Tuesday, May 31, 2022

This Way - That Way - or Any Way!!!!

 You are all aware that I don't believe in just one way of doing things!  No one way on a recipe, or a use, or meal or way of doing things!  We all have our own ways and that is good.  There are so many ways to change things up and save a dime or two.  I think it is kind of fun to experiment.  You need to break free of the binds that says "this way" and do things your way!!!!!

Just a few ideas:
  • Need a quick dessert?  Take some frozen berries out and mix in with applesauce.  This makes a easy and quick flavorful dessert
  • Broken bits of chips, pretzels, crackers - crush them and use as topping for casseroles or as a crust/coating for chicken, pork or fish.  Add to ground beef for an extender
  • Stale crackers, cereal, or chips - place in a microwave safe dish and zap for 30-45 seconds.  Let them stand for a minute or so and they are all crisp again!
  • Quick fried potatoes - I will microwave potatoes for a few minutes - remove and cool to touch - then slice and fry.  They cook so much faster
  • Place Jelly in a squeeze bottle - saves for a mess with kiddos.  Aim and squirt
  • Need a quick topping for a no bake cheesecake?  No fruit topping on hand?  Use a spoonful of jam or preserves on each piece of cheesecake.  Gives a nice touch of fruit taste and no extra expense.  Works with ice cream as well as yogurt too!

  • Cut bananas in half and place on a popsicle stick/craft stick and then dip in melted chocolate and sprinkles/nuts/coconut if desired.  Place on a pan in the freezer - make a great freezer/summer treat
  • Graham crackers - make great ice cream sandwiches.  Break in half - top with ice cream add other half of cracker and freeze.  I wrap each in saran wrap to keep in freezer
  • Make a nice 'salad' dish - by slicing tomatoes, cucumbers,, maybe adding cauliflower or broccoli bites - then sprinkle with garlic or onion seasoning (or your favorite herb blend) and top with a nice sprinkle of parmesan cheese - so tasty
  • ANOTHER easy dessert - 1 can of fruit cocktail (undrained) and a 3.4 oz. box of instant vanilla pudding.  Mix both together - top with marshmallows or chopped nuts.  I can think of sooooo many options for this - different fruit and different flavor of pudding mix.   HOW EASY!
  • Stale doughnuts, muffins, or coffee cake?  Break up and use in bread pudding instead of bread!  
  • Make a box cake mix taste homemade - sub 1/2 C mayonnaise for 1/2 C oil - tastes so flavorful and is moist
  • Easy shredding - when I cook boneless chicken pieces or pork roast - once cooked and tender - I use my hand mixer to shred it up.  YEP!  Turn mixer on low and it will shred your meat like super quick.  It is the only way I shred now
  • Seedless grapes - remove from stems and freeze.  Oh my goodness, this is one of my favorite treats in the summer!  I freeze in small baggies or containers and take out as needed.  They just taste sweeter and are so refreshing.  
Just a thing or two!  What fun subs do you have to jazz things up?  Any new tricks we all need to use?
Give us a shout out!!!!

Sunday, May 29, 2022

Weekly Wrap-Up 5/29

 My goodness, we are at the end of another month!  This year is truly slipping away.

This weekend in the U.S. is Memorial Day.  It always makes me sad and GRATEFUL.  This is not a weekend for parties, cookouts, the race or 3 day weekends - it IS about honoring those who paid the ultimate price for our freedoms and the freedoms of others around the world. I have friends that have lost their children during conflict and it breaks my heart for them.  I am so humbled by the sacrifice they and others have given.  Please stop and say a prayer of thanks for all the men and women who GAVE ALL for us and for their families.

I sure had my trees cleaned of old limbs this week with the wind and rain we had.  It has finally gotten beautiful out and the sun is shining. It will be hot for a couple days, then back to normal.
The peonies are now done!  That makes me sad.  Gosh, they only last about a week and a half and then done.  I just love them - I wish they bloomed longer.  The roses are going nuts blooming.  My Blaze climber is incredible.
I have had a pileated woodpecker out back this week!  So neat.  I still haven't had a hummingbird that I have seen or heard.  Usually they start here about June 1.  Keeping the feeders clean and filled!
The blue jays and the robins have sure been enjoying the birdbath.  They get in there and bathe and flap and preen - it is so neat to watch.

Well, I have a new neighbor!  I think it will be OK.  He is an older fellow that is alone.  I would say probably late 50's or 60's.  He said he is a chef at a retirement facility close by - 4 minutes to his job.  Which is why he wanted the house.  He walked over to the fence - put his hand out and introduced himself straight away.  He did that as soon as he saw the fellow on the other side as well.  That says a lot.  I met his son as well.  I hope it all works out!
The house rented in 2 days for $200 more than the last people paid!!!!!  Crazy.

Today is the 500 Mile race.  I am not a big fan - but I sure hope it is a safe event for the drivers and the fans.  Yesterday I saw the fighter jets in formation go over the house twice.  Must have been a practice run for today - I have never seen that happen ahead of race day.  It always gives me chills to see.
There have been old fashioned bi-planes going over pulling advertisements behind them, many times this weekend.  Reminds me of the old days!

