Friday, January 31, 2020

Ways I Learned

I think back about how I learned to do different things.  There were a lot of influences, but I guess my biggest ones were Mom and Daddy.   I learned so very much from these people about everything.
Cooking, sewing, baking, gardening, landscape, business, hard work, helping community, confidence, being frugal, being creative, being a decent person, etc.
My greatest lessons in life came from them.
I didn't really have grands to learn from.  I only had one grandparent growing up and she lived far away, so my parents were my huge influence.

However that was not the only learning in my life.  I took Home Economics in Junior High school and truly enjoyed that.  I don't know that I really leaned about cooking and sewing (as Momma had already taught me) but I did learn about working with others and encouraging others in life.  It was a fun experience.  There was also shop class, mechanics, wood working, and many other 'real world' classes that were available.  There was a vocational school that was available for afternoon classes - it was a different building - but credits counted for high school.  You could study just about anything there.

I took economics and learned a lot about finance.  I took typing and business and learned much about the working world.  I even took a blue print reading class (in conjunction with a job) at an adult night class.  I was working at a major building/hardware business at the time - and that was a way to expand my knowledge.
I did go to college (didn't finish - life happened) as well.  I studied education and sociology as I really wanted to work with at risk kids.  I learned so much from those classes about people and humanity.  I even took criminal justice classes.

Another neat learning institution for me was 4-H.  I don't think that 4-H is worldwide.  I know it is big in the U.S. and I believe Canada - not sure about other places.  I started in 4-H in the 3rd grade (the earliest I could) and participated through junior high/early high school.  I entered projects in sewing and baking each year.  I always did really well.  My greatest joy was the year we had to make angel food cakes - oh my did we eat a lot of cake that summer!  My big win was winning GRAND CHAMPION at the county level and getting to go to the state fair and display.  That was huge and everyone wanted to win a grand champion ribbon (only one given in each category per county).  More cakes baked until I made one that pleased me and off to the state fair and a blue ribbon there!  What a year that was.  That was my highlight in my 4-H journey!!!!

4-H was more than the projects to me.    It taught hard work, community, service, dedication, helping and so much more.  Those were some of the great lessons I got from it.  I still remember our motto and pledge.

I pledge
My Head to clearer thinking,
My Heart to greater loyalty,
My Hands to larger service, and
My Health to better living, for
My club, my community  and my country.
(Words we should all live by every day)

I lived in what would be considered the suburbs, so it wasn't just for kids in rural areas and still isn't.  I think youth today could learn so much from this organization.  Not only could you work on and display projects on just about anything, but you learned great lessons in life.  It is definitely a community for youngsters to learn and share ideas.  It teaches responsibility.

So many push for college educations and that is wonderful.  I just hope people today realize that there are so many other learning institutions that actually teach "life" and not academia.  There are many vocations today that a person can earn a great living and not need a college education.  There is nothing at all wrong with the trades!!!!!  College is not for everyone.

My husband worked for many years as a teen/young man with his uncle learning the plumbing trade.  It helped much in life in so many ways.  He then went on to work as an apprentice in auto mechanics and that became his career until he retired.  He could problem solve about anything and he was smart at so many things. 
I studied all kinds of things over the years.  First I will say that I hated math in school!!!!  
My first job was working for my parents at their lawn and garden business.  I learned so much there.  People skills, business, landscaping, gardening, horticulture, etc.
I went to work for the building service for a couple years in the office and then I went on to become an accounting specialist  for over 30 years!  I still find that hilarious.  I was really good at what I did, but had you told me in high that I would work with numbers I would have laughed my bum off.  Math is now a very strong suit of mine! (go figure)
We both had good careers in life and made decent money.  No college required.
My parents both completed schooling at the 8th grade.  They went on to have a very successful business of their own.  Daddy was a mathematical and word genius in my opinion.  He could do any math problem you gave him (in his head) and he know words and their meanings that I will never know.

I guess my point is, there are so many ways that we have learned over our lifetimes.  We have learned from so many people and experiences.  Some of those lessons were also lessons on what NOT to do!!!!!

Always look at every day and every adventure in life as the "school" of life.  Daddy used to ask "what did you learn today" (he asked every day!).  Today I still try to learn something new each day.  If we are not learning we are getting stagnant.  I want to keep my mind active and learning is never a bad thing.

What/who were some of your greatest TEACHERS in life?  Parents, grands, schools, experiences, etc. ???


Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Frugal is What You Decide

We all like being frugal to some extent.  What is frugal?  It is different for everyone.  It truly is.
DO NOT  feel bad if you do things differently than others.  We are all individuals and we all do things differently.

I see things on FB at times and think - seriously?  You are trying to say you are frugal?  People going into huge debt for big fancy houses, then being unhappy with how it looks and changing it all.  Saying they are not spending  this year, yet you see a post of shopping trips almost every day.
Canning for the future and for saving.  Yet buying all kinds of food to can that they would not buy as normal - not to mention buying tons of jars and supplies (yes I know they are re-usable).
My mind just explodes some days - BUT you know what?  Who cares.  IF they think they are being frugal and doing things that make them happy - that is ALL that is important!!!!  My opinion does not matter.
I am sure I do things that others don't understand as well.  We all do.

I guess I am saying that frugal is different for everyone.  Some find it necessary to water down things, find new uses for things, not waste leftovers, eat from home, saving money wherever we can, use it up, make it last, do without, etc. (ME).  But I will also spend a ton of money to feed nature, care for my fur babies, or help someone in need.  My priorities are MINE!
You may save for vacations, or for that big house, or for a new car, or to eat out once a week.  That is OK too.  Your priorities are YOURS!

