Thursday, May 31, 2018

Project Pantry - Part 3 Gardens & Fresh

It is gardening time for many of us.  There are so many things you can grow and so many ways to grow them.
I hear people everyday say "I don't have a yard" so they can't grow anything.  Sure you can.  You may not be growing a ton of food, but any that you grow is a blessing to your budget and your health!

If you positively think you can't grow something - think about roadside farm stands, farm markets, and family and friends.  There are always options to getting fresh produce and preserving it in some way for later.
You can freeze, or can, or dehydrate.


Tomato - so many things you can do with them besides a BLT!!!!!  Pasta sauce, pizza, sauce, salsa, Rotel mix, plain old canned tomatoes and juice.

Cucumbers - can be eaten fresh, made into relish and pickles.  Easy to do.  Pickles can be fermented and refrigerated - don't even need a canning pot.

Salad Fixings - lettuce, radish, carrots, etc.  Easy to grow and take up little space.  These can be grown in planters on patios easily.

Beans - need a little more space - but with good weather, they produce well

Peppers - there are so many kinds from sweet to super hot.  I used to have no luck with peppers, but the past few years they have really thrived for us.  I freeze them and use them in relish, and of course fresh.

Squash - there are many types of this as well.  Spaghetti, Acorn, Hubbard, zucchini, crookneck, butternut, etc.  I have found that summer squash like zucchini and crookneck take up the least amount of room and they can all be grown in pots.

There are many different veggies that can add excitement to your table.  You can grow potatoes, okra, cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, tomatillos, pumpkins, watermelons, just all sorts of things.  IF you grow and like okra - let me know.  I have a canning method that cans with NO slime!!!!! (I'll post at a later date)

 Farm markets and farm/roadside stands can be great resources for fresh goodies.  In many of our older neighborhoods (with large yards) people have self serve stands set up with an honor system of payment.  A box is screwed down and locked - and you leave appropriate amount in slot for what you are purchasing.  I love this, and have purchased many times.
Friends and family may have gardens that you can barter to get goods from.
Farmer markets are a little more expensive - but they have great choices.  REMEMBER they have done all the work for you - so you are paying for that.

Gleaning is another method of getting produce.  You can often find abandoned orchards, wild patches of berries, mushrooms, nuts, etc. - if you just take time to get out and about.  Many farmers will allow gleaning of their fields at the end of harvest time.  The produce may not be perfect, but it is still good!
Some areas have community gardens - which is a wonderful thing!

REGROW food.  The bottom ends of celery and bunch lettuces can be regrown.  Many people only use the green part of green onions and regrow the from the white part.  (We eat the whole thing at our house!).  Many older sprouted potatoes can be grown into future food (best if organic).

You can buy from the grocery as well and prepare for the winter as well.  Look for markdowns and super sales.
Orchards and places like Fresh Thyme often offer great prices as well.  Look at ethnic stores - you can often find a variety of fresh veggies and fruit there.

     Dried tomato skins to powder.  Use for flavoring.  Use every part you can!  Waste not want not.

You can have an actual garden plot, you can grow in pots and planters, you can also grow many items like peppers, tomatoes, cabbage, broccoli, etc. in amongst your flower beds.  Veggie plants are pretty too - so place them throughout the yard.  I am a firm believer that lawns are wasted real estate - use them to grow food if you can. (Yes, I still have some lawn - but I am getting older!!!)

DOES IT SAVE MONEY?  In most cases, I would say yes!!!!  Growing your own each year, doesn't cost much (once you get started).  Now if you purchase items, it may cost a little - BUT you will know exactly what is your food when you put it back for winter.  No chemicals or preservatives - JUST REAL FOOD!

Get started this year - prep your pantry (whether freezing, canning or drying) with real food.  You will be amazed at how good it tastes and how much it helps out the winter budget.

IF YOU HAVE QUESTIONS about canning, freezing or dehydrating - ASK!  Hopefully we can all aid each other in getting as much knowledge as possible.  Give your questions, and I will be glad to do a post about it!


Tuesday, May 29, 2018

This Life.............

This life of ours, always seems busy and hurried.  Everyone has places to be, things to do, people to contact...........

The older I get, the more I realize that all those things aren't that important.  I think back to when I was a kid, and my life was so much simpler.  I know my parents worked hard to provide a life for us - but they still had more fun than many do today.

They spent time with their families, doing things with the family - not watching a computer screen.
They cooked home made meals and we ate together at the table - everyday!
They involved us in all aspects of life - and taught us many life lessons that are still used today.
They gave us discipline when needed.
They taught us good morals and good behavior.
They taught us to be polite and show respect.
They taught us to be good Christians.

Life takes over and everyone gets busy today.  Hurry, hurry is what it seems to be about.
We ALL need to take time to slow down and enjoy life.  You know there ISN'T anything that can't wait except LIFE.  It will be gone in a flash - hopefully we all enjoyed it and experienced the simple sweet things of the world.

I loved this saying the moment I saw it.  We have all gone through times, thinking the grass was greener on the other side.  It isn't - that's why it's on the OTHER side!!!!!!!!  Live your life your way.


