Frugal Boot Camp: Heloise's Housekeeping Hints

Available at Amazon from $.94 to $2.97.   This book  published in 1962 and is one I long ago 'borrowed' from Mama's bookshelf when I was first married.  To my knowledge she has never missed the book, but it has been well thumbed in my home.  It is one of the books I routinely skim looking for the next hint I might put into use in my home.

Weekend Reading

The first three items here this week are some of the articles I read for 'Frugal Boot Camp'.  I thought you might like to see the sorts of things I read on Pinterest to gather my ideas.

This is a lovely magazine to take time to flip through albeit online.

This blog was just plain interesting.  I've tagged this one so I might go back and read it in from start to finish:

Jenny has a way with needles and thread and a way with words when it comes to things of the spirit.  Having just come out of a long waiting period, I was especially touched reading this post:

John and I are fans of TMC.  They've been playing Westerns all month long.  We watched a biographical movie about Custer.  I had a feeling, based on what I've learned from modern history books that the story was slightly skewed.  I went to look up his wife Jenny Custer and I think the movie was based on excerpts from her books.  Interesting little history lesson:

In My Home This Week: In Season

In my home this week:

We had another bit of company.  This time, it was Katie and Taylor come to spend the night and part of Saturday with us.  So glad I cleaned up that guest room!!  I told you all it would get a work out this year, I could feel it in my bones.  One day, I hope to be able to put a truly decent mattress on that bed and have it a really nice looking room.  But that is still on my some day list.

I won't mention weather.  It's July and it's Georgia, and I laughed at the young Texan woman I met this past week who had just come from Oklahoma who announced that as far as she could see, the biggest difference in Texas and Oklahoma and Texas and Georgia is that humidity adds to the overall misery of July.  I think there are moments in July that are rather nice.  I like the morning hours when the birds are busy about the yard.  I like the lulls that occur in the afternoons when thunderstorms rumble in the distance and a sudden cool breeze refreshes.  I like standing in the sun and just soaking in some of that truly good warmth.  I like watering plants and deadheading flowers while the hummingbird darts about.  I like that moment in the dark when the air suddenly goes soft and slips about you like a cotton sheet, with just enough weight and warmth to be noticeable, but not feel oppressive.  I like the fuzzy feel  of peaches and the green smell of garden plants, especially of sun warmed tomatoes.

Frugal Boot Camp: An Everlasting Meal by Tamar Adler

An Everlasting Meal by Tamar Adler is aptly subtitled "Cooking with Economy and Grace".  Published in 2011, the book is available on Amazon for $10 hardback.  I am sure there are other sources but I didn't take time to seek them out.

 I think, after reading this book and M.F.K. Fisher's How to Cook a Wolf,  that the most readable of cookbook authors have known what it is to have little food, but know too that little food is always the making of a feast if it is approached with the right mindset. 

Adler is a proponent of using all of something, be it vegetable, fruit or innards of an animal that many people find repellant.  She reminds me that there was a day and a time when, as an elderly relative once put it, "We ate all the pig, except the 'oink'."  It was considered wasteful to do otherwise.

And so I find myself determined to be yet more economical in my kitchen.  I've saved bones for broth and ends of onions and carrots and celery for broth making.  I've saved peels and cores of apples for making jelly.  I save ends of bread loaves and last bits of cornbread in the freezer.  And to what purpose?  So that I can make the dog pup Popsicles from the broth we don't eat or toss the bones because it's taking up room I deem more valuable for 'real food' and ditto for the apple peels and cores.  My sole saving is that I do indeed use the bread pieces for strata, French toast and croutons.  It's not enough.  For all of my 'zero waste' mentality and determination to use it up there are many things yet that might be used in this kitchen.

Frugal Friday: Frugal Fitness Training Camp Week Five

Yummy fried green tomatoes were on the menu last week...I do love them but the silly green tomatoes cost more than ripe ones if you must purchase.   Oddly when you grow your own they all cost the same... Thanks to Mama who provided this one for us.

Saturday:  Today marks the beginning of week five of boot camp. Two more weeks to go and honestly I'm tired but I'm pushing forward.  This is for my own good...

Turned of ceiling fans and fans before leaving home today.

Packed bottles of water and packets of crackers for snacks on the road.

Remember my plans to save $20 a week?  I said I'd save all my fives to cover that and this week I put $35 in my savings from my pocket money.  That's only $5 more needed to cover next week's $20 as well.  It means I have a lot less pocket money than I'd planned but I am very serious about saving the $20 to fund other home projects.

I also set $40 aside in our account, which will cover two weeks. That will be vacation funds! It may not always be possible to put that much aside but I'm going to do what I can.  Nothing saved, nothing gained, right?

I received my free bra today.  It's a nice bra.  I plan to wear it a few times and see how it feels but if it's as comfortable as it feels at the moment, I plan to order some of these.  I'll share details later.  I've already looked up where to buy and costs.  It's very reasonable while on sale.

Sunday:  We had to refill the car today after our trip yesterday.  I have money set aside for gas for trips and we'll use that to cover this expense.

John and I went into Publix.  I'd meant to buy a 12 pack of canned drinks but 6 packs of bottles were $1 less, with $1off coupons on them and were also buy one get one.  Obviously a much better purchase.

Stuck to my list while in the store.  My only 'splurge' was to get a packet of buns to make the sandwiches for our dinner today.

Purchased a Sunday paper.  And picked up the Publix coupon flyers while we were in the store, too.

I haven't been feeling well, so we kept meals very simple.  I picked up deli roasted turkey and we had sandwiches from that.  Not something I'd normally do but necessary today.

Iced Tea Chat: Glistening Weather

Hello dears, do come in from the heat and sit here near the fan.  I've lemons, limes, and plenty of tea and ice to cool us down a bit as we chat.

Let's not discuss the weather over much.  Let's agree that it is perfectly seasonal and now that August is looming just days away, it's exactly what it ought to be and so we'll leave it at that.

Let's don't discuss politics or the world at large either at the moment.  Respite is needed.

