Thursday, February 29, 2024

Comfort Food - Upgrade

 Hello everyone.  Happy Leap Day!!!!  Last day of the month - it is very chilly but sunny here.  Not a bad way to end.  There will still be many, many days of up and down temperatures to come in the next month or so, I guess we need to just get used to it!

Earlier in the week, I was eating light and quick meals - it was warmer and I didn't feel like anything heavy.  Yesterday, well I wanted comfort food!
One of my favorite side dishes is Harvest Potatoes (some call them funeral potatoes).  I love potatoes and I love, love cheese!  I had everything here to make them.  BUT, I wanted it to be more like a meal - so I upgraded it.  It sure did come out tasty.

This is just a good reminder that you don't have to always follow the recipe!!  Most times I do not - I kind of wing it most of the time.

Generally, the 'recipe' would be:

1 - 32 oz. bag of frozen hash browns
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 C sour cream
1 C shredded cheese
1/2 C melted butter
Diced onion if desired
salt and pepper

Well, I found a couple bags of hash browns when inventorying the freezer last week.  I had a very old can of cream of chicken soup (I don't buy anymore - I make my own).  I had sour cream and cheese - so boom ready to go.

I ALSO added a drained and chopped a can of carrots.  I had approx. 1 - 1 1/2 C of chicken in freezer.  I mixed in both of those items as well.  I am sure I added more cheese than called for - I just emptied the container I had in the frig!  Instead of the normal topping of corn flakes/butter - I had a jar with the remnants of cheesy nacho chips in it.  A few pieces and lots of crumbs (from Jan/ get together).  I crushed all of those and used as a topping.
So I mixed everything together except topping and poured in a 9 x 13 and baked at 350 for about 35 - 40 minutes - added the topping and baked 10-15 minutes longer. 
                                         Here is the pan after just removing from the oven.
Yum on a plate!  I thoroughly enjoyed it.  I will be eating it again today with some other veggie on the side.  The rest will go in the freezer for another day(s).
So, I had potatoes, carrots, chicken, cheese, and side veggies all in one meal. Only one pan needed!

It was a complete meal.  You could add carrots, broccoli, green beans, just about anything.  Also, I used chicken I had in freezer - but I am thinking it would be good with ham, bacon, leftover chopped pork chops, smoked sausage or even cooked ground beef.
You can different types of cheese - whatever you have on hand.  Also, you could jazz it up with ranch or onion dip sour cream instead of plain.

Sometimes we just have to play with our food!  You may find that new family favorite.  
Honestly you do not have to play by the rules.  Make things that sound good to you.

Last week I made this.  I had a jar mix for blue berry muffins.  I added the last few fresh strawberries (chopped) and just poured it all in the pan instead of making muffins.  Turned out super tasty.  I baked about 10 minutes longer than was called for with muffins.

So, when you get in the mood for comfort food - upgrade it!  You can make a lovely meal and/or dessert just a little different from the norm.

Have a wonderful day and make it a good one!

Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Jars - Big & Small - Great for Storage and More

 Happy midweek to all.  It is a brisk and chilly morning here.  We had temps at about 68F at 2AM - and now we are at 35F at 7AM.  We had rain and lots of wind - wind is still around.  Looks like a couple of chilly days again - then back to 70F!  Wild and crazy rides are what we get in Feb. & Mar.  I sure hope you are all safe - there was crazy weather everywhere last night.

Today, let us talk about jars and storage.  I love glass jars - all sorts of glass jars.  They don't have to be Mason jars for me to use - I keep most store jars as well (that groceries come in).
Plastic jars work too for storage - I just like glass as they are also pretty much safe in all conditions.  For those who have trouble with rodents - they aren't getting into glass ones!

Jars are great for canning - you can, can just about anything.  From ingredients to meals like soups and beans to jellies and jams and fruit.  Home canned foods 'could' be eaten straight from the jar in most instances - like when no power for cooking.
Jars keep things fresh in your refrigerator.  I put strawberries and grapes in jars when I bring them home from the store.  Do not wash - just put them in the jar dry.  I have had great luck with them lasting extra long.  I plan on trying lettuce very soon.  It could really be a game changer for making foods last longer.  That is a plus in anyone's book today.

Jars - odd and end ones - can hold just about anything you can think to put in them.  They are great in garages and utility rooms - holding all those odds and ends of nuts and bolts.
Good for garden seeds as well.
Spices, mixes, dried fruits and veggies, evaporated milk, grains, rice - you name it - it can be stored safely in jars.
I have some gallon glass jars (think pickles, olives) that I have saved over the years and some that I have picked up free at yard sales or been given.  I use those for storing rice and pasta.  They would be great for oats or any grains that you might use on a regular basis.
Many folks use the larger ones for canisters.

**I always throw a couple bay leaves in the jars to prevent buggers of any type.  Sometimes insects have laid eggs on foods before you get it.  I like to freeze for a while (kills larvae) - then allow to warm to room temp and the store with bay leaves in the jars.  So far that has worked wonderfully for me.