Take time to smell the flowers and really look at each one.  They are each little miracles.
Read an ACTUAL book - take time to simply do the unimportant.
Sit and enjoy the rain.  Next nice shower - go stand in it and splash!!!!!! (I do this every summer)
Sit and listen to birds and nature.
Take a calming walk with nature.
Pet the dog or hug the cat.
Eat the ice cream or candy bar once in a while!
Savor your next meal - really ENJOY it! SAVOR every bite.
Visit with family - they may not be here someday.
Save I LOVE YOU to someone important to you.
Enjoy the babies and little ones.
Smile, laugh, and spread cheer when you can.  You may make someone's day!
Sit on the porch and watch the world go by now and then.
Take a nap.
Make your world a little simpler and calmer.
Unplug once in a while - no phone, no computer, no emails, no electronics.

Most of all JUST SLOW DOWN - QUIT HURRYING - QUIT being THAT person who doesn't have time to enjoy life.

Live it and enjoy the simple things.  They will give you more enjoyment than you can ever imagine!
Start living ........... this life!

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Frugal Happenings 5/27

Happy Memorial Day weekend to you all.
To any that have served or have had family serve - THANK YOU! 
So many have paid the ultimate price over the years for our freedom.  There is not enough thanks for that. 

This has been a busy, busy week here on the home front.  We had decent temps and humidity for a few days (it was still in 80's).  Got to even have the AC off for a few days.
They predicted rain a lot - but most missed us.  We did get a nice shower Saturday - it sure was needed.
Today is race day (500 race) here in the city.  It will go down as one of the hottest on record.  May has been setting all kinds of records with heat - supposed to be in 70's - but noooooo.  Kind of makes me wonder what June will have to offer!

I managed to severely sprain my left thumb SOMEHOW this week.  It happened early on in the week - but I have no clue how I did it.  The pain has been almost unbearable at times - but doing much better today.
The groundhog made a second appearance this week.  I got the live trap all set after seeing him - and no more hog!  Maybe just seeing the trap keeps it away!!!  LOL

We also got a new addition to our extended family yesterday.  My great, great niece Laylah Grace was born.  8 lbs. of sweetness!

My frugal week:
  • Got the garden tilled (by me) and the remainder of garden ALL planted!
  • Trimmed all the shrubs out back.  Even trimmed - they are still huge - they still come up to my shoulders - that was quite a job
  • Cut grass and trimmed - did weeding
  • Dug up 2 volunteer tomato plants and a big volunteer squash plant from the garden before tilling.  Replanted them in different spots and they are doing well.  Will be surprised with what they are!
  • Froze leftovers from dinner one night to have later in enchiladas
  • Made popcorn for snacks
  • Picked several more bouquets of peonies.  The house has smelled so lovely for the last 2 weeks.  They are over now.  At least the roses are starting to bloom!
  • Line dried laundry
  • Picked rhubarb
  • Made a rhubarb and strawberry pie - YUMMO
  • Made a nice chunky veggie/Italian dressing salad to last for a few days
  • I utilized the 'very' hot teabags after brewing tea.  I placed each bag on my thumb joint until it cooled.  Thought maybe heat and tannins would help.  IT DID!  I went from nauseating pain on Saturday morning - to  90% better by bedtime.  CRAZY!
  • Got deals, deals, deals this week at the grocery stores.  I spent more $$ than I have in ages, but I am so stocked up!!!!!  Great prices at both Meijer and Kroger.  It felt odd actually shopping the aisles - as I normally only buy clearance and fresh.
  • Got all the normal stuff done too this week.  House cleaning, thorough vacuuming, making tea, meals from scratch, made nectar for hummies, etc.
Fresh corn 8/$1
80/20 ground beef - 1.79/lb.  Got 20 pounds 
Pork rib racks - B1G1 - got 4 and saved $21 
12 count ice cream sandwiches - .99/box
Chips - B2G3
Johnsonville Brats - 1.99 package
Club & Townhouse crackers .99/box
Pepsi - 4.88/24 pack  (a real treat - I don't usually buy)
Watermelon 1.99
Sweet Baby Ray's BBQ sauce - .88/bottle
Needless to say I stocked up on set limits of each thing, except corn and watermelon.  But I did get both.  My freezers are filling up again, with all kinds of meat and goodies.  I love sales!!!!!!!!!!!

Meals this past week:
BLT's and salad
Beef/potato burrito supreme
Mexican chicken over rice
Pizza - 2 X (1 pizza enough for 2 meals) (takeout - after yard work!)
Cheeseburger, corn on the cob and salad
Jalapeno smoked sausage, fried corn and veggie salad

Have you all gotten your gardens out?
Did you get to take advantage of any of the great sales this week?
How have you been staying on the frugal bandwagon?

Prayers for a safe and happy holiday for all.  May the Lord bless you beyond measure in the coming week.
Stay cool and hydrated!
Blessing from our humble home to yours.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

A Little Humor

Today should be part 3 of a the pantry project - but honestly my brain and my body are fried!
I am beyond tired.  Summer yard work has taken it's hold on me this week. 
I have been working on finishing the garden and getting the yard mowed and trimmed and cutting bushes and.........................................such is life! 
It is going to get hotter this weekend and the humidity is supposed to be back - so now is the time!

