Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Quick Cooking Holiday Pantry

I'm late, I'm late ...... again!  Yesterday was absolutely nothing that I anticipated - oh my.  Today is a new day, and I have a new start.
Here we go!

During the holidays, we are all busy with visiting, visitors, buying gifts, wrapping, decorating, plays and musicals, bazaars....................  It is coming up on a busy time in all out lives.
Here is a great list to help you stay on track, and to help for those unexpected gifts and visitors.
We all love scratch food, but SOMETIMES it pays to have prepared things on hand.

Broth - all types (homemade or canned)
Bread cubes, crumbs - seasoned and unseasoned (homemade or store bought) - even a few boxes of stuffing mix
Canned tuna and chicken
Tomato products of all types
Canned beans
Quick bread mixes, cake mixes, baking/biscuit mixes - these really can help out
Condiments of all types
Soups - especially 'cream of' - canned or homemade mixes
Pasta - all shapes and sizes
Peanut butter - great for making sweets
Oatmeal - good for baking
Seasonings of all types
Nuts - all types for baking
Vinegars - great for cooking (flavored)
Chocolate chips and/or other flavors
Marshmallow cream and marshmallows
Canned veggies/frozen veggies
Baking goods - sugar, eggs, flour, etc.
Cheeses of all types - for eating and cooking
Whipping cream, canned or frozen whipped toppings
Tea, coffee
Canned milks (sweetened and evaporated) and dry milk
Frozen fruit and condensed fruit juices

If you keep basics on hand (I know this sounds like a lot) - it sure can help out. 
You can make gifts - jar mixes, baked goods, candy, tea/coffee mixes, etc.  You are ready to throw a few ingredients together for an impromptu lunch or dinner, or have items on hand for an afternoon visit.  YOU WILL ALWAYS BE READY for what life throws at you.  No unexpected runs to the grocery.

Homemade goodies for gifting and eating are always at the ready and easy to do.  Wrap or tin and you are ready for about anything.  Breads wrapped in plastic wrap and a ribbon - great for a gift OR slice with tea/coffee for an afternoon visit.  Candy, cookies always great for gifting or company.

I have noticed Aldi has already started marking down baking ingredients effective this weeks ads.  Meijer is having a sale on baking goods - now until Thanksgiving.  Let the sales begin.  LET THE PANTRY STOCK-UP BEGIN.

Here's a couple throw together quick ideas that may help.

1 pkg. stuffing mix
1 reg. can cream of mushroom
1 reg. can cream of chicken
1 C chopped onion
1 C chopped celery
Stir stuffing mix and soups together adding 1 1/2 cans of water, onion and celery.  Place in a greased 11 x7 casserole dish.  Bake covered with aluminum foil at 325* for 10 minutes.  Remove foil and continue to bake for 50 minutes - until top is golden.
Super easy to throw together with basic ingredients.

3 eggs
2 - 18 oz. lemon cake mixes
8 oz. container of frozen whipped topping - thawed
1 C powdered sugar
Combine eggs, cake mix and whipped topping - mix well.  Chill 1 hour.  Drop by teaspoon into powdered sugar, coat thoroughly and roll into balls.  Place on a greased baking sheet.  Bake at 375* for 10-11 minutes.  Makes 8 dozen.
Any flavor cake mix would work!

Make up different jar mixes for gifting for those unexpected drop by visitors/neighbors/co-workers.  If you don't give them away - they are great to keep in your pantry.  Google "jar recipes" - and will get so many ideas or go to the library - there are many books on the subject.

Be prepared, be stocked up, and be ready to ENJOY a simpler holiday season.

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Frugal Happenings 10/28

Good morning all.  Here we are - just about done with October.  The holidays will be here before you know it.  It just doesn't seem possible.

Leaves are finally starting to change color.  The horizon looks very pretty.  I drove past the park this week and there were many varieties of trees changing color.  It is getting pretty - if only for a short while.  Temps have stayed in the 50's this week.  We have had rain off and on.  Daylight hours are getting shorter and shorter and then we have daylight savings time to deal with next weekend - YAY (no one ever said)!  UGH - I just hate the fall time change more than any.  It seems it is always dark.

This past week wasn't my most frugal week ever, but a lot of things just HAD to be done.  I guess that is why we are frugal most of the time, it doesn't hurt so bad when you need to spend!

