Saturday, December 31, 2016

2017 - New Beginnings

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

I hope for health, happiness, and prosperity to each and every one of you and your families.
I look forward to a new year of teaching and learning from one another.
God bless you!

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Frugal Happenings as of 12/24

Hi y'all!  I am posting a couple days late because of all the holiday celebrations.

I hope you all had a lovely holiday with your families and friends.  We got to see many of our relatives and enjoyed the visits.
I can't believe how incredibly blessed we are and how many seem to love us!  We received so many wonderful gifts.
My goodness we were blessed with 4 GC's, fruits and nuts, lotto tix, family pictures, many specialty foods (in wonderful re-usable storage containers), homemade candies and cookies, smell pretties for the house, clothes,  and on and on.  BLESSED BEYOND BELIEF

My frugal week (last week):
  • Wrapped the remainder of our gifts with supplies I had on hand.  Still  enough for a couple more years!!!!
  • Made a batch of peach pie moonshine!  This made 7 1/2 quarts.  Will post recipe later if anyone is interested! (Many used in gift baskets)
  • Made from scratch cookies
  • Received a gift in the mail from a friend on the coast (pretties and homemade fudge to die for!)
  • All laundry in cold water and dried most by hanging in the basement.
  • Cleaned all the wood floors (will probably do again this week since company is over)
  • Waxed the kitchen cabinets
  • Washed windows - have to take advantage of those 55* days in mid-winter!  Used homemade cleaner and newspaper
  • Received 3 bags of kitty treats and some homemade cookies from an old neighbor who stopped by for a visit
  • All meals from home
  • No groceries bought
Meals last week:
Tomato soup and grilled cheese
Home canned cabbage soup - added sausage and leftover veggies from fridge
Dirty rice with beef and salad
Leftover cabbage soup and sandwiches
Fried chicken and side salad
Meat and cheese with crackers and a salad
Pizza flavored baked spaghetti

We went from sub-zero wind chills and ice last weekend to almost 70* yesterday.  Quite the roller coaster on weather.  Cooler this week and then back up to 50* after New Years.  I figure every warm nice day we get - just puts us one day closer to spring!!!!

How did your holiday celebrations go?  Any gifts that help with your frugal way of living?
Check in and say hello.  I love hearing from everyone!

Blessings to all!

Sunday, December 25, 2016


I just wanted to make a quick post to say MERRY CHRISTMAS to each and everyone of you and your families.
May you enjoy your day with family and friends.
God bless.

"For unto you is born this day in the city of David a savior, who is Christ the Lord."

Wednesday, December 21, 2016


We should all count our blessing each and every day - but it seems that we tend  to think of it more around Christmas. 
I read so much on FB about how awful life is, how sad people are, how they just don't know how they can deal with more, etc..  The thing is I know most of these people, and it makes me so sad that they concentrate on tiny things in their lives, when they really do have so much to be thankful for.

I try to thank the good Lord every day just for waking up each morning and giving me another chance on this big old Earth.  I am thankful for my family (regardless how dysfunctional some are!), I am thankful for the roof over my head, for heat, for food on my table (regardless as to how simple it may be), for health, for my sweet fur babies, and for my great neighbors.
Mostly I am thankful for the birth of Jesus Christ and His promises for us.

This year, I, as have many, have had many heartaches and upsets.  People have gone on to their new 'forever' lives, people have gone through illnesses and loss of their normalcy.  Despite all of that, I am forever grateful, because God gave me the capability to have MEMORIES! 

What a treasured gift that is.  Forever in our minds we can have our parents, grandparents, siblings, spouses, etc.  Forever we can have in our minds the simple lives we lived as children, and the wonders of those many special Christmas's past.  I love having my memories and I love being able to dream of those that are no longer on this Earth.
Yes, I look at those things as blessings.  Everyday is a new blessing to me.

