Thursday, August 31, 2017


We all have had those moments in time that will be with us forever.  Moments we will remember - moments we captured on film - moments of happiness and moments of sadness.

Moments like - where we were the day President Kennedy was assassinated.
Moments like - where we were when we heard Princess Diana was killed.
Moments like - where we were on Sept. 11, 2001

Then there are moments for some, such as hurricanes and tornados that they experienced.
There are moments of births and deaths.
There are moments of marriage or divorce.

I remember the days my parents passed away and the days my siblings passed like they were yesterday. 
I remember the first time I experienced seeing a baby born (a niece and later a nephew).
I remember the day I married my ex and I remember the day I had to leave.
I remember the day I met my wonderful G and the day we married.
I remember the moment I met my first and most long time friend on the first day of first grade.
I remember wonderful friends that have left this world for a better place.
I also remember special moments, holidays, and celebrations experienced all through my life.

I am so thankful that God has chosen to give the gift of memories to each of us.  There are so many moments that we cherish our entire lives and that give us both joy and sadness.
That is something that no amount of money or riches can ever buy.

Over the years I have always enjoyed taking pictures - pictures of everything and anything!  Mostly they were pictures of things that have made me smile or laugh.
I have shown you old family pictures (I didn't take those) - kitty pictures (I love me some fur babies) and pictures of flowers and garden, meals and bargains.
Today I want to post a few pictures from over the years that just make me smile!  I hope you enjoy.

This just always makes me feel as if it were a walkway to heaven.  God speaks to us in so many ways
                                                         Click on pictures to enlarge.

This picture makes me smile every time I look at it.  Driving in southern Indiana and had to stop and take this from the side of the road.  A rather big gal had hung her dainties out to dry for all the world to see.  I smile because she "owned" it and didn't worry about what any one would think.  I still think - you go girl!

When we camped, we used to wonder the back roads and small towns.  We came upon this little town (no bigger than a minute) and saw this painted on the side of a building.  I guess we know what occupied the young folks time! 
OK, some odd things strike me funny!

Do you see what I see?
I see a head, neck and part of a body of a big cat - eyes, nose, and ear.  This is a tree root that became uncovered at the river we camped at - when water was low.  It is a natural formation - not carved or anything.  I just find it fascinating.

That moment when you can capture nature at it's best.

Flowers always make me happy and make me smile.  This display in our back flower garden is probably one of the prettiest I ever had.  This was a few years ago - but it is one of my favorites.
So much color and variety.

Todays post is merely to show everyone that it takes NO money whatsoever to enjoy, smile, and take a little journey through time.
We all have had different journeys - both good and bad and happy and sad - but they are parts of our lives and have shaped us into who we are today.

Take a moment or three to reflect and remember.  Take a quiet seat outside and enjoy the beauty that God has given us in large and small ways.  Look at each flower or leaf, watch the birds, listen, smell, partake.
Take a moment to remember those who have gone on before us - because as long as we remember they are never truly gone.
Take a moment to take a picture of something that just makes you smile!

We get one ride on this ticket of life - experience it to the fullest!
It can be done in ways that cost nothing!
I hope you smiled a little today - I know I did.

Blessings from me to you.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Cost of Convenience

It is amazing how convenient things are to us on an everyday basis.  We are totally used to it, and in most instances have come to expect it.
We can see a gas station on about every corner in town, find grocery stores or convenience stores every few blocks, and fast food is every where.
We can walk into a grocery and buy just about anything our hearts desire.
It has become a way of life.

What would happen if that all came to an end?
The people in the south, Texas and Louisiana have lost it all.  Their homes are gone, their businesses are gone, their jobs are gone, and the basic essentials of a comfortable life are gone.  Never was it expected - but it happened and continues to grow.

We have all heard that gasoline prices are expected to increase - and they will.  The refineries were at a point to change over from gasoline refining to heating oil.  That can be expected to go up. 
Lot's of people in TX are cattle ranchers.  I can't help but wonder how much cattle has died and not been saved to higher ground.  That means beef will go up. 
Feed reserves for animals were most likely destroyed by water.  More will be needed from else where for animals to survive.
Lot's of crops we all buy, are grown in these areas - we will pay more for those.
If you plan on remodeling or building - it is suggested you buy materials NOW - because every available piece of building material will be needed in coming months and probably years in that area.
Infrastructure is bound to be destroyed - so travel and shipping will be altered.
Houston harbor is one of the largest in the world for chemical deliveries for things we all buy and use every day.
The list goes on and on.  It is amazing how an event in one area can affect people all over the country and maybe the world.
I can not imagine the horror those poor people are going through and how they will manage.  We all need to pray that God caresses them and gets them through.

I have a feeling that financially and materialistically this will be the costliest storm ever.  Katrina had tremendous loss of life - which so far this storm hasn't - but there are so many more metropolitan areas destroyed this time.  Things will never be the same.

    Everything we have can be gone in an instant.  You can't take it with you any way.

On a daily basis  we  LOVE convenience, but we sure do  pay the price for it - and most people don't even think about it.  When you have spent your life being frugal, it just makes one shutter!  At least it does me.

I stopped by the farm market last week to look around - WOW was I surprised at the prices.  Quarts of canned peaches and cherries were 8.95.  Kraut and applesauce was 6.95 a quart.  Salsa and dilly beans were 6.95 a pint.
Jams and jellies were 5.95 a half pint.
Good gracious - we have all canned a fortune!
I was stunned at the cost of fresh picked local produce as well.  My garden  has produced a lot of dollars!

At the grocery I got to looking around and was astounded at some things people buy and the prices they pay EVERY DAY!
Eight pieces of fried chicken at the deli is going for 7.99 - 8.99.  I can buy whole chickens just about every day for $5 (or less) and cut them into 8 pieces and fry myself.

6 hard boiled eggs at WM sell for 3.99 - I can make a dozen for less than $1 every day.

Three  6" mini pizza crusts with 3 little packets of sauce (nothing else) was 4.49!  I can make a 16"-18" pizza at home with a multitude of toppings for far less than that.

Hummus runs about 4.99 for a 10 oz. container and 6.99 for a bigger 17 oz. size.  I can make my own with garbanzo beans (and any flavorings I want) for maybe .69 for a 15 oz. can of beans.

Guacamole is very expensive at the deli - averaging 7.99 - 8.99 a pound.  It can be made for pennies when you watch for a sale on avocado.

A 1 lb. or less bag on dried Amish noodles run approximately 4.99.  I can make several meals worth of noodles with a dozen eggs and less than 5 lbs. of flour - which is approx. less than $3 total here.

A huge pot of soup or stew can be made a home with items on hand for next to nothing and provide many servings or meals.  It you think about how many cans of soup it would take to equal yours - the dollar value is tremendous.

Tuna salad and egg salad at the deli runs about 5.99/lb. here.  I can sure make a lot of each for less than a third that amount.

