Sunday, June 30, 2019

Weekly Wrap-Up 6/30

My goodness, here we are with another month behind us.  It is just crazy how time flies.
It sure was a rainy month - then WE GOT SUMMER!  The heat is on for sure.  It has been around 90* every day and no rain this week!  I have actually had to start watering my plants - first time since they were planted.
                                                 Literally 100's of lilies are in bloom!!!!!!!
It appears that the 90's will be here all week.  I can handle the heat OK - but it is extremely humid.  That is what affects most of us.  The AC has gotten use this week.  Drinking lots of water and keeping lots of fresh water out for all the birds, squirrels, bees and kitties.
The birds have been taking lots of baths in the bird bath.  That must feel so good to them - they are fun to watch.  The hummies have been drinking a lot early and late in the day - they pretty much aren't seen in the heat of the day.

My weekly activities:
  • I ran to the feed store on Tuesday.  While out I stopped at the BMV to get my new registration for the Blazer.  I was in and out in 8 minutes.  I have never had such a short visit.  They told me that I would receive sticker in the mail in about 10 days, and I got it Saturday!  Pretty good service.
  • Made new hummingbird nectar
  • Picked my first cucumber!!!!  It was hiding at the bottom of the plant

  • Line dried laundry
  • Got one closet all cleaned and organized
  • Mowed and weeded - that never ends!
  • Watering plants with rain water
  • Washed windows, doors and mirrors.  Also took apart and thoroughly cleaned all the door knobs in the house - they are all crystal knobs
  • Scoured the bottoms of all stainless steel pans and a couple copper bottom pans to remove any discoloration - nice and shiny now.
  • Went to the library and the farm market on Saturday - both are in the park.  I bought one large green tomato to fry up this week!
  • Stopped at a yard sale one block from the park (they all got rained out when they had neighborhood sale).  I bought a Gooseberry Patch cookbook for .50 and a cup of lemonade from a sweet little girl for .50!  Pretty cheap entertainment for a morning!!!!!!

Meals this week:
Mini burgers
Homemade beef-a-roni
Grilled cheese and a fruit smoothie
Stuffed pepper skillet
Small pasta/veggie salad
Chicken tender/slaw roll-up and a fruit smoothie
Sloppy Joes

It has just been so humid this week and that seems to suck away all my energy.  My TMJ (jaw alignment) has acted up this week as well.  This happens a couple times a year and just has to right itself.  It is aggravating and uncomfortable.  Today it is actually starting to ease a bit!!!  YAY!

What was your week like?  Did you get any good deals?  Garden produce?
Watch the sales this week - as here in the U.S. there should be a lot of good deals with Independence Day coming up.  I am sure there will be lots of cook-outs and celebrations.

I pray that everyone has a safe and healthy week.  Prayers for healing for all in need.  Stay cool and hydrated my friends.
Blessings from my humble little home to yours.

Thursday, June 27, 2019

When There's A Will.......

We have all heard that statement - when there is a will there is a way.  It sure is true.
I like getting creative with ways to do things and sometimes I just have to figure a way.  Being by myself, there isn't always someone to help, and I sure am not running next door to ask the neighbor every time I have a predicament.

You have to think outside the box a little.
Remember last weekend when I told you about the mess in the oven?  Melted plastic!
I scraped as much as I could off - using the end of a wide screw driver and a small chisel.  Still some of the burned on plastic was not budging.  I thought about using the sander - but didn't figure it would be powerful enough.  Then I happened to remember Glen had a Dremel tool that he often used with his gun repairs.
I found that puppy and put a metal disk on it and grinded the crud right off the oven pans!!!!!  It sure was noisy - but it worked.
When there's a will...………………….

My kitchen cabinets are oak.  The cabinet boxes and the doors are solid oak - but the shelves are particle board or something like it.  The underside of the cabinets have some faux paper stuff that is supposed to look like wood!!!
Well that has lasted for over 30 years, but one cabinet is starting to peel.  Of course it is the ONLY one that you can see the bottom of (over the sink)!!!!!!

I got some cheap peel and stick parquet looking floor tiles (small pack) and decided to put them up under the cabinet.  I cut everything to fit - they just didn't want to stick as well as I wanted them to.
Piece by piece I super glued the back in many areas and put them in place.

OK, we all know super glue bonds and dries to your FINGERS in 2 seconds flat!!!!!!!!!!!!!  LOL
Not that fast on the tiles. - I had to get creative and use something to hold them in place till it dried.
Out came the yardsticks.  I used 2 at various points and propped them up either on the sink divide or on top of a can of juice sitting in the sink!  WOOHOO it worked!
They held in place until dry and then I went on the next one.
When there's a will...………………..

I am going to be painting the bathroom (maybe this week or next).  The upper walls and the chair rail will be painted the same color.
Over the years Glen often used the chair rail to hang on to when he was unsteady - therefore much of the paint wore off in places.
Me being me - did not want to buy a gallon of primer (I already have paint w/o primer).  So I bought a pint of paint w/primer in white (paint sample) which I will use to cover all those areas that need it - then I will paint over it with my colored paint.
This cost me $3.88 vs. paying $15 - $20 for primer (or more).  I will be using the paint I have here - so it will freshen up the bathroom and cost me hardly nothing.
I have a couple other projects to do in there as well - but have all I need to get creative.
When there's a will...…………………..

My backyard shed is looking kind of rough on the west side.  All other sides are bright and white and looking great.  The west side gets all the weather.
I bought a quart of good white paint with primer and it will do my just fine to freshen up the west side - may even have a bit left for a small project.
Didn't have to buy a gallon (which I didn't need) and perhaps not use it and it be a waste.  No wasted $$.
When there's a will...…………………….