This week for me:
  • I pulled weeds and pulled more weeds!  Oh my goodness, they grow crazy
  • I got the garden readied up for planting
  • I got my garden in!!  At least what I have.  I still think I want to plant more - we will see.  I got tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini and peppers in. 
  • I received a FREE magazine in the mail
  • Mowed the entire yard and did a HUGE trim job
  • Trimmed and touched up roots of my hair
  • Collected probably 80+ gallons of rain water this week
  • Neighbor saved and gave me a bucket of ashes for my garden - got that all spread
  • Picked several final peony bouquets
  • I did run to Kroger for a couple of sales.  8 oz. cheese bars on sale for 1.47 each.  Sour cream for 1.27.  2 lb. packs of strawberries for 2.47.  I also found a 10 pack of peaches in the .99 clearance bin.  Can't beat those prices and all things I use and love
  • Made a pizza with all kinds of bits from the frig and freezer - boy it was good
  • Got to have the windows open a lot
Meals this week:  (easy)
Beef, potato, cabbage skillet
Ham, cheese, tomato and potato chip sandwich
Leftover beef/pot. mix and salad
Beans & rice with smoked sausage
Leftover beans/rice and fresh veggies with Italian dressing
Homemade pizza 2X

How was your week?  Did you get any gardening or yard work done?  Any great deals?  Give us a shout out and let us know what is going on in your part of the world.  I love hearing from everyone.

This has been a sad week in the news.  So much innocence lost this week.  Evil is every where in this world and we all need to PRAY like we have never prayed before.  I have to believe that in all things there is a reason and chance to be better.  God knows all - and He has those innocent babies  in His arms now.  May the love of God be with each of you and comfort you through all things.

Blessings from my humble little home to you and yours.

"Let not your hearts be troubled; believe in God, believe also in me.  In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?"
John 14:1-2
"If you love me, you will keep my commandments."
John 14:15

Dear Lord, Help us to each live the life we should be living and to be humbled by the love that You have shown each of us.  You gave your life for us.  Help us to forgive, as it is often a difficult thing for us to do.  Guide us and show us the way.  

Thursday, May 26, 2022

Easy Recipes from the Pantry

 Things are getting tight for a lot of people.  Using our pantries and our freezers can be essential.  You can still have yummy and fun and easy recipes to fix - just using what you have on hand.  No expensive or fancy ingredients and easy prep.
I know some people may NOT have some of the things I list for these ingredients on hand - but if you do - easy peasy is the word!

1 8 oz. pk. corn muffin mix
1 15 oz. can cream corn
1/2 C sour cream (I have used ranch dip too!)
3 eggs, slightly beaten
Combine all the ingredients and pour into a buttered 2-quart pan.  Bake at 350^F for 35 minutes

1 - 6 oz. box cherry Jell-O
1 - 8 oz. pack cream cheese - softened
1 - 20 oz. can cherry pie pilling
1 - 15 oz. can crushed pineapple w/juice
Dissolve gelatin in 3/4 C boiling water.  Beat in cream cheese with a mixer.  Fold in pie filling an pineapple.
Pour in a 9 x 13 pan and refrigerate till set

3 C cooked diced or sliced chicken
2 C cooked brown rice (or white)
1 - 10 oz. can Fiesta Nacho Cheese soup
1 - 10 oz. can tomatoes with chilies
Combine all ingredients and mix well.  Pour into a buttered 3 quart baking dish.  Bake at 350*F for 45 minutes.

4 medium potatoes - peeled and sliced
1 lb. ground beef - browned and drained (or less if desired)
1 can cream of mushroom soup (or what you have)
1 can condensed vegetable beef soup
salt & pepper to taste
Mix all ingredients together and place in a greased 3 quart baking dish.  Bake at 350*F for 1 hour 30 minutes or until potatoes are done.

1 1/4 C flour
3/4 C packed brown sugar
6 Tbsp. (3/4 stick) softened butter
MIX THESE 3 together
Press half of this in a 9" buttered pans - TOP with 3/4 C PRESERVES - add remainder of flour mix
Bake at 350*F for 30 minutes.  Cut into bars!
Use whatever type of preserves you may have.  It is all good!


My hack - is use Twinkies instead of cake!!!!!
I know we have all heard about how Twinkies will live forever, even after the apocalypse when we are all gone!  LOL!!!  Twinkies do contain more REAL ingredients than they do chemicals  (really).  Yes, they have a shelf life of a good 25 days or so.  BUT - they taste sooooooo good.  (what store bought cakes don't have some preservatives?)
I use Twinkies and top with strawberries.  You have the cake and cream all in one.  They are also tasty when frozen first!!!