Fast food - those burgers and fries can be tasty, but think about how many burgers and homemade fries you could make for the same amount of money.  You could feed a lot of people for the amount we spend to feed two.
I love the idea of folks making up freezer meals for this very reason.  You always have something on hand at home.

Stopping for a Starbuck's coffee is 3.99 - 4.99 a cup from what I hear. (I don't drink it - so I don't know), but I can buy a whole can of coffee for G for 4.99/5.99 on sale.  That gives dozens and dozens of cups, and I can fancy them up all I want.

Isn't it amazing?  I know lots of people buy these things, and that is fine, I am not trying to judge - it just isn't for me.  My mindset just won't let me go there.  When we do get dinner from the diner or Chinese, I feel guilty for days for spending that kind of money of something that could be made here for pennies on the dollar.  I guess that is just my frugal upbringing coming through!
I love my gift card dinners that I can get for FREE!  There is nothing like getting a gift card in my opinion - it lets us indulge on things we probably wouldn't otherwise.

Those of us who garden, can, freeze, barter, glean, etc. are so far ahead of the game.  We know how yummy all that food is and will be in the future, and we know exactly what is in our food.  That is huge in my opinion!
I know everyone doesn't have that opportunity - but if you do - it is the way to go.

We ALL have items we purchase for convenience - that is a given.  I know I do.
The next time you grab for something - just stop and think how much you could save by doing it yourself.  It may be a bit less convenient - but it sure can save.

CAN WE splurge on those convenient items?  Most of us probably can.
Just because we can do something - doesn't necessarily mean we have to or that we should!

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Frugal Happenings 8/27

Happy Sunday all.  I hope you all had a good week.
Here we are on the down side of another month - wow!  Time sure has been flying by.  It is so hard for me to believe that September is just a few days away.
Less than 4 months till Christmas!!!!!  YIKES

We have had lovely weather this past week.  The AC has been off for a large part of the week and windows open.  Loving the fresh air.  The same is expected this coming week.  Highs in upper 70's to 80 and lows in the 50's and 60's.  Sure makes great sleeping weather.

The cucumbers are finally setting fruit and starting to grow again now that it is cooler.  Second round of peppers setting and the plants are loaded.  Tomatoes have slowed down, but tons of new growth and smallish to large tomatoes on that growth, so we will get a second round of those as well.  New shoots on zucchini are popping up and loaded with bloom.  Broccoli and cabbage round 2 in the works.  This is really the first time that we have had EVERYTHING go into a second growing and will be viable before frost.  HAPPY DANCE!

Our days are getting shorter.  Light later in the morning and dark earlier in the evening.  That is the part of fall I dislike.
Needing rain again, although we did get some one day this past week.

Many of our flowers are still going strong and look so pretty.
The corn the squirrels 'planted' is doing great and they have been harvesting!  It is so cute to watch them shuck it and carry around ears of corn to hide somewhere.  Saves on my feed right now!  They planted - they get to harvest.

MY frugal week:
It has been kind of quiet this week and just doing a lot of small things to stay frugal.
  • Line dried laundry
  • Canned 12 more jars of salsa (we use a lot of salsa in eating/cooking)
  • Picked more grapes.  5 lbs. after de-stemming.  I should have weighed with stems as that is how you buy them.  Oh well.
  • My brother gifted me with 2 quarts of home canned green beans and a quart of home canned carrots - just because!
  • Did lots of yard work.  Mowing and trimming = good exercise.  I just can't keep ahead of things - so much to do.
  • Meals from home and scratch - using what we have on hand this week
  • Froze several over ripe bananas for bread and smoothies later on
  • Made a kidney bean salad that G has been asking for - he was a happy camper
  • Made a batch of savory polenta for easy breakfasts or side dish
  • Made up a quart of refrigerator dilled jalapenos (re-used pickle juice).  I brought leftover juice to a boil and poured over sliced peppers and set in frig. after it cooled
  • Got caught up on monthly paperwork
  • Made up another bottle of diluted shampoo and a new bottle of foaming hand soap
  • Got out a small roast from freezer dated early 2015!  OOPS.  I was looking for some meat for stew and noticed the date - thawed and cut it up - perfect for stew. 
  • Have the crockpot going this morning with a large pot of stew.  YUM.
Just doing all the regular stuff as well.  So much we do on a daily basis, is just second nature but still frugal.  That is MY LIFE!

Meals this week:
Leftover taco casserole
Mac n cheese with salsa added and hamburgers
Chicken strips, mashed potatoes, salad
Breakfast - toast and country gravy, scrambled eggs, sausage
Fried chicken and salad
Grilled cheese/tomato sandwiches, sautéed zucchini in salsa (yum)
Tuna patty sandwiches, bean salad, sliced tomatoes

Melon, apples, yogurt

Now that fall is getting closer and the days are cooler, I get in the mood for soups and stews.  Comfort food!  I may even make a loaf of beer bread today to go with the stew.  I found a couple beers in frig. (been there for ages) and a mix someone gave us at Christmas - so bread it will become. Mmmm Mmmm good!

I have been looking over some cookbooks this week - need some new inspirations!  LOL

What have you been doing to stay frugal this week?
Any great deals or harvests to brag about????  Let us know. 
We need to inspire each other!

May the Lord bless and keep you in the comfort of His protective arms this week.  Stay safe my friends.
Blessings from my humble and frugal home to yours.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Frugal or Cheap

I know we have all been called cheap!  That is a given.  Most fugal people have been.
What do you think?  Is there a difference in your mind?

Look up CHEAP in the dictionary and it doesn't really say what I think it means.  I saw expressions like:  low in price, a good bargain, inexpensive, costing my mind's eye those MEAN FRUGAL!
Cheap to me is someone who will not spend ANY money - tries to get something for nothing no matter the consequence - doesn't mind cheating people or companies - not willing to help others - being nasty about hygiene or food - greedy.........................on and on!

My definition of frugal is about getting the best price you can, looking for a bargain, using things up and not wasting, helping others when able, charity, saving for a time when things aren't looking up/or retirement, and MOSTLY being a good steward of all we have (money and things)!

I do a ton of things that people have called me cheap for doing.  I just think I am being smart.  You tell me - what do you think?

Yep - I keep my bacon grease for seasoning.  As you can see, the band is not really viable for canning, but can be used for this purpose, and that lid is 2nd use as well.  I also strain and keep other oils for a second or third use - as long as I haven't used for something strong tasting like fish.

It is not often that we eat out - but when we do, I keep all the extra condiments (in a baggie in frig), napkins, straws (I even wash and re-use), packets of plastic ware (great if kids come over or donate), and pop bottles that any leaves at our house.  If we get delivery Chinese - they have great containers. which I keep to store leftovers or send things home with others.  I also keep those cottage cheese and sour cream containers for giving leftovers away.

I keep twist ties and rubbers bands in a section of my junk drawer.  They sure do come in handy.  I LOVE the produce rubber bands - but they get used quickly at our house.
I also have containers in a drawer with nails, screws, nuts, bolts, tacks, any misc. piece that comes with something.  It comes in so handy. 

