Thursday, December 31, 2015

HAPPY 2016 !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I will probably be busy for the next couple days getting ready for and entertaining company.  I will more than likely not be back on here to post till Sunday.

We have had ups and downs this past couple weeks with G's brother.  We are again in one of those down times.  Continued prayers would still be appreciated.

I wish each and every one of you a happy, healthy and prosperous new year.  May your coming year be filled with lots of wonderful things, and may we all learn new hints and tips from one another.  I am looking forward to doing this blog for a whole year and learning from each of you.
God bless you all and please stay safe!
I think this little poem says it all.


May our home
Be a haven
Of peace
And contentment,
Knowing laughter
And love
Without strife;

May our home
Be a harbor
Where we find
New courage
To sail the sea
Of life.

By: Phyllis Michael

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, December 29, 2015


Good morning everyone.

I have been thinking a lot these last few days about changes I want to make in the next few days, weeks, and months.  I don't plan anything drastic, but there are things I want to improve on.

I DO NOT make resolutions!  Resolutions are to be broken - ALWAYS!  I just try to set small goals that I want to accomplish, and I also don't set any real time limits.

I plan on doing more de-cluttering of things that just take up space.
I plan on prepping more for the future, for if/when things go down the tubes in this country.
I plan on only spending minimal money on groceries in the next few months.
I plan on cooking from scratch.
I plan on being able to save $ again, by the end of the year (when soc. sec. kicks in!)
I plan on letting go of many negative feelings and being happy more!  (I am happy - just want to be happier).
I plan on gardening and canning a LOT this year.
I plan on being my healthiest EVER!
I plan on trying to teach others SOMETHING that will help them in their lives.
The list goes on and on.  Most of all I just plan on being the BEST ME I can be.

Do you have any goals that you hope to reach in the near future?
Let's all work together and support one another for what ever goals are set!

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Frugal Happenings 12/27

Hello everyone.
I hope you have all survived and flourished during the Christmas holiday!  We still have one more family gathering next weekend, but for now all is calm.
We had a very quiet day at home, watching Christmas movies and eating goodies!

It is sure hard to believe that this year is almost over - this is the last weekend of 2015!
I have been working on articles for posts in the upcoming year, to help us all save a little more money, or at least stretch our money a little further.
I have been thinking about some changes that I want to make in the coming year.  I really want to continue my efforts of de-cluttering our home.  We just have waaaaayyyy to much stuff and I think if I donate it, maybe it will bless someone else.

My washing machine died on Dec. 16.  I guess I can not complain, as it turned 30 years old in October!  I have decided that I will look for another one AFTER the new year, as I just don't want to mess with it for now.  I may have to 'borrow' my mother in-law's machine a time or two, but I can wait on spending on all that money!

We have a small lake starting up in the back yard, as do all the neighbors.  We have rain, rain, and more rain this week.  We had about 20 tornadoes in the state 2 days before Christmas, and yesterday we were having thunderstorms.  Before all this rain ends late tomorrow, they are estimating that we will have received about 6" over the weekend!!!  Sure glad it's rain and NOT snow - because that would be a bunch!!
Winter storm "Goliath' as they are calling it, seems to be affecting MOST of the country in some form.  There are have been tornadoes, heavy rains, and snow storms.
I guess that by the beginning of the new year, they are saying that in our area temps will be back to highs in the low 30's - seasonable.

Right now, we have daffodils peeking their noses through the ground, as well as lilies!  What crazy weather we have had.
The squirrels have been VERY 'frisky' this week (if you know what I mean).  I do believe we will have a bumper 'crop' of babies this coming spring!!!!
Yesterday morning it was still slightly dark when I went out to feed the kitties, and I saw this 'deformed' looking dog walking down the alley - it was about as tall as my knees and very long, but walking funny.  The more I looked, I realized it was a raccoon!!!  That dang thing was the biggest coon I have ever seen in my life.  It seemed to know where it was headed, and was on a mission.  I sure hope it stays away from my yard - GEESH!

Have you been frugal this week?
  • I stayed out of stores all but once this week.  I stopped by a different Aldi on my way home from a hospital visit.  I got the last 2 give away hams for $5/off each.  They also had 1 lb. bags of dry black eyed peas on clearance for .25 a bag.  I got several and with what I had already, we are good for a couple years!  I also got 8  large (3.17 oz.) solid milk chocolate candy bars in Christmas wrapping for .25 each.  Those will be for the kids next week (and a couple here!).
  • Stayed home and used what we have on hand and cooked from scratch.
  • Made a ham for us on Christmas day and we are still enjoying that!  It is excellent.
  • We were 'gifted' cookies from 2 different neighbors and they got some home canned goods from us.
That is about it for us.  It has been a quiet week.
I suppose many of you will have another short work week.  I do remember that those were always nice and appreciated, as holidays are slim and none for many more months!

Take care, check in, and have a wonderful week.
Blessings to all.

Thursday, December 24, 2015


I want to take a moment to wish you ALL the happiest and merriest Christmas of all.

Thank you all for following me on this blog journey that I am taking.  My wish is that someone at sometime will gain some knowledge that will help them to make their life a little better and easier.  Thank you for following along and offering your ideas.
I hope in the coming year, we will all be able bless one another even more.

Lord, we come before you now -
Please hear us as we pray
And thank You for the special reason
We celebrate this day.
Not just for the gifts
That are wrapped beneath the tree
But the blessed gift of life -
The gift which sets us free.

So as we open our Christmas gifts
And give thanks to everyone
Far greater thanks we give to You
For the gift of CHRIST, Your Son.

MERRY CHRISTMAS from our home to your home!!!!!!!!  God bless you and yours.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Checking In

Hello everyone.  The big day is almost here.  I sure hope you all have your preparations done.
I am ready for the day!  I do believe it will be a quiet simple day here, just G and I.
We will be having our last Christmas celebration on January 2.

Earlier this week, we got what was considered extremely bad news about G's brother, but things have turned around wonderfully, and hopefully he will be leaving the hospital this week for rehab.  There is not a soul on this earth that can tell me that prayers don't work!!!  They have surely been answered for this family this week.  We couldn't have asked for a better gift for Christmas.

We are currently having thunderstorms here in central Indiana!  Crazy, two days before Christmas, and they are talking threatening weather with possibilities of tornados!!

I know everyone is busy, I just wanted to say hello and to thank any and all of you who said a prayer for our family.

Waiting for Santa's arrival!!!!!

Thank You and God bless!!


Monday, December 21, 2015


Good morning all.
I think during this time of the year we all get a bit nostalgic.  It is especially so for me this year, as life has been a bit stressful lately, I don't feel good, and I really MISS getting a hug and encouraging word from my Momma and Daddy.  I sure do miss them.

I am going to relate a Christmas story to you about my childhood.  I just love thinking about these wonderful memories. 

My Daddy read Twas The Night Before Christmas to me every Christmas eve that I can remember as a child.  Back then, the story was printed in the newspaper every year.  Daddy would sit in his big overstuffed rocker and I would sit on his lap.  He read it with such animation in his voice - it was the best.  Daddy did this up through my 18th year ( my last Christmas at home before marriage).  That year I had to ask - as he thought I wouldn't care any more.  I sat at his feet and he read me the story, as I looked at the tree lights.  I will never forget those days.
To this day, there is a Santa on one of our local news stations on Christmas Eve that reads it AND I LISTEN.  He sounds like Daddy and I close my eyes and go back in time.

Christmas morning was always special and an event.  I slept upstairs, and the stairway came straight down into the living room.  Well I ALWAYS (through 18) had to close my eyes and Dad would guide me down the stairs and into the dining room past the tree and gifts!  Then we had to have a big breakfast - whether you ate any other time of the year!  After breakfast Dad always had to smoke a cigarette and make you wait just a little longer.  Mom used to get so aggravated at him, as she knew how anxious I was.
After that we would go to the living room and open presents.  We didn't have a lot of money, especially when I was little or when the others were young, but the room looked full of gifts.  Mom would wrap everything separate, so it looked like more.  She made most of our clothes and even made me doll clothes.  There was always something unwrapped that Santa left - a big teddy bear, or a tricycle, or doll.