You know my logic - if you don't have a certain ingredient listed - well switch it up, and use something you DO have.
No chicken?  Well use pork or beef or canned chicken.
No cherry Jell-O - use another flavor and maybe a different type of pie filling
No cream of mushroom soup?  Use cream of chicken, or onion, or broccoli, or celery - whatever you have.
No ground beef?  Use ground sausage or turkey
No brown rice?  Use white or long grain/wild rice

Use what you have and stretch those meals and yummies to save a dollar or two.  Easy doesn't mean tasteless - it means being smart and providing tasty alternatives for a little money and NO extra shopping.
You can also use the equivalent to ingredient portions from what you have home canned or frozen. 
Get creative, have fun and enjoy the 'fruits' of your pantry!!!!

Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Know Your Prices - Don't Get Fooled

 We are now upon the season in the U.S. that sales are geared to cook-outs and parties.  There are graduations, holidays, and kids are getting out of school.  You truly need to know when a sale is a sale.  Things have changed a lot in the past few years - and stores use a lot of crazy tactics to entice you.
Shrink-flation is a huge thing now.  Many items are the same price (or more) and yet they are smaller.  Look at the weights.  The packages may well be the same size - but it contains less.
Inflation has taken hold as well.

I have just been noticing some things that have been 'sales' lately and it amazes me the things many people buy.  It is not my place to judge - I just don't get it!

I noticed this part of an ad.  The ribs are 3.99/lb.  In the same ad they had 2 lb. packages of 'already cooked' ribs for 10.99.  That is 5.50 a pound!  For a 1.50 a pound I think I would prefer to cook my own and season the way I like.  I guess some people just want convenience.  You would think with the way prices are going up - people would be willing to do a little work and save.
ALSO notice in that picture - the sandwich fixings!!!!!!  4 slices of tomatoes, 4 slices of onion and a couple leaves of lettuce for $3.49!!!!!!!!!  WHAT??????  That is by far the craziest thing I have ever seen.  Kind of like buying a couple hard boiled eggs for 3.49!!!!!
Two weeks ago these were 3.99.  This week for the holiday sale they are 5.99!!!!  Yeah, what a deal!  NOT!!!!   Then there is THIS:

These small packs of cut pieces are $5.00 each!  Same ad as the entire watermelon for 5.99.  Whole pineapples were less than $2 - pack $5.
All in the name of convenience!!!

Last week ad had 12 oz. packs of bacon for 5.99 advertised.  This week 16 oz. packs for 4.97 (unless thick cut).  

I know you gals all know these things.  It just really amazes me, that many don't.  People seem to just throw money away, because they don't want to do the work!  Such has become our society.
They blindly shop - never paying attention to what they are really buying.

Anyway - there are some sales to be had, during these summer months.  That is when you should stock up and fill those pantries and freezers.  Condiments usually go on sale - although I am not seeing the same prices of the past.
Chips and snacks often go on sale.  If that is your thing - get it cheaply.  That is one of those things I have noticed the packaging not changing, but the weight has!
Many ice cream products are reduced in price 
Soda pop - boy have those prices climbed.  Hunt for a deal if you buy it - it is expensive
Charcoal - good to have in case of loss of cooking options at some point
Many cereal products on sale - now that children will be out of school

It is crazy out there, and we need to save when and where we can.  You have to be aware and WATCH those prices and sizes!  Get your deals when you can folks.  Stock those pantries and freezers.  Many meat products go on what they call 'sale' around the holidays.  (meat is so expensive).
KNOW YOUR PRICING!!!!!  It is very important today.
Happy shopping!

What items have you noticed that try trick you on weight and pricing?

Tuesday, May 24, 2022

A Little Tour - My Town

 It is the time of the year that the city I live in, is in the news a lot.  I am sure everyone has heard of the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race.  It is a huge deal, worldwide.  Yep, basically that is my city.
The month of May is a big deal around here.
I know we have folks from all over the country and from several different countries - but I imagine most have heard of the 500 mile race.
We have a lot of other neat things to see in the city.  I know people that live here, take things for granted.  I think it is how most cities are.  We don't always appreciate what we have.

This is my state - Indiana.  If you notice the green square directly in the middle of the state - that is the county I live in.  Many people call this the mid-west, as it really used to be.  When things were still all east of the Mississippi River - well I guess we were kind of west!  
This is the absolute center to our city.  The Soldier and Sailor's Monument.  Kind of the first round-about ever in our city!!!  Way back in the day this area was an Indian settlement.  Then the first Govenor's home was built there.  The cities first lady at the time - refused to move in, as she said there was no way she would hang her dainties out on the clothesline for all the public to see!!! LOL
This is about 15-20 minutes from my house.

The track is actually in the burg of Speedway - but still considered Indianapolis.  We have a lot of suburbs around the area.
For someone who has never been to the track - this might show you how large it is.  Click on the picture to see all that is listed.   8 of the world's great places could fit inside the track!  It is huge.  I have gone to a couple of races back in my younger days and to the qualifications.  TONS of people.  No way would I want to do that again.

These pictures are of Garfield Park - the conservatory.  Looking at the bottom picture - if you go further to the right - there are beautiful lighted fountains that run all summer.  The park was formed in 1881 and is the city's oldest park.   It is 128 acres.  This is about 6 blocks from my home!!   I have so many pictures of the exotic flowers growing in the conservatory.  Every Saturday during the summer, there is a farm market at the park.  There are many free concerts during the summer, and there is a swimming pool and even a small art facility.  It is a very lovely area.  My local library sits in the outer edges of the park as well.  This is a go to area for me.