This morning a lady rang my doorbell, and she was holding a wet and snowy $100 bill.  She asked me if I had lost it, as she found it on our front walk by the street.  I was amazed at that - as most people would not have asked.  I told her no, as much as I would have loved it to be.  Her eyes got wide and she smiled and said - "You mean it's mine?".  I told her congrats and told her that this must be her lucky day.  Her answer, "Oh, what a blessing".
Yes, yes it was.  She sure looked like she could use the money, and I haven't quit smiling all morning!  (I received a blessing of her sweet spirit).

So the next time you get down or frustrated - stop and think and take a look around.  You are receiving blessings large and small each day, each hour of each day, and each moment of each hour.  The fact that you are reading this is a blessing.  You have learned, you can read, you have the equipment to read it, etc.

                                                Christmas years ago at Mom and Daddies
                                                      What wonderful memories of family

My wish this Christmas is that everyone will take the time to count ALL their blessings large and small.
Thank you to all my friends here.  It is wonderful to be able to share with you and to learn from one another.  You are all blessings in my life.  Yes, indeed. 

God bless you all.


Sunday, December 18, 2016

Frugal Happenings 12/18

Good morning all.  I hope this finds you well and safe.

We have had quite a weather week in this part of the country.  We had extreme cold, snow, more cold, warmer temps and rain, then plunging temps again.  Now we have ice covering everything, the temperature is 17* and dropping to below zero tonight.  Getting a dusting of snow over the ice (which actually makes it easier to walk).  I guess this extreme cold is supposed to last a couple days - then back to close to 40* by weeks end!
Kind of crazy and all over the place!!!!!

I had a nice Christmas lunch with my sister, brother and sister in-law yesterday.  G couldn't be there, as we have no way to transport his power chair.  (He did get lunch brought home to him!).  We had a nice time visiting and reflecting back to childhood Christmas's.

My frugal week:
  • Cut G's and my hair
  • Colored my hair from supplies on hand
  • I did finish ALL gift shopping
  • Made my first batch of Springerle cookies (German cookie) for gifting
  • Made more cookies for the squirrels
  • Received a huge bag of homemade Chex Mix from one of G's aunts
  • Given 2 bags of jerky and cat treats from G's aunt and uncle when they visited
  • Got a great pasta deal at Menards.  Buy 6 pack bag of elbow pasta or spaghetti (ea. pack is 12 oz.) for $4 - mail-in rebate for $3 thus costing only $1 for almost 6 lbs. of pasta.  DEAL lasts till end of Dec.
  • Bought 2 gifts at Menards on sale for $12.99 - each had an $8 mail-in rebate, so each gift will be $4.99!
  • Cooled tea outside on the handrail so as not to heat up frig.
  • Mailed all cards and a package this week.  I showed up at just the right time at the P.O. to help an elderly lady with a heavy box.  Firm believer of we are where we are at the right time!!!!!
  • Shoveled snow - so good FREE cardio exercise
  • Stopped at Kroger as I needed anise seed.  They had a closeout on it for 1.79 bottle, regular $4.49 each.  I bought 3 bottles which will last me for a few Christmas's.
  • I also found 2 bottles of Bragg's liquid amino (natural soy sauce) on clearance for 2.19 a bottle.
  • Received 8 quarts and 2 pints of home canned goodies, $25 Kroger GC, and a huge meat and cheese assortment from my siblings yesterday.  YAY love getting free food!

Meals this week:
Leftover casserole and salad
Homemade taco salad
Pork, 4 cheese tortellini, veg. combo in sauce and mixed greens
Baked mac n cheese with turkey added and leftover greens
Mac n cheese leftovers and fried okra
Loaded baked potatoes
Goodies my sister sent home from lunch (breaded pork, green bean casserole, corn, and mashed pots)

I need to finish up my wrapping this week.  I will be doing some baking, and hopefully staying home most of the week.
Are you all ready for Christmas?  What are some of your traditions that you will be following this week? 

May the Lord be with you and guide you in the coming week.  Blessings to each of you.  Stay safe and warm!

