Sunday, April 5, 2020

Weekly Wrap-Up 4/5

Good morning to all.  I hope you are all well and safe and that your families are well.
I have had several check in again this week.  An old friend from high school called to see how I was doing - we had a nice catch up talk.  My former neighbors called again, saying they had a grocery run planned and did I need anything.  So sweet.
My neighbor was going to the store and asked if I wanted anything.  Kroger had a nice sale on spiral hams - so I said I wouldn't mind one and a couple other things.  Got it!  Let the neighbor borrow a power tool for the day for getting me things.
People are being kind.  It would be nice if it lasted - but I am not holding my breath (sadly).

              Prayers for you all on this Palm Sunday and for the beginning of a Holy week.

The flowers are getting lush and popping up everywhere.  Tulips are blooming.  Grass is so green and the trees are all budding.  The magnolia trees got to bloom and look gorgeous.
It sure looks like the earth is coming back to life.  I love spring!!

My week:
  • Made up a batch of cheese biscuits  from a mix I got as a gift
  • Made some sausage gravy with 2 sausage patties from the freezer
  • My neighbor got me a spiral cut ham for .95/lb. this week.  I also wanted and got bell peppers (.99 bag) and milk - 1 gallon for 2.19.  That ham will provide a generous amount of different meals.
    Aren't these pretty?  That is a .99 clearance bag.  I cut one of the striped ones and kept seeds - we will see how that works!
  • I did go and drop mail off at the outdoor box at the post office (2 blks. up the road).  I drove a couple blocks further and drove through the park just to see the trees blooming and the flower gardens.  Never got out of the car - it was just a needed and pretty drive for a few minutes.
  • All bills received, paid for the month
  • Cut grass - it sure is growing steady now
  • Got a LOT of yard work done this week.  I worked on an area that was totally ignored last summer (I ignored a lot last summer).  It all looks so clear and nice now.  Even cleaned a bunch on the neighbors (the young couple) side of fence.  It was good to get out and move and FREE exercise.  I sure slept good that night.
  • My neighbor cut a bunch of dead limbs from his trees and burned them.  I asked for all the ashes for the garden.  They were gladly given!
  • Just doing all the normal stuff - eating from home, cooking from scratch, cleaning and de-cluttering, laundry - just normal every day things.  
Meals this past week:
Beans/rice and smoked sausage and biscuits
Rice/bean/chicken tender roll-ups with Ranch dressing
Biscuits and sausage gravy
Club sandwich
Tamale pie
Tamale pie and fresh veggies & dip
Cheesy mac with beef and beans added 
                                      Homemade club sandwich - who needs a fancy deli?

How was your week?  Are you getting a lot of things accomplished around the home and yard?  Hope you are getting some decent weather.

I live in the flight path of the airport - and generally at any given hour you see/hear at least a half dozen planes in the sky (or more).  It sure is quiet now.  I occasionally see and hear a plane, but not many.  There are several helicopters that I see - I think TV news choppers - but few planes.  Seems weird.  
Streets are quiet as well.
My neighbor said the grocery was fully stocked with everything except paper products (of which there were none).  But all aisles were full and they said there wasn't a rush of people.  Maybe things are evening out some.

I pray that God will help us each to surrender our worries to Him and that we strengthen our faith each and every day - and that He will see us through this, as only He can.   Amen

Blessing to you and yours from my humble little home to yours.

Thursday, April 2, 2020

Reach Out

I know a lot is going on in every single persons lives right now.
I know people are scared and stressed.  I know people are ill and some are dying (sadly).
I know we can't visit.  I know our normal isn't normal.
We are all going through this day in and day out.

Take time to do something for someone else.  Yes, it can still be done.
If you have an elderly neighbor or someone who is feeling poorly - go mow their grass or pull some weeds for them.  Take their trash can to the curb for p/u.  It all helps.
If you are going out for ANYTHING - check with others and see if you can get them something.  (You can leave it at the door)
If you have extra - and you know someone who doesn't - share.
If you have the capabilities to HELP for the greater good - DO IT.   Sew masks to donate, donate to the food pantry, help at a food pantry (most are still open with limited hours).  Make cold lunches for elderly neighbors or kids that may be doing without.  Make hand sanitizer if you have supplies to share with others, etc.
Some churches are working in very small groups around here - making up 'care' boxes (food basics, TP, cleaning supplies, etc.) for a drive-through pick-up for anyone in need.
Pray for others
Face time with others if at all possible.
Call and talk with friends and family - trust me - it will brighten their day  (I know this first hand!)
Talk to neighbors and socialize from a distance  (across the fence several feet apart)

