Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Personal Responsibility for Sustainable Future

Today's post is an observation of life.  I know everyone may not agree with me, and that is ok.  I do believe that many that visit here often, will.  I think so many of us are of the same mindset.

I believe that many are starting to come around to  a transformation to a more sustainable, simple and frugal lifestyle.  It seems to be coming about, as I feel people are just tired of debt and waste and miserable environments.  Hopefully, we seem to be going BACK to a more simple life.  We seem to be more concerned about the environment.
Now to listen to many we should have FREE everything.  Free schooling, free health care, free food, free college, free, free, free! (****Not trying to be political - and don't want this to turn political)
There is NOTHING free - we all pay in some way - usually big ways.  This type of thinking is NOT embracing personal responsibility.  We each need to be responsible for ourselves!

Advertisers tell us we need stuff!  "You are your stuff".  "Your stuff is you".  "Your stuff is better than their stuff".  "Buy more stuff".  We are bombarded 24/7.  The advertisers come into our homes, our devices, our vehicles...…..   They make it look so glamorous - like you get the stuff and don't worry how you will pay for it!  Just charge it!  Worry about that later.
What an illusion we are being fed.

Greed, envy and lust have transformed into mindless consumerism.  In spite of what we are led to believe - bills will come due and retailers will want their money.

Not only are people  creating horrible debt, but they are creating mountains of trash and people who are irresponsible in so many ways.  I just find this to be a terribly sad situation.

We can all live better with less - less money, less stuff, less stress, less aggravation, less complication, less waste, etc.
Less fast food and more slow and deliberate food.
Less processed food and more natural home grown food.
Less materialism and more re-use and creativity.
Less poisons and chemicals in the earth and more natural ways.
Less working mindless hours and more family time.
It seems we are paying more, doing more, working more and somehow getting less!  WHY?  The better idea should to be to do more with less!
Have more joy, more beauty, more wisdom, more health, more fun, etc.

This is NOT about  being poor.  A simple, sustainable and frugal lifestyle is for everyone!!!!!!  Rich, poor and all who are some where in between.  Actually the poorest are the ones who can teach us the best lessons.

YOU have control of your kitchen.
YOU have control of your checkbook.
YOU have control of your purchases.
YOU have control of your decisions.
YOU have control of your immediate environment.

Think about the last stuff you bought that you just had to have.  Is it as important and nice now as it was in your mind?  How much per hour do you make?  How many hours did you have to work to get that item?  How many taxes did you have to pay to earn that money?  That is part of your life you will never get back - for stuff!!!!!

Our world is changed one person, one household at a time.  We ALL need to be the CHANGE we want to SEE!!
We need more people willing to take the personal responsibility to create a better future - instead of the one that is being created by a world of excess and bad choices.
Let's be the change!!!!

*NO Politics please

Sunday, February 16, 2020

Weekly Wrap-Up 2/16

Good morning all.  Hope you are all well and safe this lovely day.
For all our readers here in U.S. we are something like 32 days till Spring!  Here's hoping!  Seriously, here in my region we have had a really mild winter, but I am more than ready to get out and do something outside without dealing with the mud and the cold!

I am seeing so many different types of birds at the feeders.  I am seeing some I haven't seen for a few months.  That is a good sign.  I have daffodils poking through the ground.  They are about 2" tall.  The berry briars have red stems.  All will be back to life soon.  THEN we will be griping about the heat, mowing, pulling, etc.!!!!!  No making us happy.

We have had cold, super cold, snow and rain this week.  Woke to 2*F on Thursday - yep that was cold.  It hurt to breathe.  Today should be up in the 40's.  Crazy weather.
The birds sure have LOVED the heated bird bath this week.  The water is above freezing - but not hot.  They would come get a drink and then sit and just warm themselves with the steam!  It was busy constantly for 2 days!  Just so sweet.

                                                   I think my garden angel was shivering!!!!

My week:
  • Filled all the feed bins before the super cold came in.  Filled all feeders
  • Made a batch of squirrel treats to help fill in with food (was running low on corn again)
  • Refilled my ice melt container - so I don't have to lug around a heavy bag (I keep a gallon ice cream container full)
  • Made a big batch of rice.  Froze part plain - for some other meal.  Made some fried rice with part
  • Dropped off a bag of items at church thrift store.  Got some older free bread for the birds and I received a 2lb. bag of yellow split peas for FREE (I will never go hungry)
  • Needing corn for squirrels by Saturday and I really didn't want to drive all the way to feed store.  I happened to remember the garden center.  I have know the owners most of my life - so I don't know why I never thought of it before.  Much closer.  Got corn and peanuts.
  • Just around the corner from the garden center is a super Kroger.  I have only been there a couple times (the parking lot is wacky).  It is like WM - has everything.  I just walked around to have something to do.  I did buy 2 - .99 bags of oranges and 2 cream cheese.
  • Just doing all the normal stuff.  Cooking from scratch, using what I have, drinking water and fruit juice, straightening and de-cluttering, just doing odds and ends.   SO BORING!!!!!
Meals this past week:
Leftover beef/cheesy mac with beans added
Chicken & dumplings (small Sweet Sue can) and mashed potatoes, green beans (from freezer)
Grilled cheese and tomato soup
Veggie fried rice
Soft tacos
Chili (from freezer) and cheese and crackers
Grilled Rueben
                                      Homemade veggie fried rice with some left to freeze for later!

Nothing exciting again this week.  I heard about a new resale shop just a mile or so away and plan on going there in the next week or two.   They don't call themselves a thrift store but resale store.  They appear to have everything.  Sounds like a fun day.  The orchard is re-open for the next 2 weeks to get rid of fall stock.  May go there as well.  Just trying to come up with something to keep me busy.  I have a couple days coming up to watch the neighbors dog while they go out of town (he stays at his house - I just feed and let him out).  I have a wedding the last day of the month - so maybe the days till spring will pass quickly.

How was your week?  Are you staying on track with spending and your 20 challenge?  Are you doing anything exciting or different to pass the time?
Look forward to hearing from everyone.

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

Thursday, February 13, 2020

Quick Pantry Fixes

Some days we just don't feel like cooking.  Some days we are busy.  Some days our pantries are getting low on supplies.  Some days we have don't have money to shop.  Some days we just need a new idea!!!!
Here are a few quick fixes from the pantry for your someday!

1 lb. ground beef (or whatever ground you have)
1 pkg. stuffing mix (like Stovetop or cheap brand or home mix)
1 C water
Mix all three ingredients together and form into  muffin tins.  Bake at 375* for about 35 minutes.  Nice size for individual servings and easy to freeze.
**Slice horizontally to make leftover meatloaf sandwiches!!!

Approx. 1 lb. ground meat - depending on whatever else you use
diced peppers, onions, etc.
1 can baked beans or chili beans (or whatever you have)
1 pkg. taco seasoning (or equivalent home mix)
1 can corn - drained
****Seriously you can add together whatever you have available**** No strict rules here!!!
Fry up meat and fresh veggies - add others (all in a cast iron skillet)

1 pkg. cornbread mix
1 egg
1/3 C milk
Mix these 3 together and pour over all over the other ingredients.  Bake at 350* for about 20 minutes until top is browned.
Super easy and cheap one pot meal.

1 pack of Martha White muffin mix - 7.4 oz. (or other brands) - comes in so many flavors
2/3 C milk
1 egg
Blend together and make as normal pancakes.  Makes about 7 regular size pancakes.

