Sunday, April 29, 2018

Frugal Happenings 4/29

Here we are at the end of another month.  May is starting in a couple days and from the sound of things - summer is starting as well.  Forget spring - go straight to summer! 
We did have some nice sunny days this week, and I got a lot done outside.  Last night we had a freeze!  At least no snow.  We are suppose  to hit the 70's and 80's this coming week.
We have had the coldest April in 35 years and one of the wettest.  Glad it is about over!

I spent a good part of yesterday attending a dedication at the place of my long gone grade school.  I know I have mentioned going to events for that school before - but it was such a special place for many, many generations.  It was the center of the community and even after school activities took place there.  We all donated to have a wonderful plaque and memorial placed.  After, we all went to a small local pub and visited.  So many friends and memories from long, long ago - priceless!

My frugal week:
  • Walked the alley and picked up trash 2 X this week
  • Worked on a lot of those 'I don't want to do them' jobs.  Working in small increments allowed me to accomplish so many things!
  • Inventoried and organized all my canning supplies.  Jars, lids, rings, mixes, pectin, etc.  I am ready!
  • Been continuing my efforts to de-clutter and organize
  • Cut G's and my hair
  • Colored my hair at home
  • Did some vehicle general maintenance myself.  Checked all the fluids and aired the tires
  • Renewed library books on-line
  • Did LOTS and LOTS of yard work!!  Feeling a little accomplished!!!!!!
  • Mowed and trimmed from front to back
  • Got to air out the house some and have no heat for much of week
  • Worked on all the monthly receipts.  I was looking a spreadsheet and realized I  ONLY spent a GRAND TOTAL of $179 for a combined total of March and April on groceries!!!!!!  WOOHOO!

Meals this past week:
Turkey, Stove Top stuffing, Brussel sprouts
Chicken strips, stuffing fritters, green beans
Tuna salad over a bed of lettuce w/crackers
Beefy, cheesy, bean nachos
BBQ wings, mac n cheese, salad
Cold cut & cheese sandwiches and chips (G's request)
Ravioli and meatballs

I had about half of the Stove Top stuffing left - so I added an egg, shredded cheese, and a little flour and made it into patties and fried as fritters.  OMG were they good.  Truly much better than the stuffing was.  G said that was a good reason to make stove top - just to make fritters!  I think he is right.  I will do that again.

How was your week?  How did you stay frugal?
I have been reading that some of you have been getting great deals at yard sales - I can't wait till they start happening around here!

May you all be blessed this coming week.  Praying for health and happiness for you all.
Remember all the bumps along the road, are part of the pathways we are supposed to take.

Blessings from our humble home to you and yours!

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Back in the Day - the Simple Things

I believe there are a few of us here that remember the 50's and 60's well.  You youngin's just have to take our word for things!!  LOL

Life was different.  Things were slower.  Things were simple.
My goal is to live a lot like we did then.  I want simple, slow and calm.  I don't need to be hurry scurrying  around, dealing with fancy smancy stuff.  I want simple.

I came across this picture the other day and boy was it right on the mark.  See what you think.

This is about eating and our foods.  It is soooooo true!

*Momma used lard or Crisco for frying and baking - we didn't have oil in a bottle!
*Healthy food at our house was anything that grew in the garden and anything that Mom made (from scratch).
*Water was the drink of choice along with brewed ice tea and MAYBE Kool-aid.  I still don't buy water - just can't male myself spend money on it!!!
*Grilled food was over an old grate which was over a fire in the yard - then it was chicken or something simple like hotdogs.
*We had oatmeal - no fancy mixed up grains for us.  It wasn't instant either!!!
*  I didn't "eat out" until I was a teenager and could afford to 'waste' my own money of fast food - which was just becoming a thing!  I remember Burger Chef was my first!! 
*Once in a great while in the heat of summer Daddy would take us to get a frosted mug of root beer.  What a treat!
*Mom made our potato chips - again I think I was a young teen before I had store bought.  I remember someone gave us a Charles Chips tin of chips as a gift - that was fun!
*My first pizza was on a date. 
I have surely dated myself!!  LOL

Oh the things we remember.
A Sunday afternoon, was coming home from church to a lovely noon tine dinner (our big Sunday meal was at 1:00), which often had many extended  family members joining in.  Then we either went out back and played croquet or horses shoes (the guys) or we just sat on the front porch in the swing watching the world go by.

My friends and I often had 'picnics' on the front porch during the summer.  We would have PBJ's and milk or Kool-aid.  Then we would play Jacks.

My childhood home (without the swing).  I wish I could still drive by and see it.  It burned down several years ago.  I played so often on that porch.  Lots of good times were had there.

I loved 'helping' Dad in the garden because he always carried a salt shaker in his bibbers and we would eat fresh picked tomatoes right from the vines.  To this day I love a warm fresh tomato. 
I would also sit behind the chicken house with my friends and we would gorge ourselves on sour green apples.  Many a tummy ache was had from that - but we kept doing it!
Loved going out back and filling up on grapes.  Mom would always come a stop me, because she had to use them for juice and jelly.

Bed sheets always smelled so good after laundry day.  Loved helping to take the laundry off the line - it always smelled so good.  It brings back memories every time today.