My frugal week:
  • Line dried a few things and hung the heavier stuff in the basement to dry.  Only used drier to fluff
  • Processed my home canned kraut
  • Had to make a run to the Vet for flea meds for kitties
  • Topped gas tank and got a .10/gallon discount.  Didn't spend much last month at the store - so few points.  BUT all savings add up!
  • Received a $150 check from bank points we had earned.  That will go for Christmas funds
  • Got a $20 refund from utility company
  • Stopped at a new branch of the church thrift store (real close by).  It is small and crowded - but the ONLY thrift store in that community.
  • Got FREE bread at the thrift store
                                          G has been wanting muffins for a while - so perfect
  • I also found a Vera Bradley handbag unlike any I have or have seen - it was .99!!!!!!!
All clothes, shoes, and handbags are .99 each at this thrift store 
  • I had to go renew driver's license.  I am still wearing older glasses (I haven't gone to eye doc yet since breaking mine) - and I aced the eye test!  I now have a picture that looks like a mug shot!!!  LOL
  • I got the oil changed and the Blazer checked out
  • Ran to the bank and cashed those refund checks (I did all my errands together - all in same area)
  • Ran into Ollie's.  I shouldn't have done that!!!!!  LOL.  They have such cheap books and I can NOT just say NO!
The most expensive one was 3.99 - so it wasn't bad.  I will read and then probably gift a couple of these at Christmas
  • I organized my gift storage tote.  I needed to see exactly what I had - so now it is all organized
  • I de-cluttered some more in the basement and did some straightening  (Rainy days are good for this)
  • Reorganized many of my home canned goods downstairs
  • Have another box ready for donation
  • Had our fall furnace check done - no cost this time (we pay once a year for maintenance)
  • Made 2 pints of beautiful chicken stock for the freezer from bones left from a whole fried chicken
  • Found a surprise outside even after the cold temps.  Got a sweet little bouquet that I have been enjoying and OH the smell is so sweet!

Meals this past week:
Chicken/rice/broccoli casserole & salad
Homemade fried rice and veggie lo-mein
Stew and bread/butter 2X
Ham & beans and cornbread
Fried chicken and salad
Taco Bell (my birthday choice)

Leftovers been used for lunches.  Have beans left and they will be used for a couple different meals and then go in freezer.

I spent money, got money, and got some deals.  I guess not a bad week when you stand back and look at it. 
I have a list of things I want to accomplish this week.  I will give it the good old college try!  It seems time is slipping by so quickly.

How was your week?  Did you find any great deals?  Do anything frugal?  Let us know.
I love hearing from everyone.

Prayers for each and everyone of you.  Be sweet and kind, keep your heart pure, and help one another.  Stay frugal my friends.
Blessings from our humble home to yours.

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Grocery Prices

I have been hearing so many people on FB pages complaining about the increase in grocery prices.
I see "prices 20% higher this week", "doubled in last month", etc.
I guess they know what they are talking about - but it sure isn't happening here.

I do believe we have maintained pricing or lowered for at least a year. Now I know this part of the country is known  for lower living costs than most of the nation.  Housing, food, gas, etc. are generally less expensive than other areas.

We have been having fantastic sales on all types of meat for at least the past 6 - 8 months.  Meat sales have given us meat for cheaper prices than we have seen in years.  Most of us know this probably won't last - thus stocking up big time when the opportunity presents itself.

Milk and other dairy and eggs have been cheap for most of the year.  I never pay over 1.39/gallon for milk.  Eggs range from .49 - .99 dozen.  I remember paying as much as 1.99 last year.  Milk was almost $3 or more last year.  Cheese has been quite inexpensive.

I see sales for canned goods 3/$1 - super cheap here.  Many items that have been close to a dollar are now .59 - .69 a can.

I have to admit that it IS SALES that offer these great prices, but they have been happening a lot!!!!!  Meat that isn't often on sale (like steaks) is still too pricey in my opinion.

Most ads are like this each week.  Prices lowered.  Those prices don't just stay low for a week in most cases - they have been staying low for WEEKS.  Sav-A-Lot and  Aldi constantly advertise "prices lowered".  Kroger constantly has BOGO and 10/$10 sales.

Now I have to admit the BOGO generally aren't all that great.  I tend to find sales that make items cheaper.  10/$10 isn't always a deal either.  Many weeks stores have specials that are cheaper.

EXAMPLE:  I noticed 6 pack bottles of pop were BOGO - reg. price 4.99/a 6 pack.  That makes them 2.50 each.  Kroger often has sales for 6 packs for 1.99.  Doesn't sound like much but .51 here and there adds up (I don't hardly every buy - just noticed prices).

Pasta is often 10/$10.  Certain times in the year I find it on sale for .69 - .89/lb.  I generally find it in the clearance aisle for .39 - .49/lb.  I stock up then.

I know that come November and December sugar, flour, all baking goods, stuffing mix, cream of soups, broth, rolls, bread, certain meats, fresh produce, etc. will be reduced.  TAKE ADVANTAGE - I know I will.

I am just hoping that the prices continues to maintain or stay low for the near future.  we have truly been enjoying the discounted prices.  Blessed for sure.