The entire family always came home for dinner on that day.  Mom made everything herself - there was no pitching in back in the day.  I always felt sorry for my siblings kids, as the got dragged away from all their Santa stuff on Christmas morning.  That seemed so unfair.

Mom would start making cookies and candy right after Thanksgiving.  She had so many storage containers that she used.  We always had big gallon glass jars, tins, and some sort of Tupperware like storage.  Candy and cookies would be placed out a few at a time during the month of December unless we had company - then a platter would be set out.  Mom made dozens and dozens of cookies in such an assortment.  She also made special holiday bread (or cake) that she made in soup and coffee tins.  It always had dried fruit and spiced jelly candies in it.  It was one of those things was only made at the holiday, and she would give them as gifts to all sorts of people that popped in during the month.
Mom always made, what are still some of my favorites every year.  Of course we had the Springerle cookies, then there were hermits, date/nut bars, iced sugar cookies (in all shapes) and divinity.  That wasn't it, but those were my favorites.
The cookies and candy were hid in all kinds of nooks in the kitchen and the back porch.  Sometimes she would forget about some, and they would be found around Easter, when she was cleaning out cabinets!!!  Too funny.

I sure do miss those days.  I thank God everyday that He has given us the capability to have memories forever!
I still like to sit in the dark and look at the tree lights and just think back.

Christmas back in the day at Mom and Daddies (as an adult)
Me at age 3 on Christmas morning.  I see a trike and a baby doll!   Life is so wonderful through the eyes of a child!

Do you have any special memories that you would like to share?  I love hearing people's Christmas stories.

I hope you all take some quiet moments and reflect back to your childhood or to those folks who are no longer on this Earth.  Those were times that we can never regain except in memory.
Hug your families and hold them tight - for those will be the memories THEY have someday.


Sunday, December 20, 2015

Frugal Happenings 12/20

Good morning everyone!
I hope this finds you all well and rested and ready for Christmas day!  It's hard to believe it is less than a week away.
In less than 2 weeks it will be 2016!!

It has been cold the past few days, but it supposed to start warming up again today.  We definitely won't be having a white Christmas in Indiana.  I heard on the news yesterday, that the warmer weather has really hurt sales this holiday season.  I don't really understand that - Christmas comes whether its cold or not - so you would think people would still be shopping!

This past week has been a stressful one here.  G's brother Gary got sick and went to emergency to be checked out, only to find out that he had pneumonia.  They kept him, and then towards the end of the week he had to have an emergency surgery and is still in ICU on a vent for a couple days.  This is particularly worrisome as he has muscular dystrophy too (like G).  I'd appreciate any prayers!  I have been unable to go to the hospital since the surgery, as I have developed a nasty cold, and sure don't need to be around him. 

On a happier note - Christmas shopping is done.  I went to Kroger early in the week to buy pop for the holiday company (store brand on sale for 5-12 packs for $10).  That was all I intended to buy - well we all know what is said about 'the best laid plans'!!!!
The meat department had all kinds of clearance, as did the aisles!  I shouldn't have looked - but it will save me BIG money in the future.

My weekly frugal:
  • Kroger had organic chicken wings and legs on clearance for what worked out to be .39/lb.  G always wants wings for Super Bowl, so I stocked up.  It is amazing how much wings cost now, they used to be the cheapest meat.
  • Bought 8 packs of smoked sausage (6 per pack) for .99/pack - regular 2.29 ea.
  • Bought 4 pounds of Bob Evans rolled sausage for .99/lb. was regular 2.99 (I got all they had)
  • Bought 10 cans of Chicken of the Sea pink salmon on clearance (2017 date) for 1.89 a big can, regular 4.29 a can.
  • At Aldi, I have so far bought 3 ham butts/shanks for less than $4 each with their coupon.  One is for us, the others will be gifted.  I will still get 2 more this week.
  • I was given a gallon glass jar - that I will be using for dry storage.
  • All meals from scratch this week
Our meals this week have been pretty darn frugal.  One night was leftovers, then we had some homemade potato soup, grilled cheese, chicken legs, fried chicken livers, breakfast one night and so forth.  I soaked beans over night and will be fixing soup beans today, which will last a few days.  I also have potato soup leftover.
I usually fix a roast on Christmas (I have in the freezer), so I will need nothing for that meal either.

I am sure everyone will be quite busy this week with all the last minute Christmas details.  I hope you still get a chance to check in and let us all know how you are doing.

God bless you all and have a glorious week!

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Legend of the Candy Cane

I love this little poem and thought you might as well.


Look at the candy cane
What do you see?

Stripes that are red
like the blood He shed for me.

White is for my Savior
who's sinless and pure.

"J" is for Jesus, my Lord,
that's for sure!

Turn it around
and a staff you will see.

Jesus my shepherd
was born for me.

CHRISTmas blessings!!

Wednesday, December 16, 2015


Hi all.  I'M DONE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!   Yes, I am officially done shopping, and if I'm not - I AM!
I did a marathon shopping spree today, and I say marathon, because nothing was making me happy.  I had to go several places to find what I wanted, and then I settled a couple times.
I am so over shopping for ANYTHING!
I am pooped!
My goal in January is to not buy anything other than maybe milk.  We'll see.

I had a question on the 'fancy' trail mix.  That's just what I call it.  I usually just mix together M & M's. salted peanuts and raisins or craisins.   This time I did that AND also added whole almonds (from clearance), small pretzels (cheap), and chocolate drizzled popcorn (.99/bag - used 2). 
You get a hand full of yummy every time!  Everyone liked it, and said it was good and different.
Just made it a little different this year - and it also stretched it out a little further.

Flour, 4 cups
Baking powder, 2 tsp.
Eggs, well beaten, 4
Sugar 2 cups
Boiling water, 2 tsp.
Anise seed, 2 Tbsp.

Sift flour and add baking powder.  To well beaten eggs, gradually add the sugar, beating till thick
Pour boiling water over anise seed and add to egg mixture.
Stir in flour.  CHILL

Roll out on a lightly floured board to 1/4" thickness.  Roll with a spring form roller or press with a springerle cookie board.  **If you do not have one of these simply cut into 1 1/2" x 2" blocks.
Place on ungreased cookie sheet and let air dry for 6 - 8 hours at room temperature.
Bake in a 375* oven for 11 - 14 minutes.  (No grease needed when baking either).

That's it - very easy!

Wishing you all a great evening!

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Tuesday TidBits

I hope you all are having a good week thus far.  Just think - tomorrow is HUMP day!

My week started out lovely with the sibling get together at my sisters.  All of us brothers and sisters were there, and many of the nieces and nephews.  We had tons of food (everyone pitches in), lots of laughs, and just an all around good time.
Some of the nieces and nephews I only get to see about once a year - so it's nice.
Everyone seemed to like their gifts - I know we sure did.
As usual we made a haul - got lot's of home canned goodies, gift cards, snuggly blankie, candles, etc.  It was great.
We have one or two more family occasions to host.

Some of the goodies I baked Saturday - fudge made last week.

Springerle cookies made for brothers and sis.  Old family recipe.
Mom made these our entire lives (I was probably teethed on them!).  We all love them.  It is definitely an acquired taste.  This cookie and our family dates back to before our great grandparents when they lived in Bavaria before coming to this country.  We have them once a year - which makes them special.
The German restaurant/bakeries in town make them ONLY at Christmas as well.  They charge a minimum of $7.99/lb. (about 12 cookies) for them!  They are cheap to make.
I have to do another batch when the other family members come in town.

Goody bags and kids gifts I took Sunday.  Blue containers contain fancy trail mix I made, there was banana bread, home canned goods, and toys!

If anyone is interested in the Springerle recipe, let me know and I will post it.  They have anise in them, which is why I say they are probably an acquired taste.  I love them.  It takes several hours (due to drying time) to finish the product, but they are extremely easy to make.

Yesterday did not go as I planned - but I made it through.  Today I got one ham at Aldi with the $5 off coupon.  You can only get one per day.

Well I'm off to fix homemade taco salad for dinner and get some laundry done.  Need to work on wrapping some as well.
Have a WONDERFUL week everyone!!!!

