Questions, Answers and Comments...Oh My!

I refuse to spend the year stating how quickly the past months have gone.  As it happens, January felt plenty long enough to me and ended in a most lovely way with a sort of unplanned family day.  My niece was here with her little girls and my youngest son was here with his son.  I realized after every one was gone that as usual, I'd not taken a single photo.  My son did and what he captured was so sweet.  Want to see?

That's Bess, of the famed coconut pie, in the back ground.  She is holding the very youngest member of our family at present, another great niece, sister to the hugger in this photo.  I'm not sure Josh has ever been kissed by anyone near his own size before but he knew how to kiss back!

Gee but it sounds old to say Great niece!  And I've got two...

You all made loads of comments last month.  I enjoyed them a great deal and was pleased to see what made you talk.

We started the month with menu and job plans in which I spoke of trying to figure out snacks and planning ahead with them.  M Ripples mentioned chips.  We've almost always had a variety of chips in our home but here of late we seem to be off them.  No clue why, but we noted along about November that we'd bought a single bag of chips and they'd lasted all month long.  A month!  It was evenly tossed between chips and popcorn with an honorable mention for granola bars.  We don't seem to be granola bar oriented, at least John isn't, but I haven't tried making my own, which might be a game changer.  I have popped corn at least three times and we really enjoy it just buttered and salted.  Caramel corn was tossed in as a comment and I do like my own recipe for Easy Caramel Corn almost too much.  I have to monitor myself around that stuff.  Easy and good.  Lethal combo.

Pam,  I am so proud of you for using your menu plan and happy to hear that it's been such a boon to you.

Rebecca asked about the Tortilla Towers recipe.  Mama always made cornmeal pancakes, but thin ones.  You can substitute corn tortillas if you'd like, but the pancakes Mama made were a little thicker than tortillas.  She layered with homemade chili and grated sharp cheddar cheese, stacking one atop the other and then baking.  Typically she put this in a deep 4 quart casserole, so it was a tower.  It was an inexpensive way to make something special from chili and it was so good!

Sparkie Doll shared this link with snack suggestions and it is well worth exploring.  I got some ideas. I haven't used any yet, but I got 'em.

Thank you to those of you who shared what cell phone plans you use.  John and I are looking into all the suggestions and seeing which will work for us.  It's also started us discussing what is important to us.

Week II of Home Plans Dorie I know you like my header.  You've mentioned it twice.  That is a photo of a winter sunset two or three year ago judging by the pecans on the tree.  I don't think we've had anything really colorful for sunrise or sunset this winter though there have been plenty of pastel mornings and evenings with a lovely pink and violet hue to the sky.

Week III  Butter Chicken recipe is here.

From January's Q&AMargie you can email me at

Mable H thank you for letting me know about Air Voice.

Retirement Remedies first post this month was about how much is enough and there were several comments that let me know I'd hit a topic many of you are also thinking about in your homes.  I confess, in writing about dietary guidelines I had forgotten that often dietitians do base their facts and figures on a weekly intake divided into daily recommendations...So the anonymous commenter was perfectly right in pointing out that one might well eat two or three eggs at a meal or two and be within guidelines for the week.  I needed that reminder.

Pam shared this nugget which I really liked:  Oh my, if one doesn't watch their pennies, will they watch their dollars? I like the old saying that a penny saved is a penny earned.

Doo brought up a point about saving money on items...she's been asked not to buy certain brands of toilet paper that are considered too tough...I think there are always those little things that we will pay a bit more for because it's unpleasant in some way to others in the home.  John's chief complaint with the pump bottle?  A tiny amount of shampoo gelled overnight and that little glob would stick in his hair.  I explained that he could discard that tiny amount but it's apparently one of those things that escapes his notice until damage is done...So no pump bottle for him.  Happy to report too that he's slowed way down on shampoo and the current bottle appears to be lasting far longer.

RRII  was an explanation of sub account usage within my checking account.  I know I flubbed a bit on the explanation...I wanted it clear as glass not clear as muddy water.  The follow up comments did bring an off subject question from Shell who wanted to know what is dinner and what is supper in my household.  Supper is our evening meal and is usually soup or sandwiches or tonight, slices of pizza.  Dinner in our household is the big meal of the day which usually consists of protein, two vegetables, a salad and dessert.  John will often add a slice of bread or a roll if I don't offer bread.