What is going on in your area?  Increasing?  Decreasing?  Same?
Do you take advantage of cheap prices when you can?
I love hearing about other areas and countries.

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Shop and Compare

First, I apologize this is late.  I just have no oomph today!  I have felt cold and sleepy all day.  I think my get up and go - got up and went today!!!!!

We all strive to save out dollars for important things and moments in our lives.  Those things could be money to live on in retirement, medical emergency, school dollars for kids,  living through a weather catastrophe, or just for a rainy day!  It could be you watch your pennies because you have to, to live.
We all have different reasons.

The other day I was looking through the store and doing some research.  Right off the bat I noticed - red, yellow, orange bell peppers $1 each.  Directly across the aisle (maybe 6-8 foot) was a 3 pack of peppers (red, yellow, orange) for 4.99!  WHAT?  No it wasn't organic or different.  I walked another 15' or so and there was the .99 bin.  Guess what I found?  A bag with a red, yellow, and orange pepper in it - 99 cents total for all 3!!!!!!!!
You just have to look around!

 I don't care how many peppers I have raised, I will always get them when they are this cheap.

I noticed another day at Walmart that chocolate milk was .77 a half gallon (not special sale) - and right next to it was a gallon of the same chocolate milk for 3.98.
I guarantee you many people still bought the gallon.

Just because something is bigger doesn't mean it's cheaper.  Just because it's smaller it doesn't mean it's cheaper.  The store is playing a game and hoping they win and not you. 
Well this old chick can play the game as well as they do.  I LOVE WINNING!

Produce is not all the same.  If you are buying a bag of potatoes, or apples, or oranges, or onions....... whatever, WEIGH THEM!   I have done this for years and the 5 pounds isn't always 5 pounds.  I have weighed them in all amounts.  Always get the heavier one.

Always check out the sales ads and see who has what.  I read them first and many times, there is nothing that I need/want.  Those weeks I go just to check mark downs.  Markdowns are your friend.  The clearance section in the store is wonderful, then I check markdowns in meat, dairy, and bakery.  I then walk the aisles, because there are often CLOSE OUT prices posted by certain items.  Those are the things the store no will be carrying - so you need to stock up.

Check different aisles in the store  We love hominy.  In the canned veggie section (by the corn) it can be purchased for ? price.  I can walk over to the Latino aisle and a can twice the size is cheaper.  Generally they even have gallon size cans much cheaper.
ALWAYS check the ethnic areas.   I can almost guarantee you 100% that the same items will be cheaper there. 
This is especially true with spices and tortillas!  I see tortillas at the deli (pre-packaged) that cost at least 3X the price as Latino aisle.

Once I was 'shopping' TP and saw name band 12 pack single rolls for 5.99.  Not a bad price - but 4 packs were $1 each (same exact thing).  That made 12 rolls for $3.  Half price. 
I told several people in the aisle that day and they looked at me like I had 3 horns and 5 eyes protruding from my head!
In my opinion if you spend 2X as much for the same thing - YOU have 3 horns and 5 eyes!!!  LOL

I noticed side by side in the baking aisle - there was brand name evaporated milk, store brand evaporated milk, and a can with ethnic words - all 3 were different in price.  THEY ARE ALL THE SAME!
Buy markdown bread (those .39 loaves) for drying bread for stuffing/dressing.
Aldi generally has sugar and flour cheaper than most stores.  True, many stores will be having specials soon on baking stuff - but for every day I will make a side track to go there and get mine.

As soon as Halloween is over, the food deals will begin.  Compare and shop smart.  Get those turkeys, hams, potatoes, sweet potatoes, celery, onions, broth/stock, soups, canned veggies, etc. THEN!  Buy as much as you can.  IF you can afford it, buy enough for a year.  It will last and you will have your money for other things. 
Don't forget that drastically marked down Halloween candy that can be used in your baking or for stocking stuffers.

Be smart and compare prices from store to store and from aisle to aisle.  Think of alternative stores as well, such as dollar stores, Ollie's, Big Lots, Amish, closeouts stores, etc. You have options.

Save and stock up.  WIN - WIN!!  Be prepared for anything and still use your money for things other than food.

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Frugal Happenings 10/21

My oh my - where has the time gone?  This month is flying by.
It sure has turned into fall.  We woke this morning to 28* - highs will be in the 50's all week.
Yesterday was really something.  The sun was shining most of the day - but the wind started and got worse and worse and worse.
We had 40 mph sustained winds and 50 - 63 mph gusts.  The leaves were flying all over and they are shredded!  Limbs down all over.  Luckily our area did not lose power, but many did and still don't have power (and it's cold out).
It is beautiful and sunny this morning, just down right chilly.

