Thursday, April 15, 2021

The Best Laid Plans..........

 You have all heard that quote - the best laid plans of mice and men.....
Sure seems to be true some days!  

My goodness, I had all kinds of plans for the last half of my week.  Grocery store on Wednesday morning to do a good stock up on odds and ends.  A trip to Menard's - for all kinds of house stuff on Thursday as well as stopping at Meijer (across the road from Menard's).
The world had other plans!!!!

Got up and ready to leave early on Wed. for grocery and my Blazer wouldn't start.  Now I know myself, it wasn't the battery - it tried to start.  It wasn't out of gas - had plenty.  I cracked the hood and looked around and checked oil and antifreeze, etc. and checked connections.    That is about my expert limit!!  LOL

Looked over fence and neighbor was sitting outside - so I yelled over the fence - he came to look.  Well, the 2 main things he could think of required changing out 2 parts.  We went and got them and he put them on and NOPE no start.  At least they are now replaced and new (they were original 2002)  - so should last for continued years.  We got a work manual for my vehicle and it said to do all he had done.  This went on for many hours!  UGH!!  Poor guy.

                                                             Nope not mine - LOL!

All the while he was working on things and trouble shooting I tried to stay busy ad keep out of the way.  I did a ton of cleaning and straightening in the garage - made a tremendous pile of trash.  Moved my old gas grill and it came apart!!!!  (I haven't used in prob. 3 yrs.)
Cleaned out the back end of Blazer - I have a plastic milk crate with oil, wiper fluid, jumper cables, antifreeze, etc.   Went to move it - and it crumbles into a million pieces!!  Sigh!
Found another and got stuff transferred and cleaned up the mess of the old one.
Set down in the chair I have outside the garage and the seat split!
Standing on cement all day and my back was killing me.
Geesh - what a day!
A real comedy of errors.  Some days you just have to laugh.
I am just thankful I was at home when this happened.  

Finally had to break down and call AAA for a tow to repair shop.  Neighbor took me up there so we could tell them what all had been done.  He uses this place and they know him.
They gave me a sort of decent 'guess-timate' which wasn't bad - but said they wouldn't get to it till at least Monday.
Funny, I rarely go any where, maybe leave one day a week - but someone telling you you can't - changes it up!!!!!!!  Hate the thought of not having a car - just in case.
Neighbor offered to let me ride to WM super store (cringe) with him this morning.  I guess I will go - even though I don't like WM. (need to look for canned cat food).

Got a call - they were already looking at it and it may be much simpler than we all thought.  The shop  thought they knew the problem and it takes a computer thingy to measure whatever - after installing the new doohickey.  
How is that for technical???!!!!!
Fingers crossed it is the easy fix and MAYBE I will get it back today or tomorrow!

My best laid plans sure went to heck!!!!!!!!!!!! 
Such is life here in the big city!!

Some days the universe wins!  That is OK too.
New day - new beginnings.  
This my friends is why we are frugal - you never know what may happen.

LAUGH - it makes things better
Have a great day!!!!!!

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Preparedness - What do you have plenty of?

 We should all still be in preparedness mode.  Prices are going up and things continue to be hard to get in some areas.  I am thankful there are not really many shortages in my area (except canned cat food).  Prices have gone up a little here, but there is something to be said about living in the mid section of the country.  Our cost of living is much less than other areas and we seem to be the last place to experience all the crap!

What do you have in stock that you do not have to worry about at this point?  Is there something that you are super stocked up on?

My SUPER stock levels include:
salt - all kinds
dried beans - huge variety
tomato products
jelly and jams
yeast (in freezer)
season packets - variety
bath - bar soap

My GOOD stock levels:
I then have a good supply of canned beans of all sorts and other veggies
I have a good year or two of laundry detergent and fabric softener (don't really use)
TP - good supply
spices - variety
wet wipes  - bunches and bunches
antiseptic wipes - bunches
toothpaste and tooth brushes
Shampoo and deodorant
Sugar and baking soda

WHAT do I need more of??
canned meats
fruit - canned or frozen
dried /dehydrated goods
probably more garden seeds (I do have a good variety)
corn meal
cat food - supplies
canned/shelf stable & dry milk
vitamins and herbs

I know we all eat differently and have different wants and needs.  I can get by very simply.  I could actually eat beans, rice, pasta and tomato products for ages and be happy.  I have lots of other goodies to add to those things - so I am doing pretty good.  I also have my freezer. (I do have a great back-up for electric)
Years and years of prepping has paid off and I know what is important and what isn't (in my pantry).