Lightly grease your muffin tins.
Mix together:
1/2 C Bisquick or similar mix
1/2 C milk
2 eggs
Place about 1 Tablespoon of mixture in each muffin spot (normal size muffin) more if using giant muffin tins
Top mixture with about 1/4 cup of leftovers you have - taco meat, chili, stew, beefy cheese mac, broccoli/cheese, you name it - there are no limits to what can be added!!!  Clean out that frig.!!!!!!!
Top with another tablespoon of biscuit mix
Bake at 375* for about 25 - 30 minutes.
Yummy bites for meal, breakfast, or snack.  Easy to freeze as well.

Hope this helps someone on a busy day or day when the cupboard is getting bare and you need an idea or two.
I always love having easy ideas on hand.  My motto - keep it simple!!!!!!

ENJOY your pantry and have fun!

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

No Running Water - What Would You Do?

I know there are places that have had much flooding recently, so the thought of no water sounds crazy.  I even had a lake in my backyard till this morning.  We got almost 2" of rain from late Sunday afternoon until Monday morning.
BUT, what if you had no access to city or running water?  No turning on the faucet with water coming out.  No water for flushing.  No water for baths or laundry.
Do you have any plans in case that would ever happen for an extended period of time?

If you are on a well, wonderful.  But what would happen if the power was down as well?  Do you have a hand pump?
Do you live near a creek, pond, lake or river?  Do you have rain barrels or some way to collect rain water?  Do you have alternate plans for drinking, cleaning, cooking, bathroom?
It sure is something to think about.

You need pretty clean water for drinking and cooking, so as not to get sick.  I try to keep a supply of bottled water on hand.  You need to cover yourself and your animals.  Now my cats actually like rain water.  I often refill their water bowls as well as bird baths with rain water in the summer.  That is a plus.
If you live on a farm - you need to have a plan for all those animals.
People can make a good water filtration system out of buckets and a purchased filter.  This would help a lot.  There is also the 'life straw' - which turns any type of water into drinkable.
These should be purchased by everyone - they are not that expensive.  They last through many gallons of water - and could be life saving.
I bottle a lot of water myself as well.  I use old pop bottles, which last for a long time.  Unlike milk jugs, which break down fairly quickly, older pop bottles are great.
Think about getting water sanitizing tablets as well.  They treat all types of water.

These would be great for collection of water for all types of uses.  You could use for filtration to drink, use for flushing, use for bathing or for laundry.  You can purchase rain barrels or make your own.  IF you can not come up with a barrel system and something would happen to the water system - use whatever you could to collect rain water.  Coolers, buckets, barrels,  totes, etc.  Remove the end of a downspout and let the water fill whatever you are using ( dump into plugged up sinks and tubs if nec. and continue to refill).  You could get real creative if you had to.  In the winter - you could use snow and melt for use.
This is one downspout at my house - I can collect 110 gallons of water in these 2 containers.  In a no running water situation, I would have some sort of bucket or tote at every downspout to catch ANY rainwater I could.

OK, this could get tricky.  Seriously, if you had only limited water to use, you may have to just not wash laundry as often.  I know many are thinking ICK - but you do what you have to.  If clothes are not actually 'dirty - filthy' they could be hung outside to air out - you could spray with Febreeze or whatever you have and hang outside.  If you know someone or a place that still has water - think about going there to do laundry, but if the city is down then you get creative.
Hand wash with rain or creek/pond water whatever needs it.  I have a wash tub, buckets and even a real washboard I could use.  I also have an old antique wringer that clamps onto a table or something.  Then line dry.
I have heard people say they have used a bucket  filled with water and a plunger for agitation!  Get creative.
(Don't toss that water when done - it has other uses)

Long showers and luxurious baths are out!  'Sponge' baths or 'sailor' baths - whatever you call them - is the way to go.  Hand wash.  You could use rain water, creek water, or even pond water - remember people used to bathe in the rivers!  Sounds silly - but if it rained - stand outside and clean whatever you can and still be decent!!!!  Rain water is wonderful for the hair!
I keep wet wipes on hand.  You can easily wash down with them.  I always try to keep several packs around.  I think this is something that should be in everyone's prep supplies.
Sanitizing hand wash is also good.  You can often find hand sanitizer in large bottles - it sure would help in an emergency.
(Again - don't toss water)

Hopefully you could continue to use your toilet and then 'flush' with buckets of water from rain, creek, pond, etc.  You could use that leftover laundry or bath water - you wouldn't just TOSS any water away during an emergency like this.
Now say you don't have much excess water to do this - think outside the box.
You may have to resort to another 'catchment' system (that can be thrown away at landfill or buried).  Maybe an adult 'potty chair' like used in nursing homes or for disabled folks (with liners for more than one use).  I have one of those in the shed.
Is you don't have that - get creative yet AGAIN!  A big bucket, something to sit on and lined with double layers of bags.  
This one doesn't show it lined - but boy oh boy I sure would.  Double bagged would be my choice.  I would also keep cat litter or wood shavings around as well.  When bucket is used for  'solids' top with a sprinkle of wood shavings or litter to help reduce smell.  I would try to pee in a cup or jug (not in the lined bucket) and that could be poured in woods or away from the home (or down the sewer drains).  There would be no sense in filling that lined bucket with liquids.  That would make it heavier to remove and get rid of.  Maybe have something to place over the top when not in use. (a board, an old seat cover, plastic, etc.)

You would need drinkable water to use for cooking.  You could also boil water for a bit of time, to help remove bad stuff.  I keep paper plates on hand for just in case.  Not something I use on a regular bases.  I wouldn't want to waste valuable water washing dishes.  I could simply rinse out drinking glass  or rinse off utensils.  I could cook on the grill to not use a lot of pans.  I could also cook over a fire in the yard with cast iron cookware.  That way I could always wipe out the pans or set in the fire to 'burn off' any crud.  Learn to make hobo dinners - food wrapped in foil and placed on grill or next to fire (or even oven).  Baking and eating all contained in one!

Have you ever thought about what you would do?  I guess we don't think of these things a lot - but we never know what could happen.
What do you have on hand that would help in a no running water situation?  
Share your ideas and thoughts.  
We all need to be prepared for the worst situations!!!!!

Let's help each other and get creative!

Sunday, February 9, 2020

Weekly Wrap-Up 2/9

Happy Sunday all.  Hope this finds you all well.
We had a lovely Sunday and Monday to start the week, then the temps dropped and we got winter back again.  Had some ice and dusting of snow - but nothing too bad.
I know there has been lots of snow in many places, tornadoes and tons of rain in others, and I see today that Australia is now having  cyclones.  It seems to be feast or famine there.
I pray everyone is safe and not affected by the weather.

It was a very quiet week for me.  Just not a lot going on. I did get to talk with a long distance friend this week, talked with my sister-in-law and went to the store one day (didn't really need a thing) just to interact with people!  Oh how I need warmer weather and sunshine!

My week:
  • I did go out Monday when it was warm to do a bit of yard work.  My goodness I must have picked up a zillion sticks!!  I only had a bag of trash for p/u last week - but my large trash bin was full of sticks
  • I walked the front walk and the alley and picked up trash - from all the high winds we had.  
  • I got to air the house out on 2 days and had the heat off
  • I opened up the greenhouse and aired it out - and took up a few rugs and hung out to dry.  The floor gets damp from me and the kitties going in and out in snow/rain.  The cats were loving the warmer days and stayed outside a lot!
  • When I ran to the store - I did get a bag of oranges, some bananas and ice cream
  • Doing some research and some reading
  • Cleaned out a couple more drawers
  • General straightening (nothing gets messy), cooking from scratch with ingredients I have, drinking water and lemon water (carbonated), laundry in cold, minimal lights and heat, etc..
  • I did use my crockpot this week and made a pot of potatoes, carrots, beans and smoked sausage
My menu this past week:
Taco salad
Loaded baked potatoes and salad (used leftover taco meat)
Fish and fries
Crockpot meal
"Mex" Bruschetta - banana shake
Leftover crockpot meal
Zesty, beefy mac n cheese and slaw

                                                        My crockpot dinner - it was tasty
My "Mex" bruschetta.  Small rounds of toasted bread topped with several cheeses and salsa then roasted.

