Tuesday, February 27, 2018

A Clean Slate

Well kiddos, it's that time of the year again.  Time to spring clean!!!
Time to freshen up, clean, toss,, donate, etc..

Years ago, spring cleaning was a big event - it involved pretty much the whole family and it was done in quick time.  Everyone, including children, had a job to do.  Rugs and carpets were taken outside and beaten within an inch of their lives!!!  LOL  Bedding was fluffed and aired out.  Everything was scrubbed squeaky clean and many times paint was added anew.  Clothes were mended and  what couldn't be salvaged was put in the quilt or rag pile.
A clean house in spring was a major accomplishment and when it was all done - there was often a small celebration.

I say keep it simple.  There isn't much that soap and water, vinegar and baking soda can't clean.  Basically we all have what we need right now, to clean, sparkle and refresh just about every service.
  •  Plan to go room by room.  I have always found it much easier to get one room done, before going on to the next.  Start at the top and work your way down.
  • Disinfect along the way.  Good old white vinegar is great for that.  Clean everything!!!  Door knobs, phones, cabinet handles, remotes, sinks, tub, counters, and toilet.  Put a cup of vinegar in the toilet and let it set for several minutes then scrub!  Don't forget to clean the flapper handle on the toilet as well.
  • It may be time for new toothbrushes and changing the batteries in smoke detectors.
  • Shine windows, mirrors, and glass on pictures.  1 part vinegar to 1 part water - spray and clean with a soft cloth or newspaper
  • Open some windows and get some fresh air in the house (especially in the bathroom and bedrooms).  I like to open the windows in bedroom with the bedding off the bed and let the actual bed breathe for a few hours.  Fresh air in - stale air out!
  • Clean kids toys with hot soapy water with a dash of vinegar added.    Those go in their mouths, so they need to be fresh and clean.
  • Sprinkle baking soda on rugs and carpets.  Let it set a while - then vacuum.  The baking soda absorbs odors.
  • Take down and launder curtains, valances or blinds.  They collect dust and need a freshening up too.
  • Remember to clean the refrigerator thoroughly.  Put an open box of baking soda or a cup of coffee grounds in the frig (and freezer) to absorb any new odors.
  • Scrub the stove down and the oven.  I use vinegar and baking soda on the top and I spray down oven with water and sprinkle with either baking soda or salt  and scrub.  I have a self cleaning oven - but I don't use that feature any more -(I almost affixiated myself and the cat once).
  • Clean all the counter surfaces with vinegar and water.  Keeps insects away as well.  Ants don't like vinegar.
  • Get you blankets and comforters, quilts and spreads outside and hang the on the line if possible to air our.  If you can't hang them outside in your neighborhood - hang them in the garage - or hang them over a fence for a while.  Do you have a quilt rack?  Use that and place them outside for a while.  They need fresh air too!!!!!
  • Take the grates off the grill and place in hot soapy water over night.  Sprinkle with baking soda the next day and scour clean.
  • Mix 1/4 cup baking soda to a quart of hot water and wash down the patio furniture with a soft cloth.  After clean - use a clean damp cloth to wipe down again - so there is no residue
  • Mildew or moss on the siding of the house - often on the north.  I use a bucket of hot water and a scrub brush - cover brush with baking soda and scrub.  Rinse with a hose.  A power washer works as well, but I am trying to keep this post about simple and natural ways.
  • Don't forget the pets.  If you have no time for a pet bath - sprinkle them with a bit of baking soda and brush it through and out of fur.  Use baking soda in their beds and in litter as well.
  • The outside of the house also needs a good cleaning in the spring.  If nothing else, spray it (and porch or patio) down with the hose.    A pretty clean house always looks inviting and homey from the street.  It helps the whole neighborhood look good.
  • Don't forget about going out and taking a walk about the neighborhood and pick up trash or debris that is laying around.  It may not be your trash - but it improves your living area.
As you clean think about de-cluttering as well.  If you haven't used something in ages, odds are you don't need it.  It really is true that the less clutter we have in our lives, the better we feel.  I am constantly working on that!!!!  It isn't easy I know.  I am trying to look at de-cluttering differently now.  It's not so much as I "don't need it" as "I can BLESS someone else" with it.  That makes it a bit easier.

Let's all get our clean on!  If we all work on at least one room a day - we will be done and ready to enjoy all the lovely adventures out of doors has to offer.