I love having cookbooks and country living books on hand.  I have books on natural living and medical books.  I have books to read.  I have craft stuff I can do.

Life can throw us some curve balls for sure.  We need to be ready.
I know many don't have a lot of extra space for storage.  Folks, do anything and everything you can!!!!  Store under, behind, on top of - where ever you can.  Under beds, behind and under couches and furniture, floors of closets, on top of shelves, behind doors............................  get creative.
Add what you can - when you can.  

You don't have to spend a fortune all at once.  Get a few extra cans or bags when you shop.  Spend an extra $5, $10, etc. whatever you can each shopping trip.
Whatever you can get today and tomorrow is going to be cheaper than next month or in 2 months!
You future and that of your family is worth it.  It like money in the bank.

Do you HAVE to live with lots of variety or are you one that could live with the basics?  Simple or complicated?  
I know beans and rice could get boring - but I figure I can do boring a long time if it keeps me alive!

Do you know what you are set with?  What you need to get?
Get that inventory done now and shop for what is missing in your inventory.
Preparedness is your future!

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Make Your Clothes Last Longer

 Clothes can be very expensive.  Even if you buy from a thrift store - you want to them to last as long as possible.  You want to be conscious of your funds.  You can keep your look fresh and nice and still be financially responsible.

  • Dress for the occasion - meaning only wear old worn clothes for working in the yard, nice clothes for dress up.  Play clothes for play.  Aprons when cooking - so as to keep grease splatters off your clothes.  Grease can ruin more items.
  • Wash in cold as much as possible.  Cold water is not nearly as color fading as hot and it is more energy efficient
  • Don't launder as often.  Wear clothes more than once unless they are terribly dirty.  When working in the yard I have old jeans to wear and I may wear two or three times while working out in the dirt before washing.  Now, I wouldn't wear them any where else - but I plan.  I know if I will be out 2 or 3 days in a row and sure don't want to get every pair dirty.  Some people change clothes often and wash after every wearing - even if it was just an evening out.  That seems wasteful of energy and you are wearing your clothes out faster
  • Zip up all your zippers before laundering items.  It keeps them from catching on other things.  Fasten your bras as well - so hooks don't snag other clothes
  • Be gentle with your undies - don't ever put them in a dryer.  It wears them out and discolors & ruins elastic.
  • Mend, patch, fix buttons, hems and zippers when possible.  The more you you mend the longer you have your items in good repair.
  • Dye faded jeans or dark colors.  I have dyed jeans many times and they look great afterwards.  You can buy denim 'color' dye.
  • Wash your clothes inside out. Less color loss, less fraying and pilling, less cracking on T-shirt emblems, less lint.........
  • Use deodorant/anti-perspirant to prevent sweat stains in under arm area.  Some materials are hard to remove smells from - so keep the body odors at bay!
  • Hang laundry as often as possible - whether outside or inside.  The drier really does break down clothes (as does fabric softener).  Hang in garages, on patios, on racks inside, out on a line - where ever you can
Doesn't matter where you live - you have to take care of laundry!  Many places don't even have driers - so drying clothes happens however it happens!
  • Wash by colors.  Whites, darks, light colors, etc.  Keeps color from fading into others
  • Make sure you buy easy care clothes.  I do NOT ever buy dry clean only clothes.  IF I did I would wash on gentle at home and hang to dry (I have done that in the past).   I tried those home dry cleaning kits years ago and never again - the smell was horrible!!!!!   Simple care means just that - easy is better!!
  • Keep Tide pens or blue Dawn on hand for stains.  Stains can ruin an item you love.  Make sure you treat quickly.  If that doesn't work - get creative with a patch or embroidery!
  • Keep all those extra buttons you get with tops/sweaters.  Keep them in a jar or box separate from all other buttons - that way you can find them easily if you lose one
  • Place super delicate items in a pillow case to launder if you do not have a laundry bag.  You can easily make laundry bags from soft nylon net or from an old lace curtain panel or tablecloth.
  • Wash stuffed animals on gentle cycle
  • Wear jeans until you can't - patch as long as possible.  Once you can't patch - make shorts or a skirt or an apron!
  • Use vinegar for softening clothes - in rinse.  It is all natural!!!! (No smell once dry)
  • Use baking soda and or peroxide to brighten and whiten - again all natural.
Would you be prepared to be able to do laundry without your current facilities?  It would freak a lot of people out.  Our ancestors worked hard at laundry - it sure wasn't like we do today (and we still gripe).
I do have ways to do laundry the old fashioned way if I needed to.  I also have an old clamp  (onto a table) wringer that I could use for water removal.

