Thursday, April 30, 2020

Learning Never Ends

I know I have mentioned this before but back in the day my Daddy would ask me every single day "what did you learn today".  I found that so annoying as a kid - then I realized how important it was as an adult.
I still think of his question everyday - and every night I try to think of something that I learned that day.
We are never to old to learn.  I do believe that I learn something every single day.  It may not be something I actually 'want' to learn - but we learn good or bad.
Do you feel you learn everyday?

This old world is so big and there are so many people who do things differently.  I love learning about others lives and ways.
This is why I am happy to be here and have you all along for the ride.  Life is sure interesting and intriguing.

I love this quote.  
I do believe this is why we are all here and we are all learning to live within our means from one another. 

Stay focused. 
Keep plugging away.  
Every little addition or change is important and helps.  
Start slow - don't try to conquer the world all at once.  
Baby steps is how we all started this journey.  
Keep moving forward and don't get discouraged.

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Inventory - Making Your List and Checking it Twice

NO this is not a PANIC post!
This is a get organized and know what you have post.

I know as well as I am sitting here - there are so many of us that have pantry items that we have forgotten about - shoved to the bottom of freezer - pushed to the back of the shelves, etc..  You know who you are!!!!!!!  LOL
It happens.  We have gotten things on sale thinking - 'this would be good'.  We have not been the most organized.  We have run out of exciting ideas.  We have just gotten sort of lazy!

Now is the time to go through the pantry and through the freezers and organize and INVENTORY!!!!
Know your inventory.  Now is the time to not waste anything.  Now is the time to get creative.   If you know exactly what you have you can better plan your meals, your shopping, and your budget.

I spent one morning this week going through the entire freezer.  I took everything out, and made my list of exactly what and how much I had of everything.   I then organized - beef, chicken, pork, etc.  all together.  You can keep your list by how many pounds or how many packages.  Know how many servings are in each package (ie: 4 chops, 6 drumsticks,  1/2 lb. ground beef, etc.).

Do the same with your pantry and your home canned goods and deep pantry if you have one.  Once you sit and look at those lists - you can get creative and figure out some wonderful meals.
REMEMBER:  Meat is not a necessity  at every meal - regardless of what you may want!

You can use beans or lentils to make burgers.  They are wonderful and they are full of protein.  You can add beans, lentils, peas, etc. to soups and stews to extend.  Peanut butter, cheese, milk, nuts, eggs, even protein powders can be added to foods.
                                       Things like this and dry milk are good to have as well.  

Keep canned meats on hand!!!!!  Not only is it easy (in case of power outage), but it is practical.  Tuna, salmon, mackerel, chicken, pulled pork, beef, Spam, small hams, corned beef...……  There are so many canned meats, and we should all have some of them around.

Check your pasta, rice, dry beans, veggies, sauces, fruits, baking goods, etc.  If you are running low on some things - slowly work on accumulating more!  I know there are many items that are hard to get right now - but keep your eyes open and get WHAT you can WHEN you can.
Don't let yourself get back into a situation where you don't have the necessities and basics.

Another thing to remember - IF you have some meats in the freezer that are older and have some freezer burn - cut it off!!!!!  You don't  have to throw the entire item away.  Freezer burn DOES change taste and texture (and not for the good) - but many times it is just on a section of the meat.  Cut it off and cook your meat with seasonings and maybe cooking it in a crockpot.  It will be fine.  DO NOT WASTE!!!!  Make stew, soup, shred it, just use it and don't waste.

So now you have an assignment for those rainy, cooler or yucky days - INVENTORY EVERYTHING!!!!!!  Make your list and keep it handy.  
Have fun with your food.

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Simple Guidelines to Spending Less

We are in a time when we all want to spend less and still live a good life.  Some prices are rising, and we all need ideas on ways to stretch those budgets.
Many times we need to take a deep breath, stand back at look at things in a realistic light, and then move forward SLOWLY.  Don't panic, don't rush, don't make rash decisions - think, breathe and save.

** Don't confuse being frugal with being cheap or doing without.  You can watch you pennies and live a complete an frugal life.  I find that many frugal people are the most generous to others.  They have saved, got deals and bargains and share to help others.  (I know many wealthy people who are downright stingy).  You can still be classy.  You know the difference between wants  and needs.  You know how to SAVE for a special something instead of going into debt.  You have figured out exactly WHAT is important!

** Don't waste your money.  It is so easy to do.  Fast food, those coffee shops, late fees, super high cable/phone bills (you CAN renegotiate), smoking, impulse buys, shopping for entertainment, etc.
Make it your goal for a few months to track absolutely every dime spent - you will be amazed!  So much of the money we spend is just not necessary.  Track those purchases and see exactly where you are spending it.  Take steps to remove those wasteful items.  A penny saved is one you don't have to earn AGAIN.

** Track you grocery costs.  KNOW who has the best deals and best prices.  That is especially important today.  Some stores just have better prices.  Watch the sale ads.  Buy sales!!!!!!!  Stock up on sale items and clearance items when you can.  That is money in the bank!!!!!!!  Use coupons if you can for items that you WILL use - not just to be using them.  Stock up on good deals and always be prepared.  Prepare for the worst and hope for the best.
Learn how to improvise.  Use what you have.  If you run out - substitute - no running out for a thing or two.
Buying sales, markdowns and clearance - is ALWAYS another way to stock up and SAVE

**Shop more than one store.  NO one store has all the best prices.  I realize right at this moment many can not or will not do this - but as a general rule, use more than one store.  Dollar stores often have the best prices for health and beauty or cleaning products.  Watch for the best deals and sales.  Make it your mission to get the best deals.  If needing to go to more than one store - remember to make it your goal to have a route to follow to minimize fuel usage.
Look at Aldi (if you have them), dollar stores, farm markets, roadside stands, grocery outlets, bulk stores, ethnic stores (generally cheaper on many items), etc.

** Buy bulk if you can.  NO you don't want to have so much that you waste food and goods.  You can always go in with family or friends to split costs and product.  You want to get the best prices.
Repackage goods - get yourself a vacuum sealer (best  utensil you can have), use large glass jars, canning jars, repurpose any other packaging that you can.  Freeze, can (re-can), dehydrate, etc.