I think the lovely young woman above looks very cool and collected don't you?  But the neckline of her dress bothers me no end.  It doesn't look quite comfortable.  I'm afraid were it me, I'd be agitated and tugging at that bit that stretched across my throat.  I wonder how it would look to unbutton the top two buttons and lay it across the bodice there in a sort of flap.  Still perfectly modest, but not quite so strangling.   It would be quite pretty with a print of some sort on the reverse, even if it were a white on white pattern... Well never mind...that is the way my brain works these days.

Do take note of that vase next to her.  It might be copper.  I like the warmth of copper.  It was very popular in that particular era of time.  Well honey, you too can indulge in copper as it's fully on display at Hobby Lobby at present.  Apparently it is 'in' once more, which just goes to show that if you hold on to things they will indeed come around once again.   It was really lovely to see that warm metal displayed, so much warmer than brass or silver and not quite as pretentious as gold sometimes seems.  Copper just has a sort of  glowing look to it, even when as elegantly styled as that vase there.  And just see how the chrysanthemums seem to embrace the warmth of  the color!  See how lovely both pink and deep yellow are with it? 

Which is rather nice together by the way, pink and copper.  I have a sort of copper colored lipstick that Katie chose for me years ago, Kasbah from Rimmel,  which I generally wear in summer.  Yesterday when we came back home, I changed into a pink t-shirt and happened to glance some time later in the mirror.  I was still wearing my lipstick and I saw how really well the two colors complemented each other.  I hadn't realized how much pink was in that color as well as the copper.

Frugal Boot Camp: The Supermarket Survival Guide

The Supermarket Survival Manual  by Judy Lynn Kemp is a great book.   I cannot find an image online and my copy is too brittle to even think of scanning.  However, the book is still available on Amazon for a mere $3.  Written in 1973, this book is every bit as relevant as it was the date it was published.  And here's a hint ladies...You know how I love vintage women's magazines.  I prefer those written in the 1940's and early '50's but there is a world of good info in those books published in the 1970's.  I remember the 'cough' not depression we had back then, too and started married life in that era.  These ladies (and men) knew their cost cutting stuff through experience so don't think the 1970's homemakers didn't know their cost cutting tricks. 

My copy was sent to me some years ago and I've thumbed through it enough to almost wear it out.  This book starts out with good information in the INTRODUCTION;  you gotta love that.  For instance, did you know that you don't need to purchase the top of the pineapple if you're paying per pound?  That any grade of egg works as well as another?  I am sure there was a day and time when eggs differed but if you're scrambling them what's the difference?  I love this bit of wisdom:  Look at the eggs you buy.  Roll your open hand over them.  Broken eggs will show up...Let the market make the omelet...Get a good dozen.

Frugal Boot Camp: Frugal Luxuries by the Season

Frugal Luxuries by the Season by Tracey McBride was published in 2000.  It is still available in many bookstores online and most copies go for about $19.00.  It was published only in paperback form.

What can I say about this book?  It's been terribly underutilized by me and I mean that sincerely.  I loved Tracey's book, Frugal Luxuries and have worn the pages thin, but this book I set aside to 'keep'.  What a foolish woman I've been! 

As expected by the title, the book is divided into the four seasons and for each season there are several chapters.  Lovely hints about celebrating holidays, recipes, seasonal décor, seasonal luxuries, and tips for filling the  pantry and gift pantry by the season as well.

Because it is summer I made the rather unoriginal choice to begin this lovely book in the summer section.  I'm so glad that I did, because I had been enjoying the fruits of summer: fresh corn, fresh tomatoes with just enough tartness, lovely summer squash, peaches, berries, melons...It's a lovely time of the year (and a frugal time) when the abundance of foods become very inexpensive and readily available to even non-gardeners.  How fortunate for us that gardeners are so very willing to share their plenty!

Frugal Boot Camp: This Week From Pinterst

This quote really stood out to me this week from a post:
"A person can go broke buying good deals."   Indeed! Another good reminder to myself that unless I'm getting a rock bottom price on something I need to keep my money in my pocket.

I seemed to focus on quotes I found in the first perusal of Pinterest.  I didn't note where I found these next two so they may have been memes:

"Budgeting is telling your money where to go, instead of wondering where it went."

"Living on a budget is valuing your money enough to know how much you have and how much you can spend and respecting yourself enough to bother."

You must gain control over your money or the lack of it will control you ~Dave Ramsey

Frugal Bootcamp: Heloise's Kitchen Hints

Published about 1963, this book came to me via a thrift store.  I looked for it online and Alibris has multiple copies for $.99 each.  It's also available through One Kings Lane and other sites. 

As I was trolling through looking for a photo of the book, I stumbled upon a review that said "Love reading this though it's horribly out of date..."  Really?!  What world does she live in?  Seriously, there are things that might be a wee bit dated but the bulk of what Heloise shared in this book is pretty much timeless hints for living well and on a budget.  That never goes out of date!  Some of the so called outdated stuff might yet come in handy.  Like how to bake potatoes over a gas burner.  Wash, wrap in foil, put over a low gas flame, turn after about ten minutes and test for doneness in another ten.  Mighty handy info if the electric is out or you happen to be cooking on a gas grill.

In the intro she expresses her opinion of homemakers in general: "You, the homemaker, are the backbone of the world. If it weren't for you there would be no home, family or world fit to live in.  You are a homemaker: chef..., nurse...,court of appeals, peacemaker, home economist, purchasing agent, budget and record keeper, decorator, hostess.

Chapter One:  Stop Stooping -  In the very first chapter Heloise suggests various methods of organizing kitchen contents.  She suggests first that you color code foods.  In her opinion the bulk are red, orange, yellow and green and she suggests that you designate one shelf (or portion of a shelf) to each color.  Condiments go on their own shelf as does white foods (pasta, rice, instant potatoes).  

In My Home This Week: Glory Days of Summer

This week in my home....

...I am writing this a little early.  Typically I would take my time on Saturday as I relax and read to write a bit here and a bit there.  This weekend we are heading down to Sam and Bess' new home for a housewarming party, so I started this on Thursday evening.   There will be family members from both sides filling their new home.  There will be a cook out and gifts.  I am taking a group of potted plants culled from my own plants here, in pots that I painted earlier this week, as well as a vintage kitchen step stool. 