Need storage?  Look around the house - find baskets, crates, etc. to use in a new way.  Great for storing toilet paper, small towels, snacks, package mixes, t-shirts, books, etc.

Need a new table cover/runner?  Look around the house.  Utilize an old vintage table cloth (fold and use) or a dresser scarf,  parts from an old quilt sew into something new, pretty hankies, etc.

Need a new valance/window covering?  Think pretty hankies, extra bed linens, vintage table cloths, cute hand towels (cute in bath), pretty napkins, etc.

GET CREATIVE.  Come up with a new way and uses for things.  No need to spend a lot of money!
What have been some of your most creative fixes?

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Summer Foodie Tips

Here in the U.S. it is finally starting to feel like summer.  I knew it would happen - it just took a while this year!!
I have a few ideas on some summer fun foods - and to be honest they will work for anytime of the year.    I have done all of these many times all throughout the year.

Fresh tomatoes are going to be coming on soon.  I love sliced tomatoes, tomato sandwiches, tomatoes in all sorts of salads, you name it.  A huge taste sensation to me is mixing tomatoes and cheese - I LOVE IT!
These are so good!!!  Slice your fresh tomatoes and top with parmesan cheese - then place under the broiler or in the oven for just a few minutes.  You want the cheese melted and just starting to brown.  HEAVEN!

**Need a fun dessert.  
Bake a sugar (or whatever you want) cookie on a pizza pan.  Yes, spread the cookie dough until the pan is covered.  Baked until done.  
Mix 8 oz. cream cheese and 1/3 - 1/2 cups sugar together once cream cheese has softened. (You determine sugar content to your sweetness/taste)
Spread this over the cooled cookie
Top with triangles of fresh fruit = sliced strawberries, grapes, pineapples pieces, apple slices, banana slices, any type berries - Kiwi slices - whatever you so desire!!!!  
These are pretty, fun and oh so yummy!

**Next time you make strawberry shortcake - us Twinkies instead of cake.  You have your cake and cream all in one.  This is a fun treat for kids especially.

**Freeze fruits to use in drinks.  You can lay them on a cookie sheet and flash fresh before placing in baggies.  Fruit is fun to find in a glass of lemonade, spritzer, or wine!
You may also want to freeze the fruit in ice cubes.

This is about as easy as it gets for a bread substitute.  Tortillas are easy and fun to make.  I love them with soups, stews, soup beans, breakfast, Mexican food - you name it.  They don't have to be used just for tacos anymore.  These are just so soft and wonderful with any food you serve them with.  No need to bake bread on a hot day - make tortillas.

** Don't forget to freeze tea, fruit juices, and even leftover coffee in ice cube trays.  You can use them to keep your drinks cold - yet they don't water anything down.
Milk can be done the same way to use in smoothies.

**Individual fry pies
No need to heat the oven to have a fun and tasty fruit dessert.  I roll out pie dough and use my biscuit cutter to cut circles.  Then I add 2 - 3 spoons of applesauce to the center of one and top with a second circle and tightly crimp the edges with a fork.
Place these fruit rounds in hot grease and fry on one side till lightly browned - flip and fry other side.  These are quick and easy.  You can even sprinkle the tops with sugar or powdered sugar as they cool.
You could also use any canned pie filling - it is just nice to know that applesauce can be used!

ENJOY some tasty fun treats for pennies this summer.

Do you have any fun ideas for summer treats or yummies?  Let us know!!!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, June 23, 2019

Weekly Wrap-Up 6/23

Good morning all.  Hope you all had a great week.
Geesh we had rain and more rain this week.  I had the back yard flood 2X this week.  Finally it went down enough and we had a sunny day on Friday - and well I just couldn't put off yard work any longer!  I had not mowed the back for 2 weeks because of rain.  At least it looks better now.

My garden plants are hanging in there.  It seems the volunteer tomatoes have more blooms and little tomatoes than the other plants!  So far so good.  It is going to be a late harvest year for sure.
Humidity and heat are coming back this week.  I guess beggars can't be choosers!  Heat and humidity or constant rain - such is life.

Momma kitty isn't feeling well the past day or so.  It appears she has another bad tooth and it makes her sluggish, skittish, slobber, and just not wanting to eat much.  I am putting her meds in wet food, now to get her to eat it a little more.  Poor girl.

My frugal week:
  • I finally got the basement dry.  Shop vac , fan, and dehumidifier = dry basement.  Boy, that was a horrible rain that caused that.  It was hard work, but all is good now.
  • I did a lot more sorting, de-cluttering, rearranging, and cleaning
  • I cut my hair at home
  • Cleaned the hard wood floors really well (hands & knees).  I need to go over them again, then put on conditioner
  • I received a dozen roses from my sister this week.  She came by and brought them.  She is like me - she found a tremendous mark-down at Kroger.  Dozen roses on clearance for $2.  Those pink ones smelled heavenly!
  • Received a rebate check from Menards for $28.80
  • Used rain water on my hair a couple times this week - sure makes it soft
  • Used all leftovers in an egg dish - beans, rice and fried corn all went into a stove top quiche of sorts.

The bottom picture show part of mixture in a single serving pan.  I couldn't turn over in the pan - still too moist in center - so I flipped it onto a griddle to finish cooking (top).  It sure was tasty.  I have a second one cooked and in the freezer.
  • Took the entire oven apart and cleaned.  I mean ENTIRE oven - you could see the floor I remove so much!!!  I did an oops earlier and melted a rubber spatula in the oven.  It was the same color as oven and had fell up against the wall - didn't see it until too late.  What a smelly, icky mess.  I really worked hard to get all the solidified rubber off!  All clean - and lesson learned!  NO MORE rubber spatulas!
  • Mowed and trimmed while we had dry weather
  • Ran to Kroger and got 5 packs of cheese (8 oz.) on the weekend .99/ea. special.  I also got a cantaloupe in the .99 bin.
I did several things this week that just wore this old gal out.  My back was so tired and sore a couple nights.  It felt good to keep busy - however, it sure didn't help me sleep any better.  Sigh!