** Make you own.    So many people believe that you HAVE to buy everything you need.  In the past - people MADE everything they needed.  Get cookbooks on "mixes".  Learn how to cook and bake.  Make your own breakfast foods and coffee - instead of going out.  Make waffles and pancakes to freeze for those rushed days.  Make hearty muffins, breakfast burritos, etc.
Make snack goods - popcorn, ice cream, popsicles, chips, cookies and brownies, etc.
Use leftovers for lunches.
There are cookbooks and recipes on-line for 'restaurant' favorites that you can make at home.
Grow a garden or some veggies.  Use less.  Shop seasonal.
Get creative.

** Eliminate convenience foods.  DON'T buy precut  - salads, veggies, fruit - it costs at least twice as much if not more than buying a whole item and cutting yourself.    Prepackaged mixes cost more than making from scratch.  A restaurant meal can cost 10 times more than homemade.
Buy whole chickens or loins and cut your own - so much cheaper.  Learn to de-skin or de-bone chicken yourself - there are You Tube videos out there.

** LESS MEAT usage!!!!!  Now more than ever this can be critical.  We (for the most part) do NOT need meat to survive, at least not every day!!!!!  Make meatless nights at least a couple times a week.  Use smaller quantities - there is no need to eat a huge steak - cut it and let more than 2/3 people eat from it.  Make soups and casseroles - you can load it up with veggies and beans, pasta, or rice and use way less meat.  Look for protein substitutes - there are many.  Think beans, nuts, dairy and even tofu. Remember meat is just a side dish as are veggies - it should not be the MAIN event!!!!!!

** Waste NOTHING.  Find new uses for everything.  Leftovers for lunch or recreate into new meals.  Jars and bottles for storage.    Squirt bottles from condiments can be great for homemade dressings or used for icing (for decorating).  Ends of bread or stale bread or crackers - crush and use for coatings.  Any food containers can be used for storage or leftovers (taking lunch to work or school).  Extra fruit - turn into smoothies or frozen sweets or sweet breads.  Use cardboard containers to make fun toys for the littles (drums or storage containers or building blocks).  Use TP tubes (or paper towels tubes) for plant starter pots (plant-able as well).  Old clothes can be remade into new clothing or quilts.  Old t-shirts or towels make great washable rags.  The list goes on and on!!!!!!!

** Less traditional meals!!!!!  Have soup nights once or twice a week - sure does stretch ingredients.  You can make bean soup, cream of soups, potato soup, leftover (whatever you got left) soup.   Have baked potato night - super filling and you can top with any type of leftovers.  Have breakfast - pancakes, waffles, biscuits and gravy, eggs and sausage.  Make big old roll-ups with tortillas - use minimal meat, cheese, lots of veggies and dressings or sauces.
Remember there is nothing wrong with sandwich night as well!  OR salad night!  Use what you have and get creative with it.

**  If you have the room and the ingredients make foods ahead and freeze some meals for when you are in a hurry or tired or broke!  Make more than one lasagna or casserole.  Make more than one loaf of bread or batch of rolls.  Save leftover soups and casseroles and freeze.  I often freeze individual containers of soup or casserole for those nights I just don't feel like cooking or to go with a sandwich.
You will always have a variety of food on hand - and it could really help your family out if finances are running low.

Potato flats with whatever topping you have.  Could be a great side - could be a filling quick meal
Any type of grilled sandwich.  Cheeses of any sort, meat, tuna, pattie melts, I have even made grilled mac n cheese sandwiches (yum by the way)

Look at things differently - open your eyes to how many wonderful ways there are to be frugal!!!!!
You can live a beautiful life and not really sacrifice a thing.  In fact I think you actually gain and live better by being frugal.  You can still have class.  You can still have dignity.  You can stretch those dollars.  You can save a little more.  You can help others a little more.  You can have a great life and feel safe and confident for your family.

Life is just BETTER when you are frugal.

Sunday, April 26, 2020

Weekly Wrap-Up 4/26

Good morning to all friends.  Hope you are well and safe on this fine day.  It is a wet, dreary and chilly day here, but the Lord has given it - so it is fine!
It sure seems we have ridden the weather roller coaster this spring.  We get a beautiful warm day or two then it gets cold and nasty.  I just wish it would level out - I am ready to plant!
Planting before Mother's Day is pretty futile in this area.  I usually wait till about the middle of the month.  My brother has my tiller, and he will be returning it in the next couple weeks - so I can then get things ready.  Ready to smell the earth!
It is getting so very green - the grass is just vivid green (and growing) and the trees are now green with leaves.

My week was kind of quiet.  I was in a mood much of the week (as can be understood).  I did get some things done, but pretty much kitties and I just hung out.

My week:
  • Made myself another new belt from one of Glen's old ones.  It was basically brand new - he preferred sweats the last many years.  It is a nice thick leather and should last me years.
  • I washed many quilts and covers to freshen and got to hang them out on the line early in the week.
  • I laundered up some old linens as well. Table runners.  They needed ironed - I hardly ever iron.  After dried I though about spritzing with water to iron and then I remembered I had some spray starch tucked away.   LOL - oh my goodness - I have had it for years and it STILL worked!  Look at the price on that can.  Waste not - want not!!! 

  • Cut chives 2 X
  • Aired out the house on several days - heat off and windows opened
  • Mowed the entire yard and trimmed
  • Used all leftovers.  Used some leftover lo-mein I made and made a soup with it, by adding  diced tomatoes and broth
  • Refilled many items in cabinets with over flow stock (deep pantry)
  • I went out!!!  After 42 days of staying out of stores I ventured out to the Walmart Family Market up the street.  I don't usually ever shop WM, but it is the closest store.   I was pleasantly surprised - they had absolutely everything.  Fresh, frozen, canned, milk, eggs, meat, paper goods, pet products, cleaning, and lots of baking products.  They had aisles marked one way and most everyone had masks one.  The staff was friendly, and there wasn't any over crowding.  Prices were really good - really saw no significant increases (I kept watching the pricing on things I didn't need too).      I have heard so many stories and seen so much on TV - that I almost dreaded the visit.  I just needed to get out!!!!!  PLUS there were a few things I wanted to get.  It made me  feel a bit reassured that 'perhaps' things are getting a tad bit better.  The only limits they had was on paper products - one package per customer.
I spent a chunk of change ($140) - but considering how long it had been since I was out that wasn't too bad.  Most people spend more than that a week.  I got a lot.  Many items were costly single item things - 2 - 16 lb. bags of dry cat food ($13 ea.), 2 - 20 lb. bags of cat litter ($5 ea.), 2 boxes of my OTC restless leg meds ($9 ea.), gallon of ice cream ($4.49), and about 40 more cans of cat food (around $20).  I got lots of fresh veggies, some fresh ground beef and canned meats (building up my stock), frozen food and snacks.  Oh I did get eggs, milk and flour too.  Oh yes, I did get another 12 pack of TP and an 8 pack of paper towels too (to build stock).   The back end of the Blazer was full.  