Already the front door of this house has been painted a lovely shade of green

Home is such a sweet thing in my mind.  Over the years it's been my privilege to make home in several places, in some for longer periods of times than others, in nicer houses and poorer ones but always a place of comfort.

I've enjoyed watching my children as they move into and create their own homes.  Katie took possession of her house right away this past Christmas, making it hers, a statement of who she is as a young wife and mom and I've watched over the last few months as she's found new ways to express herself as she's painted and sewn and built.  

Frugal Friday: Name, Rank, Savings

                                        Not my pantry but that at the Little Whitehouse in Warm Springs, Georgia.  A very modest cottage and yet it saw president, kings, and dignitaries from around the world....a wonderful reminder that however modest home might be, it is worthy of those whose company you keep...

Saturday:  John worked about an hour of overtime this morning.  This will apply to our short pay check and will be much appreciated.

I had planned to buy fried chicken and peaches today to make a cobbler for Katie's coming down...but with her husband so sick with flu she stayed home.  I altered my menu to cook what I had on hand.  I made a turkey tenderloin.   We still had  cobbler but it was a cherry cobbler not a peach one.

I put some tomatoes aside that were getting old looking.  I'll make them into marinara towards thend of the week.

I doubled up on potato salad today.  We'll have the leftovers for lunch tomorrow when we come in from church.

Watered the hydrangea with water I'd run over the tea bags and let go through a second steeping.

Made a big pitcher of unsweetened tea to drink.  I find I just have no taste for diet sodas at all and the carbs in a regular soda are ridiculous.  It is a rare day when I'll indulge in one.  Still I get rather tired of water and more water to drink.  I hate to buy tea when I'm out, too.  I'll likely do as I did last time and bottle up some of this to freeze and carry along with me when we're out.

Made egg salad from boiled eggs for sandwich filling.

Since I had to bake the cobbler, I put the turkey tenderloin in the oven, too.  Reading in Peg Bracken's book she suggested you really plan that oven use out well and pack it full.  I suppose I could have roasted those tomatoes if I'd thought about it.  This is an area I really do need to take full advantage of, especially if I'm going to use it in summer!

Retirement Remedies: The Look For Less, Follow Up to Picture Perfect

Remember this inspiration photo I shared along about last year?  And how my own look evolved from that to this:

As a sequel of sorts to my 'Picture Perfect' post, I don't completely avoid lovely photos.  I try hard to squelch the jealousy and instead use those pictures to inspire my own pursuits here at home.  I started with the first photo, evolved to the second one and later this spring, I managed this:

Well this is my version of the look.  I currently have a nice crop of basil in one pot and I keep trying to get mint or parsley to grow in the bucket nearest the steps...Not having much luck with that at present I'm afraid.

Frugal Boot Camp: Better Than Beauty

 Ignore the 'look inside' tag up there.  Obviously I got this photo from the Amazon webpage which is where I bought the book.  I paid just $2.48 for my copy and there are several left at that price.  Would I buy the book again?  Meh.  It's not that the information is dated (only slightly) or that it's not a good read (it is).  And it's not that I didn't get good information from it (I did).  It's that only half the book, which is a short book, deals with looking well on a budget.  The second half has to do with the 'other side of charm and beauty'. 

The book was originally written in 1938 and has obviously been republished.  I'm not sure when this occurred, but my copy looks just as the copy above does and I'd say that it is a quite new publication.

The first three of the six chapters  do contain some information that made me stop and think hard. 

The first chapter is called "Prelude to Charm" and it deals with the basics of clean fresh skin, makeup and hair care, hands and feet.   Good old soap and water and a moisturizing cream is all that is required and quite right to mention it.  I do get a bit done with folks who talk about how simple their skin care is and then you discover they use a soapless, waterless system of skin care and it only costs about $1,000.  I like good basics.   In this chapter there is a hint that good skin care begins with what you eat, which is something we all ought to know.  There's a good deal of truth in the axion 'you are what you eat'.     The final bits of the chapter have to do with how you stand and how you sit.  Here I was struck by the reminder that I'd only recently read in The Code of a Lady that a woman sits in a certain way.  Wearing slacks over the last several years I've become very careless about how I sit and that is something I shall be mindful of in the future.  Having seen more than a few photos in Vogue of late of young women sitting with legs spread wide and thinking how vulgar they look, I should have already taken note.  This book's illustration brought it home to me, as well as The Code of Lady did.  Three witnesses...I needed to sit up and take notice!

"Picture" Perfect

Remember that little case of 'house envy' I was having a couple of weeks ago?  Well...Let's just talk about it for real okay?

I love to peruse magazines and watch television for home décor ideas. Yep and I like to look at home bloggers as well.   Too often I begin to focus on the perfection of everything and start to feel as though my own home doesn't measure up...and truth is, it doesn't!  But it's not at all the lack of big bucks to spend on my home, and I mean that sincerely.  It has a lot more to do with professional stylists arranging and refining before shooting photos with perfect lighting.

I know this....but why it doesn't stick in my mind is beyond me.  No, I look at that perfect picture and my heart is just plain filled with loathsome envy for a moment or three.

I have followed a couple of bloggers who have lovely homes.  Not big pricey homes but lovely little homes that they have lavished with all their inspiration and care.  Three of these have been featured in magazines over the past couple of years.  Do those magazines portray the rooms I've come to know so well?  No....Yes, I said 'No'!  The stylists come in and rearrange and remove items the owners have used and put in new items, alter the pillows, add rugs, sometimes even paint the walls (and then turn around and paint them right back to the original color!).  They add flowers and fruits, remove light fixtures, clear surfaces...That magazine spread bears some resemblance to the bones of the room but it's no longer the blogger's inspired room, it's a stylist's vision of the same space.   Well really it's not that different than having a professional makeup artist and hairstylist dress up an other wise pretty girl and make her over as a glamour queen for a photo!  Anyone remember Glamour Shots?