Meals this week:
Fish and fries and home canned slaw
Skillet quiche and sausage patty
Can of cheesy chicken, broccoli, potato soup and a fruit smooth
Corn on the cob and turkey burger (from freezer)
Refried bean and cheese tostadas
Cold cut sandwich
Black bean and beef taco salad

How was your week?  Did you get any good deals?  Any goodies from the gardens yet?
Give us a shout out and let us all know what is happening in your little spot of the world.

I hope you all have good health and safety this week.  May frugal deals and ideas abound!
Blessings from my humble little home to yours.
God bless.

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Recession - Blessing or Curse

I am sure most people would say curse!
Recession can be the beginning of the end for some folks.
It can be drama filled - jobs can be lost, small businesses can close, homes can be lost,  bankruptcies happen, careers can be derailed and more.

All these things can be devastating for sure.  I dare say that the biggest losses will happen to the folks that are not in any way shape or form prepared for hard times.  Hard times happen to each of us at some time and odds are we will all go through a recession (again for many).
If we take a little time to prepare each and every day - we CAN SURVIVE and learn to thrive.

This is a sad fact and I am sure it is this way in many countries.  If people are that close to destruction by missing a pay or two - just think what it will be like if it all goes south for everyone for an extended amount of time.

How can it be a blessing?
Well,, there are many things that happen when families have less money and opportunities and it isn't all bad!

*Parents will HAVE to learn to say no to their children and in some ways reinstate the proper order of authority in the family structure.  They will cut the cord on 'entitlement'.

*Families will spend more time together as a unit - instead of running to restaurants, cinemas, malls, etc.  I mean isn't family time what FAMILY is supposed to be about?

*People will have to learn to live within their means (or even below).  I don't see this as bad - it will be a great learning curve!  They will have to get used to not having that ever expanding line of credit!

*People will have to learn to do without - that could be painful for many after years of having anything and everything. Hopefully it will be a great lesson on basic living and being grateful for WHAT they do have.  They will have to get back to basics (the sad part is many don't have a clue what the basics are!)

*People will have to stop competing with their extravagance - and learn to work together and share.

* I think it can make people healthier.  Cooking from home vs. going out for junk, doing things that require physical labor (exercise) vs. paying someone else, getting creative and reusing vs. depleting the world of more resources, gardening vs. store bought junk, etc.
                                             Do this daily and life will be so much better!!!!

I know not everyone will agree with me on this way of thinking and that is OK.  In my eyes  the heroes will be those who can make it through the worst of times with grace and goodness instead of anger and spite.  Gaining wisdom is such a gift - and some of the best gifts we get come from heartache and loss.  We all need to make something good happen from something bad - then it makes a little more sense.  If we strive for the good we will have less anxiety and stress and more happiness.  Even in recession folks can be happy - you have to realize things and money are NOT happiness!

Now is the time to take action.
Save what you can
Pay off every bill you can possibly pay off
Don't make new debt
Start reading and learning simpler ways of doing things
Learn to cook from scratch
Start reconnecting with the family - one on one (not electronically)
Keep some extra funds at home for emergencies
Work on storing food and supplies for the time you may have no money to buy them
Have a no spend month once in a while to prepare (spending on nothing but bills)
Be prepared for anything (it can happen at anytime)
Breathe and don't panic - you will survive - things will eventually get better

I believe many of us here practice living a lean and sufficient lifestyle daily - that will surely help us in the worst of times.  We have dedicated ourselves to having a better more simple life.
How about you?
Will you survive and survive well?

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Jazz Up Ramen - Cheap Eats

There are times in our lives that we have little or no money.
There are times when just a bit of convenience helps us out.
There are times when we just want to be different!
We always want to stretch our dollars.

OK, no flack.  I know Ramen soup is full of salt (the seasoning packets) - BUT it is incredibly cheap!  Packages are regularly .10 each around here.  I can make that package into a bowl of soup for one or I can add other ingredients and make a meal for two.  It is very easy.
I know Ramen is a staple with college students - maybe this will help someone jazz it up a bit.

NO there is no real nutritional value in Ramen noodles NOR is there any real nutritional value in pasta!  Pasta is pretty cheap - especially if you get it on sale or markdown - and maybe you could get a couple meals from pasta for .10, but not always!

You don't need to use those seasoning packets - save those and maybe add to a big pot of soup or stew later on.  It won't be nearly as bad salt-wise in a big pot of soup.  The flavors are tasty - there are many.  Beef, chicken, pot roast, chili, shrimp, oriental, and on and on!