I had oranges, bananas, tomato juice, olives, carrots/dip and Triscuts and cheese for snacks
Now that I am here alone - I just eat whatever I feel like.  I don't always have a well rounded meal.  Just a reminder that it is OK to do what you want.  Usually I have one or two items - not always a veggie - but that is OK.  I am full, maintaining my weight and staying healthy.  It was different when I cooked for someone else and not just myself.
Eat whatever makes you happy.

How was your week?  Did you get any real savings or deals?  Are you still working on the 20 challenge?  I put a few things in the donate box this week.

Tale care my friends.  I hope your week ahead is healthy and safe and frugal.
Blessings from my humble little home to yours.

Thursday, February 6, 2020

Bites/Snacks - Fun, Frugal and Tasty

We all like a quick bite or a tasty treat.  Sometimes the simple things are just the best.

I love popcorn - all types of flavors.  You can sprinkle with cheese, onion/garlic powder/salt, cover with chocolate, sprinkle dry ranch dressing mix, add all types of herbs or spices, the list goes on and on.  Making popcorn from scratch is easy and cheap.  A good heavy pan, a little oil (I love bacon grease) and popcorn - cover and pop.
Top with any type of topping desired.

I am an apple and peanut butter girl.  It truly is my favorite way to eat an apple.  My second favorite way is peanut butter sandwich with thin slices of apple, pear, or banana on it.  I like mine on toast to give it a bit more stability.  Seriously, give this a try - it is so yummy.

3/4 C cocoa powder
1 1/4 C water
1 1 /2 C sugar
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
dash of salt
Use a good size pan, as mixture expands when cooking.  Place cocoa, sugar, water and salt in pan.  Whisk and heat till melted.  Boil 1 - 2 minutes.  Add vanilla after boil.  This will appear runny and thin.
It thickens as it cools.  Place in a jar and refrigerate.  Great for ice cream, milk, whatever you use Hershey's for.
Tastes just like Hershey and is cheap and easy to make.  You know exactly what is in it!


Preheat oven 350*
Slice  3-4 potatoes about 1/4" thick.  Place in hot water and boil for about 3 - 4 minutes.  Remove and pat dry.
Place on a lined baking pan - top each slice with a couple types of shredded cheese, bacon bits, ext.  Bake up to 13 - 15 minutes.
Top with sour cream, chopped chives, whatever you have on hand.
These are so good!!!!!!!
These are great for snack trays or for a meal!
Use whatever you have on hand.  I can see topped with chili, taco meat, any leftovers, chopped pepperoni, or anything you would put on a baked potato.
I love these - easy, frugal and sooooooo good.

Make a batch of your normal pancake batter and place in a squirt bottle.  Fry up a bunch of bacon - crispy.
On your griddle squirt a little batter in a long narrow band - top with a piece of bacon and add a bit more batter.  Cook pancakes as usual.
These are great for  breakfast and make it kind of fun.  They are also good for a quick bite for eating on the go!
Easy for kids as well - they eat with their fingers!

There you go.  A few fun, frugal and tasty bites.  Hope this gives you some new ideas and ways to change things up a little.

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

Fun and Experiences - Cheaply

Here in the U.S. we are in the throws of winter and it sure can be boring.  We all need to come up with new and creative ways to have a little fun and do it cheaply.  There are a lot of options.

READ - read a book.  It can be fiction, fantasy, biography, history, cookbooks, books of frugal living, gardening, ANYTHING
Books can take you to another place and time.  There is much to learn and lots of laughs and tears to be had.

Think about starting a neighborhood library.  This is becoming a big thing.  I don't believe it would work in my area, I think it might be vandalized - but many are doing this.
Any type of structure could be put together - just so it has a door to keep out weather.  Take a book, leave a book and share.  I think this would be a fun neighborhood project.

OLD MOVIES & TV - if you already have cable, consider watching some of the old classic movies and TV shows.  They were all pretty darn wholesome, not like the stuff on TV today.  Most cable packages have at least one channel that provides the older things.

SEW/CRAFT - so much can be made and created.  Think about making a simple quilt/patch work with old clothes and fabrics.  Make pillows, placemats, other clothes, Christmas gifts/ornaments, etc.  Needlecraft is fun - crochet, knit, embroidery, etc.  You can often find supplies at yard sales and thrift stores so you don't have to spend a fortune.

YOU TUBE - Oh my there is so much to learn.  You can watch movies and shows and you can learn HOW TO do just about anything in the world,  Mechanics, canning, gardening, off-grid living, thrifting, dumpster diving, sewing, plumbing, carpentry - ANYTHING

GARDEN - it doesn't have to cost a lot (actually can get seeds for pennies), nor do you have to have a big yard.  Gardening can be done on a large scale or small.  Pots on your patio, old wash tubs, totes, reusable grocery bags (filled with dirt), turn feed bags into plant bags, even just bags of dirt - cut open and seeds inserted!  You can plant a few veggies in amongst flowers and bushes (veggies are pretty plants).  Find others who enjoy gardening and share your bounties.  It is fun, fresh air, provides healthy food, and great exercise.  

COMPOST - old trash can with air holes drilled in it can be used.  Dump all refuse (except meat and dairy), add leaves, grass clippings, etc.  Make your own wonderful rich dirt.  You can use old pallets and make a compost box as well.  So many options.
Learn to make a homemade water barrel and recycle water as well to help grow things.

WALK - take a walk around the neighborhood and get to know neighbors.  Walk through parks, the woods or fields.  Go to your local garden center or greenhouse or floral conservatory and enjoy the smells and sights.
Walk around and help clean the neighborhood of any debris.  Glean from unused trees and bushes.
Walk through thrift shops and flea markets to get ideas for your own stuff.  
NOTE:  resist buying!!!!!

VISIT - friends and family.  Visit your local animal shelter.  Visit shut-ins.

ORGANIZE a neighborhood sale.  This not only benefits you but your neighbors as well.  Everyone gets rid of stuff, makes a little money, enjoys the outdoors and socialize with others.

HAVE a picnic.  It can be in the yard for you and your family, at a park for maybe more people, even a neighborhood picnic.  Heck, you can even have a picnic in the house on a rainy/snowy day.

PORCH SIT - watch the world go by, watch nature, read a book, just relax!  Fresh air, relaxing and sunshine.

RECYCLE - learn more about recycling and reusing things.  Work on having a zero impact on environment - harder than it sounds!!!! 

Have fun and do it quite cheaply.  NO reason not to.  We all need to try new things and experience new things and make our lives a little fuller.
A fuller life and new experiences can actually improve our attitudes and moods.

My plan is to expand myself - I need NEW joy!  How about you?

Sunday, February 2, 2020

Weekly Wrap-Up 2/2

Happy February!  I saw on the news this morning that the groundhog did NOT see his shadow, thus an early spring!  We will see.
I wonder how often (if ever) he is right!!

Well, it will seem like spring here, for a couple days.  There is this glowing happening outside - such an odd sight - OH it's the SUN!!!!!!!  YAY!!!!  My goodness I have missed my dear old friend the sun.  Today and tomorrow is supposed to get near 60*.  How lovely.  The chill returns - winter isn't done yet.  If the groundhog came out here today, he would definitely see his shadow!
January was warmer than usual, but it sure was wet and dreary.  I am so tired of gloomy and dreary days.  I need sun - it makes me happy and changes my mood so much.