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Frugal Happenings 12/13

Good morning.  Hope this finds everyone well and happy.
We have been having incredible weather.  Yesterday was 70*, and today should be real close to that.  I actually got to air out the house yesterday with 4 windows open!  The kitties were loving it too.  It looks like we will be in the 50's most of this coming week, till the weekend then back to normal 30's and 40's.
All I know is it is one less day that I had to turn the heat on, and one less day till spring!

What have you all been doing to stay frugal this past week?  Here are some of my frugal adventures:
  • Made a dozen hard boiled eggs and a batch of polenta to help with quick breakfasts
  • Made cookies, breads, and candy with supplies on hand
  • Stopped at Fresh Thyme and got 15 oranges and 10 red grapefruit all at the price of 5/$1.  They are very yummy. (I crave citrus this time of year)
  • Across the street from there to Kohl's.  Got 1 gift.  Was $30 now 50% off, I had a 20% off coupon and a $10 off coupon - so spent $4 and change!
  • Colored and trimmed my hair at home
  • Made 'fancy trail mix' and mini loaves of banana bread for gifts (for today)
  • Meals from scratch
I noticed in our Aldi ad this week a coupon for $5 off ANY ham purchase (no other purchase required).  So far I have managed to accumulate 5 coupons.  I will get us a ham, and use the rest to give ham to others.  Hams run from .99/lb. to 2.99/lb., so it would be possible to get a ham for as little as $5 or less.   You might want to check your ads THIS past week or this COMING week.  The coupon is good through Dec. 24.  I sure hope your store has the coupons!!!!!
It's funny how the same store in different areas has different deals.

I know everyone is getting into the hustle and bustle of the holiday.  There seems to be something to do just about every day.  Today is my first Christmas celebration of the season with my siblings and some of the nieces and nephews.
I hope that no matter how busy you get, you still take time to relax and enjoy, and to remember the reason for this glorious CHRISTmas season.
Have a wonderful week.

God bless and peace!

Friday, December 11, 2015


Have you ever tried polenta?  Ok, have you ever tried cornmeal mush?  Basically the same thing!

I have purchased rolls of polenta or mush - whatever you want to call it.  G likes it fried and I don't find it too bad either.  That stuff is kind of pricey!
I decided to try to make it myself.  Well let me tell you - it's just crazy  easy to make.

4 C water (or broth to add flavor)
1 tsp. salt
1 C cornmeal
Milk, butter, salt and pepper to taste.

In a heavy saucepan, bring the water and salt to a boil and gradually whisk in cornmeal.
Continue to whisk until the water returns to a boil and polenta begins to thicken, then turn the flame to low.  Simmer, stirring every 10 minutes or so, until polenta is thick and pulls away from the side of pan, about 40 minutes.  If it seems to be too thick add a splash of milk.

Remove pan from heat and keep covered until serving.  Season with butter, salt, milk, to taste.
This is basically if you want it like a thick oatmeal.

I dumped mine into a 7 x 4 loaf pan and refrigerated.  Now I cut slices and fry in a bit of melted butter till lightly browned on each side.

You can add chopped onions, peppers, shredded cheese, bacon, parm, ham pieces, etc., anything you like for a savory polenta.
It can be fried and then topped with butter and syrup for a sweet polenta.

You can't get a much cheaper dish, that is filling and yummy.  Give it a try if you haven't before.  You might be surprised and like it!
Today, December 11th, this is what I walked outside and picked!  I told you it was warm!  I don't believe I have ever picked dandelions in December!!

ENJOY  your weekend!

Thursday, December 10, 2015

This and That

Happy Thursday everyone.  I hope your week is going well.  We are having exceptionally unseasonable weather in this neck of the woods.  Today should hit 60* and we will be close to 70* on Sunday.  Isn't that just crazy?
Now please understand - I am not complaining.  I could do without snow and especially ice all winter.  I do know however, that we need freezing temps and layers of snow to help things grow well next year as well as killing off bad things.

According to an article I read in the US Today the whole winter will be warmer than usual for most of the country because of el Nino.  I still don't understand that thing, but it is what it is.  This is the first time since the civil war that Buffalo hasn't had any snow at this point in the year.


I am working hard on doing research and writing articles for the first of the year.  I am hoping to do a series of money saving ideas and ways of thought on saving.  I have truly been learning and loving the reading I have been doing.
There are so many things we can ALL do to increase our bottom line - and many can be enjoyable as well!!!


I have started making candy, and I have all I need to make cookies and breads in the next couple weeks.  Gift bags are getting stuffed and items getting wrapped.  I still have 2 kids to shop for, but other than that I am done.
 I have done extremely well with the budget this Christmas.  I have watched sales, used % off coupons and coupons that make items basically FREE, and I am gifting a lot of homemade items.
How are you coming with your Christmas BUDGET????
Be wise and don't create debt for the new year.


I have experimenting with some new recipes as well.  I love to try new things.  Some food items have been around forever, and I just never tried them.  I am now getting more open to trying new things (still NO on cottage cheese - LOL).

Life is good and we are so blessed.  I hope each of you realize how blessed you are each day.  There are so many in this world, that would consider us all wealthy beyond belief.   
I pray daily that people won't have to go without ENOUGH food or a warm dwelling.

Till later - peace to all.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

The Legend


Long ago, a gleaming star led the way
to a child born in a manger.
Today it is believed that the snowflakes
are little pieces of that star that
Leads us to the light of the world.  Jesus.
God bless us all

Monday, December 7, 2015

Tree Safety

Good morning!  It is a beautiful Monday morning here.  The sun is shining and the temps are warming a little.  By next weekend it is supposed to be in the 60's!

Today I want to talk about tree safety.  No one wants a tree tragedy.  Be safe this season, that will keep your homes safe, and that my friends is FRUGAL!

The main thing to remember with this type of tree is about the lights.  DON'T put the old fashioned big bulb, hot lights on an artificial tree, as it will melt the needles.  Cool lights are a must.  Melting needles and the excess heat MIGHT cause a fire or a short.

  • Look for a nice green tree - devoid of a lot of dead needles.
  • Make sure you have a stand that will hold water, and large enough for the tree
  • Cut a good inch off the trunk of the tree, so there is a fresh cut for water to absorb into the trunk
  • Keep the tree well watered.  There are items that you can add to water to help preserve the tree - but I worry how safe these would be for pets.  Sometimes pets might try to drink the water.  Add sugar to the water to best resemble sap.
  • Again, always use cool lights!  I know the old fashioned lights are beautiful - but they are HOT!  New cooler types of lights keep the trees from catching fire
  • If you are not home - keep the lights turned off
  • Keep your tree away from heat sources in your home.  Away from registers, heaters and fireplaces - that should be self explanatory.
  • If you can't bring the tree into the house for a day or two - keep it outside or in a cool garage in a bucket of water

  • These are wonderful, because they can be planted outside and add to your beautiful yard, and it is very environmental
  • These tree are balled with a healthy root system attached
  • Keep them in a large tub and keep the root ball damp - not overly soaked
  • Again, keep these away from all heat sources in the house
  • After the holiday, place these trees in your garage and keep the ball damp - till weather allows for planting (ex:  frozen ground).
  • When planting, make sure the hole is larger than the root ball, and add manure, peat moss, or some other light blend to keep the soil from packing down the roots
I love Christmas trees, as do most people.  It is just a lovely symbol of the holiday.  Keep your home and family safe - follow simple safety rules.
**Another idea I like to promote - is to MAKE SURE your smoke alarm and fire alarm batteries are fresh.  Better to be safe than sorry.

Stay safe and totally enjoy this Christmas season.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Frugal Happenings 12/6

Hi there everyone.  Hope you all had a good week.
It's less than 3 weeks till Christmas and counting.  It's just hard to imagine that 3 weeks from today - it will all be over and done with!

I am still trudging away to get it all done.  This coming week, the baking and candy making begins.  I THINK!!!  That is my plan!  I do have to bake a certain type of cookie for the sibling get together - it's a family favorite that mom used to bake.