In the bathroom there are so many frugal items.  I use coconut oil as skin cream and get it out with a spoon (washable) instead of putting body germs in container.
Hair dye gives me 2 - 3 dye jobs since I have short hair.  I only mix what I want to use.
Face powder when getting to that ring around the compact stage, gets scraped into container and used as loose powder.
Mix scrapings from lipstick & Vasoline together for lip gloss.
Tons of lip color samples I got for a quarter a bag at a yard sale 2 years ago (I must have had 75 - 100).  Says one use - I get at least 2.
Lipstick tube still has color in it - been using a Q-Tip for lip brush and using the remains for over a year.
Jar of cotton balls - that all came out of baby aspirin bottles.  I have never bought a cotton ball.
Baking soda used as toothpaste once in a while also as cleanser
Hankies made from old t-shirts.
Sponge/scrundgy cut in half.  Lasts for ages.
Old tooth brushes that I use when coloring my hair.  Have others for cleaning.
Plastic gloves from hair color.  I have dozens that haven't been used from over the years- I use one set over and over till I puncture.
I also have probably a dozen tubes of conditioner that comes with hair color.  I only use a dab once in a while.

Basket came as a gift years ago.  Holds my necessaries.  Old pop bottle with Himalayan salt water (used as mouth wash).  Cotton ball jar, small jar with Q-tips, clips use to hold towel around shoulders when coloring hair (also makes a great tweezers holder) and of course room spray, brush, a hand mirror (have had it for 30 years).

I water down shampoo to make it last longer - experts say it is too strong from bottle any how.
Dish soap - mixed with water and vinegar
Laundry soap - use less than called for and add water at the end. 
Baking soda - becomes tooth paste, odor absorber in litter, use in stinky laundry, odor absorber in frig. (oh I bake with it too!)
Scraps from candles get saved and become new candles or pieces used as melts
Any heavy box I receive is used for storage
Keep all tissue paper, pretty gift bags and boxes from year to year
Ice cream buckets used as storage or a gift 'buckets'
Used computer paper and envelopes received in mail get used for scrap paper, lists, or coupon holders
Any plastic grocery bag gets recycled.  I use as bags to collect garden harvest as well
Large cat food or seed bags are used as trash bags or made into grocery totes
Pickle juice/olive juice is either drank or re-used to pickle other veggies.  Can be used as a meat tenderizer as well
Magazines I received are donated to nursing homes
Larger snack containers (1 - 2 lb. size) are kept and cleaned to keep other homemade snacks in
Old t-shirts clothes - become hankies, rags, material for throws, pillow, etc.
Scalding water is used as a weed/grass killer (it works)
NO food scraps are wasted.  They are either eaten, turned into new meals, composted, or put out for stray cats/opossums to eat

I could go on and on - you know I can!!!!!! 
I learned so many of these practices from my folks, picked up others when we had little money, and learned from others. 
Do I still need to do these things - NO - but why not?  I am not too proud to be careful with our resources.

So what do you think?  Cheap or frugal?
Are you the same way?  If anyone has some new and different ideas for staying frugal and re-using, re-purposing, using up, and not wasting let us know.

Blessings from my frugal and humble home!


Tuesday, August 22, 2017

A Little This and A Little That

Today I am going to list a couple recipes that I thought you all might be interested in.  I will also try to explain the veggie bouillon I made.
As indicated by the title - each recipe contains a little of this and that!  That is just kind of the way I cook!  I read a recipe and have basic idea I like - then I just go and do my thing!

This is how I made it!

1 lb. ground beef - browned
3 potatoes  - cut into bite size cubes
1 - 15 oz. can of corn (drained)
1 15 oz. can of red or black beans (could even use chili beans if desired)
1 - 8 -10 oz. can of diced tomatoes (with chili's if desired)
1 8 oz. can of tomato sauce
OPT:  shredded cheese
(of course home canned can be substituted)
Brown your ground beef, then 'fry' up the potatoes till almost done.  Add the rest of the ingredients and let it simmer till potatoes are done.  Serve with shredded cheese on top of each serving if desired.
This is a very hardy and filling dish.  We will definitely make again!

1 lb. ground beef
1/2 C chopped onion
1/2 C chopped bell pepper
2 C water
1 pkg. of taco seasoning
1 1/2 C instant rice - uncooked
1 C salsa (or to taste)
1 C shredded cheese
1 tomato chopped
GARNISH;  Crushed tortilla chips, sour cream if desired

Brown ground beef, onion and pepper.  Drain.  Stir in water and taco seasoning into beef mix.  Bring to a boil; add rice.  Cover and cook till rice is tender.
Sprinkle with cheese and salsa over the top.
Top each serving with crushed tortilla chips, diced tomato and sour cream if desired.
YUM and so easy!
VARIATION:  Add a drained can of corn and a can of chili beans to above mixture and call it TACO CASSEROLE!  A complete one skillet meal!!

This is an estimation of what I did to make this season mixture.
You will need dehydrated tomato skins (or tomatoes), onion, garlic, herbs, celery, broccoli  leaves (or cabbage) and anything else you want to add!
I made a pint - but I did have a lot of tomato skins dried from canning.
It is hard to tell you how much of everything - I guess it depends on your taste buds!

I used about an inch (at the bottom of a 2 oz. bottle) of dried broccoli leaves.  That was probably one good size leaf.  Could use the same of cabbage if desired.
Also about an inch (at bottom of 2 oz. bottle) of dried garlic
Maybe 1/4 C of  ground basil.  Threw in some thyme as well as rosemary. (Depends on your taste)
I used what could probably be 1/4 C dried onion.
Added the equivalent of a bunch of celery. (a jelly jar - 8 oz. - was 2 bunches of celery I dried)
**Basically it depends on your taste.  You can add any type of dried veggie or herb you desire.  This is a great addition to soups and casseroles - so much flavor.   Your family will be getting added vitamins and minerals without ever knowing it!
I stuck my finger in it and tasted - it has wonderful flavor!!!!!

This is a great way to use up things that might otherwise become compost or trash!
I added a desiccant packet to the jar to absorb any moisture. (I keep them from all pill bottles and such)

So there you have it - a little of this and a little of that!  Something yummy!
Waste not want not.

Don't be afraid to experiment.  I DO follow recipes when baking and canning (most of the time), but when it comes to cooking - well I just go with the flow of whatever my little mind can think up.  I think only once or twice in 32 years have I had a "don't make that again" comment from G!!!

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Frugal Happenings 8/20

Good morning my friends.  Hope you are all safe and well.
I am anxiously waiting for tomorrow to be done - I am so over hearing about this eclipse thing!  I know it is a rare occurance, but I prefer it was even rarer!!!!  LOL
I just know we are going to hear horror stories of people damaging their sight despite ALL the many warnings!

Summer came back to our area this past week with hot temperatures.  We did get rain on Thursday (nice gentle rain) which was desperately needed.  This coming week is supposed to cool off again I believe!
The hummingbirds have been so active and just a delight to watch.