I don't do anything that I do because it pleases others.  If my ways and myself are accepted by others - GREAT.  If not - I don't really care.  Our lives should be lived in being able to live and share - that is freedom.  We all evolve over the years and our ways change.  
Just let your spirit and your heart reach out - either others accept you or they don't.
Don't live in fear, let God have control.  The world and our lives change - and in 10 years things will be totally different than they are today - so make each day count.

THRIVE not SURVIVE!  This is something I am trying to learn.  When life changes drastically, we tend to hit a brick wall.  Life was the same forever - and then it's not.  We have GOT to adjust and grow and move forward.  (so difficult, but necessary).
If we don't do something new - we will become stagnant.  
Figuring out the path to take is the hard part.  With faith in God, I feel that will come for each of us.  We all need to listen!!!!!!!

So whether you live in a huge house or a tiny home, water down the shampoo or buy the most expensive, eat out or cook from scratch, simply have transportation or a status car, do without so you can help the animals or others, grow a garden or go to the farm market - you are being you.
Do what makes you happy.
Now in saying that - DO IT - BUT BE RESPONSIBLE FOR YOUR ACTIONS AND DECISIONS.  Don't get yourself in a bind and expect others to bail you out.  Your choices are yours - that is your freedom.
We each chose our own freedom.

I know we each learn from each other on here.  We learn new ways.  We learn from others mistakes.  We learn new ways of thinking.  We learn life is different for us all.  We learn that as different as we all are - we are the same.  We want happiness.

Enjoy the life you are living instead of just living the life you are given.

Monday, January 27, 2020

Weekly Wrap-Up for last week

First, let me say thank you for all the sweet comments, hugs, prayers and blessings you have sent concerning the loss of my beautiful Lilly.  It means so much to me to have people that understand and care.  THANK YOU

We have had a very wet January this year.  I think they said the wettest in 15 years.  Very little snow, but lots of rain.
It is hard to believe that this month is almost over.  We have more daylight hours now.  It doesn't get really dark until after 6PM now - instead of 5PM.  Mornings have light before 8AM instead of about 8:30AM.  Spring is only 50+ days away.

This past week:
  • I did go to the feed store and got squirrel corn.  Odd they had no bird seed or peanuts!  None.  Strange for a feed store - said it was due to holiday schedules.  I have lots of other places I can get seed.
  • My Blazer door was frozen the first of week.  I finally got it open, then the mechanism wouldn't release to close the door.  WD40 and a heavy duty screw driver and it was working again!  When there is a will........
  • I received a copy of Country Woman  FREE in the mail.  They are trying to lure me back
  • Cleaned out the sock and undie drawer.  Found new of both that I had forgotten about
  • Threw out and set aside for donation a lot more than my 20 pcs. from the drawer cleanout and added some other items from around the house 
  • I did run out to find different treats and canned food that Lilly might like - to no avail.  Not frugal - but it will be used by the others
  • While out I stopped at Dollar General - as I had heard most had any leftover Christmas stuff for .25.  I got 3 -  6 packs of 6.5" x 8.5" gift bags and cookie bags (6 bags) for .25 each pack.
  • Tons of laundry
  • All the normal stuff
  • Friday got in upper 40's - so I turned off heat and aired the house for a while. - I know I am crazy.  The kitties loved it though!
Meals last week:
Chicken stir fry over rice
Ham/cheese bagels
Deconstructed tacos
Salsa chicken (from freezer) and cheese roll-up and carrots/dip
Small Mexican type pizza
Baked potato and salad
Nothing - Saturday

Last week sure didn't end the way I would have ever expected.  The emergency vet was a God send for me.  They were pricey, but that didn't matter.  My poor baby.  My heart just hurts.
Coogy keeps walking around looking.  He sure is staying close to me - much more than usual.

How was your week?  Did you stay on the frugal track?  How is your 20 challenge going?
Give us a shout out.

Blessings to you all.  May you and yours stay healthy and safe.  Hug everyone and love them.  Remember to enjoy the smaller things in life - because they are the big things!
Blessings from my humble little home to yours

A rare moment when Lilly and Coogy shared the love seat together!  Usually it was one or the other.
                                                                      My kitty loves

Sunday, January 26, 2020

No Wrap Up Today - Just Sad

I won't be doing the weekly wrap up today, I am just not in the mood.
Yesterday was such a sad day.  My sweet beautiful baby (8 yrs) Lilly crossed the rainbow bridge.

She had been being very picky the past couple weeks about her food.  Nothing, including tuna, was satisfying.  She was not eating much, wet or dry.
I went this week and bought every type of treat I could find and several different kinds of wet food, to no avail.
She continued being her sweet self - playing with Coogy and her toys, jumping up on couch and bed, wanting combed, talking and talking - just normal, except not eating much.
Finally Saturday morning when I got up, she didn't jump up and run in to me.  I petted her and talked to her and then she finally got up.  She hadn't ate for almost 2 days.
I called the Vet and of course they weren't open.  I took her to the emergency vet service.

They ran every test they could - not good.  I had no idea she had so many medical issues.  She never displayed them.  Hugely enlarged liver, partially collapsed lung, asthma, pneumonia, fluid around the lungs, super low white cell count, and heart failure.
She just didn't want to eat - otherwise she acted normal every day.  I was so shocked.

They said they could poke, prod, tube, and perhaps surgery - but probably could do nothing to help, due to liver and heart problems.  NO!  I could not do that to her.  Poor baby.
I told them no and she passed right then in my arms.
I sat and cuddled her for about 2 hours in the vets office while waiting on results.  In 8 years she had NEVER EVER let us cuddle her like that, so I knew she was ill at that point.  I got to talk to her, hold her, and love her one on one - it was special.
They let me sit with her as long as I needed.  They were very kind people - all so sweet.