Amongst all the weather happening yesterday, a neighbor's (2 doors down) dog got in the yard (jumped the fence) and my kitties were again 20'-30' up a tree.  This dog has gotten in the yard many times over the past 2 weeks and each time I take it home and have a talk with the owners.  Obviously I have been talking on deaf ears.  Yesterday I had had it.
I was beating on their door at 9AM (all were in bed) - and told them this was it.  I was done being nice.  It better stop.  Came home and called our neighbor and friend (their landlord) and told him.  Supposedly this will stop.  We have known him for almost 33 years (G longer) and he knows I don't complain about his renters (and he has had some real winners!).  We'll see.
I am so worried about the babies.  They finally figured how to get down with the wind screeching all around them after 4 1/2 hours.  They are really resting today!

It is amazing to me how irresponsible people are.  Even if I didn't have pets that are scared - it shouldn't matter.  I have a fenced yard - no big dog - and don't care to have someone else's dog pooping in my yard.  She gives me an attitude each time I take the dog home.  REALLY?  You give me an attitude, when you aren't watching your animal and it's in my yard?  Just shaking my head.
OK enough venting!!!

My frugal week:
  • G had a script ready and it was FREE
  • Laundry in cold - and mostly line dried
  • Filled 3 - 2 liter pop bottles I received with water for storage
  • I got all 4 of the pork loins I bought last week cut up.  Ended up with 50 chops and 3 packages of pieces
  • Made batch #1 of grape jelly - got 4 1/2 pints (for gifts)
  • Fixed the kitchen faucet.  The trim plate under the faucet was loose and I got everything tightened back up
  • Made grape water with all the scraps left from making jelly
  • Worked in the yard several times this week.  My biggest day was yesterday - in the cold wind - hoping the kitties would feel more comfortable with me being outside.  I got the entire garden cleaned out, and many of the pots.  The big flower bed got a good cleaning as well.  Trash bin is full - and I have stuff to trash for the next many weeks!  I sure felt aches and pains all over last night from being in the cold and wind.
Batch one  of jelly.  Several more to make.   I forgot to add vinegar to canner water and really need to wash those jars up. - hard water.

Meals this past week:
Deconstructed cabbage rolls with smoked sausage
Chipped beef gravy over toast and scrambled eggs
Chili mac with cheese & sour cream topping
Breaded pork chops, green beans, sautéed mushrooms & tomatoes
Loaded baked potatoes
Sandwiches and chips/dip/salsa (I was tired)

All leftovers were made into different meals, frozen, or used for lunch

This next week I plan on making more jellies and process the kraut.  I have to go and get my driver license renewed - UGH - so I will run errands while in that area (an area I rarely go).  Need to do more de-cluttering as well.

How was your week?  Did you get any deals?  Doing any canning?
Give us a shout out!

Prayers for your safely and health in this coming week.  May the Lord help us to live more simply and appreciate what we have and to be more generous with others.
Blessings from our humble home to yours.

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Useful Information

I hope that many of you will find the following charts useful and helpful.
There are so many varieties of fruits and veggies out - there is no way for any one of to know about all of them.
Hope these help!!!

Click on picture to enlarge.  There are so many varieties available this time of the year.  I know we all have our favorites - but this may give you a new idea.

Again, it's that time of the year - so many options.
I truly don't think I have found an apple or a squash that I didn't like!

I just love this time of the year for all the goodies that we an get.  Remember that winter squash can be kept for months in a cool, dark and dry place in your home.  Get them when the prices are good, and eat well all winter.
Make sure you check your local orchards and farm markets for apples - if you d the math - it is generally cheaper to buy fresh from the orchard (fresher too).

Make like a squirrel and get these fall goodies while the getting is good!  Stock up and store for the winter.  According to the way these little critters are acting (and the birds) it may be a cold one!!!!!
I do believe that sometimes 'nature' is much smarter than we are!!!

Enjoy the bounties of the fall harvest!

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Ideas to Save $$$ in the Kitchen

We are all looking for ways to save money today.  So many things just continue to raise in price, except paychecks.  They remain the same, and we all have the same bills, still need to buy groceries, and still need to live.  We need to find  ways to make those dollars stretch.

Some of these are common sense, others may be new ideas.  I understand that you won't save TONS of dollars doing these little tricks - but as Daddy always said "pennies make dollars"!!!!!