Karenx seemed to know what I was talking about as she apparently works with accounts of this nature...and maybe it works for me because I have an accounting/bookkeeping background.  Karen did comment that she wasn't sure she could work with that in her own account at home and I understand that.  I've told John that we'd likely cause a proper bookkeeper to go mad trying to figure out our system of deposits that aren't real and credit and debits that never really move money anywhere despite being designated as funds, etc.  We used to stay confused about it all when John originally came up with the basis of the system.  Again, we work well as a team.  I figured out how to keep it going and I am the one responsible for making sure things are adjusted etc.

My first Frugal home post of the year  Pam mentioned praying for my booth.  Thank you!  And yes, God is answering with a profit at this time.  I guess I was remiss in my own prayers.  I kept praying that I'd 'break even' each month.  I said that one night at our Shabat blessing and John interrupted me mighty quick.  "Whoa!  Where on earth in the Bible does it mention that the Proverbs 31 woman 'broke even'?  It plainly says she bought a field from her earnings.  You don't do that by breaking even."  Shame on me!  I have corrected my prayer language accordingly!

Helen T stopped by to comment.  I love Annabelle's blog which is were she visited me from.  You are most welcome here Helen.  Thank you for coming by.

Susie@Persimmon Cottage Maddie won't leave things in her house period.  And if she can figure out how to get to the cat's little shelter she'll pull that rug out as well!  She likes to tease us with things and tries to get us to play tug of war.  I might note that she refuses to play tug of war with the rope toy bought for that purpose.

We had a bale of field hay for the dogs a couple years ago.  It took Maddie and Trudy no time at all to unbale that hay.  It was the biggest mess ever.  Now I've had the cat bring up that black snake as a gift, I'm far less keen on having hay anywhere about the pet houses or mine either!  But the dogs sure did enjoy it that year.

Vicki  There are few programs I enjoy any longer on HGTV.  They seem awfully repetitive overall and really are all the same format with different hosts/hostesses. I love to watch "Fixer Upper" because they rescue homes that might otherwise be ignored.  And I love Joanna Gaines Industrial Farm Chic sort of style.   I watched two episodes last night.  One was their veterinarian who was a newlywed.  Her husband lived in California and she was in Texas looking for a home.  I loved when she said "Oh Charles can't see the before of this!" lol. It was a trashed out older home but lovely when it had been redone.  I am sure when he finally saw the before photos he was amazed at the difference!

Frugal II   This reply from Rhonda about my complaint of the taste of the gravy packets in the turkey/turkey breast/turkey breast roast made me laugh.  Mostly because I think she was spot on!
"I don't think the meat packers try to make that gravy good. It seems like just a 1/2 pound filler so they can sell 2 1/2 pounds of meat and call it 3 pounds. "

Susie@Persimmon Cottage I love sunshine.  It is scarce this time of year even here in the South.  Since our weather overall is mild compared to some of the rest of the country and we do have storm windows so we seldom have drafts during the daytime.  When we do have snow and on some really rainy cold days though...I'll keep the shades and curtains shut to and turn on every light in the house instead.  We are savers but I guess I've drawn the line at light.  For Granny it was having the food she liked and heat.  For me my areas where I'll stretch out the budget are air conditioning and multiple lights in the house when it's supposed to be daylight and isn't.  Fortunately those days when we won't open shades/curtains are rare. I can't say the same about days we'll run the AC.

And thank all of you for you considerate sympathy over my "Living Well" portion that week.  We had another hit this week and were 'promised' another harder hit next year.  The financial situation in January was unrelated to this current one.  Obviously we just need to trust in the Source of All and not worry unduly over these threats to our peace of mind.

Frugal III  Vicki M, Sarah & Dale  You made me chuckle over that statue.  I no longer have the photo that I cropped that one from and couldn't find a similar image online though I did look.    There were two of those statues in the convicts' garden area and they were very lifelike and fully life sized.  It was because they were life sized that I almost didn't see the little lizards on that knee.

Sarah (new to me Sarah) thank you for your kind comment.  I suppose at heart I prefer to tell a story than to just list.  Explaining the how and why of what I do is important to me.

Janell H...Thank you for the birthday wishes.  It's both our birthdays.  His is the day before mine and we're both a year older this week.

Julie B, I saw just tons of those gel drying mats when I was contemplating and now none.  I'll have to go to BB&B since I have a coupon.