Keep it simple - use natural ingredients you have on hand and clean, clean, clean!

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Frugal Happenings 2/25

Good morning everyone.
We are actually seeing some blue in the sky and a little sunshine this morning!!!  Both have been missing all week.  Rain, rain, and more rain was our week.  It rained every single day.
We have a lake in the back yard - which is starting to recede some this morning.

I am so thankful that the lake is in the yard and not in our home, as it is for so many.  I am also thankful that the precipitation was rain and NOT snow.  We would be waste high in that stuff.  So dreary days can be something to be thankful for - so many were not as fortunate as us.
Prayers for all of those in the path of extreme weather and flooding.

Our daylight hours have increased so much this month - I love that.  It won't be long and spring will be here.  Hang in there everyone!

This little guy was on the handrail right outside my kitchen window and door.  I was washing dishes and he kept trying to get my attention!  He appears to be trying to tell me something!  "Excuse me, I need a nut".  He waited till I opened the door and handed him a nut - then went on his way!  They beg at the door and climb my leg outside to get nuts.
Click on pictures to enlarge.

My frugal week:
  • We had FREE HBO and Cinemax last weekend through Monday - so DVR'd some movies for G.  He is utilizing Netflix a lot as well.
  • More spring cleaning
  • I needed to send out a birthday and a sympathy card this week.  I had both in my card stash and I had stamps as well - so no spending.  Mailman picked them up for me.
  • Baked a raspberry pie
  • Placed the spring décor on the doors
  • "Blew" out the computer to clean.  The fan had been running often - so I turned it off and used canned air and cleaned it well.  Fan stopped running so much.
  • Had 2 days that heat was off completely and windows open for fresh air (in between rain showers)
  • Meals from scratch
  • All normal things
  • I only went out one day - so saved on gas
  • Kroger to get asparagus - .97/lb.!  Got 6 pounds - yum.
  • Also got bread and buns on clearance, 6 boxes of spaghetti (.39) and .99 bags of tomatoes and bell peppers - Both were palm size and nice
  • I also found Nice & Easy hair color on clearance for 1.59 a box!!!!!!!  Oh my goodness!  I got the 6 boxes that were 'close' in color to what I usually buy.  Those normally run 7.99 a box without coupons.  CRAZY PRICE (remember each box gives me 3 dye jobs).  I also got 2 boxes of knee high hose - 10 pair per box for 1.89.  That will last me the rest of my life - as I rarely wear any hose at all.
  • Lastly at Kroger I got 5 - 14 oz. bags of Skittles for 1.19 a bag.  Dated 12/2018 - so they will be great for Easter or Christmas goodies for the kids.
  • I then stopped at Safeway on the way home as they had a canned tuna sale.  I  got 30 cans of Chicken of The Sea tuna for .59/can for the stockpile.  I was running low as the last time I caught a good sale was about a year ago.  I cleaned the shelf off.  I may go back before the sale ends and see if they re-stocked.

My meals this past week:
Chipped beef gravy and toast and scrambled eggs
Cheesy tator tot casserole and side salad  - 2X
Jalapeno smoked sausage, steamed veggies (broccoli, cauliflower & carrots) with cheese sauce
Tuna patties, baked beans and salad
Cheesy steak burgers, sautéed onions and oven fries
Homemade stew

Snacks - pie, microwave S'mores, veggies and dip

It has been a pretty quiet week.  Basically I have just been piddling around inside - as weather did not permit outside activities.  I am so ready to do some yard work!
This month is just about gone and it's only a little over 3 weeks until calendar spring.  WOW

How was your week?  Any great deals to be had?  Have you added to your long term pantry?

May you all be safe and free from harsh weather.  God bless and keep you in His protective arms this coming week.  Health, happiness and frugal ways to all!
Blessing from our humble home to yours!

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Table to Table

Good morning.  I am going to share a couple simple recipes from my kitchen.  I hope you enjoy them.
These are super easy and very frugal to make. 

No sense having to run to the store if you don't have sauce on hand.  This is super easy and it is very tasty! (all I use now)
1- 8 oz. can tomato sauce
1/2 - 3/4 Tbsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. onion powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. Italian seasoning (or mix up some oregano and basil)
(can add a couple tablespoons of finely chopped green pepper if desired - I usually don't)
Mix together well, and let it set for 15 - 20 minutes before using (flavors meld together)

This is enough for 4 enchiladas - you can double if you make more enchiladas. 
We really enjoy this and I always have everything on hand - no buying special sauce any more.

