Sunday, September 30, 2018

Frugal Happenings 9/30

Happy last day of September!  Fall has surely been in the air this week.
It is mind boggling that tomorrow is October!
We have had quite a chilly week (I love it) compared to past weeks.  It has been in the 60's and 70's during the day and upper 40's and 50's at night.  It is quite refreshing to sleep with the window open a bit and snuggle under the covers!
This next week it is going to warm up again with highs in low and mid 80's. 

My hummingbirds have left for warmer places.  They were here last Sunday and I saw them first thing Monday morning.  They fluttered directly in front of the kitchen window as if they were saying "thank you and see you next spring".   I will miss my little flying jewels.

My frugal week:
  • Produce has drastically dropped off.  I harvested around 6 1/2 lbs. and most of it was peppers - a few tomatoes.
  • Hosed down the front of the house, the porch, and the furniture on the porch.  Looks so fresh!
  • Mowed and did some yard work
  • Washed windows, mirrors and glass on pictures
  • G had a birthday this week and I made him a German chocolate cake - his absolute favorite.  I had a mix I got on clearance , but of course it didn't make up like the picture.  It had no ICING - just stuff you mix in the cake.  So I made the topping from scratch.  Dang was that cake rich and yummy - we even shared with neighbor - too much for us to eat here (sugar wise).
The nuts and coconut it came with were to be mixed in cake.  I made my own topping.  Easy and YUM!
  • No AC at all this week - windows open and house aired out
  • Cut some herbs for drying
  • Saved old bread - drying.  Starting to make dressing bread for the holidays
  • Received more individual pop bottles to use for water storage
  • I did run to Kroger for milk and eggs this week.  I found 3 Mrs. Wages pickles mixes and 2 - Mrs. Wages hot salsa mixes on clearance and got them for my brother's Christmas basket.
  • Went to Big Lots 20% off sale yesterday and found 2 nice duffle bags.  They were already on clearance 75% off (school supplies were all marked down) and I got another 20% off - I paid $2 each for them!!!!!!!  They will be the 'goody bags' for 2 of the teenage kids this Christmas. (They are both into sports - so should come in handy)
       One bag for a girl and one for a boy.  They will take a LOT of goodies to fill them!!!!!!
  • Got a ton of small maintenance projects done on Friday.  Little things that needed to be done before winter.  Feels good to have them done
  • Neighbors had a yard sale Saturday.  I bought myself ANOTHER sewing machine!  I have 2 - one that gives me headaches (I need it serviced) and one that I inherited (haven't even tried it).  This one was too good of a deal to pass on.  It was marked $25 I offered $20 - she said yes.  The original tag on the box says $97.  E-Bay $75 and up.  If nothing else I can gift it to a niece OR keep myself!  We will see.
           It has the manual and all accessories - doesn't look like it has barely been  used.

Meals this past week:
Remade balance of broc./cheddar soup into a chowder & had sandwiches with it
B-day dinner - G wanted food from 50's Diner (HUGE breaded tenderloins/fries/onion rings)
Open face cheeseburgers and slaw, tomatoes
Chef salad - beef stick/cheese/crackers
Taco/Mexican type soup - 2X
Smoked sausage, 4 cheese mac n cheese and tomatoes

That pretty well sums up my week.  Just doing all the normal stuff.
How was your week?  Any great deals?  Gardens still producing?  Preserving goodies?
Let us know.

Prayers for a healthy and happy week for each of you.  Good forward and do or say something nice to/for someone this week - it will help counter balance all the negative out there.  If we all do good - it could change everything.  It's 'catching' you know!!!!!

Blessings to you ALL from our humble home to yours!

Thursday, September 27, 2018

On My Mind

I always have so many things flowing around in my little brain!  MOST I will not share - as I try to keep this a 'safe zone' for everyone. 
I have many thoughts about the daily news events (of all types) - but I will keep those to myself.  We all need quiet zones to visit - away from all the crap of the day!

"You get to do what you want to do with people who care about the same things you care about."

Doesn't really seem like a horoscope - but it is true.
 I love getting to talk about things with like minded people - you all!
That makes me so happy.

This morning a young friend of ours (in 30's) posted on FB that **abc company** has large iced coffees for 1.99 for the rest of the month.  She drinks 3 a day!!!!!! She was so excited. 
BACK STORY - she is a wife. the mother of 3 very young kids, a step mom to 1, a brand new house and 2 new cars and LOTS of debt.
I commented - ANY SIZE iced coffee you want - almost FREE - 365 days a year AT HOME!
Her comment - 'not the same'.
WOW - it just amazes me how differently folks of different generations and different upbringings (super spoiled) think.
Basically $6 a day, at least 5 or 6 days a week, is a lot of money!  That could pay a bill each month or buy groceries (oh wait - they eat out all the time too!).
Drives me crazy!!!!!

                                                            Mmmmmm - Hmmmmmm!

We have had the same mailman since we moved here in 1986.  He also was the mailman at the last place I worked for years as well.  Think about it - your mailman knows more about your life than most!  Mine knew where I lived, where I worked, where G worked, what bills we owed, what places we ordered from, what hobbies we had, etc.  EVERTHING - LOL.