Coogy keeps walking around looking for her.  Every noise he hears - he looks up and around.  He sure snuggled a lot with me last night.  This morning he woke me with tons of kisses, soft pats on the face and hugs (more than usual).

Lilly mourned Glen for so long and so hard, I have to think she is with him now in heaven.  Yes, I do believe animals go to heaven - God made us all.
I will sure miss her.  Her short little legs, her tiny head and big chubby body and curly belly.  Her talking to me all the time - I swear we had conversations.  She used intonations that sounded like she was truly answering me.  Her begging to get combed.  Her racing me into the kitchen every morning for breakfast.  Her loving to get under my bed covers.  Watching her lay in the sunshine in the front door and her watching and chattering to birds and squirrels.  She would get so excited.
She loved everyone and wanted to know them and love on them.

I will miss you my little short stuff.  You were such a good baby girl.  I love you so much.
My tears are flowing - so I will close for now.

Tomorrow I will do wrap up.
Blessings to each of you.  Love your family and your babies.

Thursday, January 23, 2020

My Mind - It Does Wonder

I told you the other day that I get to reminiscing a lot during the winter.  January especially - it is just a nasty month for me - always has been.
I heard on the news the other day that the two middle weeks of January are the worst of the year for both humans and animals - emotionally and physically.  They said we feel worse during those times and everything changes - mood, eating habits, motivation, activity level, etc.
This past Monday was the 3rd Monday of January and supposedly the worst day of the year!
I believe it.  Even my kitties are acting different - very different.
The world affects us in ways we can never imagine.

So as my mind wonders I have been thinking about frugal living.  Back in the day, people SAVED for new things, fancy things, important things, even every day things.  Not so much today.  People want and expect immediate satisfaction!!!!  That is what gets people in trouble.  I remember my parents saving and saving for something and the delayed satisfaction they got was enormous.  They were so proud of what they accomplished.  It wasn't just I WANT therefore I BUY.  I really don't think people today truly appreciate the things the get and the things they experience.
My Daddy always told me "the anticipation is always far greater than the realization" and that is true.  So very true.
I remember wanting a bread machine years ago (and spent a chunk on one) and then realized I probably wouldn't use it that much. AND DIDN'T.  Yes, I still have it, and I threaten to use it - but don't.  I just HAD to have it - my reality, well...…………..
I am sure each of us have had those moments.

I know people who work themselves to the bone just to have that fancy address, or that fancy car, or that membership to ________, or the designer labels.   The things become all important and the life that they were given is driven totally by wants, work and greed.  They become so in debt for things that won't even matter one day soon, they work their fingers to the bone - for what?  IMMEDIATE SATISFACTION.

If I could tell any young person (including my younger self) anything that would stick in the brain - it would slow down, enjoy life's moments (every one of them), think before you spend and DELAY that satisfaction of "stuff" for a while.  You will realize it isn't all that important.

We are so perfectly imperfect that is takes many of us a lifetime to see what is so simple and wonderful.
Take time to enjoy the simple and lovely moments.  Enjoy laughter, friends, family, getting up each day, nature, the taste of ice cream, the feel of a warm blanket, the cuddles of your pets, companionship, the smell of a rose...….......enjoy the simple things and enjoy them thoroughly.  
As the saying goes "the little things are actually the biggest things and the ones that matter."

Just my brain ramblings for the day!
Have a blessed day.

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

A Tale and a Treat From the Past

These gloomy long days of winter get me to reminiscing.  I got to thinking back to childhood the other day (I do that a lot).  I had a good childhood, and I realize not everyone did.  I am so sorry for those who didn't.

We had a small grocery store just a couple blocks from my home and it was called Slick's Market (the owners last name).  We would walk there whenever we had the chance in the summer and many times, we would get off the school bus (junior high and high school) there and then walk home.  I walked to school the first 6 years - so I didn't ride a bus till junior high.

Now let me explain when I say a couple blocks away.  The area was originally  rural and farm land.  I have copies of the plat maps and the ownership lineage of my family home and the entire area that date back to 1828.  Over time, more homes were added and streets were added.  So the north/south block we walked would be equivalent to probably at least 3 blocks today - then we turned and walked down the east/west road (the old sheep farm) that was probably the same.  NO ONE ever worried about us doing this.  Neighbors watched out for neighbors.

Slicks's had a candy counter.  The big glass front, multi shelved counter FULL of penny candy.  It was just as you walked in the door!  In front of  that (at your back when looking at candy) was a deep freeze with cold (ice cream) type goodies.  It was a child's delight!  Now they did sell groceries and had a meat market that went all the way across the back of the store.  We didn't buy groceries there very often, as Mom said they were too expensive!  Once in a great while Mom would send me for something.
BUT, that candy counter always enticed us kids and we walked there any chance we got.
The counter at Slick's was probably twice as wide as the one in this picture and had more shelves.  We would stand there for what seemed forever trying to decide how to spend a nickel or a dime.  You always seemed to leave with a little bag full of goodies.  Some items were even 2/.01.  I do say this is a favorite memory of mine.
Poor Mrs. Slick would stand there (looking much like the fellow in the picture) waiting for us to decide.
Once in a great while Mom and Daddy would give me a nickel - which seemed like a lot then (I guess it was).  IF I was truly lucky - I would find pennies or a nickel while out playing (in gravel on the side of road) or walking to a friends house.  Once in a blue moon - you might find a glass pop bottle tossed at the side of the road and we would take those and cash them in!
My aunt and uncle always gave me money for my little pocketbook when they visited too!!!!!!

