Sunday, June 28, 2015

Frugal Happenings 6/28

WOW, I can't believe another week has passed by.  This month is almost over, meaning the year will officially be half over.  Time sure has been flying.
Momma used to tell me, the older you get, the quicker the years go.  I thought she was crazy.  SORRY MOMMA!!!!  She sure was right.

My frugal happenings this week;
*  Got all my tomatoes tied up, along with the volunteer plants which are really growing.
*  Picked basil,  jalapenos, lettuce, onions, a few berries, and a couple cukes, 2 big bell peppers and 10  zucchini!!!!
*  Had a couple nice days to do laundry and line dry!!  Used the dehumidifier water in the laundry.
*  "Bought" a 14 day supply of Prilosec (10.79) for FREE!  Had a coupon for free in the mail.
*  Mended 3 pairs of jeans
*  Downloaded 14 FREE cookbooks on my tablet.  Over 4,000 pages of recipes for all occasions.
*  All meals made from scratch.  No take out at all this week.
*  Using as much produce from the garden as possible for meals.
*  Reading some new blogs for canning ideas.
*  Today is day 3 of no AC!!  Woohoo!  Such a nice electrical break.  Love the fresh air.

I am officially in my "Bubba" (Gump) frame of mind now.  Instead of shrimp - my food of choice is zucchini.  Fried zucchini, baked zucchini, zucchini jam, zucchini name it!
Zucchini seems to take on the flavor of whatever you put it in - so I use it many times a week when in season.

What exciting (or not) things did you do this week to save a little and stay on track?
Have a great week ahead.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Rain, rain

Just a quick note and a couple pictures.  This is the reason I have raised garden beds, and have all my pots raised.
This was after a torrential rain for 2 hours.  Water was running down the street like a river, and we have a lake in the back!!!
Luckily if no more rain tonight - it should be almost gone in the morning.
So there are definitely benefits in having raised beds!

I was standing in ankle deep water to take the pictures.  Yuk - wormy water!!!!!

Good news is that the temps have really cooled, and we get a break from running the AC for a few days.
Have a good evening all.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Re-using items Part 2

Today I will stay in the outdoor lines again.  I have several items that I have used in my garden for new purposes.  Many things have also been made from scrap leftover from other projects.  I will show a few today.
I HOPE you will all give your new uses for items as well.

I have 4 different chairs that have been repurposed into planters in the yard.  All were FREE to us.  I just love using different things as yard art.  I also have a red metal old timey headboard that is the center piece of my large flowerbed.

Here in the cucumber area of the yard, I have a pallet leaned against the fence for the cukes to climb on.  There are also a couple of old trellises in there for climbing.  The raised bed was made from leftover wood from another project.  Everything in the back gets flooded with real heavy rains, so they need to be raised.  The barrel is setting up on a piece of wood from a tree we cut down a couple years ago.
I also keep any really long big limbs that might come down from the trees in wind storms, to use for climbing.

I don't think it is visible in the picture, but there is a chain going from tree to tree to hold the bird feeders.  You'll notice 3 long feeders hanging above the height of the clothes line.  In the middle of those is a small bird cage that I use as a feeder as well (right above hanging plant).  It was free from the trash.  The little birds love it.  I made sure to wire the door open so they can't get trapped in there.

The corn feeder on the back tree was made from scrap cedar from another project.  The jar feeder on the front tree, was made from the same, and a recycled gallon pickle jar.  The squirrels get sunflowers seeds and sometimes nuts in that one.

Lastly is our tall bird feeder.  (Sorry it looks crooked!)  It stands on a metal pole, and the squirrels were still getting to it, those little rascals.  I tried greasing the pole, but that was just messy.  You will notice a baffle under the bird feeder - that my friends is an old hubcap!  It works perfectly and keeps the squirrels out of the bird seed.

See, there are so many things you can use from around the house for totally different purposes in your yard.  All the items above were FREE for me.  That is my favorite 4 letter F word!!!!!!
I hope this gives you some ideas for your yard.

PLEASE let us know your repurposing tricks.  We all love to learn new things!

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Frugal Happenings

First let me say an 'official' happy summer to you all.  It sure has felt like summer and not spring here in the Midwest all month - almost tropical feeling.  We have heat, humidity and rain almost every day!

Happy father's day to all the dads out there. 

Have you all been FRUGAL in the past week?  I hope that everyone will let us know your frugal ways.  Each of us can always learn new and useful things.
So much of my week, was just doing all my usual things - making our own drinks, cooking from scratch, all meals from home, etc.
I guess my bigger frugal happenings were;

Staying home much of the week.
Freezing eggs for the future. Blending the egg shells in water and feeding the garden plants with it.  Picking and eating lots of lettuce and onions from the garden. 
Picking some raspberries.
Cutting G's and my hair at home.  Coloring my hair with supplies on hand.
Using some older apples in the crisper and rhubarb from the garden to make a crisp.  YUM

Went to a grad party where they had a dinner buffet, so had a free dinner - and they sent Uncle G home a plate as well.  So no cooking or clean-up one evening.  YAY!
Haven't had to water the garden at all because of the rain and have 110 gallons of rain water for the future.
Used up all our leftovers.

So what have you done in the past week?

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Oooooh egg pucky!

I have been hearing about the bird flu and the affect this will be having on eggs.  I am sure you have heard the stories as well.  My first reaction to rising prices was "horse pucky" (sort of!).
According to reports, tens of thousands of egg chickens have been destroyed.  Eggs are rising in price.
Last week at Aldi, eggs were up .80/dozen from the week before.  That's a pretty big increase in one week.  Prices are supposed to hit the peak price this fall and the high prices are supposed to last through Spring of 2016.   We have a few holidays in that time frame, and many involve baking!