How frugal were you this week?  Did you get any great deals or did you just behave yourselves?
My frugal week;
  • Ran to Aldi for milk (of course) as it was 1.49/gal.  While there I spotted a bunch of clearance items.  I got 15 - 20 oz. cans of raspberry pie filling/topping for .99/can!  Flour was on mark down for .99/5 lb.  I also got 4 - 1 1/2 lb. bags of waffle fries (G loves) for .99 each.
  • Found out my feed store is NO longer going to be a feed store as of 12/31.  They are going into landscaping only.  Being my only supplier at this time, I freaked!!!!  I have now purchased enough critter feed to last a good part of the winter.  This gives me time to find a new 'family owed' source.  I also got 3 new thistle feeders for 50% off.
  • Kroger had Domino sugar on sale (if you buy 4) for .99 bag.  I got 8 for the stockpile.
  • FINALLY got the new kitchen faucet installed after having it for 6 months!  There is a story here!!!!!
  • All meals from scratch.  Made chili one day - beans and meat - and served one meal with it over rice.  Second meal I added pasta.  Balance will be used this week on baked potatoes.  Not bad for 1 lb. of ground beef!       Making a big pot of a chicken gumbo type soup today.  It will last a few meals as well!  Love it when you get more than one meal from a pot!
Guess that is about it on this end.

I asked my neighbor (handyman) to help me with the faucet.  He basically did it all himself, I had water, no leaks and I was thrilled.  Gave him a little money for his help.

After he left, I realized the faucet wouldn't move!  Crap.  Well he was gone already from his home, so G and I decided to mess with it today.  G gave me encouragement and a little guidance, but I did it all myself.  My neighbor dropped an important part behind the base cabinet and never retrieved it.
I turned off the water and took everything apart and redid it all.  NOW I KNOW HOW TO CHANGE A FAUCET!!!!  It was soooo easy.  The best part - is the faucet now moves.  YAY!
It's amazing how happy something as simple as a new faucet makes this simple gal.  I am over the moon.

Never doubt that you can't do something.  Most things are much easier than expected.  The hardest part of changing the faucet was laying on my back and working with my arms in the air.  I will sure try anything once - especially when it will save me a big amount of money.  A plumber would have cost a small fortune.

We have received 3 Christmas cards so far.  I guess I need to get mine out this week too.  I think I will hand deliver the family ones at the get together next Sunday - saving stamps.

I hope your week ahead is wonderful and that you are blessed in many ways.  Always try to be kind to strangers, your act of kindness may just change someone's world.
GOD BLESS you all.

Friday, December 4, 2015

Pet Safety

Christmas can be fun and exciting for the kids, and our fur babies get excited too.
There are so many things that can harm out babies this time of the year.  Please be vigilant with your babies to keep them safe.  This will help you avoid vet bills as well - a frugal thing!

There are lot's of holiday plants that can be seriously hurtful to animals.  Keep them away from Poinsettas, amaryllis, paper white daffodils, Christmas cacti, and holly and it's berries!  These plants or parts of them can be fatal.

Do NOT let your pets eat chocolate.  It reacts much differently in their system.  'People" food really shouldn't be given to pets - although a lot of people do it.  It is just far to rich for their little systems.

Be careful with your decorations as well.  Tinsel and icicles can be eaten and then clog up the digestive system.  Glass ornaments look like fun to play with, but if broken and ingested, it could be fatal.  Please try to keep your pets from chewing on lights and electrical cords - need I saw more?!

We just don't think about all the pretty glitz and glamor causing any harm, but it sure can.  Let's all be vigilant and keep our precious fur babies safe.
I generally give mine a couple of the big pre-made bows to play with.  I just found one the other day from last Christmas when I moved the TV armoire!

If you pet becomes sick, get ahold of your vet immediately.  If you can not reach your vet, call the ASPCA Animal Poison Control line at 1-888-426-4435.
Merry Christmas to all the sweet and adorable fur babies!!!!!!

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Mid-week Musings

Hi everyone.  Sorry I have M.I.A. for a couple days.  It's been one crazy week so far and not in a good way.  My mind is just about exhausted, but onward I go.

There is so much to get done in the next few weeks.  I have my first Christmas get-together on the 13th, then more after that.  So life will be busy, busy, busy.

Here are a couple yummy recipes you might like to try.

2 c sugar
2 Tbsp. cocoa powder
1/2  milk
6 Tbsp. butter
1/2 C peanut butter
2 C old-fashioned rolled oats
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

Combine sugar and cocoa powder in a saucepan.  Stir in milk and butter and bring the mixture to a boil.  Cook for 2 minutes and remove from heat.
Stir in peanut butter, oats and vanilla.
Lay out waxed paper.  Drop teaspoons of the mixture onto it and let it cool.  Makes 3 dozen candies.
Pretty darn easy!

20 oz. bag of frozen hash browns - thawed
4 C shredded cheese
2 c cooked dice ham
7 eggs
1 C milk

Place potatoes in a greased 13 x 9 pan.  Sprinkle the cheese over the top of potatoes.  Beat milk and eggs and seasonings together and pour over other ingredients.  Bake covered for 1 hour.  Uncover and bake an additional 15 minutes.
This will serve a lot of people.  I would suggest to serve with muffins or biscuits.  Mmmm - biscuits/gravy would be good with this as well.
What a fun and easy morning (or any time) meal.

Have a good day.  Talk with you all later.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Frugal happenings 11/29

Happy last Sunday in November.  This year will be over before you know it.  It seems like the weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas are gone in a flash.

I keep hearing about all these people who went shopping and how much money they saved.  50%, 60%, and more.   Guess what?  I saved 100% because I stayed home and bought nothing!!!
I am sure there were a great many deals to be had, but most people buy to be buying.  People need to remember the HUGE difference between WANTS and NEEDS!

I hope you all had a lovely Thanksgiving with your family and friends.  We have been partaking in leftovers for a couple days, but the nice part has been no cooking.
Tonight I making cube steaks and we will finish the last little bits of mashed potatoes and dressing along with a green salad.  We so need a salad after all that heavy food!!!

How has your week been?  Mine was very frugal and pretty non-eventful!
  • I went to the feed store on Monday and got a 60 ear bag of squirrel corn and a 50 lb. bag of black oil sunflower seeds with my punch cards for FREE!!!!!  I bought a couple other items but those freebies had a value of $40!  WOOHOO
  • I had a half tank of gas, but took advantage of the lower gas prices.  With my small discount I paid 1.49/gal.!!  I guess I did right - as prices have started rising again.
  • We still have 5 garden tomatoes left and will be using a couple tonight in salad
  • Eating and re-inventing leftovers.  We made turkey Manhattans one night, had sandwiches, put some dressing in the waffle maker to crisp the outside up (YUM),  had regular turkey and ham dinner twice, and most of the rest of the meat is in the freezer in bags for soup, beans, etc.
  • Did a bit of decorating with things we have here at home.
Like I said - not very eventful, but frugal.

Notice my "leg lamp" behind the couch.  The Christmas Story is probably one of my favorite Christmas shows.

My large Christmas bowl (I bought for 50 cents last year) filled with wrapped candies for the season, along with my candy salt & pepper shakers on the dining room table.

That's about it for me.  I hope you have had a frugal week.  I hope you all have a great upcoming week, and for those who have to tromp out to a job - STAY SAFE.

Let us know how you are doing, and hopefully we will all get a new idea or two from one another.
God bless each of you.

Friday, November 27, 2015

The Countdown Begins

Hi there.  Happy Black Friday!! 
Exactly 4 weeks from today is Christmas!  Oh my!  It will go quickly for sure.  Are you ready?
I am getting there.  Not much more to purchase - although the baking frenzy will start in a couple weeks.

Most years in the past I have gone to a couple certain stores every black Friday.  Today - NOPE!  It is warm today but raining.  I decided there was absolutely nothing that I needed bad enough to fight the crowds, the traffic, or the rain.

So today, I am doing all the laundry, put up the Christmas door decorations, and doing just a tad bit of decorating.  I definitely think I will keep decorating simple this year.  I have a wonderfully good smelling candle burning, and meals will all be leftovers!  Life is good!!!!!!

What's going on in your neck of the woods?  Are you ready for all the joys of Christmas?  I hope you have a good start, so that you and yours can truly enjoy the holiday without the rush and craziness.
Have a great day!