3 cups self-rising flour
3 Tbsp. sugar
1 - 12 oz. beer
Preheat oven to 350.  Coat a 9 x 5 pan with baking spray.  Add a long piece of parchment to cover bottom and skinny ends - (makes for easy removal)
Mix all ingredients together until well blended.  Pour into pan.
Bake 30 minutes until risen. Reduce temperature to 325 and bake 15 minutes longer. (tent with foil if it appears to be browning to quickly)
Cool 10 minutes before removing fro pan.

YUMMY!  This is a courser  bread than white sandwich bread.  It does make good sandwiches - but it makes wonderful toast!
No reason to ever be out of bread.  **Keep a 6 pack of beer in pantry just for this!

No campfire needed - quick and easy treat.
Graham crackers
Mini marshmallows
Mini chocolate bars
I break a full cracker in half.  Place 2 mini candies on one piece.  Add 6 mini marshmallows and top with other half of cracker.  Microwave for 30 - 35 seconds.  Let it cool slightly before eating so as not to burn your mouth.
Sooooooo good!
I have been using Halloween clearance candy and clearance crackers. 

1 1/2 c olive oil
3/4 C balsamic vinegar
2 tsp. mixed up seasoning (something like Krazy mixed up salt - salt, pepper, seasoning mixture)
2 tsp. Italian seasoning
2 Tbsp. prepared yellow mustard
3 small packets of sweetener (we use Truvia)
Pour into a bottle and shake vigorously to mix.
Shake before using.  *NOTE - we have never refrigerated this

I hope this gives you a few easy-peasy recipes to use in your kitchen and serve at your table.
Maybe these will save you a trip to the store or at least save you a couple dollars!


Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Oh Spring - I am ready

Spring is in the air in our neighborhood today.  I think spring is my favorite time of the year.  Everything is coming back to life and blooming and singing, and playing and just begging for us to enjoy!

There is nothing like waking up in the morning to the songs of the various birds.  There is nothing so sweet as the birds songs of spring.
We have a day here and there that is just so warm.  We seem to get called back to reality quickly, when the cold hits again.  I figure each of those 'treats of warm' that we get, just gets us a little closer to the full beauty of spring.  I think it is about 29 days till calendar spring!  YAY!
Today we are supposed to get in the 70's!  Tomorrow's highs will be 30+ degrees cooler.

I put my spring door decorations out today.  The ones that were up for the holidays were simple red and pinecones - so nothing that specifically said Christmas.  I usually leave up until after Valentines Day.  Today my doors say "SPRING"!

                                             This was March of last year.  It won't be long!

I have noticed the red tips of the peonies are poking their little noses through the ground.  My daffodils are popping up, however it will be a while before I see blooms.  The tulips are poking through as well.  The trees are getting buds, as well as all the bushes.  Weeds are popping up all over!  Those never seem to die.
The animals all are all getting frisky.  It is fun watching the squirrels run and play - it's like they know spring is coming too.
Momma kitty is setting out in 'her' chair today enjoying the warmth.  A nice change from having to stay inside the greenhouse for her.  She does stay in when it's cold (her choice), because it is so much warmer - but she loves her some fresh air!!!!

I have all my windows opened a bit today, airing out the house.  The minute I opened the 2 side by side windows in the living room, I had all 3 indoor kitties setting up on the desk getting some fresh air! 
I guess all of God's creatures love the fresh warm air!!!!!

I know there are those of you who are having summer and extreme heat right now - soon your fall will be coming on.  I also feel for those here in the U.S. that still experiencing deep snow and cold.  Chins up - it won't be long!

I will continue to spring clean this week, and look forward to warmer and drier days in the near future.  I would love to do some yard prep - but it so incredibly muddy.  Rain and more rain has seen to that.

Is anyone else spring cleaning?  Are you getting the spring itch too?

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Frugal Happenings 2/18

Good morning.  Here we are more than half way through the month.  February seems like it just flies by, even though it's just a couple days shorter than other months.