My frugal week:
  • I have been diligently preserving my garden produce - I love harvesting from the yard!!!!!
  • Chopped and froze a dozen bell peppers
  • Stuffed and froze many servings of jalapeno poppers
  • Canned 28 jars of tomato products - pasta sauce, pizza sauce, and plain tomatoes
  • Dehydrated tomato skins, basil, thyme, and rosemary
  • Finished filing a second jar with ground tomato and a 2nd jar with basil
  • Made a blend of tomato skins, basil, thyme, dried garlic, dried onion, and broccoli leaves.  Made a full pint jar.  My own homemade veggie bouillon!
  • Used the scalding canning water along the drive and killed weeds
  • Noticed we have lots of baby cabbage and 2nd round broccoli coming on in the garden.  The peppers are loaded with blooms and baby peppers!
  • Picked round 1 of grapes.  De-stemmed and froze enough for a batch of jelly when I am ready to make.  Lots more hanging out there!  YAY
  • Line dried laundry
  • Made a dozen hard boiled eggs
  • Dr. Housecall came this week for G.  Good check-up.
  • Used rain water for my potted garden plants - cucumbers are really reviving!
  • Went to the Grand Opening of Safeway in the old building of grocery that recently closed (glad they re-used that building)
  • At the stands outside store I received 3 - 16 oz. bottles of Prairie Farms chocolate milk FREE, a cheddar brat sandwich and a bottle of water FREE
  • Got 8 packages of Colby cheese (8 oz. each) for 1.49 a package!  8 was all they had on the shelf.  2.98 a pound for cheese is a bargain every day here!
  • I stopped because ad said they had bananas for .39/pd.  YUM.  I can never find for less than
  • I got a ginormous local cantaloupe for 2.99.  I had never seen one that large and took a chance hoping it would be good.  It is wonderful!
This cantaloupe weighed in at 11 1/2 lbs.!!!!!!!!!!!  Mmmmmmmm good.

I love that we are gaining so much harvest and food for our pantry from the yard.  What a wonderful blessing.  Are you adding to your pantry via your garden?  Are you doing any canning?
I have spent an active week canning and dehydrating.  More to do this coming week!  I LOVE IT!

Meals this week:
Had a leftover day to clean out frig
Skillet goulash (new recipe)
Leftover goulash, steak burgers and sliced tomatoes
Dinner from the 50's diner (I was tired from canning)
Spaghetti with meat sauce, coleslaw and sliced tomatoes
Roast beef sandwiches and salad
Taco casserole
Quick snacks - cheese and crackers, pickles, yogurt, and apples

WHAT did you do FRUGAL this week?  Canning, gardening, crafting, special buys???????
I look forward to hearing from you.

THANK YOU ALL for such interesting posts this past week.  I enjoyed everyone's stories and contributions.  I think it was fun for all.

I pray you each have a safe, healthy and frugal week.  May the Lord bless you and keep you in His loving protective arms.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Life Before Grocery Stores

Here is something to ponder.  The first major grocery stores in America didn't show up until 1946!  That was definitely BC (before Cheryl!),  but not by much!  I was born in the 50's.
We had a couple small family owned 'grocery' stores in our area and both were in walking distance.  Those continued to last for several years (into my teen years).

I remember going to Standard grocery and once in a while the A&P.  Green stamps were given at the store and those were saved and used to make special purchases with.  I loved the job of licking them!  I felt so grown up.  LOL

Prior to the major grocery chains opening up, there were the small family stores and general stores in more remote areas.  It is crazy to think you couldn't just run in somewhere every block or so, and buy anything and everything you could imagine.

Most families were like mine.  We grew so much food and preserved it.  Daddy had a quarter acre in garden, and poor Momma had to preserve it all.  We had apple trees, a cherry tree, rhubarb, raspberries, 2 huge grape arbors, strawberries,  and the neighbors had a peach tree.  Apples were bartered and traded for peaches.

Before I arrived on the scene, there were chickens, both for meat and eggs (and selling).  There were goats for milk.  Daddy raised rabbits for years for eating and selling.
He fished and fished when he had free time (mostly in winter and ice fished), as did my brothers.  They hunted squirrel.  I don't remember ever hunting anything larger, as we weren't real close to the woods.
We had a milkman after I arrived, who delivered milk and milk products.
Mom and Daddy would save and save and every few years, they would purchase half a cow or hog from someone they knew.  That was a huge big deal.  Meat was a side like everything else in the meal.  You got a piece of meat with your dinner - no one got to make pigs of themselves! 
Leftovers were used for another meal of some sort.
Absolutely nothing was wasted.  If there were scraps of something, that is what fed the pets.

Mom made all sorts of snacks - cookies, candy, cakes, pies, donuts, you name it.  I don't remember how old I was when I first ate sliced bread from the store!  I do remember it was disappointing!
Never in my Moms house was a store bought noodle ever served - up until her death at almost 91 years old.  I was an adult and married, before I had a store bought noodle - and I was the one who bought them.
Still to this day, store bought cookies just don't satisfy me.  Of course there is nothing like Mom's cooking!

I do remember going to my grandmas, and she lived about 65 miles away - which took forever to get to.  There were NO interstates! 
On the way home, it was an adventure to forage for nuts, pears, mushrooms, persimmons, or whatever was 'in season'.  Sometimes the farmers who were about done with their season would let folks glean corn, field tomatoes, pumpkins, etc.  That was a huge find.

Daddy not only grew every kind of veggie you could imagine, and some I still am not sure about, but he also grew popcorn and melons of all sort.
He made wine as a hobby (much to my Mom's horror) from green tomatoes, dandelions, grapes, elderberries, mulberries (we collected those too), etc.
Mom made jellies and jams from all different types of berries.

Soups were homemade -  NEVER  from a can.  All meals were from scratch.  We did drink tea, water, milk, and the folks had coffee.  Once I came along - soda pop was a once a year treat.  Daddy would take me to the hardware store up the street, and let me pick out a case of Nehi flavors.  It took me forever to decide!!  It lasted all summer/fall and was considered a real treat!  That day would be the highlight of my summer!!!!  LOL
At Christmas we would sometimes get a six pack of those little Cokes because Daddy thought "Santa" might want a change from milk!!!

Never did any of us go hungry (there were 5 older than me) - never did we feel a want for something.  We were happy and didn't really know any different.  Life was simple (albeit hard work).

DID ANY OF YOU have this type of life?
Do you REMEBER  life before big grocery stores?

How many folks could survive today - if trucking stopped, gasoline was short, railways stopped, disaster happened?
We all now grocery stores would be empty within a week or less, so we would be on our own.

I think we definitely could - if for no other reason, than the lessons I learned from my parents growing up.
If we ran out of meat, it would be ok.  That is not something we HAVE to have on a daily basis.  I know how to grow, can, and preserve and we have a nice, nice stockpile built up.  I know people I could barter and trade with, and I could glean and forage.  We would be ok for a long haul., although life would be different.

This sure is something to think about.  I know not everyone would know what to do.  Young folks today would probably die simply for lack of knowledge!
This is why so many of prepare for whatever.