I was careful and had my mask on and sanitizing wipes used (many during the visit).  The outing really did me good.  I just needed to see people - even if you couldn't see their faces!!!  You tell people were smiling by their eyes.  Everyone was so polite.  It really boosted my mindset and attitude - I needed that.
I know not everyone  can say they have had this kind of experience.  I just wanted to share mine as a bit of encouragement.  Have hope!

My meals this past week:
Leftover Mexican casserole and salad
Loaded baked potato
Veggie Lo-Mein
Smoked sausage and kraut (home canned)
Lo-Mein soup
Cheesy tuna mac and fresh veggies
Taco salad
Homemade lo-mein.  Using spaghetti, carrots, mushrooms, some shredded cabbage, peas and garbanzo beans (for crunch) as I had no water chestnuts - topped with chow mein noodles.  Cooked pasta in chicken broth and then added soy sauce to mix while stir frying.  MMmmmmmmm

Did anybody else notice that we are now over 100 followers??  I know there are a lot more people than that, that read along.  I check stats ever now and then and daily visits range between  around a 100 to upwards of 600 or more.  I truly think it is all about the title - it seems some titles are more enticing than others!   Whatever brings you here - I am thankful for each of you.  
This has been a fun journey and has literally saved me many times.  I love how we all share ideas from all over the world.  I am looking forward to the future here!  THANK YOU ALL

How was your week?  What are some frugal things you are doing?
I hope you have a great week ahead and that you and your families stay safe and healthy.
Make sure you take time to say thank you for all your blessings - big and small.
Blessings from my humble little home to yours.

Thursday, April 23, 2020

Gratitude, Memories and Heartache

Today I am going down memory lane a bit.

Today would have been Momma's 109th birthday.  She was born in 1911 and passed in 2001. Can you imagine all the changes, both good and bad, she experienced in life?  It is something to think about.  I know the world has changed tremendously in my life - but it was even more so in hers.  I miss her and her gentle way.
Tomorrow would have been Daddies 106th birthday.  Born in 1914 and passed in 1984.  He was such a rock in our family - the strong and steady force we all needed.  I miss all his advice and guidance.  Not a day goes by that I don't remember some lessons learned.
No matter how much time goes by - we miss our parents.  I am so glad I had the ones I did.

Today, is one year since my world changed forever.  My dear sweet big old teddy bear of a hubby went so unexpectedly and quickly to be with the Lord.
God, I miss him with every fiber of my being.  I miss everything about him and our life together - good and bad.
I wish I had found him earlier in life - but I am so grateful for the 34 years we did spend together.  Had we come together earlier, we would not have been the people we were and things may not have played out as they did.  I sure do believe that everything in life happens for a reason - there are no accidents.
A year ago, I had no idea how I could possible go forward.  It has been hard and sad and an adjustment I wouldn't wish on anyone.  But I do have days where I laugh now, I do have days where I sit and cry, and I always have days full of wonderful memories!!
This was the evening of our wedding in 1986 (with my Mom).  I have to say this is the only time I ever saw Glen in a proper suit!  He wore sport coats and nice pants if he HAD 
to - but never a suit again!!   He surely was not a suit kind of guy!  Good golly we look so young!!!
Here he is chilling and being 'sexy' at the camper we had.  LOL.  Jeans, sweatshirts and a ballcap was his normal mode of dress.  We used to have such fun camping.  We had so many good times together.

I am not posting this today for sympathy - I am posting to share my heart and to offer hope to others who have gone through the same thing.  I know many of you here have lost a spouse and sadly, many more will someday.  It is the hardest thing I have ever gone through - but I am still here.
I have lost many in life - this being the worst pain of all.  I know there are many who have lost a child out there, and I can not even fathom that pain.
It is amazing what having faith and the Lord in my life has allowed me.  It has let me rise up and go forward - moment by moment - but forward.
I have to go on.  Nothing will ever be the same - ever.  I now know I will NEVER EVER tell someone again "I know how you feel".  NO, no one does - even if they have lost a spouse.  Everyone has different feelings and a different life experience that is very personal and singular to just you.  
It is ok to be angry.  It is ok to cry.  It is ok feel lonely.  It is ok to smile and laugh again.  It is OK - there is no right or wrong way to feel.
Just live your best life to honor those who have gone.  They deserve that.  They would want that.  Be the person they would want and live the life they would like you to have.

This saying is so true.  A part of you leaves forever, but a part stays and that is the part that we have to nurture and grow.  I remember everyday and I miss him everyday and I talk to him everyday - but I need to find myself too.
People ask what I want to do now - I don't know.  I was doing what I wanted to do. (This is an ongoing thing for me - figuring out this new life)
People say 'when things get back to normal' - it never will.  Life changed that day - and I can not expect it to "get back".  I am not who I was on 4/22/19 and never will be, as everything became different the next day.  I need to realize this and do what I need to, to go forward.  Whatever that is.

This is basically the first year in my 65 years that I have been alone.  I was at home with my parents, I moved out and lived with a friend, I got married, divorced (even then I spent most of my time with friends and with Mom) - then I met Glen.  We lived in the same apartment building and saw each other daily until we married.  I still feel him around me each and every day - I get little signs now and then too!  
Things DO get lonely.  I do know I have a wonderful supportive family and very good dear friends and a wonderful community here (you all) and that makes each and every day easier and better.

This blog has really saved me during this past year.  You have all been kind, loving and supportive and we share in good and bad, and we laugh with each other and we smile for each other and we cry for each other.
I hope this continues.  We are ALL BLESSED to have each other!!!!!!!!!