Iced Tea Chat:

Hello dears...Do sit down and let's just relax a bit, okay?  I'm tired.  I mean that I've worked hard and studied hard and I'm weary but more that the world is too much with me, and that makes me tired.  I find today especially that bad news makes me wanta weep  but good lovely things make me feel a sob rise up from way down deep...

It's not the world I want to be in at the moment and it's not a world I can embrace.  I've never been an 'all is sunshine and love' sort of person, but I am a positive person.  I SEE things, same as anyone with half a mind can see if they only look.  Life can be hard enough if we only focus on our lives but it can be awfully difficult when we see the world through news reports and television and facebook posts.  That's chaos and confusion and drama and a horrible tangle of nasty things.  The day to day world I live in, is much the same as it's always been.  Young men hold doors open for women and it matters not if we're black or white.  People still smile and wish one another a pleasant day.  I cannot reconcile the world I see on the television set with the world as I know it, but I doubt my world these days.  I wonder if I'm not seeing rightly.  And I've seen how it affects others, too, when someone across the aisle from me looks warily upon me for a moment and then tentatively smiles.  A smile is a big thing these days.  Especially when one is black and the other is white.  What a messy thing life has become when we cease to be people and see color first.   We had come so far.  Now we're back slidden.

In My Home This Week: I Got Sunshine....

In my home this week:

...It is mid-July as I write this and we are well started on the second half of this year.  Does that stun you as it does me?  I vaguely recalled the first weekend of July I let the idea that the year was half finished sort of slide through my mind.  I suppose the truth is that I've just been so busy that it only barely registered at the time.  Now that I've taken a short breather, I realized that here we are.    I haven't taken time to review my goals for the year nor to see how far I've gotten in achieving them.  Indeed, I'm not even sure I've been working on my goals at all!  But I am sure that I've been productive thus far. **I went and looked them over and I've done very well indeed.  Whew...there's always the thought that I might have gotten lost along the way and sidetracked myself.

Frugal Boot Camp continues.  I'm currently reading two more books from my shelf.  I am enjoying this reading as it does focus me on what I want to accomplish and that's what I needed.  Sometimes I lose sight of the biggest part of the picture.  It's not merely to make the ends meet but to live well while I'm doing my very best to improve our lives.  Since most of the books I've been reading date from 1930's to 1960's, I've been immersing myself in a culture and time that believed in the business acumen and absolute creative genius that was required to be a homemaker, something that is sadly lacking horribly in today's mindset about women in the home.  Of course, I'm blessed to have so many people in my realm of acquaintance who are homemakers in the truest sense.    Working women who work outside the home and in it both, women who are solely employed in the art of homemaking are absolutely needed in this world and frankly, I believe they are more needed than ever.

We are the fortress builders, the restorers and the sustainers.  We have a duty to our family, to our husbands, to our neighbors to be those very things.  Let no one mistake our calling or the vital importance of our place in this world at this time.

Now let's us move forward into the week:

Weekend Reading

I loved this set of photos of  France.  Running Errands is a lovely photographic record of yesteryear.

I don't know why this appealed to me, but it did.  St. Josemaria's Signs of Humility .

I don't do all of these, but 1, 2, 4, and 8 truly are the basis of the beginning of my days.  I find that I am a more productive person altogether.  Read this list from MoneySavingMom.

This looks like an interesting Bible study.  I haven't looked into it thoroughly, but it just seems like something I'd like to do now that I've read through the New Testament chronologically this year.

Weekend Pizza: Sam's Recipe

When Sam and Bess moved in, I wanted very much for them to have their own routines and foods they were used to as well.  I knew that usually on the weekend Samuel made pizza and I asked if he'd do the same while he was here.

I'd had his pizza before and it was good but he'd fretted and fretted over it's 'not turning out right'.  I couldn't for the life of me understand why he kept saying such, because it was delicious.  However, during this stay he made pizza all but one weekend and each time the pizza crust was pillowy and slightly chewy but tender.  The first pizza he'd made for us had been crisp and thin.  As he walked me through his recipe and his process I understood what he was going for in pizza dough. 

I don't have a single picture of even one of those many pizzas he made while he was here!  We were all too eager to come right to the table and eat them.  From start to finish it takes roughly an hour and a half if all the other ingredients are prepped ahead.  The kitchen smells awesome the whole while. 

Sam's Pizza Dough
There's nothing radical or unusual in this recipe.  It's standard ingredients and nothing more, it's how the dough is handled that makes all the difference in the world.

Frugal Friday: Left, Right, Left...Frugal Boot Camp Continues

This happy dog is a very fluffy dog, with a heavy triple layered coat of fur.  On these really hot days she's miserable.  I've given her a pool of water to lie in but she won't go near it except to drink.  So I let her dig holes in the flower beds in the shady places and plant around her spots so she can get to them.  I also give her pupsicles,  just frozen chicken broth really, which she enjoys greatly.  Love my Maddie and want to keep her as comfortable as I can.

Saturday:  No big deal today.  It's almost always a quieter day in our home and that is what is most needed.  A very simple breakfast, watered the plants that needed it, fed the pets.  Dinner is a crock pot meal that was already assembled in the fridge.  I just needed to pop the crock into the liner and heat on high for 1 hour and cook it for 3 more on low.  Salad and dessert were made yesterday.  I'll rinse and stack dishes and we'll call the day a great one for rest.

Took time this morning to have a brief 'beauty hour'.  I freshened my mani-/pedi-cure and used a mask on my face, deep conditioned my hair, shaved and exfoliated my skin.   It really took only about an hour at the very most and I felt fresh as a daisy.

Received my order of sample fragrances from Fragrance.Net and they included another perfume sample, an emery board, an eye cream sample and coupons for next purchases. 

Received my free Fiber One Mint Chocolate Brownie in the mail.

While on Pinterest this afternoon I read a few posts on frugal living. I took notes and will share in my next Frugal Boot Camp post.