I remember going to the circus a time or two and going to the zoo.  It was always fun to see the animals, but my favorite thing was getting rock candy!!!!!  Oh how I loved that stuff.  Sometimes it came in chunks and sometimes it was all crystalized on a stick or string.  Believe it or not - I still have a box with crystal type rock candy in my hutch.  My Mom had saved it (why I didn't eat it was a wonder) and I got it when clearing out the family house.  It sits proudly in my corner hutch!!  It says it was made in Antwerp Belgium!  Crazy.
I still love rock candy to this day.  It is really easy to make and you can add all kinds of flavors.
I think rock candy would be a fun treat for Valentine's Day.  You could make up a couple different flavors - crack - wrap and gift.    How cute it would be wrapped in a small brown paper bag with jute or raffia tie.  Simple and fun.  Just an old fashioned  fun treat!

YUM!!!!!!  I think the plain candy and cinnamon were my favorites and still are.

So there you have a memory from my childhood and a fun treat you can make and make a memory for someone else!

(anyone else remember the old candy counters?)

Sunday, January 19, 2020

Weekly Wrap-Up 1/19

Good morning all.  Oh baby, it is cold outside.  Feels like winter for sure.
Yesterday was in the 40's and lots of wind and rain.  This morning it was 11* when I got up!!!!  High today is to be 18*.   Brrrrr.
There was a lake in the back yard again yesterday.  It was so saturated from last weekend, and no where for it to go.  This morning I have an ice rink!!
I finally started getting cabin fever and went out for a bit one day this week.  I am outside many times each day, but needed to get out and see people!
My neighbor did come over one afternoon and we had a nice visit.  It seems everyone stays inside during the colder weather, and we just don't see each other much.  It was nice to have 'human' conversation.

It was a quiet week again.
  • I found a series I have been watching on YouTube that is kind of interesting.  It is out of Canada.  Young man owns an antique store and he is always on the look for treasures.  He bought a 'hoarder' house.  It was quite a journey.  Eventually changed name of series to "Potter" house - as the lady was a very famous potter.  He has videos on all sorts of other buildings and lots of things he has purchased.  I really have been enjoying this.  He is called Curiosity Incorporated.  I know it was time I didn't accomplish anything - but I enjoyed it - and that is what matters!  If it makes me happy - I am doing it!!  My new motto.
  • I have been cleaning out drawers and doing a lot more de-cluttering
  • Took 3 more boxes of items (way more than 20 items) to the church thrift store.
  • While at church store I got a pack pita bread, bagels and a 2 lb. bag of split peas for FREE
  • Ran to Kroger just because!  I got a 2 lb. box of mushrooms for 1.99, a bag of 4 pears, 5 apples, and 3 grapefruit for .99 a bag and got 6 packs of neutral (can use all the time) tissue paper marked to .30 pack.  I also got a gallon of milk for 2.19.  
  • Chopped and froze the mushrooms
  • Cleaned all the bedding including all bed pillows and pillow covers
  • Doing all the normal stuff.  Eating from home and using up leftovers.  Drinking water and Kool-Aid.
  • Sent my neighbor home with a couple cans of cinnamon rolls (to bake) and some gravy mix for when his grandsons visit over the weekend.

Meals this past week:
Tostadas (used leftover skillet enchilada mix)
Grilled ham, egg and cheese sandwich and slaw (leftover in jar of home canned)
Cheesy potato soup (from freezer) served over Ramen noodles - topped w/sour cream
Red beans and rice w/ground beef 2X
Made layered refried bean dip and ate with Pita bread
Veg. soup (canned condensed - no water added) with pasta added - threw in balance of bean dip

This is the month that I think I tend to just veg out every year.  It is usually the gloomiest month and usually the coldest.  Not necessarily the coldest this year (until today).  The daylight hours are extending a bit in the evenings, but it is pretty cloudy most of the time.  So boring and ho-hum.
I plan on doing more de-clutter this week.  My plan is to take 2 - 3 boxes or bags to the church store every week.
How was your week?  Did you get any deals?  Did you stay on track with low spend?

DID you do the 20 CHALLENGE on anything this week? I look forward to hearing what everyone is doing?  It gives us all that needed boost.

So thankful to hear that our friends in Australia are getting some much needed rain!  Hope the fires  are doused completely very soon.  Prayers to those in the North with all the snow.  I saw pictures of a part of Canada this morning - OH WOW!  They had a ton of snow (blizzard).
May you all have a safe, healthy and frugal week.  May we all keep our distant friends in our prayers.
Stay busy and stay frugal.

Blessings from my humble little home to yours.

Thursday, January 16, 2020

Fiction or Reality (?)

Let your mind wonder back many years and think about some of the TV shows and movies we had available to watch.  The Star Trek TV series was so out of this world as was Star Wars.  Now we have space craft and people are spending months in space, we have landed on foreign planets, we have genetic manipulation, we have technology that can seem scary at times.  Fiction in many cases became reality.
Over the New Year's weekend I watched part of  The Twilight Zone  marathon.  First let me say, that ANYONE who went on to be famous in the acting field, was on that show!!  It was amazing to see all kinds of young, not yet famous, actors.

Why do I mention this?  Well, one of the shows I saw - reminded of what "could" happen today in the event of a major disaster.
Let me set the stage:  Cold war years (started mid/late 40's), mid America, newly built modern middle and upper middle class neighborhoods, young families living the dream.  People moving upward on onward after the war/depression were over.  Prosperity seemed to rein.  Life was tranquil.