There is the world class Children's Museum.  Dinosaurs breaking out of the building and others are trying to get in!!!  The museum is massive and it is phenomenal!  It surely isn't just for children.  About 25 minutes from my house.
There is the Eiteljorg Museum.  It is a showcase for American Indiana and Western art.  This place is really something to see.  This is about 15-20 minute drive from my home.
Directly west of the museum is the zoo!  It is really a neat place to go.  It has changed a lot - I need to go again.  The last time I went was about 10 years ago with my gr.gr. niece and nephew.  Nature abounds.  Such a fun place.  15-20 minute drive.

In this same area is the fieldhouse, which is used for Colt's football games and concerts of all sort.  There is also the baseball park.  All of this is right together at a central location.  Along with tons of hotels, restaurants and bars.

There is much in this city to see and do.  We have so many world class facilities.
Directly north of me is what is called Fountain Square.  That area was a shopping hub when I was a kid - the it really fell to the wayside and fissiled out of fashion.  Now it is really coming back to a popular place to be.  Many restaurants, antiques, art, bars, events, etc.  That whole area has really become developed again.  The HGTV show Good Bones, actually got it's start in this area.  They started renovating the houses of the area - and now the homes are almost unaffordable for the average person.  (would be nice if that moved south into my area)!!
It has been good for that area.

There is a lot around me and just a small glimpse into what my city has to offer.  You can get an idea of  where I live.  It is a major city - although I live outside the heart of the city.
I just enjoy my little world with my babies out back!
Hope you enjoyed your mini tour!

Sunday, May 22, 2022

Weekly Wrap-Up 5/22

 What a whirlwind week.  It seemed I spent much of it playing nursemaid!  That's OK - it all worked out.
I hope you are all well and safe on this Sunday.

It is a cloudy and damp morning - supposedly clearing later today.  It has cooled a lot as well.  We had some very hot days this past week.  Rain, yep more of that.  I guess some areas in my state had horrible weather yesterday and maybe even a tornado.  It wasn't all that far away.  Thankfully, I just had some rain.  It looks like this next week will be nicer temps - and not so hot.

Flowers are all blooming, grass is green, and birdies are all chirping and happy.  I still do not have the garden in!!!  Hoping that all happens before the sun sets tomorrow!
I do love this time of the year!

Fluff is FREE now and out of jail.  She is a much happier kitty!  I have my sweet kitty family all back together.  She is feeling so much better and back to normal.  Blackie has a cold, so I am doctoring him too!  I use liquid children's Benadryl.  It is always something!!!!!!!

This week:
  • Of course the emergency vet was not a frugal thing.  That is ok - that is why I try to save.  When emergencies happen, they can be taken care of.
  • I got to mow and trim
  • Made a run out to get special 'soft' treats for Fluff.  I showed you the peppers I got cheaply - I didn't show everything.  I got a head of cauliflower in the .99 clearance.  Got a tub of red leaf lettuce on clearance 1.49.  I also got a large veggie party platter marked down to 3.49!  It had broccoli, cherry toms, baby carrots, sugar snap peas and peppers.  6 cans of Blue cat food on clearance - I have never bought that before.  I also bought myself 2 hanging baskets while at Kroger
  • I ran the route while out - did a bank run and got my cash for the entire summer
  • Stopped at Ollie's as well.  They had an ad a couple weeks ago - with sale prices on indoor paint.  I stopped and found a paint/primer mix just the right color for an accent wall in my living room for 14.99!
  • Stopped at the garden/feed store and got a few garden plants.  Got some more corn for the squirrels
  • Topped off the gas tank (only needed 1/4 tank) -trying to keep it full
  • I sliced, bagged and froze the sausage I bought last week
  • I repacked the veggie tray items.  Lots of goodies.  Been eating the sugar snap peas like candy!!!  Man, I love those things
  • Using leftovers in new ways - nothing going to waste
  • Used up crumbs from the bottom of a bag of cheesy tortilla chips as a binder when making tuna patties
  • Picked many bouquets - the house sells so pretty!
  • Pulled weeds - as time and temps allowed.  They are easy to pull with the ground wet!
  • Put together a refill on shampoo and one of dish soap (watered down/& vinegar)
  • Just doing all the normal stuff we all do
Meals this past week:
Fish sandwich and fresh veggies
Egg sandwich and fresh salad
Baked potato topped with leftover enchilada filling
Chopped steak burger with peppers and mushrooms over rice
BIG salad
Tuna patty, leftover rice with broccoli and cheese added
SNACKS - lots of fruit and fresh veggies w/dip, yogurt

How was your week?  Any deals?  Gardening?  What is going on in your neck of the woods?
I hope this finds everyone well and I wish a wonderful week ahead.
Blessings from my humble little home to you and yours.