I would love to hear your stories, as I am sure others would.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Creative Pantry Storage

I know we have talked about this before, but it is always good to get some reminders of things we can use, and places we can keep our pantry stockpile.

We are at a volatile time in history again - where just about anything can happen in the world.  It is very scary to think about.  I know we all want to be able to take care  of our families and keep them nourished no matter what happens.
I have faith in the Lord to hold my hand through whatever turmoil we may bare - but I also know that He expects us to help ourselves as well.

I want to be prepared for whatever may happen, whether it's world events, mother nature, illness, loss of funds, no mater what!  I can pretty much bet you are the same way.

There are so many great ways to store our pantry items in out of the way places, and in pretty neat and original ways.

JARS - keep them all.  You can store all kinds of things SAFELY in jars.  I love the half gallon and gallon glass (and plastic) jars I have accumulated over the years.  Some came from the store with product in them and others I got a flea markets and yard sales.
Anything can be stored in jars.  They are bug free - safe zones.  I have some large plastic (gallon) ones - that I store products in, that I leave in their original containers.  Bags of beans or pasta, small packets of mixes, extra health and beauty items, etc.  They stay nice and dry and clean!
Check out Annabelle's site on the blog roll at right - at The Bluebirds Are Nesting for some adorable and creative ideas on labeling.  She makes everything look pretty!

BASKETS - oh my we all love baskets.  I have received many over the years as gifts and every one has become useful.  Extra storage for TP in bathroom, Extra storage for books or magazines that I choose to keep.  Small baskets hold recipe books in the kitchen, packets of mixes, fruit or veggies that aren't refrigerated.  Can goods can be stored away in baskets, linens, snacks, you name it.  Baskets are pretty so they fit just about any where.

BOXES - never discount good old fashioned card board boxes!  I have many canning jar boxes, that I use for storing my canning.  I simply label the outside of the box as to contents and date canned, and place in storage area.  Boxes from liquor stores are great - they are heavy and many times they are compartmentalized.  Boxes stack easily, for out of the way storage. (Back corners of closets, etc.)  I also buy lots of items from Aldi by the case, and those items stack nicely.

POP BOXES - can be used - even decorated to hold canned goods.  Not only are you creating storage but you are recycling.  Old cereal boxes can be done this way as well.

TOTES of all sorts can be used.  Small ones for certain items or large ones for are variety of items.  Keep your products safe, dry and clean.  Totes can be stacked and labeled for those long term storage items.
PLASTIC ICE CREAM container are good gallon size storage as well.

MILK CRATES are wonderful if you can get them.  I have several older ones that are nice and sturdy.  They are easy to stack, have great air flow, and take up little space.

POPCORN TINS from the holidays are another storage solution that is great.  I have many of these, and they are used from storing bird seed - to holding bags of powdered sugar, sugar, flour, etc.  Insect free, and items are dry and safe.

Make some additional storage in out of the way places.  Behind doors is a great area.  I had a nephew make me an extra spice rack that fit inside my pantry door.  Now I can keep extras (of much used items) in an out of sight way and on unused real estate!

Shoe bags can also be used for storage of things other than shoes!  Small toys, bathroom supplies, packets of seasonings, anything that is smallish.

Again this is on the back of a door - so you are creating storage from unused areas of the home.

I saw an idea for a rack that was made to store all those pots and pan lids.  I think it is cool, but I think it could be done easier.
My idea is, instead of building something like above - attached old fashioned café curtain rods to the backside of the door.  I think it would work superbly - and I may try that on the inside of a couple cabinet doors.  If the rod is too deep - it could easily be cut off on the ends to make a shallower rack.  I have a ton of those old curtain rods stored in the basement, so all I need is a few brackets from the hardware store. 
I think it would be a great solution on the back of closet doors for scarves, jewelry, belts, etc.  (I know that may not be considered pantry - but it is extra storage)

RECYCLE - coffee cans for storage.  They can be painted or contact paper added to pretty them up.  Coffee creamer jars are good for holding popcorn, candy, dry milk, flour, etc.  Peanut cans, oatmeal boxes, you name it - it can be used for storage.

Get yourself some METAL SHELVING, or an OLD BOOK CASE, or a ROLLING RACK.  Use whatever you can find.
Here is an old rolling rack someone gave me - it works great for lots of smaller items.  The shelving behind it is in our laundry room.  I don't store laundry down there - so I utilize it for extra long term pantry items.  Behind those curtains are shelves that are full on home canned goods.
There is no limit to the ways to store stuff.
We also have a bar in our basement that is no longer used - I cleaned off and got rid of most bar items on shelving under it (gave to someone who would use), and now I use those shelves for long term storage.

Keep turntables or lazy Susan's in the corners of cabinets so as to utilize every space you can.
Tension rods placed in open areas of the pantry or in cabinets allow you to hang items.  Use those plastic pant hangers you get at the store - or add clothes pins the metal rings for hanging.  You can even get clip type shower rings.
Old drawers from unused furniture can have rollers added to the bottom.  They make great under furniture or under bed storage.  Takes up less space than a big ugly piece of furniture.

Utilized the back corners of closets for stacking boxes of labeled pantry items or packages of toilet paper or cases of water. 
DON'T FORGET under the stairs.  That area is such an unused area in our homes.  Add shelving, racks, or if enclosed add a door.  Turn it into usable space.

I have even used a couple of G's old t-shirts (bigger ones he no longer wears) and make hanging storage for bags of snacks, nuts, or any light packaging.
This works great.  Any size shirt could be used, depending on what you are wanting to store. I have a much smaller shirt cut this way and hanging on the back of the basement door in the kitchen to hold onions. I like that because it's breathable material. (you could even add slits ever so often for more air flow - since material will not fray).


Another neat idea if you have a basement with rafters - place some heavy wire shelving on the underside of the rafters and you can store ON it and in between the rafters.  No wasted space.
If rodent free - paper goods can be stored in attics or garages.                                      

I have a couple of those older wicker laundry hampers from days gone by (the ones with lids attached) - I use those for storing extra blankets and quilts.  I have put some cedar blocks in them to keep any buggers out.  They would also be good storage for extra warm clothing or even dry goods for food storage.


When you think you have no space for storing those maybe life saving long term pantry items - think again.  THINK hanging - think vertical - think behind and under - think above. 
Just stop and think and get creative with your storage plans.


Be prepared for ANY emergency!

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Frugal Happenings 8/13

Hello friends!  Happy Sunday.
I truly hope all are well, safe and staying frugal.

We have had some lovely weather this weeks.  Lots of down time for the A/C!  We did get some rain on Friday and it was truly a splendid rain.  My rain barrels were happy to get an addition of water as well.

One of my 'newer' neighbors moved out yesterday.  The single mom with two children left.  I thought she was going to be a good addition to the neighborhood at first, but part of me is a bit happy she left.  The kids were adorable, but she was the most negative person ever.  She let it be widely known that she deserved to live somewhere better and around better people!  Really?  Well, the people in this little burg are hard working people, and good neighbors who watch out for one another.  Come to find out she received a notice of eviction this week for not paying rent for 4 of the last 6 months!  I think that speaks volumes!!!