You can make up all kinds of soup starters at home - to make life a little easier and quicker on those rush days.  Place some pasta (or rice), dried veggies and maybe some dried bouillon is the jars - whatever you have and like - and when you are ready for soup or a casserole - just dump the jar, add water and cook for a while.  Easy-peasy.  Add meat if you want while cooking.
I love having baking mixes around.  Brownie mixes, biscuit mix, pancake mixes.  There can be fancy coffee blends and tea blends (don't forget hot chocolate).

You all know I give lots of baskets at the holidays full of fun goodies.  Soups are always included.  They are easy to make and they are always appreciated.  It is nice to have those on the shelf here as well - for myself or as a gift.
I often add a canned meat product to the jar, so it is ready to make for the recipient.  I have used regular canning jars and I use other jars as well.  I prefer to gift the other jars when I can - that way I don't need them back and the recipient can use in another way. (not that I ever get any back!)
You can use them for storage in the bathroom or any other room in the house.  I have a blue jar in the bathroom that holds cotton balls (that come out of vitamins), and I have a half pint size to hold Q-tips.  I love the idea of the above picture - such a cute kind of country look!
Crafts of every type can utilize jars.  Thread, buttons, needles and pins - you name it.  All those little beads and bobbles used for crafts stay safe and out the hands of little ones.
Great in offices for holding pins and pencils, scissors, markers, etc.

You can use half pint size jars for individual servings of pudding and Jello.  You can use for all kinds of treats.  They are the perfect size for just a small treat. I know many, many people that use jars to drink from!  I have done this before.  Little jelly jars are perfect for juice or a drink of milk.  Somehow it makes iced tea taste better!!!  LOL
You can use jars to hold candy, cookies and nuts and treats of all sorts.

So yes, they are good for absolutely anything from soup to nuts!  Save those jars and utilize to keep pantry and other areas of your home safe and protected and organized.
Do you have any fun and new ideas for using jars?  Let us know.

Stay safe and cozy today.  Have a good one.

Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Below Our Means and Enjoying It

 Good morning to all.  Woke to a beautiful morning.  Sun is shining and it was 58* at 6AM!  It will be in the 70's today.  Tonight and overnight we have storms that will be coming through (sure wish they would happen during the day).  By tomorrow morning we are supposed to have wind chills around 20*!!  This crazy weather.  It will be in the 40's a couple days then back up.  The approach of spring is always a roller coaster.

I was trying to come up with a post this weekend and I also watched a few You Tubers and it seemed them and myself were all thinking the same way.  So here are a few things to think about as you go forward on this frugal and financial journey.
FIRST you are not alone.  There are lots of people watching their dollars and doing things that just make good sense.  You always have sources to ask questions.

** Control is something that most people want to feel.  There are many things in this world that we have absolutely NO control over.  Never will.  Inflation, gas prices, utilities, insurance rates, etc.  Now yes, sometimes you can switch out companies and save a little - but many things we just have to live with, as sad as that it.
You CAN control how you react.  Get the best deals you can and look for deals.  Use things in different ways and get the most out of them.  Stop supporting the more expensive places.  Cook from home, plan your trips out (saves gas), follow some of the other ideas that will be listed here.
Don't let not having control - stop you.  Take control where you can and do your best.

**DON'T let your pride get in the way.  Now I mean this, as a way of saving a little.  Don't let "what will people think" be in your head!  Shop thrift stores and yard sales for good bargains.  Look for clearance departments and items.  Barter with people.  
Many people are so worried what others will think.  "They will think I am poor"!  Who cares?  You do you and get the best deals you can get wherever you can get them.  IF you need to go to a food bank/pantry - do it.  IF you need to seek assistance on utilities - do it.  Don't feel you have to have the newest gadget or vehicle.  Don't feel you have to say yes - to going out for an evening.
Do what you need to do to help YOUR family - and don't worry about others.  I know this is hard for some folks - but it is so important.  Once you get back on your feet - maybe you can help another in some way.

    Doing positive things in life that become habits is a good things.  But FIRST you have to start!

**Take it slow - this journey does not happen overnight.  Start with changing one thing - then another and so on.  You will become so overwhelmed with life, if you try to change everything instantly.  Just start somewhere.
Maybe shop just once a week (instead of everyday), then every two weeks......  Buy ingredients and cook from home.  No new clothes.  Turning off lights and heat/AC when not needed.  Using less water and utilities.  Go to a yard sale or thrift store and just look - you will be amazed at what you can find.  Stay home and have fun times there.  Make things a family project - kiddos need to learn these things too.
Make learning (you and them) FUN!
It really is fun to learn new things and save money at the same time.

**KEEP IT SIMPLE - this can be utilized in all aspects of live.  Keep your meals simple with simple ingredients.  Keep your clothing simple - with basics than can be interchanged.  Keep your home simple and lovely.  It doesn't mean you have to be a minimalist - it just means you will enjoy the basics a lot more.
Get rid of clutter - if you love it, keep it and use it.  That special china isn't worth much just sitting in a hutch or box - use it and make a special meal.  
Once you get rid of clutter - that can be stuff, paperwork, toys, etc. - you can breathe a little.
Find new ways to use things instead of buying something else to bring in the house.  Just do little things here and there and simplify your life.  Again, make it a fun thing to do - it really is fun.

