Thursday, March 29, 2018

Bits From the Past & Treasures

I know we all keep things and we all probably have certain items we collect.  I love OLD things - especially items from my family and anything that seems historical.
I have no idea what I will do with them someday - as none of the youngers in the family seem too interested.  I think they figure most of it is junk.
I know that info on family tree and maybe many other articles might go to a library, so that someone else can enjoy them.

I was cleaning books shelves and came across some items I would like to share,  I hope you enjoy the historical nature of them.

This belonged to my grandma - if you click on picture to enlarge - you will see the copyright date is 1898.  I am going to sit down and read it soon, it does appear to be a novel, but it does sound like something a young wife would be gifted.

The Poetical Works by John Greenleaf Whittier was gifted to my grandpa  in 1881 for attending 45 straight sessions of Sunday school.  It doesn't sound like something you would give a child, but he got it none the less.  He was 12 in 1881.

This is very hard to read - but it is a store ledger from 1867.  My great grandparents owned a store in Covington, KY.  Great grandma had her own "Confectionary" store as well.  I don't understand why grandpa didn't get in on any of this!!!!!!
The writing is difficult at best to read - it is so elegant looking.  It is amazing the prices of things.

Most every dated entry had tobacco listed  - from .10 to .50 depending on amount
2 lb. butter - .50
32 lb. peaches - 3.20
Thread - .10
10# nails - 2.00
1 - bridle - 3.25
Shoes - 2.50
Wool hat 1.50
3 lb. coffee - 1.11
2 3/4 lb. feathers - 1.65
10 lb. sugar - 1.80
2 1/2 yards ribbon - .38
15 yards cotton - 3.11
Castor oil - .20
6 1/2 doz. eggs - 1.30

This gives you some idea of prices.  WOW!  I did think that the price for shoes and the woolen hat were kind of pricey for back them.
Another thing I noticed was that by a few entries of name was the comment "of color",  Blacks were free at that point - but it is still an issue obviously.
Also there was only a handful of names that were women's names.  Women were still not considered heads of house or thought to have their own money.  YET - grandma owed her own store!

These are NOT 'treasures' so much - but have been passed down through the years in the family.  The black one is dated 1901 and the brown one was 1916.  Guess they were trying to be efficient even back then in the workplace.  That is one thing I NEVER learned (thankfully).

These are food ration books from 1942.  How cool.  Three are from 1942 - Mom, Dad, and an Uncle who was staying with them.  Fourth book has no date.  There are even a very few stamps left!
It is amazing to think everyone had these for all the necessities in life.

This is a receipt for the rent Mom & Dad paid on the house they were buying on contract.  1949 - 16.00 per month!  This is the house I grew up in.  I think the entire purchase price was $4,800.  That is some crazy stuff.

I absolutely love seeing things from the past and love learning about what my ancestors went through.  Life was so different then.

It is amazing to me that these items were kept and for many of them  - that the pieces of paper were never tossed away.
I have more goodies that I will post at some future date.  It is just fun to take a walk back in time and see what was going on.

Do you have any old treasures?  Did your family keep things from the past?
I hope you enjoyed this little journey back in time.

click on pictures to enlarge

Tuesday, March 27, 2018


Hello everyone.  I am very late in posting today.  It has been quite a stressful day.
I will get back to a regular post on Thursday.

Early this morning G looked out the back window and said there were dogs in the yard.  Our back yard is totally fenced and I knew I had the gate closed.  About that time he said they are after the cats!!

I ran out and there were 2 pit bulls in the yard and I yelled and they climbed over the fence to the alley.   Momma and Fluffy were 20' up a tree.
I was having a small fit.  Got out the tallest ladder we have - not even close enough to get them.  I leaned it against the tree to give them something to come down as they were on the lowest braches.
Just as Momma started down  - back came the d**m dogs in the yard.  Out I went and ran them off again.

                                                                     Momma  (not today)

I called animal control and was told they didn't have time!  WHAT???  They asked if they were vicious and I said they were trying to attack pets and they were climbing fences.  Yes, she said, they are vicious.  No sh**!!!  I was furious if you can't tell!!!!!!
I went back out and the dogs were threatening me at the fence, growling and barking and acting forceful.

I got my neighbor who has a bigger ladder to come and help me - kitties down and terrified and hiding.  Dogs still roaming neighborhood.
I got in the car and drove around to see where they might be.  Ran into others doing the same.  They were menacing the entire neighborhood.
One lady and I saved a young boy about 10, from getting mauled.  The dogs came out of no where and went after him - of course he ran screaming.  We started honking and they ran away, and I got the kid to tell me where he lived - a couple doors down - I followed him and got him home.  He was so terrified.

We were driving around tell anyone who was outside to be careful and keep pets in.
Finally 2 people DID get bit and THEN the police got involved, which got animal controls' butts out here.

Police were patrolling and I talked to one officer and explained everything.  I told them where they last were seen.  I have no idea what happened - but they were on it and hunting them down.