  • Start your shopping trip by going to produce, meat and dairy sections FIRST!  These are the healthiest REAL foods for your diet.  The center aisles are all full of junk and processed food.
  • Chop and cut your own!!!!!  Don't buy those backs/packs of pre-cut salads, fruits and veggies - they cost a small fortune per pound!  Do the work and save the money.
  • Shred your own cheese!!!!!  It will be 100% cheese.  The bags of shredded cheese you buy have chemicals added to keep the cheese pieces from sticking together.  YUK  Chunk cheese is often cheaper as well.
  • LOOK TO THE REAR!  Oldest items are on the shelves in the front.  If you want to extend your milk, yogurt, veggies, etc. - get your product from the back of the shelf.    ***OK I even have a habit of getting canned goods and such from the back of shelves - as they probably haven't been touched as much!  Less germs!  I know that may seem crazy, but do you have any idea how many nasty germs are on the items?  Sneezing, coughing, poo/pee from little's, who knows what!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  ICK
  • ALWAYS check mark downs, clearance and manager's specials.
  • When buying a bunch of celery - bring it home, remove from plastic and wrap tightly in foil.  It will last for ages.
  • Mushrooms and plastic do not go together!  Bring them home, wipe them off (do not wash) and put them in a paper bag.  They will stay fresh for so long!
  • Once you open your cottage cheese, sour cream, etc. - tightly replace the lid and store upside down in the frig.  This displaces air that cause your dairy to go bad
  • Buying fresh asparagus?  Cut a bit off the bottom end - and store the asparagus in a glass with about an inch or so of water in it.  Cover the top with a plastic bag.  It stays nice and firm and fresh.
  • Many stores have 2 day sales and specials using 'digital coupons'.  You don't have to have a smart phone or even print the coupon.  Separate the items from the rest of grocery items - tell the clerk UP FRONT and show the add.  You will get that special price.  I do this all the time at Kroger.  Just make sure you mention it before they ring it up!!!!!!
  • DO NOT over pack your refrigerator.  That causes it to work harder, and items in the 'middle' may not get as cool as they should be.
  • Keep you frig at the perfect temps to preserve your groceries.  Ideal is 35* - but between 34* - 39* will work.
  • Always wrap your lettuce in a paper towel and then place back in bag or bowl.  That will help keep the moisture off the lettuce which causes it to wilt and slime
  • Wrap your hard cheese in parchment paper when storing  (after opening).  It allows the cheese to breath and stay fresh.
  • NEVER keep onions or potatoes in the frig.  Do NOT keep them in plastic bags either.  They need a dark, cool and dry place and need to be in something that allows them to get air.
  • Never buy cards at the grocery store.  You get the best prices at dollar stores.  NO they may not be Hallmark - but they are fine.  Most people just throw them away - so why spend a fortune on them.  Same with wrapping paper.  I know this isn't a kitchen thing - but it saves money!
  • IF you buy cleaning products - do NOT buy at the grocery unless you can get for next to nothing.  Dollar stores are almost always cheaper.  It is the same with many beauty items (shampoo, toothpaste, brushes, conditioner, etc.)
  • ALWAYS get rain checks when allowable if the store is out of a sale item.  You can get it later for the same discounted price.
  • Even if you do NOT need groceries on a given week - it might be wise to go and check cheaper priced items  for your stock pile.  Your deep pantry/stockpile may save you some day.
  • If you find a great deal (too good to pass up price) - ALWAYS buy more than one!!!!!  ALWAYS!
  • Never waste food.  Use for other meals (lunch, breakfast), use as leftovers, remake into new item, or freeze for a later date.  USE IT UP!!
  • Buy clearance candy and goodies AFTER a holiday.  They last for ages on a shelf or you can freeze them.  It doesn't matter what the decoration on the wrapper is.

There are so many tricks and tips that save money.  Take care of those pennies and they will take care of you. 
Do you have any special tricks for making your groceries and  dollars last longer???

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Frugal Happenings 10/14

Happy Sunday everyone.  This month is just slipping by so very quickly.  I have been keeping busy - but haven't gotten nearly as much done as I would like.

The weather went from hot and humid (almost 90) to 30's at night this week.  It just dropped like crazy all at once.  I told hubs the first of week - just watch it will get cold and maybe snow by Halloween!.  It could happen.  They had flurries in northern part of state Friday night, and we had sleet.  We actually have had to turn on heat a couple times this week.  YUCK

I have been in such a 'funk' of a mood lately.  I think it must be that time of the year.  I just hate the shorter daylight hours!!!!  As my good friend said yesterday I need to "snap out of it"!!!!!  She asked me if it was because I have a birthday later this month - and I laughed.  I then went to the mailbox and opened a letter that stated "in just 9 months you can apply for Medicare".  Dang it - that made me feel old!

The last rose of the season.  Boy did it smell fantastic ALL week long.  It seemed like it lasted longer than normal.