**STOP waiting for things to happen!  It seems we spend a huge portion of life waiting for the other shoe to drop, or the next bad thing to happen, or waiting for that big vacation or that big house.
Stop it.  Enjoy today!!!!!  It is all you have at the moment. Make the best of it.
Planning those big vacations are fun - but it may not happen.  That huge house may never happen (without going deeply in debt).
You got today.  Silly and simple as it sounds - you can have fun with the little things.
Make a family day outing to the library, sit and read - wonder the aisles - look at displays - learn something.
Go to the free concerts that will be happening soon in many areas.  They can be the best time.
Have a fun game night or movie night - pop some popcorn and spend it together.
Have a backyard or park picnic.
Set a pretty table once in a while - china, tablecloth, candles, etc.  Make it special JUST BECAUSE!
Take the family to the park and enjoy nature - teach the youngins and yourself about birds, wildlife, plants, trees, etc.
Just enjoy and seize the day!

I have mentioned the word journey a lot - but that is what it is.  Life is a journey - it is always evolving.  No two journeys are the same.
Take your time and just go slow, keep it simple, save a bit where you can and enjoy the dance!
You save a bit here and there - that helps pay off debt.  That helps save an emergency fund.  That helps with education needs.  Saving just helps in so many ways.
Get serious about your new journey - but not so serious that you can't enjoy it!

I know I mention it can be fun a lot too.  It really can be.  I kind of look at it as a game or a personal challenge.
You can do this - just take the first step.

Have a great day to all!

Sunday, February 25, 2024

Weekly Wrap Up 2/25

 Hello to all.  Here we are on the last Sunday of the month AGAIN! Daylight hours getting longer each day.  Less super cold and more warmer days (at least here).  Flowers are popping up here and there.  I have daffodil greenery about 4" above ground.

The bed sure felt good this morning.  I have had a few nights of some really strange dreams - not sure where this stuff comes from.  I was laying there this morning all relaxed, and the kitties kept trying to get my attention - then I felt this gentle patting of a paw on my nose!!!  "Mom - it's breakfast time!!"  LOL.  Yep - you know when it's time to get up!

We had a really nice weather week for the most part.  Rain (lots of rain) came in and boom it got cold again.  Saturday morning we had very cold temps and flurries!  That after a couple days before we were in the upper 60's!  We are warming again, then another day or two of coolness.  At least the colder days are less.  The moon has been big and bright the past several evenings (when I could see it).

                                                                        Nature's beauty
This past week:
  • I had a long lunch one day with grade school chums - BJ's Brewhouse.  So much laughter and memories (about 25 of us)
  • Checked all the fluids in my Blazer and cleaned all the windows (here at home)
  • Flea meds for the kitties (had on hand)
  • Lots of laundry - used dehumidifier water in a load
  • Got to air the house a few times
  • Received a lovely gift in the mail from a friend
         A lovely devotions book, 64 assorted tea bags, and a sweet magnet!  Thank you Laurie!!!!!
  • Froze parts of 2 different meals made this week - for later
  • NO grocery shopping at all - "shopped" from pantry instead
  • Cleaned my jewelry
  • Cooked up a pound of ground beef and froze half for another time
  • Using pantry and freezer for meals - tried using all odds and end up in some way
  • Finally organized and straightened the upright freezer a bit.  Found some items I forgot about - I am good on most items.  Feeling blessed.
  • Used a jar recipe I had for blue berry muffins.  I chopped and added the last few strawberries I had and added them.  Instead of making muffins - I made it like a cake.  So tasty to have on hand
  • Had a REALLY long conversation with sis this week and got caught up
  • Just doing all the normal things we all do around the home
Meals this past week:
Leftover beans & rice and sauteed portobella mushroom strips
Loaded nachos
'Stoup' from freezer and added leftover nacho cheese to it - crackers
Out to eat
French bread pizza using what I had on hand
Fish sandwich, oven fries and side salad
Baked spaghetti, side salad
SNACKS - fruit, strawberries & ice cream, nuts, cheese, muffin cake

I have extra French bread pizza and baked spaghetti in the freezer now for another day!

How was your week?  Did you get any deals?  Are you getting any 'better' weather than all the winter nastiness?  Spring cleaning?  It is less than a month until it is spring here in the northern hemisphere.  Some count March 1 as meteorological spring.  It won't be long.  Of course, many of us have the unappreciated time change coming up soon as well!

Debby and Frances thinking about you both!  Please check in.  

I hope this finds each and every one safe and healthy.  May you have a great week ahead.
Blessings to you and yours from my humble little home.

Have I not commanded you?  Be strong and of good courage; be not frightened, neither be dismayed; for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.
Joshua 1:9

Dear Lord, thank You for our many blessings.  Please continue to be with us, as we need You in our lives daily.  None of us are perfect, and we slip and fall from time to time, and need You there when we get back up and go forward once again.  Hold our hands and continue to place Your loving hands upon us all.   AMEN

Thursday, February 22, 2024

The Value of Moments

 Happy Thursday to all.  I hope this finds you all well and safe.  We are expecting rain and stormy weather today for a while - but it sure is warm outside this morning!