Boy did I wonder a drift on this post.  It started out being about foods of the past! 
I just wish I could go back for a while and visit!  I miss those days so much.

This is why I want my life to be simple and calm - it was heavenly.  I try hard to give myself some of those special things today and I try to remind all the younger family what it was like.  They just can't imagine.

As John Denver used to sing "take me home country road, take me home".
Spring does this to me every time!!!!!!
Thanks for taking a journey back in time with me.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Baby Steps.....Bit by Bit

I have been talking about Spring cleaning for what seems to be ages.  I guess it isn't all Spring cleaning, but just normal every day stuff.
We all have those projects that we hate to tackle.  I know I am not the only one!  It is those things that just look overwhelming.  Projects that take a few hours or an afternoon to complete.  I tend to put those off again and again...................then oh what a pile of dust I have.

My house is really never messy, it just is dusty, full of dust bunnies and cob webs.  Where do those bunnies and cobs come from???????  LOL
It is a never ending process.

So I am now working at it a little at a time.  Baby steps.  I find that if I give myself 20 - 30 minutes to work on something, I tend to get a LOT more done.  I have been doing this for the past few days and it is amazing how many projects (that I kept putting off) that have gotten done.
I may go back to an area 2 or 3 times in a day but it isn't overwhelming, because I know I will only do a little at a time.

I have always been one that goes gangbusters!  If I am going to clean all the shelves in the living room - then I am going to clean all the shelves in the living room!  I hate that job.  Now it isn't so bad.

See?  There is a lot of STUFF to dust.  Now I do a shelf and then go off to do something else.  I go back and do another.  It is so much easier for me.
I can clean a shelf when dinner is cooking or while watching TV.

My kitchen is the same way.  I have pretties and small appliances on top of my cabinets (do to such a small kitchen), and it gets dusty and greasy.  It is easier to do a segment at a time.  It gets done in MY time and looks lovely, but I am not stressed.

Yesterday I was downstairs doing laundry, and starting getting canning jars all together.  They were in a few spots - now they are sorted and neat.  I went to place clothes in the drier and went through the bags of clearance pectin and Mrs. Wages mixes I had.  They are all sorted and together.  I am now organized and ready to can!!!

It is amazing what you can accomplish in a few minutes.
You can clean all the pictures/mirrors on a wall.  Later clean off a table or a shelf.  Straighten a hutch.  Clear out that stack of magazines.  Clean and dust that 'hidden' corner.  Work on a shelf or two in the pantry.  Straighten up your home canned goods.  Get your canning supplies organized and together.  Clean a shelf in the closet. 
NONE of it will take very long and you have ACCOMPLISHED a needed task.

Don't get yourself in a huff trying to get your cleaning done.  Take your time and take baby steps and do it bit by bit!
I advise you to attack your house this way for a will be amazed at what you get done!


Sunday, April 22, 2018

Frugal Happenings 4/22

Good morning my lovelies!  I hope this finds you all well and happy.

It seems we are finally getting a little sampling of Spring!  We have had a few warmer days, sunshine, and things are greening up.  All of that in between snow showers!!!  I can now see a green 'mist' in the horizon, as trees are finally setting buds and leaves. 
It appears our temps will average about 60* this coming week, BUT there is a chance of flurries next weekend.  SIGH!  It is what it is!!!!!!

My frugal week:
  • Cleaned out G's sock drawer and kept a couple pair of really old stretched out pair of tube socks to use on my swifter cleaner.  They work perfectly.
  • Used up older celery and older carrots in a stew this week.
  • Made a couple dozen BIG sugar cookies from dough from the freezer.  Stopped a sweet tooth craving - they lasted all week.
  • I worked out back in the berry patch and in the flower beds.  Cut so many things back and cleaned up a lot of yard waste.  So much more to do!!!!!
  • I found a couple BIG pieces of green plasticized chicken wire that neighbors threw out - I grabbed that stuff quickly.  It cuts easily and makes great little protective cages around new plants.  That saves a bit of change for me! 
  • Washed many windows
  • Got to have heat off and windows open a few times this week.
  • Mowed the front yard and cleaned out the front flower bed
  • I ran up to Kroger on Thursday to look around.  I did find 4 bottles of gummy vitamin C on managers closeout.  Normally 7.99 per bottle and I got them for $2 each!!  Bought all 4 they had on the shelf.  I also got a 3 pack of  'stop light' bell peppers in the .99 bin.  That's ALL I bought!
  • We are getting 2 premium channels FREE for 4 days this weekend.  I have been DVR'ing movies to have for later.
  • Cooked up a pound of ground sausage this week and put part of it in the freezer for a quick add in for another meal

Meals this week:
Breakfast - bacon, eggs, toast and hash browns
Stew and bread & butter 2X
Sandwiches and some chips
Dirty rice/sausage & salad
Chinese - 2X

Yes I was bad again this Friday and had take out again.  2 weeks in a row!!!!  Both times I was so tired from yard work - that needs to stop.  I am getting back into my groove - so hopefully I won't over work as much!
G wanted Chinese.  That always lasts us 2 meals a piece and still some leftovers for lunch.  I also got 2 really nice lidded containers to use for leftovers or sending home food with others.

Are you getting any SPRING yet?  I sure hope so.  We all need a dose of warmth and sunshine.