I have every single one of these items!  And a crank wringer and a clothes line.  Yeppers I could do laundry the 'hard' way!
You could always use your bathtub as a wash/rinse bin.

Clothes are an outward picture of who you want to represent to the world.  They can be expensive and there is no reason to trash our lovelies and wear them out quickly - make them last!
Do you have any tricks to extend the life of your clothes?

Sunday, April 11, 2021

Weekly Wrap-Up 4/11

 Good morning to all my friends!  Hope you are each well and safe.

It has been a lovely week here.  Warmer temps all week and we had rain - lots of  rain!  It is still raining.  The grass is so brilliant green and the trees are greening - it is very pretty!  This coming week is supposed to be more 'normal' for this time of the year.  50's and low 60's for highs and nights in the 40's.  Spring is here - just not the permanent heat of summer!  That is OK, I do enjoy the different seasons.

This past week was flip flop weather!  Almost 80 for a few days!  I saw the first bumble bees of the season and enjoyed watching robins taking baths in the bird bath.  They are so cute to watch.

I love this picture.   The simple joys of spring/summer.  Enjoying nature and each other.  Innocence!

This past week:
  • Picked a bouquet of tulips
  • Cut my hair (it so needed it) and did a root touch-up
  • Moving a few things around in the yard (yard art).  Cleaned out the front flower bed - oh it it so full of ivy and Vinca vine it's crazy.  None of it was planted by me - and most of it is a pain!  I removed a huge trash barrel full of stuff.  (can we say sore???!!!!!!)
  • Mowed the yard 2X - yes I did.  The rain is sure making things grow like crazy
  • No heat or AC at all this week.  Windows open and fresh air every day.  I even slept with the window open a bit at night and ceiling fan on!
  • I got the rain barrels out of garage and pretty much set up (spout isn't open yet)
  • Changed out my handbag to a spring looking one
  • Making a list of items I need to get at Menard's.  Lots of little things.  Also making a list of things that I need to accomplish outside this spring - work is never done
  • I did go out to the grocery this week.  Got fresh veggies and some fruit and milk and juice concentrate.  I did get a couple bargains.  4 large cans of salmon for 2.19 each, and 2 bags of specialty chips for .79 each.
  • Made up a jug of orange juice
  • Doing all the normal things - eating from home, using what I have, normal cleaning and laundry, seldom turn on a light, using up leftovers
Meals this past week:
Fried chicken, green beans and 3 cheese mac
Leftover chicken and cheesy mac
Beefy Au Gratin potatoes and leftover green beans
Beefy potatoes and salad
Fish sandwich and salad
Cheese burger and oven fries
Enchilada 'like' skillet with small soft tortillas and cheese

How has your week been?  Are your yards starting to come back to life?  I sure hope you are getting some nice weather.
How have you been frugal this week?  Any deals or bargains?

I pray that each of you stay safe and healthy in the coming week.
Blessings from my humble little home to yours.

So faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
1 Corinthians 13:13

Thursday, April 8, 2021

Free Ingredients

 Spring is in the air and free ingredients abound!  Say what?  Yep, there is free food and ingredients every where if you just pay attention!
Jellies and jams can be made by what most call "weeds" and all those flowering trees can add to the pantry as well.  You just need to do a bit of research and you can find all kinds of recipes for things that are out in your yard.  Violets, dandelions, redbud, lilacs, roses, nasturtium, marigold, yarrow, crab apples,  honeysuckle, peonies and even all those weeds that drive you crazy in the yard and flower beds.

You can use thistle, borage, purslane, lamb's quarters, chickweed and even stinging nettle for different things.  You can simply type in "edible weeds" in your search engine and find out all kinds of wonderful information and uses.
God has told us He put everything on this earth that we need to nourish and heal our bodies.  Maybe we should pay more attention.  Natural is the best in my book.

If you are using weeds or plants from the yard make sure there are no chemicals used in that area and make sure they have been 'pet' free!!!

I have made dandelion jelly in the past (tastes honey like) and I have made peony jelly (has a light floral taste) and have also made violet jelly.  I pick and use purslane in salads.  I have made honeysuckle jelly years ago when I had a flourishing vine.  My brother often has dandelion greens in the spring.  Mom made those when I was a kid.  Back then they used whatever they had to feed families.

Click on pictures of recipes to enlarge and see them better.
These fancy floral jellies can be super expensive at specialty shops.  
Many 'weeds' or herbs can be used in teas and in tinctures and lotions of all sorts.  They are quite beneficial.  Next time you go to a health store - look around - I bet you find several of these yard pests on the herb aisle!  These things aren't cheap to purchase - but they thrive in nature.
Flowering weeds - please DON'T kill!!!  They are the first flowering items each spring and they feed the bees.  We so NEED the bees - they make our gardens possible by pollination.

So never overlook the yard for ingredients.  I seriously hope you do some research on what is useable and edible in the way of flowers and weeds.  It truly could save someone if they were hungry or ill!
Nature is a wonderous thing.  Not only is it pretty - but it can benefit us in so many ways.


Wednesday, April 7, 2021

Frugality means.......

 Frugality means something different to everyone.  One thing I know is that people who are frugal are responsible people and they are not cheap!  Big difference between frugal and cheap!!
Here area  few things it means to me.

  • Frugality helps reduce clutter (hopefully).  We love to recycle and reclaim things and re-use items.  We love finding new and exciting ways to use leftovers.  We tend to not just buy to be buying - it needs to be a serious need
  • Frugality promotes an environmentally friendly lifestyle - pretty much the same reasoning as above.  Reduce, re-use and recycle and reclaim
  • Frugality helps us learn creativity.  There is no limit to our imaginations!!!
  • Frugality seems to reduce stress, gives a state of peace of mind while gaining a greater simplicity in our lives.  If you aren't spending a lot - you have less bills and more money to pay the ones you DO have.  Living a simpler way of life  is freeing!
  • Frugality gives me a gratitude mindset.  I am thankful for everything.  The small things mean a lot and I have learned to appreciate and love things that God has given us that cost nothing.  Nature is wonderful, taking a walk is wonderful, spending time with loved ones is wonderful, a child's laughter is wonderful.....
  • Frugality gives you options and freedom.  It helps you save more for things that are really important.  Having a retirement account.  Having an emergency fund.  Having more for less.  Making the best use of what we do have. 
  • Frugality helps reduce debt.  Watching your funds and spending is a great way to pay off debt and get out of the grasp of lenders.
  • Frugality helps you be more generous to others.  Watching your spending allows you to donate to those in need, whether by funds or goods
  • Frugality is a great hobby!!!!  You learn new ways, you save, and you pay off debt.  It becomes a game and a challenge to see just how far you can stretch a dollar.
  • Frugality helps you realize your priorities!  It isn't about stuff - it's about moments and security
  • Frugality means WAITING and planning.  It means no rash and sudden decisions.  Think and plan your spending.
  • Frugality  is about being a good steward of what you have
I truly believe the quote above.  I don't think the bulk of the people of the world have truly learned the riches of frugality.  We seem to live in such ME society.  Immediate gratification  is a way of life.  I was always told by my Daddy that the anticipation always far surpasses the outcome.  I have found that true over and over.  
The longer I wait and save for something - the more it means to me.  The harder I work at something, the more I appreciate it.