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Wintertime Fun

Hello there from this cold, cold day in Indiana.  We have snow on the ground and frigid temps, but hey we woke up today and we are moving around and doing good - so all is good in our world!  Hope all is good in your world as well.

Thought I show a couple fun things for this snowy winter.  These can be used for yourself or can even be a hit for parties!

There is nothing better than some homemade snow cream to bring back memories from childhood.  I remember Mom doing this.   This would be a fun party snack as well.  (REMEMBER - NO yellow snow!!!!!)

I make these every holiday season and they are just YUM!  So easy.  These are great for parties, an evening watching movies, OR as gifts!  Once you start eating - it's hard to stop!!!

So have a little fun this winter.  Make a nice cup of hot chocolate or a hot toddy and have a hand full of spiced nuts on a cold winter's evening.  Go play outside a while and bring in some pretty white snow and make a delish treat for everyone!

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Snow and More

Happy Tuesday everyone!
We are finally getting some snow in this here part of the country!  This is how it looks from my front porch this morning, looking across the street.

I have to admit it is pretty, although I would gladly do without it!

Here are a few last minute frugal ideas for gift making at your house.  These could probably all be made things on hand.  I have been saving ideas all year - maybe someone can use one or two of these cute ideas.

Apples with caramel.  Caramel made from sweetened condensed milk.  You can Google the instructions.  So easy.

A "hidden" key holder to place in the rock garden!  Simply a pill bottle with a nice stone glued to the top.  Maybe paint a larger stone as well with "Welcome" or "My Garden" or some special sentiment.

Cute little pin cushion jars that can also hold some supplies.  Could use batting, a sponge, or even Styrofoam for the cushion part covered with a scrap of material.

Rustic toothbrush holder.  Could even add a small toothpaste inside the jar (Maybe some floss as well).

Frame a doily made by grandma or some other wonderful keep-sake.  There is no limit to what goodies could be framed for wonderful memories. (pieces from a worn-torn quilt, a piece of daddies tie or mom's apron, etc.)

Don't forget - a nice plate or box of homemade cookies, or candy, or sweet breads.
No money - no problem.  There are tons of sweet and lovely ideas out there to give as gifts this season without breaking even the piggy bank!!!!!!!
Have fun and stay frugal friends!

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Frugal Happenings 12/11

Good morning my friends.  I hope this finds you all safe and healthy on this Sunday morning.  It is hard to believe that 2 weeks from today is Christmas morning!!!!!  WOW - I am not ready at all.

This week work started on the house next door (the rental most recently vacated).  A couple weeks ago a hand made for sale sign went up with an unbelievably LOW asking price - and it was removed within 4 hours.  House SOLD!!!!!  Had there been a little more time to think about it - I do believe we would have considered it.  All that extra land (and extra garage) would have been great - and for the price, the house would have been great for anything - rental, a huge pantry, you name it!  Obviously, it wasn't meant to be.
BUT any way - it has now been gutted and he is putting in new windows.  He is really working to improve it and then find good renters.
He seems like a really nice young man and very motivated.

The weather got really cold this week.  We have had a dusting of snow once.  Rain is coming into our area today.  Decent temps should prevail for a few days then back to frigid! 
The squirrels have sure been hungry.  I have several squirrels that now come running up to me when they see me come out and beg!  They are taking food right from my hand.  They are so darned cute.

