Showing posts from January, 2014

My Frugal Week: Jan 25 - Jan 31

Jan 25:  My youngest son called last night to say he and his fiancee were coming down to spend the day.  I couldn't decide what to do about dinner.  I really wanted to honor my Shabat but really didn't have a wide range of choices to feed three.  I remembered the Chicken Stew I'd made Wednesday.  I added Noodles to the stew, and made a Grape and Apple salad. Molten Lava cakes were an inexpensive dessert. I had plenty of cookies in the cookie jar and 3 pounds of Clementines. That is enough food for dinner and snack.

Supper was  Grilled Cheese sandwiches.

The kids decided to stay the night.  I only have one guest bed.  Samuel made up a nice thick pallet in the music room for himself.  I pulled out all the comforters and quilts and he piled them one atop the other. 

Jan 26:  Up extra early to make a hot breakfast for the kids before seeing them off.  I made Scrambled Eggs (fried eggs for the guys), homemade hash-brown potatoes and toast.  It was a hot and filling breakfast me…

My Home Keeping Journal

Debbie asked how I set up my Home Keeping journal.  I think these are about as individual as the homemaker who puts one together because they are a tool and we all need different tools.   What you put in one, how you use it, is strictly up to you and your family needs.

Coffee Chat - Winter Weather A Non-Event

Hello dears...Hurry in, it's quite cold once more!  There's coffee and cookies and hot cocoa if you'd like.  I meant to mae up a fresh batch of chocolate syrup this week, using the recipe from The Tightwad Gazette which tastes so very good to me.  I thought once upon a time that no chocolate syrup but Hershey's  could ever taste just right, but the Tightwad recipe wowed me the first time I made it and I still think it's the best.  I used to make it for the kids...and yes, I put it in a Hershey's bottle I'd saved, so they didn't know it wasn't Hershey's.  I let them believe it was Hershey's and they came to no harm because of it.  Put it in a glass jar and they snubbed it. Pour  it in the old Hershey bottle and they drank it right up.  I stopped making it for the longest time, then realized I really missed having the occasional chocolate milk and in winter I missed having hot cocoa that tasted like hot chocolate and not like grainy weird stu…

Shabat Thoughts - He Calls Me Friend

One of the songs John loves to play in worship here at home is "I Am  A Friend Of God".  The song, taken in part from Psalms 8:3-4 poignantly wonders how God, Creator of All, can be focused upon something so finite and small as  a single soul when the heavens are so vast: Who am I that You are mindful of me That You hear me when I call
Is it true that You are thinking of me
How You love me
It's amazing

Weekly Meal Plan and To Do List - Waste No More

I have just posted last week's Frugal Week post. I had a good bit of waste last week.  I think every day but the last two I tossed at least one item into the trash that had spoiled or was way beyond the expiration date.  Not good!  This week I plan to use what I have before anything more can spoil.  I'm over the consequences of not checking the fridge daily to see what needs to be used up!

I didn't make as many meals as planned last week.  I was gone more than I'd thought I might be, used leftovers a couple more times than I thought I would, so there are a couple of repeats from recent weeks in this week's menu.

I need to start quickly with today's meal because honestly, I must use up a half pound of hamburger TODAY.

Chicken Noodle Soup, Waldorf Salad, Molten Lava Cakes
I served this meal yesterday.  Sam contacted me late Friday night and said he and Bess were coming down to spend the day.  I had leftover Chicken Stew with Dumplings that I'd made last we…

Frugal Week: Jan 18-24

I can't get my usual photo to load for some reason...Oh well, this will do, because we all know that little savings add up to bigger ones!

Jan 18:  The soup I made yesterday afternoon was just a tad too salty.  I think it was the bouillon cubes.  I added a diced potato.  That made it more palatable.

I made muffins this morning for breakfast using blueberries from the freezer and the streusel left from my Banana Bread Cobbler recipe last week.  

We attended synagogue today.  On our way we went through a small town.  A church was selling donuts for a ministry fundraiser at one of the intersections.  We always support the prom committees, seniors and churches that sell donuts. They cost $5, just about what they cost at the store.  John and I each had one.  We decided this afternoon to send them with him to work tomorrow.  We don't need the extra calories and the guys and girls at the shop will appreciate having a quick snack to grab if they don't have time to eat a meal.