What did you do this week to stay on the frugal bandwagon?  Any great deals?
I hope you all have a lovely frugal week.

May the Lord keep you in His protective arms and bless you beyond measure.
Blessings from our humble home to yours.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

A Little Help for Your Heirs

Someday - our day will come.  Each of us need to make sure that we have our lives in order and our possessions as well.

I have to admit that we have NOT done our will yet.  Every time we talk about it - it seems we have a disagreement!  LOL.  If we had birth children there would be no question.  I do believe that we have finally come to a consensus of what to do and a will is happening this year.

We do have everything we own in both of our names - so that makes life a lot simpler (in our state) as spouses, if something happens to one of us.
We have many things with beneficiaries added in the event that something would happen to both of us. 

G decided to make some forms of his own that enables us to list all important information about banking, insurance, property, etc. 
I advise EVERYONE to have some place that ALL your info is together for the sake of your survivors.

I know  we all think if there is a will, that is all that needs to be done.  Not really - especially if you  are incapacitated for some reason or medical attention is needed, etc.  I know with just us, that I am not sure exactly where everything is (without going to safety deposit box), like what policy is here or there, and so on.

If you make up a set of forms PLEASE REMEMBER to leave the info off of them while they are on your computer!!!!!  You sure wouldn't want someone strange having access to all that info if your were hacked.  PRINT BLANK forms and write in your personal information.
We are keeping a copy here (so I have easy access) and we are giving one in a sealed envelope to a trusted family member (our soon to be executor) to keep.  He will be instructed to only open in the event of the last death (of G & I).

Click on pictures to enlarge.  This gives you some idea of what I am speaking of.

There are kits that you can get at many funeral homes, that have forms you can fill out similar information on, to help your heirs.  If you have an estate lawyer - they probably have forms as well.
I just feel like it is a good idea for WHOEVER is left to have everything (as far as info) all together. 

The first big purchase we made together after marrying was our cemetery plots and headstone. Romantic aren't we???  We still keep talking about pre-planning and paying for our funerals - but the only time I feel certain that will happen is when there is only one of us left.  I don't want to put that burden on anyone else.

I know a lot of people don't like talking about these things or even thinking about planning for an event of death.  They just think it is gruesome or creepy.  Just remember - you are at your MOST vulnerable when someone close passes and people CAN and DO take advantage.

Sit down with your partner and get things in order.  Make sure that you both know where all your policies are, where all deeds and pertinent information is.  Have copies of each other medical insurance cards.
G has medical issues that would limit types of treatment he could receive safely, and that is all written down for me, and in a place that I could grab it, if emergency help was needed.  It is a good idea that you have this info with your children as well.  We can't all remember everything, especially in a stressful situation.

If you have a special wish that something you own, go to a certain person (jewelry, heirlooms, etc.) - PLEASE make sure your spouse knows.  Hopefully they will follow your wishes.  If you don't vocalize  what you want done - it may not happen.

Please just take time and get your life in order.  It will help those left behind without a doubt.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

BE Part of the Answer


I do believe there are certain things that we all have in common - no matter where we live, what we have, or where we came from.
I think we all want the best value for our money - we want to provide ENOUGH for our families - and we want the world to be alive and well for our future generations.
I call all three of those things being a GOOD STEWARD of what we have.

Earth day is coming up on April 22 and will be celebrated all over the world.  I think we should be aware and celebrate this earth EVERY day!
We need to take care of it and replenish when we can, so that future generations will have a safe and healthy place to live.  We only get this one Earth.

There are many small things we can all do to contribute.  Think about your daily and weekly routines and see if there are some little changes that can be made to improve the environment.

  • Don't use Styrofoam - turn it down if you can.  That stuff will never break down in the land fills.  It is also harmful to nature
  • Make or purchase re-usable grocery bags and USE THEM!  More and more places are making plastic bags illegal and paper bags come from our forests (which are dwindling).
  • Compost your waste into rich soil (except meat and milk products).  Meat (minus sharp little bones) can be fed to nature or animals.
  • Keep  a plant or two indoors - they help add oxygen to your air.  Plants are healthy!
  • Plant a garden, flowers, trees, etc.  Not only are you providing food for your family but flowers and trees are beneficial to nature and the environment.  Birds, bees, and other critters can thrive with a little help.  Every critter has a purpose!!
This is so true.  You have faith tomorrow will come, when you plant a garden.  Have faith that there will be tomorrow's for younger generations as well.
  • Use netting from produce or from your stash to make your own produce bags - don't use those plastic ones.  I won't worry about my bag weighing an ounce or two, when keeping plastic from the trash
  • Collect rain water IF it is aloud in your area.  I find it so ridiculous that places have outlawed collection.  Use it to water your garden, flowers, flushing, hair washing, pets/critter water, etc.  God's water works the best for our plants.
  • DON'T use pesticides.  It will kill the bees - which we desperately need to keep, and it endangers wildlife.  Use as many natural things as possible.  THINK ABOUT every bird, squirrel, cat, dog, even children that walk across chemical laden yards are absorbing those chemicals!!!!!!
  • Re-use, re-cycle, and reduce whenever POSSIBLE.  Find new uses for things instead of buying new.
  • Use glass instead of plastic for storage if possible.  No chemicals and it provides more safety for food stuffs.  Use fabric instead of  throw away plastic.
  • Buy from bulk containers if possible.  Many newer 'health or natural' stores provide this service.  Take your own container and have them do a tare weight - then fill.  You will only be paying for product.  Many dried foods can be purchased this way, as well as teas, spices, pet foods, nuts, etc.