  • Cook your noodles in water or stock and then add cheese.  Noodles and cheese instead of mac and cheese
  • Make up any stir fry you might make and either stir in noodles or put stir fry over the noodles
  • Consider making a small batch of lo mein (add veggies and/or meat) and a little soy
  • Add cooked noodles to some fried cabbage and a little soy sauce.  Sausage or ham pieces added if you have it.
  • Go Mexican - add hot sauce, salsa, taco meat, taco seasoning, cheese, sour cream...…..
  • Add to any leftovers - meat, veggies, etc. for a soup or stew or 'bowl' dinner.  This would be a great way to extend just a bit of leftovers after a normal meal or holiday and make a totally new type dish.  Add broth, gravy, stock, tomato sauce, whatever you have.
OK - now that looks just yummy!  What a cheap and great way to extend whatever you have on hand.
  • Make a neat salad.  Cook those noodles with herbs and whatever broth you might want.  Drain.  Top with chopped tomatoes, cukes, onions, Italian dressing, herbs, etc.
This would be super with fresh garden veggies (whatever you have), a little dressing when BROKE and you don't know what to eat!  Oh heck, it would be good any time!
  • Turn it Asian.  Add soy, fish sauce, sweet and sour sauce, sriracha  -  maybe a spoonful of peanut butter or peanuts or cashews - shredded carrot or peas or broccoli, green onions, etc..  Get creative!
  • Use half water and half coconut milk for a creamier version of noodles
  • Use tomato sauce, spaghetti sauce, curry powder, pizza fixings, etc.
  • Use the noodles for spaghetti & cover with sauce
  • Top noodles with leftover taco meat
  • Cook noodles - drain, add tuna and some peas - maybe make like a tuna salad.
OK, I think you see there are just no limits to what can be done with a .10 package of noodles.  Get creative.  Being broke is no excuse not to have a tasty and filling meal.
I always have Ramen in my pantry.  Even if you have had it in your pantry for ages - the noodles will still be fine (might ditch the seasoning if too old).  Liquid will always soften the noodles.

I have heard people comment that they were "Ramen poor" - meaning they had no money for other stuff.  It shouldn't be a shameful thing - use it in new ways.  Leftovers and noodles most definitely can EQUAL YUM!

Here's a family favorite:

1 - 16 oz. package slaw mix
2 packages beef Ramen noodles
1 Small pack of sunflower seeds
1 Small pack of slivered almonds
1 bunch green onions - chopped

1/3 C vinegar
1/2 C sugar
3/4 C oil
both seasoning packets

Heat the last 4 ingredients until sugar is melted - cool slightly.  Mix the first 5 ingredients together in a nice bowl -(noodles are slightly broken up and raw).  Pour dressing over salad mixture 15 -20 minutes before serving.  This is really yummy!  Tasty and a great crunch.

So there you have it.  You are never so broke that you can't have a decent meal.  Use what you have and get creative.
Always try to think outside the box - no matter what you have on hand.
Happy eating!

Sunday, June 16, 2019

Weekly Wrap-Up 6/16

Good morning.  I hope this finds everyone safe and well.  Happy Father's Day to all the Dads out there.

It has been quite a week here.  Sometimes a bit overwhelming for sure.  We had some decent weather for a few days.  We had spring, summer and fall all in one week.  Crazy.  Yesterday was horrible as far as weather.  Terrible storms came through the state and there is much damage.
We got almost 4" of rain yesterday, and most of that came in about 2 hours.  Torrential rains!
I have a very flooded back yard and a very wet basement - but consider myself lucky compared to others.  The kids next door had water up to their knees in their basement!!!  A tornado hit 10 minutes up the road.
Thankfully it is clear at the moment.

I just keep thinking about the farmers.  They had a slight reprieve this week to get some things done and I imagine it was all for naught now.  Flooding is covering a lot of the state.  More rain tonight and tomorrow!
My opinion is God is letting us know He is still in control!  We need to quit destroying this planet.

I saw my first lightening bugs of the season this week.  They make me smile.  The first ice cream truck of the season came down the road this week as well.  They always take me back to being a little girl!
My lilies are absolutely covered with buds.  In a few days there will be a sea of yellow and orange in the backyard!  I sure hope my garden plants survive all this flooding!  Little bun-bun (the bunny) is thriving and growing - so cute.

I had to go turn a funeral visitation this week and took my sister with me.  On the way there my Blazer started making noise and smelling hot.  Geesh, I repeat I have my sister with me - she is 88 and we are 30 minutes from home.  We get to the funeral home and my brother went and looked.  Thought he knew what it was and said I should be able to get home.  Thankfully we did.
Got it in shop this week and it was what he said and more.  Brakes, rotors and calipers on the whole back end = big bucks!!!  UGH!  I guess peace of mind is priceless though.

My week in revue:
  • Made hummingbird nectar - they are showing up regularly now!
  • I got FREE flowers from the florist when I went to make a purchase.  They always send you home with flowers when you go in.  I had enough for 2 bouquets - down to one now.
  • I ran to the library and got a couple books
  • Pulled more weeds
  • Finished planting the garden plants.  Zucchini in now (hope they aren't drowned)
  • Froze the last little bit of milk in a jug in ice cube trays - will be good for smoothies
  • Had dinner Sunday at my sisters.  Got to visit with one niece and her husband.  We don't see each other often
  • Sis sent home leftovers with me - they provided me with 2 meals
  • Stopped at Kroger (across the road from repair shop) and got black seedless grapes for .88/lb.  Fresh ear corn 8/$1.  Bushes baked beans (nice size cans) .99/each.  Angel food cake for 1.99.
  • Have 2 full water barrels!  I still have not had to water anything I have planted - the rain keeps coming!!!
Meals this week:
Dinner at sisters
Potato cakes with a small piece of chicken cut up in them (from leftovers)
Last potato cake and a nice chicken breast - made a fruit smoothie as well
Piece of pizza from the freezer and a banana (it was late)
Homemade tostadas
Red beans/rice (with cooked burger from freezer) and biscuits
Fried corn and seasoned turkey burger   (2nd burger went in freezer)

It has been quite a stressful week.  I have been kind of emotional.  This too shall pass.
The sun is shining today, I have my home and my kitties and I can get through anything else.  I am much better than many in my state this morning.  Praise the Lord.