Hummingbirds have been extremely active in the past week or so.  I hope that isn't a sign that they will be leaving soon!  They sure are fun to watch.

My cucumber plants are actually trying to revive a little.  I got very little off of them and planted new - the new plants are growing and the older ones are greening up and blooming again.  I think the cooler temps have helped a bunch.  That extreme heat and sun we had just burned them up.
The onions I planted a little over a week ago are really growing well.
Going to plant lettuce again today!

My frugal week:
  • Canned 16 jars of mild salsa (last week I made hot)
  • Used the last 3 peaches - cut up and sugared for short cake
  • Received a free Reminisce magazine as a promotional.  They want me back!!!
  • Used Italian bread, hoagies, and pound cake from the freezer (all were free)
  • Used a $10/$40 coupon at Aldi - all items were for long term storage
  • Line dried a ton of laundry
  • Did lots of yard work for free exercise
  • Dehydrated and ground all my tomato skins
  • Meals from home
  • Harvesting lots of veggies in the garden - love me some fresh and basically free food!
  • Did stop by Kroger to look at clearance.  I found 5 - 2 lb. 8 oz. bags of Hershey miniatures (9/2018) for 2.49 each!!!!! They were regular 9.99!   I also got 10 - 5 packs of cat treat sticks for .49 pack (regular 1.07).  My cats love these - although it is NOT a normal every day treat!
I split one stick up amongst the kitties for a treat now and then.
These will be great for Halloween or even the upcoming holidays.  There are 130 pieces per bag!
  • AC off and on this week.  More off than on - and windows open.  Sure have been enjoying the fresh air.
  • Our grapes are starting to ripen - YUM
Meals this week:
Lunchmeat/cheese and tomato sandwiches (a summer favorite) and salad
Sausage/spicy rice/zucchini/cheese skillet dinner
Italian bread pizza
Chicken strips, fried green tomatoes and fried onion slices
Mushroom/salsa beef hoagies and chips
Loaded hotdogs and salad/pickles
Pork chops, red beans & rice and sliced tomatoes

The weather has been so beautiful this week - it seems I have spent many moments just standing outside and taking it all in.  I don't know how many times I stopped and just said "Thank You God", for all the beauty I have enjoyed and the smiles it has brought me. 
I go out some days, and Momma kitty literally comes running up the path to me all wide eyed and happy, wanting petted.  It is just so sweet.
I have had hummingbirds just hover in front of my face.
Butterflies are every where.
The squirrels are a hoot to watch - they play and play.
Cardinals, blue jays, woodpeckers, gold finches, you name it - flitting all around.
The little bunny hopping all around showing his pretty white tail.
These precious moments make me smile!


May you all be blessed with health and happiness in the coming week.  PLEASE take a few moments to appreciate the "little" things in life.  Stand still and soak it in. 
God bless.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Tis the Season (for savings)

Back to school time is here.  Gardens are growing at maximum speed.  Stores are getting in the mindset for the holidays.  Labor Day is coming up (summer's last hoorah).
Sooooooo, there are deals to be found every where - if you take the time to look.
Now is the time to stock up on all those sales.

GARDEN PRODUCE is at it's cheapest right now.  If you don't have a garden - think of buying at farm markets or from farmers direct and can or freeze that wonderful produce.
PEACHES are coming in all over - now is the time to buy.
APPLES are starting to ripen - depending on the type.
MELONS are every where.  Jams, jellies, fruit leathers, etc. can be made with them.

Labor Day will be here before you know it.  This means a lot of GROCERY STORE deals!
MEATS - hamburgers, hotdogs, anything for grilling
CONDIMENTS - will be on sale
POP - and other type of drinks should be great deals
PICNIC SUPPLIES of all types.  Beans, buns, eggs, potatoes, etc...............
Cookouts and picnic times make some great sales.  Now is the time to take advantage and freeze  or stock up on non-perishables

**Undies, shoes, jeans, t-shirts, etc. are on sale for back to school clothes.  Stock up - if necessary get a larger size when the price is right.  Always be prepared for those growing kids.
**Buy stuff and keep it as gifts for the holiday - nothing says you have to buy winter clothes - especially for teens!!!
**SUMMER CLEARANCE is starting at all discount stores.  ALL summer goods are getting marked down as the stores are getting ready for the fall/winter holidays (UGH).
Buy beach supplies, swimsuits, beach towels, picnic stuff (neat idea for gifts), shorts.............

Office supply stores are having great deals.  Stock up for the kids entire school year, the office, or just for home.  Notebooks, pens, pencils, copy paper, markers, etc. are dirt cheap now.  Many grocery stores are having sales on these items as well.
I always get notebooks, markers, folders, pens & pencils as part of the kids stocking stuffers.  I like putting them in a little bin or storage container that they can use in their rooms.

Take some time and look around for the best bargains.  It is a wonderful time to help fill the pantry and to get the young-ins decked out for school, and to buy gifts for later.

What goodies do you stock up on this time of the year?

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

FRUGAL Homemade Gifts

It seems Sunday's post about me thinking about making Christmas gifts, got lot's of us talking!  Basically it is just a little over 4 months till that special day.
I know that some people that read the blog, maybe don't have any funds for gifts, and that can make the holidays so stressful and miserable.
I don't want anyone feeling that way.  That is supposed to be a magical time of the year, so I want to offer a few ideas (thank you Pinterest) that can be made at home with ONLY what you have on hand!

Money doesn't have to be spent to have some wonderful and thoughtful gifts to give.  I love homemade gifts, and I would gladly take any of these.
Enjoy and hopefully someone will find something they can use.

I love these wine holders.  It's simply the sleeve of an old sweater and some yarn.  You don't have to give wine (that costs money) - you can make herbed oil, flavored vinegars, or homemade extracts.  Shoot you could even add a cheap (Dollar store) bottle of bubbly fruit juice.

How cute - a button tree.  Could be any solid color or it could be done in miss matched buttons (how pretty).  Use an old frame - maybe paint it up, and a piece a plain fabric in the back.  We all have a button box don't we?

Love this idea for a young gal.  Any old picture frame painted (to match their room), and either back it with some chicken wire, or simply add some wire rows.  It could also be done with a corkboard back and stick pins or thumb tacks to hold jewelry.

Here you go - use some older balls or a Styrofoam ball and twine and pieces of ribbon.  These are the cutest country looking ornaments.

Anyone that has a fireplace or wood stove (or knows someone who does), can make these cute little snowman ornaments.  Twine could be added to the tops to hang - but I think they look cute for table/mantle decorations.

If you are anything like me, you have a pile of worn out jeans in your sewing stash!  Jeans make great pillows, potholders, quilts, etc.  Use your imagination on the decoration.  I see tooth fairy pillows - just made on a smaller scale!!!