In this show - only one family in the neighborhood had the foresight to build a bomb shelter under their new home.  They had it equipped with food, water, medical and living comforts for their little family for 2-3 months.  Everyone else thought they were crazy.
One day a radio announcement happens - unidentified flying objects have been seen in the skies heading toward metropolis.  Government and public were in a panic.  This family was getting their last minute items into the shelter - then the neighbors start showing up!  They wanted in too.  It is only the right thing to do they said.
Now mind you - there was enough oxygen and air supply and power  (not to mention food and supplies) for this family of 3.  They HAD PREPARED.
The show went on to show the anger and meanness that happened with people trying to get in this shelter.  The were destroying this families home, they were working together in a mob to rip open the shelter, they didn't care that by prying it open they were guaranteeing doom to all.  All they were concerned about was themselves.  They were ready to harm their neighbors - to survive.

After causing much destruction, name calling, and truly making forever enemies - an announcement came that it was all a false alarm - the coast was clear.  Men were trying to apologize for horrid behavior, Moms were saying  "you would have done the same thing", people were expecting relationships to go back to normal.  The prepared family saw just how horrible people (their neighbors) could be. Nothing would ever be the same.

My point - this was a fictional show - but I see this as reality in just a heartbeat.  Those who live in areas that has cold weather know what havoc the four letter word SNOW can cause.  Shelves at stores empty in a couple hours.  People act like they will be snowed in for weeks (although many just buy junk).  Milk, eggs, and bread - are gone in minutes.  People panic!
Hurricanes and  any other natural disaster - items are gone and if found - price gouging takes hold.  Trucks can't make deliveries - stores only carry enough provisions for a week or less.  Power outages - stores, banks, gas stations, etc. are all in the digital age now and can not open and operate - looting happens.

We discuss our prepping, storage and pantries here - but 99.9% of us have never met or seen one another - nor do we have any idea where exactly the others live.  This is our SAFE spot.

BE CAREFUL who in your neighborhood and local area knows what you have.  You too could become the target of those who have NOT prepared, as in the TV show.
Yes, many of my family know how I prepare - and most of them have followed suit and do so as well.  My neighbors - I truly doubt any have prepared  (but perhaps they have and don't advertise).
People who feel desperate will do anything.  We see this on the news every day.

I guess this post is just a cautionary tale.  Be careful of who knows what you do.  Be prepared by all means (odds are some occasion will happen at some point) - but be quiet and somewhat secretive about your preps.
Keep working on learning about growing, preserving and preparing for any future problem.  It could be a natural disaster, a medical emergency, job loss, economic collapse, world strife, grid collapse, ANYTHING!
Keep your local network small.  Don't brag to neighbors (people talk)…...  BUT BE PREPARED.

"You are moving into a land of both shadow and substance, of things and ideas.  You've just crossed over into ………….The Twilight Zone".

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

The Year of 20

Here we are in this brand new year.  It IS just another year - but it is also a date like we will never see again.  Think about it.  There are probably just a handful of people on this earth who saw 1919.  We will not see another double digit year (2121).
Every single year is special and wonderful - but maybe if we get the opportunity to experience a double digit year - we should do something special or different!  What do you think?

I think we should make this year of 20.  Maybe pick something and try to reach doing it 20 times over the year.  This could be fun.  It could make us reach new goals.  Do new things.   Do old things we haven't done in ages.  Do fun things.  Do learning things.  Do healthy things.  On and on.

Here are a few ideas.  I am going to try and work on a few of these for my year.  I may not make it to 20 on each, but I will be better for trying.
  • Read 20 books
  • Save an extra $20 each week or each month (whatever you can afford)
  • Lose 20 lbs.
  • Take 20 walks in nature
  • Write 20 letters or send 20 cards (snail mail)
  • Discard 20 things a week or 20 a month.  I can probably do this each week easily.
  • Quit following 20 people that just bring you down
  • Do 20 random acts of kindness
  • Try 20 new foods
  • ENJOY 20 sunrises and sunsets - make a point of experiencing them
  • Add 20 EXTRA items to your deep pantry every month
  • Connect with 20 people from your past
  • Try 20 new recipes
  • Experience 20 new things - step outside your comfort zone
  • Do/finish  20 crafty projects
  • Try 20 new things that could improve your health (vitamins, herbs, organics, getting outside, walking, more fresh air, stop bad habits, etc.)
  • Decrease your grocery bill by $20 a week/month
  • Spend 20 less hours a week sitting around - get active
  • Donate $20 a month to some special cause 
  • Volunteer 20 hours a week/month/year - whatever you can do
  • Plant 20 different flowers or veggies or fruits this year
  • Help with neighborhood or community clean-up 20 times this year
I think you get the point.  There are no limits to things we can accomplish by just trying to reach 20 during the year.  Set your goals for a time period that works for you - it can be weekly, monthly or yearly goals.  
Like I said above - IF we don't get to 20 of whatever we choose to do - we have still improved our lives and probably someone else's!!  That is huge.
We are so perfectly imperfect - that ALL small changes matter.

Here we come 2020 - let's experience things like we never have before.

Sunday, January 12, 2020

Weekly Wrap-Up 1/12

Good morning.  Hope this finds you all well.
It has been another quiet week for me.  I just don't have the get up and go I need to get a lot accomplished.  Winter blahs?  Holiday let down?  Lonely?  Feeling sorry?  Probably all the above.  I need to have a big talk with ME and get in gear.  I hate just wasting time.  Time is such a precious gift.