This is my front walk-up.  I love it.  Some may think it is over grown but it makes me smile.  I love the variety.

How was your week?  Did you get any good deals?  How is the garden doing?  I hope you have no weather situations causing problems.

May you all stay safe and healthy this week.  Prayers of healing for those in need.
Prayers for all the farmers in this difficult season.

Blessings from my humble little home to yours.

Thursday, June 13, 2019

More With Less

Sorry I am running late this morning.  It is a gloomy day, I am in a mood, and I had to take my car in for brake work (long story).  UGH.  But, here I am!!

I am going to show you a quote that I LOVE and that I LIVE by.  It is a favorite.  

Living on less is a good thing to do.  It's the only financial advice that will work for almost everyone.  It's about a quality of life you cannot buy, a sense of satisfaction you cannot fake, and an appreciation for others that gives life value.  It's also about helping save the planet and sharing with those in need.  Living on less can be funny, but it is NOT a joke.
Jeff Yeager - The Ultimate Cheapskate

Please read that a couple times.  Read it carefully.  It is just so true in every word.
Living a good life really hasn't got a lot to do with money.  YES, if you do not have proper housing, nourishment, and clothing - money can elevate your position and help.  It can get you a better more secure life.  Extreme poverty is a horrid thing.
But, for the average person - money is a means to an end.  It pays bills, it provides lodging, it provides food and clothing- it gives us the basics.  In REALITY that is all we really need.

OK, it is nice to have fancy things, take vacations, play, give our kids what we didn't have - but those aren't necessary to living your best life and they probably won't make you any happier or satisfied as you are coming to the end of life.  We all leave this planet.  You can't take it with you (though some would love to try to).

Having a comfortable and decent life is about so much MORE than money.  
 * Making memories with one another.  * Loving unconditionally.  * Being a good friend or neighbor.  * Helping those in need.  * Being kind.  * Learning new ways and ideas.  * Using what you have and doing well with that.  * Just being a good person to yourself, others, and the earth.

A dollar saved (by not frivolously spending) is a dollar that you don't have to earn!  You can save any amount of  money if you set your mind to it, but you only get so much time on this earth to earn and save and experience.  There aren't any do-overs with that!  Time has a limit!!
I would rather spend my days, however many I have, experiencing life and people and things, than on working for hours on end to have a few more dollars.

I realize that we all have to work to get by.  That is a given.  But how we get by - is what we can change.  Making the most, spending the most, and having the most - sure as heck won't make you any happier!  Holding your loved one, hearing a child laugh, watching the beauty and complexity of nature, and living in the here and now WILL.

ABSOLUTELY TRUE IN EVERY WORD!!!!!!!!!  This is how we need to live our lives.  I know I am probably preaching to the choir - as you all seem to get it.  There may be someone who hasn't seen the light or is just coming aboard the frugal train that needs to know - THIS IS LIFE AT IT'S BEST.
Don't make things more complicated than they need to be.

Frugal living can be wonderful.  Remembering that "less is more" is the key.
Have a happy day everyone!

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

A Thing or Two

Today is just a couple of hints and tips.  We all look for new ways or things to simplify our lives and save a little money.  I think we all like using items we have for new ways, and tips just to make life easier.

I love nacho cheese.  Love making nachos and that cheese is also good on baked potatoes, over burgers, with chips, you name it.  I don't make it - that seems time consuming to me.  Those jars of nacho cheese you get at the store are pretty pricey, even at Aldi.
Well I found an inexpensive solution and man oh man is it good.

Fiesta Nacho Cheese soup!  I got this at Kroger and paid $1.57 for the can.  I place in a pan to warm and used 1/4 can of milk stirred in (to keep it a bit thicker than soup).  You could add more milk depending on how thin you want it.  It is so yummy.  I made nachos for dinner one night and kept the extra for a baked potato.
Tasty and cheaper than the actual cheese.  Give it a try!
(not spicy at all)

I do a lot of yard work and our area has a ton of poison ivy growing.  I am very allergic.  I don't like wearing long sleeves or a jacket when working in the yard in the summer.  I go from thing to thing, and long sleeves would be too hot.  I may pull weeds for a while, then mow or trim, then tend the garden plants and then back to weeds - so I need protection, just not long sleeves.
I have my own protection.  I use old tube socks or long socks of any type.  Cut out the toe - and then pull them up over your arms.  I wear gloves as well.  When I want to move on to another project for a while, I roll them down and remove - need them again - roll back out to cover arms.

Super easy and it works!  If so desired you can throw them away after using or simply just wash in cold soapy water for another day.

I saw this idea the other day for repurposing plastic.  Many plastic items are not re-cyclable.  I truly don't understand why that is even allowed.  They want to regulate our use of STRAWS - but can't regulate that ALL plastic be recyclable!!   Sorry, a bit off the subject!  
This idea contains your plastic in one place and makes it useful in another way.  They call them Eco blocks. 

Softer plastic is stuffed and packed tightly into bottles.  Have you ever squished up a plastic grocery bag?  It becomes about the size of a quarter!  A wooden dowel or spoon can be used to pack in the plastic.  All contained into one small bottle!  Pack it tightly!
Folks are cleaning up waterways and roadsides of trash and doing this (you want it to be dry before packing).  These Eco blocks are being used to build whimsical sculptures (with plaster or cement), used in building houses, making furniture, kids play equipment, building compost bins, etc.  There is nothing that these couldn't be used to build - your imagination is the only limit.
I just think this a neat way to contain a lot of trash in a small space.
You can Google Eco bricks and see some of the things they do with them.

Who knew??????  Surely not me.  I just found this so very interesting.  What a neat way to measure something on a camping trip or a picnic.  It is amazing the things we can learn every day!!!