We have had that up and down weather again all week.  I got to turn off the heat on Thursday and open a window - then back to cold.  It dropped about 35 degrees in 24 hours.  This next week sounds like it is going to be real soggy - predicting 4" - 6" of rain!!!!  For the record, I will say I am glad that isn't going to be snow!  It is also going to be in the 50's and 60's most of the week.
Crazy stuff.

I would love to get outside and do some yard cleaning -  but it is just so muddy.  It will get worse during the week, so I guess it will have to wait.

The other day we had 11 PAIRS of cardinals in the back yard.  It was just a gorgeous sight! Love watching nature.

My frugal week:
  • Changed out the shower curtain, just to change up the look for spring. (Had  it here)
  • Made soup with leftover chicken and noodles
  • Made dip
  • Made my own enchilada sauce for a dinner this week - so easy
  • We got one of those big tins of varied popcorn for Christmas.  Opened it and ate the popcorn, and now I have another pretty tin for storage!!!
  • Cleaned out the frig thoroughly
  • Took down the valances in living room and dining room and laundered.  Spring cleaning!  They look so fresh now!
  • Had the heat off one day and aired out the house
  • Went to Menards for squirrel/bird feed.  They had a great sale and it was so much cheaper than the feed store
  • On to Sam's.  Spent a chunk of change - but I am stocked on items I normally get there for at least one year if not two. (Not sure I will renew membership).  I did get $29 in instant rebates!
  • I found a dime and a quarter on the ground!  Now in my change jar.
  • Scoured the hard wood floors
  • Found a little light I had gotten for FREE at Harbor Freight ages ago.  It is perfect for my upstairs pantry.  The pantry is deep and has no light - so I always have to turn on DR chandelier to see.  This light hangs on the spice rack on the door and it is bright!   Works great.  Oh why didn't I figure this out sooner??????????
                       These little lights are super bright!  It hangs and I can move it as needed.

Meals this past week:
Chicken /noodles, mashed potatoes and corn
Soup made with leftover chicken/noodles
Pancakes and bacon
Roast chicken and side salad
Mac n cheese, jalapeno smoked sausage and salad
Homemade enchiladas (including sauce)
Spaghetti and meatballs and garlic toast

Leftovers eaten for lunch.  Snacks included popcorn, veggies and dip, apples/peanut butter, and pickles and olives.

How was your week?  What did you do frugal this week?  I love hearing from everyone!

May you and your family be blessed in the coming week. 
Stay healthy and safe and frugal my friends.
God bless.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Delish Depression Desserts

During the depression our ancestors had no choice but to live as frugally as possible,
Many made clothing out of feed sacks and they mended everything.  Hand me downs were common.  Folks often had to do without, and they became masters of stretching the food budgets!
There were a lot of larger families and Moms and Grandmas had to get creative in the kitchen.

They had to come up with recipes that didn't use milk, eggs or butter.  Unless you were a farm family, those items were expensive and rare.  A lot of farm families even got to a point that they did without, as feeding and raising chickens and cows got expensive.

People had soup EVERY week.  Nothing was wasted and bones were turned into broth/stock.
Meat was often replaced with beans - as they were cheaper and filling.
Hunting & fishing were common.  Meat was very expensive and folks took it upon themselves to get their protein.
Gardens and foraging were a must at the time.
Oats, grits and toast/biscuits were a big extender to the food budgets.  They were filling and cheap.

3 1/2 C all purpose flour
2 C sugar
2 tsp. baking soda
2 Tbsp. white vinegar
1 Tbsp. & 1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 C & 2 Tbsp. oil
2 C water
Preheat oven 375*.  Grease 2 - 9" round pans or one 9 x 13.
Blend flour, sugar, baking soda and salt.  Add in water, oil, vinegar and vanilla.  Whisk till well blended, but do not over beat.
Bake on middle rack for 35 minutes.