We …

Weekly Meal Plan

I am feeling better.  I think the good sleep on that new mattress and pillow has been a huge help.  Now I can finally get my head into my pantry freezer challenge. 

I made a big pot of soup Friday afternoon when we came in from running errands.  We had soup for supper that night.  I'd sort of halfway planned it for Shabbat dinner but it's one of the rare things John doesn't care to have leftovers of right away, no matter how good it is, and it was really good.  That soup cost me only the hamburger I used to make it.  Every single other thing in it was in the fridge or the freezer already.  I'll put the soup in the freezer in individual containers.  It might appear 'at a later date' when it won't look like leftovers, lol.

Every meal on this week's menu uses what is already in the freezer, not the meat most recently purchased (it's dated so I know just which packages to use) or in our pantry.  I plan to keep my grocery list very short this pay peri…

Frugal Week - Jan 11-17

Linking to Rebecca at Renaissance and Brandy at Prudent Homemaker

Jan 11:  Not the day planned.  I woke in pain again this morning.  John made breakfast and decided I was in no shape to attempt the long ride to synagogue nor to be left alone.  Sigh. I hate having my day spoiled.  Hate even more when it spoils the day for someone else.

Blessings come in all forms.  We had quite a bit of rain and later a real hard thunderstorm with some heavy winds.  I looked at and the wind was driving the rain almost horizontal.  The yard filled up with puddles in a big hurry and then the puddles turned into lakes and the lakes ran into one another.  It took about an hour to get from us to Macon, just about the time we'd have been driving home from synagogue.  I'm not at all sorry we were at home. Savings gasoline and a lot of tension.

Coffee Chat - 24 Hour Special

Well hello and come on in.  The coffee's hot, the cookies are fresh, too.  Have a seat and let's talk a bit, okay?

Boy did we go through a cold spell last week, but nothing like what was had up North, that's for sure.  We managed to stay warm, didn't have any pipes burst or freeze.  John rigged up the pump house light so the pump pipes wouldn't freeze.  We gave our propane heater a workout inside the house to offset the heat pump from working so hard.  I fixed Maddie and Misu a spot to stay warm and cozy each.  Maddie undid hers the moment my back was turned and lay on the blanket out in the yard...sigh.   I just can't teach that girl a thing about cold and comfort. 

Shabat Thoughts - A Gentle Rebuttal or How to Discourage Your Church Body

I read an article this week that was earnest and heartfelt.  It was from a pastor who had face discouragement and wanted to share  five ways to discourage your pastor.  I agreed with him...and I didn't.  Because I had a viewpoint from the parishioner's side. Here's my thoughts on how to discourage your church body.

1.  Missing church.  We were very faithful in our former churches.  Due to John's work schedule he was already missing two Sundays a month; he had no control over that.  We made every effort to attend church or synagogue on his weekends off.   But between his work schedule and going to church there was no wiggle room for other things.  When it came to family gatherings, special occasions, etc. on the weekends when he didn't work,  we went to church.  And I went even when he did work.   Frankly, I wish we HAD missed church occasionally.  Weddings, showers, family birthdays of now deceased family members, special holiday meals that fell on the weekend...W…

Weekly Menu Plan - Tightening Up

We had a better than usual Harvest Day last week.  I don't expect we'll see another as good as that one this month or next but we did decide that now was the time to stock up on beef.  That good meat market we go to had meat as beautiful as ever and I do think every single bit of it was at $.50/pound higher than it was in October.  I altered my list considerably as I gazed upon the prices.  Once upon a time I never bought meat that was over $1/pound and then I altered it a few years ago and refused to pay over $2/pound.  Well these days it's looking more and more as though I shall have to strive to pay no more than $3.75 a pound.  That doesn't mean we'll eat as much beef as ever.  No, it means we'll eat less and opt for more poultry and meatless options.  It means when we have meat there will be more vegetables and less meat.  No big deal.  I've lived these days before and we survived quite nicely.

I didn't price any of the pork items since we don'…

My Frugal Week: January 4-10

Jan 4:  An easy and economical breakfast that tastes like something special: Creamy Butterscotch Oatmeal.  I lost this recipe years ago but recently found it on a blog (whose name escapes me).  John likes things plain and simple but he thinks this oatmeal is the best and asks for it at least once a week.  It's especially satisfying on a deeply cold morning.  For two:  1 cup oatmeal, 1 3/4 cup milk, 1/4 cup brown sugar, a pinch of salt, 1 well beaten egg.  Combine all in a saucepan, and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until thickened.  This takes about 8-10 minutes.  I did try it in the microwave and it didn't take any less time and came out grainy, so opt for the stove top method.