  • Limit your cleaning agents to as many natural things as possible.  Vinegar and baking soda should be your FRIENDS!  I love making citrus cleaner from peels.  Chemicals in the air and on surfaces are bad for your health and bad for the health of little ones and pets as well.
  • Eat local as much as possible - saves in so many ways!
  • Use God's natural air to air out your homes if at all possible.  A closed up house contains stale air (and germs) - air it out and stay healthier.  Get outside every day!
  • Plan your driving trips.  Make a plan and use less gasoline and less wear and tear on vehicle.  Less emissions going into the air.
  • Use insulated mugs for your 'to go' drinks.  Take a drink with you and save money and keep trash out of the landfill.
We use insulated glasses for hot or cold drinks.  Insulated mugs (which we have had for years) are used for longer driving trips and for working in the yard.
  • Use leaves and grass cuttings as mulch - instead of buying mulch.  Use fallen sticks and limbs for fire pits or use larger ones for plants stakes and tee-pees for garden.  Try getting FREE mulch from your municipality.  They often cut and grind trees that are dead and provide that mulch for FREE.  I have done this many times
  • Learn to RE-GROW some veggies from scraps - heads of lettuce, celery, onions, etc. 
  • Learn new uses for fruit peelings (jellies, cleaners), egg shells or coffee grounds (feed plants & compost), leftovers (new meals), etc.
  • Up-cycle old clothes, bedding, towels, etc. into new things.  Material can be used for all sorts of things.  Quilts, new clothes, pillows, grocery bags, pet beds, etc.  The material is already preshrunk and comfortable - not stiff and stinky new stuff.  Saves money as well.
  • Check your area for re-cycling centers and what they take.  We can not only recycle aluminum, but if separated out - tin can also be recycled, as well as plastic and glass, and paper and cardboard.

Just stop and think.  Little changes CAN make a difference - especially if we all do them!    This is our one and only planet - this our life and that of children and future grandchildren.   We truly need to wise up and make changes.  These changes cost nothing and provide a beautiful future.

Take some time each week to walk about your area and pick up trash.  We wouldn't have to do that if people quit littering - it is so aggravating.  Litter is not only unsightly, but it can be so dangerous to wildlife and pets.  If our neighbors can't be good stewards - WE can be!

Thank you for being good caring people.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Frugal Happenings 4/15

Good morning everyone.  WOW here we are at the half way mark of this month!  Generally by this time I have my garden planned and tons of yard work done.  Not so much this year.  I did get an opportunity to work in the yard some this week, but we are a ways off from gardening.

We started with snow and cold rainy weather this week.  We managed to warm up and got to almost 80* for a couple days, which was heavenly!  We awoke to rain this morning, cooler temps and we have snow coming in tomorrow!!!!!  Not much - but snow none the less.  UGH!
Oh well - soon we will probably be complaining about the heat - LOL.

My fugal week:
  • I got a chance to pull out the last quarter of the garden I didn't get done last fall.
  • Picked up tons of sticks that I am saving for the neighbor, as they do backyard fire pit nights once in a while
  • I did manage to get several areas of the yard cleaned up - berry patch and a couple big flower gardens
  • Mowed the front grass
  • Aired out the house and no heat for about 3 days
  • Printed out a lot of forms for G.  Getting  many of our affairs organized
  • Changed out the bedding from winter covers to summer
  • Line dried fleece throws and bedding - YAY!
  • Got my hands on 2 gallon glass jars with lids for future storage
  • Pickled a quart of brussel sprouts.  I used leftover pickle juice - a few jalapenos and a pound of trimmed sprouts.  Simmered it all together for about 15 minutes and put in quart jar.  Refrigerator type pickles - using what I had!
  • Picked a bouquet of tulips and daffodils
  • Made up a list for whenever I run to Rural King,  Have it divided into different stores in that area - only go when I need something from several different stores in the area.
  • I did run to Kroger and got a gallon of milk and 2 - .99 bags of seedless Halo type minis.  That was it this week for groceries.

Meals this past week:
From scratch lasagna (small one)
Small serving of leftover lasagna and a nice salad
Sloppy Joes and roasted mix veggies (potato, carrots, onion, sprouts)
Fried pork fritters, mashed potatoes and corn
Deconstructed egg roll skillet
Burgers and fries - Burger King 2/$6 burgers (I was tired)
Philly beefsteak 'like' French bread pizza and salad

Pineapple pretzel fluff for desserts

It sure felt good getting outside this week and actually getting my hands dirty.  I got scratched up working in the berry patch - but that's ok.  I was outside working, which was great.  I was sore, but it didn't last long - I sure did sleep good!
For now, back to doing inside things!

What have you been up to?  Any good deals?
Look forward to hearing from everyone.

Prayers for health and happiness for each of you.  May you be blessed with a great week.
Blessings from our humble home to yours.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Dinner and Dessert

I think from Tuesdays post I can say we all like yummy and simple meals and goodies.  Not everything has to be complicated to taste good.
I am giving you a couple recipes from my meal plans this week.
I hope you enjoy them!


