not all at once!!).  Quite a combination - but for some reason I have been craving all these things.
  • All the normal stuff - making Kool-Aid, also drinking water, laundry in cold and line dried, airing house, cooking from home, etc.
  • I did several outdoor projects this week.  I worked on the ramp out front and cut some rails that were getting bad.  My neighbor helped with that project.  The inside upright rails had wood going bad - so we lowered those rails - still safe but not as high.  Just did this to make it look better until I decide what I plan to do with ramp.
Meals this past week:
Many were easy and cool - when it was hot!

Tuna salad with tomatoes and chips
Made myself a sampler platter with lots of goodies
Meat/cream cheese and pickle roll-ups and a fruit salad shake
Crab salad on a toasted bagel - 2X
Chili cheese dogs and chips
Chili sauce added to  mac n cheese with cut up hotdog added - side salad
My sampler platter - tuna stuffed mushroom caps, cauliflower, carrots, pickle and olives and a little cheese.  It took a couple hours - but I ate it all!  It was tasty.

How was your week?  Is your garden growing?  Staying frugal?
I am now over 3 months in on this tank of gas in the Blazer.  Still haven't hit the half tank mark!!  Crazy.
Give us a shout out and let us all know what you have been up to.  We learn so much from one another.

Stay safe, healthy, kind and appreciative.
Blessings from my humble little home to yours.



Thursday, June 11, 2020

Jump Start your Frugal Budget #1

Let's start a few discussions on jump starting that frugal budget again.  Many have recently had a loss of income and their budgets have changed.  Many have spent money recently that they may not have spent - had they not stayed home.  Many have been ill and just lost a grasp on things.
There are many reasons that folks are having to look at things differently and we all need a kick in the pants every now and then to get back on budget!

Today is about cleaning out those freezers and pantries and actually doing an inventory and seeing what you ACTUALLY have.
I was recently talking to a friend that had been laid up with an injury for many months.  Her hubby was doing the shopping for them.  It sounds like he did pretty well and she always had him a list - but when it came to putting things away - well maybe he needed a little help!  LOL
She is up and moving now and finding things that she didn't know she had.  Good time to clean it all out and inventory (which she has done).

Sometimes we get busy and come in from the store and just stick things in the pantry or freezer or frig and guess what???  They get lost in the shuffle.
There is nothing frugal about things going to waste. We need to be more mindful - and that is a huge help to the budget.

Go through your freezer and straighten it up and do an inventory.  It is wise to put like items together.  Chicken in one spot, beef in another, pork in another.  Frozen veggies /fruit in another spot.  It makes it much easier when you need something.  When you make an inventory sheet (use a notebook) - it might be wise to right it down as to HOW MUCH of each item and WHAT SHELF.  Life is so much easier that way.
I recently went through the freezer and found so many things I had forgotten about.  I found faux crab meat that had been in there for ages.  It was vacuum sealed, so still good.  I used some this week to make crab salad.  Tasted as yummy as the day I bought it.
KNOW WHAT YOU HAVE and USE IT!!!!!!!
This also gives you an idea of what you need to add to your stock.
I know in many areas people try to use up their freezer inventory in the summer, because of extreme weather events and loss of electricity.  I hope that works out well for them this year, as prices are increasing and supplies have gone down a little (I believe it will all work out  eventually).  
Come fall and winter we all need to be prepared JUST IN CASE - we have seen this year that we never know what might happen.  Do not get yourself into a panic mode - be prepared!!!!!

Go through the pantries - and sort things and inventory.  REMEMBER - "best if used by" does not equal expired!!!!!!!  Use the ones that are past date or close to date first!  I have actually found and used things that were a year or more past date and they are fine!  The stuff in those packages/cans doesn't know the date!!!!
Put like items together.  Have an area for baking goods, fruit, soups, veggies, canned meat, etc.  This makes life so much easier and nothing gets misplaced.
Don't forget to go through your cleaning supplies, health and beauty and medical - add when and where you can.  Do not get left behind.  Remember how things got a few months ago.

Clean out that frig.  It is so easy for half/partial jars to get shoved to the back.  Things get forgotten.  Take things out - wash it down - a put things back in some reasonable order.  Use up the older things.  Partial jars of dressing and such - maybe mix them together and come up with a new blend.  Use them in a recipe.  Use it up.
I have apples that are getting 'old'.  I peeled and used several this week in fruit salad and the remainder will be fried up with some butter and brown sugar for a tasty treat.  Don't waste food.