We talk a lot about frugality and finances here.  Getting the best deals.  Using things up.  Ways to save money.  Growing and gardening.  SO many things.  I just want to make people aware (especially those just starting) that there are other things that go along with all this.
MOMENTS - there is great value in moments.

Isn't this sweet?  A friend of mine posted this picture on FB the other day - and I loved it.

Mindset is so valuable.  You need to watch your actions and your finances - but you also need to put value of MOMENTS.  They can be the most valuable thing you have.  They are the simple joys.  They make you feel safe, warm and beautiful.
There will always be bumps in the road (many of them), there will be rough edges, but you can still enjoy a simple life in so many ways.  It can soften everything.

Whether you call them blessings, moments, smiles, life, etc. they are special.

Example - last week I had several special moments that made me realize how special life can be.  I met with old friends and enjoyed a day of laughter, I got to be with family and welcome someone new into the family, I was out on the day bad weather was coming in.  I had another person with me - I made it home as the snow was starting  and got settled in before all the nastiness grabbed hold.
Watching and listening to the kitties do zoombies around the house - they are so funny.
This week I got to join in with another group of old friends for a delightful time.
I get to watch and enjoy nature.  I am comfortable in my little home and feel so blessed.
I have wonderful family and friends.

Those things are worth more than all the money and material items in the world to me.

Take time to sit back and enjoy the moments in life.  Don't get yourself stressed with all the financial issues you may be facing, just relax now and then.  It can change your attitude on many things.

Grab a nice beverage, pull up a chair next to the window and just watch and listen. Give praise for what you DO have!  Enjoy the little things - they really aren't so little.  When it comes right down to it - they are the big things.

Laughter, smiles, nature, a hug, a helpful hand, a warm sunny day, a comfy bed..... these are all special.
I sit here typing this listening to all the birds chirping like crazy.  My kitties are cozy and safe.  
I just feel life is so much more than the money we talk about all the time.
Just giving a little reminder of that.

ENJOY your MOMENTS today!!!

                                       I want to enjoy and relax in this blissful sort of way!!!!

Wednesday, February 21, 2024

More Use It Up ....Hedging Inflation

 Here we are mid-week again.  It is a beautiful sunny morning here. Today will be lovely.  Hope this finds you all well and safe.

Today will be a few more ideas to USE IT UP!  We are at a point in time, that anything we can do to hedge inflation, if just a tiny bit, is important.  It is also very important to pass our knowledge on to others.  Many ideas and ways have gotten lost over time - I think those of us that still do them need to educate others!!
It really could help someone out in the best way.

Yesterday cloth napkins and linens were mentioned in the comments.  There are other uses beside being used as napkins.  I get them super cheap at yard sales or thrift stores and have all sorts of them.
I use on some of my chairs to keep the kitty hair off the cushions!  Yep, they love the chairs and the chairs are a pain to vacuum and clean.
Here is Bitsy modeling this technique!!  LOL.  It sure helps keep the seat fur free and they are easily washable.
Use as simple little table covers.  You can use them to line baskets as well.  SO many uses.
You could find some unusual ones and utilize in a quilt or bed cover as well.  Great resource of material for pennies.

When making potatoes - don't throw away those skins!  Once washed and dried, spritz with oil and a little salt and bake until crispy - super tasty chips for FREE!  Those of us of a certain age remember when loaded potato skins was a huge thing at restaurants.  We paid good money for those!!  You can make them at home.  Clean and dried skins - top with cheese (whatever you have) maybe some bacon pieces and bake.  Very tasty, and free.  The skins contain vitamins as well!

Watermelon rinds - pickle them! That is a pricey delicacy when purchased.

Apples - keep those peels and cores when you use apples for pies, etc.  You can make jelly with them, you can make vinegar, you can also sprinkle with a little sugar and bake the skins for a yummy treat.
Click on pic to enlarge for easy reading!

Tomato skins - when canning tomatoes - save those skins.  Dehydrate in dehydrator or low oven until dry and crispy.  Grind in a processor or coffee grinder until it is a fine powder.  Makes great added flavor for soups and casseroles.

Old bread - not moldy - but stale.  Dry even more and make breadcrumbs for coating foods.  You can make bread pudding, croutons or dressing cubes.  French toast is another good use or just toast it!
I use for grilled sandwiches as well.

Garden decor and projects - you can use things you have and not spend any money.  I like eclectic things in my gardens - it makes it fun and whimsical to me.  I know that isn't for everyone.  I have an old red metal bed headboard in the center of my back perennial garden.  It is a flower BED!  LOL.  It is a cute accent.
I have used an old wagon that has rusted to hold my many rocks and fossil rocks.
I gave my neighbor a lot of the good wood from tearing down the ramp out front.  He is very crafty.  Well, he used some of it to make seats for his firepit and made myself and others accent benches for our gardens.  So, I still have a bit of the ramp.
Old wood from other things can be made into birdhouses or feeders.  You can make raised garden beds, or any kind of yard displays.  Many people use old skids for the wood.  Many very neat ideas can come from used wood.