So hug your family.  Love them and your friends.  Don't take the little silly things for granted - all things are important.  Don't get all bent out of shape about small stuff.  ENJOY each and every day!
I hope this post HELPS someone going through some heartache right now.
No matter what you think - LIFE DOES GO ON.

I love you all.

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Salads - It's Whatever You Have

I like salads - A LOT!  I love fresh ingredients.  That is not always possible, especially in the winter and especially when many of us aren't out shopping and gardens aren't growing yet.
A salad doesn't have to be lettuce and tomatoes - it can be anything.
I know many times I list on my menus that I had a side salad - it may not be what you all think.  I mix all kinds of things together - whatever I have.

We all are used to salads with lettuces and tomatoes, onions, and cucumbers.  Think outside the box.
Sometimes I have bite size pieces of fresh carrots (I always have carrots on hand) with olives and a little onion.  Maybe cabbage cut up or shredded with some carrot and bell pepper added and a little dressing.  Fresh asparagus is a favorite to be added to other veggies.
Think about cabbage, bell peppers, onions, fresh broccoli or cauliflower, chopped brussel sprouts, fresh asparagus, zucchini or yellow squash or drained canned garbanzo beans.

 You can add nuts of any kind.  Raisins, seeds  - you name it.
 Garbanzo beans (chickpeas) are yummy in a salad and add a bit of crunch.  Add corn, fresh herbs and a variety of greens.
Any type of cheese can be added, meats chopped up, fruit, eggs - there is just no limit to what can be added to a salad.
Top with croutons or chunks of roasted corn bread.  Mix fresh and roasted veggies.

Think about making potato salad or egg salad - you can always serve over some fresh veggies if desired.  Bean salad is favorite of mine.  Broccoli salad, pea salad, corn salad...………...
There is absolutely no right or wrong when it comes to salad.

Add veggies or fruit to pasta, orzo or rice.  Throw on a bit of dressing and YUM!
In the summer when I have fresh goodies on hand - some of my favorites are the basic cucumbers and onions with vinegar/sugar dressing.  Tomatoes, cucumber/zucchini and chopped onions in Italian dressing.  I often interchange cucumber for zucchini.  Sweet onions, green onions, chives are all interchangeable.
Add fresh herbs that you have on hand.

Learn about edible 'weeds'.  There are so many greens growing in our yards that are actually very good for you.  (Make sure you research).

So the next time someone says "I had salad" - don't always think it was just lettuce!
Have fun and mix it up and enjoy a new SALAD!

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Celebrating 50 Years of Earth Day

Earth Day had it's first official celebration on April 22, 1970.  WOW 50 years ago!
I was still a young crazy hippy chick - listening to the likes of Janis Joplin, The Doors,  Jethro Tull and the Stones!!  LOL!  Jeans and barefoot  as often as I could be.  Life was groovy!

Well, 50 years later and still wearing the jeans and love being barefoot!  Yep - I still like much of the same music.  I weigh a bit more and have short hair now, but today I DO TAKE AN INTEREST IN THE PLANET!

There are usually lots of celebrations every year.  This year you will probably find many sites to visit on the Internet and there are many things that each of us can do every single day of every year - that can make a difference.  If each person on this planet makes a little change, that makes for a big change!
In the past few weeks our air quality has changed significantly!!!!!  So many fewer cars on the road and hardly no airplanes.  The quality of the air is measurably improved.  Isn't that something?

Let us all try to make some changes to help this old planet out.  As of today, it is the only one we have - it is beautiful and magnificent - and deserves to be taken care of.
  • DON'T use chemicals!!!!  Use natural cleaning supplies - vinegar, salt, baking soda, peroxide, natural soaps.  Don't spray weed killer or pesticides on your lawn and garden - it kills the very bees we depend on, it harms all wildlife, and it is ingested IN YOU.  Keep things natural.
  • Plant trees and wild flowers when you can.  Many wildflowers return every year and they attract bees and butterflies and hummingbirds, etc.  Plants improve the oxygen we breath.
  • Use less energy.  Turn off things when not in use.  Unplug things.  Save water for other things, line dry laundry if possible, open the windows for fresh air and flow, open and close blinds according to the time of day (for light and heat), etc.  Ex:  if baking - bake several things, so as to use ALL the energy of the oven ONCE!  Cook and freeze meals for later.  Save shower water for plants or flushing...…...
  • Have rain barrels if possible.  This is a great way to have extra water for gardens and plants when rain is lacking.  Can also use for animals or personal use (hair washing, flushing, etc.)
  • Compost what you can.  Put scraps back into nature and help your garden grow
  • GARDEN anything you can!!!!  Doesn't matter if you have a lawn size garden, a postage stamp size garden or a few potted plants.  Grow something to help in your natural food consumption
  • Buy LESS packaging.  Go in with others and buy in bulk and share.  Use cloth bags to bring home groceries.  Go to farm markets and take your own re-usable bags.  Use glass jars and bottles when possible.  Stop buying all the individually packaged items!!!!! 
  • Take a walk outside and pick up any and all trash you see along the road, in the fields, along sidewalks,  clean around waterways, etc..  Be the better person and pick it up - don't leave it there to clutter the earth
  • Buy LOCAL.  You are helping your local community to survive, saving energy, etc..  Find new sources - farmers, greenhouses, orchards etc.  YEP, it may cost a bit more - but you are helping another local family and you are getting fresh product.
  • Drive less.  Plan all your trips and hopefully people are now realizing that many trips are truly not needed.  (we are learning some good things from all this stuff going on).  Don't go back to the old ways of jumping in a car and just roaming around!!!!!!
  • Teach younger people about nature, gardening, the old ways.  They truly NEED to learn - this old world is changing.  Have youngsters watch on-line programs like Nature's Notebook, Backyard Observer, etc.  Each area has it's own nature groups and channels and there is so much to learn (for adults too!)
  • Reduce, re-use, recycle!!!!!!!!!  Use it up, wear it out or do without!!!!!!!

I hope you all do many little things to help this planet.  It is one of those jobs that TAKES A VILLAGE to accomplish!  
It is a shame that we have to have a day or a week to remind people of this - but we do.  People take so much for granted and unless we are mindful of what we have - it will someday be gone.