So there you go kids - fun facts to know and tell!!!!!!!!
Have a good day.

Sunday, June 9, 2019

Weekly Wrap-up 6/9

Good morning.  It is a very wet morning here and looks to be a soggy day and evening.  We actually got several dry days this week (thankful for the farmers).  I hope the farms got to make some progress.  My bother actually got to get much of his garden in this week - finally!  His acreage is very wet as he is settled on a natural spring - so any rain really messes his planting up.
It got pretty toasty and humid a few times.  Turned AC on for a couple hours here and there.  For the most part I utilized the ceiling fans and windows.

I noticed a few teeny tiny cucumbers on my 2 vines!!!!!!  The pepper plants are loaded with buds and the tomatoes are blooming up a storm.  I came across another volunteer tomato plant.

I got to get very close to the bunny last evening.  Oh my  goodness is it a sweet little thing.  It would fit in my hand, it is so small.  Just adorable.
My hummingbirds are finely starting to show up several times a day now.  I was beginning to wonder about them.
We have several young squirrels (born this spring) and they are just too cute.  Sure didn't take them long to learn where the peanuts come from!  They run right up to me.  Saw Momma squirrel out there preening one of the young ones and they young-in appeared to be hugging Momma.  It was so sweet to watch.

Coogy had me a little worried one day.  He kept crying and pacing and getting sick.  I then realized he was constipated (of all things).  This happens to him about once a year.  Poor baby feels awful when that happens.  I mixed a little bacon grease with coconut oil and got him to lick it off my finger and shortly there after - he 'went' and felt better.

My week:
  • Made up new bottles of shampoo and dish soap
  • I spent a couple days sorting, cleaning and de-cluttering again.  I arranged all of Glen's books into one full bookcase.  That was a project - but they are neat and together.
  • I boxed up and donated 5 boxes of my old books.  Took them to the church thrift store.
  • I received 2 FREE mangos and a loaf of Italian style sliced bread at the thrift store
  • I worked in the yard a lot.  I got 3 flower beds weeded and new mulch laid in them.  That was hot but sure good therapy for me!!!!!

Here are a couple of the beds cleaned and mulched.  The top one is the side of the garage in the backyard - all my old implements and fossil rocks included there!
The bottom one is at the back of the house and contains the AC unit and the generator. - but also lots of mint and snow on the mountain.
  • I cleaned the back perennial bed between the garden and the back fence.  What a mess.  That bed contained a lot of poison ivy and many maple trees sprouting (UGH).  Got that all cleaned out and it looks nice
  • I cooked up a pound of hamburger (taco seasoned) for different meals.  Also used part of it to make a big burger.
  • Had lunch with 2 old friends this week.  We met at O'Charley's. 
  • I ran to Kroger to get milk and of course walked around the store.  I did get 2 - 1/2 gallon (used to be!) cartons of specialty butter pecan ice cream for $2 each.  That is one of my favorites.
  • Mowed the yard 2 times and trimmed.
  • Picked up my sister and she and I went to our nephews graduation party yesterday.  Got a wonderful meal as well.  It was nice being with a lot of family - lifted my spirits a bit.
  • Just doing all the regular stuff
As you can see I spent a lot of time cleaning and clearing -pulling and tossing - sweating and lifting - it sure helps me get out some emotions and stress!  Tiring, but good therapy.

Meals this week:
Fish and slaw soft tacos
Cheeseburger (on bread) and 2 hard boiled eggs
Beef/cheese nachos
O'Charley's meal with friends (late lunch)
Hamburger hash
Grad dinner - catered by Qdoba - tasty

I have managed to get out a bit more this week.  Yes, it was nice - but it had emotional setbacks later in the day.  I keep looking at my watch while out - as I not used to not hurrying home.  I got very emotional both evenings.  It is all so new to me.  I am slowly trying to get out of my comfort zone (home) and branch out.  I am definitely a work in progress.  Dang it - this is tough!

How was your week?  Did you get any good deals this week?  How are your gardens doing?
Give us a shout and let us know what you are up to!  I think we all love learning from each other!!

Prayers that you all have a safe and healthy week.  Be wise, be loving and caring, and be frugal.  God bless you all and your families.
Blessing from my humble little home to yours.

Thursday, June 6, 2019

Grocery Prices

Today I am going to speak on grocery prices - or the upcoming rise in prices.  It is inevitable,  I don't want this to get political in any way.
There are many reasons that prices will be going up here in the states.  So far, I have not noticed much of a change in advertised prices in our area.  I know some people talk about the prices they pay, and it astounds me.  I guess living in this particular area of the country is just cheaper.  Everything is - housing is some of the most affordable in the country, gas isn't bad, nor are goods and food too overly priced (not as bad as some places).

There are many reason for increases - but the biggest is going to be the weather.  This spring has been horrible for farmers.  Extreme snow - then melt, and rain and more rain.  Flooding is every where.  Two weeks ago (or more recent) some areas were still getting snow!  The spring was chilly longer.  There are places this week, that have only limited access across rivers, because rivers are out of banks and over bridges.
Truckers and rail transit (even river transit) is seriously being affected.  So even if the product is OK - delivery is being hampered.