Wednesday, November 25, 2015


Good morning all.  I have a turkey bird in the oven, celery and onions chopped for dressing, cheese cake is ready, and getting ready to vacuum a little.
I do my turkey the day before, so I have room for the ham and dressing in the oven on Thanksgiving.
I am sure you are all busy getting ready for tomorrow's festivities.  Don't overdo it - remember to just enjoy and be thankful as well.
If you go out on Black Friday - don't over spend.  Look for the deals and stay frugal my friends.


The year is drawing to a close,
Thanksgiving Day is here......
The day the Pilgrims set aside
For gratitude and cheer.

God-fearing men, they gave to us
A heritage so vast;
Hearts full of love, we point with pride
To all Thanksgivings past.

With tables loaded as of yore
With turkey and other food galore,
Loved ones and friends stand
And give thanks to God through the land.

Succeeding years have seen us grow
To a nation big and strong,
With the help of God, of valiant men
Have kept their vigil long.

Continually striving we must be
For freedom from aggression,
The dignity of man we must protect,
Our homes, our cherished possession.

Thanksgiving Day.....a fitting day
For each one to express
Our love for God and gratitude
For all that we possess.
Ina Englert

I wish each and everyone a wonderful Thanksgiving Day with your family and friends.  May your travels be safe.  I am so thankful to have each of you in my life.  G and I are truly blessed.
May God bless you and this country.

Monday, November 23, 2015


After Thanksgiving dinner, odds are that we will all have lots of leftovers.  My favorite thing to look forward to is a cold turkey sandwich with mustard and salt on the day after!!!!  YUM

There are so many creative ways to use up those leftovers, so that you and your family don't get bored.

  • turkey noodle, turkey rice, or turkey and veggie soup
  • turkey salad or turkey Waldorf salad
  • turkey Manhatten's - hot turkey sandwiches cut in half - split apart on dish with mashed potatoes in between halves and all smothered in gravy!  Love this!!!!  It's good with beef too.
  • turkey chili
  • turkey stir fry served over rice
  • turkey primavera - turkey, broccoli, onion, pasta, chopped tomato, Parmesan cheese
  • turkey tacos
OK, you get the idea - the list can go on and on

  • soup beans and ham
  • split pea and ham soup
  • ham and potato cheesy casserole
  • served for breakfast
  • cheesy potato soup with ham
  • use ham on pizza
  • grilled ham and cheese sandwiches
Same here - the list goes on and on.

One of my favorite make overs is using an 8 x 8 lightly greased pan - layer dressing on bottom, turkey slices, then top with mashed potatoes.  Cover with shredded cheese and bake long enough for it to heat through and the cheese to melt.  Kind of a Thanksgiving version of shepherd's pie.
I also like to make potato cakes if there is enough potatoes left. 

Make sure you come up with some original ways to use the leftovers - don't let them waste.  You can also freeze meat in serving size packages for eating later in the winter.
Leftovers are one of my favorite things!!!!

Too many desserts leftover?  Those can be frozen as well for later consumption.
                                              $     $     $     $     $     $      $      $     $      $

"Let us be thankful that there still is sunshine, that we can still glimpse the blue of the sky and in our onward way, continue to look up.  Let us be thankful for friends with kindly smiles and cheerful words.  This is time for a grateful Thanksgiving."      Author Unknown

Today I am so thankful that we have the opportunity to have places like this where we can find company in our thinking and ideas, and that we are able to share with each other and thrive.
Thank you all!!

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Frugal Happenings 11/22

Hello everyone. Happy, happy Sunday to you all.
I bet many of you are getting busy with activities relating to Thanksgiving.  I just keep thinking about all the yummy food!  This is probably by favorite foodie time of the year.   So many goodies to be had between now and the New Year, and we all KNOW, holiday foods contain NO calories!!!!!!

It was 18* this morning, and supposed to get to 32* today.  The sun is shining and I think it will get warmer.  The snow from yesterday is pretty well gone.  The temps on Thanksgiving are supposed to close to 60*!
I am still working on washing walls - I'm getting there slowly.  At least I know the house will be fresh and clean for the holidays and I can just rest some after the holidays.  I see me, a book, and the couch, on some cold winter days!

My frugal week:
  • I got 10 packs of bread, buns, rolls, muffins, etc. all for $3.50 on clearance at Kroger this week.  None was out of date.   One Kroger I go to closed on Wed. and opened up a new super store across the street on Thurs.  Instead of taking most stock across, a lot was clearance!!!
  • I got 2 big veggie platters, 2 lbs. of cut broccoli, and 8 bags of various salad greens for $10!  Same store.
  • Bed, Bath & Beyond - coupon for $13 item with any purchase.  I spent $6 and got a lotion for FREE.  Gift!
  • Office Depot - got ink and saved $15 with coupon
  • Ran to Dollar Tree for some little gifts and found cherry pie filling for $1 a can.  That stuff is expensive every where, so I got several cans for the winter.  That was the first time I had ever seen cherry filling there.
  • Cut G's and my hair this week
  • Dried enough bread for homemade dressing for just about the entire winter!  It's safe and sealed in gallon jars till I need.
  • Have been doing lots of little projects around the house that I didn't have time to do all summer.
  • Meals from scratch
I went through my Christmas list and checked for what I need yet.  I am getting close to being done.  There are many containers that I have here at home that I will be using for treat containers.  Some I will be re-gifting and others came from yard sales for pennies in summers past.  I have everything on hand I need for holiday baking.

I know you will all be busy this week with work and prepping.  Just don't over do it.  Remember to take time to enjoy life and rest a little.
"If we can't be thankful for what we receive, we should be thankful for what we escape".  Arnold Glascow
I love this saying!

Pooty is cuddled with her favorite toys and blissfully happy!  May you get to cuddle with your favorite things and people this week and just enjoy life. 
God bless you all.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Oh the weather outside is frightful...........

..................but the snow is so delightful!
It has been snowing here for a couple hours.  I don't know that I have ever seen such huge flakes!  It is snowing hard too.
It will be very cold tonight, but then it warms again to 50's this coming week, so it won't stick around long.
First snow of the season November 21 - for posterity sake!

I have been washing down walls and cleaning everything on them this morning.  Can't do much outside, so I am finishing my fall cleaning. Fun, fun - not!  It does look better to me, although no one else will be able to tell.  I am thrilled just knowing it's getting done.

Bird is out of the freezer and in the fridge thawing.  Just a busy, snowy day in these parts!
Hope you are having a joyous day!
Stay safe my friends.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Get ready .......get set..............

It is less than a week till Thanksgiving.  Are you READY?

I have bought both a ham and turkey this year.  Most everything else I either had, or have acquired over time.  Potatoes - check,  dressing stuff - check,  noodles - check,  rolls - check,  ingredients for pecan pie - check, green beans (from garden) - check,  whipped cream - check, and what ever else I want to fix.
Sounds kind of carb laden doesn't it?  Oh well, it's the holiday.

Last week we were watching Diners, Drive-ins, Dives, and they had visited a place here in town.  The restaurant always served noodles and mashed potatoes on the same meal.  Guy thought that was crazy!!!  He had never heard of having both at the meal - double carbs in his words.  The owner said it must be a mid-west thing then!      That is how we grew up - both were always served together.  Is it an Indiana thing?????  Do any of you from other parts of the country do this as well?
Just curious!

I have worked at trying to get a lot of the Christmas done as well.  Shouldn't have a lot to do after turkey day this year.
I truly think I could have bought the entire dinner for less than $25 if I had left out one meat.

Hope you are getting to that ready point, so that all systems will be a go for Thursday.  Enjoy your weekend and stay frugal friends.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

More Gift Ideas

Most people start getting real serious about holiday gifts the weekend after Thanksgiving.  It is really time to get crafting is you are making homemade gifts.
Today I am listing a few more ideas for homemade gifts.
  • Family pictures.  These could be framed, in the form of an album, or a CD of lots of pictures.
  • Frame kids art for family elders
  • Make handmade ornaments
  • Get together all the family recipes that have been loved for years and make small cookbooks, maybe even include pictures if possible (or copies of hand written recipes from those who have departed)
  • Fill a vintage cookie jar full of homemade cookies
  • A set of small pots and herb seeds for a kitchen herb garden
  • A stack of fabric remnants for a quilter
  • Send magazines - I always get the ones that have a B1G1 offer - that way I get myself a free subscription as well!
  • Make a batch of rice krispy goodies and form them into large KISS shapes, and cover in foil so it looks like a Hershey's kiss
  • Body wash, scrubby, and a fuzzy pair of socks (total $3 at Dollar Tree)
  • Mugs with hot chocolate mix or fancy tea bags, or flavored coffees
  • A gift certificate for someone's favorite meal
  • A promise for a meal a month for a shut-in
  • Pass on a family heirloom to the younger generation
  • What are you really good at making???  Noodles, certain candies or cookies, a special pie or cake, even woodworking.  Make something that you do well - as others would love to have it
  • College students - roll of quarters, snacks, microwave foods, cold/flu supplies, laundry supplies, a big batch of homemade goodies, restaurant gift card, etc.
Oh golly, there is no limit to the things you can do.  Mix it up a little and have fun with it.  You just may start NEW TRADITIONS within the family.