Looked at Pinterest boards to see how I might wear my black maxi skirt.  Honestly with the ideas I'd already saved and the ideas I found today I could wear that outfit every day for nearly two weeks and just change up the accessories, change the shirt, etc. 

Ordered a nightie today, much needed.  That gift I mentioned receiving is funding this purchase.

Frugal Boot Camp: What I Learned from Pinterest Last Weekend

Who doesn't love Pinterest?  I know I enjoy it, though I did hear a recent pundit that said it was just hoarding online.  Well maybe it is.  I edit my boards quite often because I have a real horror of having thousands and thousands of pins.  How on earth would I ever find what I'm looking for once more?

I have been rather strict with myself.  I generally visit Pinterest only on one week night if I'm terribly bored and every Saturday afternoon.  It's my 'mindless wandering' sort of time and a nice break in the usual week.  I've always 'worked' a little on Pinterest though, seeking and reading countless frugal posts as well as looking for outfit, home décor and recipe ideas to pin to my boards.  This weekend I took notes as I read a few posts and I thought I'd share the ideas here with you, since it truly was all part of my Frugal Boot Camp exercises.

Now I did get all of this from Pinterest.  I just failed to notate what websites these belonged to and I didn't pin the posts so I can go back to find them without doing a whole lot more work than writing, so I apologize.  But I will be sure next time to note down a link to each pin so you all can go examine them for yourself.  I unearthed my bit of treasure but perhaps you'd find still more than I did.

The first post I took notes on was about ways to save without feeling the pinch.  I was surprised at some of the suggestions.  They were good!

Frugal Boot Campe: How To Cook A Wolf by M.F.K. Fisher

It seems as though I've heard of this book forever and ever.  I finally broke down and ordered it after it proved utterly elusive on any thrift store or even library shelf.  Originally published in 1942 during WWII and rationing, Ms. Fisher updated the book in 1988 with additional notes included in parenthesis.   This is the copy I own, a 1988 copy.  Prices on Amazon range from under $3 to upwards of $50.  Pick and choose and get a decent copy that will last you a while.  It's a darned good read and not just a cookbook.  In fact, it's more good read than cookbook though there are recipes included.

Fisher wrote this book during world war bombing blitzes and ration coupons and food shortages.  Her title refers to the wolf at the door.  Practically she suggests that when the wolf is at the door you invite him in and make dinner of him.  And then she goes on to highlight various international recipes that can adapt to a bevy of substitutions and still be good food.  She suggests that nutrition be balanced daily overall and to skip the rather illogical practice of trying to balance each meal.  As she rightly points out quite often we don't want a fully balanced meal starting with breakfast.  In her estimation the day should start out with a pot of hot coffee and a platter of hot toast which one would eat with butter if it's to be had and jam and have all you want.  While lunch might well be soup and a salad (encompassing most of the day's vegetable requirements) followed by fresh fruit and supper be a light meal of meat and potato and dessert if you must.

Frugal Boot Camp: The I Hate to Housekeep Book by Peg Bracken

The I Hate to Housekeep Book by Peg Bracken, written circa 1960 or so, is available on Amazon, Ebay, and at Alibris and even on Etsy.  Prices range from $1.22 (Alibris) to $44 (Etsy for a signed first edition copy).  There is no shortage of this book;  it's available just every where online and likely no shortage at any good thrift store either.  I purchased my own copy at a thrift store for under $1.

Though written in a very tongue in cheek sort of way, make no mistake, Peg Bracken knows her stuff.  She starts right away in Chapter One with absolutely practical advice:  Don't cover things up!  As she points out we have tile in our kitchen so that we can easily clean why are we tossing a rug down in front of the stove and sink?  That one made me stop and think a moment.  I realized I do it because I like the softness it adds to an otherwise hard room that tends to echo sounds.  I always buy the sort that I can toss in the washer though.  That's just the tip of the ice berg of practical home cleaning advice. 

She goes on to suggest these things in Chapter one:
Keep pots and pans out of sight.  Hanging pots and pans adds to visual clutter...and you'll be obligated to keep them super spic and span otherwise they are an eyesore.

Each time you give the house a good deep cleaning start in a different room.  She surmises (rightly!) that we often run out of steam before we are done and if we start at a different point each time we're bound to eventually get the whole house clean.

Act immediately on housewifely impulses.  Soap, water and a sponge now accomplishes more than putting off a task until you have a special cleanser or tool meant just for that task.  How right she is on this one!  Soap, water and a sponge did more for the railings of the front porch than waiting two years for paint could ever do!

Frugal Boot Camp: The Complete Book Of Home Management

The Complete Book of Home Management by Elva Anson and Kathie Liden.  This book is available on Amazon for $.01-$10.  I found two copies on eBay for $4.50 and $4.99.

I'm not sure just where I acquired this book but it was on my bookshelf.  This is one of three books I've read over the weekend.  It wasn't a hard read.  It's a decent book, probably more suited to those who are actively parenting but not a bad book to refresh thinking.  I'm going to pass this one on to one of the younger girls in my family, I think.

The book has good practical information.  Originally published as The Compleat Family Book ( still available on Amazon and eBay for under $4)  in 1960 and being reprinted several times, the information in it is not dated.  It's all good practical advice.

The book begins with the supposition that you want to change your family and home.  It's a Christian based book and there are several references to scripture and putting God first in your life, your marriage, your family and home. As you all know by now, I whole heartedly agree with that! 

The first chapter introduces the idea that change can be had if one is willing to adjust attitude and thinking, words and actions.  The authors suggest half steps to goals.  One of my favorite lines in this chapter reminds that even if you move two steps forward and one step back, you're still making progress.   This moderate approach is repeated all through the other chapters, as well. 

Weekend Reading

I've been saving up some posts over the last few weeks that I thought you all might enjoy as much as I have.  We'll start with the two freshest and work our way down the list I'd saved.

Dee wrote this week about the Housedress...I really enjoyed this post and was inspired to order four dresses for myself as 'at home' wear.

MSN had this slideshow over the weekend.  I loved looking at it and since we're going retro here anyway with housedresses, why not see what travel was like in yesteryear?