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice.  Let all men know your forbearance.  The Lord is at hand.  Have no anxiety about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made know to God.  And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, will keep your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:4-7

Help us believe and trust in You.  Keep us vigil in our daily lives - but always full of faith and love.

Thursday, May 19, 2022

Same Old Stuff - New Uses

 A box is a box is a box!  That is what we have been taught.  Not always true.  A box can be a shelter.  A box can be a fort.  A box can be ....... whatever you want it to be!  
Such is so with many other things.  As everyone looks for ways to save and stretch money, food and other items - look outside the 'box' and use old things in new ways.
                                                      CORN COB JELLY - yes, it is tasty!

                                      MAKING CARAMEL FROM CONSENSED MILK 

I have done this and it does work.  It is very good.  I know that is a long time in a crockpot - but if you have the condensed milk - it saves you a trip out.  It can be done on the stove as well - cover the can in water (keep covered) and slowly heat for about 2 hours.  Remove label - I lay on it's side (keep covered with 2" of water) - bring water to a boil - lower to med. heat and continue a slight boil for 2 hours or so.  Remove and slightly cool and then stick in the frig and cool.  CARAMEL!

                     These can all be used for a variety of cleaning projects.  Natural and clean.

Citrus cleaner not only smells good, it works.  Citrus helps keep ants at bay as well!

You can use any container you have for planting garden goodies.  Poke a few drainage holes and fill - and you are ready.  FREE planters

Not only is this good to use in a hot bath for a muscle soak - but good outdoors as well!!!!

YEP - it works.  I did this again, just yesterday.  My feet get dry in winter and also in summer.  This really helps.  I soak and then rinse my feet and use a washcloth to rub gently and - SOFT FEET!

Pretty self explanatory!!!  You just never know when the water may not flow and you may not have enough water to force a flush.  In an emergency or while camping/hunting this would sure work.  I would definitely use a trash bag to line bucket.  You  just can't be too prepared.

A couple ways to use up some Kool-Aid packets.  It is fun and tasty.  Make some homemade ice cream - any flavor.  On the ice cream - I have used evaporated milk instead of half and half.
Fruity cubes great for any drink!  I like certain flavors for iced tea and I have used flavors like grape or cherry in a glass of pop.  Good in sparkling water, whatever you want.  Just a refreshing treat.  

Crush any type of crackers - regular or flavored (like cheese nips) or chips and use as toppings for casseroles or as extenders in meatloaf or meatballs

Rice cooked and used as a breakfast meal.  Top with honey, sugar, brown sugar, milk, yogurt - whatever you prefer.

Keep crumbs or scraps from cookies or cakes for toppings on ice cream, pudding or yogurt

Stale bread makes great croutons, or stuffing bits.  Can be totally dried and ground into bread crumb

Put baking soda/cornmeal combo on ant mounds.  They take it back to nest and they can't digest - it kills them.

Hummingbird feed - 1/4 C sugar to 1 C water.  Boil to melt all sugar crystals - cool and fill the feeders.  Use no other type of sweeteners or honey.  No food color!!!!

Done with your canning?  Use scalding water from canner to pour over ant hills or weeds in drive or fence rows.

So many second and third uses for just about everything!!!!!!  Open your imagination and get creative and save a few dollars.
What ideas do you use?  

Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Posies, Patient and Peppers

 Today is just one of those days.  Not sure what to write about - so many things going on.  I was undecided, so decided to give a brief tour and a find!

Flowers are really popping open all around.  I have decided that I will not being doing as many annual flowers this year.  Just don't have it in me to do so many baskets and pots.  I will have a few - but not nearly as many.  My perennials are giving so much at the moment.  It is just lovely.

The roses are starting.  This is the oldest plant here.  It was here when we moved in 36 years ago and was well established.  It is so fragrant.
The clematis is blooming.  It changes colors every couple years.  Always surprises me when it blooms.
These started popping open yesterday.  Oh, I love peonies.  That smell!!!!!!!
Yeah, my tulip tree is starting to be messy.  Just finished with the whirly-gigs on the maple and now the flowers are dropping from the tulip.  They are pretty but messy.

Last evening there was a young couple walking down the alley.  They stopped behind my yard and just looked and looked.  The poppies are still blooming, the peonies are starting, everything is green and mowed.  The grape arbor is leafing out and full.  It looked pretty out there. There are not many people around here who have flowers in their backyards.  None as far as I can see from my yard.  (nor gardens)!  

Fluffy, my little patient.  She isn't happy being 'jailed'.  I am going to have to let her free here soon.  She is eating and drinking and doing her doody - she needs to get out and socialize and get some exercise!

I stopped to get some special treats at Kroger yesterday - for Fluff.  I walked through produce and saw these peppers on clearance.  Notice the ad!  .99 each - SALE this last week.  I got 2 bags of 3 for .99/bag!!!   That is a real WOO-HOO
Look at the size of these things.  They are huge.  I will be chopping more for the freezer.  They will sure be good in meals this coming winter.
Need to get those deals when you see them!  This is just another example that shows it always pays to keep your eyes open to options!

