Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Spring Rebirth

Yesterday I was feeling pretty low - so me and my camera took a walk-about the property.  It was so sunny at that time, that many of the pics came out too bright.
I just thought I would post a few pictures of the rebirth of our yard.

Got mint?  Boy we do!!!!!!

Chives setting blooms.

Trees leafing out

Squirrel lounging and having a picnic on the front porch!

Ever blooming honeysuckle starting to bloom.
I wish the pictures of the grape arbor had turned out - you can see tiny bunches of grapes, the raspberries are setting blooms/berries, the roses are covered with buds, and the peonies look about to pop.

I love spring and the great rebirth that comes with it.  God sure is awesome.

P.S.  Saw my brother today - he knew me, and wouldn't hardly let go of my hand.  I sure hope he improves - it's a long journey.  Thank you again for all your prayers and thoughts.
I told him lots of people were praying, some as far as half way around the world - and he squeezed my hand!

Blessings and peace.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016


Todays post has nothing to do with being frugal.  It is personal.  I try not to get too personal on here, but my family could use every prayer we can get.

My oldest brother Ron had a massive stroke this morning.  They can't fix the blockage, as he is too fragile at the moment, so that  just means the problem will get worse.  They say the odds of having another are great.  His right side is paralyzed and he can't speak.  Not sure if he even knows anyone.
Please say a prayer for him.

If you knew my brother, you'd know this would be an awful situation for him.  He talks and talks and talks, never meeting  a stranger.  He is extremely social and loves to have fun and get with family and friends.
He would never want to be like this.

We are praying for God's mercies upon him - whatever that may be.

Thank you and God bless you all.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Frugal Happenings 4/24

Good morning my friends!  I hope this finds each of you happy and well.
I hope that some of you got to take advantage of the FREE National park admission this week, or perhaps got to do something fun and useful for Earth day.
Make sure you check out Fridge Foods site I listed.  It is fun.  I have found all kinds of recipes that I would never have thought of.

We have had decent weather this week.  Highs ranged from 80* to 60*.   I have officially declared it time for flip flops!!!!
I did put out one hummingbird feeder, just in case we have some early birds.  It will probably be a few weeks before we actually have regulars.
I have been noticing that we have quite a variety and abundance of bees this year. YAY!!!

My front walk waiting for annuals to be planted in pots!  It won't be long.

I found out, that I have another very distant relative that is famous this week.  After watching Who Do You Think You Are? last Sunday, it is official that Katey Sagal (Peg Bundy) is a distant cousin.  The story they showed of her distant Amish relative, mirrors my story.  Her 7X great grandfather is also my 7X great grandfather.  The line splits at his children, but I thought that was kind of cool.
I also have a cousin by the name of  President Ronald Reagan!!

How was your frugal week?  Mine has been quiet.
  • I kept the wax paper bag from cereal to use later
  • Did a ton more, weeding, spraying (vinegar and salt), trimming, and various other yard work
  • Hung laundry outside
  • NO heat or AC this week.
  • G and I worked on spring clean of garage.  Got the rain barrels set up.
  • We did some maintenance on both vehicles
  • I only bought milk and bread this week.  Shopped the basement for other food.
  • All meals from home and scratch
  • Did some much needed mending
  • While in the shed I came to realize that I have a ton of clay and plastic pots of all sizes.  Most were either free or cost me pennies - many are brand new.  I MAY use a few as goodie containers this Christmas, as something different.
I still haven't caught that darned groundhog.  I did catch and release a couple squirrels and one kitty!  I think I have a new plan that I am going to implement today - so say a little prayer that it works for me.  I need that pesty varmint GONE!!!!!!

This week our dinners were fairly simple.  We had loaded baked potatoes, ham with fried cabbage and mac - n - cheese, breakfast, grilled ham & cheese sandwiches with salad, fried Spam, mashed pots & green beans, fried chicken and potato salad, and a Shepherds pie made with leftovers added to a few new ingredients.   I made pudding with fruit added (my banana split pudding).
I think I will be using the grill for tonight's dinner!