I stumbled upon this article about these 'crystal caves'.  Having visited Ruby Falls and seen some of these caves in nature series I am familiar with the idea, but these are truly spectacular.

Coloring being very popular for adults just now, I've got this on my wish list.

I thought the renovation on this home was intriguing, since they made it as it was when built in 1960.  The whole site is a fun one to read through.

I recall my first reading of the scripture referred to in this post and it struck me hard.  Loved this post!

New Blue House Journal Recipe Blog

This little recipe blog has been hanging about in the blogsphere for a good many years now, neglected and dusty and with a whole 11 followers.  I'm slowly getting it up and running and over time I'll even organize it a bit better but for now, here it is, debuting as a companion to this blog.

I'll continue to add recipes as I have time to work on older posts from here and the old Penny Ann Poundwise blog.  I hope you all enjoy this added resource.

In My Home This Week: Hazy, But Not Lazy, Days of Summer

This week in my home, I:

...have another busy week planned.  I worked steadily all last week and knocked out a number of the items on my July Goals.  Not all of them complete but nearly every one of them started upon in some way and many of them are complete.  I shared a lot of that in my Frugal Friday post.  It's amazing how work can be economical...How so?

Well stop and think about it now.  Work generally involves building, repairing, maintaining or creating doesn't it?  I do all of those things in some form in my home six days a week.  Even if I'm not hard at work on the house or wardrobe or yard, there's this blog to keep up.  Most all of the work, except the blog, is all about saving money for this household.  Hence my statement that work is economical.   As one enlightened young woman put it to me one time, "Saving money takes a LOT of effort."  Yup.  That's called WORK.

I happen to like work.  I think it makes life interesting.  I like to read, too, and listen to music, and sit on the porch and do nothing.  It's striking the right balance that makes it all pleasant as can be.  Boredom rarely sets in if you have the mix just right, nor exhaustion, either. 

Besides work is good for what ails you...It got me through the week without missing that little boy too much.  How gratified I felt when he asked for me the other morning, so Bess called.  Josh took the phone and ran away.  I know, because I could hear him shaking the phone as he ran but he talked to me the whole while.  He reported the cats were 'Fine' and that the house was a house.  Beyond that it was just so much jabber but it was a start to a conversation and one I enjoyed. 

I started the closing of my booth this week.  I'm paid up through the end of July and I decided to cull a few things, put up a sign advertising everything 50% off.  I'll go about this slowly, clearing out a little each week,  thinking hard about whether to donate or keep for a bit, but not leaving myself a ton of work at month's end.  I found myself not in the least sad about shutting down the booth but philosophical.  It was a season and I enjoyed it.  Now it's time to move on, to let go so that I can be ready for the next opportunity to come my way.

Frugal Friday: Hup Hup Hup...Boot Camp Continues

A few years ago I purchased sturdy cotton duck slipcovers for two of my chairs and I've not one whit of regret over that expense.  But I also purchased at the time an ottoman cover.  Having seen how simple it was in construction I regretted spending the money.  It cost nearly as much as one of the chair slipcovers had...So making up my mind this past winter to change the color of the slipcover on the ottoman, I knew I would make it myself.  I used an old cotton flat bed sheet and the former slipcover as my pattern.  I had all I needed on hand to make this cover and so it cost me nothing but a couple of hours time.  No regrets...

Saturday:  I'm short on bread and there was just one bagel.  Bess prefers a bagel for breakfast so we left that to her.  I made scones, which are a richer biscuit dough.  They were mighty good. 

The baking powder I've been using up was dated expired in January of this year.  It's just fine, still raises dough but it's got hard and clumpy.  I find that sifting it makes it work better.  Lesson here is that just because it says it's beyond 'best' date doesn't mean you can't still use it.

We did both laundry and dishes this morning, a full load of each.  I filled the empty spots of the dishwasher with the coffee pot and sink stoppers and such.

I made John and I a scratched together lunch of leftovers from the freezer.  It wasn't particularly tasty but it filled the empty spots in us and that food won't be wasted or forgotten.

Baked a lovely peach cobbler this morning and put it in the oven while I was roasting a chicken for supper.

Retirement Remedies: Beauty Day at Home

I had the most luxurious time the other morning, right here in the midst of counting pennies and trying hard to make dollars do double duty...and all it took was what I had on hand and about two hours time.

It all started while I was reading a magazine article about diabetic foot care.  The article suggested that the best lotion to use on your feet was 'whatever you have on hand'...Goodness you can't beat the soundness of that advice!

Well I've had a bit of trouble with roughness on the sole of one of my feet and so  I decided I'd use a few of the pedicure tools to smooth it.  Bess gave me a Jamberry nail wrap that was for July 4 in Red,White and Blue and there this beauty day began.

I didn't plan it ahead but one thing simply lead to another.  It had been a rough-ish sort of week but at the end of these two hours I felt refreshed, soothed and restored.  Do not underestimate the power of a little pampering time spent on yourself!

So what did I do that morning?  I started with mani-pedicures.  I used cuticle remover first, then cleaned and shaped my fingernails, trimmed my toe nails.  I smoothed calluses and rough spots on my feet and then I polished my nails, using base and top coat (all the same polish as it will do double duty) as well as two coats of color.  I waited until after my shower to thoroughly moisturize my feet. 

Iced Tea Chat: Wilting In The Shade

Hello dears, hello...I've been 'restraining' myself these past few days from doing too much, so I've written any number of posts, read any number of chapters and worked hard in spells.  But I shall not even faintly suggest we sit on the porch or patio.  There's not enough ice in all of town to make it in the least a consideration.  July has decided to be HOT and no mistake about it.  I dried two full loads of clothes on the line yesterday in half a day's time and had I planned better and been less considerate of my energy, I might easily have washed and hung to dry two more and got them in before afternoon.

The 'kids',  as we call them, went to their home on Sunday.   John was at work and Samuel considers that a prime time for leave taking and has since his Navy days.  John, you see, is a bit of a weepy fellow when it comes to seeing the children off no matter how old they get nor how short the time between visits.  Samuel is a bit of a sentimentalist himself and John always proves to be his undoing.  So they left on Sunday, one of John's work days this week.