Ladders or step ladders can be used in gardens.  Great for flowerpot accents (set those pots on the steps of a step ladder) or use ladders as a trellis.  Just because you can no longer use the ladders safely for climbing, doesn't mean something else can't climb on it!  Paint them bright and pretty colors!
Paint some rocks for the garden or for flowerpots.  Big ones for accents or small ones for cute.  This is fun to get the youngin's involved with as well!
Broken flower posts can be broken more and used as drainage in the bottom of other pots.  Make a frog refuge in your flower garden with a broken pot on its side!
Big pots with cracks or leaks can be laid on their sides and planted - to look like a spilling pot of flowers.
Old statues or wooden or metal chairs can be used in gardens.  Just get creative.  It is getting to that time of the year!!

Cardboard was also mentioned yesterday in the comments.  It makes a great ground cover/weed preventer in the garden or flower beds.  It will eventually decompose and help the dirt, it allows water through and keeps the water in the soil safe from evaporation.
You can use boxes in many ways in the house for storage as well.
They can be used in the pantry area for storage.  Use what you have or what you are gifted.  Shoe boxes make great small storage for spice jars, seasoning packets or any small items.  You can always wrap the outsides with plain paper or old gift wrap to fancy up.

Gosh, we can go on and on.  There are just so many ways to USE IT UP!  
I just hope this gets those creative juices going.  Maybe someone has seen something that can help them.  Everything is so expensive today and finding something you already have to RE-use is wonderful and saves money.  It also saves things from the landfill.
Check out free neighborhood pages or listings - you can get things for $0 very often.  Share and barter.

Good luck and happy creating and reusing!!!!
Have a beautiful day!

PS - Frances you are on my mind.  Hope you and your husband are ok - please check in!
Amelia and Elise hope all is well with your moms.  Let us know.
You are all in everyone's prayers and thoughts.

Tuesday, February 20, 2024

Use It Up ...............

 Howdy all.  Hope you are all well and safe and warm.
Today we are going to talk about using it up!  We have all heard the saying - use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without!  Well, it really is a good way to live.  Not only does it teach us how to be good stewards of what we have, but it saves a little money and helps the environment.  It also just makes sense!  If we stretch things to the max and get every ounce of use from them, we are also stretching our dollars.

I know we have talked out this before, but reminders are always good and maybe someone new will see something they never thought of.  We are here to teach and help - hopefully this helps.

I believe this saying with all my heart.  We have no way of knowing what tomorrow will bring, what life may dump upon us, how our finances can change - it is all uncertain.  Knowing what to do IF it happens is important.  I like knowing that I have 'practiced' all along the way and that I will be OK.  

We talk about stretching food a lot.  There is so much you can do with food and leftovers and bits and pieces.  You just need to get creative.

Those bones from any type of meat - can be cooked in a big pot of water to make great stock.  You can also throw in all those scraps from veggies - to enhance it.  Freeze or can this - and you have fully natural broth/stock to use in your cooking!
Whatever is left after that can be composted or dried and ground into free garden nutrients.

Use those leftovers in different ways.  Leftover veggies/meat can be made into soups, casseroles, stir fry, fried rice, added to pasta or rice - the list is endless.  Shoot, unless highly seasoned, you can even make pet food.

Oranges or citrus - it isn't just for eating!  Eat the fruit, juice the fruit - lots of vitamin C.  BUT you can use the peels as well.  You can zest and freeze for special recipes.  You can candy it and eat - that stuff is expensive to buy.  Candied peels not only taste good to eat - but it is great in hot tea or coffee or a warm cup of cider.  It can be used in potpourri.  You can use the peels for a great smelling natural cleaner (also helps keep ants away).  You can compost.  The fruit that just keeps giving.

Water!!!  Yep, you can use it again!  If you are cooking pasta or veggies - you can use that water (strained) to water plants.  It contains lots of nutrients.  Now if you use salt or vinegar in your water - you don't want to water plants - but you can pour over compost or you can pour on weeds.  Keep that water that just 'goes down the drain' when showering (or warming water to do dishes).  Keep a bucket in the shower to catch it.  Free water for plants, bird baths, pets, flushing, cleaning etc.  I dump my scalding canning water on weeds outside - it kills them quickly (plus it has vinegar in  it).
Some places have water troubles - it is good to use it in another way.

If you are throwing away clothes that cannot be donated - use what you can.  I keep buttons and good zippers.  Also, elastic.  You can cut those items up and use for rags for cleaning.  Keeps us from using so much paper.  Grandma always had a button box - so did mom - guess what?  I do too!!!  We should all keep those odd and end buttons - they can replace one on clothing or they can be used in crafts.  SO handy.

Baskets - they are pretty and they can contain about anything.  Books, kitchen towels, napkins, TP, crafts, spices, plants, toys, anything you can think of.  Depending on how big they are - they can hold throws.
                                                                           Pet toys!
                                  Any shape or size - can be used in some way.  Get creative.
Your baskets don't have to be just the pretty ones.  Keep those baskets from farm markets or orchards.  They can be turned in handy garden aides (carry your garden picks), or they can hold packets of seasonings.  They can carry items from basement or pantry to kitchen or other rooms.  They can be turned into gifts.
I have gifted more items in baskets than I can count.  I generally place a couple (thrifted) checkered napkins in the baskets (hanging over sides) - then fill with home canned goods or make a spaghetti dinner basket, pizza bake baskets, home baked goods, coffee/tea baskets, etc.  There is no limit!!