May your lives be blessed beyond measure this coming week.
God bless and take care.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Recipes for What's on Hand

I came across this site the other day when reading some posts on FB.
This is the coolest site.   You click on the list provided of the food you have access to, and it gives you pages and pages of recipes using those ingredients!

I clicked on a partial list of what I have and I was amazed.  There were so many recipes for great sounding meat, appetizers, baking, soups, crackers, homemade Wonton name it.
There were recipes for things I would never have thought of, and recipes for things I had never heard of.
I can't imagine what I will find when I list all the ingredients that I have.

You just have to try it out.

I am going to be using this application A LOT for trying new and imaginative recipes.
Hope you all enjoy it!

Earth Day

Friday, April 22nd, is the official Earth Day this year.
Do you or your community have any special plans for the day or for the weekend?

Last weekend there was a lot of activity in our city, with trash (pick-up) walks, and tree give-aways.
I am sure there will be plenty of activities this coming weekend as well.

I try to live my life, celebrating earth day EVERYDAY!  I believe in recycling, re-using, re-inventing, gardening, foraging, bartering, etc.
I hope to leave a VERY small footprint on this land.  Trust me, I need to make up for my past.  I wasn't always so concerned.  I used to be a big consumer - not so much anymore.

If we each live our lives in caring and concerned way for this earth and what we are leaving future generations, we will be doing a good thing.

What do you do special?  What do you do to take care of this earth?  Please share your ideas - so we can all learn something new.


Monday, April 18, 2016


Anyone who lives close to, or may be visiting an area where there is a national park this week - heads up!
Admission is FREE until April 24, 2016 at ALL national parks.

This would be an awesome time to go.
It would make a fantastic and FRUGAL family trip!

Enjoy some nature.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Frugal Happenings 4/17

Happy beautiful Sunday to you all!!!
Oh my, the weather is just delightful in our neck of the woods.  I do believe spring/summer has arrived!  We are to hit 80* today with blue skies all day.
Slept with the bedroom windows open last night, ceiling fan on, and only a sheet covering me.  WOOHOO!

**I found out this week that there will be a Farmer's Market at the park up the street from us on Saturdays starting in May.  Never had one that close before.
**Got the dreaded taxes mailed this past week.  Then we got the property tax bill in the mail!  It's always something.
**Allergies have really flared up this week.  I am trying to use herbal 'meds' on them - but it doesn't seem to help much.  Will probably go back to regular allergy meds.

I kind of thought the groundhog moved on to greener pastures.  Saw it on April 1, then we had 'possum fest' and figured he must of thought it was getting crowed around here!  Well, on the 15th, there it was in the yard again.  I have a live trap set, so hopefully I can get the bugger!

My frugal week;
  • I trash picked this week.  I got an expandable plastic baby gate (may use for a trellis), and an approximately 3' x 8' piece of chicken wire.
  • I stopped at Hancock Fabrics going out of business sale and got the last bottle of Liquid Stitch they had for 5.99 (reg. 14.99).  Not much left there.
  • Across the street to Fresh Thyme and got fresh salad veggies and seedless grapes (only groceries I bought)
  • Hung laundry out on the line for the first time this season!!!!  YAY
  • No heat - windows open
  • Did lots of yard work - mowing, weeding, working on flower beds, etc.  FREE exercise!
  • Washing windows and doors with homemade window cleaner
  • Made homemade cookies and a cheese ball for snacks
  • We did splurge and order Chinese takeout this week - but we got 2 meals each from it
I have been doing a lot of yard work and house cleaning.  Still working on de-cluttering off and on.  Oh, there is so much that needs to go.  Seems the work NEVER ends!

Meals this week were simple.  I made chili-mac (like Steak & Shake), and used the leftovers of that the next day to make a casserole (adding peppers and cheese).  We did have Chinese for 2 meals.  There was homemade pizza and salad night, taco salad night, and chef salad with crispy chicken strips night.


May you all have a lovely and healthy week.  God's blessings be upon you.
Take care friends.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Seed Tapes

Talking about gardening has got me so excited to plant!  It will still be a while on most things - but there are cool crops that can be planted quite soon.