So I thought I would share a bit of humor with you today.  At least I thought it was funny.  I was out mowing the front lawn this morning and a car came down the road.  It stopped in front of the house.  Now normally I would not stop, as you just can't be too careful nowadays! 
There was a sweet looking white haired lady in the car, so I stopped the mower.

She rolled her window down, and I am thinking she probably needs directions or something.  She says "Honey, it just warms my heart to see you young kids taking and interest in your yards and homes.  You have everything so pretty."
OK, the funny part - "you young kids"!!!!!!!

I walked over to the car, and thanked her .  I told her it means a lot that others find it pretty - but I wasn't a kid any more!!!  She says "You sure are, just look at you."  She says "I am 72, I should know a kid when I see one".  Again I thanked her, and told her my age - and she just stared at me.  Laughingly, I told her my brother and my sister were older than her.  She was amazed.
"Well" she says "you look like a kid and your yard is lovely".  How sweet.
I smiled and chuckled to myself the rest of the morning.

I guess it is all about perspective - maybe that is why I  call people in their 40's kids!  LOL
All I know is it sure made my day.  Me standing there in my old grubby t-shirt and jeans, sweating like crazy, and all red faced.
I guess I was 'rocking' that 70's workout headband I had on!!!!!!!  LOL

So all you KIDS take it easy today and don't work too hard.  Sit back and remember, what you see and feel may be a blessing to someone else.  They MAY be glad to have your worst day.
We just never know how we affect the world.


Tuesday, May 22, 2018

An Arbor for Food and Food for Thought

Good morning everyone.
Today I am going to post about two different things. Ellen was curious about our grape arbor, so I will post a couple pictures.  Hopefully it will help someone else as well.  Growing our own food is such a wonder, and anything we can do to be more efficient the better.

We just made a simple upright arbor.  Main posts are 4 x 4, top rails (4) are 2 x 6 and cross rails (up the sides) are 1 x 1.  All are treated.  This has been in use for over 15 years and it is still as sturdy as day 1.
We even put eye bolts on the ends of 1 x 6 to hang pretty baskets the first few years, until grape vines really grew in.
Last fall the vines got a drastic "hair cut", so they aren't hanging down as far this spring.  BUT they are loaded with little bunches of grapes!

Vines growing up each side and converging on top.

You could paint or stain if so desired.  We left it natural - basically no upkeep at all.
I trim out the vines each fall - that is it.
My folks had a huge arbor years ago that was made over the sidewalk leading to the garage and built in between the garage and chicken house.  They also had other grapes at the back end of the garden/property that actually grew on the fence.  So there are many options for training your vines.  I like having mine UP, it takes up less room, they are pretty, and it makes picking a breeze!


I read an article this morning that the UK is doing away with the "best by" dates on over 70 pre-packaged produce items.  Too much is being thrown away.  GOOD FOR THEM!!!!!! 
I also read an article the other day that says those dates are all arbitrary any how - the retailer makes them up.
It also stated that some retailers remove items from shelves (getting close to date) - and change the dates and put them back out.  LOL - I am sorry, but I find that hilarious!!!!  There are so many people I see each day on FB, that swear they would never eat anything that has EXPIRED!  They have no clue.
Nothing really expires.  I don't think I have ever thrown something away that was past the "best by" or "sell by" date.  Really - EVER!  All you have to do is smell something in most instances - and you know.

Food waste is a absolutely HUGE problem all over the world.  There are so many that are hungry in our home countries as well as other places.  Food pantries could use so much of this food, homeless could use this food, poor people could use this food, WE ALL could use this food.  There is nothing wrong with it - we should all use it.  I am not advocating giving spoiled food to anyone - I am advocating using it all BEFORE it spoils!

When did people get so darn picky??????  I truly do not understand.  That is why I love the concept of the new Imperfect Food company that has started.  They are selling food that grocers don't deem "nice enough" to sell.  Excuse me, but when did someone decide that a perfectly formed tomato tastes better than a misshapen one? 

                                             This is a sin against humanity in my opinion!

It is not just businesses, but individuals, and even farms, that do this.  Some farmers will let other come in a glean what is left at the end of season.  BRAVO to them.  Many will sell 'seconds' for a cheaper price.  BRAVO.
I just don't know where the shift in thinking happened.  It wasn't that way when I was a kid.

We need to DEMAND that these stores quit wasting/trashing food.  We need to DEMAND that what is left get used by the needy or sold for cheaper prices.  We need to DEMAND that our fellow humans being quit being so wasteful.  We need to DEMAND that there be some sort of educational  system set up to inform.

I know progress is being made in some areas.  Many restaurants send leftovers food to places like "Second Helpings" here in town.  They revamp the food into new meals and feed the hungry  The chefs are homeless people learning a trade.  WONDERFUL!
Panera and other places donate day old baked goods to many food pantries.  They are still yummy and fine.  Kroger has the .99 produce bags now - that is produce that is not perfect.
We need so much more of this.

Please speak up when you see waste.  Maybe if enough people complain - we can change this horrible trend.  We all have to work together to make the world better.
Thanks for being part of the solution - and not the problem!

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Frugal Happenings 5/20

Good morning all.  I hope this past week has been good to you.
I seemed to get quite a bit done, but also spent a chunk of change as well!  Glad I had it to spend - sometimes necessary spending can be costly.