Just a look at this little spot in my world.  It is all those little things that excite me and make me happy!
Have a wonderful day.

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Stretch Those Dollars - Simplify

 Inflation - that is what everyone is talking about.  Shortages - that is what everyone is talking about.
I am talking about making do, changing habits, and learning new things.  I am talking about getting a new mindset.
I am talking simplifying things.  We are always in a hurry and just want everything NOW.  Maybe, just maybe, with a mindset adjustment - living simpler and BETTER could actually happen!

                                                                         INDEED IT IS

  • Maybe fast one or two days a week - if your health allows
  • Eat LESS meat or sub other things for meat.  Make black bean or lentil burgers - they really are tasty when made at home.
  • Think about the edibles that are wild - we talked about that last week
  • Eat much simpler meals.  This is huge in my book.  You can eat well and eat less every day of the week.  You don't have to go out, order in, or have boxed meals delivered to you.  Cook from scratch!!!!  There's a concept!!!!  Meals do not need to be fancy - they can be simple.  Good healthy food is always best over fake garbage.  Try new things and experiment - you can save so much money on groceries
Super healthy lunch or great after school/work snack for anyone!
  • If growing your own veggies - use what you have for fertilizer - no need to spend money.  Compost is great.  Can't compost?  No problem - use crushed dried egg shells, banana peel water, coffee grinds, tea bags, etc. around your plants.   You can do this all for nothing!
  • Learn to substitute.  This goes for lots of things.  Food and cooking especially.  Try a different meat, or veggie in your recipe.  Use what you have on hand.  Don't make some special run to the store for an ingredient - cause you know you will buy other things!!!!!!  MAKE DO
                                                               Great swaps when baking
  • Stay home more if possible.  Group you trips in one day.  Staying home not only saves gas, wear and tear on car but $$$$ as well.  If you are home you aren't shopping (stay off those computers!)  If you work - try car pooling with others
  • You don't have to have name brand fancy items.  Kids don' need them either.  Sure you want them - but hard times call for drastic measures.  Learn to sew or alter, try second hand stores, yard sales in other parts of the city, etc.
  • Gardening time is upon us.  So many fresh and wonderful food will be sprouting out of the ground.  Eat fresh!!!!!  Lettuce and salad fixings, grilled zucchini, parm tomato slices, cucumbers and tomatoes and onion salad, bean salads, pasta salads with loads of veggies.  Fresh fruits anytime you can get them.  This is all so much better for you and for the environment.  No plastic bags, no jars, no packaging needed.  Just good REAL food in our little cloth totes!!  From garden to plate.
  • Keep lights off now - it is light early and late - no need for lights.  Get as much fresh air as possible in the house.  Catch rain water if you  are aloud to.  It is great for plants.  It can be used on your hair too!  Makes it soft
Gosh, I could go on and on with ways to stretch your dollars today.  YES inflation sucks and so do shortages.  That doesn't mean your life has to suck.
Break the habits of always having what you desire.  Learn new things.  Try new ways.  Stop and think before acting on things.
Like many of us, you may find it is actually kind of fun to challenge yourself.
You aren't DEPRIVING yourself - you are APPRECIATING more!!!

Look forward to other ideas!

Sunday, May 15, 2022

Weekly Wrap-Up 5/15

 Hello all - I AM HERE!  Sorry for being late.  I had a bit of a medical emergency with Fluffy and she and I spent the morning at the emergency care vet.  We are home now and she is in isolation for a while (and is not happy).  Not that she is contagious or anything - I just need to monitor what she eats and drinks and (poos) for a day or two.  She has a bad mouth/gums - and got major antibiotics, I am giving pain meds and anti-inflammatory.  She hasn't been eating or drinking for a couple days and this morning she let me pick her up!!!  She has NEVER in 11 years let me pick her up (since she was a kitten).  I knew she was sick.  *She does let me pet her - but no picky up!!!!
Well now she is drinking like a camel and starting to eating a bit.  All good.
SHEW - the things that life throws at us.

Well weather-wise it has been July here this week!  T-shirts and flip-flops.  AC has even been on some.  This coming week will be kind of back to normal for a while - so hoping I can maybe do the garden then.
We actually (until yesterday) had our longest stretch of dry weather in a couple months.
We got rain yesterday and supposed to get more tonight.

Since Wednesday this has been happening!!!!  They are the biggest poppies ever - each fills my hand.  I have a good 5 or 6 each day in beautiful bright bloom.