The other day he knocked on the door, as a he had a small package.  G had ordered something.
I commented that it was probably something for his guns.
Jeff (mailman) says - "oh you guys preppers?  You have a couple guns, a little money buried in the back yard and a couple months of food stored away?"

I was chuckling and said - "sure".  He really doesn't know us after all.  G has been a collector of fire arms for years.  YES, we have money hid - not in the yard - but hid.
2 months of food?  Weeeelllllll - lets say more like 1 - 2 years.

I just find it comical what some people consider prepping for whatever events may happen in our lives.  It also makes me kind of sad.  I do believe his thoughts on the subject mirror the thoughts of many people.  What will they do in a crisis?

My RANT of the week!
I have seen ads on TV the past few days for new movies and TV shows.  They are all remakes of older shows and movies - some of which were classics.  I hate that. 
I like the classics.  It just goes to show that 'the Hollywood' sorts have run out of ideas!!!!!  They aren't really creative - they are just using new people and updating situations.  I know they are trying to reach the younger generation - but try distributing the older version first.  They may like it!!!!
I will not watch the new versions - they are never as good.
Some things need to be left alone.

Have you ever noticed that even Hallmark channel movies, basically all have the same theme?  They are all centered around bakeries, coffee shops, inns, and pets.  LOL - at least that is how is seems to me.  I still watch those - as they are at least family oriented - but you ALWAYS know that there will be a misunderstanding at some point and they will 'live happily ever after'.

Now you know about 1% of 1 % of what is going on in my head today!  It's a jumbled mess!
Laundry is being done, meat thawing for soup, cleaning and airing the house, and little projects going on.
"It's a Wonderful Life". 

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Live Simply & Intentionally

Life becomes so overwhelming at times, and we all need our sanctuary - HOME!
We all need to take a step back and examine our lives. 
Are you happy? 
Are you stressed?
Do you ever just throw your hands up and walk away?
Do you dread each day?

TAKE CONTROL - only you can do it.  Live intentionally - by taking control.  Don't let others, or spending, or outside influences control your life.

GET RID OF STUFF - too many things can clutter our homes and our minds.  I am a constant work in progress on this count.  Geesh - how did I end up with all this stuff?  I know you ask the same question.
We need to free ourselves to keep ONLY what we love, find beautiful or need.  Give it away (donate or re-gift), sell it, do whatever you need to - but control the clutter.
De-clutter one room at a time - that makes it easier.

USE CASH as often as possible.  Debt can be overwhelming for sure.  It affects every aspect of our lives.  If you can afford it - pay cash for it.  If you can't afford - don't SPEND!!!!!!
I admit I carry only a certain amount of cash - and I do charge many purchases (I use only 1 CC) - BUT we pay off that card every month.  One bill - one payment.

CLEAN DAILY or as you make a mess.  Don't leave things till later - it will only stress you out and make you angry that you have to do it at all.  Get family involved - let it be know that you are NOT the maid!!!!  Each person needs to clean their own messes as they make them.

DON"T make EXTRA TRIPS to the store.  NEVER make a trip for one thing!!!!!!!  If you are out - you are out.  Substitute something else.  We all know making a trip for ONE thing is basically impossible!  You will always see something else you 'need'.  Just stay home.

Along those lines - keep a DEEP PANTRY.  Always have extras put back for that very reason.  If you keep your stockpile up - there won't be need for extra trips and you will always have what you need on hand.  As you start to get low on something - add it to a list  (I usually add when down to a couple of something).  This enables you to control spending, use what you have, stay on top of things, and HAVE LESS STRESS!

GET OUTSIDE EVERY DAY!!!!!  I don't care if you just sit on the porch or the stoop, walk the yard, feed the critters, talk to a neighbor, tend the garden, mow the grass, take a neighborhood walk, pick up trash around the area, shovel snow - GET OUTSIDE! 
Surprisingly the fresh air and daylight can make a huge difference in your life.  I so wish I could make everyone understand that.  Light, air, and water are essential to all life - and so many people just ignore some of those things, and can not understand why they feel like they do!

REMOVE THE NEGATIVE from your life!!!!!!  This is huge.  It may mean that you have to block or remove people from social media (you all know the drama people), or just get rid of social media all together. 
Turn off the news - YES, we all need to be aware of what is happening - but it doesn't need to be 24/7. 
Pay off debt - that is a huge negative in life.
STAY AWAY from those that drain your spirit.  It doesn't matter if it is family, friends, or neighbors.  I have had to step away from some family do to their hateful attitudes and controlling nature.  They repeatedly drained me of my energy and I had to say NO MORE.  I know that may seem mean or cruel to some - but my mental health and my spirit and energy ARE IMPORTANT for my life here with my hubby.  It doesn't mean you don't love or care for someone - it means that you have to take back your life for your immediate family.

SLOW DOWN - some people think the world can't revolve without them going 10 directions at the same time.  If you quit doing so much - the sun will still rise tomorrow!  You get one shot at this thing called life.  ENJOY IT - don't spend your life always in a hurry - trying to stretch yourself beyond your limits.
If you are working at many jobs - MAYBE you can quit one or two IF you do some of the things listed above!  Just maybe!!!!!!
Limit the kids to a certain amount of activities.  I know everyone wants their children to excel - but at what cost?
Have ME TIME!  Time when you just sit and relax or read or meditate.  Have a 'date' night with your significant other - time alone for just the 2 of you.