Woke to a lovely morning.  It has been pretty darn warm this week.  Currently AC is off and has been for a couple days.  We have been as high as 90* for highs and down to low 70's for highs.  Threatened rain all week, finally came in yesterday and will have more today.  It is needed.  Could just do without storms!
April was one of the coldest Aprils on record, and May is now going down in record books as one of the hottest!  Crazy.  May is supposed to be our wettest month - but not so far.

My frugal week:
  • I went Monday and got new tires for the Blazer.  Choke, choke!!!!!  I can't really complain though - it's only the second time we have bought tires in 16 years.  I did get them for $50 less than my quote in March.  At least they are safe now.
  • I got a $20 used tire for the truck. 
  • We have 2 people interested in the truck - one being the tire shop!
  • Made some homemade tartar sauce
  • Ran to the greenhouse and got most plants/garden stuff I need
  • Made up 8 hanging baskets/planters
  • Made a new bird feeder of sorts.  I had an empty hanging basket (had dirt in it) and I added a tin pan with drainage holes and hung.  The birds are loving it, and it keeps more birds off the ground (away from kitties)
                              The tin pan keeps seed from dirt and no germinating weed seed!
  • I kept several cat food and food cans (clean) from the recycle, and used them in the bottom of a couple planters as fill - not as much dirt needed (also good drainage)
  • Got the rain barrels out and set up
  • Lot's of yard work done and yard mowed
  • Line dried laundry
  • Picked 3 bouquets of peonies for around the house.  I sure love them.  Hope to be able enjoy bouquets for another week or two
                                        Peonies are just starting to bloom - covered with buds
  • Repaired my garden hose with a new female connector that we had on hand. Changed out the Y connector for hoses at hose.  No leaks!
  • Ran to Kroger on Friday to look for clearance - not a lot to be had.  I did get 2 bags of Folgers vanilla flavored coffee (as a treat for G) on clearance for 2.59 bag.  I also got 5 jars of Newman's Own salsa con queso cheese sauce on closeout for 1.20 each (nice for an easy treat/meal add-in).  I did buy some sour cream and on the vine tomatoes (blah) for .99/lb.

  • I went on Friday and used a coupon for double fuel points.  They are offering that on weekends for a while this summer - thank goodness - gas prices have sky rocketed.
  • Used leftover spaghetti sauce in another dish along with some cottage cheese that needed to be used.
  • Saved another shaker lid from Parmesan cheese container
  • Got about half of the garden stuff planted.  My mission is to get it all done this coming week.

My meals this past week:
Loaded burgers and seasoned fries
Fish sandwiches and baked beans
Hominy/pepper/beef skillet dinner
Tuna salad sandwiches and fresh veggies
Spaghetti & meatballs
Lasagna and side salad (2X)

I hope to get the garden all finished this coming week, trim all the bushes out back, and just accomplish a lot more yard work.  It never ends!

What was your week like?  Did you get any good deals?  How are the gardens coming along?
Give us a shout and let us know what is going on in your area of this glorious land.

Welcome  - come and sit a while!
Blessings from our humble home to yours.  May you be blessed in all ways this coming week.  Prayers for your health and happiness my friends.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Project Pantry - Part 2 (Uncoventional Stores)

Time for me to take a brief break from yard work and laundry.  So I guess I will chat awhile about supplying our pantries from unconventional stores and retailers.
There is no ONE place to shop and there may be options that some haven't thought of.

My favorite is DOLLAR TREE.  There are other Dollar stores - but I must admit, I don't go to those very often at all.
Dollar Tree or ,99 Store that others have are wonderful resources for all kinds of things.  Remember a well stocked pantry IS MORE than food!

You can get lots of health and beauty items, cleaning supplies, stationary and school supplies, candles, disposable kitchen ware, and food!
Our store is now selling a lot of brand name food items.  I see Campbell's, McCormick, French's, Chunky soups - all sorts of things.  They are also taking manufacturer coupons.
I have purchased 28 oz. can of baked beans there for a $1 - add a few extra seasonings and they are yum.
I LOVE their canned asparagus - 12.5 oz. can (enough for a side for 2) for $1.  I am not sure about where you live - but canned asparagus can't be touched here for less than $3 a can.  This is young and tender shoots!!!
Pie  fillings are nice to have on hand as well.  Snacks can be had as well as 3 liter bottles of Pop all for $1.
2 lb. bags of dried pinto beans are $1, as well as bags of rice and other types of beans.

ETHNIC STORES are fun to shop.  If you have never been, you need to make a special adventure by going.  Oh, the things you will find.  I have seen 50 lb. bags of fresh yellow onions for $7!  I get 25 lb. bags/boxes of rice for next to nothing.  Spices galore!  Every kind of dried bean and pea you can think of - and some you have never heard of!!! 
Fresh fruits and veggies - the likes of which I have never experienced.  It is a great way to try new items in your diet!

DRUG STORES - often have advertised and sometimes unadvertised grocery items for great prices.  I just read this morning that a gal purchased eggs at the drug store for half the price they are selling for at the grocery.