My frugal week:
  • I got out my Christmas sweatshirts and fluffed them - all ready for wear.
  • I emptied and put away the last rain barrel before the temps dropped
  • Cleaned and refilled all the heated water bowls and bird bath. **I also bought another one for $15 when I went to Rural King (also bought a GC for a gift).  Critters and kitties need their water!
  • I had a bulb burn out on the garage security light.  The bulb broke off from the socket part, and I couldn't get out (it had been screwed in for years).  G remembered he a tool that might help in garage - I got it out and it worked!  So glad I didn't have to pay someone to help me.  I got it all fixed on my own.  (Oh, I tried the potato trick - it didn't work!)
  • Started the week by doing laundry in cold water and hanging most of it in the basement to dry.
  • Went to Aldi and used the $10/$40 coupon.  I got all stocked up on snacks, specialty crackers and cheeses for our upcoming get togethers and probably for the next 2-3 months.      
  • Received a FREE magazine in the mail.  Not sure who is sending them - I didn't order!
  • Worked on a blanket my gr. niece wanted me to make for her brother in-law (like her son).  It has been a major pain because it's huge - but I am mainly done.  Just a few minor adjustments to be made.
  • Filled my gas tank  (even though I had a half tank) getting ready for the frigid cold.  Saved .10 gallon.  Didn't have many points to use as so little grocery shopping last month.
  • Made some bread/pizza sticks from frozen pizza dough I had.  Rolled into bread stick size - oiled - sprinkled with parm. and Kosher salt and baked.  Served with pizza sauce on the side.
  • All meals from home
  • Got the cards all addressed - just need to run down to the P.O. tomorrow
  • Received a $10/$10 Kohl's coupon in the mail - will use it this week for a gift
Meals this week:
Leftover pizza casserole and salad
Sausage gravy with biscuits and fried eggs
Soup beans with ham and homemade cornbread (2X)
Homemade super supreme pizza (I put everything on that baby)
Smoked sausage, fried potatoes/turnips/onions combo (yum)
Beef/potato/cheese casserole, bread sticks w/sauce

I really have to get everything wrapped up for Christmas this week - time is just slipping away.  I still haven't started baking, so I definitely need to do that.  I just feel like I need my batteries charged!!!  I have no gumption for any of this at all this year.  I love Christmas, so I think it all stems from the loss of my brother. 
I am looking forward to a new year and a new outlook for myself!

Are you ready for Christmas?  Have you started baking?  Are you done with the shopping and crafting?  PLEASE check in and let us know what you have been up to.

I pray you all have a wonderfully safe and healthy week.  Blessings my friends.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Aldi Holiday Reminder

Many of us are totally blessed to have an Aldi grocery close by.  Their prices seem so good on just about everything.

This time of the year they have so many specialty items.  They are limited in inventory and in the time the stores will carry them.  I think I mentioned this last year, but it is so worth the reminder.
If you have to drive a little distance to get to a store - this time of the year it is well worth the effort.

They have specialty cookies, cakes, and candies.  There are many specialty cheeses and spreads and crackers.  We love the cheesecake samplers that you can only get during Thanksgiving and Christmas. 
Check out the liquor section if you like a cocktail or two or the holidays.
There are specialty beers and wines, German ciders, and a lovely product that is comparable to Bailey's Irish Crème (only flavored).  These would also make great gifts!!!!!

Yes, many of the items are German in origin or in tradition, but oh my goodness do they have some yummy stuff.  It is worth making a trip and stocking up for later.  I found items throughout the entire store, but our closest store has one side of an entire aisle devoted to specialty products!
Once the special items are gone - they are gone till next year!!!

Can you say YUM?  They also had caramel flavored and mint.  When I saw this, I grabbed it, as it was the last one on the shelf!!!

I advise you take a little trip to the nearest Aldi and just browse through the aisles.  I can almost guarantee you that you won't be sorry.


Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Holiday Guilt

I think we have all had one of those years that we felt tremendous guilt on the money that we have spent.  For myself, it was years and years ago, in my VERY young and stupid days.
I would shop and shop for others, charge it, and then pay all year with high interest rates, and start the process over again.

How many of you have had 'holiday guilt' before?

I know it is tougher when people have kids.  Now a days, kids are bomb-barded from morning to night with commercials and ads for all the things they so NEED!!!!!!!  UGH!  Everything is electronic and high tech.  Kids seem to have everything by the time they just hit their teenage years.
So many young people (as in adults) think they deserve to have EVERYTHING right now - the same things their parents worked for, for years.  It has become a ME world full of instant gratification.