This week:
  • Laundry and line dried. I did all the cats winter bedding as well
  • I made up some homemade weed killer to spray fence row and a small patch of never attended ground next door!  Not rented yet - so I took care of one problem!  That stuff is dead now.
  • I made a new small garden plot (raised) from materials on hand for big pots to sit on (a flood area)
  • Cleaned out the garage some
  • Got second rain barrel set up
  • Worked on the front walk flower bed some and placed my short fencing up - so flowers don't overtake the walk
  • Kroger - loss leaders and clearance 
  • Hummingbird feeders are now out and plenty of nectar made up
  • Chopped a quart of bell peppers for freezer
  • Chopped more chives and froze another quart
  • I have an insulated dog house (for the cats) - and it was sinking.  I cut appropriate size boards and placed them under the front and back and raised it up a good 2".
  • My neighbor cut my front and way out back when he mowed.  I did the backyard
  • I did trimming and pulled lots more weeds.
  • Came across a 2018 can of peaches I used in a smoothie.  It was great and refreshing
  • I only worked outside in the mornings when it was somewhat cooler.  It got close to 90 several times.  Just regular housework inside in the afternoons
Meals this past week:
Ham, egg, & cheese biscuits
Chicken fingers and salad
Tomato and bologna sandwich and a smoothie
Cheeseburger and fresh veggies with salad dressing
Chef salad
Rice/veg/cheese stuffed Portobella mushrooms (used air fryer)
Chicken and veggie roll-ups
SNACKS:  fruit, PB sandwich, yogurt, ice cream bar

I hope you all had a good week and stayed cool!  Are any of you able to garden yet?  I am close.  Any great deals or bargains this week?
I sure hope you are all well and safe.
Blessings to you and yours from my humble little home.

I will instruct you and teach you the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you.
Psalms 32:8

Lord, thank you for guiding us and nudging us through all our avenues in life.  You always speak to us, and guide us when the timing is right.  Help us to listen more closely and always follow Your ways.

Thursday, May 12, 2022

What is Your Definition of Frugal?

 What say you?  I know we all have different ideas and ways when it comes to that word!

I think being frugal means being a good steward of your money.  Not being a spend thrift and thinking long and hard before making big purchases.  It means living your best life on less money.  It means knowing the difference between wants and needs.  It means getting the best value for your dollars.

It means using up what you have - not just in conventional ways, but new ways as well.  Getting creative in cooking, reusing and re-inventing.
It means preparing for emergencies of all types - having a pantry and saving funds for such emergencies.
Buying goods of good value for the best price.
Looking for deals, clearance and special sales to add to your stores.  Getting the best price.

It means being generous and helping others when you can.  I think that is part of our frugal journey.  Help others when possible and accept help when needed.

I do believe being frugal becomes a way of life.  It has for me.  It isn't something I have to consciously think about anymore - it is just a part of me.  I do not feel the least deprived.  It is my way of life - it is who I am.
I love stretching a dollar as far as I can.  It makes me happy.  We worked really hard for the funds that I have - so why would I just want to waste them?

I don't feel frugal is about being cheap or a scrooge or miserly.  It is about being mindful and a good steward.
What is your view of being frugal?

Wednesday, May 11, 2022

DEALS Can Still be Found!!

 Happy Wednesday to all!  Hey gals - just a quick post to say YES deals can still be found and groceries CAN be obtained for a reasonable price.  The catch?  You have to really look and pay attention - you have to know the best day to check your store - and you HAVE to shop clearance and sales!!!!

Some of you are sooooo fortunate to have discount groceries or Amish/Mennonite stores that you can shop at.  I am envious of that.  I have to just watch for bargains at regular grocery stores.
Now, I have many, many various stores in my area - so if I can't find something at one, there is always another venue to check.  That is an advantage of living in a big city.

I just recently became able to use digital coupons.  My store card was so old, that the computer at the store wouldn't recognize it to load those special bargains.  I used the card for in store deals and for gas - but no GREAT digital sales.  I got myself a new card!  Now I am all modernized and using the computer to help me get deals!!!  LOL!!

I ran to the store on Tuesday - as it was the last days of the deals I loaded on card last week - I didn't go last week.  I got my specials deals and walked around - and I found that Tuesday is a wonderful day at my local store for clearance!!!!!!  I never go to the store on Monday - I figure stock will be obviously low just after a weekend.  I don't go on weekends either.  Too many people and lack of supplies, do to so many people shopping.

Tuesday worked!  I totally goofed in not taking pictures before I put everything away.  Sorry.
I did the best I have in ages.  I do not do regular coupons anymore - except for maybe the odd cat food or hair dye coupon.  Years ago, I used to get some fantastic hauls - not so much lately.
This is why I so excited.

I got 2 packs of cherry tomatoes, 5 lbs. potatoes, broccoli, several bell peppers, 6 lbs. oranges, 6 huge Portabella mushrooms, and 2 lbs. of organic carrots.
Three types of meat - 2 big packs of chicken tenders, 2 lbs. sausage and 5 packs of sliced ham.  I was fortunate on the meat - usually the markdown meat looks nasty, and it isn't cheap anymore!
I got seasonings and pure extracts, 3 4-packs of Dannon yogurt, 3 jars of olives, a huge bottle of Palmolive dish soap, 3 huge bags of snacks, bread and buns.
I did get milk at regular price, and eggs.  The eggs were organic brown eggs and were cheaper than regular eggs.  I also got a new high efficiency furnace filter (not cheap).  I also treated myself to a 12 pack of soda pop.  I hardly ever do that - it will last a long while (just a treat).