Old towels can be cut, and edges sewn to make wash cloths.  They can be used for pet bedding, They can be used as rags.

We could go on and on today - but I will stop for now.  There are just an abundant amount of uses for just about everything out there!  Use it up!!!!!  

A simple life isn't always an easy life - because living on less takes some work and thought.  But it sure can be a fulfilling life.  You can feel good about knowing you got your money's worth out of something - you kept it from a landfill - you saved a little money - and you are just being a good steward.
Learn to live on less now and IF or WHEN you HAVE to, it won't be such a culture shock.
We have become such a consumer driven world - people push it.
I say have self-gratitude for 'what you have' and don't feel the need to keep up with others.
It is all a mindset - you get to the point it is just LIFE - not "oh, crap I have to do without this week"

I will offer some other ideas to extend and stretch more items again this week.
Take a deep breath, look around at what you have, and use it and make it work for you!
Have fun and have a wonderful day!!!

Sunday, February 18, 2024

Weekly Wrap Up 2/18

 Good Sunday morning to all.  I hope this finds you well and safe.  I woke to another very cold morning here - it is in the teens.  We went from a warm (open doors) kind of weather to cold and snow in a matter of a couple days.  We got our biggest snowfall of the entire winter on Friday!  At my house I got about 4"-5" of snow.  It is pretty!  Yesterday despite being very cold - my drive pretty much melted with all the sun we had.  I made a few swaths across it with the shovel and it heated nicely and melted.
It is supposed to warm this week again, so just a roller coaster of weather.  SOON warm will be here to stay!
I saw my first red winged black bird of the season last Sunday and it has made an appearance every day since.  The chickens are back!!  Yep, they showed up again, and back to wondering.  They did stay home once the snow came - but I am sure they will be roaming again soon.

Isn't this pretty?  It is a Valentine that Cookie made for me.  I love the depth/dimension of the card and it looks so old fashioned. Thank you again!

This week has been emotionally frustrating.  I have learned a keen lesson, that you can't please all the people all the time.  It was just frustrating, as I was asked to be precise with an answer and I tried to answer as delicately and honestly as possible - and it still upset people.  Maybe to the point of leaving.  Worry does not suit me well - it only frustrates me.  So, I choose to concentrate on my many blessings I had this week.  God has a way of showing us things and turning things around - so I intend to move onward and upward with head up and shoulders back. 

My week:
  • Lots of laundry including ALL the bedding.  Used dehumidifier water in the laundry.  Changed out bed linens completely - nice to have a change of scenery!
  • Had lunch with many of my old friends from high school.  That is always fun. Even met a couple new people.
  • Went out and picked-up trash that has blown all over the place.  It has been windy, and people do not secure their trash properly - so I picked up from all around my area. Nice exercise too!
  • Got to air the house a bit this week
  • Scoured all the watering holes outside - the birds and stray cats sure do appreciate the water, especially in this cold
  • Ran out and got 2 cards and gift bag at dollar tree.  They still have some cards 2/$1, but many are now 1.25 ea.  Still cheaper than elsewhere.
  • Ran into Kroger to get strawberries on sale.  1 lb. for 1.88 and they were beauties!  Huge, red and sweet!  I found 6 bagels on clearance for .99 and 2 huge Portobella mushrooms on clearance for 2.39.  That was it.
These were just so pretty and tasty

  • I put the spring door decorations out on both doors - then 2 days later it snows!!!  LOL
  • Changed out a couple missed/forgotten batteries.  I usually change out at first of year - missed one smoke alarm (it let me know), the thermostat started flashing - so changed that one, and my bedside clock started running slow.  Had all the batteries on hand.
  • I received a letter this week and I wrote a letter in return.  We just don't do as much snail mail as we should.
  • I went to a bridal shower/brunch for a soon to be new niece!  It was a lovely family get together.
  • Just doing all the normal stuff we all do - cooking, using leftovers, and cleaning
Meals for this past week:
Stir fry leftovers and slaw
Dbl. cheeseburger and oven fries
Out to lunch - McAllister's - had a club wrap - boy was it tasty!
Made a charcuterie board for one - fun and good
Sliced beef sandwich and fresh veggies (beef from freezer)
Brunch at family's house - 3 different quiches, potato casserole and lots of fruit and goodies
Red beans and rice with little smokies

                               Charcuterie for my meal - meals can be fun, easy and tasty too!

How was your week?  Did you get snow and cold again?  Any good deals?  
I hope you are all had a good week.  Please check in and let us know how you are doing.  Linda at Practical Parsimony - hope you are OK.  Haven't seen you post any replies or new things since Wed.
I look forward to seeing what everyone is up to.

Have a lovely and safe and healthy week.  Prayers and thoughts to all who are undergoing personal problems in their lives and health issues.
Sending blessings to you and yours from my humble little home.
Love you guys!

Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you.  Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.
John 14:27

Lord, help us keep our hearts full of understanding and compassion and love.  Help us each grow and not get weary of doing good. We all have our best intentions questioned at times, and we often grow weary - help us all stay strong.  We know we are never alone, as You are with us.  Thank you and the harvest we reap will be the reward we receive for being faithfully Yours.  To Your glory, Amen.


Thursday, February 15, 2024

Kitchen Tips!

 Good morning to all.  Hope this finds you well and hope you enjoyed your yesterday!
Just a couple meme's on some kitchen tips.  Always nice to have these useful ideas on hand.

It is always nice to have a new tip, recipe or ways to do things.  These are not the only ways - but a good sampling.  Hope you find something you can use.

Those of us alone, often don't want to make full recipes.  You can cut down any recipe for a smaller batch. (click on pic to enlarge).
I cut back a cookie recipe last week and made a small batch.  You can reduce just about any type of recipe.

Homemade dressing is so easy and tasty.  No chemicals or preservatives - just your ingredients.  You can adjust and select the ingredients you use.  These are basic ideas - but always remember that nothing is written in stone.  Adjust the herbs and flavors to your taste.
I have done oils and vinegar with seasonings for years.  Just so flavorful.

I have done every one of these at some point.  
I think the pasta trick is just super helpful.  I can almost bet every single one of us has over cooked pasta.  Just a bit of oil (regular or flavored) and fry the pasta up.  Gives it back some texture.  No need to waste - when there is a fix available!
These fixes are just using what you have at home and can remedy a bad situation!

So there you go.  Waste not!  Have fun with your cooking and your food.  

Have a lovely day!

Wednesday, February 14, 2024

Enjoy Your Day

 Happy Wednesday to all.  It is Valentine's Day and Ash Wednesday.  
I do not celebrate V Day - haven't for many, many years.  I have never attended Ash Wed. services.
I know many do celebrate and I wish you all a great day.

If you celebrate with another - have fun.  You can keep things simple and lovely at the same time.
A meal at home, a special dessert or just cuddle time.
If alone, do something nice for yourself.  Give yourself a spa night at home, or buy yourself some flowers at the grocery, or make a yummy you don't usually have.
As for me, I will be home just chilling with my kitties.  Nothing special going on.

Years ago, we decided to stop spending good money on the many days that indicate we do such.  They seemed to be money traps to us.  We bought what we wanted when we wanted.  We had no need to wait for a special day.
And for showing love - that should be an everyday thing.

If you desire to do something special - look at doing something for someone in need.  Donate to thrift stores or shelters, help with a food pantry, donate somewhere.

Have a lovely day to all!

My mission is to promote the older ways of living and to lead others to a simpler and somewhat frugal lifestyle.  If this isn't for you, please let us that do - enjoy ourselves.  We do not need to defend or explain ourselves to others.  Thank you for following along and for your 'positive' ideas.

Tuesday, February 13, 2024

Making Home

 Good morning to all.  Hope this finds you all well and safe.  It sounds as those who have been having family difficulties are having some luck and calm at the moment - that is great.  May it continue.

Today is a short post about keeping a calm and clean home.  Now before I start, I know there are those who cannot clean themselves (due to various circumstances) and must pay or enlist others to come in and clean.  That is fine and dandy.  We each have to do what is right and good for us.
This post is more of a guideline to those just starting to make a home or those who need a little guidance.  Please don't make anyone feel guilty for that they do or don't do.

(click on pic to enlarge for easier reading)

I really like this list.  I do most of columns one and two on a daily or weekly basis.  I work on columns three and four - but there is always work to be accomplished there!  It is an ongoing task for me.

I feel so much better when the bed is made daily, there are no dishes left in the sink, and nothing left laying around.  It just makes me feel the home looks 'clean' whether it is or not!  
I dust and sweep and mop regularly, take out trash and try to keep the laundry kept up.
These are just basics - that tend to make the home always feel 'straight' and 'clean'.

If you get something out or use something - put it back when done.  Don't just lay it down and walk off.  Those things mount up to a lot of things in no time whatsoever.

According to the chart above - the 3rd and 4th columns - are more of deep cleaning.  Cleaning windows and mirrors and appliances.  Just take a moment when you see a splash or something and wipe it down.  It just takes a second!
My pantry and freezer - well, those are always works in progress.  It is nice to at least clean and straighten and see what you have every few months.  I must admit I only launder window coverings a couple times a year.
I do try to clean out the frig every couple weeks.  This is when it is handy to have a "use it up" shelf in the frig.  Place all those items needed to be used together and they don't get lost.

It costs NOTHING for MOST of us to have a tidy home.  Just take a few moments out of your day to straighten and wipe down and put away.  The 15 minutes plan works great - clean or straighten for 15 minutes - then go do whatever.  Come back and do another 15 minutes - it does keep one from getting tired or bored with the work.

Trust me - a clean and tidy home can change an attitude about other things.  You walk in and see things nice - life feels a bit calmer.  That helps you in other avenues of life as well.
It may sound old fashioned - well, that is me.  I teach and promote many of the older ways, they were good and still are.  

Have fun with this - get others involved.  Have the kiddos put up their toys, hopefully hubs/partner will do the same.  After a while I think people just realize how calming and lovely an uncluttered and straightened life is.