The price of chicken hasn't risen yet, and they say it won't.  Egg chickens and meat chickens are raised separately.  I am not believing it!  I have been purchasing chicken and vacuum sealing and freezing whenever I find a great price. (I love my vacuum sealer).
I have also been getting eggs for the future.  HOW you ask?  I am freezing them!

I am using muffin tins to freeze eggs in.  My ice cube trays have small compartments and I always buy large eggs.  Simply use cooking spray or lightly grease tins and pop an egg in each unit.  Break the yellow for more even freezing.  Once frozen I pop them out and store in freezer bags.  I manage to get 2 dozen eggs in a gallon bag.  I put a layer of wax paper between them.  Eggs will last well upwards of a year frozen.  **Always thaw in the refrigerator and not at room temperature.
Buy now while cheap and store for later. 
Egg pucks!!!!!

I have also been using another muffin tray to make large ice cubes as well!  We go through a lot of ice in the summer and I refuse to PAY for it!  So along with the  regular ice cubes I am making giant ones!

We have been having a lot of rain in the past week and supposedly will continue to have the remainder of the week.  I have not had to water the garden, and my rain barrels are both full!  The garden is growing like crazy and so is the grass! 
We have lots of green tomatoes hanging on the vines, lots of baby zucchini, cucumbers, and bell peppers as well.  I have been picking lettuce and green onions and we have had lots of salads.
How is your garden growing?

Monday, June 15, 2015

A Couple Recipes

Today I am going to list a couple recipes.  One is for eating and the other for cleaning.
I love to cook and eat!  There are times, when my mind comes to a blank or I have a lot of leftovers that need to be used.  Leftovers can be re-invented so easily.
This is a simple recipe that I use often.  We love one dish dinners, so soups and casseroles fit the bill.

1 C main ingredient
1 C second ingredient
1 - 2 C starchy ingredient
1 1/2 C binder

MAIN ingredient = any type of meat
SECOND ingredient = any veggie
STARCHY ingredient = potatoes, pasta, rice, etc.
BINDER ingredient = cream soup, sauce, sour cream, etc.

Thoroughly combine all the ingredients.  If it appears too dry add a 1/4 C milk or stock.
Place in a greased casserole dish and bake at 350* for 30-45 minutes.

This is a great way to use what you have and make a quick and healthy dinner for CHEAP!

Place the peels from several oranges, lemons, limes, or grapefruit in a quart jar, cover with vinegar.  Let this set for about 4 weeks so citrus infuses into vinegar.  Shake occasionally.
Strain the mixture.  Fill a spray bottle about a quarter full with citrus vinegar, then top off with water.  Keep extra infusion in frig. till you need it.
This makes an excellent window cleaner with no streaks.  I use it on the counters as well.
I LOVE this stuff.
Using trash to make a useful product and it smells so good.

Have a good day all.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Re-using items Part 1

I am a huge re-cycler and try to find new ways to re-use just about everything.  Today I am posting a picture of my rain barrels.  One was store bought and the other was made from items we had on hand.  Between the two we can gather 110 gallons of rain water to use on our flowers and garden.  I am a firm believer that God's rain is so much better for our plants.

The green one is from the store, and I have it setting on 2 pieces of 4 x 4 with the downspout in the middle.  The black one is from an old barrel we were given.  I added window screen across the top and secured that with a bungy cord.  I then cut a piece of worn out hose to make an overflow valve from #1 to #2. 
These work perfectly.  #1 has a valve for releasing water and on #2, I simply dip in watering cans and fill.

You will notice the gadget that was added to downspout.  This can be closed once your barrels are full, and the water will simply go down to downspout as normal.  When open, it blocks the water flow from lower part of downspout and diverts the water to the barrel.  It was simple to install, and it cost about $29, and we have used it for years.
We bought it at a place called Greenway Supply here in town.  They supply all sorts of things for people wanting to live more naturally.  I am sure most major cities have a similar store.

You could use this same system with 2 homemade barrels.  You would just need to place a section of hose through the side of the top area of one (I would silicone around that), then have the over flow go into the other one.

Hope this helps you decide to start saving water.  It seems so much better for the plants, and best of all the water is FREE!!!!

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Know your inventory

Hopefully your gardens are growing now.  Now is the time to take an inventory of what you have left from last year.  Yesterday I took a physical inventory of all home canned items.  Why did I plant so many cucumbers this year?  I have 60 quarts of various types of pickles STILL! 
I also have about 60 jars of homemade jelly, oh my!
I am hoping the tomatoes grow like gang busters, as I need to add salsa, spaghetti sauce, pizza sauce, and chili seasoning to my stockpile for yummy eating this coming winter.

My next plan is to inventory the freezers.  I try to keep plenty of sale priced meat on hand.  I can't stand to pass up a deal!  I will be arranging by type of meat and then there will be areas with frozen fruit and veggies.
Remember when buying items on sale, you are actually saving money (as long as you will use and not waste).  Prices are going to continue to go up, so money saved is money in your pocket.

Pickles and squash canned last year.  Pretty huh?
So now is the time to plan what you will be canning this summer and have any additional supplies on hand.  Garden produce waits for no one!!!!!!

Welcome to my world

Hello everyone.  I have started a blog to help friends and family find ways to lower their expenses, learn new ideas, and find faith and kinship in all we do.
I hope everyone will share their ideas and tips, so everyone can benefit.
Thanks for coming on this ride with me.