I am a HUGE animal lover, but had they come back in my yard, I would have shot them.  I would probably be in trouble as it is illegal to shoot a gun in the city limits.  I would hope that feeling endangered or threatened would make a difference.

I think they may have belonged to the people behind in the alley.  They have had 6 or 7 pit bulls living IN their 2 bedroom house with them and 4 kids for ages.  I noticed today - they are gone.  No curtains at windows and the house is empty.  I think they left them.  I told the police that as well.  He said other neighbors said the same thing.

I sure hope that they got them.  I hope no one else or no one's pets got hurt or worse.  That was so stinking scary.
Momma finally came out from under the deck and back in the greenhouse later today, Fluff is still hiding.  Poor babies.

All this was being done in the rain and chilly temps.  I was wet to the bone and ache from head to toe and feel so tired.  Thank God we are all ok.  I will be 'packing' for a while when I go out to the backyard - JUST IN CASE!

So apologies all for no regular post.  Back later this week.
Say a little prayer that they got the dogs!!!  Please and thanks.

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Frugal Happenings 3/25

Hello all.  I am so glad this week is over - what a weather mess we have had.  UGH.  Spring - my foot!  LOL

We started out Monday with close to 60* - nice.  Temps started dropping on Tuesday and we woke up on Wednesday morning (our first full day of spring) with 3" of snow!  Happily it was all gone by the end of that day.  We had a couple decent days, but windy - then we got the BIG ONE!  We received about 10" of snow yesterday in 12 hours.  WET HEAVY SNOW!
I am sore today.  I didn't clean the whole drive, just enough to get clear spots for the sun to hit - as it is warming up today and tomorrow.  My kitties weren't sure what to think.  They came out of the greenhouse while I was making them some potty runs and they set there looking around as if to say "what the heck happened while we were napping?"
I have to say it was pretty, but I am done!  Come on spring!!!

Looking out the back window about half way through the snow.  Sure doesn't look like it's spring!

Looking out at my Blazer.

I heard we are to have much warmer temps this week and got so excited - YAY yard work.  NO - it's supposed to rain most of the week.  Someday!

It was quiet here this week, not a lot to report.
My frugal week:
  • Renewed library books on-line
  • Soaked and cooked a pound of dried baby lima beans.  Used in 3 different ways.
  • Did more organizing and spring cleaning
  • made a gallon of juice
  • Watched several videos on You Tube about Pantry Prepping and Small Home Organization
  • G used Netflix a lot
  • Meals all from home
  • NO grocery shopping
  • Did a little dehydrating
  • Just doing all the regular stuff
Meals this past week:
Fried cabbage with leftover corned beef added and potatoes
Cube steak, baby lima beans & salad
Chicken strips, succotash (beans & corn), salad
Veggie soup - last of beans added
Ham/cheese/kraut grilled sammies and salad
Homemade pizza
Pork fritter sammies and baked beans

                                                            Lots and lots of veggies!
See I told you - it's been a quiet week.  I am still waiting for my spring energy to kick in!

It is hard to believe that next week is Easter.  Three months of the year down - and what have I accomplished?  Cleaning and organizing a bit is about all.  I feel like a sloth.

What has your week been like?  Did you find any great deals?  Are you ready for SPRING? 
Have a fantastic week - stay safe and healthy - and stay frugal.
May the Lord's blessings be upon you.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Storage Containers - It's ALL Good!

We all look to prep and provide for our families.  We all love to save money when we can.  We all want to be ready for anything.
I have found that I stock and store a lot of stuff.  I well imagine many of you do too.  Where do you keep it?
My main storage area is in the basement (I am lucky to have one), but I am not limited to any one spot or any one method.

NOTHING is off limits in my house to use as a storage container.
We commonly and most often think of baskets.  I love them and have many.  They are good for pantry items, books, crafts, towels, TP, etc.. 
I keep just about any box I get.  Cat food flats, canning jar boxes, pet food boxes, boxes I have received in the mail......................... there is no limit.

Boxes are great for anything.  If using a larger box, turn it on it's side (opening towards you) - tuck in the flaps for sturdiness - and store items in the box, and store lighter weight items on top of it.  Small packets of seasoning are great for smaller boxes.  I have a shoe box that is used to keep my small recipe books in, in the kitchen.  Folks think LITERALLY outside the box!!!!!!

Shoe box on top of store bought drawer stacks for extra storage in the kitchen.  My small handmade recipe books are in the shoe box.  I have a drawer stack on each side of the stove.
Small box from pet treats works great for seasoning and sauce mixes.  These can be painted or covered in pretty paper if desired.  Keeps things together and organized.
I have totes and inexpensive plastic boxes that I have gotten at thrift stores and from the Dollar Tree that work great.  Plastic milk crate 'like' boxes are super for the freezer as well.  Sort meats and place in separate containers for easy access.  Perhaps blue for pork, red for beef, green for fish, yellow for chicken.