There are many things that contribute to living simply - not just less stuff.  If we all try to intentionally take back control of our lives - we will be a lot happier!
Live an INTENTIONAL life and live a  SIMPLER life.
It is up to you.

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Frugal Happenings 9/23

Well, it has arrived and it does feel like it here.  We had a big drop in temps on Friday - and it will continue throughout the next week.
Today is sunny and cool - lovely!
We are to get some rain this next week - but I do look forward to getting a lot of fall yard work done.  There is so much that needs to be tended to before winter sets in.  We all know that will be here before we blink twice!!!!!

It has been an exceptionally quiet week here on the home front.

My frugal week:
  • I did make a run to Rural King for a canned cat food stock-up.  I really need to keep up on that every month, to keep my inventory up.
  • I have been harvesting a little of this and that.  Peppers, tomatoes, okra and cucumbers.  Totaled around 15 1/2 lbs. this week.  It is really winding down.
Just a few yummy tomatoes waiting to be eaten and shared.  We eat them every night - as soon there will be none!
  • Made a batch of cinnamon  rolls
  • Did laundry in cold and line dried
  • Bought gas for the first time in almost 2 months and got a .20/gallon discount
  • I did FINALLY grocery shop this week for a just a few odds and ends.  ONLY spent $32
  • Turned off the AC on Friday - probably for the rest of the year!
  • Did a little light yard work
  • Started doing some fall cleaning
  • Windows open and house getting fresh air
SEE - pretty darn quiet and unexciting!  Lovin' it!

Can you see the sweet little hummingbird sitting and resting?  This was right outside the dining room window.  This is the first year I have ever had them just sit still.  They do it a lot.  A birdy has to rest sometime!!!!!!

Meals this past week:
Homemade nachos
Chicken and rice and salad
Pork chops, black eyed peas, stuffing and tomatoes
Hamburger hash, slaw and tomatoes
Chicken French bread pizza topped with roasted tomatoes
FRY night - fried green tomatoes, onions & okra served with franks
Broccoli/rice/cheese soup
All leftovers used at lunches

            Last nights sunset from my porch.  What a beautiful display of God's handiwork!

Life is slowing down a little.  Crops are winding down, so is the canning.  Yard work will increase for a bit - then that will also slow.  Cool days, eating the harvest, scented candles, watching nature and enjoying God's wonders - YEP that is the life!!!!!!

I found a few new recipes this week, that I will be making for Christmas baskets.  Yummy  recipes I will share after I try them!

What is going on in your neck of the woods?  Garden still producing?  Still preserving?  Any deals?
Let us know how you are preparing for fall.

May you all be blessed and safe and healthy this week.  Take time to enjoy all the wonders of fall and the wonderful gifts it has to offer.  Be kind.  Praise your Maker for everything.
Blessings from our humble home to yours.

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Fun Festive Fall Food

It's that time of the years when we do a lot of fun and yummy goodies.
Kids are back in school, there are backyard bonfires and cookouts, football parties, and even Mom & Dads coming home from a long day at work - looking for a treat as well.

I like to have things that can be eaten as a treat or as part of a meal.
Today I will give you a couple of my favorites.

15 oz. can of black beans (drained)
16 oz.  can of corn (drained)
3/4 C sweet onion, chopped
3/4 C bell pepper - chopped
1 C tomato - chopped
2 Tbsp. fresh parsley, minced (if you have it)
1 tsp. pepper
1/3 C apple cider vinegar
1/4 C oil

Mix all the ingredients together in a large serving bowl, cover and refrigerate for 3 - 4 hours.
Great with tortilla chips or corn chips.  Fun with pitas or tortillas - or just in a bowl eaten with a spoon!
Pretty much ingredients that we all have on hand at anytime.
Great for cookouts, football parties or after school snacks - and pretty healthy too!!!!  Ssshhhh don't tell them that part!

(This is a family/friend favorite)
8 oz. pack of softened cream cheese
7 oz. jar marshmallow crème
1/4 c sugar
Mix together till smooth.  Great for dipping fruit of all types.  We especially like with apples, bananas and strawberries.  Also yummy with ginger snaps or vanilla wafer cookies.
This was always a MUST on our camping trips for munching away.

Another fall favorite - candy corn and salted peanuts mixed together!  Tastes like a Pay Day candy bar!

4 C apple cider
2 C cranberry juice
46 oz. can of apricot juice
1 C orange juice
3/4 C sugar
2 - small cinnamon stick
1 orange - peeled and sectioned
Pour ALL ingredients into a slow cooker and heat on low until warmed through.  Remove cinnamon sticks and orange sections before serving.
Serve warm.
This is good for football parties or campfires and cookouts.  Warm up a tummy after school on a nice cold day.  Pretty healthy too!
*You could even 'adult' it up with alcohol added to each glass.