2 Tbsp. shortening or lard (could use coconut oil)
3/4 C honey or 1 C sugar
1 - 10 3/4 oz. can of condensed tomato soup
1 tsp. baking soda
2 C flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
1 tsp. nutmeg
1 C chopped nuts - optional
**If you don't have individual spices use pumpkin pie spice as substitutes

Mix honey or sugar with shortening.  Add spices and soup and stir until completely blended.  Slowly add flour, b.s, b.p. & nuts.
Preheated oven of 350*
Greased loaf pan.
Bake 1 hour and cool for 15 minutes before removing from pan.
                                                                Tomato soup loaf cake

1 1/2 C all purpose flour
3 Tbsp. cocoa
1 C sugar
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. white vinegar
5 Tbsp. oil
1 C water.
Preheat oven 350*
Grease an 8" square pan and add first 5 ingredients to the pan.  Make 3 little wells and pour vinegar in one, oil in one, and vinegar in one.  Pour water over entire surface and mix till smooth.
(Just one pan - no dishes!)
Bake 35 minutes or until toothpick inserted in middle comes out clean.

**NOTICE none of the recipes have eggs, butter or milk in them.  You could substitute gluten free flour today to aid in the new dietary restrictions many have.

I know my Mom got very creative when I was little, but my siblings (who are older) say it was amazing the things Mom came up with, when they had no money.
I have heard them talk about having corn bread in milk for breakfast (or lunch).  Oats were always on the menu.  Pancakes and waffles were a real treat.
I remember one of my favorite treats was peanut butter & syrup (usually cheaper than honey) mixed together and eaten on homemade bread or with saltine crackers.  Sugar/cinnamon toast was another favorite.  I still love those things!

We would always have some sort of sweet that was homemade.  Popcorn was a staple (made on the stove)!  Another favorite treat was homemade potato chips!

We had very little money, but never felt deprived.  I think the creative depression era women sure knew how to get creative and stretch a budget.
We all need to take lessons.

ENJOY the cake recipes!!

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

My Frugal Ways (or cheap)

You all know that last week (and this week) I have been working on repairing my old jeans.  I still plan on making the handbag from material samples, and making capris from slacks.

The past couple weeks I have been saving items that can be re-used in other ways.  I think I am re-cycling and being frugal, others may say I am just cheap!
What say you?

Saved all my peels and cores from apples that I cooked up.  They are now in the freezer - until I get some more - then I will make apple jelly!

I JUST realized that peanut butter and mayo jar lids fit regular mouth mason jars perfectly!  I always have saved my parmesan lids - but figured out these other ones work too!  I can't believe how long I have missed that!

I have been saving desiccant packs from our supplement and herb bottles.  I keep them in a dark supplement bottle to keep them dry.  I use them in my jars of dehydrated goods.  So far I haven't had to buy any!

The taller bottles are from flavorings that I have used for the Soda Stream.  I think they will work great for M&M or Skittle bottles for the kids Christmas baskets this year.  I can put a cute label on them to pretty up.
The orange juice container (concentrate) is plastic with a snap on lid.  What do you think?  I guess I could use in the garage for odds and ends and add a label.  I just figured it would be good for something!

I got these on clearance, and figured the empty containers could be used.  I think one will contain my strait pins for sewing.  I can then carry them upstairs if I need them without spilling.  I am thinking maybe one would be good for carrying aspirin, Tylenol, allergy tabs, etc.  in a smaller handbag (for dress).  They have a nice closure top.

I guess some people would think I am crazy - but I figure you would understand!  I hate seeing things go in the landfill and if I can re-cycle  into something new and useable - that just makes sense (cents) to me!

Have you salvaged anything for up-cycling in the past few weeks?
I love getting new ideas!

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Frugal Happenings 2/11

Good morning.  I hope you are warm and safe.  I know there are many that have had crazy amounts of snow this week.  Hope you all stay safe.
Those in a different hemisphere are too hot!  Stay cool.
It is amazing that there are so many climates going on at the same time.

We woke to snow 3 days this week, but never more than an inch.  I swept and moved snow each time, as I kind of fanatical about the drive and walks being clear!  We had a taste of spring for a day or so, and back to winter.
This morning we woke to a thin later of ice on everything.  It is slick out there.  I went out to feed the kitties and the brick walkway and the wooden deck were crazy slick!  Even the kitties were fishtailing a bit!
We will be back in the 40's and 50's in a couple days, for another brief warm-up this week.  I am glad we are having these short warm periods - it puts us a few days closer to Spring weather - and knocks off a few more cold days!

It has been a real quiet week here.