I keep plastic gallon ice cream buckets for all kinds of dry storage.  Popcorn tins (those big pretty ones from the holidays) are super storage containers - they work great for holding pet food and bird seed as well.
Tins of all sorts are good storage.  You can often find nice size ones at thrift stores for pennies.
Large glass jars are great for dry good.  I keep jars of all shapes and sizes.  Large ones are great for pasta, rice, flour, sugar, etc. in the regular pantry and for long term storage.  Smaller ones are used for spices, soup mixes, etc.  They are also nice for leftovers in the frig - since you can see through them.

These hold jars of dehydrated goods I use a lot - nuts, herb teas, barley, etc.  They just stack on top of each other.  $1 each at the dollar tree.

 Tote I got at thrift store.  Holds a ton of stuff for long term storage.  I keep dried been (in ice cream buckets (by type)) in it, extra pasta, etc. It easily closes with the lid and things can be stored on top of it.
Books, books, books.

TP storage - easily accessible under bathroom cabinet
Storage for extra bags of flour and sugar. I have many of these.  Easily stack in a corner out of the way or in a closet.

Ice cream buckets are great for anything.  I even cover them with pretty paper and use as goody baskets at the holidays
Fruit baskets from the orchard get used in may ways.  This one holds jars of dehydrated mushrooms.  They are nice for gifting pantry good at holidays as well.  Add a pretty dish cloth to the bottom and you have a rustic gift basket.
FREE rolling rack I was gifted
$1 baskets stacked on each other for various bathroom goods.  Not necessarily things I use daily, but want close at hand.  These sit beside the tub just under the pedestal sink.

I get canned cat food by the case and keep those boxes.  When they become empty of cat food, they work great for canned veggies or fruits.  They are super for deep pantry storage of mixes, spices, broth, soups, etc.  I also buy lots of things at Aldi and get many flats from there.  I don't throw them away.  They all get used.  It makes stacking and moving goods so easy.

Like I said most of my deep storage is in the basement - BUT not all.  I use whatever space I can.  My second bedroom has lots of goodies stored in the closet.  I have my upstairs (daily use) pantry.  I have a linen closet in the hall for all first aid supplies.  I have a nice 'pie safe' looking cabinet in the bath for towels, make-up, hair dye, bathroom cleaners, etc.
I have baskets that hold candles of all sorts - behind a chair in the living room.
I have a wall of bookcases in second bedroom - as I get rid of books I am done with, I store goods in there.
I have an old non-working freezer (upright) in the basement.  It didn't make the trip out when we got a new one.  It is used to store extra blankets, pillows, and comforters.
I even have a older wicker laundry hamper downstairs (years old) that contains the bedding for the outdoor kitties when all laundered and not in use.

When you have a  smaller home, you have to get creative.  There is no place or nothing that is scared from use!  It is also handy at times, as many storage solutions camouflage your goods, so that no one can actually see what you have.  That could be very IMPORTANT if SHTF someday - as you don't everyone knowing about your storage.

I know many people have truly depended on their stock-piles this winter with the occurances of bad weather and being out away from town.  Fires, storms, hurricanes, snow, etc. can cause us to stay put and use what we have.  Loss of job, poor health, SHTF, etc. can all be reasons for needing our long term storage.

NEVER think it costs a fortune to get storage.  Use what you have and get creative.  Where there is a will there is a way!
Stay safe and work on keeping your supplies up and ready for your precious families.  Being organized saves money!

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

My Must Haves for First Aid

I am going to tell you about some of my must haves for my first aid supplies.  Many of mine will probably seem unconventional to you.
I love doing things the natural way if at all possible.  I do keep some over the counter aids as well - just in case!
So many of my first aids products double, triple, etc. for other things as well.  WIN-WIN