Have a wonderful day.

My mission is to promote the older ways of living and to lead others to a simpler and somewhat frugal lifestyle.  If this isn't for you, please let us that do - enjoy ourselves.  We do not need to defend or explain ourselves to others.  Thank you for following along and for your 'positive' ideas.

Sunday, February 11, 2024

Weekly Wrap Up 2/11

 Hello to all on this Sunday.  Hoping this finds you well and safe.
We had a lovely week in my area.  Quite lovely.  Friday, we set a record by hitting 66*F as a high.  This morning is back to seasonal temps!  Looks like it will be seasonable all week, even a mention of the S word!  Nothing much - but it is still that time of the year, so anything can be expected.

It seems it might be mating season for many animals.  I watch the squirrels getting all frisky.  The stray cats seem to be in season - or acting as so.  Even the birds - the doves and robins are chasing each other all over the yard!  The season of love!
The chickens appear to be no more.  Not sure if they met their end by a neighbor, or if Animal Control finally got involved.  But they are gone!  I really hope they are safe now.

Not a lot going on again.  Kind of quiet still.  Just enjoying seeing sunshine this week - what a treat that was.
  • I got out and did a little yard clean-up.  Raking some and bagging.  Just basics (felt good)
  • Cut my hair and did a root touch-up at home
  • Aired the house on many days!
  • Paid everything I had here
  • Froze some bananas for future use
  • Found a paper shred event that will be taking place on Mar.9 - right up the road.  I am thrilled, I have so many boxes of things to get shredded
  • Made a quick run to Kroger for cukes and toms.  I also got a GC for a wedding shower coming up soon.
  • Made a small batch of orange chocolate chip cookies.  YUM
  • Eating from home and cooking from scratch
  • More decluttering (sorting more paperwork)
  • Cleaning and doing all the normal stuff
Meals this past week:
Baked potato topped with cheese, pulled pork (freezer), sour cream and a side of hardboiled egg
Bacon, egg sandwich - side salad
Tuna patty, mac n cheese, fresh veggies
Mexican skillet dinner (gr. beef, corn, beans, taco seasoning)
Mexican flat wraps (using above)
Stir fry veggies & chicken over spaghetti noodles
Crispy air fried chicken strips and slaw
SNACKS:  nuts, fruit, popcorn
                                      Mex. flat wrap - grilled w/cheese and topped with ranch dressing.

How was your week?  Did you get any projects done?  Any great deals purchased?  Spring cleaning yet?
I hope all that are experiencing illness and family problems are well.  Prayers of healing for all.
I look forward to hearing about your week.

May your week ahead be happy, healthy and safe.
Blessings to you and yours from my humble little home.

The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul;
the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple;
the precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart;
the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes;
the fear of the Lord is clean. enduring for ever;
the ordinances of the Lord are true. and righteous altogether.
More to be desired are they than gold, even much fine gold;
sweeter than honey and drippings of the honeycomb.
Psalms 19:7-10

Thank you, Lord, for every blessing we receive every day.  We lift our worries and sorrows to You. Please cleanse our hearts and souls.

Thursday, February 8, 2024

Just for Smiles!

 Today looks to be a pretty day in my parts.  I hope you all have a good and safe day.
Todays post is all about smiles and joy.  First of the year for no budgets, money, groceries, recipes, tips or controversy - just smiles.

Updates today on Blackie and Bits.

They have both settled in nicely to house living.  I know I am thankful they are inside.  I see so many new stray cats outdoors, and I can only imagine the fights and wonderings that might have been.  Theses guys are safe with mom!

Blackie (Buddy, Boo) is just settled.  He eats and sleeps and plays with Bits until he has 'had enough'!  He is older, so it gets old quickly.  He loves to come and cuddle with me on the couch now and he loves sleeping in bed.  Loves belly rubs now.  He looks outside at the windows now and then - but shows absolutely no desire to go out.  Amazing to me.  He still seems to be healing from his surgery - I see little differences each day. 

Lil Bit (Bits, Bitsy) is growing like a weed.  I figure we are about 5 or 6 months old.  Feisty little fart!  He loves to play and play some more.  Can run through the house like the wind.  Plays with anything loose and soft and tears it up!!  (including mom's bath scrubby).  Loves to place toys in the water bowl to give them baths - LOL.
He has suddenly decided getting under mom's covers is fun.  He gets all cozy and quiet and then out of nowhere - attacks mom's bum!!!  Talks and chatters ALL the time.  He loves looking out at the birds and squirrels.
Watching the backyard world of birdies and squirrels.  The clothes hamper top is his favorite spot.

                                    Chilling out together.  They really do get along so well.
                                        Blackie looking for a moment of alone time and quiet!
                                        That didn't last long.  Bits loves being with his buddy!
                                                                        Being cute!
                                                 Life can be exhausting - it really can.

They are just the sweetest babies.  I am so happy to have them in here with me.  They give me immense joy, lots of smiles and laughs, and tons of love.
Click on any picture to enlarge.  They are just sooooooo stinking cute!

So, there you be.  My 'just for smiles' post of the year to date. 
Have a great day to everyone!