Sunday, April 19, 2020

Weekly Wrap-Up 4/19

Happy Sunday everyone.  My goodness we are over half way through another month.
We have had some pretty chilly days this past week, rain, winds, and just many blah days.  This coming week looks to be a bit warmer.  I love seeing all the plants and trees come back to life.  I look outside and see probably hundreds of shades of green!  Isn't that awesome?
BUT, I am ready for steady warmer days and more sunshine.  I know, eventually I will be complaining about how hot it is - geesh we are just never happy!

I think IF we have just some of these things  we are blessed beyond measure.  Look for the positive and good and the simple!!!!  The simple things are the best.

My week:
  • Colored my hair from supplies on hand.  Did it just for me - to make me feel better!!!
  • Made more Kool-Aid this week.  Tired of iced tea and water and I am loving the change of flavor!
  • Looking in the freezer and came across a vacuumed sealed pound cake (it's been in there a while).  Pulled it out and it was just like fresh and ate that 2 or 3 times with some peach pie filling on top.  Great treat
  • Made up a batch of long grain/wild rice soup.  Found a forgotten jar of rice in frig and decided to use part of it.  My goodness it was tasty!  Used all supplies I had on hand
  • Cut up a partial t-shirt I found in a basket into 6 more nice size hankies
  • Cooked up 4 pork chops (small center cut) on Easter.  Ate 2 - used one cut up in soup and froze one for something else.
  • Froze some leftover soup
  • Made up a new bottle of shampoo and another bottle of the foaming hand wash soap
  • Cut the front grass on the best weather day we had.  It was still chilly - but that was OK
  • Picked up a bunch of sticks and limbs that came down during a wind storm
  • Paid what bills I had come in and paid my property taxes for the year.  They are due in May and November - just paid them total so I don't forget.
  • I called the garden center/feed store and placed an order for feed to p/u.  No need to get out or shop - they loaded everything for me.  Critters are all set for a while.
  • I went out to go pick up at feed store and the Blazer was dead!  ACK!  I guess a week or so ago, when I got in it for something, I didn't get the back closed completely - and drained the battery.  Luckily I have a portable battery charger and know how to use it.  BOOM - it worked in an instant.  So happy for that.
  • I also stopped at the drive threw at bank and got a printout of an account. 
  • NO groceries still - using what I have  (boy this sure is saving $$$$$!!!!)
  • On nasty days (outdoors) I watched You Tube.  Watching about a lot of abandoned homes that were left totally intact.  Amazing!!!!  I have also watched several other shows as well
  • This weekend HBO is free on cable - so keeping an eye on the menu and I am recording a few shows for a rainy day. 
  • All the normal things - cooking from scratch, using what I have, laundry, basic cleaning, organizing, etc.
Menu for the past week:
Pork chops, pan seared asparagus and a small salad
Creamy rice soup - 2X
Pizza pasta
Leftover pizza pasta and a grilled cheese sandwich (used 3 cheeses!)
Pigs in a blanket and pasta/tomatoes
Mexican casserole

 Put these 2 things together for pigs in a blanket.  Haven't had any of those in years.  Good with sausage!!!
Simple dinner of piggies and pasta with diced tomatoes (canned) added - and topped with a sprinkle of parmesan cheese.  Simple and good!

How was your week?  What frugal things did you do this week?
Are you having fun with your menus?  I hope so.  Get a little crazy and experiment!!!!

I learned this week that the garden center (inside the shop) is closed to patrons - pick up only.  BUT, the greenhouse is open to the public as well as the grounds which contain plants and pots and accessories.  Once the weather breaks  and warms - I will venture to the actual  greenhouse for a few plants.  That will make for an enjoyable visit.
I am 37 days of not going in stores.  I have done drop off at Post Office outside box, drive threw at bank, and a p/u at feed store.  I also drove around the park on day - for different scenery!!!
My pantry is still going strong.  I am truly happy for all the planning and lessons I have learned over the years!

Take care.  Stay in.  Stay healthy.  Stay strong!
I pray for your health and safety and that of your families.  Thank you all for being here - I love our little community.  So many informative, caring and special people.
Blessings from my humble little home to yours!

Thursday, April 16, 2020

Play With Your Food

I know, Mom always said "don't play with your food - eat it".  I like to do both!!!
I am always concocting something different.  I have a ton of cookbooks - sometimes I use them - but most often I just use them for a basic idea.  THEN I wing it!!!!!
Some of our favorite meals over the years came from experimenting.

I tend to just throw things together, and it turns out yummy.  Maybe I am just not too picky - but I like most things I come up with.  There has been a few failures over the years, but not many.
Just a side note:  I was the pickiest eater on the planet as a kid!!!!

I figure every recipe out there - was made up by someone the first time.  So why can't I do the same thing?  Well, I do.
I am huge on anything with a crust, casseroles and soups.  You can just combine so many things and add a little cheese (LOL) and it's yummy eating.
You don't have to have a lot of money or a huge pantry - just experiment a little.  You can have a full belly and yummy eating with little.

This week so far I have played with my food a couple times with good results. (sorry no pics of it)
Here is a couple recipes I made with some things I had on hand.

(found a jar of long grain/wild rice in frig when cleaning)
1 C rice
3 C water - (with bouillon added for flavor)
Thinly sliced 5 baby carrots and added to this pan while rice was cooking
Cooked this until water absorbed
I added a chopped up pork chop (leftover) and about 5 chopped up broccoli florets
1 can of cream of mushroom soup and 1 can of water
I also added a big dollop of sour cream and mixed in.  Add seasoning as needed.

This was incredibly tasty.  I ate 2 big bowls over 2 days and put the remainder in the freezer for another day.
Just throwing together what I found and using up this and that and it turned out so yum.

I cooked a couple handfuls of elbow pasta until al dente
Placed in a skillet with chopped up pepperoni, rehydrated mushrooms, chopped onion, chopped bell peppers from freezer, cut up olives, a couple good dashes of dry parmesan cheese, and a half pint of pizza sauce.  Mixed all together and warmed.  Topped with shredded Italian cheese until melted.
YUM - tasted just like pizza!!!!

Here is an easy recipe to try.  It is good with fish or chicken (or even alone)
1 C corn
1/2 C milk
1 egg, beaten
1 C all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
salt to taste
oil to fry
Mix all ingredients except oil.  Pour 2 - 3 inches of oil in heavy fry pan, heat to 365*.  Gently drop batter by tablespoons in oil.  Fry until golden, turn once.  Makes 3 - 4 dozen small cakes.  (filter and save the oil)
So easy, minimal ingredients and so tasty.  NO CORN?  Use something else - I have used red beans before.  You could even use mixed veggies.  Whatever you use it will be tasty.