8 oz. pack cream cheese - softened
1/2 C butter - softened
1/4 tsp. vanilla
3/4 C powdered sugar
2 Tbsp. brown sugar -  packed
3/4 C mini chocolate chips (or what you have)
3/4 C chopped pecans.
Cream  the cream cheese, butter and vanilla till fluffy.  Add sugars and mix well.  Fold in chips.  Cover and refrigerate for a couple hours.  Shape into a ball and refrigerate one more hour.  Uncover and roll in pecans just before serving.
Yummy served with vanilla wafers or sugar cookies.  (I like it with pretzels too)
Makes a great snack, dessert, or cookout treat.

Hope this makes an afternoon or evening a little more enjoyable.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Eat Great for Little $

We all want to eat good wholesome meals and we all don't want to spend a fortune to do that.
There are a lot of tricks and hacks that can help out in so many ways.  You DO NOT have to spend a lot of money - you just need to be creative!

Watch out for the DEALS OF THE MONTH!
September is generally the month to get great deals on apples, broccoli, cauliflowers and canned goods.
It is also National Rice Month
National Potato Month
National Honey Month
National Chicken Month
National Breakfast Month  &
National Mushroom Month
OK this is getting kind of crazy..... national this and that!

I just like to look for the best deals available each month at orchards, farm markets, neighborhood stands, grocery stores and any place else that sells food!
I think you know me by now and you know  markdowns and sales are my go to items!!!

I realize some people don't have a good stockpile of food - and shop weekly or as the budget allows.  If you get down to the nitty-gritty of supplies never fear.  If you get down to A piece of meat or little meat - just remember you should use it as an ingredient - NOT a coarse of the meal.
Cut up a pork chop or chicken breast and add to sauce or rice or pasta.  Use a half pound of ground in sauce or in a casserole or soup.  Add more veggies, rice or pasta to meals and cut back on the expensive ingredients.

My favorite filling & frugal go-to meals are beans and cornbread, chili or soup, a large baked potato, and biscuits and gravy or breakfast.  These can all be made for pennies and they are filling and yummy.

This is a great way to turn an inexpensive cake mix into a gourmet delight!  I always use olive oil whenever I make a box brownie mix.  It makes them taste 'from scratch'. 

****  If you are BAKING and realize you are out of a supply - here are a few ideas:

Need a can of sweetened condensed milk - sub 3/4 c sugar, 1/2 C water, and 1 1/2 C powdered milk.  Bring all together to a boil and stir at lower heat for about 20 minutes.  Equivalent to about 1 can!

Need an egg - sub 3 Tbsp. mayonnaise and 1/2 tsp. baking powder

Need heavy cream for a recipe - sub 2/3 C whole milk w 1/3 C melted unsalted butter

Corn syrup - 2 C white sugar, 3/4 C water, 1/4 tsp. cream of tartar.  Whisk together, boil, cover and simmer for 3 minutes - uncover and cook to the 'soft-ball' stage (a drop in cold water makes a ball).  It will store in air tight container in pantry for a couple months.

Buttermilk (to cook with NOT drink) - 1 C milk and 1 Tbsp. white vinegar or lemon juice.  Let it stand for several minutes before using.

Powder sugar - just pulverize regular white sugar in the blender.

Colored sugar for cookie decorating - regular sugar and mix in a few drops (to desired color0 of food coloring.)  Mix well.  I do this every holiday to get my own special colors!

Evaporated milk - 1/3 C non-fat dry milk and 6 Tbsp. water


Potatoes, rice and pasta can be switched out in most recipes.  Don't have one - use another!
Again, use less meat than called for
Soups and casseroles are great ways to stretch out your food and your budget
Have a NO MEAT night once or twice a week
Turn leftovers into something new - NEVER throw out food.  Either turn it into a new dish or use for lunches.
Remember beans and cheese are proteins as well as meat.

Make your own!!!!!!!
Bake cakes, pies, cookies, etc. yourself. 
Eat fruit when in season for a snack - it is healthy too.
Make popcorn - super cheap and tasty.  Experiment with different seasonings to jazz it up.
Cheese & crackers, fruit and peanut butter, carrots/celery and dip........ there are many options for a snack.
Make some lunchmeat salad (buy inexpensive lunchmeat and grind).  Great for sandwiches or with crackers as a snack.  Great way to expand lunchmeat or ham/chicken/turkey, etc.  into a meal for many.
Get yourself a cookbook or two (or get them at the library) and go to town.  There is no limit to what you can do and you can eat REALLY WELL and for little money!
Don't be afraid to try things on your own.  I am a  huge 'by the seat of my pants' kind of cook!  Most times it turns our fine.

Have fun - eat well - get creative and spend little money!
What are your favorite money savers?

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Frugal Happenings 9/16

Good morning.  Hard to believe it is already the middle of September!
Hope this post finds everyone well.

We got to keep the AC most of the week, till Friday.  I finally got the basement all dried out and the musty smell has gone.  Thank goodness.
We are back in the mid to upper 80's and that will continue through the next week.  I guess summer isn't done yet!
I know that our water problems of last week was nothing, compare to what the folks in the South East are going through.  I pray for their safety.  It is so sad, and so many are losing everything.