  • I am an Aloe Vera freak.  I have capsules, liquid, and gel (100%) and soap.  I take capsules daily to help keep my insides healthy.  I use the gel as a toner on my face, it is wonderful for healing any skin irritations, blemishes, ivy, scratches, etc.  I keep liquid on hand for those times that I THINK I may be getting something - I then drink it several times a day.  It is such a healer in many ways.  I use Aloe Vera soap daily - as I am allergic to perfumes in others.
  • I love tea tree soap.  If I have something that looks like it may be infected or I get a stubborn rash - this is my go to (even genital itching)
  • Peroxide is always in my cabinets.  It is so cleansing and anti-bacterial.  Wonderful to use on any wound that needs cleaned.  I also use instead of bleach in my laundry.  I have mixed peroxide in a 1 to 3 ratio with water for mouth cleansing or gargling.  I used to get strep a lot and this was the only thing that helped.  Toothache or infected tooth - gargle with this mixture.  It doesn't taste good - but it works (don't swallow)
  • Isopropyl Alcohol is good for anti-bacterial as well.  It is drying, so often helps with oozy bites or poison.  Keep a bottle of menthol alcohol (it's green) on hand for minor aches and pains.  It is very soothing when applied to the sore area.
  • Listerine is anti-bacterial as well.  Can be used on the skin as well as in the mouth  I mix a bit with shampoo to heal dry scalp.
  • Honey - antiseptic, anti-bacterial - the perfect food.  Not only is it chalked full of vitamins and minerals - it is so healing.  Mixed with hot liquids for sore throat, a spoonful swallowed alone will soothe a sore throat as well.  It can be put on wounds as a healing agent
  • Black coal tar (or pine tar) soap.  I always keep this in hand..  It is very healing and drying.  Any type of poison on skin will be healed quicker when bathed in coal tar soap.  If I am working outside and encounter weeds - I come in and wash down with this and cold water.  Very good preventative.  A MUST for an outdoorsy person
  • Cayenne pepper - works as a temporary coagulant for wounds.  If you are out and can't get to immediate emergency help - cover an open wound with cayenne - bleeding will quickly lessen or stop
  • Neosporin - I keep it on hand all the time (generic).  Just in case!  I have even used it on my kitties (on minor irritations)
  • Vitamin C and Zink are always in the medicine cabinet - great if you feel like you are getting a cold, flue, or just plain sick!  It always nips it in the bud for me.
  • Reishi mushroom capsules are healing.  I keep those as well, just in case I start feeling sick
  • Goldenseal and Echinacea are also very healing when starting to get sick or of sick.  It seems to lessen symptoms 
  • Whiskey - not for drinking, but medicinal.  I like Southern Comfort as it has a citrus taste - which helps.  I mix it with hot tea, lemon/lime juice & honey to rid myself of fever or soothe a cough.
  • Cinnamon is so good for you inwardly - many people take cinnamon capsules.  It is healing.  It can be used on smaller wounds as well - helps stop bleeding
  • Bee pollen - one of God's perfect foods (along with honey).  Bee pollen gives you energy and it is wonderful for those with allergies.  Buy LOCAL pee pollen and take it every day - it places the pollens of your allergies (if from the outdoors) in your body which keeps you from suffering so badly.  It has been said that bee pollen IS the perfect food with absolutely everything our body needs in it.
  • Horehound candy for throat irritations
  • Coconut butter is always on hand as well.  I cook with it, and I also use it for skin conditioner.  It is so very soothing for rough and chapped, dry hands and skin.  It's natural and healing.
  • I also keep over the counter cold meds (just in case).  I have Pep-to on hand as well as Rolaids and anti-gas pills.  I always keep a couple bottles of Magnesium  Citrate (helps make you poo!). 
  • Vitamins and herbs are daily essentials for us as well.  We both take many different items each day.
  • I also have regular aspirin, baby aspirin, and Tylenol
  • Bandages, gauze and wraps are on hand.  I have hand braces and knee/elbow wraps.  I even keep feminine pads on hand for large wounds.  They are super absorbent.  We have a box of facial masks and plastic gloves and many boxes of Q-tips.
  • Of course G's scripts
I am sure I am missing something.  This gives you an idea of what natural basics to keep on hand.  Anything natural just has to be better in my opinion.

I get many things like honey and pollen at local farm markets.  Alcohol, peroxide, even generic Neosporin and Listerine can be purchased at dollar stores.  So can lemon juice and tea bags and spices.
Health stores and even the pharma. section of groceries sell Aloe, soaps, and vitamins and minerals.

Just keep your eyes open while you are out shopping for the best deals.

I like being prepared for anything.  In this day and age you just never know what could happen.  If we had a major weather catastrophe in the area, I'd like to know that I was somewhat prepared to help (assuming my stash is safe)!  Accidents happen as well.
I realize some may think I am paranoid - perhaps - but I like to think just prepared for anything. 
It took time to accumulate everything, but I feel like it is important.

Just so you know - we DO stay healthy at our house!!!! 

Crazy or prepared?  What say you?
What MUST HAVES do you keep?

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Frugal Happenings 3/18

Good morning.  Here we are starting another week, and the month is over half over.  Calendar spring hits this week - but it won't feel much like it here.
We have had really chilly weather.  Today will be the best of the past 7 days and the upcoming 7 days!
I am so ready to work outside.  I think that is why I feel so lazy and just have no energy for much.  I haven't yet adjusted to daylight savings time - my clock is still wonky.  Isn't that crazy?  One hour shouldn't make a difference - but it does (at least for me).

I ran out on Friday, and while on my journey, I drove past a house I have always LOVED!  It is a log home, and that is just not common here.  We are city outer limits/suburbs, so you don't see log homes any where.  Behold they were having a moving sale!  I stopped.  Talking with an elderly lady who was working sale (she wasn't homeowner).  It was very windy and cold and she said she needed to go warm up - "would I like to see the inside?"  YEEEEESSSSSSS! Oh my - never did I imagine that!
It was sooooooo cool.  She had some of the neatest items in there.  I just stood there in awe.  It is already sold, or I would have inquired.
It wasn't huge, just 2 bedrooms, open floor plan, attached garage in back, a barn and lots of land.  It is right across from the orchard I go as well (that wouldn't hurt - LOL)  A front porch all the way across the front with rocking chairs.    Siiiiigggghhhhh!  Oh well.
It sure made my week!  It doesn't take much to make me happy!!!!!!