AMISH MARKETS - some folks are lucky to be close to Amish markets - I LOVE THEM.  They buy most everything in bulk and then re-package it in smaller packs.  That makes their prices really good.  I love the markets for any type of baking products, and most all have an area of scratch and dent items.  Oh, and then there are the special home baked goods you can buy if you so desire!!  Mmmmm - YUM!!

SALVAGE STORES - These are fun if you can find one in your area.  We had one here, until this past summer.  All kinds of scratch and dent items, and some items, that just didn't sell well at other stores.  You have to watch, as some things are really past 'best by' date - but they are still good. (Google salvage store by state - and you should find a list available)

BIG LOT'S or OLLIES - they sell surplus that doesn't sell at other stores and they often buy out retailers that are going out of business.  They have all kinds of goods - food, H&B, cleaning, decorating, etc.  Ollie's is a wonderful place to buy books!!!!!!  They have the best prices I have ever seen on them!

RURAL KING  - I love that store.  Not only do I get a lot of my pet food there (really cheaply), they have canning supplies, prepper supplies, food, clothes, farm supplies, garden seeds, feed, etc.  This is becoming one of my favorite places to shop.  I can get great snack items in really large containers for pennies compared to other stores.  I buy Jerky seasoning there, and I can buy gifts................

DON'T FORGET  YARD SALES AND FLEA MARKETS  there are a lot of couponing queens still out there, that get stuff for pennies, and then sell it at cheaper than normal prices to make money.  I have purchased food  like cheese  dip and greens beans in #10 cans before for like 1 $1 a can!!!  All well within date!  I have purchased laundry and dish soap for 1/4 of the retail price, and bath items like soap and new lotions for .25 and .50 a bottle.
Make sure there is no rust, the dates are good, and that they haven't been opened and you are good to go!
REMEMBER TOO - there are people out there that have more cents than sense (obviously) that buy things to be buying them.  No one likes it or wants it, and they sell it for pennies at yard sales.  CRAZY - but it sure can benefit us!

THRIFT STORES generally aren't going to give you any groceries - but boy can you get other things for your extended pantry.  Clothes, toys, books, pretties, bedding, etc.  I know folks that get all kinds of neat stuff at thrift stores.  Ours around here aren't that great any more - but I do like to look.
If purchasing bedding or clothes - you might want to bag up in black trash bags and leave in the car for a day or so - then launder.  You will kill any trace of bedbugs that way - you just never know.
I have purchased items for my gift pantry, cards, candles, towels, etc. 

BIG BOX STORES - Sam's ad Costco.  I tend to go to Sam's once - maybe twice a year.  There are just some items we like to buy in bulk that I can't get as cheaply any where else.  I get a year's supply and I lessen the temptation of going to often.  It is best if you can split the membership with someone else - that makes it cost effective.

FARM MARKETS - CO-OPS, and FARM SURPLUS  stores.  Farm markets may not be the cheapest places to buy groceries, but they generally sell really nutritious items.  Co-ops  often sell at good prices, and members often get a great discount.  I have heard of some gals that have farm surplus  warehouses that they get crazy cheap produce at.  Like bushels for pennies on the dollar.
ORCHARDS - are great places for lot of fresh fruit. (ask for seconds - often cheaper)

There are now companies selling products that you order on-line and  they deliver on a specific day.  IMPERFECT FOOD is one.  It is fresh produce that grocery stores won't take, because it isn't as 'pretty' as it should be.  This started in our state at the end of April - I have not yet ordered, but plan too.
I know one of our followers here, uses it and really likes it and what she gets.  She told me about it.
WHY should food that isn't 'perfect' be wasted when there is so much hunger every where?
What a fantastic concept - I wish I had thought of it!!!!!!

So as you can see, there are a lot of UNCONVENTIONAL ways to shop for our pantries.  Think outside the box.  Try new places and new things. 
You may be amazed at what wonderful things and prices you may find.

DO YOU have any UNCONVENTIONAL place you like to shop?  Please tell us - as I am sure I have missed some.
Happy pantry stocking!!!!!!

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Walk with me!

I have been busy the past few days.  Summer always brings a new set of projects to handle.  I hope to get the garden in sometime in the next week.  I am not worried about it being late - daddy always said nothing really ever really grew and produced before the end of May.  I think it depends on where you live.
Today I am going to take you on a walk-about - nothing real exciting - but our little homestead is coming back to life.
Walk with me!!!!

Poppies - originally from plants older than me

   Columbines started out with one color - have developed into two colors of purple.

Just a swinging!!!!!  Mr. Squirrel thinks the seed for the birds is his!  Crazy acrobat. (Click on picture to enlarge)
Baby bunches of grapes are starting!

                                     Rhubarb getting some growth - it won't be long now!

Tiger lilies and phlox are really growing.  Love the blooms of both.
Peonies are loaded with buds.  They will be blooming in a week or so.  One of my favorites - wish they lasted longer.

Chives have bloomed out.  This bunch of chives has come back for years.
Millions of maple whirly-gigs on the ground!!!!  Oh my, they are every where. The squirrels DO like eating the 'seeds' in them.  LOL 

A cheap hanging basket I found last week - hummingbirds should like it!
I will give you a better tour as baskets get planted, peonies bloom, and the garden is growing. I love this time of year, when everything is in re-birth. 
Each day as I walk around the yard or look out the windows - I am reminded of the miracles of God.  Beauty is absolutely every where, and everything 'knows' just what to do and when to do it. 
Blessings to you all.