WOW I went to my 45th graduating class reunion last night.  Man that sounds awful - I AM OLD!  It was a pretty good time, catching up with people.  We had a huge class (around 900) and only about 1/8 of the people showed up.  I still come across names and people I have never heard of!  I have always said that living in the same place all these years - that it was weird not running into schoolmates.  Well, I probably do, I just don't know them!  

                      My angel watching over the yard - Love the 'cross' shadow she emits.
My frugal week:
  • Changed out handbags this week - to a more 'fall-ish' one
  • Cut G's and my hair
  • Colored my hair at home
  • Made another quart of ice cream
  • Canned 5 pints of chopped tomatoes.  Many split and had spots after last weeks rain - so I salvaged all I could and canned.  Waste not.........
  • Picked about 15 lbs. of produce
  • G had his home doctor visit this week.  All is good!
  • Finally dried out and got some much needed yard work done
  • Line dried laundry
  • Received a FREE Country Woman magazine in the mail.  Trying to entice me back.
  • I went out once to get G's scripts - so I ran to Kroger to get cat litter.  I got 4 - 4 packs of highlighters for kids holiday baskets for .59 each on clearance.  Also got 4 - 10 packs of mechanical pencils for .79 each.  Bought NO groceries again.
  • AC off most of week
  • Took our friend/neighbor to Dr. this week and found a new thrift store in the same complex!  I went in and looked for a few minutes - it's huge and cheap.  I need to go back and SHOP!
  • Friend/neighbor gave us 7 cans of condensed soup (mainly mushroom and onion - which he hates) and 2 cans of kidney beans and a half pound of pecan halves (which he hates).  His EX gf brought all that to his house trying to get  him to eat it.  It didn't work - so I got it!  YAY!!
  • Just doing all our regular stuff
I still have 2 hummingbirds hanging out - All the others seem to have left.  They sure are drinking the nectar like crazy. 

Last weekend I spent a rainy afternoon watching the 1949 classic The Secret Garden.  I thoroughly enjoyed it.  That has always been one of my favorite books.  Old moves are just so cool to see.

Meals this past week:  (Easy week)
Hamburger veggie soup 2X
Leftover pizza and salad
Turkey & cheese sandwiches, potato salad and sliced tomatoes
Steak burgers/onions, fried corn, and salad
G had turkey sandwich & chips and dip - I ate at reunion

All other leftovers used for lunches

Sure sign it's almost fall - the sedum is blooming.  Love my 'live forever'.  They sure attract bees and butterflies!

So there you have it  not very exciting at all.  That's OK, I like it that way. 
How was your week?  Did you get any deals?  How are the gardens doing?

I hope and pray that you are all safe and healthy.  Prayers going out for anyone in the storm affected areas.  Life isn't always easy - but it always good. 

Blessings from our humble home to yours!

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Saving Yesterday & Today for Tomorrow

Life goes by so quickly.  People we love are gone in flash.
Now that the holidays are closing in again - I hope some of you think about preserving a bit of the past for the other family members.
Memories are with us - and no one else can know what you experienced in life unless you document it.

One year G and I went through EVERY picture we could get our hands on (borrowed from parents too).  We categorized them and put them on the computer.  We then made DVD's for all the nieces and nephews and siblings of all those pictures for a gift one year.  They were thrilled.

My mother kept journals.  She used to tell me stories about when she was young and about her family who I never got to know.  So I told her once to start writing those stories down - because I would never remember all the details.  I bought her a blank book and she started writing.  I have 15 journals - written both sides of pages that she wrote before she died.
They got to be more diaries after a while.  She wrote up until a couple weeks before she passed.  I still haven't been able to read them all (too sad) and she passed in 2001!
BUT I have them and they are her handwriting and her words and thoughts.

The same goes with family recipes.  Do you or your loved ones have  lot of recipes that are family favorites?  Holiday specialties?  WRITE THEM DOWN!!
Make index cards or put together a small cookbook for family members.  Have everyone contribute their favorites.
What a wonderful Christmas gift that would be.
I have many of my Mom's, my sister (who has passed), and my grandma's recipes.  I made up a little recipe book for the nieces one year for Christmas. I used a small 4 x 5  photo album with plastic protectors for the recipes.  They can add to it for their kids.

Those of us who blog, are kind of leaving a bit of ourselves out their for the world.  I guess we can look at it as our journals.  Our thoughts, memories, recipes, joys and heartaches.
I still think it is only right that we ALL leave some personal things for the rest of the family now and in the future.

I know many young people don't have a care at all about that stuff - BUT SOMEDAY they will and we will all be gone.  Leave them your legacy.

    Mom and Daddy the year before I was born.  I can't imagine not having my pictures of the past!
NOW is the time to get busy on these kind of projects.  Pictures, memories, family history, recipes, your craftwork, or whatever it is  - pass it on.
Once you and the folks older than you are gone - so is all the information - forever!!!!!!

If you don't know stuff - ASK QUESTIONS NOW!!!
Life is such an individual journey, different for each of us.  Someday other generations will learn from us - much as WE have learned from days gone by.

Another great idea for holiday gifts - pass on heirlooms to those who will appreciate and keep for years to come.  We all have things we have received - but when we leave this earth - what will happen to them?  Gift them now to others who can enjoy them for years to come.

Just a few ideas to work on and get ready for the upcoming holidays.