Yesterday I went out and shooshed off TWO big hawks from the yard.  They must think this is their all you can eat food bar!  So many little birds.  They flew pretty far off as I watched, and soon the other birds came back to eat.  Nature sure is amazing.  I don't always like the results - but each creature has a purpose.

My week:
  • I cut my hair.  My goodness did it grow a lot in the past 5 or 6 weeks
  • I did a quick color job.  It cost me about .53!!  I used one third of a box of dye I got on clearance for 1.59 quite some time ago.
  • I changed the furnace filter - as I forgot to do that on Jan.1.  Had it on hand
  • I did get to my appointment at Social Security office and got that all finalized!!!!!  YAY.  I should start receiving funds within the next 30 days. (**I have not forgotten - I need to do a post on all of this AND on preparing for the unthinkable).
  • Dropped off a few items at church thrift store (not 20 this week).  At least I got more out of the house
  • I received a 2 lb. bag of rice and some old grain bread (for birds) FREE at the thrift store
  • I did run to Kroger and got a little salad stuff and some fruit.  All in all I think I actually spent less than $30 on people food in the month of January.  YES, I did get squirrel corn and some special cat foods, but I did really well on low spend.
My FREE rice and peppers in the .99 bag.  Peppers were advertised for $1 each and I got 2 in the .99 bags.  Winner!!!!!
  • Made up new bottles of shampoo and dish soap
  • All meals from home, cooking from scratch, using pantry and freezer foods, drinking water, keeping heat down, still working on cleaning and de-clutter, ect.
Meals this past week:
Burger on Italian bread (from freezer)
Chicken strips wrapped in tortillas w/ranch
Turkey rice veggie soup (from freezer)
Scrambled eggs, patty sausage and toast
Chopped steak, Rice a Roni (home mix) and olives
Tuna salad with peas over lettuce and crackers
Small Chef salad and banana milk shake

I realized this week that this is the first time in Coogy's life that he hasn't lived with another cat.  It's him and I.  He sure is sticking close and gets in the window and watches when I go outside.  He loves to cuddle.  I wake up to all kinds of toys next to and in the bed each morning!!!!  He brings them all to me.  Such a sweet big boy.
        Coog and just part of his toys!  He has a basket full and he loves playing with them all!!!!!

How was your week/month?  Did you do good on low spend, if playing along?  I think I will definitely be on track to do this again in February.  You can't even tell I made a difference in my supplies.
How is your 2020 project going?  I am trying to keep up with de-cluttering.  Didn't do 20 this week - but will definitely make up for that in future weeks.

I wish you all a wonderful new month full of happiness and health.  New beginnings - new starts - each and every day!
Stay safe and stay frugal my friends.
Blessings to you all from my humble little home to yours.

Friday, January 31, 2020

Ways I Learned

I think back about how I learned to do different things.  There were a lot of influences, but I guess my biggest ones were Mom and Daddy.   I learned so very much from these people about everything.
Cooking, sewing, baking, gardening, landscape, business, hard work, helping community, confidence, being frugal, being creative, being a decent person, etc.
My greatest lessons in life came from them.
I didn't really have grands to learn from.  I only had one grandparent growing up and she lived far away, so my parents were my huge influence.

However that was not the only learning in my life.  I took Home Economics in Junior High school and truly enjoyed that.  I don't know that I really leaned about cooking and sewing (as Momma had already taught me) but I did learn about working with others and encouraging others in life.  It was a fun experience.  There was also shop class, mechanics, wood working, and many other 'real world' classes that were available.  There was a vocational school that was available for afternoon classes - it was a different building - but credits counted for high school.  You could study just about anything there.

I took economics and learned a lot about finance.  I took typing and business and learned much about the working world.  I even took a blue print reading class (in conjunction with a job) at an adult night class.  I was working at a major building/hardware business at the time - and that was a way to expand my knowledge.
I did go to college (didn't finish - life happened) as well.  I studied education and sociology as I really wanted to work with at risk kids.  I learned so much from those classes about people and humanity.  I even took criminal justice classes.

Another neat learning institution for me was 4-H.  I don't think that 4-H is worldwide.  I know it is big in the U.S. and I believe Canada - not sure about other places.  I started in 4-H in the 3rd grade (the earliest I could) and participated through junior high/early high school.  I entered projects in sewing and baking each year.  I always did really well.  My greatest joy was the year we had to make angel food cakes - oh my did we eat a lot of cake that summer!  My big win was winning GRAND CHAMPION at the county level and getting to go to the state fair and display.  That was huge and everyone wanted to win a grand champion ribbon (only one given in each category per county).  More cakes baked until I made one that pleased me and off to the state fair and a blue ribbon there!  What a year that was.  That was my highlight in my 4-H journey!!!!

4-H was more than the projects to me.    It taught hard work, community, service, dedication, helping and so much more.  Those were some of the great lessons I got from it.  I still remember our motto and pledge.

I pledge
My Head to clearer thinking,
My Heart to greater loyalty,
My Hands to larger service, and
My Health to better living, for
My club, my community  and my country.
(Words we should all live by every day)

I lived in what would be considered the suburbs, so it wasn't just for kids in rural areas and still isn't.  I think youth today could learn so much from this organization.  Not only could you work on and display projects on just about anything, but you learned great lessons in life.  It is definitely a community for youngsters to learn and share ideas.  It teaches responsibility.

So many push for college educations and that is wonderful.  I just hope people today realize that there are so many other learning institutions that actually teach "life" and not academia.  There are many vocations today that a person can earn a great living and not need a college education.  There is nothing at all wrong with the trades!!!!!  College is not for everyone.

My husband worked for many years as a teen/young man with his uncle learning the plumbing trade.  It helped much in life in so many ways.  He then went on to work as an apprentice in auto mechanics and that became his career until he retired.  He could problem solve about anything and he was smart at so many things. 
I studied all kinds of things over the years.  First I will say that I hated math in school!!!!  
My first job was working for my parents at their lawn and garden business.  I learned so much there.  People skills, business, landscaping, gardening, horticulture, etc.
I went to work for the building service for a couple years in the office and then I went on to become an accounting specialist  for over 30 years!  I still find that hilarious.  I was really good at what I did, but had you told me in high that I would work with numbers I would have laughed my bum off.  Math is now a very strong suit of mine! (go figure)
We both had good careers in life and made decent money.  No college required.
My parents both completed schooling at the 8th grade.  They went on to have a very successful business of their own.  Daddy was a mathematical and word genius in my opinion.  He could do any math problem you gave him (in his head) and he know words and their meanings that I will never know.

I guess my point is, there are so many ways that we have learned over our lifetimes.  We have learned from so many people and experiences.  Some of those lessons were also lessons on what NOT to do!!!!!

Always look at every day and every adventure in life as the "school" of life.  Daddy used to ask "what did you learn today" (he asked every day!).  Today I still try to learn something new each day.  If we are not learning we are getting stagnant.  I want to keep my mind active and learning is never a bad thing.

What/who were some of your greatest TEACHERS in life?  Parents, grands, schools, experiences, etc. ???


Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Frugal is What You Decide

We all like being frugal to some extent.  What is frugal?  It is different for everyone.  It truly is.
DO NOT  feel bad if you do things differently than others.  We are all individuals and we all do things differently.

I see things on FB at times and think - seriously?  You are trying to say you are frugal?  People going into huge debt for big fancy houses, then being unhappy with how it looks and changing it all.  Saying they are not spending  this year, yet you see a post of shopping trips almost every day.
Canning for the future and for saving.  Yet buying all kinds of food to can that they would not buy as normal - not to mention buying tons of jars and supplies (yes I know they are re-usable).
My mind just explodes some days - BUT you know what?  Who cares.  IF they think they are being frugal and doing things that make them happy - that is ALL that is important!!!!  My opinion does not matter.
I am sure I do things that others don't understand as well.  We all do.