1/2 C butter melted
1 C sugar - separated into 2 - 1/2 c measures
3 C of small broken pretzels
8 oz. cream cheese - room temp.
8 oz. container Cool Whip - thawed
20 oz. pineapple pieces (I used 2 home canned pints) drained.

Preheat oven 350.
Drain your pineapple (keep juice for other uses), and set aside.
Melt butter in a saucepan and add 1/2 C sugar and stir until sugar is melted.
Spread broken pretzel pieces into a 9 x 11 pan (I covered with parchment- no mess).  Spread butter/sugar mix over pretzels and mix it all up.  Place in oven for 10 minutes.  COOL COMPLETELY!
Mix final 1/2 C sugar and cream cheese until smooth.  Add in Cool Whip and pineapple and mix.  Break apart pretzel mix (it will be like solid chunks) and add into the mix.
Refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving.
**The pretzels get coated like sugar coated nuts do.  They actually taste like nuts when in the fluff mixture.
**I think this would be wonderful with about any kind of fruit added.

This what the pretzels look like after being in oven - before breaking up and adding to fluff.

1/4 C diced onion
1 lb. ground sausage
1 - 16 oz. package of coleslaw mix
2 cloves of garlic - minced (or garlic powder to taste)
1 tsp. ground ginger
salt to taste (or add soy sauce)

Brown sausage and onion.  Add other ingredients - cover and cook for 5 minutes.  remove lid and toss together.
I serve with a can of Asian noodles to give a crunchy texture.
We are having this tonight!

There you go!  A couple easy recipes that are still very frugal.
Hope you enjoy!

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Convenience Foods

We all get busy and just don't have time to sometimes make a meal completely from scratch.  Sometimes we rely on convenience  items to make our meals semi-homemade.
I keep some things on hand just to make life easier on a busy day.  They are great fill-ins as well, when I cant (or don't want) to go the store.  Emergency stashes of certain items could be a life saver.

I generally always have a variety of canned soups on hand - both condensed and cream.  I do like to make my own soups and keep 'cream of' mix on hand, but sometimes it just  pays to keep some on hand.  Makes a quick lunch or dinner item when added with a sandwich.  Soups can be added as ingredients to other dishes as well.

I also keep beef and chicken canned broth on hand.  Most times I make my own stock - but that isn't always possible.  Another standard is bouillon  beef, chicken and ham - is always in my pantry.

I have a nice variety of store bought canned veggies and fruits on hand.  They add in nicely to garden produce that is put up, and there are just some things I don't grow and/or can or freeze.

I have been known to buy an Aldi pre-made fresh pizza and add more ingredients.  I can't remember the last time I purchased a frozen one.  Many, many years ago I had a REALLY bad experience with a frozen one - and well, let's just say I won't take that chance again! 

I generally keep at least a couple graham cracker pie crusts in the freezer.  I also have pie crust rolls or actual crust in pans (frozen)  just in case I need something quick (always purchased on clearance).

I keep a nice variety of canned meats on hand as well.  I get canned chicken, Spam, corned beef, tuna, salmon, and sometimes beef.  These are for convenience sake and IN CASE we have a scenario when we can not cook (SHTF).  I saw a few weeks ago that WM sells almost 1 lb.-12 oz.  cans of cooked ground beef.  I may think about adding a couple cans of that.

Of course I have spice mixes - purchased and homemade, gravy mixes (just add water), and baking mix.  I like to make my own baking mix for biscuits, pancakes, and waffles - but I also keep a couple boxes of pre-mixed stuff on hand.  I always have cake mix and brownie mix on hand for a quick dessert.  I think there are even a few packs of cookie dough mix around here.

I sometimes have some sort of potato (shredded, fries, tots, etc.) in the freezer.  Once in a while I may have meatballs in the freezer as well.

I have evaporated milk, instant milk, powdered butter, eggs, peanut butter and vanilla for those 'just in case' times.  They are convenient to keep to add to recipes and for the instance you can get to the store.  They take up very little room.  I keep a box or 2 of stuffing mix and instant potatoes as well.  Those come in handy in a pinch.  Potatoes are a wonderful thickener for soups and stews.

I use my own pizza and spaghetti sauces and my own salsa.  Haven't purchased any of those in ages.  I DON'T buy mac n cheese boxes either.  It is so easy to make and I always have everything I need.

I keep a couple boxes of shelf stable Velveeta around and generally have a couple jars of cheese dip/spread.  We are cheese lovers - and I generally have lots of blocks of hard cheese in the frig - but always keep some on the shelf as well.  I usually shred my own - I just don't like the fillers/anti-clumping ingredients they put in purchased shredded.

Most of my stock up canned goods are purchased on clearance.  I get pie crusts and such ONLY on clearance.  I have a love for either Aldi products or store clearance - they add greatly to my convenience foods for a fraction of the cost.

WHAT are your favorite convenience foods or ingredients to keep in the pantry?
Is there anything you WON'T buy?
Look forward to hearing from you all.

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Frugal Happenings 4/8

Good morning everyone.  Woke to sunshine this morning - that just makes my day!  It takes the simplest things to make me happy!