We have had above normal weather again most of the week.  Friday and Saturday was rain and more rain and lots of wind.  The back yard is a lake!    Got up yesterday morning and it was 63*  This morning it was 33*  You just never know around here.
I looked out the other day at all the critters and it was so cool.  There were 13 squirrels in my yard (that I saw) - not to mention what was next door.  I counted 22 doves and 2 different types of woodpeckers, lots of cardinals, 4 blue jays, and all the other sweet little birds.  It was surely amazing.

My quiet week:
  • I met with my financial advisor
  • Started a file folder with all income tax information
  • I did run to the Post Office and mailed 3 parcels to various areas in the country and got a book of stamps
  • Been working on organization of all the Christmas stuff (wrapping items) in basement storage
  •  Working on craft area - cleaning up and declutter
  • Cooked up about a half pound of burger and used in 3 different dishes this week
  • Made a batch of 'baked spaghetti' - used couple types of pasta instead of spaghetti and used a bunch of other goodies I had on hand.  Turned out pretty tasty.
  • NO grocery store - using what I have
  • Been drinking tea, water and Kool-Aid
  • Got to have heat off for 2 days again this week
  • Still  eating on Christmas goodies - candies and a few cookies.  Also ate fruit, popcorn and apples w/peanut butter for snacks.  Had  cheese slices and beef stick with crackers a time or two as well.
  • Made plans (in my head) for a couple of sewing projects to do this week - small projects to maybe get me motivated
  •  Basic tidy up and all normal things
Meals this past week:
Leftover soup/stew  (froze balance)
Poor man's Swiss steak and mashed potatoes (used homemade soup in this)
Baked fish and a small potato and home canned coleslaw
Baked spaghetti and garlic toast (old buns) 2 X - (froze balance)
Homemade fried rice
Enchilada skillet dinner and served with soft tortillas

There you have it - QUIET!  Just me and the kitties hanging out!
How was your week?  Did you get any good deals?  Are you doing well on no spend January?

I continue to keep our Australian friends and their country in my prayers.  May the Lord bring them lots of rain and douse the fires.  Such a sad situation.
There is a lot of bad weather around much of our country this week and earthquakes in Puerto Rico.  Please stay safe everyone and my prayers for all.

I pray for you all that you are well and safe. Stay safe in this coming week and stay frugal my friends. Blessings to you all from my humble little home to yours.  

Thursday, January 9, 2020

Some Odd Uses for Common Things

I am one of those people who try to figure out different ways to use what I have at home.   There are so many uses for common every day things that many don't even think about.  Any time we can find many uses for an item, we are saving ourselves money and time!

Here are a few of my unconventional uses!
  • I love baking soda!  So many uses.  I mix baking soda and peroxide together into a paste and use that 2 - 3X a month as a tooth whitener.  Just use as you would toothpaste.  Baking soda is a wonderful cleanser - I use it all the time for cleaning.  I throw some in the with the kitty litter to reduce any odors.  I keep some old and outdated baking soda in the frig and freezer to rid it of food odors.  Pour some baking soda in your drain and top off with vinegar for a great drain cleaner.  Many people add to laundry as a whitener.  **(I use peroxide instead of bleach)
  • Vinegar is another multi-functional item.  As stated above, use with b. soda as a drain cleaner.  I use in the rinse cycle of laundry for a fabric softener (no smell when laundry dries).  I use vinegar to soothe the burn from sunburn and often use it to soothe the itch from poison ivy.  It works wonders to clean windows and mirrors.  Once in a great while I use it as a rinse for my hair - it softens my hair and it removes all residue buildup from soap (helps eliminate itchy scalp). (No smell when dry).  I also add a little vinegar to my dish soap to act as a grease cutter.
  • Dawn dish soap is another multi use item.  It's not just for dishes any more!  Blue Dawn is a wonderful stain remover for clothes.  I have even used on set in stains and it has removed them ( may need to do it a couple times).  It is good to use with b. soda as a cleanser.  I use it in bug killers and weed killer I make up and spray on flowers and garden and yard - it helps set the mixture on the grass/plants.  I mix with water and spray on certain pest bugs that flock the yard/house in summer.  We get box elders bugs to cover the siding and furniture outside and simply spraying with a mixture of Dawn and water - they instantly die.  I mix vinegar, water and a squirt of Dawn to make my window cleaner.  Shoot I have even used in a pinch to wash my hair and a couple times in a pinch added a squirt or two to do laundry.
  • Salt is another great product.  I keep a bottle of salt water in the bathroom all the time and use it anytime I have a blister or sore in my mouth.  It heals almost instantly.  If you have bleeding gums, salt water helps heal that as well.  Glen swore by it.  Recently I was talking with G's aunt about how my face breaks out (been doing this for a couple years).  She said grandma used salt and salt water to heal everything.  I tried it as a rinse on my face after washing and within 2 days it was healed!!!!!  I splash a bit every night on my face and my face has remained blemish free!!!  Amazing.  Sometimes the old ways are the best.  THANKS ROSE! I have even used salt on my toothbrush if running out of toothpaste or baking soda.  If you are dying fabric - add salt to the water to help set the color.
  • I keep lids from parmesan  cheese containers and from the glass jar candles to reuse on Mason jars for dry storing.  Lids from peanut butter jars also work on Mason jars.  I also have a neighbor that gives me their individual size pop bottles.  I use those to refill with water (for emergency water storage).  I also use for that salt water I keep in the bathroom.  Squirt bottle lids (like detergent & shampoo) fit them and they make great bottles for shampoo or dish detergent (condensing down from big bottles).  I also cut fresh chives in the summer and drop into a bottle and keep in the freezer.  Whenever I want chives in the winter I simply shake some out.  I refill and make my own individual water bottles, instead of buying bottled water.  I also keep the tops of iodized salt boxes - they can be cut and used on Mason jars under the ring for a pouring jar!
  • Epsom salts are good for a variety of things as well.  It works in a nice hot bath to soothe aches and pains and help detox body.  I sometimes sprinkle a bit on a wet wash cloth and use as a scrub.  Depending on how you mix it and what you mix it with - it can also be used as a weed killer or as a plant booster.
  • Add liquid coffee to anything you are baking that is chocolate.  Coffee really intensifies the chocolate flavor.  Coffee grounds can be added to your garden/plants and compost for beneficial results.  Grounds can also be added to homemade soap- making a great scrubbing soap.
  • Lemon juice added to rice while cooking keeps it from getting sticky.  I always add a splash to cooking rice.  No lemon flavor in the rice.  This really does work.  I like adding a splash of lemon to tea or water for a fresh flavor.  
  • If you have old home canned pickles that are limp and soggy - drain and slightly pat dry  and then dehydrate.  After completely dried grind into a powder.  This is a great add to sour cream for a dip - or to add to dressings or salads or salt.  No need to throw things away - find a new use!  I like adding some pickle powder to deviled eggs or to potato salad (it is also good mixed with salt on popcorn!).
  • My brother keeps all toilet paper rolls to make seed starter pots.  He cuts them in half and folds in the bottom a bit and starts all his seeds in them.  Just fill with soil and add seed.  They can be placed directly into the garden without disturbing the plants roots!
  • I am not a coffee drinker  -  but I do buy instant coffee for my morning blended drink I make (I like mocha flavor).  I keep the bottles and reuse instead of using my Mason jars.  They are great for candy storage (M&M's or any small candy), they are also good for mixes and all dry storage.  I can place items in them for gifting and not be worried about getting them back.  Good for so many things.
  • Coconut oil is great and healthier for cooking - but has other uses as well.  It works great for dry skin.  Just a little works wonders and is so healing.  I have had many people tell me they do a hair treatment once a month with it as well for dry hair.  Wash hair, lightly apply coconut oil and cover with a heated towel for a while - wash well and rinse.  Stops brittle hair and breakage.