My frugal week:
  • Had some very stale cereal that we really didn't like - so the birds and squirrels got a treat (everything has a use!)
  • Made bread crumbs from some stale bread
  • Made G a batch of steel cut oats with fruit and nuts added (from the freezer)
  • Got some free exercise moving snow this week
  • I made a batch of bean salad (my own concoction).  It turned out quite yummy - especially the dressing part
A can of green beans, corn and red beans (all drained).  Diced carrots, pepper and onion.  Covered with 1 cup vinegar, 1 cup sugar, 1/2 C oil and a dash of salt.  YUM!
This is a great substitute for green salad, when you have just a few fresh items on hand.
  • Worked on my mending and sewing - didn't get it all done (will work on it again this week)
  • Ran out only one day, thus saving gas.
  • Went to Dollar Tree - hadn't been in ages.  2 - 32 oz. bottles of peroxide for $1 each (I use instead of bleach).  4 - cans of asparagus - $1 each - for stock.
  • Went to the library on the way home (hadn't been there in ages either).  Got a couple books.
  • Meals and drinks from home and just doing all the normal stuff

Meals this past week:
BBQ wings, pizza rolls and veggies and dip
Cold cut sandwiches and bean salad
Meat loaf, green beans w/potatoes and salad
Leftover meatloaf, mashed potatoes and gravy and bean salad
Homemade pizza
Beans & rice with smoked sausage and salad
Beef/hominy skillet fry and side salad

Browned ground beef with onion and peppers.  Added hominy, seasoning and diced tomatoes and simmered.  YUM

See, I told you it was quiet around here!
What have you been up to?  What ways did you save this week?

"Help us, O God, to be content with what we have.  Instead of accumulating more stuff, help us to live more simply".  
Daily prayer from the paper.

I pray you all have a safe, healthy and frugal week.  MAKE your week a great one!
Blessings from our humble home to yours.

Thursday, February 8, 2018

My $$ Saving Up-cycle/Re-cycles

This week I have been working on some projects that I have been putting off for ages!
I have jeans that need repaired or up-cycled.  The average women's jeans (no fancy brands) around go on sale for around $19.99 - $29.99 in my area.  Not me - not if I can help it!!!

I have a couple pair of 'nice' jeans that I wear out  in public.  I have jeans that are garden jeans, and I have jeans that need a world of help!!!
I am repairing this week.  Many need a new bum, some need the zipper area fixed, and others have knees out.  Now I know the holey jeans are fashionable - but I can't stand the feel of my knees hanging out of holes! 
Considering some of the "fashion" jeans I see at stores - mine are probably worth a small fortune!  LOL

Here are 7 pair that I am working on.  I do believe that one pair that is pretty darn bad, and will become a garden apron.  Using these jeans  (even just for yard work) is at minimum a savings of $120 - $160 !
Yes, I can buy jeans at the thrift store - but don't often find ones that fit right in leg length and in the crotch length.  I am long waisted - so it can be a challenge.

I also came across a couple pair of pastel colored dress pants from my working days.  I haven't worked since 2006!  I thought I got rid of all that stuff - but here they hang.  I am going to be cutting them down into capris this week.  They will look nice and cool this summer, when I don't want to sport jeans.
(I am a jeans person if you can't tell!)

I also found a couple of samples of fabric that my brother gave me years ago, from when he was trying to decide on fabric for a chair.  I am going to make a new spring handbag with them.  They are both just the perfect size.  I have strap material and everything else needed in my sewing supplies, so the cost will be $0 for a new handbag.  I will post pictures when I get it done.

It is amazing what a little thought and effort can save dollar-wise.
What are you doing to re-cycle or up-cycle things you have around the house?
Any new projects going on?

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

What If ????

Today I am going to set a scene that I hope none of us ever have to deal with, but you just never know.
WHAT IF you could not leave your property for at least 30 days or maybe more?  It could be from extreme weather, illness, quarantine, marshal law or civil disturbance, lack of vehicle, etc.

I realize that we all may run out of fresh items, but with your freezers, canning, dry goods, and store bought goods, could you and your family survive?

                        Store bought items that I got cheaply to supplement my home canning.

Full freezers are a must.  This is one of two.  Most meat products are purchased on mark-down and garden veggies are canned and frozen.

Bread could be a problem for some.  We don't eat that much bread, but I can bake my own.  Likely I would make biscuits or tortillas.
Milk and eggs could be a problem.  Keep shelf stable milk and dry milk to supplement.  Eggs can be frozen and there is always egg replacement that is dry.