We had quite a weather week.  Monday morning we woke to 2" of snow.  We had record setting rain fall on Tuesday - my oh my it was something - extreme winds and raining sideways.  Flooding was a huge factor all over the state - we even had Interstates flooded and closed.  I don't remember that ever happening before.  We ended up getting 5" of rain in less than 24 hours.  Snow flurries again on Wednesday morning! Crazy wacky Spring!
Snow coming in tonight and then maybe up to 70* by the end of the week.  YAY!

It sure is lovely hearing all the birds sing each day.  What a chorus.  I wish I could differentiate all the different ones.  Sounds pretty.  The squirrels are getting 'frisky' - if you know what I mean.  LOL!  I am going to try and trap Rocky raccoon this week and re-locate it.  Cute as it is, I just don't want it around, especially with garden time coming 'someday'!

My frugal week:
  • I ran to Aldi early in the week to get some sale items before the ad changed.  I got 6 lbs. of Brussel sprouts @ 1.29 lb.  Also got a 2 lb. bag of carrots for .99
  • Had several cards that needed to go out this week. (lot's of birthdays in Apr.).  I had cards in my stash and stamps here - so no expense.
  • Ran the dehumidifier and fan downstairs a lot this week.  We got dampness in the basement after the rains - so that really helped dry it out.
  • Ran to the library while out
  • Refilled upstairs pantry from downstairs
  • Cleaned and refilled all the outdoor feeders
  • Picked a pretty bouquet of daffodils and later that night we had a freeze/snow flurries - so they are a little sad looking now.
  • Did NOT buy ANY Easter candy on after sales!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  (major  accomplishment)
  • Ran to Big Lots for 20% off Saturday hoping to find canning lids and maybe pint jars.  NOPE!  I went to 2 different stores, and both had put them up so as not to have to sell with discount.  They had them a month ago.  I mentioned it to the cashier, and she looked rather sheepish and didn't deny it!!!
  • I did buy 8 pairs of socks for $4 after discount and I got 4 hot pink (I don't care about color) full size milk crates at $2.76 each after discount.  I bought all they had.  They will be great for downstairs pantry.  I have been searching for some full size heavy ones for ages.
  • Weekly cleaning, making tea, meals from home, using what we have, laundry in cold, reading, etc.

Meals this past week:
Baked turkey and parm. roasted brussel sprouts
Turkey sandwiches and salad
Cheesy potatoes/turkey/veggie casserole
Creamy turkey/rice/veggie soup
Large beef/bean burrito and salad
Poor man's Swiss steak, mashed potatoes and brussel sprouts
Mushroom & Swiss burgers and homemade slaw

Had fresh pineapple and pineapple and peaches mixed for desserts.  Ate lots of pickles for snacks.

Not very exciting for sure.  My life is simple and probably boring to many - but that is ok.  I hate drama, so I guess I will be satisfied with boring.  Actually I don't think it's boring, I just chose to do different things from most.  That's me.

What did you do this past week to stretch the budget?  Did you get any great deals?
I think we are all ready for Spring or Fall in other areas.  Weather has just been odd this year all over the world.

May your upcoming week be safe and healthy and may you all be blessed in many ways.
Blessing from our humble home to yours.

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Eating For Less

We all love eating and we like good food, but I think we all dread the expense of such.  One doesn't have to spend a fortune to eat well.
I have taken the food stamp challenges several times over the years and proved that EVEN on those limited funds, I could buy a decent amount of healthy food to survive on. (I have walked the stores and added up what I would buy if on those funds).  NO I didn't get steak and lobster - but I don't buy that any way!!  I got good wholesome basic foods.  I am so over hearing the nay-sayers say it can't be done.  IT CAN - it just takes a little effort.

It is the same with every household.  Inexpensive groceries/food can be had with a little effort, thought and creativity!
I realize many have special restrictions to diet - but those can be over come and things can be substituted.  There are many options today for organic foods, gluten free foods, non GMO, etc.
I am going to try to give some basic rules to follow and some ideas of lowering that food budget - then I will list a variety of meal ideas.

1.  Look for CLEARANCE and MANAGER'S SPECIALS - FIRST!!!!!!!!  The first place I go in the store is to each sections mark-downs and then to the big clearance section.  Produce in my stores have either marked down item throughout the produce department and Kroger has the .99 section (bags of less than perfect produce).  Meat. bread, deli, dairy - they all have markdowns.  REMEMBER items are good for many days/weeks past dates!!!  I then go to the major clearance section and find lots of canned or bottled goods.  I DON'T pay full price at the store for hardly anything!

2.  Garden - fresh is always best.  Eat what is in season.  Learn to at least do basic water bath canning - you don't really need any special equipment for that (just a big pot and lid & jars).  Freeze produce if you can't can.  It can be used in many ways later on.  Plan for the future.  REMEMBER even folks in apartments can garden a little in pots!

3.  Barter/trade - with family, friends, neighbors.  Exchange garden goodies, eggs, canning, baked goods, etc.  One person may be good at one thing and another person is good at something else - do some trade-offs.  It helps both families.

4.  DON'T EAT OUT - cook from scratch.  Plain and simple logic - if you have little funds - stay home!

5.  Explore your library or the internet.  There are so many books and sites that have fantastic, low cost food ideas.  READ a cookbook and try new things.