I guess I am saying that frugal is different for everyone.  Some find it necessary to water down things, find new uses for things, not waste leftovers, eat from home, saving money wherever we can, use it up, make it last, do without, etc. (ME).  But I will also spend a ton of money to feed nature, care for my fur babies, or help someone in need.  My priorities are MINE!
You may save for vacations, or for that big house, or for a new car, or to eat out once a week.  That is OK too.  Your priorities are YOURS!

I don't do anything that I do because it pleases others.  If my ways and myself are accepted by others - GREAT.  If not - I don't really care.  Our lives should be lived in being able to live and share - that is freedom.  We all evolve over the years and our ways change.  
Just let your spirit and your heart reach out - either others accept you or they don't.
Don't live in fear, let God have control.  The world and our lives change - and in 10 years things will be totally different than they are today - so make each day count.

THRIVE not SURVIVE!  This is something I am trying to learn.  When life changes drastically, we tend to hit a brick wall.  Life was the same forever - and then it's not.  We have GOT to adjust and grow and move forward.  (so difficult, but necessary).
If we don't do something new - we will become stagnant.  
Figuring out the path to take is the hard part.  With faith in God, I feel that will come for each of us.  We all need to listen!!!!!!!

So whether you live in a huge house or a tiny home, water down the shampoo or buy the most expensive, eat out or cook from scratch, simply have transportation or a status car, do without so you can help the animals or others, grow a garden or go to the farm market - you are being you.
Do what makes you happy.
Now in saying that - DO IT - BUT BE RESPONSIBLE FOR YOUR ACTIONS AND DECISIONS.  Don't get yourself in a bind and expect others to bail you out.  Your choices are yours - that is your freedom.
We each chose our own freedom.

I know we each learn from each other on here.  We learn new ways.  We learn from others mistakes.  We learn new ways of thinking.  We learn life is different for us all.  We learn that as different as we all are - we are the same.  We want happiness.

Enjoy the life you are living instead of just living the life you are given.

Monday, January 27, 2020

Weekly Wrap-Up for last week

First, let me say thank you for all the sweet comments, hugs, prayers and blessings you have sent concerning the loss of my beautiful Lilly.  It means so much to me to have people that understand and care.  THANK YOU

We have had a very wet January this year.  I think they said the wettest in 15 years.  Very little snow, but lots of rain.
It is hard to believe that this month is almost over.  We have more daylight hours now.  It doesn't get really dark until after 6PM now - instead of 5PM.  Mornings have light before 8AM instead of about 8:30AM.  Spring is only 50+ days away.

This past week:
  • I did go to the feed store and got squirrel corn.  Odd they had no bird seed or peanuts!  None.  Strange for a feed store - said it was due to holiday schedules.  I have lots of other places I can get seed.
  • My Blazer door was frozen the first of week.  I finally got it open, then the mechanism wouldn't release to close the door.  WD40 and a heavy duty screw driver and it was working again!  When there is a will........
  • I received a copy of Country Woman  FREE in the mail.  They are trying to lure me back
  • Cleaned out the sock and undie drawer.  Found new of both that I had forgotten about
  • Threw out and set aside for donation a lot more than my 20 pcs. from the drawer cleanout and added some other items from around the house 
  • I did run out to find different treats and canned food that Lilly might like - to no avail.  Not frugal - but it will be used by the others
  • While out I stopped at Dollar General - as I had heard most had any leftover Christmas stuff for .25.  I got 3 -  6 packs of 6.5" x 8.5" gift bags and cookie bags (6 bags) for .25 each pack.
  • Tons of laundry
  • All the normal stuff
  • Friday got in upper 40's - so I turned off heat and aired the house for a while. - I know I am crazy.  The kitties loved it though!
Meals last week:
Chicken stir fry over rice
Ham/cheese bagels
Deconstructed tacos
Salsa chicken (from freezer) and cheese roll-up and carrots/dip
Small Mexican type pizza
Baked potato and salad
Nothing - Saturday

Last week sure didn't end the way I would have ever expected.  The emergency vet was a God send for me.  They were pricey, but that didn't matter.  My poor baby.  My heart just hurts.
Coogy keeps walking around looking.  He sure is staying close to me - much more than usual.

How was your week?  Did you stay on the frugal track?  How is your 20 challenge going?
Give us a shout out.

Blessings to you all.  May you and yours stay healthy and safe.  Hug everyone and love them.  Remember to enjoy the smaller things in life - because they are the big things!
Blessings from my humble little home to yours

A rare moment when Lilly and Coogy shared the love seat together!  Usually it was one or the other.
                                                                      My kitty loves

Sunday, January 26, 2020

No Wrap Up Today - Just Sad

I won't be doing the weekly wrap up today, I am just not in the mood.
Yesterday was such a sad day.  My sweet beautiful baby (8 yrs) Lilly crossed the rainbow bridge.

She had been being very picky the past couple weeks about her food.  Nothing, including tuna, was satisfying.  She was not eating much, wet or dry.
I went this week and bought every type of treat I could find and several different kinds of wet food, to no avail.
She continued being her sweet self - playing with Coogy and her toys, jumping up on couch and bed, wanting combed, talking and talking - just normal, except not eating much.
Finally Saturday morning when I got up, she didn't jump up and run in to me.  I petted her and talked to her and then she finally got up.  She hadn't ate for almost 2 days.
I called the Vet and of course they weren't open.  I took her to the emergency vet service.

They ran every test they could - not good.  I had no idea she had so many medical issues.  She never displayed them.  Hugely enlarged liver, partially collapsed lung, asthma, pneumonia, fluid around the lungs, super low white cell count, and heart failure.
She just didn't want to eat - otherwise she acted normal every day.  I was so shocked.

They said they could poke, prod, tube, and perhaps surgery - but probably could do nothing to help, due to liver and heart problems.  NO!  I could not do that to her.  Poor baby.
I told them no and she passed right then in my arms.
I sat and cuddled her for about 2 hours in the vets office while waiting on results.  In 8 years she had NEVER EVER let us cuddle her like that, so I knew she was ill at that point.  I got to talk to her, hold her, and love her one on one - it was special.
They let me sit with her as long as I needed.  They were very kind people - all so sweet.

Coogy keeps walking around looking for her.  Every noise he hears - he looks up and around.  He sure snuggled a lot with me last night.  This morning he woke me with tons of kisses, soft pats on the face and hugs (more than usual).

Lilly mourned Glen for so long and so hard, I have to think she is with him now in heaven.  Yes, I do believe animals go to heaven - God made us all.
I will sure miss her.  Her short little legs, her tiny head and big chubby body and curly belly.  Her talking to me all the time - I swear we had conversations.  She used intonations that sounded like she was truly answering me.  Her begging to get combed.  Her racing me into the kitchen every morning for breakfast.  Her loving to get under my bed covers.  Watching her lay in the sunshine in the front door and her watching and chattering to birds and squirrels.  She would get so excited.
She loved everyone and wanted to know them and love on them.

I will miss you my little short stuff.  You were such a good baby girl.  I love you so much.
My tears are flowing - so I will close for now.

Tomorrow I will do wrap up.
Blessings to each of you.  Love your family and your babies.

Thursday, January 23, 2020

My Mind - It Does Wonder

I told you the other day that I get to reminiscing a lot during the winter.  January especially - it is just a nasty month for me - always has been.
I heard on the news the other day that the two middle weeks of January are the worst of the year for both humans and animals - emotionally and physically.  They said we feel worse during those times and everything changes - mood, eating habits, motivation, activity level, etc.
This past Monday was the 3rd Monday of January and supposedly the worst day of the year!
I believe it.  Even my kitties are acting different - very different.
The world affects us in ways we can never imagine.