My allergies have already started acting up - UGH!  It's getting to be that time of the year.

My frugal week:
  • Made coco-wheats for G for a couple breakfast meals.  I added chocolate/peanut butter powder and he loved them
  • Found a .39 pack of clearance buns in the freezer and thawed.  Used part for sandwiches and the rest for garlic toast
  • Kept another peanut butter jar lid for dry storage
  • I am actually starting to get some room in the freezers again!  This not buying anything is really helping me motivate on that count.  I am using more of what we have - I really needed to start rotating stock.
  • Made dip again
  • Got a corned beef brisket out of freezer for St. Patrick's day.  Cooked in crockpot over night
  • Only left the house 1 day - really saving on gas.
  • I went to feed store on Friday to get corn AGAIN for squirrels
  • Stopped at Kroger on the way to feed store.  Only go to that Kroger when heading to feed store - as it's further away.
  • I got 4 packages of ground pork (each package around 1 lb. each) for less than a $1 each!  We love making 'burgers' out of it - tastes like pork chops! 
  • I also got 3 more 6 oz. packages of kitty treats (like I got last week), only these were cheaper at $1.22 each.  Then there was Kroger brand canned cat food (one type) for .10 can!  My kitties don't like it, but the odd strays that show up do (as does the possum).  I bought 20 cans - all they had.
  • Still working on spring cleaning - but as we know, cleaning never ends!
  • I did get 3 dozen canning jars (24quart & 12 pints) at the moving sale for a total of $5!  I bought 2 dozen and they threw in the 3rd dozen.  WOOHOO
  • All the normal things we do each day that are frugal!

Meals this past week:
Smoked jalapeno sausage sandwiches & chips and dip
Chicken strips and cheesy/broccoli rice
Spaghetti & meatballs and garlic toast
Super cheesy baked spaghetti & salad (used leftover over spaghetti for this)
Beef & rice and side salad
Pork burgers and leftovers
Homemade Reuben sandwiches & pickles (home canned - as was kraut)

                                                        Yummy Reuben sandwiches

G has decided it is time to lose weight again.  He lost so much a few years back, and slowly we have gotten back into our old ways.  This week I will be working on portion control again, and doing a lot more veggies.  We don't DIET here - we just change up our eating habits!

I also plan on dehydrating the green beans that are in the freezer.  It will clean out that portion of the freezer and I will have room for new summer veggies/goodies when the time gets here.

That's about all that has been on my plate this week.  How was your week?
Any good finds?  Any frugal ideas to share?

I hope you all have a safe , healthy and frugal week!  May God bless each of you.
Good wishes from our humble home to yours!

Thursday, March 15, 2018

The Pioneering Spirit

Do you have the pioneering spirit?
I would like to think I do within limits!  I can make do with what I have, I can eat food I grow, I can cook over a fire, I can get creative with things, I can forage, etc.

The pioneers did so much more.  We have been enjoying a new series about the frontiersmen who made the path to the west.  It is so amazing that any of us are here today.  LITERALLY.
I think we romanticize the 'old days'.  We watch Little House on the Prairie and think wow, that's cool.  That show doesn't even come close to explaining what many of our ancestors went through.

I know I have relatives that came here prior to the American Revolution, and much has been documented about them (I am fortunate on that account).  They braved Indian raids and deaths, they made roads and literally had to build their homesteads from the ground up.  My 6th great grandpa was captured and held by Indiana for 3 years - luckily he was eventually rescued.  I thank God everyday that I am here.  One small change in our linage can change everything.
They fought to survive disease without doctors.  They fought for daily life. 

When we look at pictures of mountains and woods today - we think how beautiful.  They saw wilderness they had to conquer.  They had to cut roads through those woods and mountains to move further inland into the country.  They had crude tools (compared to today) and even their tools were often hand made.
They had to cut trees (by hand) to build homes and clear land to grow crops. Everything was done by hand.
If weather didn't cooperate, they didn't have food.  Drought meant no fresh food - there was no where to go get some either (until towns were made).
EVERYTHING had to be made.
Food, clothes and foot ware, bedding, housing, furniture, medicine you name it. 
You had to find a good water source to survive.

You had to deal with native Americans protecting their areas, and you had to deal with wild animals protecting their area as well.  You had to have protection - often in the form of bow and arrows, and most ammunition was reloaded and homemade. 
If lightening fires happened there was no fire department to call.  If marauders showed up, there was no police department.  Drought, flood, wind, etc. all took their toll on pioneers.
Everything was an obstacle.

Today, living off the grid is a way of life many people want.  That is fantastic and I applaud them - but in most cases it still isn't the same.  Folks are using modern tools, chain saws, buying seeds from others, buying a good wood stove, start out with clothing and good footwear.  They can get flour, sugar, salt, yeast, medicine etc. from stores.
No one has to go without today.