I have mentioned many times that I make most of our gifts.  The younger kids (nieces and nephews) do get some store bought stuff.  I am very lucky that the youngsters in our family have parents that have taught them restraint.  They get tickled to pieces to get fuzzy socks or new jammies!  Little cars, story books, and army men from dollar stores have been great hits in the past!That makes me happy.

I love to hear stories of folks who buy at sales all year long for their gift 'closet', or those who buy "like new" from yard sales and thrift stores, or those who limit gifts and funds for shopping.  I like to hear about the homemade gifts - as well as loving to receive them! 
I think it is great that many parents have " a want, a need. a read, a clothing" type of Christmas - YES, just 4 items!  They should be proud of themselves.

Giving young people ALL they want - helps no one.  They do not learn restraint, they don't learn responsibility, they don't learn anything about monetary values, etc. 
Don't allow your children or grand children to get caught up in that trap.
Hopefully they will follow examples throughout their lives, and turn out  to be frugal like their great teachers and mentors!

I hope none of you feel 'holiday guilt' this year.  Don't go overboard, keep things simple, stay within budget, and have a ball! 
Merry Christmas


Sunday, December 4, 2016

Frugal Happenings 12/4

It's beginning to FEEL a lot like Christmas!!!   Oh baby, it's getting cold outside.  It will be highs in the 40's for the next couple days - but by the end of the week our highs are supposed to be in the 20's!!  YIKES
I really dislike cold, cold weather.  I guess it has come with getting older.

We have only seen peeks of sunshine this week.  It has been so cloudy and overcast.  I think I could handle the weather better if there was sun - I really do NEED sunshine!  I feel sunshine is essential for my sanity!

My frugal week:
  • I made a pot of 'turkey' gumbo soup (and tossed in leftover green beans)
  • I made up 10 jars of mixed beans for gift giving
  • I went to Dollar Tree and got lots of 'stocking/basket'  stuffers
  • Found lot's of great deals for the young-ins I buy for.  Took advantage of sales.
  • No groceries bought this week
  • I got the few decorations up, that I will be doing this year. (Just not into it).
  • Door decorations up
  • Got my Christmas cards out and have started working on them (all bought for .50 a box last year)
  • Received a bag of turnips from my brother yesterday.  We love them raw!  I am going to try frying like potatoes too. (his recommendation)
  • Received another $10/$40 coupon from Aldi on todays paper.  Good till the 17th!
  • Worked on my health insurance this week.  My company is not offering in 2017.  Finally signed and got a new policy.  Not everything I wanted - but it will cover major problems (God forbid) and I will be saving $200 a month from what I have now!!!!!!  All in all I am pleased!
  • I have been working on getting gift baskets together
  • Still using tomatoes from our garden for fresh salads - they are slowly ripening!

Meals this week:
Turkey gumbo soup (2X)
Open faced cheeseburgers and salad
Made a batch of faux crab/pasta salad with fresh veggies (yum)
Fried chicken and leftovers
Leftover night
'Pizza' casserole (like baked spaghetti only with pizza toppings)

It has been a fairly quiet week.  I am slowly trying to get things ready for Christmas.  I will have to start baking in a week or so.  I don't like to start too early.
3 more weeks till Christmas!!!!!!!

What have you all been up to this week?  Has anyone gotten any great deals or done anything fun?
I pray you all have a glorious week.  Stay safe and healthy my friends.


Thursday, December 1, 2016

Jar Recipe Gifts & More - PART 2

Well here we are 24 days till Christmas!  The official  countdown has begun.
It is beginning to feel a little more like Christmas here, as the weather has cooled again.  Not as cold as it probably should be - but that is ok.

Today are a few more ideas for a homemade Christmas.  Hope they give you some ideas.