Boy, there are many on here who know this verse is so very true.  My word, I would love to have my parents or my hubby here to worry about - but I don't.  Losing them all were the worst chapters in my life - but I am still here.  They would expect me to keep going.  I know there are many who feel this way.  
Life has a way of knocking us down and smacking us in the face.  We get up and we rub our cheeks and keep going.  That is ALL we can do.

So please - REACH OUT to someone else in some way!  Do a kind deed.  Say a kind word.  
Just do something - I may just change their day, week, month or world! 
(and maybe yours too!!!!!!!!)

God bless each of you!

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

I Will Mend Anything!!!!!

Yep, I pretty much will mend anything if at all possible.  I patch and sew jeans constantly.  I sit in the ground and on the drive quite often pulling weeds and cleaning up - It tends to wear out jeans.  However, I do use the oldest ones for the yard work - keeping a pair or two for 'good'.

I mend rips or tears in t-shirts often with a pretty patch.  Once it gets too bad, then they become hankies or rags.  I have gotten stains on things and instead of throwing them out - I use patches over the spot, embroidery, pretty buttons, appliques or fabric paint.

Totally frayed and worn towels in the past have been turned into wash cloths - I cut and stitch edges and continue to use.  Towels are good for rags as well.

I can't begin to tell you how many things I have mended in some way and continued to use.  I have sewn, used fabric liquid stitch, duct tape, super glue, patches and paint, scraps of lumber and many unusual items.

Last week I did a 'fix' on my work tennis shoes.  I bought 2 pair that fit well several years ago at a super price.  I still have one pair that is basically brand new!  The other pair was worn with jeans for ages, then I started using them when working in the yard.  I have finally worn a hole in the sole.  It doesn't go through 100% - but it allows moisture through.
 See - there is the hole that is worn in the  bottom of shoe.
I have a lot of this stuff around.  It is the material that you place under throw rugs to keep them from slipping around on the wood/vinyl floors.
I cut a piece of this to fit in the upper half of the shoe (like an inner sole).  Even though the hole had not come all the way through to the inside - I did cut and place a piece of duct tape on the inside in that area of the shoe - then I laid this new 'inner sole' in place.  It seems to be working quite well.
If I still get moisture through I do have some tape on hand that is water proofing tape - that I may try.
As you can see these are grungy.  I throw them in the washing machine every now and then to wash and then air dry.  This is them at their best!!!!!  LOL  I realize tape will need replaced after each washing.
I am sure with this fix I will get through this summer at least!  They still work and I see no reason to trash them.

This was the perennial bedding starting back a couple weeks ago.  See that nasty looking green chair?  I keep that out there and either put a big pot of flowers on it (for height variety) or I let the kitties use it to sun.
Well, the seat only had 2 slats left - the rest had rotted through.  The slats run the same direction as the arms - so I found some scrap wood and set it going the opposite direction and screwed it in.  Once the weather warms a bit the chair will get a completely new and brightly colored paint job (I see it in my head!).  
I can either put a pot of flowers there or a cushion for the kitties.  Once the ground flowers grow - the seat will be slightly secluded - so it's all good.
Yep, that is a old metal head board in the middle of the garden!  It is a flower bed!!!  LOL
It gets repainted this year as well.
I can tell you - within 15 minutes of adding those boards on the chair seat - I looked up and Momma cat was sitting there sunning and watching me do other yard work.  That made it all worthwhile!

I have so many projects to do this spring - just waiting for some warm days.  Painting pretty much takes a certain temperature for the paint to dry correctly.  I have MANY items around the yard that I am going to repaint this year to give it a bit more color and just add a bit of whimsy.  I love whimsy in the garden!!!!!
A couple years ago an old time hardware (that I loved) went out of business.  I got all kinds of spray paint in so many colors and even quarts of paint on a super discounted sale.  They are still good and I plan on doing most of my 'coloring' with what I have on hand.

So there you have a couple of my recent repairs.
Have you mended or repaired anything lately?