Fried corn - just add corn, onion, peppers, etc. to a small amount of butter and fry.  My other favorite is to substitute hominy for the corn!!!!!
Midwest goulash - ground beef, pasta, tomatoes (I added beans to stretch it as well).  Can add cheese if desired.
Open face gallate (one crust pie) - pie crust, cooked ground beef in bottom (use whatever you have), lots of cheese (and or sauce) and topped with sliced tomatoes and seasoning.  So tasty.  You can make this as a savory meal by adding whatever you have or make it as a dessert with fruit.  Bake until crust is done.
Stove top tacos.  Cook up taco meat with onions and/or beans (you can add corn too), top with broken tortilla chips and shredded cheese.  Cover with a lid until top cheese melts.  Serve with a side of lettuce and tomato if desired.
Individual frittata/quiche type dish.  Use leftovers - taco meat, rice, beans, corn, etc. and add eggs - start cooking in a very small pan until it sets - then placed on a griddle until it finished cooking.  There is no limit to what you can add to eggs to make a delish meal.

I hope this gives you a few ideas of how to PLAY with your food for something yummy and different.  Use what you have and nothing goes to waste and you save dollars.  No need to go out to some fancy restaurant to enjoy different foods.

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Sprucing Up - It Doesn't Have to Cost a Lot

Got the winter blahs?  Got the shut-in blues?  Just need a change?
It doesn't have to cost a lot to change things up a bit and change your view and attitude.

Last fall, I decided I just had to spruce up the bathroom.  It hadn't had a thing done to it in years.  It was worn and dingy in my opinion.  Hubs was not one for change.  He always thought everything seemed like a big project - so I just left things alone.
Around Thanksgiving, I chose to spruce up the bathroom a bit and add a little cheer to my view!

There was no major work done - all the big things stayed.  Tub, sink, toilet, cabinet, lights all the same.  I was not into having a huge project with a contractor or anything - just a little perk-up!

Many years ago I bought 2 gallons of paint - one light blue and 1 light yellow - never used them.  My bathroom was already yellow - so I decided to use the blue.  I mixed and shook and mixed and shook some more and the paint was fine!!!

I bought a sample of white paint with primer for the trim.  I paid $3.99 for that versus spending a lot of money on a quart or gallon.  I still have plenty left.  (I had places that needed primer as the paint was worn totally away).

My tub surround was put in 32 years ago and is vinyl.  It had totally yellowed over the years and looked so dingy.  My solution - paint it!  YEPPERS it worked.  I cleaned it thoroughly and used a Rustoleum  paint that was good with plastic.  The surround is pretty white and looks great.  I used a small roller and then cut in around the edges with a small brush.  It is indoor/outdoor paint and the shower water does not hurt it.  (I already had this on hand as well - for some other project).

I used different pictures and knick-knacs that I had in storage for decoration.  I have a window in there, but no need for curtains.  The window is muted glass, I have blinds and used a nice floral piece I had for a valance.  I DID buy a new outer shower curtain which cost less than $15.00.  I had a nice blue rug to use as a bathmat.
I wanted a little something different on the borders - I have had some peel and stick faux 'subway tile' looking paper - so I meticulously cut it to make a trim.
I still have to redo the floor.  It is extremely worn do to hubs rolling chair - but I have had the tile for that in my storage for several years as well.

More than anything - my cost was a little time and energy.  I did it all myself and it makes me happy.  It is cheery and bright and that is what I was going for.  NO designer bathroom - it is simple, the way I like things.

View looking in from hall.  Pedestal sink, toilet on right and tub at back.  Storage cabinet on left (I revitalized the wood on that).  Yep, it is little - but it mine!
Here is a view of the vinyl surround after painting - white!  Yes my window is over the tub - don't know why that was ever a good idea - but it is there.  Guess it was the only way to get light in there.
Looking at the door side.  Those vintage towels were bought last fall at a thrift sale for next to nothing.  My headbands (for yardwork) hang on the back of door.  The towel hanging on the wall is actually hanging over a handicap grab bar!  I figured I better keep them in place - you never know.

I am sure if you added everything together, even if I had bought new paint, it would have cost less than a $100 to totally shift the feel of the room.

Think about things you have around the house.  Sheets can become window coverings or furniture covers.  A little paint changes everything up.  Look around your storage for different pictures or do-dads to use.  Switch things from one room to another.  Move your furniture if you can.
Maybe get a new throw rug or something small to change it up.
Put together some patchwork for pillows, curtains, bedding or even a shower curtain.

Here's another example.  My window valances (I have 2) in the bedroom is ladies hankies.  I placed a cup hook on each side of the window and used heavy jute to make a 'rod' and laid the hankies over it.   I have lots and lots of pretty hankies.  Just simple and dainty.  I don't have ANY curtains in my house - just blinds and valances.  I like things bright and airy.
This may not suit any one else, but I like it.

Stop and think outside the box a little.  Use what you have and change up the view a little.  You can change things inside or out for next to nothing!!  

Trust me - it really can LIFT YOUR SPIRITS!!!!

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Homemaking - Changing?

I know we all are homemakers.  We have cooked, cleaned, done laundry, etc. all our adult life.
Back in the day, homemakers did a lot more than the average homemaker today in my opinion.  Not only wash there cooking, cleaning, laundry - but gardening, canning, stay at home mom, sewing and mending, quilting, often times loading firewood, ironing...….and on and on.
I know my Momma and Grandma's worked a lot harder than I ever have back in the 40's and 50's.

I had an outside job for ages, plus taking care of the household.  But I do believe my ancestors worked physically harder than I ever thought I could.  We all know that if you go back far enough in time - our pioneer ancestors worked their bums off.  I can't even imagine.

I think given the present situation, many people are changing up their homemaking practices.  I think that is good.
People are finally going back to using absolutely everything up!  Not wasting
Gardening is hugely present on a lot of people's minds
People are eager to learn to sew
Trying new recipes and experimenting
Wanting to can
Getting creative
Learning new skills
Bartering and foraging is cool again
Meals with family sitting down together is back
Parents are getting reacquainted with their kids
People are learning to be more self sufficient and learning to stretch a dollar better

I know most of on here have been practicing many of these things for years - but a lot of younger folks are learning and asking questions.  I LOVE IT!  Let us all help teach!!!