  • Dip some nice size apples in chocolate and cover with crushed nuts or candy.  Stick a popsicle stick in stem end and either drizzle or dip the apples.  Place in a cupcake pan liner to dry.  wrap in saran wrap for giving.
  • A pretty dollar store cup and several flavored tea bags for the tea lover
  • Dip plastic spoons in white or regular melted chocolate.  After dry, bundle up several and cover with plastic wrap.  Attach a note - saying coffee stirrers.
  • Use small jelly size jars - place wooden stick matches inside.  Cut the striker pad off box to fit the top of jar (under jar ring).  Great for campers
  • Make fire starters for campers or those with fireplace.  Dip pinecones in wax and let dry. (Pinecones can easily be found in parks and at the cemetery).    You can also stuff TP tubes with drier lint - then wrap the tubes in brown paper to look like wrapped gifts (or taffy candy).
  • Don't forget the pets of people.  A nice bag of treats would be appreciated - or a new toy.
  • Make some sweet breads (banana, zucchini, pumpkin, etc.).  Wrap in plastic wrap - then "gift wrap" in a dollar store kitchen towel.  2 gifts in one.
  • Dip pretzels in chocolate or almond bark.  SO EASY and yet a yummy gift
  • Homemade cookies and candies on a pretty dollar store plate

I mix whatever type of beans I have together.  Fill either pint or quart jars (depending on family size) or use any jar you have.  I leave space in jar for a small packet of dry ham base (I made a packet containing 5 Tbsp. per jar).  Make up a cute tag giving cooking instructions and attach to jar.  Cute and very useful.

Here are some I made up the other day.  Each pint jar has close to a pound of beans and a small packet of ham seasoning.  I used 8 lbs. of beans and made 10 jars.

(Layer items in a jar)
1 box (2 pkts.) onion soup mix (or equivalent of homemade)
1/2 C split peas
1/2 C small alphabet macaroni
1/2 C shells (pasta)
1/2 C colored pasta
1/4 C lentils

CARD;  "When you feel you are to busy and a meal you need to fix, get out a kettle, 7 cups of water and 1/2 pound hamburger and this jar."
"While you have your things to do, and when you sit and eat - REMEMBER  - WE LOVE YOU!"
**You could add a small can of tomato sauce or diced tomatoes too if you wish.

(I get requests for this mix from family - they love it)
1 package of Country Gravy Mix (2.75 oz.) - can be bought at most grocers (or equiv. of bulk mix)
2 Tbsp.  chicken bouillon granules
2 Tbsp. minced onion (dried type)
2 Tbsp. celery flakes
2 tsp. parsley flakes
2 1/2 - 3 C. dried noodles (like egg noodles)

Best to use a wide mouth quart jar.  Stir together first 5 ingredients and place in jar - top with noodles.  Give with can of chicken.

INSTRUCTIONS attach:  empty contents into a pan and add 8 cups water - heat to boiling on high.  reduce heat - add chicken and simmer till noodles are done.  Stir occasionally.

1 3/4 C instant potatoes
1 1/2 C dry milk
2 Tbsp. chicken bouillon
1 tsp. dried parsley
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/4 tsp. thyme
1/8 tsp. turmeric
1/2 tsp. seasoning salt
*(You could even a tablespoon or two of cheddar cheese powder if you have it on hand)
Combine all together and put in a quart jar.
INSTRUCTIONS attach:  Place 1/2 cup mix in a bowl and add 1 cup boiling water.  Stir till smooth.

***Great for taking to the office or a hearty after school snack.

NOTE:  These soups are all very hearty and yummy. 
Most of the ingredients can be bought at dollar stores or Big Lots cheaply.  You get several jars from purchasing a jar of most of the ingredients (spices, etc.).

I hope these give you some ideas for fun and different gifts.  There is not limit to what can be put in a jar and gifted.  Homemade is thoughtful and fun and FRUGAL!
If giving more than one item - you can gift in a small basket (thrift store) or a re-usable grocery bag (you could make that too!)
If you make up several - and don't give them all away - you are ready for a quick and simple dinner at home!!


Merry Christmas