Here is a cute way to use the rest of the sweater (from bottle covers).  Stuff with the guts from an old pillow, or old panty hose, dryer lint, or even shredded grocery bags.  Do a cute little rope stitch around the edges with scraps of yard and add a tiny ribbon to the top.  Cute decoration.
***You could even use old sweaters cut in squares to piece together a warm and cozy lap throw!!!!

An old mason jar can become anything!!  A little stuffing (cotton or batting) or a sponge, a little piece of fabric and some pins.  You can toss a couple spools of thread in jars, a tape measure, some needles,  buttons, etc..  I think this would be a cute idea for a college student - Momma isn't always going to be around!

Check the trash for 2 liter pop bottles.  A little paint, glue and imagination and you have the prettiest little bird houses.  I'd love to see these hanging about my garden!

Ok, there you have it.  Many gifts that can be made for nothing - nada -  zip - zilch - FREE!!!
There are so many things we can all do for little or no money.

I will try to give LOT'S more ideas over the next couple months or so. 
Let us all challenge each other to see just HOW FRUGAL we can be this Christmas and still give nice gifts!!!!
Get creative and crafting!


Sunday, August 6, 2017

Frugal Happenings 8/6

Hello everyone!  Praying this finds you all well and happy.
We are doing great this week.  Nothing in the world to complain about - and if we did - it would just be trivial stuff.  So all is good!

The weather has made a dramatic change.  Friday we didn't even get out of the 60's for a high!  It looks like it will be in the 70's most of this upcoming week - YAY!  This is perfect in my opinion - it could stay that way all the time.  It is a very cloudy day, today.  We are expecting a little rain off and on, and I am sure the flowers and the garden will love it.

This was the week that the surprise lilies bloomed - or resurrection lilies or naked ladies or what ever you call them in your area.  I love them so much - as they take me back in time to Momma and Daddies.  That is where they came from.  They had a 75' row of these out by the garden and it was so pretty when they bloomed.  I love having flowers that came from my childhood home.

Frugal this week:
  • Line dried laundry
  • Lots of yard work - free exercise
  • Used rain water for plants
  • Received a $10/$10 coupon for Kohl's - which I will use for a gift item when I am in the area
  • AC has been off since Friday morning - windows open
  • Dehydrated cabbage leaves and ground up - and dehydrated some older canned jalapenos
  • Picking lots of garden.  Tomatoes every day - zucchini at least every other day - bell peppers, jalapenos, and 3 heads of cabbage this week!
  • Cut up and jarred 7 quarts of kraut to ferment
  • Restocked many items in pantry from downstairs stock
  • Went to visit my brother and stopped at Kroger a couple blocks from his house.
  • Kroger deals - I found a shelving unit in the produce department that has special bags of fresh produce - each only costing .99.  Not seconds - it's all nice.  I got 2 bags of crunchy apples (6 in each), a 5 lb. bag of yellow potatoes, and 2 purple onions all for .99 per bag.  CHECK YOUR Kroger the next time you go!!!!
  • I also got 4 boxes of onion soup mix for .49 each (I don't usually buy), and 8 packs of 6 ea. of candy bars for .49 ea. (2018)  Those will be saved for Halloween time.
The same potatoes in a different bag 15' away in another aisle were $4.99!!!!  I don't know why they have this  area - unless to just help folks out - but it's nice.  I have seen this shelf for a while, but just never really stopped to look.  They have oranges, lemons, limes, apples, potatoes, onions, etc.  I will definitely be checking this area as well as the clearance area EVERY TIME I go in.

Meals this week:

Ham/cream cheese/veggie roll-ups in tortillas
Poor man Swiss steak, smashed potatoes, sliced tomatoes
Creamy zucchini soup with tortellini added (2X)
BLT's - Mmmmmmm baby!!!!!!
Chef salads
Smoked sausage/cabbage and fried potatoes

I have also been going through my stash of fabric and pile of old clothes to come up with some ideas for making Christmas gifts.  Thinking of making some lap throws, throw pillows, pot holders, etc.
Planning on doing some more canning this week as well.

What have you been up to?  Did you get any good deals this week or do any canning?
Give us a shout and let us know how you are staying frugal.

Be safe my friends.  Praying the Lord protects you and yours and keeps everyone safe and healthy.
I hope you all have a pleasant week - and stay frugal everyone.
God bless.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Great Depression Lessons

Some of us came along shortly after the Great Depression, but most had parents and grandparents that lived through it.  I even had siblings living through it.  We have all heard stories about what life was like then.
It wasn't easy at all - it was bad in some respects - but I think it also had many good things going for it!  Does that surprise you? 
Think about it - these folks learned things and lived in a way that many people today are striving for.  So many are going back to living a simple life, living off grid, homesteading, being frugal.......the list goes on and on. 

We can learn so much from the past, and unfortunately, many lessons that we SHOULD be learning, we are just oblivious too.             

The  usual motto back then was "use it up, wear it out and make it do".  This was the way of life for most families.  Almost everyone was affected by the depression in some way.  Nothing was wasted.  People improvised.  Many items weren't available or were in short supply - so you had to come up with news ways.
As bad as it was - it was good too!!!  People were creative.  People helped each other.  No one felt especially deprived.  Families and community was treasured.
Conserving what little money that was had - was vital.

1.  USE WHAT YOU HAVE - mend it, fix it, re-invent it.  We have such accumulations of stuff - we should all be able to get by with what we have for ages.  It is just a matter of getting creative!

2. SHOP FOR BARGAINS - do NOT impulse shop!!!!  If you are going to have to make a major purchase  - research, research and more research!!!!!  Have patience.  Odds are you can make do for a while without it.  Think hard about your purchases.  Odds are when I think I want something - if I think on it for a while - I realize I don't need it.  Get the best quality for the best price.

3.  NOTHING WRONG WITH USED - Check yard sales, thrift stores, Craig's List, Freecycle, friends and neighbors.  Someone you know may have just what you need just waiting for you!  You never know till you ask.
Electronics can be iffy - unless you are a pro and know how to fix.  I would avoid second hand computers, unless from a reputable upgrade store.  Beds are another thing you might be careful with.  Bed bugs can cause huge problems if you bring them home.

4.  COOK AT HOME FROM SCRATCH.  learn how to make your restaurant favorites - there are many duplicate recipes on-line and in cookbooks.  Restaurants can suck your money up quickly.  Learn how to make simple old fashioned meals.  Get cookbooks at the library.

5.  MAKE IT - Learn how to make simple but good home cleaners.  Make your own compost.  Learn how to do small projects around the house.  Learn to sew and mend.  Cook.

Here are 3 of my older siblings who grew up during the depression.  Don't they look nice?  Mom made the boy's shirts and clothes for the girls.  Homemade doesn't mean looking bad.  Being poor doesn't mean you can't have nice things. 
6.  FIX STUFF - so much of our society has become throw away - it is really disgusting and wasteful.  Check out You Tube for instructions on how to fix your stuff.  Acquire missing manuals on-line.  Call 800 numbers on products - they may be able to trouble shoot.  TRY your best to fix things before buying new.