When I made the oatmeal this morning I had planned to incorporate the leftover cooked apples from yesterday's lunch. I also found a half apple in the fridge and chopped that into the oatmeal as well.

Washed a full load of dishes and a filled sink besides.  I caught water to hand-wash …

Questions and Answers and Comments, Oh My!

Oh my, I do hope I can keep my trigger happy finger off the SEND button and save this post for a day or two, lol. I've just snapped off the menu for next week and off it went!  I didn't mean to do it but there you are.  Thinking ahead and sent ahead.  Ah well.

It's cold and I'm lonely, so I'm going to 'talk' back at you all for a little bit, commenting, answering, replying to last month's comments and questions.

My first money saving post of last month Pam commented on how cashing a check seems to give her mind license to spend.  That's exactly how I feel, too, so when I was given a nice check for a Christmas gift, I put it straight away into savings.  I seem to still be carrying around a little bit of the cash I allowed myself then...I am sure it's due entirely to the fact that I was feeling too bad to leave the house.  So it's all safely tucked away and I've only just begun my list of things I want to buy for the house.  I'm bein…

Shabat Thoughts: Lover of My Soul

This is a post I wrote on my old Blue House On the Hill blog in January, 2011.  I was reading through old posts this evening and this one clarified something I've been tangling with these past few weeks.  I've been so distracted by pain and lack of sleep and discomfort that I've pretty much been skimming along.  I need to return, to spend a lavish amount of time with Him...
You Never Cry Like A Lover Should... If you are a fan of the band The Eagles you might well recognize that title. I fell in love with their song of the same title in my teens and it stuck with me though I had little knowledge of what the song truly meant then. Now, as a grown woman who has been married, the impact of the song is even harder. Experience brought meaning.

I am, by my own account, a fairly reserved person. I'm not lavish in touch, or words of love, or even that good at expressing myself verbally. I am more show and less tell. If I can feed you, give you a clean home, give y…

Weekly Meal Plan - A Pantry Freezer Challenge Week of January 5-11

Now that January is well begun, I've determined to go back to my old January habit of giving myself a Pantry/Freezer Challenge.  This is where I try hard to shop at home for my grocery needs first, attempt to limit grocery store visits to milk/eggs and necessities we've run out of and SAVE the rest of my grocery budget.  The savings this pay period will help fund my next visit to the meat market, hopefully at the end of this month.  I've only a few packages of beef left in the freezer, but plenty of chicken and turkey and meatless proteins to help stretch it out.

Spaghetti with Meat Sauce, Salad, Toasted Challah, Chocolate Cake
I purposely doubled up on the sauce. I want to make lasagna sometime this month and having the sauce already made streamlines the work.  The chocolate cake  (and frosting!) came from the freezer.  I put those items in back in November when John asked for a chocolate cake with chocolate frosting.I just stirred the thawed frosting (butter-cream) well …

My Frugal Week - It's a New Year!

I was fairly happy with the total for last year.  Not as large as a few years ago, still a skewed figure since I couldn't figure all the real savings I generate, but a nice amount of savings all the same.  For 2014 I mean to go back to my previous format where I simply list all the things I do weekly to save money.  When I started this format a few years ago, I wasn't aware of any other blogger doing the same.  Now several have picked it up.  I love visiting other blogs and reading how they save each week.  There's plenty of inspiration, which is what fuels my own creative thinking for new ways to save and/or earn.  I hope this year you'll find your inspiration here, as well.

I like this image above from an old jelling agent ad.  This young housewife used her head and made MORE jelly than you'd normally get by using the product advertised.  Don't they both look proud of her economy?  Well that's how I feel each time I save money, stretch a meal to cover mo…

Keeping Warm

Keeping Warm
by Herbert Merrill

What if the laughing creek is
  In ice and night is bitter black?
The mole is snug beneath the
The mouse is warm in his

What if the pond is turned to stone
  And the fields are crusted white and
Beneath the snow the seeds are
  Patient as time and living still.

And what if winter stalks the house
  And whistles down the fireplace?
We sit here snug as mole and
    With springtime smiling on your