Lastly I have to share this cute idea.  I got our cousins permission to share this idea, as she made it last year for a friend of hers.  I told her I thought it was adorable and thought others might like to make one too.
Isn't this just the cutest?  It has buttons and thread for lights and ornaments and a tape measure for garland.  I think it would be great for a seamstress, a college gal, a gal in her own first place, and I guess it would be good for single guys as well!!!!!

I hope you get creative this year.  Mix it up a little - you just may blow everyone (including yourself) away with your awesomeness!!!!!!
Make your plans and most of all HAVE FUN and be FRUGAL.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Monday, Monday

Happy Monday all.

Thought I'd pass on a couple recipes that you might be able to enjoy over this coming holiday.  They may even save you a buck or two!

6 large apples
3/4 C brown sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
2 Tbsp. margarine or butter
1/2 C apple juice or cider
1/4 C chopped nuts OR old fashioned oats

Core the apples and peel a one inch strip off top of apple to keep the apples from splitting.
Mix the sugar, cinnamon,  margarine/butter, and nuts together.
Place apples in the crockpot, pour in juice, then stuff the butter mixture into the center of each apple. *If you have extra, just place on top of apples.
Turn crockpot on high and cook for 2 1/2 - 3 hours, till a fork easily pokes the apples.

WARNING - these things are molten HOT when they are first done.  Let them cool a little.  Eat as is or serve with ice cream.  These are addictive!!!!!!
A great way to use up older apples.

DON'T spend the extra money on buying a honey glazed ham this year.  MAKE YOUR OWN!

1/2 C honey
1/2 C sugar
2 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
Mix it all together and place on ham.  Bake at 400* for 20-30 minutes to get the appropriate glaze.

This enables you to buy the cheapest ham you can, cook it well till tender, then add your glaze and bake 20-30 minutes longer.  Super easy!

ESSENCE  ---  BAM!!!!!
This is a recipe for the BAM the chef Emeril uses.  This stuff is so expensive at the store.  This is for the basic recipe.  We use this on everything, and it has become a staple of many of the goody bags as well.  My sister loves this stuff.

2 1/2 Tbs. paprika
2 Tbsp. salt
2 Tbsp. garlic powder
1 Tbsp. black pepper
1 Tbsp. onion powder
1 Tbsp. cayenne
1 Tbsp. crushed oregano
1 Tbsp. crushed thyme
Mix it all together and keep in airtight container or shaker.  Great on veggies, meat, and eggs.
I mix up enough to fill a pint jar, so that I can refill the shaker at ease.

Hope you enjoy these and I hope they may save you a little change!
Have a good one!

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Frugal Happenings 11/15

Hello everyone.  I hope this finds you all well and happy.
It's been a relatively uneventful week here on the home front. 

I did get a lot of deep cleaning done.  OH MY - is all I can say.  I think we all have those areas that MAYBE we get to once or twice a year - well boy oh boy did they need cleaning.
I also got a chance to clean up some more leaves at weeks end.  Out to the garden they went.

We had some frightful weather for a couple days this week.  The wind was awful and we had rain and more rain.  Most of the trees are now barren of leaves.
Yesterday morning it was in the 20's when we got up.  I had some errands to run, and actually put on 'proper' shoes for the first time since April!  I HATE SHOES.  Odds are I won't put them back on for at least a week or two, as the temps will be moderating.  Give me my sandels and I am a happy girl!!

I did get to another bazaar yesterday.  This is a big one that I always look forward too.  Sadly the two ladies I was really hoping to buy from this year, weren't there.  They have been at the shows for years.  Of course I don't know their names, so I am just out on what I intended to buy (no one else had those items).  However, I did get a couple of other cute homemade gifts.
I also ran to Kroger and Kohls since I was in the area.

My weekly frugal accomplishments;
  • I stayed home for 6 days straight!  No money or gas used.
  • At my Kohls' visit I had a $10 off $10 purchase coupon and they were having a sale.  I never shop there, except for those coupons.  I got a 5 pack of nail polish, 4 pack lip gloss, and a purse size scented hand sanitizer all for a whopping  51 cents!!!!!  Not a bad gift for a pre-teen.
  • At Kroger I did get a 22 pound bird at .69 lb..  That baby is huge.  With the purchase of the turkey I also got $5 off a ham purchase.  I had to do a lot of wrangling to get that bird in one of the freezers - but it's done.
  • Meals all from scratch
  • I made crockpot baked apples last Sunday.  So easy and yummy!  Had some older apples that needed to be used - and what a good use for them!
  • Other than meats for T-day, I didn't really buy weekly groceries again.  I did get 4 more pounds of butter for the freezer (I am set for about a year), milk, cottage cheese and sour cream (for the holidays).
I could have waited to see if turkeys would be cheaper at the end of this coming week, but .69 is good for our area this year.  Turkeys are supposed to be running about 20 cents a pound higher this year due to the bird flu earlier in the year.
IF I do find turkey cheaper later on, I will buy another.  I still have one plus 2 or 3 turkey breasts in the freezer from last year (plus we ate a few during the year!).  I always buy a new one if I think we might be having guests.
I figure with the price being so good at Thanksgiving time - it's crazy not to get a few.  The price is cheaper than lunchmeat and it's healthy too.
Sooooooo if you have the extra storage space - stock up kiddos!

Now is the time to watch the holiday sales and take advantage if you can.  Prices will only be higher later on. 
The events that happened in Paris this week, is another example as to why you need to be prepared for about anything.  Everything there is closed or being monitored and the borders have been closed.  If all shipments into our country and all travel was restricted, we would have no extra supplies in stores.  We would have to rely on what we have at home.  BE PREPARED

I hope you all have a wonderful week.  Just one more week, and most of you will have a shortened work week!  Take care and God bless.

Please keep the people of the recent act of terror in your thoughts and prayers.
Peace my friends.

Saturday, November 14, 2015


I hope everyone is sending up prayers for the people involved in the Paris terrorism attack and their families.
I think we all pray for peace for the world and it's people, but folks I am beginning to firmly believe that is not enough.  We have to stand up and fight.  We can not let these idiots keep hurting innocent people. 
God bless everyone.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Great Gift Recipes

Today I will be giving the recipes for a few things that would be great to any homemade gift that you may be giving this holiday.

2 1/2 C instant oats
5 tsp. light brown sugar
1 C raisins or other dried fruit
3 Tbsp. dry milk powder
Mix all the ingredients in a bowl and portion into 5 servings in zip lock bags or other reusable containers.
Add card with instructions:  Add 3/4 C very hot water to 1 serving.  Let it stand until thickened - 3-4 minutes.  Add more water a tablespoon at a time if it is too thick.
Makes 5 servings.
This would be great to have on hand at home as well, for that quick breakfast or to take to work.

4 C old-fashioned rolled oats
1 C nuts, toasted and chopped
1/4 C packed light brown sugar
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 C butter
1/4 C honey
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 C chopped dried fruit

Preheat oven 300*.  Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and grease generously with oil or spray.  Mix oats, nuts, sugar, cinnamon, and salt in a large bowl.  In a saucepan over low heat, melt butter and honey, stirring to combine.  Add vanilla and stir.
Pour the butter mixture over the oat mixture and stir to combine.  Turn out onto  prepared pan and spread evenly.  Bake 15 minutes, remove from oven, and stir.  Return to oven and bake an additional 10-25 minutes.  Check often so it doesn't burn.
Cool and stir in dried fruit.  Place in an airtight container or container for gift giving.
Makes about 6 cups

*If using dried apples - you might replace honey with maple syrup
*If using dried cherries add 1 tsp. almond extract with the vanilla
*If using dried mango - you might want to replace cinnamon with ground ginger
**You can use pecans, walnuts, peanuts, almonds, or sunflower seeds.