I love to garden and preserve what we grow.  I love to re-cycle things into new things.  I love to learn about the old ways.  I can forage, barter, cook over wood, gather water, etc.  Do I want to give up the luxury of lights, water, heat, modern vehicles, tools, etc. - NOT REALLY.  I could probably survive a while without it if I had to, but I sure don't want to.

Could you survive for a while - if life as we know it changes?
Have you every really thought about what your ancestors went through each and everyday of their lives?
It is amazing. 
I KNOW this was life - and all they knew - but it surely didn't make it any easier.

I think I will look back at my childhood as the 'good old days' (for me, maybe not my parents), but I will never look at the early building of our nation as thus again.

I am so grateful for all the blessings I have.  We take so much for granted.
The next time you flip a light switch, turn on a faucet, open a package of food - stop and think about what your ancestors did.  They were awesome!

It is quite humbling!

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Requested Recipes

Good morning.  I am going to TRY to give you the recipes for tuna casserole and Mexican Frito pie as requested.
Notice I said TRY!

I don't use recipes to cook.  I just kind of throw things together and hope for the best.  Over time I get consistent - LOL.  If I try something new and different and G really likes it - I may be in trouble.  I try to remember what I did and write it down quickly - because most stuff is just free hand.

(depending on how many you are feeding - my versions are for 2)
1/2 box elbow or shell pasta  (cooked al dente)
1 can cream of soup - we usually use cream of mushroom - but any will do
1 can tuna (drained)  *I use 2 cans as we like the tuna taste
1/2 soup can of water
* I always add about a cup of frozen peas (just something I have always done)
*Can add parmesan cheese or some shredded cheese of choice - optional.
* I often top with crushed dried French's onions

Cook the pasta, then mix in soup, water, tuna and seasonings.  Add peas or cheese if desired and/or top with crispy onions in a greased baking dish.   350* for about 30 minutes.

This pan of casserole I added a can of mixed beans to - not peas - just because.  This was before baking.

There is no specific way to make it.  Add whatever you like.  I have used cream of chicken soup, cream of broccoli, cream of celery - whatever I have had.  Experiment and have fun.

1 lb. of ground beef - browned
1 small onion - chopped (cooked with beef)
taco seasoning
1 can chili beans
salsa and/or enchilada sauce
shredded cheese - amount desired (we used about 2 cups)

I browned my beef and onion - drained.  Add taco seasoning of choice (like you were making taco meat) - I then added about 1/2 pint of salsa (already open in frig) and about 1/2 cup of enchilada sauce (I had in freezer).  Drain and add beans.  Mix it all together.  Lightly greased 8 x 8 pan.  Lay a layer of Fritos on bottom of pan.  Top with bean and meat mix.  I then topped with about 2 cups of shredded cheese (we are cheese lovers), then add more Fritos to the top of casserole.
Bake 350* for approx. 20 - 25 minutes - until cheese is melted. 
Let it set for about 5 minutes before serving.

I follow recipes for baked goods (mostly follow), because baking breads, muffins, and some sweets is more of a science - with ingredients reacting with other ingredients. 
When it comes to everyday meals - it is sort of mix and match and see what works.  I get a notion in my head and run with it!

I love cookbooks - for ideas.  I may make a recipe as written the first time, then I start tweaking it!
I hope this helps.

Does anyone else cook this way?

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Frugal Happenings 3/11

Happy Sunday all.
I hope everyone that had to, changed their clocks last night.  UGH I get so tired of doing that.  Daylight savings time is fine  -  now lets leave it be.  I thoroughly enjoy daylight later in the evenings, (as I am sure farmers do) but I hate it when it changes back in the fall.  This is 100 years of doing this - I would think we could stop it now!!!

We have had very chilly to cold weather this past week.  We woke to some snow Thursday, but it was gone by the end of the day.  We should be back to some spring like temps by the end of this coming week.
Out winter hasn't been that bad - I didn't even get out the snow blower.  I haven't had to use it for 3 years now!  YAY
Prayers for all those having such bad weather.  Stay safe.

My week has been relatively quiet and lazy!!  I just didn't do a whole lot.  I bad!

My frugal week:
  • I did color my hair.  I used dye that I got on clearance and will get 2 more dye jobs out of the box - thus a hair coloring cost me .53!!!!!!
  • Got peaches out of freezer for some sweet snacks.  We like them when they are about 2/3's thawed - still a little crusty and cold!
  • I have done a lot of reading this week
  • Started watching a little series on Netflix called Money for Nothing.  I think it is British by the accents and monetary denominations.  It's about making and selling items from trash.  A gal meets people at the dump, take things and up-cycles & sales, then returns the money to the original folks.  Kind of interesting. 
  • Made dip
  • Made 2 dozen chocolate chip cookies from dough I have in freezer
  • Worked on last months receipts
  • I needed to get out - so I did run to Kroger.  I got 3 of the .99 produce bags - 1 with 3 huge bells peppers, 1 - 4 large apples, and 1 - with about a quart of cherry tomatoes.  I also got us 2 bags of clearance chips for .64 each.  That is all the human food I bought (all month so far).
  • I got 5 bags (all they had) of cat treats for $2 a bag.  These are the bigger bags (they usually run close to $4 or more) - my kitties will love me.
  • I then decided I would stop by the Christian thrift store, as I hadn't been in a while.  IT WAS CLOSED DOWN!  Oh no.  There is another location, but it is farther south from us.  It saddens me, as they helped so many hungry and homeless people in the area.
  • Meals from home. 
  • All usual stuff - making tea, drinking water, laundry in cold, etc.  Still working on cleaning and organizing.
                                                  Homemade teriyaki chicken and veggies
Meals this past week:
Tuna casserole and homemade slaw
Tuna casserole with added cheese and cheesy dried onions and asparagus
Salisbury steak, mac n cheese and green beans
Baked potatoes topped with chili, cheese & sour cream
Teriyaki Chicken and veggies over rice
Mexican Frito pie