My frugal week:
  • Picked all the last veggies in the garden - about 8 1/2 lbs.
  • Started on pulling out the garden - have it about half done
  • Rolled and drained the hoses
  • Mowed yard and did misc. yard work
  • Emptied and stored 1 of the rain barrels  - one more to go
  • Took the BBQ grill apart and cleaned thoroughly.  Ready for any winter use
  • Lined dried laundry
  • Cut and dehydrated garlic chives and thyme
  • Brought a pot of rosemary inside - going to try to keep it over the winter
  • Bottled 6 more individual bottles of water
  • Got lots of paperwork done this week
  • Made baked apples
  • Made cake mix cookies
  • Made a big pot of cheesy potato soup.  Added ground meat the 2nd night.  Froze the balance for another day
  • Ran to Meijer on Friday to take advantage of their 2 day sale.  I got whole pork loins for 1.15/lb.  (I bought 4)  I will cut mainly into chops.  Half pound packs of smoked sausage for .90 each (11/$10 sale)
                             Look at those prices - I am a happy gal!!!! (click on pictures to enlarge)
  • Went to Menards (across the street from Meijer) and got sale priced furnace filters to last for over the next year.
  • All normal stuff - cooking meals at home, using what we have, blending up new bottles of shampoo, dish soap & Febreeze, staying home a lot, making tea, and more

Meals this past week:
Baked beans with hotdogs added and salad
Cold sandwiches and chips and dip (hot mow day)
Sausage/egg croissants (from freezer) and oven fries
Cheese ravioli/meatballs in marinara and garlic toast
Cheesy potato soup
Soup with added ground beef and sour cream
Hamburger steaks topped with sautéed onions, mushrooms, peppers, tator tots & salad

We had apples with peanut butter, plain apples, baked apples, ice cream sundaes, and cake mix cookies for treats this week.
We either ate all leftovers for other meals or froze them.

I finally got around to adding up all the final receipts for SEPTEMBER this week.  I was sooooo proud of myself!!! 
My regular grocery totals for the MONTH was $87.30 and the total for "deep pantry extras for storage" was only $39.65 for the MONTH!!!!!    WOOHOO!

I tallied my garden produce totals this week as well.  Total picked was 281 lbs. of produce.  What a savings in money!  I have canned 120 jars of goodies and I still haven't done jelly from garden grapes/berries.  We gave a lot to others as well - so lots of people enjoyed it.  I know it isn't as much as some folks, but not too shaggy for my little backyard garden!  I am pleased.


How was your week?  Are your gardens done as well?  Are you getting ready for all the fall/winter holidays?  Any great savings or deals?
Let us know.

May your coming week be fruitful, frugal and fantastic.  Prayers for health and safety to you all.  Prayers going out to all those affected by yet another hurricane.  So many have lost everything.
Blessings from our humble home to yours.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Tasty Treats

It's that time of the year that we think about special treats for the holidays and for fall/winter.
There are so many to choose from!
Goodies can be made for your own pleasure or to use as gifts.

Here is a recipe for those that embrace their 'inner pumpkin'!!!!!

2 C sugar
1  C brown sugar, packed
3/4 C butter
2/3 C evaporated milk
1/2 C canned pumpkin
1 1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
12 oz. pkg. white chocolate chips
7 oz. jar marshmallow crème
1 C chopped pecans
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla

Combine the first 6 ingredients in a heavy pan, heat over medium heat till sugar dissolves..  Continue to heat until it begins to boil, stir constantly - boil until candy thermometer reaches 234* - 243* or soft ball stage.
Remove from heat; stir in chocolate chips until melted.  Add remaining ingredients, and mix well.  Pour into a buttered 13 x 9 pan - cool at room temperature.  Cut into squares, store in frig in airtight container.

                                                 Yep, it happened today in my town!

1 1/2 C chow mein noodles
1 C butterscotch chips
1/2 C peanut butter chips
1 Tbsp. shortening

Place noodles in a large bowl, set aside.  Melt chips and shortening together in a double boiler, until smooth.  Pour over noodles and stir to coat.  Drop by tablespoon onto wax paper - set aside till firm.  Store in an airtight container in the frig.  Makes about 18.
These are so good and so easy to make - I remember making them as a kid.  It was a very special treat!!!!

Just a couple fun and yummy treats to make for fall or the holidays.
I hope you enjoy!!

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Fall - On The Home Front

FALL?  Not so much today.  It has been in the 80's all this week (and last) and humid.  We are setting records on the heat index for these October days.
Well, from what they say the bottom falls out in a day or so.  High Thursday is to be 58* and lows this weekend in upper 30's.  They are NOT calling for a freeze, but patchy frost in and around the area.
I guess it's time.

Today it still looks pretty in some areas of our yard.  I have about half of the garden pulled out - more to go.  Yard is mowed, but flower beds need fall work.

     My decorations keep changing.  Kitties have decided to become part of the table decorations!

                                               Lilly in a box.  She sure does fill it up!

Okra is still blooming.  They have the prettiest flowers.  Cream colored with dark purple/burgandy centers.

                         Fall New England asters and spring begonias are both going strong.