Frugal IV  Kathy,  Katie is due late May.

Angel Mama issued this warning after I commented on storing garlic cloves in olive oil in my fridge.  followed up the comment and read several things on the Internet. Nearly all agree that storage in a refrigerator is at best a chancy thing with comments saying it's safe for two-three days or up to three weeks or not at all.  Risk isn't worthwhile in my opinion.   I'll be tossing that jar and will try to remove one or two as needed from the frozen jars. If you are storing in the refrigerator your temperatures must be well below 32F. I am sure that my freezer is well below that temperature.  If I can't remove them (the oil did solidify) then I'll toss those, too and just go back to my usual minced garlic in acidified water from the grocery. Here's her warning:
Please read this very IMPORTANT

You can get botulism from olive oil and garlic in fridge. VERY DANGEROUS. I just leave my fresh garlic on counter it will last for weeks. If you buy organic ( not from China), and it sprouts plant it in fall, and you will have fresh all spring.

Anonymous:  It never occurred to me to turn the monitor light down...And that just proves how silly we can be in this household.

Susie I agree.  That day/night wake/sleep factor was the purpose of my pledge to get outdoors some everyday, to 'reset' my sleep button.  Obviously not something I've done and I can't even blame weather.

Embracing Winter resonated with many of you in all sorts of climes.  Candles and twinkling lights, books and flowers seem to be all of our way of coping with winter.

Pam:  Really.  Peaches must have so many cold hours below freezing in order to form.  Some varieties need more hours, some fewer, but all peaches require some freezing prior to budding.  In our area of Georgia, January is pruning season.  Depending on how many cold hours we've had, the stems  of new growth of the trees turn red, a sign that it is time to prune. Then they are sprayed with dormant oil for the first time before the buds form.   Our first peaches will be picked in late May.  I personally prefer peaches that come into season at end of June/early July.

Manuela, I saw Primroses this year but bought tulips instead.  I doubt I could find Primroses now.  I'll never forget though, being in Washington state in early February.  They massed primroses in front of stores to sell.  Lordy they were a glorious bright and pretty sight!

Coffee Chat  Pam, I'm happy you sat down to read and had fruitcake and coffee to join in the coffee chat. I need you to send me your fruitcake recipe.  I can't find any good here and I do like fruitcake!

I never got my carrot cake made.  But I bought the carrots for it.  It's still on my mind and likely will be made sometime this coming weekend.  I have a birthday this week and I would like that for my cake.

My canister set is vintage.  The blue one I saw is the same as mine but nicer.  I came home and cleaned mine up really good.  But that blue set was pristine. It must have been put away when new and never used.  Mine you can see were once in a yellow and white kitchen....It's got the spatters and drips to prove it, lol.

Janell, My raised beds never got done.  I ran out of money before getting to that project and then the sun shifted on the poles and now comes in from a different angle so the space where I meant to put them might not work as well. I am still hopeful of getting that task done and this year might be my year.  I've been socking away little bits of money here and there for home/garden use. I've decided that starting with one bed would be a good start.  I tend to sometimes think in terms of finished in yard work as opposed to my step by step approach in decorating house.  So I shall step by step my way to a raised bed garden I guess.

Shabat Thoughts  Gramma D shared this  gem:  Amazing how sometimes we go and pick up old garbage and hug it to us like it is brand new and precious.

The New Savings Culture  This post generated 18 comments.  I couldn't possibly respond to them all in the time I've got left to work on this post this evening but please go read them!

Frugal Fail  Another popular post with lots of comments.  Go read all the comments...and I'll respond to this one from Janell:  John and I love to go to Dowdell's Knob.  That's where we have our mountaintop we love so.  We hope to rent a cabin at FDR park and stay there next fall.  I love that whole area of our state!


Anonymous said...

I'll sit down and send you an email with my fruitcake recipe. It's just plain yummy!!

Very interesting about peach trees. Thank you for explaining. Pam

Tammy said...

Just today I was wondering if you had ever seen "Fixer Upper" on HGTV. Jess and I both enjoy it. Their store is only about half an hour from where my sister lives, so next time I'm in Texas, we'll make a visit.

Spicy Apple Cake - I FOUND IT!

While sorting though Mama's cookbooks the other day I came across a Family Circle magazine cookbook that looked familiar.  I brought...