So there are a few of my uncommon uses for common things.  Do you have any great ideas of using things in a new way?  I am always looking for new ideas.
Any tricks that save time and money using household items?  Ways to reduce waste and reuse items?
Give us a shout out!!!

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Budgeting - Do You?

Budget -  def. - an estimate of income and expenditure for a set period of time.
Do you set a budget?  Do you have everything spelled out in black and white?  Do you have a very specific plan for your money?

I really dislike the word budget.  I always have.  It makes me feel very constrained for some reason.  The logic we always used - we made X amount of money, therefore we HAD to spend less than that.
Luckily, that worked for us.
There are so many things and ways for people to budget.  Some divide money into jars or envelopes.  Some use spreadsheets, notebooks, special accounts - the list goes on and on.
I have to admit (sheepishly) I have never read a Dave Ramsey book nor have I watched any videos, etc. of his.  It just never appealed to me.
Now I have read Tightwad Gazette and a ton of books on ways to do things cheaply - but no real budget material.

I/we just always used the simple principle of never spend more than we made.  We tried to work it out that either one of us could pay the bills in case the other was without pay for a certain amount of time.
Yes, that meant we didn't go out shopping a lot.  Yes, that meant we bought a smaller and less expensive home than most people we knew.  Yes, it meant learning how to do things ourselves.  Yes, it meant we took our lunches to work or came home for lunch.  Yes, it meant we learned to have quality fun with friends cheaply (movie nights, camping, etc.). Yes, that meant for most of our lives we drove older vehicles.  We only purchased a brand new vehicle (a first for us both) after our house was paid in full.
Lot's of people didn't understand us - but we eventually rubbed off on some of them!!!  I think they began to see we saved and had some money for the future and we weren't in horrible debt - and they wanted to taste that treat as well!

Some things we did:
  • ALWAYS saved 10% - 15% of our pay right off the top
  • Didn't just shop whenever we felt like it - we set specific days and weeks to shop
  • We got on the budget plans for all utilities that would let us.  We paid the same amount every month - versus huge payments in some months
  • We talked about and saved for bigger purchases
  • Found new ways to do things - husband was a mechanic and could take care of our vehicles.  He was handy.  I was crafty and learned older ways from my parents.
  • Cooked at home
  • Loved clearance and mark downs
  • Joined in 401K or other programs offered to the full extent
  • Gardened and put up a lot of our own food
You get the idea.  We just LIVED WITHIN OUR MEANS!  That is the big statement!  Don't try to keep up with the Jones - keep your life simple and within YOUR means.

I hear people say "I can't cut out anything else".  Bet you can.  You don't HAVE to have cable, internet, cell phones, morning lattes, lunches out, shopping all the time, tons of junk food, etc.
There is always something that can be cut out - you may not like it - but if you are having money problems, you need to do whatever you can to get above water.  WHATEVER IT TAKES.

Like if you go overboard at the grocery and just buy because you see it and it says 'buy me'.  Shop online and have your groceries delivered.  Stay out of the store.
If your internet bill is too high - either shop around for better service or just go to the library and use their connection (free).  Maybe you and a neighbor can share both connection and cost.
Read books from the library - quit buying them
Take lunches (leftovers are great) and quit going out
Stop bad habits - smoking, drinking fancy coffees, pop, etc.
Read blogs, watch Vlogs about new ways of doing things (cheaply)
Reuse, reduce, recycle everything you can - it does make a difference

I am curious how others BUDGET.  Share your ideas and hopefully those ideas will help someone else.  We all need new ways and ideas of doing things.
What say you?