You don't have to be stuck eating beans and rice when funds are low.  If you plan ahead, watch the clearance sales, and do some of the other things listed above - you can eat great.  A little added every week, could make a huge difference.   Get a few items - maybe spend $5 or $10 extra a couple times a month will help you tremendously.  Don't forget about dollar stores and ethnic stores (you can get lots of goodies cheaper).

Mix ground beef with pork or turkey to expand for burgers or meatloaf.  Add lots of seasonings and it tastes great.  Mix cooked lentils or beans or oats with meat to make burgers and extend the meat.

Hotdogs may not be the best selections (unless buying whole meat), but they are cheap.  Load up a sandwich with other stuff.  Don't think just condiments - dice tomatoes, shred carrots/lettuce, kraut, chili, salsa, pickles, cukes, you name it!

Mexican can be made very cheaply.  Mix seasoned meat with beans to expend (or rice).  Burritos are fast and easy - wraps can be purchased for 8/10 $1 or better yet, flour tortillas can be made for pennies at home (super easy).  Make taco, Mexican pizza, quesadillas, taco salad (add lots of veggies to extend).  Casseroles are an easy spicy way to have Mexican as well.

Pizza or any Italian dishes.  Make your own crust at home.  You can even get .59/mix (just add water).  Top with whatever you have - can be veggies, leftover meats, cream sauces, tomato sauces, etc.  Mix some meat and cheese with pastas for easy and cheap dishes.

Loaded baked potatoes are a great budget extender.  Top with whatever is left around from the frig.  Get creative.

Soups (no limit to combos), stews, casseroles, quiches (great way to extend eggs with leftovers).  Leftover veggies can be added to soups or casseroles or you can make a 'cream of' soup.

Large cuts of meat can be divided into many, many meals,  Meat can be used in soups, as roast, pulled meat, BBQ, sandwiches, etc.  Buy larger cuts when there is a super sale.

Veggies - think coated and fried, roasted, steamed, mashed - they can even be added to sweet/savory breads
SALADS - potato, egg, meat, pasta, broccoli or cauliflower salad, slaw, chef, regular, fruit.  Salads can be hot or cold.  A salad can consist of anything - meat can even be added for a one dish meal.  We do that often!

Sandwiches of any kind.  Grilled sammies are always good with a bowl of soup.  Open face sandwiches are yummy - top with gravy or cheese.

Make homemade noodles or dumplings and serve with smaller portion of leftover meat.
Calzones (basically stuffed pie crust) can be loaded with leftovers and baked.  Very filling.
Stroganoff can be made with leftover eat - serve over cheap noodles.

Leftover rice or stale bread can be turned into rice pudding or bread pudding for a great and inexpensive additive to a meal or dessert.

THINK cereal or oats (can add all kinds of things) for a quick breakfast.  Breakfast or dinner - biscuits and gravy.
Make you own breakfast sandwiches with homemade biscuits (easy) and egg and any kind of meat.  Wrap and freeze till needed.  Make breakfast burritos - with tortillas and scrambled eggs, veggies, whatever you want!  Same with them - wrap and freeze till needed.
Homemade pancakes or waffles - breakfast or dinner.

SNACKS - homemade salsa or hummus or dip (can use bottled dressing as well) with veggie sticks.  Homemade chips.  Popcorn or crisp chick peas (easy-peasy).  Drain, season, bake at 400 for 20 minutes!
Fruit, sliced, plain, as salad, grilled, make a crisp or pie, add to muffins or over homemade ice cream/ice milk.  Fruit is yummy in a smoothie as well, and can be a substitute for a meal.
Basic homemade cookies, cupcakes, brownies or sweet breads.


Gang, there just isn't ANY reason that a person can not eat well on a limited budgets.  I have read article after article and book after book about eating on $3 or $4 a day (per person).  It sounds impossible - but it ISN'T!!!!!!
I know there are many days that I don't spend that amount of food for the both of us for 3 meals in a day.  We utilize everything - either into a new dish or we eat the leftovers as is.


Tuesday, April 3, 2018

How to Prep Cheaply

We all love Dollar General, Family Dollar, and Big Lots - but Dollar Tree or 99 Cent store is by far the favorite (for me).
There are just so many options of things to get for our stockpile and for prepping for THAT day we never want to see!!

Cleaning supplies of all sorts are available - from dish soap to laundry goods to drain cleaner.  Lots to choose from and the price is right!!!  I do mainly use vinegar and baking soda - but for those who don't - Dollar Tree is the place to stock up.

Freezer bags and storage bags - foil, saran wrap, and wax paper.  ALL paper goods are available, including plates, cups, plastic ware, etc.  Those are nice to have on hand for a time when there may not be the ability to wash dishes.  Disposable foil pans for cooking are also available (great for grills & campfires).

Totes, buckets, and storage containers are available in many sizes.  Plastic storage containers for frig, freezer and cabinets can often be purchase 3 or 4/$1

Duct tape, clear packing tape, small hand tools, razor knives, hand saws, and wire can be purchased.

Solar Lights and battery operated lights.  Candles.  Glow sticks and even hard strike matches and disposable long butane lighters (great for camp fires and grills).  Ours even has jugs of lantern oil.

Health items like toothpaste, mouthwash, alcohol, peroxide, Epsom salts, antibiotic creams, band-aids, Ace bandages, etc.