In my state (Indiana) as of May 26, only 22% of the corn crops had been planted - vs. 95% on that date last year!  We have had it easy compared to the mid section of this country.  Most of our corn crops provide livestock feed, but it is also used in cereal and ethanol.  'Food' farmers are having no better luck.
By May 26 only 11% of the soy bean crops had been planted here.  Last year it was 85%.
There are deadlines as to planting - fall/winter happens regardless of what spring/summer brought.  Crops only get so long in the ground before frost and freeze - period!!!!
If you stop and think about all the things that corn and soy are used in - well, it makes since things will be going up in price.
Farmers need many days of no rain for the fields to dry enough to plow - then they need 7-10 days to plant.  No way have we had that many days rain free.
Huge amounts of farm animals were lost in flooding in the mid section of the country this year.
Calves were lost by the thousands, as well as milk cows, pigs, chickens, etc..  It is so terribly sad.
Many of the farmers will never be able to re-coop, regardless of insurance or federal help.  Many family farms will be gone forever.

This has happened in the past - devastating crops for many seasons.  Also citizens have dealt with pestilence and with the huge dust storms in past history.  Many lost everything - many died.  I don't believe it will be that bad, as we are more aware and communication and industry are more prevalent today.  BUT, it will be bad.

Yes, some days I would like to walk back in time to a grocery like this.  Basic food for basic people - nothing fancy, nothing exotic - just healthy local items provided by area people.  Probably some good conversation and a checker game to boot!

A lot of people are blaming rising prices on tariffs.  Well, tariffs haven't even started yet for Mexican products (maybe next week), and higher tariffs on China just started a couple weeks ago.  So IF they have made a difference in the prices you pay - blame your retailers for jumping ahead and getting greedy!!!!!
Yes, they will probably make a difference in prices in the future - my plan is to avoid as many of those products as possible.  Luckily I don't like avocado (LOL) but they are also grown in the U.S.!! (just trying to keep the subject light!!!!! laugh people!)
READ YOUR LABELS folks!!!!!!!!  I heard just today that Kroger canned fruits are now using many fruits coming from China rather than the  U.S..  I won't be buying them!

Other countries do not have the safety standards that we have - and well, to be honest I am not that happy with ours!  Plastic is allowed in rice coming from China, chemicals  and additives that we would never think of ingesting are used, concerns of food born illnesses are not a huge concern, health regulations are lax, not to mention to the crappy labor situation there.
There are just so many reasons to buy from your HOME country!!!

I am sure many of you have seen the stories that Dollar Tree is going to be raising prices.  No surprise to me.  I have never figured how they kept the prices so low.  Yes, there is a lot of junky cheap stuff there, but there are also products from good manufacturers.  I won't mind paying a little extra if need be on certain items.
IF you utilize a lot of the items from these types of stores - stock up now!

BUY LOCAL.  Yes, you may pay a little more.  Those folks you buy from at the farm markets and at the farm gates are putting that money they make back into your local environment and economy.  The old saying that you are "helping pay for ballet classes for their kids - not higher paychecks for corporate C.E.O.'s"  is so true!!!!
We truly need to be more mindful of our food, products, economies and neighbors!

Yes, you diet (and even gifting) may be more limited - but that is OK.
Learn new uses for foods that can be obtained in your area.  Visit local artisans for gifts and home furnishings.  Visit local orchards and local farms.  Learn to get crafty.  Learn to garden - even if it is a few garden pots on the balcony.  Learn to preserve your bounties for the future.  Learn to cook, bake, produce your own bread, can, freeze, etc.  It isn't that hard.  You Tube makes it easy for everyone.  There are videos on how to "do anything"!!!!!!!!
(added benefit - you may learn more about your community and it's people)


I am still amazed each week at the sale prices I am seeing.  I just don't understand how things can be produced/manufactured/raised, hauled and sold for the prices I am seeing.  There have been some great deals so far this summer.

So folks, get prepared - we may be in for a bumpy ride for a while.  Truthfully, I don't think the tariff thing will last that long - it would not be beneficial for those countries being fined.  But the flooding situation is going to have a long term effect.
NOW, is the time to stock-up on what you can.  Prices are lower than they probably will be for at least the next year or more (or even ever again).

LEARN new ways - educate yourself, and I just can't emphasize enough BUY LOCAL!
Take control of your health, economy, dollars and community.

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Discovering Hidden Gem

Yesterday I got on a cleaning, de-cluttering kick again.  So much stuff!!!!  (I have 4 boxes to drop off today).
While I was cleaning out a kitchen cabinet - I came across a little gem hidden way at the back of the cabinet.  Somehow this little item must have gotten shoved back there, and well.....I guess I hadn't removed everything for a long time!!!!

I have no recollection of receiving this little 64 page cook book.  I was thumbing through it, and boy is there a lot quick and easy recipes.  Cheap too!

Click on picture to enlarge.  I am not sure of ALL of these items listed are still available - but I know many are.  There is quite a variety available.  I do like the general baking mix.  I know I can make my own, but heck it is actually cheaper to buy a big box of Jiffy.  I do get the cornbread mix once in a while - however I do prefer cornbread made from scratch.  I have also bought the pizza dough mix - I can make a nice pizza dough for less than a dollar.
I remember back in the day (late teens) I used to have a thing making the blue berry muffins.  I had my first apartment - and that is what all my friends wanted on Friday night while watching Nightmare Theater!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  LOL

I did find a couple recipes I thought I would share.

1 pkg. Fudge frosting mix
6 tsp. hot water
1/4 C chocolate chips
1/2 tsp. vanilla
Generously butter a 5 x 9 loaf pan
Blend frosting mix and hot water in a microwave safe bowl and cover with a paper plate.  Microwave on high for 3 1/2 minutes Remove and test with candy thermometer to 240*.  Stir in chocolate chips and vanilla and mix well.  Pour in prepared pan.  Cool completely and cut into squares.  16 pieces.
Quick and easy recipe for a small batch of yum!