1/3 C sugar
1/4 C non-dairy powdered creamer
1/4 C instant coffee
2 Tbsp. cocoa
2 Tbsp. crushed peppermint candies
Mix all together and place in airtight jar.
Add instructions:  Mix 2 Tbsp. to 1/2 cup boiling water


1 1/4 C packed brown sugar
6 Tbsp. coconut oil
10 drops vanilla essential oil
3 - 4 oz. jars

Melt coconut oil in microwave till soft.  Add sugar and mix well so that there are no lumps.  Add oil drop by drop (till it smells right to you).  Mix AFTER each drop.
Divide into 3 jars.  Add a pretty ribbon or jute tie to top of jar.
Makes a great gift.

Hope these recipes might help make your holiday gift making a little brighter!

Peace and love.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Gifts - part 2

You all know that I love giving and getting food products for Christmas.  We all have to eat!  I love making up what I call goody bags (re-usable grocery bags).  I used to give baskets, but figured everyone had enough of them!
These kind of gifts don't have to be just food and they don't have to be just for adults.  I will list some ideas today to get you started.  It is just limitless on what you can do.  You can give a mish mash of items or you can go with a theme, your choice.

Re-usable grocery bags give basically 2 gifts in one, as do baskets.  I used to get baskets at thrift stores.  Dollar stores have many plastic containers that can be used.  I have kept the fruit baskets I get at orchards to use for gift baskets (I added a checkered napkin in the bottom to cute it up).  I have re-used gallon ice cream buckets that I have covered with paper.  Anything that you an come up with will work for holding the gift.
REMEMBER - it is not how much you spend - it is just the thought of giving a gift.  It doesn't need to be huge or expensive - it needs to be from the heart.

  • Italian theme - colander w/spaghetti, sauce and maybe a small container of cheese
  • Breakfast - homemade instant oatmeal or granola (will list recipes tomorrow), hot chocolate mix, OR pancake mix, syrup, homemade jelly, etc.
  • Bath - homemade body scrub (recipe to come), scrubby, lotion or bubble bath
  • Movie night - popcorn, $1 packs of movie candy and maybe an OLD holiday video
  • Fisherman - bait bucket or cheap cooler with a few artificial baits, extra line, a knife, etc.
  • Girly  - dollar store nail polish, make-up, hair accessories, lotions, etc.
  • Boy - little cars, army men, Legos, etc.
  • Reader - a nice candle, a couple 2nd hand books (or Dollar Tree books), hot chocolate mix or a small container of homemade candy

Other ideas:
  • Homemade cookies and/or candies
  • Homemade trail mix
  • A couple pretty kitchen towels (dollar stores)
  • Homemade sweet bread or regular bread - wrapped in a pretty towel
  • Homemade bread and homemade jelly
  • A batch of cinnamon rolls
  • Sparkling fruit juice or cider and a couple dollar store goblets
  • Homemade dish towels OR apron OR bedding
  • ANY homemade gift - scarves, gloves, hats, woodwork projects, etc.
  • A clay pot with a pair of garden gloves, seeds, or maybe a hand tool
  • A fire extinguisher or smoke detector (it could save a life)
Ok, I could go on and on.  There are so many things that can be given as gifts, that are not traditional and a little outside the box.  These are the things I like to do.
Another thing to remember in this age of electronics and gadgets - sometimes we all like something that ISN'T!!!!  I have found that even kids who are electronically connected, totally enjoy some of the simplest gifts.

I hope this gives you a few ideas.  We have ONLY 6 more Fridays before Christmas!  YIKES!
Happy gifting.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Homemade gifts

Todays post may seem like it is for kids, but it's not.   It is for everyone.  We are going to make ornaments.  Kids would like this project, but adults can have fun with it as well.

I will list ingredients for making 2 types of ornaments. Both can be made with cookie cutters, stencils, or about anything you can trace around.
Have fun.

These smell so good.

1 C cinnamon (buy at Dollar Tree)
1 tsp. ground cloves
1 tsp. nutmeg
3/4 C smooth applesauce
2 Tbsp. Elmer's white glue

Combine all the ingredients until it forms a stiff dough, kneading well with hands.  Roll out dough on a cinnamon dusted surface, about 1/4" thick.  Use cookie cutters and cut out any design you wish.

Lay ornaments on wax paper and cut a small hole in the top (use a skinny plastic straw) and then place in a safe place for drying.
Depending on how dry your home is, it can take 2 - 4 days to dry.  Be sure to turn them over several times each day.

When dry, you can paint with fabric paint if you wish.  Use a thin ribbon or jute twine as a hanger.


1 C of fine salt
1 C flour
about 1/2 C water

Mix the flour and salt together in a large bowl.  Make a well in the middle add water.  Knead till smooth and elastic like and non-sticky.

Roll out about 1/4" thick and make cut outs with cookie cutters.  You can also form it into small forms.  Insert paper clips for hangers and bake at 200* until hard.  Check frequently, so they don't burn.
These can be painted as well.
Dough can be stored in the fridge in an airtight container or plastic wrap.

These both make the cutest ornaments.  You can make them as small or large as you wish.
Get started now!


Healthy Recipe

Here's a healthy and yummy recipe for muffins.  No flour and no sugar!


2 1/2 C old fashioned oats
1 C plain Greek yogurt
2 eggs
1/2 C honey
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
2 Tbsp. ground flax seed
1 tsp. vanilla
2 ripe bananas

Preheat oven to 350*.  Lightly grease muffin pans.
Place oats in food processor and pulse for about 10 seconds.  Add remaining ingredients to processor and mix well.
Bake 18-20 minutes.

I am figuring if you have flavored yogurt to use, that it should work fine.  If your yogurt is sweet, you may want to adjust honey a tad.  Just play with the recipe to utilize the yogurt you have.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Frugal Happenings 11/8

Howdy all!  Here we are at yet another Sunday.  Wow, just 2 1/2 more weeks and it will be Thanksgiving!  This year sure has flown by.

We have been having lovely weather for this time of the year.  Despite having seen better days, we even have some flowers still blooming - geraniums, a couple potted plants, and roses.  Roses are still blooming every where I go.  We have some warm days, then fall-like days, then back to warm.  I am loving this!
I have read some sources that have said we are to have a nasty winter, but the other day our paper said it should be above normal temps and below normal snow.  I'll take it!!!  Supposedly it because of a strong el Nino.  Why is it, we never heard of those when we were kids??

I had a nice week.  I got to work in the yard some - raking leaves.  I did a lot of cleaning and got caught up on laundry.  I even got some great deals.  I got to open windows and air out the house, and we used very little heat.

Here are some of my bargains this week;
  • 8 oz. bags of organic whole almonds for 1.50 (was 5.49).  That is $3 a pound!!!  I got 5 lbs. which was all they had (Kroger)
  • Cashew/almonds/pistachio salted mix - 10 oz. bags for 1.49 (was 6.99).  Got both bags they had.   All nuts were dated 8/2016   (Kroger)
  • 2 bags - 80 count each - of full size Tootsie Pops for 1.99 each!  Think kid's Christmas!!!  These were from Aldi.
  • 4 boxes of Asiago/sundried tomato crackers (6/2016) for .99 each (were 2.99)  (Aldi).
  • 1 1/2 lb. container of plain Greek yogurt for 1.49.  I will use in baking this week.  (Kroger)
Other fugal things
  • I was gifted a 4 piece set of kitchen shears - poultry, utility, bent, and all purpose
  • We are still eating tomatoes that are ripening indoors from our garden
  • I was gifted 20 paperback books of an author I love.  I am set for winter
  • I washed the pick up truck with rain water.  That poor old truck looked bad - it has set most of the summer and needed a bath badly.  Needed to use up rain water - still lots out there to drain.
  • Put all the leaves I raked in our garden beds
Of course we did all the usual stuff.  I made tea and cooled outside, filtered our own water, meals from scratch, laundry in cold water and I used the dehumidifier water in the laundry.