I had, by the end of last week, reconciled myself to how much I'd miss them and had  begun to think how pleasant it would be to have my home all to myself for a few hours and anticipated the return of a few routines which had been set aside with extra folks in the house. That is not to say I too couldn't get sentimental.   I ENJOYED having someone in the house 24/7 and I mean that sincerely.  I had a few teary moments with Bess and was waxing poetic with Josh a bit later but that boy is no nonsense.  He looked at me with his brown eyes and smiled sweetly and said "Bye!" in the midst of the poetic moment and walked away.  Put a damper on my sentimental mood for a bit there...

Yes, living with others does tend to point up their faults but thankfully I found that I just plain LIKE my family and their faults are few and minor and not worth complaining over.   I'm very hopeful the same is being said of me in the other house tonight. 

I found it rather daunting that one little boy could run down two grown women by day's end and make them rather glad to see their own beds once he was settled in his.  And he isn't even a child who requires lots of minding, unlike his daddy who was best described as a handful by most and warranted the observation from my Grandmama, "Really, Terri.  I do think that child just needs a pill of some sort..." lol.  Josh wasn't hyperactive, or messy or demanding much as a rule.  But molars are no picnic for a two year old boy and he let us know as much.  Young mamas the world over should get a deal less criticism from us older women once we've walked a mile in their shoes and remember from whence we came while raising our own toddlers.

Frugal Boot Camp: Orchids on Your Budget, cont'd...

Chapter 5: Things You Can't Afford (cont'd)

So when last I left off, I shared questions from the last of this chapter.  Today I will provide answers.  I didn't copy the answers word for word in every case but the gist of what Miss Hillis said in her explanations is very similar.  I add my own observations in italics.

#1.   Yes  The unstylish friends would likely be uncomfortable in too fine a place and might think you were showing off, especially if you can't afford to.  Choose one where the atmosphere is not too dowdy but the food is good.  My son points out that in his business whether you are higher or lower in the supervisory chain they all use the same sorts of restaurants.  There is a silent but mutual agreement that everyone will order a median priced plate of their choice and nothing extravagant.  It's understood that for the men who are not salaried this is a treat and for the men who are supervisors this is good economy.  So there is that to consider as well, I think.

#2.  No  The fact that a friend has a car doesn't make it convenient for them to carry you about.  It's sponging...and I reckon this expands to any other form of sponging whether it's using electronics or borrowing clothes, etc.

#3. Yes  What you save not buying a paper doesn't begin to pay for the irritation most people feel in having to share theirs.  If someone is kind enough to share then by all means accept but make it the sort of kindness you pass on.  Mama passes along her gently read magazines.  I pass them on to Katie who passes them on to her mother in law. 

#4.  No  Getting your shoes wet is extravagant and foolish, as they seldom look the same and keeping other people waiting is rude.  Not sure anyone walks anymore, at least not in the towns I'm near but I thought the bit about keeping people waiting because you choose to economize is a point we should be mindful of.  Tardiness is rude.  Period.

#5.  No  If you do this at all, you are pretty sure to do it too often and one fine day will find that the new dress isn't so new or so smart and you've had scarcely any use of it.  I found among Grandmama's things many a fine classic dress and like new shoes that were never worn and others that were nearly thread bare she'd worn them so much.  Ditto for towels and linens.  Frankly I couldn't help but think what a waste of money it had been to purchase them.

#8.  No  You probably won't have them made over and someone who needs them could be wearing them and getting the pleasure of having them.  Not too long ago I was offered a pants suit with tags on that had been lingering in a closet.  It was deemed 'too good to donate and to nice to give to just anyone.'  I wasn't flattered by the gift as the suit was so outdated that I'd had to turn back the clock 20 years for it to be in current fashion.  I couldn't help but think what a blessing it might have been to someone who really could have used it...twenty years ago!  Besides this borders on hoarding...

Frugal Bootcamp: Orchids On Your Budget by Marjorie Hillis, Part 1

I first read this book when I found it on the shelves of the library I patronized at the time and I found a copy of it at an estate sale I think (or perhaps in a thrift store) a few years ago and snatched it up.  It was, honestly the first book on my thrift shelf where I keep all my money saving books, and so I took it up this week and decided I should start my Frugal Boot Camp with inspirations drawn from the book.  I'm going to break the book down into a chapter by chapter review, I think because it's full of good advice overall though one or three areas might well do better with a more sensible approach.  Nonetheless, I'll take the gems and leave behind the dross.

Miss Hillis wrote for Vogue magazine throughout the depression years and continued to write under her married name both as an author and co-author (Marjorie Hillis Roulston).  While the primary focus was the single woman (whether by choice, or being widowed or divorced), her focus was enjoying the life you have, but not being limited to a strict budget with no frills.  Her theory was that any budget could be adjusted to fit your needs and a few of your wants and that naturally if you really wanted a few of those wants you'd happily adjust your budget to afford them.  In this, I think she was very smart and her ideal is still applicable today.

The overall tone of this book is cheerful and almost, but not quite, frivolous.  I recall hearing that movie studios really dolled up their stars during the depression in an effort to make audiences feel not every one was having a hard time and good days were ahead yet.  A sort of reverse psychology optimism  that those who didn't have it (it being a grand old time) would have it if they just kept their chins up.  And indeed who wanted to go to the movies to forget their troubles and see lives similar to their own upon the screen?  I think this is more or less the same point of view that Miss Hillis tried to impart in her book. 

In  Orchids On Your Budget, Miss Hillis ends each chapter with several 'case study' illustrations of various women who prove her point.  I won't share her case studies but I may add a few of my own  views.  I think, if you can find the book through library or by purchasing, that you'll find the  information is not really out of date even these many years after publication and it truly is a good read.  There are a few copies on eBay from $8 - $25 and Amazon has listings ranging from $3 to $26.  You might also look for copies of Bubbly on Your Budget which seemingly is the same book reissued with a new title.  My own copy of  is a first edition I found  at a thrift store for under $2...So jot it down on your book list if you're interested in seeking it out.