A volunteer cherry tomato plant and hummingbird vines growing in the front flower bed.  The tomato plant is huge as is the vine which volunteered as well.  It is amazing how much they have grown in the past month.  Nature at it's best.

Geraniums still in bloom - not as full - but pretty color.  Mums are blooming.  The best of summer and fall.

And then there is this!  YES, we have a REAL headstone in our backyard.  There is a story!!!! 

When G was working, a guy he worked with bought a home that had a bunch of trash piled up in the back.  G went to help clear, and they came across this stone.  The guy was going to trash it.  G brought it home.  We did some research and found out that it actually belonged in a family cemetery about 30-40  miles from here.  We found the location - in the middle of the woods and straight up hill!!!  I managed to 'trespass' and climb the hill (many years ago) - and you would have a hard time knowing it was a cemetery - just little initialed blocks, scattered here and there.  The land owners never returned calls or answered the door.  We still haven't found a scout troop to help - as it is on private land.  (Scouts take care of a lot of small cemeteries around here).
The research we did, showed Mr. Hugh Boyd was the family head and his children, wife and himself were buried there.
Hugh Boyd died Oct. 12, 1876 at age 70.

So for now, his stone resides with us.  It is safe and it sure is a conversation starter!
Eventually we will get it back safely where it belongs.

Hope you enjoyed the walk around.  Fall is in the air and we will feel it soon.  For now, I am still enjoying the beauty of summer.

What is the weather like in your area?

Sunday, October 7, 2018

Frugal Happenings 10/7

Happy October my friends!
I am not sure if we have any Canadian readers - but if so - here is a wish for a Happy Thanksgiving!

The end of September was exceptionally cool - figured fall was here for sure.  First day of October warmed up - and behold - it's summer again!!!!!!!  We have been in the 80's and humid most of the past week.  This coming week is supposed to be much of the same till Friday - and then I think we will be able "to hear" the temps drop from what they are saying!!!!  LOL  We have had rain quite a bit this week as well - so the air is just full of moisture - ugh! 
Allergies are raging.

I know I am always behind the cool kids when it comes to learning things or doing or seeing things!  Haha. 
This week we FINALLY got around to watching the movie God's Not Dead.  What a great movie!  From what I understand there is a part 2 and 3 out now!   I will definitely look forward to those as well.  Just a note:  IF you are more behind than me - it's a movie worth watching!

My frugal week:
  • Used the crock pot and made a small pork roast  and got a couple different meals from it.
  • Used up several older mis-matched apples to make a crisp.  Added an 8 oz. can of cranberry sauce to it - YUM
  • Chopped and froze 4 quarts of peppers
  • Still picking a tiny bit of produce.  4 1/2 lbs. of tomatoes, and about 3/4 b. of peppers.
  • Did a bunch of printing of forms for G
  • Picked a bouquet of New England asters
  • G ordered a new battery for his computer.  NOT cheap - but we saved 10% by ordering and having delivered to their store.  I ran down there (20 minutes away) and got it.  10% is 10%!
  • Dropped off 2 big boxes of donations on the way to p/u battery (so glad to have those gone)
  • Made 2 pair of sleep shorts from old jammies I came across in the drawer.  I can't sleep with anything around my legs - so I made shorts.  Also used extra material to make 4 more hankies.
  • Bottled up 24 individual bottles of water for storage.  (was given the pop bottles)
  • Straightened and cleaned and organized under the sink base in kitchen this week.  Got rid of all kinds of stuff and organized by category of goods!
  • Cleaned out and straightened pots and pans cabinet
  • I have been organizing and de-cluttering like crazy
  • I ran to the orchard and got apples and cider - my fall splurge.  I got Honey Crisp apples - oh my they are good!  (like I said I splurged - those babies are expensive)
  • I vacuumed and vacuumed and vacuumed some more this week!  Cleaned floors, rugs, furniture, blinds, lamps and vents - also vacuumed over and under and behind everything!  I vacuum regularly - but this was a BIG FALL CLEAN!
  • Been combining things together.  Jars in frig.  Open packs of candy into quart jars.  Cleaning stuff in bottles.  Soap in partial containers.  You get the idea.
Meals this past week:

Pork roast, potatoes, carrots and onions.
Skillet pozole' (same ingredients as soup - just not soupy!) pork, toms, and hominy
Taco salad
Fried chicken livers, mashed potatoes and country style gravy
Dirty rice w/ground sausage and red beans and biscuits
Frittata - made with leftover over rice/sausage and leftover biscuits w/jelly

Apple crisp was enjoyed over many days.
All leftovers used for lunch or mixed in other dinners.

I managed to keep busy this week.  I just love the feeling of seeing things get cleaned for fall, things, getting trashed (just out of the house), things going out the door to bless others, things being accomplished.  It makes ME feel accomplished!
I work in short spurts on projects and seem to get more done.  I did spend a couple hours moving furniture and such when vacuuming - but I was on a roll! (tired too!)