Have you ever bought seed tapes?  I have and I love them - but boy are they pricey!  Yesterday I saw how to make our own - and thought I would share.  It is so easy and FRUGAL!

Great for those tiny seeds that are hard to see when planting directly into the garden - lettuce, radish, carrots, beets, etc.

You will need a nice type of paper towel or bath tissue (a little heavier) or something like white party streamers or tissue paper.  Keep it WHITE to avoid dye leeching out.
Cut into long strips, 2" wide.

Make a paste of 1/4 C flour and 2 Tbsp. of warm water (remember - like school).  Make sure it is thick and not runny - adjust till right.

Lay out your strips of paper and mark with a pencil where the seeds need to go according to the package instructions.  Keep your marks in the middle of one inch of paper width.
Dab paste on each mark.
Place a seed into each dab of paste.
Fold over the other 1" width of paper.  Let it dry completely.  (End product will be 1" wide)
Roll up and store in an airtight container till ready to plant.
Make a  small trench in garden or pot, place seed tape in (according to package depth), cover with soil and keep moist!

These can be stored in airtight containers for up to a year.
**I think these would make a neat gift as well.  Recycle a container on some sort - decorate with empty seed package and a ribbon.   Useful and frugal gift!  (Buy seeds at the end of season on sale)

I am getting ready to make some this weekend for my lettuce, carrots, and radishes.  Those items are so hard to get evenly spaced, and I HATE to pull out starts and throw away - it seems so wasteful!


Tuesday, April 12, 2016


Good morning.
I woke to blue skies, sunshine, NO rain and NO wind today.  What a glorious day!  We haven't had a day like this for at least a week.
It appears we are going to have many pretty days this week, as temps begin to rise.  YAY

When it gets pretty out, my mind goes to gardening.  How about you?  I am ready.  I know it's still early for our area, but I can plan!!!!

Here is something that we all probably use - but this is basically natural and oh sooooooo frugal!

1 gallon water
1 Tbsp. Epsom salts
1 tsp. baking soda
1 Tbsp. powdered milk
1/2 tsp. ammonia
2 drops blue food coloring (it's non-toxic)

Mix everything together.  When ready to use - mix 1 oz. of this concentrate to 3 C of water in a spray container.
OR mix 1/2 oz. to a gallon of water for manual feedings.

This costs only pennies to make vs. many dollars to buy at the store.
I am sure using this come feeding time!

I have been adding my egg shells and coffee grounds directly into the garden all winter.  Last fall I added all my leaves.  Once the garden dries out enough - I will be plowing all that wonderful goodness under.

This year I think I am going to do things differently.  Lots of tomatoes will be growing in my garden, along with the usual broccoli and cabbage.  Hopefully green beans as well.  I don't think I will grow nearly as many cucumbers.  I love them fresh, but I still have so many pickles and relish from previous years - so I won't need to grow as many.  Peppers - yes!  Now I am trying to think of different things I don't usually grow.

Are you planning your garden yet?

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Frugal Happenings 4/10

Happy Sunday everyone.  I sure hope you have all had a great week, and I hope the remainder of your weekend is lovely!

I truly wish Spring would get here.  I do believe that bugger groundhog lied on Feb.2!!!!!  March was pretty nice in our area, and now April has been really crappy!  We have had rain, sleet, and snow this week.  None of the snow stuck, like in some areas of the country.  We have had hard freezes for a couple nights as well.  Hopefully, things will be much better by next weekend.  We just need to get through a couple more days of wind and rain!  UGH

I would love to get out and spray weeds with vinegar/salt/water combo.  No can do because of all the rain and wind.