Chapter 1:  Well Who Isn't Poor?
Written in the Depression years, her opening question was quite poignant.  Nearly everyone suffered a financial loss and nearly every one was having to downgrade their living in one form or another at the time.   The U.S. has been through a few economic slumps since then (the most recent being the one most decried as not being one and whose effects we are all still reeling from).  Altered financial circumstances happen and we adjust our lives accordingly.  Miss Hillis rightly points out that anyone who is struggling to pay their bills or who has to forgo the simplest of wants is having a financial struggle.  She advises that anyone might plan to have some of what they want or plan to go without! 

My favorite quote from this section is: 
"Planning about possibilities and dreaming about improbabilities are not the same thing."

Questions, Answers and Comments, Oh My!

  I've had a wonderful time in June, but it's meant fewer posts than usual.  However, you've all been good to comment.  Most were congratulations on getting to see grandchildren, understanding my necessity for alone time (short short supply this past month, lol) and how much you enjoy your own grandchildren.

Karla posed a question:  You have mentioned previously that you now store your berries in jars. Would you elaborate on how you prep them once you bring them home from the grocery?

I had read of storing lemons and limes in a glass jar of water in the fridge to prevent them drying out so quickly and that worked very well.  I happened to stumble upon a Pin on Pinterest for making berries last longer.  You bring them home from the store, remove from the plastic clam shell and store them in a covered glass jar in the fridge.  You do not wash them until you mean to use them.  I'll say that I get at least 5-7 days more to use berries over my previous method of leaving in the clam shell pack in the fridge.  It's been nice to have berries last so much longer.  Just wash right before using and never wash more than you mean to use right away.

Lana Congratulations on your 38th anniversary.  May you have many more happy years together!

Gramma D, I must sincerely tell you that never in all my years of 100f+ temperatures have I lost weight...Sad but true, lol.  We are slated for 102f and 103f this week.  I shall have to be very mindful of watering plants and watching that shades and curtains are drawn to preserve the cool air indoors.

Debbie, Josh is like most folks I guess.  Two or three days of eating bagels and he's done and on to something else.  I think his Mama gets a bit frustrated but I've found that he eats well when he's truly hungry and picks and shakes his head 'No' at everything when he's not.

In My Home This Week: The Sweet Season Continues...

In my home this week: 

...I keep hearing the song "The party's over now..." in my brain this morning.  Well, this party may be over but seasons generally go on a smidge longer.  I'm just assuming there's more to it and I'm getting a breathing space between rounds.  That's just fine by me, because I need that breathing space.  If you've read my July goals list you'll know I've plenty to keep me busy this month.  In addition we've got three social events already on the calendar for July.  John has a ten day stretch off at the end of the month...Yes, I expect this season isn't over but simply giving us a lull and that's quite all right.  I could use a lull along about now to catch up on some of the many things I'm behind on.

So yes, my family has moved on into their new home, 'roughing it' as they say until their furniture arrives on Wednesday.  They have a blow up mattress, a pack and play and I suppose they will purchase a couple of outdoor chairs to use indoors until the furnishings arrive...I would. 

In other news, my next youngest granddaughter celebrated her second birthday with her family.  The youngest one took her first steps this week, ignoring the hand reached out to assist her.  My eldest son is in Hawaii, such a hard duty that one has for his sea duty.  Mama is slowly moving things into her new abode, a mother in law suite that my brother built into his home especially for her.  It seems, as one of John's songs goes, "Everybody's moving....", if not in fact, then in theory.  And peach season began...Well, cling free peach season began and I'm enjoying it!  Yum!

Moving in my house this week will take the form of getting busy cleaning all those neglected areas and shifting things about, in and out.  I had a call from the flea market just before the weekend and was asked if I'd like to resign my space.  I made nothing again this past month and it's obvious to the owner as well as to myself that this venture of mine is at a clear end.  I've given my verbal notice and allotted myself plenty of time to move things out a bit at a time.  I'll go in this week and start the process.   Today...well I'm under strict orders from John to not work myself "into a heap but to leave a few things for the rest of the week".  Obviously he's not seen my list of July goals, ha.

And regardless of how easy I might take it, there are still plans to be made for the week ahead, right?

Frugal Friday: Attending Frugal Bootcamp

It's incredible to me the vibrancy of the photocopies in this frame...
'Use what you have' doesn't always mean having something that looks sub-par.  Sometimes we can produce lovely things for pennies.  The 'cost' of the above framed prints cost me three sheets of cardstock, $2 for a picture frame and a little of the ink colors we seldom use in our printer's ink pack.

Saturday:  Watered plants this morning with water I'd caught in jugs for emergencies.  I've decided with this hot dry weather that I need to be catching more of our gray water to use outdoors.  I don't have enough of a cache of water to consistently water plants on a daily basis which is almost what is needed and they must be refilled, otherwise there's no emergency supply.  Running water from the hose means running electricity with the need to refill the tank on the pump.  It just seems to make sense to try and offset what I can by saving dish water and rinse water and mop water. I've poured those things over my plants for years (as did my grandmothers) and the plants seemed to survive as well as they might have otherwise.

This whole water thing has me thinking it's really time to re-enter Frugal Bootcamp and see what I might do to brush up on my frugal skills.  I do know lots of ways to save but there are always new tricks to learn and old tricks to pull out and brush up as current skills once more.

Bess getting me to use the crock pot on a more regular basis has been a great thing.  Now that my crock pot is broken, it occurs to me that until I find the one I want, I might well use my much un-used electric skillet to also make meals without adding the heat of the oven to the kitchen this time of year.  I'll be exploring recipes to attempt in that appliance. I also have a pressure cooker and an ice cream maker, neither of which I've ever used at all!  Time to figure out how to use these servants as well, or plan to pass them on to others who might use them.

John washed two full loads of laundry.  He hung most all of them to dry.  It took less than an hour outdoors to fully dry the comforter that goes in the bottom of Josh's pack and play bed.  I like the solar powered 'dryer' best of all, lol.

In My Home This Week: All Routine