Passing on the 'past' is the best gift we can give the future.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Yummy Apple Fritters

Fall is in the air, and apples are on my mind.  NOT pumpkins - apples.  I love all things apple - there are so many wonderful options.

Today I will give the recipe for delicious apple fritters.  They are so easy to make and so yummy.  They are donut 'like' inside and a bit crispy on the outside.  You can glaze or just add powdered sugar.
They are truly the best when eaten within a day of making them - seriously that should not be a problem!!!


2 Tbsp. sugar
2 large eggs
1 C all purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 C milk
2 tsp. lemon juice
2-3 C peeled chopped apples

1 1/4 C powdered sugar
1/4 tsp. vanilla
3-4 tsp. warm water
OR sprinkle with powdered sugar with a bit of cinnamon added

Cut up your apple and sprinkle with the lemon juice

Cream sugar and eggs for 1 - 2 minutes.  Add flour and other dry ingredients and milk.  Slowly add apples and mix thoroughly.
MAKE SURE your oil is getting hot while doing all the above.  375* is necessary.
You need oil that hot, so fritters cook quickly and not absorb oil!!!!!!

Drop into oil by large spoonful.  Once they brown - gently flip over so other side can brown.  Do NOT make them too large or the center will not get done.

Remove from oil and set on cooling rack.  If using powder sugar instead of glaze - sprinkle while they are warm.
If using glaze - spread it on one side - let it set up a bit - turn over and glaze other side.  Best to have on wire racks if doing this, so they can drip if necessary.

These are so good.  I am making up a batch this afternoon.  Using up apples in the crisper that needs to be used.  Most people have all the ingredients on hand for these.
Great for breakfast or for a lovely dessert or treat after school.

I LOVE apple season.  You can keep your pumpkins - apples are what rock my world!

Sunday, September 9, 2018

Frugal Happenings 9/9

Good morning.  It is a chilly damp morning here in Indiana.  What a change.
We were exceptionally hot and humid the first part of the week - felt like breathing under water outside.
THEN rain came!!!!!  And came, and  came......  Finally the rain is to end today.  It is 60* right now with a high of 62* later today.  We have a promise of warmer temps in the week.  70's and 80's will return in a day or so.
We have had an  abundance of rain to say the least.

Friday our neighborhood looked like "a river ran through it"!  Water was rolling down the street.  Our back yard is still a lake.  The basement flooded for the first time in years!!!!!! (came through the drain).
UGH - I worked really hard with the shop vac and got up the water, now the dehumidifier is going as well as a fan.  It still smells damp (and is), but it will be OK is a day or two.  Nothing hurt as I keep anything important in totes or up.  Just a lot of work and a back that has been tightening up what feels like charley horses this weekend.  Could be worse.
Prayers for those in the path of the hurricanes coming in.  Stay safe.

I saw sparrows flocking to the squirrel feeder over the past couple days - staying dry inside.  They flocked to the front porch as well.  Poor babies - got tired of rain too. 
The hummingbirds have been more active than I have ever seen.  There are constantly birds at the feeders.  I got a couple thrills this week.  I have a feeder hanging about 3' outside the kitchen window - so great views.  I stood and watched a hummy preen itself.  How cool that was.  I had never seen that before.
They have been wanting out of the rain as well.  They sit on the feeders (under awnings) and they have been hanging out on the front porch this weekend too.  I hope you can see the baby in the picture.  They have been sitting for the longest times on the back of the chairs on the porch.

See it on the back of the chair?  They have been doing that all weekend on both chairs.  I took this through the door - so not the best pic.  So sweet.

I also changed out nectar this week and was hanging the one that is right above where that bird is sitting.  I had hold of the bottom and a bird flew up about 1 " from my hand and a couple inches from my face!!!!!  I could hear it's wings and could feel the breeze from them.  It hovered there for about 30 seconds.  I was beyond thrilled to be that close!!!!!

My frugal week:
  • Refilled sugar, sweetener, coffee and tea canisters from big pantry.  Also brought up beans and tomatoes to keep in upstairs pantry.
  • Made a batch of cookies from dough I had in the freezer - nice treat.  They were peppermint flavored - I added a half of a Kiss on top.
  • Got out and used some fall decorations.  Put the door decorations up and a few things inside.
  • Seemed one thing led to another - decorating means cleaning - then de-cluttering!  I was like this all week.  Walk in to do one thing and ended up doing 3.  I guess that was good - things getting done!
  • Starting to use those fall/inter scent candles and melts I have
  • I have 3 big boxes ready to go to donation.  Got rid of some shoes (while looking for a pair for an event), clothes, and odds and ends I haven't used in ages.
  • Laundry in cold and line dried first of week.
  • Made 8 breakfast sandwiches for freezer.  Croissants from freezer and sausage and eggs on hand.
  • Made ice cream
  • AC off for a few days
  • Hard boiled eggs
  • When refilling sugar - I got a bag from one of my tins.  It was wrapped in a grocery bag - when I opened it, there was a receipt dated 2005!  Yep, the sugar was purchased on clearance then for .50 and it was still perfect.  WOOHOO
  • Picked approx.  24 lbs. of produce from the garden - mainly tomatoes and cabbage.  Some peppers and cukes
  • NO GROCERY STORE AGAIN THIS WEEK!!!!!!!  Stayed home all week. (no gas used either)
  • All meals from home, and all the usual stuff