My frugal week:
  • I went out Monday to run errands and about  8 - 10 blocks out realized I had a VERY flat tire.  Called AAA and the "kid" they sent out didn't know how to get my spare from under the car.  I told him how, and he said I was wrong.  So he called a tow truck!  Finally after 2 1/2 hours I got home.  We got the tired changed with help of a friend (now I know how).  NO ERRANDS RAN - I was ticked off.  AAA cost $0 (thank goodness)
  • Tuesday took tire to get it checked.  Figured I needed a new one - but they repaired it (screw in tire).  Cost $25 - better than cost of a new tire!
  • Stopped at Kroger to buy cat litter - and found hair dye on closeout.  Regular 7.99 - sale 2.99.  Bought the 2 they had.
  • Thought my Ice Tea Pot (tea maker) broke.  I have had and used it for years.  Figured I would try a good vinegar cleaning - couldn't hurt.  It works perfectly now!!!!  YAY
  • Received a $50 WM gift card in mail.  Courtesy of G's annual physical exam.  WOOHOO
  • Been reading books I have here at home - weather has not been appropriate to working outside or even wanting to leave!
  • Meals from home and scratch
  • Made homemade tartar sauce
  • Laundry in cold water and also used the basement dehumidifier water in a load
  • Bought NO groceries (food) again this week
  • Cut G's and my hair and colored my hair
We had dirty rice and beef steaks, chicken strips with mashed pots/country gravy, chicken legs with green beans/potatoes and salad, homemade vegetable soup, BBQ wings and leftovers, homemade beef pot pie and fish and chips for various meals this week.  All made with items we had in pantry and all from scratch.

You will notice that to the right of this screen, I now have a list of BLOGS.  These are some of the ones I read regularly, and thought you might enjoy them too.  I love seeing what the lives of others is like, and what they do to be frugal.  The dates on each blog represents the time that they last updated.  Thanks to a couple of those bloggers I figured out how to do that!  I will add others, as time permits.  Hope you enjoy the LINKS! 

I hope you all have a great week.  Stay safe and healthy my friends.  STAY FRUGAL.
May God bless you and keep you in His loving & protective arms.

Thursday, April 7, 2016


In case you didn't know, I live in a 1947 quaint bungalow in a neighborhood, just about 15 minutes from the city center.  We are in no way considered country or rural.
I have always found it comical that we have so much wild life in our area.  I love all my birds and squirrels.  We sometimes see raccoons passing through, have seen a groundhog now for 2 years, and the occasional one or two opossums.

My outdoor kitties could care less about these wild critters.  They just ignore them, as they have grown up with critters around.  Now you let a stray CAT come in the yard, and it's hammer time!  LOL

Last night, I got up about 10PM to use the restroom and looked out the back window, and what to my wondering eyes did appear?  At least 5 or 6 possums!!!  It was so funny.  They were actually "running" around our yard and the neighbors yard.  They were playing with each other and just having a good old time.  I have never seen the likes before.  We have never had that many opossums in the yard before!

About 5 minutes later, they were gone.  I guess they figured there was nothing to 'munch' on in our yard - so they moved the party on down the alley.
I told G it must have been a roaming band of marauders!

Thus we had POSSUM FEST 2016 in our backyard!!!  PARTY TIME!
I hope it doesn't become a nightly event!

Hope you smiled today!

Part of back yard last year.  My big perennial flower bed.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016


It seems that Chai tea has become majorly popular.  Many of the coffee joints and bistro's in the area are selling this Indian tea.  It seems to be the next new thing (new to me).
Here's a recipe to make your own mix.  This is great for home (and not going out and spending) and for gifts.

2 1/2 C powdered sugar
1 C instant tea mix
1 C powdered milk       
1 C powdered non-dairy creamer
1/2 C vanilla flavored powdered non-dairy creamer
1 1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground cardamom
1/4 tsp. ground cloves

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl; store in an airtight container.
INSTRUCTIONS:  Add 1/3 cup tea mix to 1/2 cup boiling water in a mug.  Stir well.

Make up a cute gift card with brewing instructions and tie on jar with a ribbon or jute for a lovely gift.  Maybe give as a gift with a nice journal for those quiet and reflective times.

This gives me another use for instant milk, and generally I have most of the ingredients on hand.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

GOT MILK???????