                                                                      Mexican Frito pie

See - not a lot going on here.  Just hanging out and waiting for warmer weather.  I am so chomping at the bit to get outside and work.
I even went out the morning (it's in the 30's) and walked the alley, picking up blown trash.  I just need to be outside working!

What is going on in your world?  Has anyone found any super sales?  Any great adds to the pantries?
Any crafting going on?
Please feel free to share - we all live vicariously through one another!!!!!  LOL

Prayers for safety and health in the coming week.   I look forward to hearing from you.

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Happily Content

I have been reflecting a lot in the past few weeks.  I hear and see a lot of comments about myself and people who live like I do, 
I lurk on many FB pages that are about living frugally and preparing, and I daily see so many condescending comments and wasteful ways.
I guess I just don't understand the need to be nasty to people or put them down, because they do things differently.  I don't understand  why people are NOT happy for those who are.
I wonder if they are just angry, or miserable, or unhappy, or what?

We live in a 1947 - 2 bedroom home.  Have lived here for 32 years - and yes it's paid for.  All ours. 
Our Blazer is now 16 years old, and our secondary vehicle is older.  Do we spend a bit to keep them going?  Sure - it's called upkeep.  It sure is cheaper than paying car payments for many years.

I garden and can my food.  I shop almost exclusively for bargains and deals.
Most of my clothes are many years old and most have been purchased at thrift stores or yard sales.
I love to hang my laundry outside, weather permitting.
I love remaking things into pretties for yard art. (I have been known to trash pick those items!)
The last new furniture I purchased was in 2002.
Very seldom do we eat out.  We like home cooking so much more.
 I am outside dozens of times a day (365) breathing in fresh air and getting a little exercise.  It keeps me healthy.   I take no medications, except herbs and vitamins.
We don't travel - it just isn't possible.  Yes, we are home bodies - and like it.  I have even been called hermit 'like'.  Well, I am happy here.
I love nature, and I tend to it.  Animals, birds, flowers, yard, etc. - it makes e happy.
We live a very simple life.  It suits us.

Would we like a different home?  Maybe.  If I could have an open floor plan house, that would be easier for G to maneuver that would be great.

A new vehicle?  Maybe - again if it was something that G could access with power chair.

New furniture?  I AM going to get a new couch this year if I find what I want. 

Fancy clothes and stuff?  Nope - have no interest in fancy froo froo stuff.  I am a simple girl.  Don't need to be all girly.  I want to be comfy.  Don't care to impress anyone.

Would I quit gardening or shopping for a bargain if I had a ton of money?  NO WAY!  I enjoy it - and it's being a good steward of what I have.

Can we buy a new house or car or new furniture?  Sure we can.  We just like having no debt, and living a simpler life. Less to take care of.

Do we be-grudge those who have fancy stuff?  Heck no - not in the least.  I am happy for them.  If you are truly living the life you desire and CAN afford it - go for it.  I'll be tickled pink for you.

I guess I just needed to get this off my chest.  I get so dejected reading FB comments that are so snarky, wasteful, and judgmental.  I wish people would just STOP IT.

I see (and know) so many people today that think they have to have the biggest and best of everything, would never think of using something used, have the newest gadgets and  electronics, take vacation after vacation, have name brand everything and eat out continually - and wonder WHY they have to work so hard!  REALLY??
I guess they just don't get it.

MONEY DOESN'T BUY HAPPINESS!!!!  NO matter how much you have.  It may make things easier - but it won't make you content and blissful - that comes from within.

So like it says in the sweet babies picture above - I am happy and content - therefore I am rich!
What about you?

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Cordon Bleu Cheaply

Traditionally chicken cordon bleu has been thought of as a fancy meal and if purchased at a restaurant - expensive.
I decided to try my hand at making an inexpensive version for the two of us - and it was a true hit!
I will definitely do this again.

Traditional - not the casserole.  (Not my picture).  Sorry I did not get a picture of the casserole when done.

