This Week In My Home: Frugal Through the Holidays

                                            Simple pillow covers made for holiday home decor

Saturday:  We weren't home most of this day.  When we left we picked up mail, took off the trash.  We cut off all indoor lights and fans and lowered the heat.

Supper was Sausage Gravy and biscuits.  I made the biscuits from scratch.  The sausage gravy is very frugal.  I stretch two sausage patties with the milk gravy.  It is just right for the two of us.

Sunday:  Packed John's work lunch and made him breakfast.

Coffee Chat: Post Holiday Chatter

Come In!  I've already slipped beyond the holiday and have been dwelling in the New Year.  Oh I don't mean that I've stopped enjoying or failed to appreciate the spirit of the season, but simply that with our family Christmas already attended to, and John and I having exchanged small gifts early in December,  it's been all over for us for quite a while.  So I slipped ahead a bit and have been looking at the year to be and thinking of what I'd change in my home, in myself, in my finances over what I did this past year.

John has mentioned about three dozen times how much he liked our tree this year.  I thought it a little plain and homespun but he was really complimentary.  I'm so happy that it all pleased him.  I think it was the simplicity of it all.  It was not fussy looking and didn't require hours of fiddling about...well at least not that he saw, lol.  I don't think he's any idea at all how much work went into getting things to look so simple because he was only home for small portions of the decorating time. I'd meant to do a bit more as we got nearer Christmas.  I hadn't planned to leave it just as it was.  In the end?  It was fine.  I didn't like the dining table.  At. All.  I've ideas about next year.  Those are written down already, planning ahead.

In My Home This Week: Meal Plans and 2015

Wellllll...It's all done for another year isn't it?  I hate to see it go but look forward to next year, I do truly. And looking forward doesn't take long does it?  Hard to believe that by the end of this week it will be 2015! I've told John we must go get meats this next week...then I sat down and planned out meals and really we might wait another week.  My reason for going on now?  It's just easier if it doesn't interfere with grocery week.  I've tried that many times and it never does go as planned.  So I'll do a separate trip this week.  We've set aside the bulk of the money we'll spend for this and any overage will be made up from other sub accounts that are well plenished at the moment.

Christmas was nice but as I've said, I'm looking ahead to 2015.  I've already jotted down my notes about Hanukkah and Christmas and what should be done differently,  what worked really well and should be repeated.  It's a great help to go back in October or November and read my notes while I'm planning ahead.

Just For You

                Merry Christmas from my home to                                  yours!  

This Week In My Home: Christmas Week edition

We had a lovely Sabbath yesterday.  We went to visit at John's work partner's church.  Andy asked John to come be a guest and play as one of the worship service participants which was to be all musical.  I'm not unfamiliar with that little church.  My children attended Vacation Bible School there for many summers.  I've been to funerals there.  I lived in that area for nearly 20 years and the faces are familiar to me, hometown folks in a way that I've never been at home here in this little community.  It is an unusual looking church and the congregation considerably smaller than in years past.  The faces I was most familiar with are older than they were before.  Bittersweet, at first, was that visit.

But then the ones performing for the church came forward one by one and I was astonished and amazed by the talent in that small congregation.  Piano solos and songs, accordion, banjo, guitar.  There was a lovely old fashioned sort of appeal about some of it as older music was played and lovely new pieces were added to the mix as well.

This Week In My Home: Living Frugally Living Well

                               One of our improvisions to dry clothes, a tension rod in the doorway

Saturday:  We were out yesterday and I had no time to prepare meals for today.  I made sure I thawed meat last night and had a menu plan that would take less than 20 minutes prep overall.  I think I did very well.  I roasted a whole chicken, baked sweet potatoes alongside,  steamed green beans and made a salad. It took exactly the amount of time I'd allowed and no more for preparation.

We did not have breakfast for supper this week.  We opted for sandwiches, since I was already making John's work lunch for tomorrow at that time.  It saved time for me.

We did not run any lights all day long today, just opened the curtains to let in the natural sunlight and that was it.  John even turned off the TV until time for the Army Navy game!  I was surprised and pleased.

Freedom from Debt

It's been some months back that I wrote a statement in a post, "I'm frugal because living debt free is a whole lot more than just not owing someone money."   At the time Angela asked if I'd expound on that idea in a blog post.  It's taken me quite a long while, and I apologize for that, but I want to take the time now to address it.  Many will be looking at their finances this time of year and begin making resolutions and plans for next year.  Even those who choose NOT to make resolutions will no doubt be looking at their finances because we all do at this time year.  It's partly media driven and partly driven by the season of plenty and sometimes overwhelming abundance or regret we've just experienced with Christmas.

Retirement Remedies: Fighting Back Earning At Home

I learned several years ago that my ebay sales might only average $3 per sale,  but if I saved every single money order that came my way at the end of the month I had about $100 extra.  That $100 was small potatoes, but it made a deep dint in our debt repayment over the course of a year...$1200 at year's end and in two years time my 'little bits' had helped reduce our car loan by two and half years.  It paid off our always hefty balance on the credit card.  This experiment proved beyond a doubt that every little bit helps. One of John's favorite reminders is that little rivulets make up big streams.  The following are suggestions to myself to save/earn in order to net the extra cash that will ease the tight budget.