Milk seems to be such an integral part of our lives.  We use it in so many food preps.
I LOVE milk!!!  Nothing like a big ice cold glass of mil in my opinion.

Here are a few alternatives when you have no fresh milk.  Using dry, instant milk in these recipes will save us all from an unnecessary trip to the grocery at some point!

1/2 C COLD water
1/2 C powdered milk
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 C sugar
2 Tbsp. lemon juice

Chill your bowl and beaters in the freezer for a while.  Add the VERY cold water and powdered milk to the bowl and beat till stiff peaks form.  Add the lemon juice and beat 3-4 more minutes.  Add vanilla and sugar and mix well.
Great alternative to whipped cream.    Best if used the same day - as it may separate if you keep it too long.  Nice when unexpected company comes by!

1 1/3 C instant milk
3/4 C sugar
1/2 C HOT water
2 Tbsp. butter or margarine

In blender bowl add HOT water and butter.  Let butter melt.  With blender running add the instant milk and sugar.  Blend till smooth.  Store in an air tight container in the frig for up to 2 weeks.
Makes 16 oz.

1 C water
1/4 C instant milk
 Tbsp. vinegar or lemon juice
Mix all together and refrigerate until thickened (about 18 hours).  Stir till smooth and use in recipes as you would buttermilk.
Need to plan ahead on this one.

So never fear.  If something happens where you can't get out to get liquid milk or if a time comes that none is available - make sure you always keep instant milk on hand.
I have uncovered more recipes that I will be sharing soon.  Instant milk can be a wonderful thing!!!
Another pantry staple that we should all be keeping!


Sunday, April 3, 2016

Frugal Happenings 4/3

Happy April!
It's hard to believe that we are already into the fourth month. 
It sure doesn't feel like April this morning.  It got down into the 20's last night!  Our tulips and daffodils have been so pretty and this morning it looks like they are bowing their heads and praying.  I don't think praying will help them! 
We had rain and more rain this week.  Yesterday was horrible with wind.  We had 40-50mph sustaining winds then had 60-70mph gusts!  It was ridiculous.
It is chilly this morning - but it is a beautiful morning.

The bright golden finches are back at the feeders this week.  I actually saw a couple bumble bees, and Mr. Hog (the groundhog) is back.  Probably not the same one - but I have already gotten the trap out.  I just can't have the cute bugger messing up my garden again this year.
So far I have trapped 4 (not so happy) squirrels, almost one cat - and NO groundhog.

It has been pretty quiet here this week.  Nothing exciting to write home about!

  • Fixed the handle on the lint trap door on the drier
  • The one day I went out I stopped and got another 120 cans of FREE cat food for pantry with my gifted gift card
  • Got my oil changed.  I always change at 3,000 miles.  I was at 2,900 and decided to stop while I was out.  The date on my sticker from last change was 11/21/14!!!!!  I didn't even drive 3,000 miles in 16 months!!
  • Did  yard work and mowed.  Mowed the triple front lot of the empty house next door too.  FREE exercise and helping to keep the neighborhood looking nice.
  • Picked several lovely flowers and made up a couple of fresh arrangements for the house
  • Bought NO groceries at all
  • All meals from scratch and home.  Used lots of leftovers into remade meals
  • Did more de-cluttering and got rid of 2 more big boxes of stuff to a donation pick-up

Easter I made a whole pork loin and oven baked mac-n-cheese and asparagus fries, we then had mac and pork with salad another dinner.  I used some shredded pork and leftover beans and rice from last week in making a big pan on enchiladas - we ate 2 meals from that.  I made kraut/pork and mashed potatoes.  I made a nice size pot of cream of asparagus soup (heaven!) and we had that 2 nights.  I put the last of the pork in the freezer.  We ate on the wonderful homemade candy for several days, and made popcorn for snacks at night.  It has been quite a frugal week on eating!

Otherwise, I have just been doing all normal day to day stuff we all do.  A couple rainy days even made for a nice 'nap' day!  That is not something I do often - and it was lovely.
How was your week?  Let us know what you have been up to.

May God keep you and bless you in the upcoming week.