So as my mind wonders I have been thinking about frugal living.  Back in the day, people SAVED for new things, fancy things, important things, even every day things.  Not so much today.  People want and expect immediate satisfaction!!!!  That is what gets people in trouble.  I remember my parents saving and saving for something and the delayed satisfaction they got was enormous.  They were so proud of what they accomplished.  It wasn't just I WANT therefore I BUY.  I really don't think people today truly appreciate the things the get and the things they experience.
My Daddy always told me "the anticipation is always far greater than the realization" and that is true.  So very true.
I remember wanting a bread machine years ago (and spent a chunk on one) and then realized I probably wouldn't use it that much. AND DIDN'T.  Yes, I still have it, and I threaten to use it - but don't.  I just HAD to have it - my reality, well...…………..
I am sure each of us have had those moments.

I know people who work themselves to the bone just to have that fancy address, or that fancy car, or that membership to ________, or the designer labels.   The things become all important and the life that they were given is driven totally by wants, work and greed.  They become so in debt for things that won't even matter one day soon, they work their fingers to the bone - for what?  IMMEDIATE SATISFACTION.

If I could tell any young person (including my younger self) anything that would stick in the brain - it would slow down, enjoy life's moments (every one of them), think before you spend and DELAY that satisfaction of "stuff" for a while.  You will realize it isn't all that important.

We are so perfectly imperfect that is takes many of us a lifetime to see what is so simple and wonderful.
Take time to enjoy the simple and lovely moments.  Enjoy laughter, friends, family, getting up each day, nature, the taste of ice cream, the feel of a warm blanket, the cuddles of your pets, companionship, the smell of a rose...….......enjoy the simple things and enjoy them thoroughly.  
As the saying goes "the little things are actually the biggest things and the ones that matter."

Just my brain ramblings for the day!
Have a blessed day.

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

A Tale and a Treat From the Past

These gloomy long days of winter get me to reminiscing.  I got to thinking back to childhood the other day (I do that a lot).  I had a good childhood, and I realize not everyone did.  I am so sorry for those who didn't.

We had a small grocery store just a couple blocks from my home and it was called Slick's Market (the owners last name).  We would walk there whenever we had the chance in the summer and many times, we would get off the school bus (junior high and high school) there and then walk home.  I walked to school the first 6 years - so I didn't ride a bus till junior high.

Now let me explain when I say a couple blocks away.  The area was originally  rural and farm land.  I have copies of the plat maps and the ownership lineage of my family home and the entire area that date back to 1828.  Over time, more homes were added and streets were added.  So the north/south block we walked would be equivalent to probably at least 3 blocks today - then we turned and walked down the east/west road (the old sheep farm) that was probably the same.  NO ONE ever worried about us doing this.  Neighbors watched out for neighbors.

Slicks's had a candy counter.  The big glass front, multi shelved counter FULL of penny candy.  It was just as you walked in the door!  In front of  that (at your back when looking at candy) was a deep freeze with cold (ice cream) type goodies.  It was a child's delight!  Now they did sell groceries and had a meat market that went all the way across the back of the store.  We didn't buy groceries there very often, as Mom said they were too expensive!  Once in a great while Mom would send me for something.
BUT, that candy counter always enticed us kids and we walked there any chance we got.
The counter at Slick's was probably twice as wide as the one in this picture and had more shelves.  We would stand there for what seemed forever trying to decide how to spend a nickel or a dime.  You always seemed to leave with a little bag full of goodies.  Some items were even 2/.01.  I do say this is a favorite memory of mine.
Poor Mrs. Slick would stand there (looking much like the fellow in the picture) waiting for us to decide.
Once in a great while Mom and Daddy would give me a nickel - which seemed like a lot then (I guess it was).  IF I was truly lucky - I would find pennies or a nickel while out playing (in gravel on the side of road) or walking to a friends house.  Once in a blue moon - you might find a glass pop bottle tossed at the side of the road and we would take those and cash them in!
My aunt and uncle always gave me money for my little pocketbook when they visited too!!!!!!

I remember going to the circus a time or two and going to the zoo.  It was always fun to see the animals, but my favorite thing was getting rock candy!!!!!  Oh how I loved that stuff.  Sometimes it came in chunks and sometimes it was all crystalized on a stick or string.  Believe it or not - I still have a box with crystal type rock candy in my hutch.  My Mom had saved it (why I didn't eat it was a wonder) and I got it when clearing out the family house.  It sits proudly in my corner hutch!!  It says it was made in Antwerp Belgium!  Crazy.
I still love rock candy to this day.  It is really easy to make and you can add all kinds of flavors.
I think rock candy would be a fun treat for Valentine's Day.  You could make up a couple different flavors - crack - wrap and gift.    How cute it would be wrapped in a small brown paper bag with jute or raffia tie.  Simple and fun.  Just an old fashioned  fun treat!

YUM!!!!!!  I think the plain candy and cinnamon were my favorites and still are.

So there you have a memory from my childhood and a fun treat you can make and make a memory for someone else!

(anyone else remember the old candy counters?)

Sunday, January 19, 2020

Weekly Wrap-Up 1/19

Good morning all.  Oh baby, it is cold outside.  Feels like winter for sure.
Yesterday was in the 40's and lots of wind and rain.  This morning it was 11* when I got up!!!!  High today is to be 18*.   Brrrrr.
There was a lake in the back yard again yesterday.  It was so saturated from last weekend, and no where for it to go.  This morning I have an ice rink!!
I finally started getting cabin fever and went out for a bit one day this week.  I am outside many times each day, but needed to get out and see people!
My neighbor did come over one afternoon and we had a nice visit.  It seems everyone stays inside during the colder weather, and we just don't see each other much.  It was nice to have 'human' conversation.

It was a quiet week again.
  • I found a series I have been watching on YouTube that is kind of interesting.  It is out of Canada.  Young man owns an antique store and he is always on the look for treasures.  He bought a 'hoarder' house.  It was quite a journey.  Eventually changed name of series to "Potter" house - as the lady was a very famous potter.  He has videos on all sorts of other buildings and lots of things he has purchased.  I really have been enjoying this.  He is called Curiosity Incorporated.  I know it was time I didn't accomplish anything - but I enjoyed it - and that is what matters!  If it makes me happy - I am doing it!!  My new motto.
  • I have been cleaning out drawers and doing a lot more de-cluttering
  • Took 3 more boxes of items (way more than 20 items) to the church thrift store.
  • While at church store I got a pack pita bread, bagels and a 2 lb. bag of split peas for FREE
  • Ran to Kroger just because!  I got a 2 lb. box of mushrooms for 1.99, a bag of 4 pears, 5 apples, and 3 grapefruit for .99 a bag and got 6 packs of neutral (can use all the time) tissue paper marked to .30 pack.  I also got a gallon of milk for 2.19.  
  • Chopped and froze the mushrooms
  • Cleaned all the bedding including all bed pillows and pillow covers
  • Doing all the normal stuff.  Eating from home and using up leftovers.  Drinking water and Kool-Aid.
  • Sent my neighbor home with a couple cans of cinnamon rolls (to bake) and some gravy mix for when his grandsons visit over the weekend.