**NOT my picture. 
Boy, do I remember helping Mom with the laundry this way.  We had the wringer washer and a big wash tub on the back porch and every Monday, we did the laundry.  Hung them out on the line or in the house (when too cold outside).  Everything was then ironed - and I mean everything!!!!!
Momma ALWAYS had on a dress - 7 days a week - and an apron.
I would love to have a wringer washer again today.  It seemed the clothes just got so clean.
I do have a washer stand that holds 2 big tubs (it was grandma's) and I have wash tubs.  I have a REAL washboard as well and a wringer that attaches to a table.  I could do it the hard way!

My younger family members are asking questions and learning new things.  I had a niece tell me the other day how she was really enjoying making her own sanitizer and face masks.  She has learned to bake bread.  She has always been a good cook (took after her Momma) but she is learning new stuff now that she is staying home and watching her money.
She managed to get a sewing machine and is loving sewing for her family and friends.  Her statement to me was "who knew?"   LOL - I laughed and just said "good for you kiddo".

Have another who asking all kinds of gardening questions and canning questions.
I just think this is so neat.
They are realizing that they need to be more self sufficient.  They are leaning the money may not always be there like in the past.  They are learning how to make do and use it up and wear it out!

Me in the late 50's in our family kitchen.  Notice the open faced cabinets, the old stand mixer (well used) and we had a Formica table and chairs that matched  (I remember yellow/gray).  My oh my, would I love to go back and sit in the kitchen for a little while again!

We all need to take the time NOW to learn new things (we are never to old to learn) and get back to a simpler (not nec. easier) life.  Hopefully everyone really pays attention and LEARNS from this - it seems that so many didn't learn from past economic downfalls.
Pray, meditate, learn, read, organize, build stock, clean and GROW as a person!  
Don't give in to a pity party - get busy!!!!!!
Be prepared for whatever the future holds.  You KNOW this will not be the last fiasco you will face in life.

Listen to your instincts.  Most often they don't steer you wrong.  If you feel the need to build up a better pantry - do it.  If you feel the need to put back more money - do it.  If you feel the need to keep more funds at home - do it.  If you feel the need to stay away from certain people - do it.
Good or bad - your instincts guide you.  Listen to them.

Prepare for the worst and hope for the best.
I know I want to be prepared for whatever comes my way in the future.  I am sure you do to.
Please prepare for anything and teach those that want to learn.

Sunday, April 12, 2020

Weekly Wrap Up 4/12

Firstly I would like to take a moment to share a message I have on my mind this morning.

Please remember on this Holy Day that the first Easter was NOT celebrated in a crowded place of worship with singing and praising.  People were afraid for their families and themselves at that time and they were staying in their homes.  It was very dangerous for them to go out.
They were in their homes alone and they wanted to believe the good news they were hearing of life after death.  Eventually they got to go outside their homes and celebrate.
They saw that God's love was most powerful and that love is the most powerful force on Earth.
A lesson we all need to take forward on this very Easter day.

You may be separate from your family and friends today - but you are never alone.  The promise of eternal life and love is there for all.
This is the season of rebirth and awakening.

I awoke this morning and went outside to have my own special church service with nature.  The sunrise was glorious and fitting a King and the chorus I heard was beautiful.

We are clouding up today and rain is coming.  We have had some beautiful warm days this week (close to 80*) and we had a powerful storm come through Wednesday evening.  That was so very scary.  It was very still and I heard THAT noise people often mention - it sounded like a train at a distance.  Boom - the wind and rain came.  We had 70 - 80 mph winds with gusts that were higher.  It did not last long, but it sure was scary.  We luckily had no damage, but a small community a few miles south actually had a tornado touch down.
Spring is the time in our area for these quick and nasty storms.

I worked in the yard a lot this week.  I saw a butterfly already and I saw many bumble bees!  Pretty neat to see them back.
We have some cold nights coming going forward into this week.

My week:
  • I made some cinnamon rolls from a roll I had in frig. and it needed to be used.  Mmmmmm
  • Cut my hair
  • Got to have the heat off and the windows open most of the week
  • I mowed the entire yard this week and trimmed.  Such good exercise and fresh air.
  • Did a lot of yard work
  • Made some squirrel treats with some older products I have in the pantry - trying to stretch the squirrel goodies a bit, so as not to have to go out.  (today is day 23 at home)
Little squirrel cookies.  About the size of a walnut - I break into 2 - 3 pieces when I put them out.  It is a filling treat for them and makes my corn last a little longer
  • I made fried rice and used that in 3 different ways to stretch the food - had fried rice, mixed with refried beans for tostadas and used what was left with eggs to make fritters for freezer.
  • I fixed a sticking lock on the back door
  • Made  a gallon of Kool-Aid for a tasty flavored treat
  • Mailed some fabric and elastic I had on hand to my niece.  She is busily making masks for many of her family and friends who are going to work each day.  Glad to be able to help in some way
  • Did some front porch sitting.  It was lovely to sit outside in the glider.  Put my heard back, closed my eyes and listened.  How wonderful it sounded - so much nature.  That day the air smelled of freshly mowed grass.  I plan on doing more of this  - it is so quieting and relaxing
  • All the normal things we all do every day.
  • Using up things I have on hand.  As stated above I used some older pantry items (and sunflower seed) for squirrel treats.  I found a jar of beef gravy in the pantry and had some sliced roast beef that needed used and I made a tasty dinner with those items (and others).  I have been using many of my home canned items.  LOVE MY PANTRY!
                                                 Using what I have and getting creative

Meals this past week:
Leftover cheesy mac/beef with  condensed veggie beef soup added - tasty
Cheeseburger and oven fries and home canned slaw
Tuna salad sandwiches (made with home canned relish)
Chicken fried rice
Rice (leftover)/bean tostadas
Hot roast beef sandwich with fried smashed potato smothered with gravy
Oven baked fish on sammie with tartar (homemade) and chips and salsa (home canned)
Cinnamon rolls for treats!!  Also apples and peanut butter

How has your week been?  Are you getting creative with your menus?  Are you just getting creative?  There are so many projects that we can all work on to utilize our time.  Let's all get crafty and create some beauty in this world!!!!