Sunday, January 5, 2020

Weekly Wrap-Up 1/5

Good morning to all my frugal friends.  I hope this finds you healthy and safe.
Prayers continuing for our friends in Australia that the devastating fires quickly come to an end.  So much loss there. It is all so sad.

I have had a pretty quiet week.  Spent much of it reflecting on the past year and contemplating what might come in the new year.  I truly have no idea what might be.  I just know I have to find ME!

My Coogy and his new favorite toy!!!!   Ribbon from a Christmas gift.  He has played and played with that despite having so many toys.  Just goes to show - it doesn't have to be store bought!
I went to a baby shower last Sunday for a cousin of Glen's.  It was a super nice affair.  I got to see many of his relatives and catch up.  That was nice.  They are just so kind.  It was my farthest trip so far (not that far really), just new to me to go that far away from home.  I am slowly moving out of my comfort zone - very slowly!!!

I watched a part of a marathon of The Twilight Zone NYE and NYD.  I do that every few years.  My goodness, everyone that ever went on to be famous was on that show!!  A fun blast from the past.

The weather has been mild for this time of the year.  There have had many above normal temperature days in the past couple weeks.  A few flurries mixed in and some cold nights and a little rain - but nothing to complain about.

My week:
  • Put away all the Christmas stuff and all my lovely gifts
  • Got all bills that were received and due in January PAID
  • Froze up 2 containers of salsa chicken (left from get together) and gave some to my neighbor
  • Got to turn off heat during the day for the first 3 days of the year!
  • Straightened up and organized the pantry
  • Received a coupon in the mail for a FREE 40 count box of Truvia
  • Made a small brisket for new years and made great use of it
  • Used all leftovers and some odds and ends to make a pot of  "stoop" - thick stew like pot of hamburger/veggie soup 
  • Just doing all the normal stuff around here.  Nothing exciting and the week has been quiet.
  • NO shopping at all
Meals this past week:
Ate at the shower - chicken salad  and veggies/dip - later at home had some beef stick and cheese and crackers leftover
Salsa chicken soft tacos
Fish sandwich and oven fries
Corned beef & cabbage and black eyed peas (new year's tradition)
Reuben sandwich and pickles  (home canned kraut and pickles)
Corned beef hash topped with cheese
Hamburger stew/soup  made from leftovers and odds and ends

This week I need to get myself in gear and start accomplishing some things.  New year - new start.  I need to get out of my own way and start getting busy.  
Did you have a nice new year's?  Are you looking to get back on the frugal bandwagon this month?  It seems we all spent a lot of extra money lately - I am really going to try to spend less on everything.

Take care of yourselves and be safe and stay healthy.  Looking forward to a new year of sharing with you all.  God bless and comfort each of you.
Blessings from my humble little home to yours.

Thursday, January 2, 2020

Getting Back to Frugal Living

New month, new year, new decade - NEW CHANCE to get frugal!!
The past couple months have been spendy.  I well imagine everyone spent more money than usual the past few months.  The holidays tend to do that to us!

I always try to start each January with NO SPEND DAYS!
How does that work?
It is simple really.  Yes, we all have regular bills that have to be paid.  Many people have transportation costs due to working.  You still have to get your meds.  BUT, other than that you have control!  You can decide yes or no on all other spending.

No new clothes or accessories
No eating out - unless FREE with GC (prepare ahead and take lunches to work)
No coffee/pop stops
No extra beauty treatments
No extra stops for snacks
No groceries - unless absolutely necessary

I am sure there are those who think this sounds so dreadful!  It is really easy.

I have a house full of grocery items.  Freezer has meat and various other goods.  The pantries are full with store bought and home canned goods.  The frig has milk, eggs, cheese, butter, etc.  I have plenty of pet supplies and I think I am pretty good with wildlife feed.  I have fresh fruit and plenty of canned.  I have snacks both healthy and non-healthy on hand.  I can make snacks if I wish.

If I run out of something, food wise, I will substitute something else.  I will use what I have.
I will try to fix some different type meals.  I will use the oldest first.
I am not a shopper of things - never have been.  So I won't be buying clothes, household items, beauty items, crafts, etc..
My biggest downfall is the grocery store!!!!  I love going to the grocery, but I am going to try to stay away.

You basically set the rules yourself.  IF you see an exceptional deal that is too good to pass up at the grocery - then go for it.  It is savings to you in the long run.
The whole goal is to spend as little as possible for the month.  USE WHAT YOU HAVE.  Try new things and new recipes.  Experiment a little.  Rotate that pantry and freezer.

Along these same lines - I am going to straighten the pantry again (got messed up over the holidays - those darn gremlins!), inventory my home canned food, and straighten and inventory the freezer.  I want to know what I have and I want to use it, so nothing goes to waste.
That is a huge mistake many people make.  They shop and buy up deals, then they don't use them.  WHY?  That is just throwing good money away.  You haven't saved a thing by having to get rid of items.  PLEASE don't be wasteful.

Anybody else willing to try?
Yes, there will be things that come up.  I MAY have to make a wildlife feed run, but I will NOT spending on other things. You may need something that you just can't live without.  Things happen.

We can all try to spend as little as possible and be good stewards of what we have and USE it.  This is a good way of getting your finances back on track.  Did you use your credit cards over the holidays?  Use the money that you don't spend carelessly on paying off those bills.  Save a little.  Prepare a little more for retirement.  Just SPEND LESS.
Every day you don't spend IS a SAVING DAY.

I hope some of you give this a try!  Good luck and happy saving. Have fun experimenting and trying new things.  Let's get creative and get back on that frugal bandwagon!!!!