Meals this past week:
Tostadas (used leftover skillet enchilada mix)
Grilled ham, egg and cheese sandwich and slaw (leftover in jar of home canned)
Cheesy potato soup (from freezer) served over Ramen noodles - topped w/sour cream
Red beans and rice w/ground beef 2X
Made layered refried bean dip and ate with Pita bread
Veg. soup (canned condensed - no water added) with pasta added - threw in balance of bean dip

This is the month that I think I tend to just veg out every year.  It is usually the gloomiest month and usually the coldest.  Not necessarily the coldest this year (until today).  The daylight hours are extending a bit in the evenings, but it is pretty cloudy most of the time.  So boring and ho-hum.
I plan on doing more de-clutter this week.  My plan is to take 2 - 3 boxes or bags to the church store every week.
How was your week?  Did you get any deals?  Did you stay on track with low spend?

DID you do the 20 CHALLENGE on anything this week? I look forward to hearing what everyone is doing?  It gives us all that needed boost.

So thankful to hear that our friends in Australia are getting some much needed rain!  Hope the fires  are doused completely very soon.  Prayers to those in the North with all the snow.  I saw pictures of a part of Canada this morning - OH WOW!  They had a ton of snow (blizzard).
May you all have a safe, healthy and frugal week.  May we all keep our distant friends in our prayers.
Stay busy and stay frugal.

Blessings from my humble little home to yours.

Thursday, January 16, 2020

Fiction or Reality (?)

Let your mind wonder back many years and think about some of the TV shows and movies we had available to watch.  The Star Trek TV series was so out of this world as was Star Wars.  Now we have space craft and people are spending months in space, we have landed on foreign planets, we have genetic manipulation, we have technology that can seem scary at times.  Fiction in many cases became reality.
Over the New Year's weekend I watched part of  The Twilight Zone  marathon.  First let me say, that ANYONE who went on to be famous in the acting field, was on that show!!  It was amazing to see all kinds of young, not yet famous, actors.

Why do I mention this?  Well, one of the shows I saw - reminded of what "could" happen today in the event of a major disaster.
Let me set the stage:  Cold war years (started mid/late 40's), mid America, newly built modern middle and upper middle class neighborhoods, young families living the dream.  People moving upward on onward after the war/depression were over.  Prosperity seemed to rein.  Life was tranquil.

In this show - only one family in the neighborhood had the foresight to build a bomb shelter under their new home.  They had it equipped with food, water, medical and living comforts for their little family for 2-3 months.  Everyone else thought they were crazy.
One day a radio announcement happens - unidentified flying objects have been seen in the skies heading toward metropolis.  Government and public were in a panic.  This family was getting their last minute items into the shelter - then the neighbors start showing up!  They wanted in too.  It is only the right thing to do they said.
Now mind you - there was enough oxygen and air supply and power  (not to mention food and supplies) for this family of 3.  They HAD PREPARED.
The show went on to show the anger and meanness that happened with people trying to get in this shelter.  The were destroying this families home, they were working together in a mob to rip open the shelter, they didn't care that by prying it open they were guaranteeing doom to all.  All they were concerned about was themselves.  They were ready to harm their neighbors - to survive.

After causing much destruction, name calling, and truly making forever enemies - an announcement came that it was all a false alarm - the coast was clear.  Men were trying to apologize for horrid behavior, Moms were saying  "you would have done the same thing", people were expecting relationships to go back to normal.  The prepared family saw just how horrible people (their neighbors) could be. Nothing would ever be the same.

My point - this was a fictional show - but I see this as reality in just a heartbeat.  Those who live in areas that has cold weather know what havoc the four letter word SNOW can cause.  Shelves at stores empty in a couple hours.  People act like they will be snowed in for weeks (although many just buy junk).  Milk, eggs, and bread - are gone in minutes.  People panic!
Hurricanes and  any other natural disaster - items are gone and if found - price gouging takes hold.  Trucks can't make deliveries - stores only carry enough provisions for a week or less.  Power outages - stores, banks, gas stations, etc. are all in the digital age now and can not open and operate - looting happens.

We discuss our prepping, storage and pantries here - but 99.9% of us have never met or seen one another - nor do we have any idea where exactly the others live.  This is our SAFE spot.

BE CAREFUL who in your neighborhood and local area knows what you have.  You too could become the target of those who have NOT prepared, as in the TV show.
Yes, many of my family know how I prepare - and most of them have followed suit and do so as well.  My neighbors - I truly doubt any have prepared  (but perhaps they have and don't advertise).
People who feel desperate will do anything.  We see this on the news every day.

I guess this post is just a cautionary tale.  Be careful of who knows what you do.  Be prepared by all means (odds are some occasion will happen at some point) - but be quiet and somewhat secretive about your preps.
Keep working on learning about growing, preserving and preparing for any future problem.  It could be a natural disaster, a medical emergency, job loss, economic collapse, world strife, grid collapse, ANYTHING!
Keep your local network small.  Don't brag to neighbors (people talk)…...  BUT BE PREPARED.

"You are moving into a land of both shadow and substance, of things and ideas.  You've just crossed over into ………….The Twilight Zone".

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

The Year of 20

Here we are in this brand new year.  It IS just another year - but it is also a date like we will never see again.  Think about it.  There are probably just a handful of people on this earth who saw 1919.  We will not see another double digit year (2121).
Every single year is special and wonderful - but maybe if we get the opportunity to experience a double digit year - we should do something special or different!  What do you think?

I think we should make this year of 20.  Maybe pick something and try to reach doing it 20 times over the year.  This could be fun.  It could make us reach new goals.  Do new things.   Do old things we haven't done in ages.  Do fun things.  Do learning things.  Do healthy things.  On and on.

Here are a few ideas.  I am going to try and work on a few of these for my year.  I may not make it to 20 on each, but I will be better for trying.
  • Read 20 books
  • Save an extra $20 each week or each month (whatever you can afford)
  • Lose 20 lbs.
  • Take 20 walks in nature
  • Write 20 letters or send 20 cards (snail mail)
  • Discard 20 things a week or 20 a month.  I can probably do this each week easily.
  • Quit following 20 people that just bring you down
  • Do 20 random acts of kindness
  • Try 20 new foods
  • ENJOY 20 sunrises and sunsets - make a point of experiencing them
  • Add 20 EXTRA items to your deep pantry every month
  • Connect with 20 people from your past
  • Try 20 new recipes
  • Experience 20 new things - step outside your comfort zone
  • Do/finish  20 crafty projects
  • Try 20 new things that could improve your health (vitamins, herbs, organics, getting outside, walking, more fresh air, stop bad habits, etc.)
  • Decrease your grocery bill by $20 a week/month
  • Spend 20 less hours a week sitting around - get active
  • Donate $20 a month to some special cause 
  • Volunteer 20 hours a week/month/year - whatever you can do
  • Plant 20 different flowers or veggies or fruits this year
  • Help with neighborhood or community clean-up 20 times this year
I think you get the point.  There are no limits to things we can accomplish by just trying to reach 20 during the year.  Set your goals for a time period that works for you - it can be weekly, monthly or yearly goals.  
Like I said above - IF we don't get to 20 of whatever we choose to do - we have still improved our lives and probably someone else's!!  That is huge.
We are so perfectly imperfect - that ALL small changes matter.

Here we come 2020 - let's experience things like we never have before.

Sunday, January 12, 2020

Weekly Wrap-Up 1/12

Good morning.  Hope this finds you all well.
It has been another quiet week for me.  I just don't have the get up and go I need to get a lot accomplished.  Winter blahs?  Holiday let down?  Lonely?  Feeling sorry?  Probably all the above.  I need to have a big talk with ME and get in gear.  I hate just wasting time.  Time is such a precious gift.

We have had above normal weather again most of the week.  Friday and Saturday was rain and more rain and lots of wind.  The back yard is a lake!    Got up yesterday morning and it was 63*  This morning it was 33*  You just never know around here.
I looked out the other day at all the critters and it was so cool.  There were 13 squirrels in my yard (that I saw) - not to mention what was next door.  I counted 22 doves and 2 different types of woodpeckers, lots of cardinals, 4 blue jays, and all the other sweet little birds.  It was surely amazing.