Sunday, May 13, 2018

Frugal Happenings 5/13

HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY to all you Moms of human and fur children.  I hope you each have an absolutely lovely day!

It has been a warm week.  Yes, we did go straight into summer.  It has been in the 80's most of the week and will be the same all next week.  We have had to use the AC some this week.
I am not complaining  - please don't get that idea.  I swore I wouldn't gripe after all the cold and wet we had this winter.  So far, so good!

We saw  a groundhog yesterday in the yard.  The first time this season.  UGH!  It is a shame they can be so destructive, because they are really cute!  Guess, I will be getting the live trap out, in case he hangs around.
You'd think we lived in the country with all the critters we see.  It amazes me how many animals live in the city/suburbs!

My frugal week:
  • I have kept 3 net bags from the veggies/fruit I have purchased in .99 bin at Kroger.  I tear off  the label on bottom, and I will use myself as re-usable produce bags at the store
  • Lots and lots of yard work - FREE exercise
  • Chopped and froze some celery that was getting older
  • I picked 2 bouquets of lilacs from next door.  No one living there till June - and I didn't want the lovely flowers to go to waste!  OH the smell!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • Cleaned out G's underwear drawers.  Kept several old socks to use for Swifter and replaced many t-shirts with new that we had put back.  Old ones will be cut up and used in some projects
  • Was 'gifted' another gallon glass jar from a neighbor
  • Made a dozen hard boiled eggs and made salad with them
  • Ran to Kroger to check out clearance and markdowns - I found 2 Manager Closeouts that were great.  I got 5 boxes (40 pieces ea.) of shrimp poppers for 1.74/box and I got 6 - 24 oz. cans of spaghetti sauce for .47/can (all they had left).  I make my own spaghetti sauce, but these are nice to have around to help others.  They also had canned cat food on sale - sale saved $1 per 20 cans, plus I had coupons.

  • I received a coupon for a FREE box of Nice & Easy hair dye (value to 8.99) from a computer friend I have know for years from Iowa!  How sweet
  • Bought a new lawn mower to have as a second when other is down.  I earned rewards at Ace and it actually cost me $70 less than the shelf tag stated!  It was the last one of that type.  I really like it, light weight and easy start!  Just a basic mower - no bells and whistles.
  • I stopped at a charity yard sale while out for the Kroger run.  I got 2 - 3 picture frames (new) and a cookbook for .50 each.  I got a bag of 5 oven mitts, 7 pot holders, 2 crochet top towels and a full apron for a total of $3.   I don't need the pot holders - but I am going to make patchwork  pieces to re-cover them and use for gifts.  The towels are older but will be great for cleaning up messes.

                                                        The red in front is a full apron.
  • Did get to have windows open a lot this week - early mornings and late evenings
  • Line dried all laundry

Meals this past week:
Leftover pasta salad and BBQ chicken wings
Egg salad sandwiches and fresh veggies
Breaded pork burgers, cauliflower steaks and a side salad
De-constructed cabbage roll skillet dinner
Shrimp poppers and homemade bean/corn salad
Mexican chicken grilled soft tacos
Crockpot pork chops and kraut and mashed potatoes

It sure has gotten pretty outside.  There is suddenly a hundred colors of green every where, and bird calls that are so pretty and varied.  Flowers are starting to bloom.  Bees are buzzing around every where.  I hope to get a lot of the flowers and garden done in the next week - in between rain storms!

How was your week?  Did you get any great deals?  How are your yards and gardens coming along?
Prayers for blessings large and small to you all in this coming week.  Good health and happiness.

Blessings from our humble home to yours!

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Project Pantry Part 1

I am planning on doing a PANTRY series over the next few weeks.  Each segment will deal with a different way the fill the pantry and be ready for anything.
We all know that a pantry is essential for so many reasons.  Financial hardship can be caused by a variety of reasons.  Loss of job, cut-back on job, health,  unexpected financial hits (car problems, household maintenance, etc.), and even events from Mother Nature.

The more prepared we are the better.  Not only can we feed our families, but we may be able to help our extended 'family' - how ever that is defined.

Today I want to talk about MONTHLY DEALS.  Each month, for various reasons, there are specials that are hard to pass up.  The examples I give for May, are for the U.S..  I would love to know what specials are being had in the Southern hemisphere, as it is winter there.  Any of you gals care to give us a shout out?  Inquiring minds want to know!!!!!

This is the beginning of summer and picnic time.  Memorial day, car races, and back yard BBQ's and graduations.

Hot dogs and sausages of different sorts
Hamburger & other ground meats
Steaks and whole loins
Condiments - mayo, catsup, salsa, mustard, Miracle whip, salad dressings, hot sauces, A-1, etc.
Chips and dips of all sorts
Soda pop and bottled water
Check deli items and the bakeries for sales and markdowns as well.  With graduation planning, there will be some deals.
Rolls and buns
Charcoal and grilling supplies
Paper products like plates, napkins, and cups  (always nice to have on hand in emergency situations)
Garden supplies and kids pool items (think ahead to birthdays and Christmas gifts)
It is also "pet month" - so there are many pet food sales as well

Now is the time to take advantage of those super sales and stock the freezers and the pantry.  Condiments and chips, soda and water, grilling items, and paper products and pet food - last for ages.  Stock up and you may well be good for several months - or at least until the next major holiday.