My meals last week:
Homemade pizza
Homemade sliders (like White Castle) and potato salad
Shrimp fried rice (from freezer) and homemade veggie lo-mein
Baked enchilada stuffed pasta
Chef salads
Homemade crab (faux) salad on leftover buns
Dirty rice with little smokies and sliced tomatoes
*All extras were used for lunches

This was the stuffed pasta - (finger in there to show size).  I didn't have big shells - so I used these.  Stuffed with taco seasoned meat/salsa/cheese combo

This is after baked with enchilada sauce and cheese on top.  It was very yummy
Going to make a big pot of hamburger/veggie soup today.  That sounds good on this cool day.  Gave G the option soup or chili - he wants soup.  I may make some beer bread as well.
How has your week been?  Did you stay frugal?  Did you get any good deals?  Prayers that you all stay safe and are well prepared in event of bad weather.
God bless you all and keep you safe and healthy.  Prayers for the farmers who are going to be facing many weather related obstacles.  Hoping they are able to salvage crops that are about to be harvested.
Blessings from our humble home to yours.

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Getting Back on Track

I know we have all had those times when we just totally get off track with our goals and lives.  Sometimes we just jump the tracks and go skidding off the side of the hill.

It doesn't matter what it is.  Frugality, saving, budgets, sobriety, shopping, prepping, etc.  If you fall away from your goals - just shake it off - and start again.  There are no failures - just extra chances.
If you aren't trying to do something - then there can be no failure - but there also can be no success.

We often look at people who seem to be great successes and think how wonderful for them, and sometimes even envy them.  I guarantee you, that they had many failures along the way.  Life is not that easy - it is work.  We learn from our failures - although it takes some a lot longer than others!!! (we all know some of those people!)

Life is full of ups and downs.  I don't think I know a sole that has had life go on without some hitch to it.  I don't know about you - but I can't help but think - what fun would it have been with no ups and downs?  I learned and grew from mistakes and set-backs, and I have had a few big ones.  I wouldn't be who I am today with all the trials and tribulations.

NEVER give up or give in.  Put on those big girl panties and keep on keeping on!!!!!
If you fall of the bandwagon today, tomorrow is another day and a new chance.

Life goes on.  Stuff happens. 
When you feel down and defeated, please know you are not alone.  It happens to us all at times.  Go wash your face, take a big deep breath, and go forward and try again.

I know at those times in my life - I have asked for guidance from my Savior and I spend a bit of time communing with nature to clear my mind (just be quiet and really listen) - and I get the answers I need and I try again.  You may have to try a few times - but keep trying.

Good advice for any problem!

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Reusing & Recycling Plastics

Plastic has been the buzz word for a while now.  Big talk lately has been about plastic straws!
I understand the need to reduce our plastic use - but I really don't understand the HUGE hoopla about straws.  Heck some officials are calling for arrests if you are seen in public with a plastic straw!  REALLY???  They don't have really important matters to tend to?

I recently saw a place here that now is serving paper straws - but they are in plastic covers!!!  Drinks still come in plastic cups with plastic lids - but straws are the concern. 
I don't want to get hounded by any political or extreme environmental comments - I know this is all important and we really need to get away from plastic.
We need to stop and really think of each purchase we make.

Here are some ideas for reusing and recycling those items we have in our homes.
This past week I 'saved' a lot of individual pop bottles from the trash from my neighbor.  They gave me all their individual bottles.  I thoroughly cleaned and filled them with filtered water for future use (my SHTF storage)!  These smaller bottles and 1 and 2 liter pop bottles are much better for storage than milk jugs.  Milk jugs are made a plastic that really breaks down easily and will eventually leak and leach nasty chemicals into your drinks.

I added 24 bottles of water to storage last week for FREE and saved items from going to the landfill.
Pop bottles, jugs that fruit juice comes in, that store bought tea comes in are all heavier and much better for storage.
2 Liter bottles are also great for storing dry items like pasta, bans and rice.
2 Liter bottles can be turned into wine racks or  magazine /paper racks.  Use your imagination!!

Do you get those plastic bags from the grocery?  I try to always use my own bags - but sometimes run in and forget.  I use those bags for small trash cans.  They are good for pet poo-poo cleanup.  If you keep them - you may start to hoard - as many stores are starting to  eliminate them.  Kroger just announced that they are going to start gradually eliminating. 
From what I understand plastic bags have been banned from many of our western states for years.

The bags are often cut into strips and used to crochet.  Rugs, hats, bags, scrubbies, etc.  can be crocheted from plastic.   I have seen lots of real neat items made from them.  There are groups that crochet mats for the homeless from all the bags.  Great reuse!

Any kind of plastic container can be turned into storage.  Coffee containers make great dry storage containers.  You can paint them on the outside or add contact paper to pretty up.  If for extra storage in pantry - just add a label.  They stack nicely too.
I use old spice container over and over for my dried herbs or for kitchen spices (I buy in bulk and keep smaller containers in kitchen.)
Bottles are great for storing dehydrated items as well.  I do use a lot of glass for storage - but I reuse a lot of heavy plastic as well.