1 pkg. corn muffin mix
1/4 C flour
1 egg
1/4 C milk
2 Tbsp. chili powder
1 an chili without beans
2 C shredded cheddar cheese

Preheat oven 400*.  Grease a 9 x 13 pan.
Combine muffin mix, flour, egg, chili powder together and blend well.  On floured surface knead dough 10-15 times until dough is easy to handle.  Press into bottom of prepared pan.  Spread chili over the crust and top with the cheese.  Bake 15-20 minutes.  remove from oven and cut into squares.  Let it set for about 10 minutes before serving.

I will definitely be trying this one.  Sounds tasty and very easy.  This would be good with a salad and company!

1 C baking mix
1/4 C +1 Tbsp. milk
1 egg

Beat all ingredients together until smooth.  Prepare your choice of meats and/or vegetables.  Dip veggies or meat into batter and let excess drain.  Drop carefully into 400* oil and cook until golden brown.  If batter gets too thick add milk a little at a time.
This is a nice way to give a good solid breading on food items.
I often just dip in egg and then flour/panko/cornmeal - but this will give a much better and uniform coating!

There you go - a couple easy and inexpensive recipes.
If interested in getting a recipe book of your own, maybe try vising their website at  They also listed a phone of 734 - 475 - 1361 (in Chelsea, Michigan)
I don't know if they still have these available - but it may be worth a try.
It really is a fun little book - I think now that I have FOUND it - I will use it!!!!

Have a great day!

Sunday, June 2, 2019

Weekly Wrap-Up 6/2

WOW - here we are in June already.  Amazing.  It is really hard for me to keep track of the days any more.  They all just kind of meld together.
We had rain and more rain the first part of the week and lots of humidity and heat.  Had to use the AC a couple times.  There were some nasty storms that blew through the state this week as well.  Luckily I had no damage from them - but many did.  Several tornadoes touched down.
It has returned to lovely 70's, and sunshine for a couple days.  Enjoying open windows and fresh air!!!

I have enjoyed the blue jays this week - they sure are noisy!  Such a distinctive call.  They sure do love them some peanuts!!!  I have seen a baby bunny running around.  It doesn't even have a cotton ball yet, just a white spot.  It is maybe 4" long.  I sure hope cats don't get it.  It is just too cute.
Cardinals abound in the yard.  So many kinds of birds and critters - some days it is hard to believe I live in the city.

My week:
  • I finally got the remainder of my garden plants in pots.
  • I was pulling weeds out of the garden area and came across 4 volunteer tomato plants.  Leaving them there and put cages around them.  FREE tomatoes!!
  • Cooked a couple big b/s chicken breasts - which became a few different meals
  • Laundry in cold and line dried a bit
  • Had a meeting with insurance/investment guy.  I knew I would be OK - but it looks better than I anticipated.  Glen took care of me for sure.
  • Went to Harbor Freight and bought a expandable/collapsible ladder (goes to 17') and used a 20% off coupon.  we have needed one for ages.
  • Neighbor -  Lee and I cleaned out my gutters.  Oh my goodness - what an absolute mess.  They were FULL of gunk! (overflowing when it rained).  They are all clean now.  The ladder thing sure was tiring!!!!!!!
  • Next - that meant I had to wash down the house and the awnings - as they were a mess after gutter cleaning.  Then I cleaned the entire drive and the Blazer needed a bath.  I still have to redo windows.  Exhausting day.
  • Mowed the yard and trimmed and pulled weeds as I could in between rains.
  • Been using the dehumidifier and ceiling fans as much as possible instead of AC all the time
  • I received a refund check on G's supplemental insurance & also received one life insurance check
  • I ran to the feed store Friday and stopped at 3 yard sales on the way back home.  Haven't done that in ages.  I did get some deals (some for gifts).
  • I got 5 story books, an embroidered hoop (needs edges trimmed), 3 vintage linens, 1 Christmas linen, 1 multi-story book, and 24 pretty card envelopes for a total of $5.50
All this for $5.50.  The story books are for a new niece.  The envelopes will be used for homemade cards and I love old linens
  • Second sale - nothing.  Last one (almost didn't stop as it was a bad traffic spot).  I thought I did good before - this one was fantastic.  Everything you could fit in a plastic grocery bag was $1.  YEP,  I got a very high quality table runner (winter scene), kitchen holiday towel, 2 rustic hand towels, 1 tea towel, and 3 lovely tops for me.  The tops all have some open  lace on them and will be worn over tank tops - nice for dressing up a bit from t-shirts!  ALL FOR $1!!!!!!!

Click on pictures to enlarge
The blouses are so pretty - the picture doesn't do them justice.  As you can see by the last picture - they table runner still had a tag on it and it alone sold for $29.99.  I think I got some deals for sure.  Probably didn't NEED any of it - but that day it made me happy!

My simple meals
Chicken breast hoagie (bun from freezer) and salad
Chicken and seasoned rice
Salsa Mac n Cheese and a hotdog
Cheesy veggie mac soup (leftover mac and a can of condensed veggie soup together)  Tasty!
Summer sausage/cheese and crackers (too tired for anything else)
Chicken/salsa/cheese/jalapeno flatbread (bread from freezer and all ingredients on hand)
Fried chicken tenders and French Fries.  Used cheddar/bacon dressing as dip

Seems this week was themed - chicken!  I tend to do that now.  May be ground beef, chicken, sandwiches, etc.  Whatever is easiest!

How was your week?  Did you get any frugal deals?
How are the gardens doing?

I pray that each of you have a lovely, healthy and safe week.  
PLEASE let's all keep the farmers in our prayers.  It has been devastating in so many areas for farmers due to all the rain and flooding.  It is going to be a tough year for sure.
May the Lord help us all consume less and conserve more.

Blessings my friends, from my humble little home to yours.