How was your week?  Any good deals?  Add any garden goodies to your pantry? 
Give us a shout out and let us know what you are all up to.

Prayers that you al have a safe and healthy week.  Stay frugal and stay sweet!
Blessings from our humble home to yours.

EDIT:  If you need a ear to ear smile or proof of God's wonders today - please go over and read today's post  At Rivercrest Cottage

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Bacon, bacon, bacon!!!!!!

Bacon.  How do I love thee?  Let me count the ways.

G and I both love bacon.  It is not something that we fix often, because it could easily become an addiction!!!!!  LOL
I stocked up on bacon recently when I found a great sale.  It is in the freezer and will be used sporadically to calm our desires!

OK, I know I may be slow - but I just recently discovered the joys and wonders of cooking bacon in the oven.
No more grease stained clothes.  No more splatter filled stove.  No more messes.  No more pans to clean.  It is a wonder for sure!!!!!!

                   Oven baked bacon.  This is a full size dinner plate - notice the size of the bacon.

The other things I love is that their is little shrinkage and NO curling at all with the bacon.  Just nice straight lovely bacon.

Heat the oven to 400*.  Line a baking pan that has a lip (sides) with heavy duty aluminum foil.  Make sure that foil goes up each side of the pan so as to contain the bacon grease and have no mess.
Lay you bacon out on foil - it's ok of sides touch.  Bake 10 - 20 minutes depending on the crispness you desire.  The above picture is crispy bacon and that was 20 minutes.

When done - remove bacon and place on paper towels to drain.  I did 2 pans full, using the same foil and leaving grease till done.
You can then make a small lip or trough on one corner of the foil - to simply pour  that beautiful bacon grease in your grease jar!  There are so many uses for bacon grease in our world!!!!

Remove the foil and toss - no need to even clean the pan (if you didn't puncture foil).
Easy-peasy - perfect bacon!!

I will never fry bacon again!!!!!!  This was life changing for me - LOL.  It takes so little to amaze me an make me happy!

Have you ever tried this method?
I think you will be surprised.

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

The Many Days of October

Well here we are on the downward spiral of the calendar year. 
Here in the U.S. it is fall - the beginning of the end to many activities and to gardens and flowers. 
In the southern hemisphere - it is spring and time for the reawakening of the earth.
It is amazing to me that things can be so different on any given day, just depending on where you live.
God is awesome.  Yes indeed, there is a time and a season for everything.

LESS than 3 months till Christmas!!!!!!  Oh my.  I hope everyone has a good start on their gifts and/or ideas - or perhaps you are done!

The weather is changing for sure.  The first week of fall sure felt like fall!  The first week of October is a different story.  It is back into the 80's this week.  We do have some leaves falling - but it has nothing to do with frost/freeze that generally make the leaves change color & give us so much beauty.  Peak times for color around here is still a few weeks away.

I think we should make one of these for our homes.  It would appear to be far more accurate than the weatherman!!  Isn't it amazing that there is a job out there that you can do correctly about 50% (or less) of the time and still get paid???

Fall festivals/holiday craft shows are starting all over the place.  I imagine that farm markets will be ending this month as well.
People are really gearing up and thinking about the holidays.
Kiddies will become ghouls and goblins this month.
It is becoming time for hearty comfort foods to come back on the menu.  That is one thing I look forward to.
Apples, pumpkins, squash, cider - YUM!

Beginnings and endings - that is October.

Me and my home:
  • I WILL finally get around to making jelly from all the frozen fruit I have.  Much will become gifts.
  • I WILL start working on sewing and mending - the pile is still waiting.
  • I WILL (and have started) work on getting rid of more stuff I do not need, want, or can use.  Today a bunch of stuff went into the trash/recycle bin for pickup - don't know why it was even laying around.  I have several boxes of stuff for donation ready.
  • I WILL enjoy all the fresh air and sunshine I possibly can
  • I WILL continue to fall clean
  • I WILL start working on sprucing up the bathroom
  • I WILL work on pulling the garden and doing more yard work
  • I WILL TRY to get started on some special gift projects that I want to give this year
  • I WILL strive to save money where I can and continue to build my panty.  I am always looking for new ideas for building pantry.
            I WILL continue to strive for a simple life versus one filled with stress and drama

I hope my head and my body WILL work together this month!  So often I have plans out the wazoo, but I just get in a funk mood and don't do them.  I pray for the strength to stay focused and get my plans done!   Will definitely incorporate the '15 minute plan' this month.  I always get more done that way!

What does your October look like?  
What do you have planned for this month? 
What ways will you incorporate in your life to stay calm and simple and frugal?
Do you have any traditions or special events you do in October?

I bet we can all use some new ideas.