Extra butter is kept in the freezer and I also keep butter powder that could be used for flavoring.
Fresh fruit and veggies could easily replaced with home canned and purchased canned goods.
Meat could be a problem for some.  Simply use less per meal or use in recipes that extends it.

Health and beauty aids - we should all have enough to get by for quite a while. 
Medications  - hopefully you are allowed to purchase in 90 day scripts.  Ask you doctor if you aren't.
Pet supplies - don't forget the fur babies.  We need to have supplies for them as well.

I sure hope so.  This is why we talk about keeping our pantries stocked up - just in case.
Slowly work on your pantries and build them up in all areas.  It can be done with an extra $5 or $10 a week.  Look for mark-downs and super deals.  Try to think about all areas of your life.
It is better to have too much than not enough.  You could always help someone else if too much - but you and your family may get hungry if not enough!

My opinion is that we should all have AT LEAST 2- 3 months worth of food on hand.  I know that sounds daunting, but it could mean survival in a dire situation.
I would push for more than that (maybe 1 year) - but work on that time frame for a basic start.
Make sure you have a variety, so that what might be a miserable situation, doesn't seem worse. 
The time of the year could also play a big part.  In the summer you could have fresh garden produce - but the neighbors might see/take as well (if everyone has to stay home).  It is best to have a good supply INSIDE that can't be seen by others.

I pray that we never have something that horrific happen that we would be bound to the home for that period of time.  In this day and age, you just can't be sure of anything.

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Frugal Happenings 2/4

Happy February.
We have had taste or two of spring this week, then we came back to reality.  It is now back to normal temps and we woke to a spitting of snow/rain this morning.  Temp was at 33*, so it couldn't really decide what it wanted to do.  This week should be normal for February temperatures in the 30's.

Despite the crazy lore of the Groundhog's predictions - spring will get here when spring gets here!  I'd feel safe in saying we have 6 - 8 weeks of up and down winter days yet ahead of us.  It won't be long!

It's been quiet again around our little home.  I left the property one day only this week.  I just feel safer staying home with all the flu that is going around.  You never know who has sneezed on, coughed on, and who knows what on things!  I am anal about taking wipes with me, to wipe down my shopping cart.  We touch things at the store (consider every package and can) that can hold germs and forget about eating out.  I do not trust restaurants and their employees at all to be as sanitary as they need to be during this epidemic.
People are passing away daily - and many times it isn't just the elderly and young that they keep saying are at risk.  It is all ages ranges.  There have about 150 die in our state so far.
Better safe than sorry - that's my motto!

Enjoying watching the squirrels and birdies.  We have a heated bird bath (just enough to prevent freezing) and the birds love it!  I don't see them use that bird bath often in warmer weather (turned off then), but on the coldest days they swarm to it and take baths and drink!!  It is so funny.  You 'd think they wouldn't want to get wet when it is so cold - but they bathe, flutter their wings and fly away.  It is probably their only source of non-frozen water around.  Cute and smart!

My Frugal Week:
  • Clean, clean and more clean and de-clutter
  • Cooled tea outdoors before placing in frig.
  • Washed several baggies this week
  • Cooked up a lot of older apples and pears (not ones bought in Jan.) with butter, sugar and cinnamon.  Mmmmm
  • Made a batch of sugar cookies from dough I had in freezer.  Did some with M & M's, some with Kisses and some with a sugar glaze.
  • G did our taxes this week.  Both State and Fed. we owe a total of less than $200.  YAY - the least we have owed in ages.  Will send them in later.
  • Been drinking lots of lemon water this week.  A new favorite thing for me.  So clean and refreshing tasting
  • G has been utilizing Netflix A LOT lately!
  • My outing - ran to Kroger Friday.  Even when I need nothing, it gets me out and I can always get cat litter.  I try to keep over a months worth on hand at all times.  Needed NO weekly groceries.
  • I did find 2 big boxes of frosted flakes on clearance for 1.39 a box!  Not a usual buy, but heck they could work as a sweet snack too. 
  • I also found a big box of Free & Clear  fabric softener sheets.  They were 200 for 4.29.  I don't use often - but there is always a need once in a while in the winter.  Years ago I found 40 count boxes at Dol. Tree for $1 and stocked up (now on last box).  I couldn't find free & clear many places.  Well I think my  200 count box was a much better deal!  It will last me several years!