I plan on giving a lot of gift ideas this week.  Things you can get ready now and that will cost little or no money.  Get ready!!!!

Here's one little area of my basement stockpile for winter and future.  Click on picture to enlarge.
It sure does help.  I always buy cheap and save $ later!  Behind the curtains are jellies and jams and all my tomato products (home canned).

"They take great pride in making their dinner cost much; I take great pride in making my dinner cost so little."  Henry David Thoreau
Wise man!  My thinking as well.

Wishing all a fantastic and safe week.  May the Lord shower you with blessings.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Aldi - Holidays

Good afternoon all.  Hope this day is finding you in good health and spirits!

Today I want to talk about Aldi.  If you have one in close proximity to you, be sure to take advantage of it this holiday season.
They have so many special items that can only be had till shortly after the first of the year, and let me tell you, many of them are wonderful!
They have their Holiday booklet available at the front of each store (by exit door).  There are many yummy specials.

I most generally buy my ham there, as their spiral sliced hams are usually the cheapest around.  I absolutely LOVE desserts at the holidays, but don't always feel like baking them after doing all the other food.  I do make cookies and candy at Christmas, and I do make my pecan pie - other than that I buy them at Aldi.
They have the BEST cheesecake sampler imaginable.  It is sliced and you get 3 slices of 4 different topped cheesecake pieces for like 8.99.  We sure don't eat it all at once, so I freeze the remaining slices, and we have treats for a long time.  Trust me, frozen cheesecake is heavenly!

For those that drink alcohol. they have many special lagers, ales, and hard ciders available at very reasonable prices.  They also have a great assortment of domestic and international wines.  The prices are quite good.   They even have their own brand of flavored Irish creams.

They carry about every item you could possibly need for baking and for MUCH less than traditional grocery stores (excluding super sales).
If you like specialty items to serve at the holidays you can get Biscotti, Stollen, Baklava, gourmet truffles, and a huge variety of cookies and candies for pennies compared to other stores.
We have some specialty stores in our area, and the prices they charge for breads and sweets is out of this world.  The quality of Aldi brands that I have purchased in the past, has been wonderful.

There are many types of cheeses, crackers and meats available for appetizers.  They have a bigger assortment to choose from during the holidays.
They also have everything you would need for your traditional or non-traditional holiday meals.
The one thing I have found to be MORE expensive than other stores during the holidays is turkey.  They never seem to have the great deals other stores do.

I just love this store, and it where I buy the bulk of my groceries any more, except all the clearance items I get at Kroger and pet food - my kitties don't like the Aldi brand!

Be sure to watch the ads for the other grocery stores as well.  Now is the time to stock up on sale items.  There are going to be some fantastic prices in the next few weeks, as every store in town wants your business.  They get mine but only for their specials!!!!  Odd are they aren't making much off me!

Be vigilant and pay attention to holiday pricing and stock up when possible.  The items you purchase for pennies now, will only COST MORE later!
Be willing to try something new this year.  If you haven't given Aldi a try, think about it.  Good food for good prices.
You can even go to their web site at WWW.ALDI.US for a lot of specialty recipes.

NOTE:  I get nothing for mentioning this store - I just like them!

Have a fantastic day!

Tuesday, November 3, 2015


This morning I went up to the polling place and voted - not that I think it matters one iota!!  I am very cynical about our voting in this nation.  But that's another story entirely!

After voting I decided to run up to Aldi for milk.  I go by 2 Kroger  in that area - and of course I can NOT drive by a Kroger without going in and checking out the clearance section.
Just so you know - we have 4 Kroger stores within about 10 minutes of our house, and each is either being  remodeled or being rebuilt.  Kroger no longer wants back stock in their stores - so clearance has been wonderful lately, especially with all the remodeling.
I stopped at Aldi and 2 different Kroger stores today.

I am getting ahead of myself again!  I DID get some awesome deals which I will tell you about in Frugal Happenings on Sunday.

The story is about ACTIONS - our and others.  In the last store I stopped in, I find a few clearance deals.  I got into line behind a gal using W.I.C..  I totally didn't think about stores being busy today with S.N.A.P. and W.IC. (3rd of month here).
I was in no hurry and only had a handful of items.  I don't do self - check EVER!

The gal in front of me seems so demure and embarrassed about using W.I.C.  She looked like she was trying to wear blinders so no one would see her, with her head down.  Another cashier came up to me and very LOUDLY said "I'll take you down on 10, that lady has W.I.C. and she'll be here a while".  Oh crap - no you didn't just basically scream that for all to hear!
My response was that I was in no hurry, had my stuff on the beltway, and I would wait.  Thanks anyway.

The gal in front had found 3 gallons of milk marked down to $1 each, and she  had fresh fruit and veggies that were marked down as well.  To break the ice for this poor sweet child - I said "Man did you luck out today".  She looked at me shyly and puzzled.  I told her how great her deals were with all those markdowns and how wonderful it was that she could get extra for being so smart and shopping wisely.  She started to smile!
I told her to look at my stuff - it all had clearance stickers on it too.  I said I think it's just downright SMART to get the best deals you can and to stretch your money as far as possible.
Well, by the end of her transactions she was holding her head up and she was grinning.
She bent towards me and whispered "thank you".
I told her I hoped the rest of her day would be blessed.


Just remember - words and actions speak volumes.

Monday, November 2, 2015

November Musings

Oh what a beautiful morning......Oh what a beautiful day!!!!
I wish I could sing, because I would be singing that old song at the top of my lungs.  What a lovely day we awake to.  It is to get into the 70's today and the next few days.

This is my view from my front porch looking to the East in my neighborhood.  Sure is pretty.

This was last evening looking to the West from the porch.  WOW!  The oranges and pinks were just stunning.  I happened to look around and there were dozens of neighbors standing outside looking to the sky.  It was magnificent - pictures can't do it justice.

Now that Halloween is over, is it time for us all to get into holiday mode! 
It is time to start thinking menus, gifts, decorating,  donations, etc.  I truly don't understand why adults buy adults gifts.  Most adults can afford what they want when they want it, - and if they can't, they shouldn't expect someone else to buy it!  I love the idea of food for adults.  Most of my family has finally gotten into that mindset as well.  If we don't give actual food, then food gift cards are given.   My logic is  - everyone has to eat!  Why not make it fun?

I try to save the actual gift buying for the kids.  They get into the excitement of it all.  However we do not spend a lot on the kids and I keep the gifts simple, as they get gifts from all kinds of people.  Kids end up with WAY too much.
If you have children or grandchildren - now is the time that they should be cleaning out their rooms and toy areas of all those items they no longer use (good condition) and those things should be donated to shelters or churches to be gifted to children who may not get Christmas otherwise.   Closets need to be cleaned as well of all those clothes they no longer wear.

I just can not imagine what would go through a child's mind that gets no gifts.  Why didn't Santa come to them?  Are they not deserving?  It makes me want to cry.  NO CHILD should do without at least something small at Christmas.

Now it is not just the kids that should get busy.  We should all clean out coat closets, and donate any unused coats, scarves, hats, etc.  Clean out your clothes closets and donate.  Do you have too much stuff just taking up space around the house?  Donate it.

Our local church up the road, collects and donates to families at Christmas, more than just the food pantry they do every month.
I always go to Dollar Tree and buy color books, story books, small toys, and I also get lotions, faux perfumes, bath gels, socks, gloves, hats, etc. to donate.  The smallest thing, could just makes someone's day or week brighter.

I even have a lot of canned cat food that NONE of the cats will have anything to do with.  I guess it's just not their flavor!  I plan on donating that to the pantry up the road, as people hard on their luck, often have pets as well.  We can't forget the fur babies!
This was Coogy's response when I said I was donating some of his food!  Note the little pink tongue!  Stingy kitty.  Haha

I hope each of you look within your heart and home and find some items that may bless someone else this holiday season.
Not only should we be thinking of our family get-togethers, but of strangers as well.  It is the right thing to do.

Let's all get busy and have a great holiday season.  If we do most of the planning and work now - we can truly sit back and enjoy the real meaning of the season.
Blessings all.