Hopefully you can grow a little something.  It may be lettuce in a window box or it may be a tomato plant in a pot.  Everything you can grow is a huge savings on your food budget and it is so fresh and healthy for you!
IF you grow a garden and can/freeze - inventory your home canned goods NOW!  Know how much you have of what.  Know what it is you need to work on this year.  No need to can spaghetti sauce if you have tons of it - make something else.

Get creative with your cooking.  Try new recipes and have fun - experiment.  Get out those recipe books - get online and find new recipes - get books from the library - ask friends and family for recipes.  Write down the ones you like (or mark the recipe book).  Organize your recipe files.



Our food is a huge budget buster or budget maker!  It can go both ways.
DON'T WASTE IT!  Use it up!!!  Make it do!!!  OR you may have to do without!!
Get your pantries and freezers in order.  Know what you have and use it.  Learn what you need to add.
Don't wait till the last minute and don't ever get in a position to panic.  
Let's be prepared.
Being prepared and organized is HUGE  for the frugal budget!!!!!


Wednesday, June 10, 2020

An Idea or 2 or 3 From Me to You

We all like new ideas on using what we have or finding new things that benefit in a positive way.
I have a couple ideas for you today.  I hope they help someone or give you an idea or two that you can use.

The other day I was putting out a new mail box cover (that I was gifted  sometime back) to pretty up the plain old mailbox.  The cover comes with magnets along box sides at the bottom.  They just didn't seem to working all that well.  I needed a couple more magnets on each side.
I came in and started looking around - no magnets.  Then I REMEMBERED!!!!!!  I had several of those old business card magnets that we have all received over the years.
For some reason I had kept them in a bag together.

I cut these into strips and then used a glue gun to attach.  It worked perfectly!!!!!!  NEVER throw away those promotional business card magnets - they will surely come in handy at some point.

I mentioned I had poison ivy in my Sunday post.  I also mentioned coal tar soap.  I have used this for years and it is very healing for many types of skin irritations.  Coal tar or pine tar both work.  I find at any health store that sells soap.
The soap is black.  As you can see in the background I also have tea tree oil soap.  I also keep and use soap made with Aloe Vera  daily.  These soaps are all very healing.  You might want to look into getting one or 2 of these.  I just love having a more natural alternative to hard and brash soaps on hand for my face and body for daily use.
Lana commented on Sundays post about a product called Warrior from Hopewell Oils.com as well for severe poison ivy.  I haven't checked that out yet, but plan to.  Love having options.

For years and years I saved all the birthday (and other) cards that we received.  I recently went through and sorted and saved a few special ones - but the rest I carefully cut the fronts off.  I will reuse those for making my own card fronts.  I always keep the fronts from Christmas cards and use them as gift tags the next year or to use for making lists.
I also bought some little books of prints a few years back that I came across while de-cluttering.  These will be used for making cards as well.
I got this idea a long time back from reading Annabel on The Bluebirds Are Nesting.
I have always kept packs of card /photo stock printer paper on hand - you can use a whole sheet or half, depending on the size card you want to make.  I also always have lots of envelopes (I get many at yard sales for pennies).
Just add you pretty picture to the front and your sentiment can be written inside.
You can use pretty pictures from magazines (Birds and Bloom would be cool) or pictures from calendars or even pages from books.  Actual photos can be used as well.  Use double sided tape to adhere your pictures to cardstock.  Glue could be used - but that may be very noticeable.
Get creative and make your own original cards for any occasion.
A packet of stock will last quite a while (or any heavy paper stock).  Always be on the lookout for envelopes at thrift stores or yard sales.
It is fun getting a little creative.

Lastly, I thought I would share something I got in the mail the other day.
On June 2 I did a post called "It Takes So Little" - about how we can all do something to make life easier/brighter for others.
Then I got this letter in the mail.  I have no idea who this person is.  It is hand written and hand addressed.  It was addressed to me (just my name - not Glen as would be in the phone book) and not occupant.
Click on picture to better be able to read.

Is that not the sweetest thing?  I wonder how many she mailed.  I wonder why me.  I just love the idea of spreading a bit of hope and love - reaching out.
I show this as it may be something that others may want to do.  Anonymously send a letter or card to someone with a word of hope.  That could absolutely change their day, week, or month.
Such a lovely idea.

I hope that this gives you an idea or two to recycle things or get new uses out of things.
Stay positive and stay blessed.