1.   Save all $1 bills by putting in the savings account.  

2.  Convert survey site cash rewards to Paypal and use for necessary purchases online or bank.

In My Home This Week: Counting Down To Christmas

John had  a lovely bit of time off, almost two whole weeks...My but it went by quickly!  Now we're back on a routine work schedule and we'll be there for some time.  No more extra days off for a bit.  It will be another schedule change for us both after all these months with an added day off here or there.  Sigh... Never a static schedule, ours.  Always changing and always weird to all but those of us who live with it.  Ah well.

We've had a lovely week of cold nights and cool days. I enjoy it a great deal, not the least because we can eat lovely slow simmered foods...

This Week In My Home: Living Frugally, Living Well

Saturday:  I used leftover hash brown casserole to make Egg Nests for our breakfast this morning.  It was a nice change of pace for a Shabat morning breakfast.

Our dinner was a heat and eat frozen entree right from our freezer, Turkey and Dressing, cranberry sauce left from our Thanksgiving meal and a salad with toasted nuts, apple slices and craisins.

We did nothing this day.  No shopping, nor driving.  We didn't even burn electricity except for the television and fridge and freezers running until late afternoon when I turned on the AC for a bit to cool the house off a bit.  A cold front is coming in tomorrow.  I for one shall be glad to see it.

I made a supper of waffles and hash browns and sausage for our company dinner tonight.  I used pancake mix for the waffles.

Coffee Chat: That Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Come in, come in...
All the while I am hurrying along doing the seasonal things I am well aware that yet another natural season is ending and the year is coming to a close.  It fills me with real sadness this year.  I feel honestly as though an era of my life is closing for good and I don't have a single thing other than feeling to back this idea up.  Well it's made me teary eyed over things, sentimental and nostalgic.  I'm not dreading the next phase, nor feeling particularly upset about it coming along, but I want to dwell a bit in the moments that are remaining, and run away from the thoughts that it's going to change, all at the same time.

I am forever hearing a bit of whining about folks not liking change...and I admit readily enough that you'll hear me doing some of that whining when changes are afoot in my life that I've had no choosing in...but I am aware too that we were never created to be stagnant people.  We might well have been formed of dirt in the beginning but 75% of our body is water and water must MOVE or it dries up and becomes nothing but...well, dirt all over again.  And truth is, that time is coming soon enough at the end of our lives so why hurry it on?

In My Home This Week: Another Fresh Start

Whew!  It was a week of work last week.  I was plenty busy decorating and cleaning and running errands. Well it's all over except the eating which will take place today and then it's all done.  I am looking forward to this day of family and food and grands.

This week promises to be busy as well.  John is off all week long so my time is at his disposal for the most part and whose to say what that means?  I never know until moments before sometimes what the plans for the day may be.  That means that meals also may be more on the fly as well...and I must be prepared for that as well.  Seems sort of useless to even make plans doesn't it?  Well I if I don't then I'll really have to prepare them on the fly and there is no fun whatsoever in that.  Besides, it's grocery week and I need to be sure I have enough to prepare meals.

Questions, Answers and Comments, Oh My!

December is well on it's way isn't it?  I haven't had a moment to spare to write this post until now but I didn't want to let this month pass without it because some of the comments and questions from November were awesome...and I do love to share what's being said amongst us all.

Let's get started...

Living Frugally post 1  Vicki M we got those two coupons which could be redeemed for either 20 ounce bottles or 2 L bottles.  We chose to buy the 2L size and had them for our family party this weekend.

Sarah said she uses a twin size blanket or spread folded at the foot of her bed.  It's just right for warming the feet and adding a bright spot to the room, too.  I exchanged the curtain panel at the foot of my guest bed for a quilt towards the end of the month.  I put out something a little more rugged when we had guests, that could withstand tugging and pulling.

In My Home This Week, Living Frugally and Well

                                           Vintage Pillowcase becomes Mixer dust cover

Saturday:  Nothing but leftovers for us all day long and it was just as good as it was on Friday.  We had leftovers of cinnamon rolls and sausages for breakfast, leftovers of turkey dinner for dinner.  Yum yum.

I made a quick hashbrown casserole as our second side dish.  I'd parboiled potatoes and chopped onion earlier in the week.  I just added half a can of mushroom soup, 1/2 cup sour cream and mixed it all up.

I put the rest of the food in to warm while the casserole cooked.

For supper tonight I made up a batch of biscuits, cooked a piece of turkey sausage and an egg for each of us.  Leftover biscuits will be saved for another meal.

Loaded the dishwasher tonight and it was FULL.  Washed on short cycle since I'd rinsed things well before putting them in.

Deck the Halls...with Canning Jars and Burlap

I've run a little behind and a little ahead this week.  Normally I have the tree up by Thanksgiving night.  This year, no.  It was partly due to the fact that I was simply worn down  that evening but also that I needed to move some furniture about and no one was at home to help.

With the advent of December I want my home to begin to seem somewhat holiday-ish.  At this point the majority of the leaves are off the trees.  Landscapes are brown and gray and deep forest green and bleached wheat blonde.  It is time to say goodbye to the flame orange and red and deep burgundy of autumn.  Time to say hello to winter and in winter we celebrate Christmas.

I normally begin to gear up for decorating about Dec 10.  This year I've moved it up because we have our family party this weekend and I really wanted the children (grown up and small) to feel they had had a holiday experience.  I've seen some great ideas on Pinterest this year and on a few blogs like The Cultivated Nest.  First was this front door idea

In My Home This Week: All Routine