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Tips for Help in the Kitchen

Today will be a few ideas and recipes that I have snipped  for use.  Ideas for using what we have and stretching the budget and the pantry.
Imagination is key today!!!!!   Just remember that every recipe was an IDEA inside someone's head at one time or another.  Someone made that recipe up!!  You can too.
Get creative and save some money.

An old time favorite.  I remember making these as a kid - and still love them today.

Ramen stew.  Use an inexpensive pack of Ramen noodles and add all kinds of veggies and bits of meat if desired.  This is a great way to use leftovers and a cheap packet of soup.  It is cheap, tasty, and you don't waste a thing.

A packet of easy biscuit mix that I got in a gift basket at Christmas.  I threw in a extra handful of shredded cheese before baking.  Oh my goodness they are good.  Make any biscuit mix you have or your favorite easy biscuit recipe and think about jazzing it up.  Throw in a handful of any type of shredded cheese or maybe some chopped jalapenos.  Heck, you could even sweet-ify them buy adding some chocolate chips and sprinkling with sugar.  Biscuits are easy and super cheap to make.
Biscuits and gravy are a good combo as  well.  Think about making a yummy and easy gravy to smother those tasty biscuits.
If you don't have a pound of sausage to use - place 3 - 4 tablespoons of bacon grease or flavorful oil in a skillet and follow the recipe without the meat.  You can also make gravy from any mix you might have on hand.  Beef, pork or chicken gravy would all be tasty over biscuits or toasted bread.  NOT every meal has to balanced!  Filling can mean so much when money is tight or the pantry is low.

Can't get much easier than this.  Just enough for a sweet treat!

Here are a couple of substitution charts as well.  These are helpful to print out and keep close at hand. We have all discovered we are out of something after starting a recipe.  Substitutes are wonderful to have on hand.

Hope these help someone.  Food and goodies don't have to be fancy or expensive.  We can have goodness, variety and wonderful food for little money.

CLICK on any PICTURE to ENLARGE for easier reading.
Enjoy my friends.

Sunday, March 29, 2020

Weekly Wrap-Up 3/29

Good morning my friends and welcome to a new week.  This is day 9 for me staying at home.  No need to leave for anything just yet.
Hope you are all staying in and staying safe.

This week has been forsythia, daffodils and bright gold finches!  AND bunnies!!!!  Oh yes, I am seeing bunnies again!   Yellows and greens are the colors of the week.  The yards are greening and everything is popping up and growing.  The peonies are really jumping up and my rhubarb is such a pretty plant at this time.  Roses are getting new growth.
And then there is the mud!!!!!!  It sure has been wet this spring and there is just so much mud.
We have had decent temps this week.  Wednesday was so foggy in the morning - you could hardly see across the street!  Last night we had quite a thunderstorm come through and there is a small lake in the back yard  this morning!
Today is crazy WINDY!!!!  Big wind advisory till tonight.

MY week was a  lot of small things:
  • Did a huge vacuum - under, behind , on and over things.  Moved so many furniture items
  • Cut some wild onions to use in cooking
  • Made up a new bottle of dish soap and one of shampoo
  • Cleaned out some really old jars of home canned goods I came across - emptied and cleaned jars
  • Cooked up some dry baby lima beans
  • Did some yard work and clean-up.  Had a couple perfect days for cutting and pulling and bagging things
  • Cut the front grass!!!!!!  IT HAS BEGUN.  (Amazingly it got the neighbors out doing the same)
  • Got the rain barrels out and set up
  • Did a little cleaning in the garage
  • Heat off and windows open a lot this week!
  • Put the spring decor on both doors
  • Mended my work tennis shoes (I'll show that this week)
  • Stayed home all week and spent ZERO money!
  • Cooked up enough ground meat for a couple meals
  • All the normal things - made a gallon of tea, also drinking favored water, laundry, cleaning, etc.
Meals this past week:
Baked potato topped with leftover chili and sour cream
Baby lima beans, smoked sausage and salad
Beef burger patty and pizza rolls
Scratch pizza (used half of gr. beef I cooked)
Pizza pasta - (other half of meat, pizza sauce and mushrooms left)
Egg sandwich and tortilla chips and homemade salsa
Spicy beans and rice with smoked sausage and biscuits
Homemade pizza - it was so yummy.  Pizza pasta and garlic toast for another day.  Just using what I have.  This week seemed to have an pizza theme!