Fresh fruit, berries (strawberries are big now), and veggies are great to get cheaply for every day eating, freezing, canning, and jelly/jam making. 
FARM MARKETS are going on as well - so check them for deals.  Make sure you check them at the end of the day as well as early - as you may get some awesome deals at the end of sell time - as they don't want to load up stuff.

Strawberries and  rhubarb are in season now (at least here).  Other berries will be starting soon as well as sales on watermelon and other melons (due to holidays). 

Know you prices - know your market - get great deals.
Most items go in cycles.  Many of the items listed above will be on sale again come July for the Independence Day holiday.

Take advantage of the low prices.  The stores advertise many items, knowing they will draw you in and they may not make much profit on them.  BUT, they also know you will buy other stuff while there - therefore they make up for it.  They take advantage of you - you need to TAKE ADVANTAGE TOO!

Other upcoming segments of the series will include:
Gardening and fresh produce - and ways to preserve for later
Shopping at unconventional stores - other than grocery stores
Clearance and manager closeouts

I hope we all can benefit and give suggestions to keep our pantries full and ready for anything -  CHEAPLY!!!!!

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Save to Spend

It seems it happens this way at times.  We save and do a good job with our finances - only to HAVE to spend it on things we just don't regularly spend on.
I guess that IS WHY we are FRUGAL!!!!!!  It is always nice to have that savings to fall back on.

This is going to be the summer of spend at our home, I do believe.  NO, it does not make me the least bit happy.  YES, I have been putting it off as long as possible.  Some things just can't be put off any longer.  Maintenance on home and vehicles HAS to happen.  It is an evil necessity!

This year (soon):
Of course, there will be gardening and flower supplies to get.  I am OK with that!
New tires all around on the Blazer
Need some under the hood work done on Blazer as well
One new tire for the truck (and then hopefully selling the truck)
Mower needs  work - so thinking about getting a 2nd one to have for emergencies
Paint and tile the bathroom (have the paint)
Need new outdoor security lights installed (at least 2)
Lots of odds and end jobs indoors and out - that I just can't do myself (we both DO try) - hire helper
I really need a new couch - this one is 16 years old.  It looks nice - but isn't comfy any more

Oh my, I just cringe when I think about spending a lot of money. 
Then I think, what have we been saving for?  We can't take it with us.  We are getting older, might as well get what we want and need.  Why leave it all to someone else - we worked for it!

This is so true!  LIFE and TIME are the a couple of our greatest assets  

We have been frugal most of our married years and tried to do things right, so that we wouldn't have a lot of burdens when we got older.  We planned, knowing G would be probably be disabled at some point.  WE DID GOOD!  I guess now we can afford to play a little.

Now play is good - splurging once in a while is good - we all need to.
It is the MUNDANE expenses that gripe my bum!!!!! 
Tires - that's no fun!!!!!!  Makes me safe, sure - but not a fun expense! 
Taxes - no fun.  We have all our property taxes paid for the year now.
Insurance no fun.  We need it "just in case".
Tags for car - no fun.  Got to stay all legal!
The list goes on and on................

Hopefully, we get all our items taken care off this summer, and can still continue to save.  I am frugal with a purpose!!!!!!!

Hope you have a relatively frugal summer and can avoid the many pitfalls of NOT FUN spending!

Sunday, May 6, 2018

Frugal Happenings 5/6

Good morning.  What a lovely start to a day  - we had the most incredibly colorful sunrise this morning.  It was beautiful.

Weather has gone from winter to summer in a flash.  Seems we have by-passed spring this year!  In the past week, absolutely everything has budded out, greened up, leafed out, and sprung alive.  Flowers that were a few inches tall a week ago are now huge!

Farm markets started around here yesterday.  The ice cream truck made it's first showing of the season yesterday.  I actually saw the first hummingbird of the year yesterday (already had the feeders out).  I even saw a rabbit in the neighbors yard.  I haven't seen a rabbit around here in 20 years!
The robins and other birds are in a frenzy taking baths.  The robins are the cleanest birds ever!!!!

Too bad most of the weeds growing around here aren't a commodity - because this girl would be RICH!  Oh my, I have pulled and pulled and there is no end in sight.

We even had to have AC on one night, just to be able to sleep.  It was very humid.  We are now back to open windows and ceiling fans - loads of fresh air!   Love it.  70's all this coming week.
Aaaaaahhhhhh - I am in my element!

My frugal week:
  • Airing out house - no heat
  • Line dried ALL my laundry
  • Filled the hummingbird feeders with homemade nectar
  • Mowed
  • Yard work, yard work, yard work!!!!!!!!  FREE exercise and fresh air!
  • Needed 2 birthday cards and 3 sympathy cards this week - had everything in my stash
  • I went up to Kroger to check out clearance.  I found deviled egg holders/carriers on clearance - 2 in a pack for .99 each.  I got 7 packs -  for Christmas baskets.  That is ALL I bought at the store.

  • NO groceries this week
  • Doing all my normal stuff
Kind of a quiet week - but a very busy one with the outside work.