Shampoo, soaps (liquid and bar), cream rinses, shaving cream, razors, Q-tips, cotton balls, toothbrushes........

Think about stocking up on wooden clothes pins (only place I have purchased them), clothes line, twine, laundry tote bags, hangers, etc.

Dish cloths, hand towels, wash cloths, hot pads, Micro fiber cloths.  These are great to have in your own storage and they can also be used as gifts.  Cheaper towels are great for making non-toss paper towels or cleaning rags.

Cheap rain ponchos are generally easy to find - they aren't the best, but may keep you dry in a pinch.  Socks, hats, gloves, and scarves are always good to have on hand.  If things get bad, you'd be happy to have even a cheaper brand on hand.  I have seen umbrellas as well.

Think about flower pots for container gardening, bags of soil and seeds.

All these things are great to have on hand when prepping for an iffy future.  There are just so many items to chose from.
You can also add to your book and simple game selections, and you can even buy a Bible.

All these things and we haven't even mentioned food supplies.  I have found 2 lb. bags of rice for $1, and 1 - 1 1/2 lb. bags of dried beans.  Pasta and canned meats are sometimes good deals as well (it depends on the sales you find elsewhere).  Spices and seasonings and condiments are a decent deal as well.
Dollar Tree is now selling a lot of brand names - but you do have to watch food products.  Often you can get great sales, that far surpass the price of $1.

Don't think you have to spend a fortune to get yourself prepped for THAT day!  It is always the best idea to have things on hand that you MAY need - BEFORE you need them!!!!
Next time you pass the Dollar Tree, stop and give it a look.  You may be surprised.

I can go in and spend $10 - $15 and stock up on all kinds of necessities that I may need (or do use often).

Sunday, April 1, 2018

Frugal Happenings 4/1

HAPPY EASTER to all my friends every where!  May you have a glorious day and remember what the day is truly about.

Oh my, here we are in April.  Time is just flying by and we are still having nasty old winter weather.  I am so ready for Spring.  Our 10" of snow from last weekend melted quickly, then we had rain all but one day.  The lake was huge in the backyards again and the mud has been yucky!
I told G the other day I wondered why geese or ducks never stopped in at our rainy days lake.  Two hours later I looked out the kitchen window, and saw 2 Mallards swimming  in the backyard 2 doors down!!!!  That was too funny.

We had Rocky raccoon come by and visit a couple afternoons and evenings.  He was a smaller coon and my goodness that face!  He wasn't the least bit afraid of me - he walked right by me to go get a drink and wash his 'hands'.  However he was intimidated by the kitties, and got away from them quickly.  He is cute - but I just hope he doesn't become a regular visitor.

So many birds are showing back up at the feeders that disappeared over the winter.  Of course the Robins are back, and now see the bright gold finches, cow birds, red-winged black birds, and all the variety of woodpeckers.  So neat.  It won't be long (one of these days in the future) when the hummingbirds come back.

I managed to snap a picture of my squirrel baby coming to get a nut from his 'Momma'!!!!!!  They come running when they see me!

                                        The daffies are starting to flower despite the weather.
It's been another quiet week.
My frugal week:
  • Printed the taxes
  • Got a 14 lb. Honeysuckle turkey out of the freezer to thaw for Easter dinner. (It's 2 years old)
  • Did more spring cleaning - cleaning never ends
  • Went out and did some much needed banking, that I have put off for 2 months!  I was quickly reminded why I put it off.  I hate dealing with anything at the banks - especially things that requires them the opportunity to try and 'sell' you something!
  • While out I stopped at a different Kroger.  I got a .99 bag of brussel sprouts, some lettuce and grape tomatoes and an .88 HUGE fresh pineapple.
  • Filled the gas tank while out - I still had over a half of tank - but topped it off.  Got a .20/gallon discount
  • Changed out my watch battery with one I had on hand.  I got 2 packs of watch batteries last year at Dollar Tree - 4 batteries/$1.  They last over 6 months each - not bad.
  • Got to watching You Tube and got strayed off path!  You ever have that happen?  I started watching one thing and then got off subject and starting watching videos of abandoned homes!  Interesting.
  • G has been working on cleaning out older paperwork again - boy does that stuff add up fast
  • Doing all the regular stuff every day

Meals this past week:
Beef and dirty rice and salad
Tuna patties, asparagus and salad
BBQ chops (in crockpot) and mac n cheese
Chicken breast and jalapeno poppers (from freezer) and side salad
Beef hotdogs, leftover mac n cheese & salad
Pasta/crab/veggie salad (all in one meal)
Smoked jalapeno sausage and leftover pasta salad

I currently have my turkey bird in the oven.  We are keeping our meal simple today.  It's just us and we are really trying to eat healthier.  Turkey, roasted brussel sprouts and fresh pineapple for dessert.  That is it!  Lots of turkey will be left for various uses this week!

Mother nature is doing an April Fool for us this week.  Supposed to start snowing tonight with maybe 3" by morning!!!  It will melt quickly - but really!!!!!!!!!!!!  Supposed to stay in the 40's this week.  UGH!
My front grass needs mowed terribly - but it is way too wet and muddy.

I hope you all have a blessed week and I pray you all have great health and happiness in your life.
Blessings from our humble little home to yours!