How has your week been?  Are you keeping busy?  Are you finding new things to cook/bake?
There were no grocery ads here this week - probably a good thing - no risk of being tempted to go out!

This coming week I may do some extra posts.  I think I will post some ideas or recipes that I have snipped that are for some super easy dishes.  I think many people are getting into stretching the food pantries as far as possible (and budgets) and easy and fun recipes may help.
We need to look at this situation as our "new normal" for a while - so we might as well learn and practice some new things and ways of doing things.

Try to watch, read, and listen to positive uplifting things. Pass on positive words and hope to others.  Smile and laugh whenever possible.  I am so afraid stress and worry is going to do more long term damage that the current situation.  Don't be a victim!
Please know I pray for you all and hope you stay safe and healthy.  We are all in this together - we need to be each others support and rock!

Blessings from my humble little home to yours.
God bless you all.

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Seeing Frugality as Freedom

When you here the word frugality - what comes to mind?
Cheap?  Greedy?  Hoarder?  Smart?  Prepared?  Freedom?

I see frugality as FREEDOM.  I grew up with parents that had to be frugal.  We were probably considered poor - but I never felt that.  We had enough (not always the newest thing), but we had enough.  We had a roof over our head, good food, nice clothes (albeit homemade), warmth, love and parents that worked hard.
Now I must admit that I went through a time when I didn't follow the road of frugality.  I got led stray into having fun and spending too much.
It took a while and a lot of stress before I figured out - I like freedom better!

We each have to be pro-active in our lives.  Planning, saving, and doing with what you have is how you can take control.
Right now, people don't feel like they have much control - but you CAN control your spending habits and you CAN control your reactions to things.
Normalcy is what everyone is craving - keep your home normal.  Yes, you may have to stay home - but that doesn't mean you can't keep normal IN YOUR HOME.

Frugality IS freedom.  Knowledge IS freedom.
Many of us have all that we need in our homes.  We planned and prepared in a way, that today we can have a great life.
We can eat because our pantries are full.  We can help one another because we have more than enough.  We can enjoy our days because we can get creative in our homes and yards.  We can keep busy with crafting and remaking things.  We can pay our necessary bills because we have saved.
We are FRUGAL and have freedom and knowledge!!!!

One dollar can start a savings, one extra canned good can start a pantry, one super bargain can be the difference that saves someone, one gesture of sharing can possibly save a life (literally)……….

Adjust your mood a little by getting in the sunshine - you NEED sunshine.  If it is cold - open the blinds or curtains - open the inside doors - get sunlight.  Get outside and MOVE if at all possible.  Front porch, back porch, or balcony sit!!!!!  Just sit out and watch and listen to EVERYTHING.  Be one with the world.
Share what you can when you can.  Help someone in need if possible.
Listen to FUN music and DANCE!!  I know you all think I am crazy when I say that - but it helps!  I have gotten to the place, where a few times a week I turn on the 'oldies' and dance all by myself.  It is great exercise and it really brightens my mood.
These are things you can do that are frugal and good for you and others.

Frugal isn't about being cheap.  It is about doing as much as possible with what you have.  Frugal people hate to spend dollars unnecessarily!  Frugal people get creative.  Frugal people make fun from nothing.  Frugal folks are the BEST!
If you have to purchase anything right now - think about ordering from or buying from a small local shop.  Help a smaller business.  Your purchase can help put food on their table and help keep them afloat. 
We are all in this together - no one is exempt.  
Help where you can.  Be the positive in another person's life.
MUCH can be accomplished with a smile and a kind word and a kind gesture.

Stay frugal and be thankful that you have been frugal.  You have a huge leg up on your situation.  You WILL survive.  You WILL help when possible.  You can be THE ONE!

Blessings my friends.
Stay well and stay frugal!

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

MORE Fun Food and Useful Tips

I think everyone is looking for ways to stretch that budget and  pantry.  Once people have sheltered in place for an extent of time, they will be getting the blues and will need something to brighten the day.  Having children at home can be tough - they get bored easily.  I have a couple ideas for some treats with things on hand.
Enjoy and hope these help someone!