My meals this past week:
Homemade Rice-a Roni with beef and beans
Cheeseburgers, chips, and fresh veggies
Pizza and salad
Smoked sausage, fried cabbage and potatoes
Stir fry veggies and chicken over rice
Cold pasta/crab/veggie salad (emphasis on veggies)

I am hoping to continue all the outdoor work this week.  We all know there is no end to it.  It will probably be a week or two until I decide to work on garden.  I don't want to get in a hurry, and then have a cold snap hit again.  It has happened!

Are you getting good weather?  What are you doing to get ready for summer?
How was your frugal week?
Look forward to hearing from you all!

May the Lord bless you with a safe, healthy and productive week.
Blessings from our humble home to yours.

Thursday, May 3, 2018

LIVING with Purpose

We often go day by day just following the crowds.  Doing the 'norm'.  Paying the price.  Doing what is easy.
Is that really "living"?  Is that living with a purpose?

There are stores on every corner that contain everything your can imagine.  Farm markets  will be in every community soon (not necessarily a bad thing).  There is E-Bay, Etsy, Amazon, and just about all grocery stores at the click of a few buttons now.  I know there are busy people in the world that love these options.  I know there are people who are non-abled that need these services, which is wonderful for them.
I am NOT there yet.  I have never bought from E-Bay or Etsy ever - I don't belong to Amazon Prime - and nobody is doing my shopping for me!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Not yet any way!

I think we have just become too complacent about technology.  Truthfully, I hate most of it.
I want to live a life OF PURPOSE - ON PURPOSE!

I want to grow things, fix things, and make things.  I want my life to be rich with meaning - NOT stuff.
I think it is so important that we keep the older ways alive.  What happens if life changes for all of us?  I could get by, you may be able to get by, many of my family could get by, but soooooo many people could not.  They don't have a clue how to survive without technology, or without absolutely everything being SO EASY!

We so need to teach the old fashioned values and ethics and ways.  We need to be leaders NOT followers.  We need to volunteer when we can.  We need to teach.

I want the younger folks to know how SATISFYING it is to grow what you eat.  I want them to know how to FIX things -  NOT purchase new.  I want them to know how to MAKE things - whether it be cooking from scratch or mending clothes or creating a gift.   I want them to know there is SO MUCH MORE than money.  I want them to slow down.
I want them to know there is PURPOSE AND MEANING IN LIFE!

How do we do this?  I try to spread the word as often as possible.  I try to show and tell as many folks as possible.  But I can't reach everyone in my community, nor can you.  Things like this blog and many of yours, help spread the word further - but so many will still miss out.
That truly saddens me.

I learned from my parents and grandparents.  I read and learn from history.  I want to be a sponge and absorb all I can, even at this stage in life.

We each need to do our part to teach values.  We need to do our part to teach living a simpler life.  We all need to be part of the solution  and of the purpose of a LIFE WELL SPENT.

I pray we all let our lights shine and share the wisdom we have.
Tell it, write it, share it and embrace it.
It's an everlasting gift for the future.

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

IT'S TIME!!!!! For Yard Sales!!

YAY it is that time of the year again.  I can't wait to go to the first one!  I have been reading that several of you have already started going to sales and you are finding some great deals.

I don't so much NEED anything - I just like going and looking.  Some days something just screams "YOU NEED ME" and I have to buy it.  We have a big neighborhood sale (not mine) coming up in early June.  It is a historic neighborhood with a lot of really neat old houses and it is surrounded by the park - so it makes for a really fun day.

I like yard sales, estate sales, flea markets, you name it.  It is called FREE ENTERTAINMENT.

If you are planning on having a sale to get rid of your gently loved treasures, you need to remember a few things to be successful.
  •   Make sure your items are ALL priced!!!!!  If I don't see prices - I walk away!  If you want people to buy - then mark items or have a sign saying all is priced the same.
  • Make sure your items are clean
  • Group 'like' items together for easy shopping
  • Have plenty of change!  KEEP IT ON YOUR BODY!  Don't not leave it laying on a table - too tempting!
  • If you have expensive items - keep them close to you or someone you have helping.  Sadly, people will steal
  • Put up signs or run an ad in the paper.  Advertise.
  • If you put up signs - make them readable from the car!!!!  Do NOT write in pencil or ink pen - make the address and date clear and bold
  • Be considerate and take your signs down after the sale is over
  • If you have electric items - make sure you have a plug available for testing.
  • DO NOT allow people in your house (unless it is basically empty). 
  • Keep your doors LOCKED - people could sneak in when you are distracted
STAY SAFE but have fun.  You can make some good extra money getting rid of all that clutter around the house.  I remember we had many a sale back years ago and the best day we had was about $650.  That was wonderful.

Think about keeping a list with you when you are out and about.  A list of things you need or might be looking for.  Keep a list of kids sizes and even adult sizes.  Know your prices.  Don't pay retail pricing at a yard sale. 

**Also think about roaming the neighborhood on the evening before or the morning of 'heavy trash' day.  People throw away good stuff sometimes.  I have found some nice items for my yard that way.

Do you have any great tips on having a sale?
I hope you all enjoy your adventures and maybe make a little extra dollars!