You can become RICH in so many ways by being frugal.  Richness is more than money!!!!!
Frugality can make you a much happier person in so many ways!

Tell us what frugality means to you!

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

A Successful Pantry

 We all have our pantries and our freezers.  There are just some things we all need to remember for them to be successful for our family.  Many of us strive to have long term pantries - being prepared for anything that happen.  I hope you still see the need for that today.

Prices keep going up, supplies go down in some places and we just need to prepare for that.  
Here are a few basic guidelines to follow to insure that you are covered for any hardship that comes your way.

  • Don't buy things you and your family don't like or don't eat.  I know an emergency situation can mean eating anything - but truthfully it should be something you like.  (My only suggestion is maybe having things to barter with.)
  • Have variety - carbs, proteins, fatty foods, veggies, fruit and meat.  Also grains and dry goods.  Being able to mix and match items gives you so much more flexibility with food prep
  • Store your items properly.  Keep dry goods dry and cool.  Wrap freezer goods properly so as to avoid freezer burn.  Now remember freezer burn does not make an item non-edible - it just really  changes flavor and texture and makes it unappealing.  You can cut off freezer burn and cook - but the best policy is to wrap properly before freezing
  • Inventory - know what you have.  Keep like foods grouped together for easy searching.  Baking goods, soups, home canned, veggies, fruits, canned meats - etc.  Both pantry and freezer should be inventoried on a regular basis.  Best idea is to pantry shop - before going to the store.  That way you can see what items need replaced or restocked
  • Rotate, rotate, rotate!!!!!!  So important.  Use your oldest first.  Always place your newer goods to the back and older items up front.  REMEMBER - there is NO expiration date (except baby formula).  Those dates are 'best if used by' dates and seriously just recommend for the freshest taste.  Foods can be used many months and years past those dates!!!!!   Dates are not mandated by the government - they are put on by the manufacturer in hopes of getting you to purchase more!
  • Know of alternative ways to use what you have.  For instance know what items you can use instead of oil in baking, or what you can use instead of eggs.  Oats can be used in place of nuts and dry milk instead of fresh.  There are so many alternate uses for items.  Know what you have and other ways to use it.
  • Know others ways to prepare/cook.  You may not have use of your stove or oven - what to do?  Propane grill,  charcoal grill, wood fire, sun box..... check and know alternative cooking methods.  Also have foods on hand that can be eaten without cooking - straight from the can.   Many gas stoves today have the electronic start (that clicker spark) - many can been lit with a match.  Just the stove top - not the oven - but it is worth trying.  If only electric is out you should still have gas flow
  • Pets - make sure you have inventory for your pets needs as well.  They are family!
  • Comfort food - this is truly important.  If a situation gets grave , no matter what it is, a little comfort food can relieve a bit of stress.  Maybe peanut butter for a good old peanut butter sammy, or cocoa for hot chocolate, or some pie filling or chocolate candy put back.  It really can make a moment seem a bit better
  • Have supplies of dry goods and health and beauty things as well.  TP, shampoo, dish soap, body soap, laundry supplies, vinegar (so many uses), salt, OTC meds, etc.  ** Another reminder - one soap can work in place of many in a difficult situation.
Watch for bargains and get things as cheaply as possible.  Stock up on super sales.  Buy clearance and markdowns.  The pennies you save today are pennies you can spend later on something else.
Keep on stocking and prepping - NOT panicking or hoarding - and you know that when life takes a turn in your world - you will be prepared.
It is our responsibility to take care of ourselves - no one else's.

Your pantry and freezer's are the lifeblood of your family.  Take good care of it, manage it, and keep it stocked and tidy.