All this - for $72 out of pocket. (about $37 dollars - last 4 items).  My savings on clearance and marked down was approx. $62!!!!!!  I really scored.  
It can be done.  I pretty much walked the perimeter of the store - produce, meat, dairy and then the clearance section.  I didn't stray  too far off course.

I went in for the digital coupon items - saw great clearance and got myself meat for the freezer and fresh produce to enjoy and eat and to chop and freeze.  YES - I added to my long term pantry as well as short term enjoyment!

I know it gets very discouraging today.  Prices are up, some stock is low.  Seriously, be mindful of the day you go to the store.  Weekends and Mondays should be off the list!!!  Stock will be much lower on those days.  
Tuesday they are generally stocking shelves for the upcoming sales and there is a lot of markdowns from the week before.  
Walk the perimeter and look for deals and clearance.

You CAN still find deals and stock that pantry and freezer.  Pay attention and be very mindful of buying REAL food and ingredients.
DO you have any money saving tips for the grocery?

Tuesday, May 10, 2022

Nature Can Help You Survive

 I have had questions as to what books are good to help with natural ideas of surviving.  Ideas for foraging.  There are a couple books that I think are invaluable.  They contain information on just about everything you can think of.  Recipes to how to dress out a chicken to planting potatoes - you name it.

                                      These books are fantastic.  If you get no others, get these.

We need knowledge.  If things ever get so bad that we are in total upheaval - there will be no white knight coming.  Your goal will be to survive and help your family.  Your knowledge and your pantry will be your security.
You all know I am not an alarmist - but I am not stupid either.  I know I need to have some skills and some information that could help me and others.

Foraging can be our friend.  I know people live in cities too - not everyone is country.  I am suburbs - yet I can forage around the area.  I can forage my own yard!  There is a park close by.  There are empty properties.  Trust me - if I were hungry, I could find something to eat.  It may not be a well-rounded diet - but I would survive and have some decent intake of vitamins and minerals.
HOW you say?

I was out pulling weeds the other and there is this one weed that is prolific in my yard.  Creeping Charlie (ground ivy) takes over in no time.  As I was pulling, I thought, goodness if this was edible, the surrounding kingdom would be saved!!!!!  LOL!  Guess what?  It is!!!!!!
It has a pungent minty flavor.  Read it can be cooked like spinach or added to soups.  Dried leaves can be made into a tea with verbena.  Back in the day - it was used in place of hops in making beer!

Dandelions - all parts are edible and useable.  Roots, leaves, and flowers.  I remember my folks fixing dandelion greens.  Teas and tinctures can be made from the roots.  Flowers used in making jelly or added to salads.  

Purslane - I have a lot of this as well.  I do use it in salads in the summer.  It has a light peppery taste.  It can be cooked or used raw.  Super high in vitamins and minerals.   It is a great antioxidant.

Clover - flowers can be made into jelly.  Clover is used mainly as a medicinal.  Do research before eating a lot of the plant.

Wild violets - both flower and plant are edible.  Cooked or raw.  The leaves are great for medicinal purposes.  It is antifungal, antiseptic and anti-inflammatory.  Valued as a pain reliever.

There are many, many weeds that are perfectly fine to eat.  You want to make sure they have not been treated with chemicals and are in 'pet free' areas (if you know what I mean).

There are tons of flowers that are edible.  They can be eaten in salads with greens or other plants or used in many other way.  You can make flavored honeys, syrups, sugars, vinegar, teas, liquor, etc.

Nasturtiums, daylily, tulips, roses, chives, sunflower, lilac, lavender, bee balm flowers, calendula (marigold), mums, gladiola flowers, carnations/dianthus..........
You can young shoots of Hosta - supposedly this is a delicacy.  Fiddleheads - you ng shoots of ferns are good.  Don't forget mushrooms!  YES, you need to know what you are getting to be safe.  This is when knowledge is important!!!!!  Now is the time in my area/state for morel mushrooms.  They grow profusely in the woodsy areas after a period of cool and damp weather.  Oh my goodness, they are wonderful.  They are super expensive if you can find them to buy - like $50+ a pound!!!!

I am a huge fan of holistic medicine and living.  I hate doctors.  It is just my opinion, but I believe - Natural is for long term health and pharma is covering up the symptoms.  I truly don't believe pharma cures anything - it just masks it.  If you live healthy and natural I believe you can truly stay healthier.  
AGAIN - this is just MY opinion - so not looking to be beat up for it.  We all have to do what we think is right for us.  

We have become a world of people that expects to be taken care of.  It aint going to happen when to going gets tough.  You will need to secure in the idea that you are on your own.  You need knowledge!  You need skills.  You need to embrace new ideas and methods.
God gave us what we need on this earth.  We just have to educate ourselves.  Do the research and learn.

And God said, "Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit; you shall have them for food.  And to every beast of the earth, and to every bird of the air, and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has breath of life, I have given every green plant for food."  And it is so.
Genesis 2:29-30

I will follow up soon, with a post on many medicinal plants and herbs.  There are many that help with all kinds of problems.
Hope this answers a few questions.  There is so much to learn about what nature has to offer us.