I pray you and yours are safe and healthy.  Stay in - and don't consider it being stuck - consider it being safe!  I hope you are growing in some way from all of this 'adventure' and learning and helping in some way.
We are in the same situation - let's make the best of it.
Blessings from my humble little home to yours.


Thursday, April 9, 2020

A Tisket A Tasket......

Easter is upon us in a few days.  Many are observing holy week.  Things will not be the same this year.  No big family dinners.  No church services in groups.  No going out and showing off the new Easter clothes.
BUT Easter isn't cancelled!!!!!  The reason for the day NEEDS to be celebrated.  We can fix our meals for ourselves - and maybe share with a lonely neighbor. (Call them and advise you are leaving dinner outside their door for them to pick-up).
Read your Bible and PRAY.  Watch an Easter service on TV.  Put on those fancy duds and feel good about yourself and look pretty for the day.
Dinner can be anything - it doesn't have to be the traditional Easter meal.
Set a pretty table and enjoy.  Cut some pretty flowers from the yard and make a centerpiece.
THERE are MANY WAYS to make the day special!!!!!

Color some eggs - even if it is just you at home!  They make us smile.  You can use natural things to color.  Beet juice, onion skins, black tea, grape juice, etc.  Kool-Aid can be used.  OR you can just use parkers and draw cute little goofy faces on your eggs!  Have a little fun.

Dinner - can be anything.
Frittatas, crepes, roast and veggies, fried rice, lo-mein, lasagna, chicken, potato salad, coleslaw, deviled eggs, easy rolls, grill outside...………….  the list goes on and on.
This makes approx. 5-6 rolls.  Dip batter into muffin tins (lightly greased).  Bake at 350^ for about 15 minutes.
I am making these this weekend!  I haven't done them before - but have been told they taste much like old fashioned yeast rolls!!!!!!!!

Dessert can be fun - doesn't have to be fancy.
ANYTHING dipped in chocolate is great.
You can dip cookies, rice krispy treats, chunks of cakes, brownies, even potato chips in melted chocolate!
Use some canned fruit and make some sort of shortcake with a simple yellow cake mix or butter cake.
Bake little ice cream cone cakes.  Place batter in flat bottom ice cream cones (in a muffin pan).  Fill about 2/3 up and bake as you would cupcakes.  Make pretty colored cupcakes.
This is a yummy recipe - different yet yummy.  Very reminiscent of pecan pie!!!!!!  OH MY!!!!!

Different doesn't mean canceled!
Get up and have a nice breakfast.  Worship in your way.  Fix a nice dinner and eat at the table, made to look pretty.  Put on the pretty dress or outfit.  Talk with your family and friends.  Share some goodies with someone else.
 YOU need to make the day a lovely celebration.  The day is already SPECIAL!

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Midweek Pretties and Smiles

Today I just want to take a minute to show a few things that make me smile and bring joy into life every day!  Yes, they are simple things - but they make me smile none the less.  I hope you smile and enjoy for a few minutes!

Forsythia  - blooming so pretty this year.  Bright and cheery!
ONE of my many little friends.  He just took a nut from me and is enjoying it!

Peonies coming up.  It wont be long until the wonderful scent is in the air!
Pretty tulips - look at all the unopen blooms as well!  These have been here for over 34 years.

Wild violets - make me smile.  I remember picking bunches for my Momma as a tyke.
Momma and Fluffy (being elusive) after having a snack (in greenhouse)
More tulips and lilies galore
Sun shining  in one corner of the bedroom - this corner always cheers me.
My handsome Coogy - just chillin' out.  What a rough life!

The land is coming back to life around here.  I love seeing all the green and the colors.  All my babies give me joy each and every day.  Despite all the news today - there are still things to smile about.
Have a wonderful day my friends.

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

An Unconventional Recipe or Two

Today is something different.  A couple recipes that have nothing to do with eating and one that makes for a yummy sweet treat.
Hopefully these will help someone else.  I will list a couple other tips that I use as well!


Here is a recipe for homemade fertilizer for flowers and garden.    This is a concentrate - so make sure you use as directed.
Don't FORGET - you can use compost to help your plants get nourishment.
NO compost - use the egg shells all crushed up, coffee grounds or tea bags, and pulverized banana peels are great too.  There are lots of great ways to add vitamins to your soil!

Here you go - a homemade weed killer.  Do not get this on desirable plants - it does act like Weed-Be-Gone and will kill whatever you get it on.
I use this in fence rows and in the grass/weeds growing in the gravel out back.  
I usually keep Epsom salts on hand all the time (great for a hot bath as well).  I get it at Dollar Tree for $1 a bag.  If out - I have used table salt (although it doesn't dissolve as well).
I find it works best on a warm and sunny day - and no rain for a day or two.  I love that this is pet and animal friendly!!!!!  No toxic chemicals to make anyone sick!!!!!

Another tip I use - after you get done canning and have no plans to use the water in the water bath again (I always use a couple times) - pour that boiling water around the porch, fence rows or in cracks of drive to kill the weeds.  Boiling water works quickly.

I have a couple areas in the fence row that have had poison ivy growing that has been quite stubborn to kill.  I have used the scalding water and then I pour straight vinegar on it.  It seems to have taken care of the problem.

I love doing things the natural way if at all possible.  I really don't want ANY wildlife put at risk or any neighborhood pets.

Spring in the U.S. brings forth dandelions!!!  Please don't kill them - they are much needed for the bees.  We need bees to grow everything!  They are so very important.
Dandelions are also full of vitamins and minerals for us as well.  I remember my parents used to cook the greens - it sure was  a lifesaver for the family at times.


I have made dandelion jelly before.  It has a honey taste and it is quite good.  It is a little work picking the flowers.  You need to make sure that you use only the flowers and not the green collars in this (they are a bit bitter).
After following the above directions - place in jelly jars and water bath process in boiling bath for about 10 minutes.  It may take a few hours or days to firm completely - which is just general rule of thumb for jellies.
Make sure your flowers come from an area that has not had any chemicals sprayed on them.
(Click on above recipe to see enlarged)

Hope one or more of these unconventional recipes or tips helps you out.
So many ways to save money, use what we have and stay home doing it!!