I store chopped chives in a bottle and keep it in the freezer.  Whenever I need chives for cooking, I simply shake out what I want!

       How about a cute bird house or feeder?  Get creative and make some FREE and pretty gifts.

Plastic or plasticized feed bags (bird seed, etc.) and many pet food bags are great to recycle into reusable grocery bags or totes for the beach or even catch-all purses.  There are ladies at the area farm markets that sell them for good money every year.  They are sturdy and cute.  I want to make some to use as my "goody" bags for Christmas.

I just love this idea.  I get so many pretty bags from different types of bird seed and then dry cat food.
Great toys can be made from old plastic items.  I can imagine a bowling set from bottles, or paint them into imaginary characters.  They make great storage for all small toys.  Larger coffee containers would be great and light weight for holding Legos, tiny cars, etc.  They could be personalized and all!
Smaller bottles can have  items inside and be used as a rattle for kids or play toys for cats.  LIDS HAVE TO BE TIGHT so no chance of them opening.  I wouldn't do this for dogs as they will chew it.

I buy dish soap, soft soap, and laundry detergent and shampoo in BIG bulk bottles.  I keep smaller bottles to refill.  It may not be the best solution - but it keeps them out of the trash, and I am not buying umpteen smaller bottles!!
I have many scoops made from old laundry bottles and milk jugs.  They are great for scooping seed - dirt - whatever you need it for.

I see a lot of yards with luminaries during Halloween and Christmas.  Gallon milk jugs can be used.  Cut off part of top, add sand, and place a votive candle in the sand.  You can also paint spooky faces or snowmen or trees on them and they will look so pretty while glowing!

EDIT:  I forgot to mention gallon ice cream containers!  They are nice to make Easter baskets out of - good for making kids goodie baskets at holidays - great collection containers for kitchen scraps going out to compost - holding bird seed or pet food, gadgets in the garage  - oh my, the list goes on and on.........

Folks we just need to be AWARE of our every purchases - so that we are not contributing any more than necessary to the litter of the earth.
REUSE AND RECYCLE everything you can.
There are just so many neat ideas out there and so many super ways to be CREATIVE with trash!!!!!
Check out Pinterest for TONS of ideas.

WHAT are some of your creative reuses for plastic items?
I love getting new ideas!!!!!!!



Sunday, September 2, 2018

Frugal Happenings 9/2

Happy September to all.  This is a long weekend for many in the U.S., with the Labor Day Holiday.  Hope you enjoy!  It is funny, once you retire, those long weekends are no longer something to get excited about.  They are all long weekends!!
There will be lots of people going to pools before they close and boating over the holidays - please stay safe!

We have had hot temps once again, and it looks as if the next week will continue to be around 90*.  The humidity came back and makes it feel much warmer.

I have been on a personal battle with gnats!!!!!  Geesh I just can't get rid of them.  I have my little gnat traps (vinegar and sugar) set, and do get many - but my best defense is just killing them.  I have smashed dozens a day!  I guess until summer veggies quit coming in the house I am doomed to continue smashing gnats! (sounds like a rock group - LOL)

My frugal week:
  • I harvested much less this week - but still harvesting.  I ended up with about 14 lbs. of produce
                                                          still getting pretty tomatoes
  • I canned 6 and 1/2 pints of spaghetti sauce
  • Laundry in cold and line dried
  • I ran to Meijer to get ground beef.  1.59/lb. - got 12 more pounds and froze. (I now have about 50 lbs. froze).
  • Got myself a new summery ankle length dress at Meijer for 40% off.  It is for an event I will be attending this month.  This is the FIRST brand new dress I have purchased in years - I usually go to thrift or yard sales.
  • Put back 24 single serving bottles of water this week (I'll talk about that later in the week)
  • Got lots of yard work done on the one day with no humidity!  Great free exercise.
  • Picked 3 more pounds of grapes
  • Getting Showtime FREE for 4 days this weekend - so recording lots of movies for later
  • Did run to feed store for 'critter' supplies.  I should be good for birds and squirrels well into October
  • Doing all the usual things

Meals this past week:
Pork roast, potatoes & carrots (in crockpot)
Pulled BBQ pork, fried potatoes and side salad
Goulash and sliced tomatoes
Fried chicken and salad
Chopped steak and a large salad
Coney dogs with cheese and potato salad
Fried pork chops & kraut and mashed potatoes

                                              Goulash - it's whatever you want it to be!

What have you been up to this past week?  How are the gardens and preserving going?
How have you been saving dollars?

My GOALS FOR SEPTEMBER are to stay away from the grocery stores as much as possible.  I really need nothing and I am very stocked up.  My only stock-up will be cat food again.
I want to get all my jelly and jams preserved.
I plan to do some deep fall cleaning and try to get prepared for the upcoming holidays.

I wish you all a safe, healthy and frugal week and month.  May you all be blessed beyond your dreams.

CHOOSE to smile.  CHOOSE to be kind.  CHOOSE to laugh and enjoy life.  CHOOSE to be the best you ever.  They are all choices and they will make you and others happy.

Blessings from our humble home to yours.