7. DO IT YOURSELF - do your own yard work, pet baths, gutter cleaning, easy plumbing, cleaning AC and furnaces, etc.  No need to pay someone else, when you can do it yourself.

8.  PAY OFF DEBT - no brainer for most of us - but many don't get it!  Make any extra payments you can on car or mortgage.  Always try to pay more than the minimum payment.  Pay off one smaller debt at a time - it gives you a since of accomplishment.  If need be get an extra job or learn to make extra money to pay things off - DO IT.  Get out of debt!!!!!!  Budget.  Make a plan and a goal.  STRIVE FOR IT!

9.  FOREGO FASHION - This doesn't mean look like a slob or have crumby stuff.  You can dress simpler when you stay at home.  Be comfortable and practical.  DON'T feel like you need to keep up with the Jones's.  An older well maintained vehicle is fine, older furniture and things are fine.  DO NOT worry about impressing people!!!!!!!!!!!!

10. LEARN TO HAVE FUN WITHOUT SPENDING - it is doable!  Have a picnic, play board/card games, play Frisbee, story telling, go to the library, camp (if nothing else in the back yard), have campfires, do family research together (great way to teach kids history and learn about your ancestors), do cooking or sewing lessons with the kids (and friends), garden together, hike, fly kites, play horseshoes, croquet, volleyball, etc.........................

11.  EMERGENCY FUND - pay yourself.  It is necessary and important.  You may have to start small  with $5 or $10 a week - but do something!  If you have an emergency that comes up and it costs $1,000 - even if you only have $500 - you are better off than having none.  You just never know what can happen - you MUST be prepared.

12.  FREE STUFF - find it!  Libraries have books, music and movies all for free.  Check out special days at museums, historical sights, state or federal parks.  Go to local parks.  Check out programs performed at area schools and colleges - there are may things that can be enjoyed - choirs, art, plays, etc.  Our local park has an event every week all summer - the symphony, art displays, movies in the park, local musicians - all FREE

13.  GARDEN - for the cost of a few packs of seeds (or free is saved seeds) - you can grow an abundance of food - healthy food!.  Read books, mentor with someone, watch You Tube and learn to can and preserve your food for later months.  Grow whatever you can - even if it's a few herbs on the patio.  It is food you don't have to buy!!!!!!!!

14.  MAKE GIFTS - make your gifts more personal than just giving generic store bought stuff.  Re-purpose items into new things - pillows, dish towels, quilts, lap quilts, pillows.  Make wood crafts if handy.  Make up small photo albums with family recipes from long ago (maybe add pictures if you can).  Give home canned goods, breads, muffins, candy, etc.  There is NO limit to the gifts that can be made when you have any special talent. 
Make coupon books, for baby sitting, home car wash and detailing, a meal a month, snow shoveling, leaf raking, baked goods, etc.

Quilts and pillow shams that I made from clothing scraps and yard sale materials.  I made each sibling a set one year for Christmas, when we had virtually NO money.  They loved them, and I felt proud to give a nice gift without spending much money.
I have done many small ones for new babies as well.

Take time and figure out what you REALLY WANT from life. 
Do you want to be in debt and have all kinds of fancy new stuff, that loses it's appeal after you get it home? 
Do you want to retire and relax? 
Do you just want to feel safe - IN CASE?
Do you want to do good things for the planet?
Do you want to slow down?
Do you want to have new experiences with family and friends?
Do you just want to be a good steward of what you have?

WHATEVER you do - be wise and thrifty!

Tuesday, August 1, 2017


Have you tried your hand at dehydrating yet?  I have dried my tomato skins for years - using the oven.  Last year I got a dehydrator and I LOVE it!  Mine is not a top of the line or super expensive one (well, I probably didn't need to say that - LOL), but it sure does work.
So, don't feel you have to spend a ton of money to practice dehydrating.  You CAN use your oven or even a toaster oven.  Herbs can be air dried.
DON'T be intimidated by dehydrating - it is so easy!

There is really nothing that can't be dried!  I have read about people dehydrating cottage cheese, mashed potatoes, noodles, cream cheese, watermelon, scrambled eggs. etc.  

Fresh fruit and veggies are pretty darn easy.  FROZEN fruit and veggies can also be done - so as to make more room in your freezers for meat and prepared meals.
Those who home can know that after a couple years - if you haven't used your home canned items, they start getting a limp or different.  DON'T throw these things out!!!  You DO have options.

I have pickles that are  getting older and are no longer crisp - well I am dehydrating them.  YES, pickles!  I will be draining, cutting into smaller pieces, and dehydrating.  Those pieces can be used for;
Tuna salad
Egg salad
Potato salad
Grind into a powder and use in sour cream as a seasoning
Dill pickles are naturally salty - grind and use as pickle salt on popcorn or zucchini chips or homemade potato chips
SWEET pickles an be dried and used the same ways or eat as pickle chips!  (Dill are really waaaaay salty for that - they don't taste great as chips - too intense).

The same thing can be done with peppers - hot or sweet- that have been home canned.  After a while they tend to get limp or mushy - don't throw them out - dehydrate.  They can be used in small bits and pieces in all kinds of recipes or you can grind them up as well.

There is no limit to things you can use veggie powders for.  Any veggies powders would be great in dips, dressings, or in soups or gravies for extra flavor.
Fruit powders would be great as extra flavor in any fruit dish, Jello, cakes, candy or in smoothies.

There are parts of things that we don't tend to use.  I used to always get rid of the stems of mushrooms.  Now I dry the stems (separately) and grind them up.  The mushrooms I slice.  I also like to dehydrate older woodier okra pieces and grind (for soup thickener).  I dry the big tougher stalks from broccoli and the leaves, as well as the big leaves from cabbage - grind and add to dishes.
You can de-seed squash that has gotten too big and dehydrate, as well as peeled and de-seeded cucumbers peels are usually bitter on big cukes).  Both can be seasoned and used as chips - or powders, or in soups.

I dehydrate zucchini and place one smaller - medium size per bag.  I then fill a gallon jar with bags.  This great for winter soups.  Tomato skins, dried and ground, is a lovely tomato powder or bouillon.

Dried mushrooms are lovely for all kinds of things.  I dry one 8 oz. package per tray - that way I can keep my containers with the appropriate amounts. I usually use 8 oz. of fresh when making soup - so now I know how many to use.

Leftover celery at the holidays can be dried, as well as celery leaves. Dry stale bread and make croutons or dressing bread.  I keep gallon jars of bread for dressing - ready at any time.
Leftover cooked veggies can be dehydrated (as well as store canned).  Place all kinds of different veggies in jars for a great soup mix!

Jerky is another favorite that I make from time to time.  That is by far  a favorite of G. 

Don't throw odds and ends away - don't throw away canned goods that are limp or a little older - don't throw away stale - USE WHAT YOU HAVE!
The more we use of what we  have - the less money we have to spend!

Experiment and have fun!!!!!!