Meals this past week:
Cheesy potato soup (2X)
Quiche/frittata with lots of veggies
Un-stuffed pepper skillet
Leftover pepper skillet, steak burgers and side salad
Smoked sausage, Kraut (home canned) and mashed potatoes
Chili/cheese topped home fries

Ice cream with warm cooked apples/pears a couple times (so good).  Cookies

How was your week?  Any good deals or pantry prepping?

This coming week, I really intend to get downstairs and mend and sew a little.  Well, I intend that every week - LOL.  I am going to make a greater effort this week.

I hope you are all staying healthy.  May God bless you and comfort you in this coming week.
God bless from our home to yours.

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Not On My Watch!

Today I walk to talk about something that is a real pet peeve of mine.  I have experienced family members lately and multiple people on FB (daily) speaking of "EXPIRATION DATES"!!!
They are speaking of expiration dates on food products.

Have you heard screaming or yelling off in the distance the past few weeks?  If so, know it was me yelling at my computer!!!!!

MOST items have a "best if used by" date.  This is a date that the manufacturer places on the item designating a date for the highest and best quality of the product.  It is STRICTLY about quality - NOT safety.  Products do not magically go bad on that date.
Most canned products have dates that are 2 - 3  years out.  If it is good all that time, I don't think more time is going to hurt anything.
I have eaten store bought canned food that was at least 2 years past the "best by" date.  Not a thing wrong with it.
If your cans are not swelled or rusted - the product should be fine.

Seriously - did you know salt contains a 'use by' date?  If kept dry, it is good forever, AND YES it is millions of years old already!

There are also "sell by" dates.  These are added by the grocer.  This is the last date that they feel they should offer it at regular price.  It in no way has anything to do with the freshness of the food.  That "sell by" date is not mandatory.
If so compelled, reach to the back of a shelf for your purchases - the dates will probably be further in the future.

I haven't purchased any, but I do believe that baby formula may have an ACTUAL "expiration date".  If that is the case, I would follow it since it is vulnerable babies that are involved.

I just keep seeing women my age (or close) on several FB pages asking what do I do with this before it expires in a day or two!  I threw such and such away yesterday, as it hit it's expiration date.  Then they ask what others do. 
REALLY?  How much money over all the years have these people literally thrown in the trash, before asking the question at this stage in life?  It totally amazes me.
My husband hears me yelling at the computer some days - and his words of wisdom are "maybe nobody has ever told them".  Well, no one ever told me either - I just used common sense!

We have a family member that always has a table full of products that have hit their 'best by' date to throw away!  When a friend asks if she can have it - the answer is always NO,   "I am going to open it and throw it out" is the answer.  I am sorry that is just selfishness and greed.  Why would you not want to help someone out that has little if you could? 
Can you hear me screaming yet??????   AAARRGGGHHHHH

This morning I opened a new sealed container of cottage cheese that actually had a "use by" date of 1/14/18.  Yep, I just opened it today and G said it was perfect.  TIP:  Once you open cottage cheese, sour cream or dip, place the lid back on securely and refrigerate upside down.  It keeps the air out and keeps it fresh longer!!
Heavens,  cottage cheese is already curdled milk (ick - I don't eat it), and sour cream is already soured - what could a few days more possibly do to it?  LOL

The milk we are currently using (have about one day left) says 'sell by' 1/24/18.  It tastes perfect.  I often don't even open a gallon until a week or two after that 'sell by' date.  I keep it at the back of the frig on the lowest shelf and it stays incredibly cold.

Meat is about the only thing that I truly watch the dates on.  Even then you have a few days leeway.  If it smells ok and looks ok - odds are it's ok.

We all have occasionally found that one container in the frig that we can not identify the contents of!  YUCK - that is bad.  Green and moldy is bad.  A random date is not.


My whole point is - dates are arbitrary!  REMEMBER the manufacturer and the grocers want you to buy more and spend more money.
PLEASE do not throw something away just because it is past a date.  You might as well throw dollar bills into the trash can.
ROTATE, ROTATE, ROTATE you pantry.  Always put newer purchases to the back and older up front. 

I know most of you know this, but perhaps someone doesn't.  I just despise waste, and want to make everyone else aware.  There are so many hungry people in this world who would be grateful for anything, and we throw things away because they hit some random date!