Soups and chili call for crackers - at least at my house.  So what happens if you run out?  You can make crackers pretty easily (Tightwad Gazette has an easy recipe) - but if you aren't in the mood, here are some other things to think about.
Any kind of crackers can be used - including snack crackers of all sorts.  Triscuits, wheat thins, cheesy crackers, corn chips (my chili fav), homemade croutons, potato chips (any flavor), cornbread, tortillas, flatbread, French's fried onions ...…..  So many choices!
You can also place little bunches of shredded cheese on a baking pan and bake until crisp.  Cheese crisps are the bomb!
Also remember - you can use most of the things listed above to use as a coating when frying meat or on top of a casserole.

Salsa can be so versatile.  If you are running low on tomatoes or tomato sauce - think about using salsa.  I add it to chili, soups, and casseroles.  It is great to use in dips (with cheese or beans).  You can add it to pizza instead of pizza sauce.  It is even good with fried potatoes instead of catsup.
Use in soups, chili, or casseroles.  Add seasonings and use as spaghetti sauce, or pizza sauce.  ALL tomato products are so inter-changeable.  Just get creative - you may come up with a fun new recipe that is loved!

1 box brownie mix - prepared as instructed on box
1  - 8 oz. pack of cream cheese (softened)
1/3 C sugar
Fruit - whatever you want and chocolate sauce if desired
Prepare brownie mix and spread onto a greased 12 in. pizza pan.  Bake at 375 for 15 - 20 minutes.  Cool completely.
Beat cream cheese and sugar.  Spread over cooled brownie
Slice up fresh fruit or canned fruit.  Drain all fruit completely if using canned.  Spread over the cream filling.  If desired, drizzle with chocolate syrup.
YUMMO!!!!!  What a treat and easy as well.

1 1/2 C Cold milk
1 package (3.9 oz.) instant chocolate pudding mix ( or any type that goes with peanut butter)
1/4 - 1/2 C peanut butter
15 whole graham crackers
In a mixing bowl, mix up milk, pudding mix and peanut butter.  Beat on low speed for about 2 minutes.  Let it stand for 5 minutes.
Break crackers in half and spread half of them with pudding mix.  Top with other cracker.  Wrap and freeze until firm.  Can freeze for up to a month.
IF you don't have graham cracker - get creative!!!!!!!  Use what you have.  I think this would be great with cookies (store bought or homemade).
Have fun and make a tasty and easy treat.

Pizza is a fun food.  It is an easy food.  Pizza is a filling food.  It can be an ANYTHING YOU HAVE food!
Play with it.
Make a conventional pizza crust.  Use bagel halves.  Use English muffins (halved).  Use hamburger or hotdog buns (halved).  Use French bread (this is my favorite pizza of all time!!!!)  Bread can even be used (I lightly toast first and use just a tad bit of sauce OVER cheese)

Sauce - if all you have is tomato sauce or plain tomatoes - blend with some seasoning.  Use spaghetti sauce or pizza sauce.  Salsa is great for a Mexican pizza.  Alfredo sauce.
Use whatever you have for toppings - leftover meats (any type), pepperoni if you have it, veggies - fresh or cooked (make a veggie pizza if no meat).  Shredded ham or turkey - or thinly sliced lunch meat.  What ever type of cheese you have - a little will do (or use leftover mac n cheese!)

Use what you have.  Elbow macaroni, spirals, penne, spaghetti, linguine, lasagna noodles, etc.  they are all interchangeable.  You can break them up and use.  They basically all taste the same and have the same ingredients - use them for whatever you need.  If all you have is spaghetti or lasagna noodles - bread up and use in soup, chili, or casseroles.
Mix pasta into chicken, tuna or ham salad to extend into a more servings.
Add veggies.  I always add frozen peas to my tuna salad!  My Momma always did and so do I.  Fresh peppers, diced carrots, radish, onion, zucchini, fresh asparagus, frozen peas, cheese, etc. can be added.
Pasta salad can be made with all kinds of things - meats, veggies, mayonnaise, ranch dressing, Italian dressing, French dressing, sour cream or dip...…………… add leftovers.

Times are coming when we may need to get super creative.  THERE ARE NO RULES!!!!!!  Put things together and experiment.  Have fun with food.
Come up with solutions.  Don't over analyze.  JUST HAVE FUN AND BE CREATIVE!!!!!!!!

It truly can brighten a day.
Be blessed my friends.

Discover what invigorates you physically,
Restores you spiritually,
Balances you mentally,
And relaxes you emotionally.
An Amish saying