My quiet week:
  • I met with my financial advisor
  • Started a file folder with all income tax information
  • I did run to the Post Office and mailed 3 parcels to various areas in the country and got a book of stamps
  • Been working on organization of all the Christmas stuff (wrapping items) in basement storage
  •  Working on craft area - cleaning up and declutter
  • Cooked up about a half pound of burger and used in 3 different dishes this week
  • Made a batch of 'baked spaghetti' - used couple types of pasta instead of spaghetti and used a bunch of other goodies I had on hand.  Turned out pretty tasty.
  • NO grocery store - using what I have
  • Been drinking tea, water and Kool-Aid
  • Got to have heat off for 2 days again this week
  • Still  eating on Christmas goodies - candies and a few cookies.  Also ate fruit, popcorn and apples w/peanut butter for snacks.  Had  cheese slices and beef stick with crackers a time or two as well.
  • Made plans (in my head) for a couple of sewing projects to do this week - small projects to maybe get me motivated
  •  Basic tidy up and all normal things
Meals this past week:
Leftover soup/stew  (froze balance)
Poor man's Swiss steak and mashed potatoes (used homemade soup in this)
Baked fish and a small potato and home canned coleslaw
Baked spaghetti and garlic toast (old buns) 2 X - (froze balance)
Homemade fried rice
Enchilada skillet dinner and served with soft tortillas

There you have it - QUIET!  Just me and the kitties hanging out!
How was your week?  Did you get any good deals?  Are you doing well on no spend January?

I continue to keep our Australian friends and their country in my prayers.  May the Lord bring them lots of rain and douse the fires.  Such a sad situation.
There is a lot of bad weather around much of our country this week and earthquakes in Puerto Rico.  Please stay safe everyone and my prayers for all.

I pray for you all that you are well and safe. Stay safe in this coming week and stay frugal my friends. Blessings to you all from my humble little home to yours.  

Thursday, January 9, 2020

Some Odd Uses for Common Things

I am one of those people who try to figure out different ways to use what I have at home.   There are so many uses for common every day things that many don't even think about.  Any time we can find many uses for an item, we are saving ourselves money and time!

Here are a few of my unconventional uses!
  • I love baking soda!  So many uses.  I mix baking soda and peroxide together into a paste and use that 2 - 3X a month as a tooth whitener.  Just use as you would toothpaste.  Baking soda is a wonderful cleanser - I use it all the time for cleaning.  I throw some in the with the kitty litter to reduce any odors.  I keep some old and outdated baking soda in the frig and freezer to rid it of food odors.  Pour some baking soda in your drain and top off with vinegar for a great drain cleaner.  Many people add to laundry as a whitener.  **(I use peroxide instead of bleach)
  • Vinegar is another multi-functional item.  As stated above, use with b. soda as a drain cleaner.  I use in the rinse cycle of laundry for a fabric softener (no smell when laundry dries).  I use vinegar to soothe the burn from sunburn and often use it to soothe the itch from poison ivy.  It works wonders to clean windows and mirrors.  Once in a great while I use it as a rinse for my hair - it softens my hair and it removes all residue buildup from soap (helps eliminate itchy scalp). (No smell when dry).  I also add a little vinegar to my dish soap to act as a grease cutter.
  • Dawn dish soap is another multi use item.  It's not just for dishes any more!  Blue Dawn is a wonderful stain remover for clothes.  I have even used on set in stains and it has removed them ( may need to do it a couple times).  It is good to use with b. soda as a cleanser.  I use it in bug killers and weed killer I make up and spray on flowers and garden and yard - it helps set the mixture on the grass/plants.  I mix with water and spray on certain pest bugs that flock the yard/house in summer.  We get box elders bugs to cover the siding and furniture outside and simply spraying with a mixture of Dawn and water - they instantly die.  I mix vinegar, water and a squirt of Dawn to make my window cleaner.  Shoot I have even used in a pinch to wash my hair and a couple times in a pinch added a squirt or two to do laundry.
  • Salt is another great product.  I keep a bottle of salt water in the bathroom all the time and use it anytime I have a blister or sore in my mouth.  It heals almost instantly.  If you have bleeding gums, salt water helps heal that as well.  Glen swore by it.  Recently I was talking with G's aunt about how my face breaks out (been doing this for a couple years).  She said grandma used salt and salt water to heal everything.  I tried it as a rinse on my face after washing and within 2 days it was healed!!!!!  I splash a bit every night on my face and my face has remained blemish free!!!  Amazing.  Sometimes the old ways are the best.  THANKS ROSE! I have even used salt on my toothbrush if running out of toothpaste or baking soda.  If you are dying fabric - add salt to the water to help set the color.
  • I keep lids from parmesan  cheese containers and from the glass jar candles to reuse on Mason jars for dry storing.  Lids from peanut butter jars also work on Mason jars.  I also have a neighbor that gives me their individual size pop bottles.  I use those to refill with water (for emergency water storage).  I also use for that salt water I keep in the bathroom.  Squirt bottle lids (like detergent & shampoo) fit them and they make great bottles for shampoo or dish detergent (condensing down from big bottles).  I also cut fresh chives in the summer and drop into a bottle and keep in the freezer.  Whenever I want chives in the winter I simply shake some out.  I refill and make my own individual water bottles, instead of buying bottled water.  I also keep the tops of iodized salt boxes - they can be cut and used on Mason jars under the ring for a pouring jar!
  • Epsom salts are good for a variety of things as well.  It works in a nice hot bath to soothe aches and pains and help detox body.  I sometimes sprinkle a bit on a wet wash cloth and use as a scrub.  Depending on how you mix it and what you mix it with - it can also be used as a weed killer or as a plant booster.
  • Add liquid coffee to anything you are baking that is chocolate.  Coffee really intensifies the chocolate flavor.  Coffee grounds can be added to your garden/plants and compost for beneficial results.  Grounds can also be added to homemade soap- making a great scrubbing soap.
  • Lemon juice added to rice while cooking keeps it from getting sticky.  I always add a splash to cooking rice.  No lemon flavor in the rice.  This really does work.  I like adding a splash of lemon to tea or water for a fresh flavor.  
  • If you have old home canned pickles that are limp and soggy - drain and slightly pat dry  and then dehydrate.  After completely dried grind into a powder.  This is a great add to sour cream for a dip - or to add to dressings or salads or salt.  No need to throw things away - find a new use!  I like adding some pickle powder to deviled eggs or to potato salad (it is also good mixed with salt on popcorn!).
  • My brother keeps all toilet paper rolls to make seed starter pots.  He cuts them in half and folds in the bottom a bit and starts all his seeds in them.  Just fill with soil and add seed.  They can be placed directly into the garden without disturbing the plants roots!
  • I am not a coffee drinker  -  but I do buy instant coffee for my morning blended drink I make (I like mocha flavor).  I keep the bottles and reuse instead of using my Mason jars.  They are great for candy storage (M&M's or any small candy), they are also good for mixes and all dry storage.  I can place items in them for gifting and not be worried about getting them back.  Good for so many things.
  • Coconut oil is great and healthier for cooking - but has other uses as well.  It works great for dry skin.  Just a little works wonders and is so healing.  I have had many people tell me they do a hair treatment once a month with it as well for dry hair.  Wash hair, lightly apply coconut oil and cover with a heated towel for a while - wash well and rinse.  Stops brittle hair and breakage.

So there are a few of my uncommon uses for common things.  Do you have any great ideas of using things in a new way?  I am always looking for new ideas.
Any tricks that save time and money using household items?  Ways to reduce waste and reuse items?
Give us a shout out!!!