This recipe can be increased as needed for more people
Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole (for 2)
1 large boneless/skinless chicken breast cooked and cut into bite size pieces
4 oz. thinly sliced ham
4 slices Swiss cheese
1/2 can of cream of chicken condensed soup
1/2 can water
Approximately  1 - 1 1/2 cups panko bread crumbs (or you could use cup of small cut dressing bread)
Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven 350*.
Cook chicken and cut into pieces.  Mix soup, water, bread crumbs, and about 1/4 cup parmesan cheese together.  Add chicken and stir together.  Pour into a small greased baking pan, top with ham slices and Swiss cheese.  Bake about 25-30 minutes until cheese is turning golden in color.

We served with a nice vegetable and it was very filling and so tasty.

*Use the other half can of soup for another casserole or recipe - don't waste it!!!

It's nice to be able to fix a 'fancy' meal at home and not have to spend a lot of money. Get creative and figure a way to make your favorite restaurant food!

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Frugal Happenings 3/4

Good morning all.  It is a beautiful yet chilly morning here.  I know some of you out east are facing tons of snow and power outages.  God bless you all and please stay safe and warm.  Our thoughts and prayers are with you.

I saw my first robins of the season this week, as well as the first red-winged blackbirds.  That is a sure sign that spring is not too far away!  Many lilies, daffodils, hyacinths, tulips, peonies and other plants are peeking through.  It won't be long till we have pretty flowers again.

I went to a funeral this week of a former neighbor.  It was nothing that I had expected!  Theses people are good, sweet country folks.  He was a simple man who never had even a pot to p*** in, but would do anything for you and give you his last dime.  He always had a story to tell.   He loved Dean Martin, and that was the only music being played - "everybody loves somebody"....... So MANY people got up to speak about his nature and generosity - it was really amazing.  He was a fine testament to the theory of money does not make a man.  I would love to be remembered so sweetly.

My frugal week:
  • I went to the library and got a few goodies to read
  • I drove around the library/park area for a few, checking out new changes to  the neighborhood.  Free entertainment
  • Got to have the heat off and doors open for 2 or 3 days
  • More spring cleaning
  • Made more 'Panko like' bread crumbs
  • Found some older pizza dough in freezer.  Made dough-knots (little balls of dough).  Placed a little oil on them and sprinkled with salt - then baked.  They were a good snack dipped in pizza sauce.
  • Made a faux crab salad with freezer crab and veggies on hand - YUM
  • Have been using cabbage instead of lettuce for salads.  WHY?  It is what we have, it lasts longer, it tastes good, and it's more nutritional.  Why not??
  • Gave the indoor kitties pedi/manis!  LOL - I trimmed their nails on back feet 
  • Cut G's and my hair
  • Made slaw - a yummy treat
  • Made dessert/breakfast bars from 2 packets of clearance cookie mixes (mixed 2 different ones together), and added nuts, more oats, dried fruit, applesauce, and a few chips.  Baked in a 9 x 12 pan.  They are so good!!!!!
  • Cooled tea outdoors before refrigerating
  • NO grocery shopping at all!  (NO shopping of any sort)
  • Saved another parmesan cheese shaker lid
  • Using what I have and cooking at home
  • Brought in my #3 size crock to use as a trash can in the bath.  It looks cute.

Meals this week:
Leftover stew
Chicken cordon bleu mini casserole (for 2), parmesan  roasted asparagus
Crab salad on rolls and steamed asparagus
Chicken tenders, spicy rice and side salad
Homemade pizza
Unstuffed cabbage roll skillet
Baked fish, potato wedges and slaw

Yummy pizza - using what we had on hand.  Whole pizza probably cost a total of $3 or so.

How was your week?  What did you do to extend your budget or save money?
Did you get any good deals this week?
We can all use some new ideas!

I pray you are all safe and warm and in good health.  Those in the path of the storms, please stay in until the roads are safe.  May the Lord bless you in all His many ways this week.
Best wishes from our humble little home to yours!

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Springing Into the Challenge

Good morning and happy March!  It appears that March is coming in like a lion in our part of the world.  Yesterday was lovely, today rain - going to cold!  Oh well, it's still considered winter!

I have made a last minute decision to go head strong into a spring grocery challenge for myself.  Want to join me??
I am going to try to limit myself to spending no more than $40 all month on groceries.  I have more than enough food to last.  I know there will be some pre-Easter sales going on, therefore my reason for giving myself the grace of spending something!  I will probably get eggs when the price is right (cheap).  At some point I may need milk - but I have plenty of butter, cheese, and everyday goodies.

Why did I decide to do this?  Well, I looked at the ads this week and honestly there isn't a thing that said "buy me".  No sales worth going out in the rain and cold for.  I need nothing.  So why shop just to be shopping?

I love forcing myself to get creative and think outside the box.  I love trying some new things. 
We have pantry essentials, we have freezers that are full, and we have home canned goods - what else do we need?  WE NEED TO USE IT!
We are blessed in so many ways.

So I am challenging you all.  Limit yourself this month.  Do a pantry/freezer no shopping challenge with me!
Let's do it!!!!!!!!!!!!!