Ten Things I've Learned Shopping At Aldi


About five years ago I began experimenting with shopping at Aldi.  It was a brand new store to my usual shopping area and all I knew of it was what I'd read online at other money saving blogs.  The reviews were all positive.  I'd been struggling to pull down our grocery budget but simply couldn't manage it even when shopping at multiple stores, purchasing in bulk and buying loss leaders, discounted meats, reduced price produce, etc.  I felt like I kept getting a lesser quality of food and was spending as much as ever.

So I gave Aldi a try.  I was aware from my reading that I'd need to rent a shopping cart for 25c and bring my own bags and cash to pay for my purchase.  I was fine with that.  The parking lot was neat and clean and the carts are undamaged because people want to get that 25c back!  So carts are less likely to be everywhere but in the cart bay at the front of the store.

In My Home This Week: The Next Step

In my home this week, I...



... am ready for the next step.  What do I mean?  I'm ready to do the next thing that will lead me to the life I want to have.  My brain has been ticking along at 90 miles per hour here this weekend thinking along these lines and I'll be writing more about it in the days ahead.   I've been feeling restless and a little dissatisfied for a few months now.  I wrote earlier in the year about my frustration in finding new ideas to increase my thriftiness in my home and I noted that at this stage of my life, what I need to do is look long and hard at what I want to accomplish and learn new skill sets in order to bring about those changes which will increase savings.  Well,  ditto that for every area of my life.  I want to move on to the next level of learning in diet and wardrobe and decorating and yard/garden work and even here in writing the blog.

Living Frugally and Well



Saturday:  When the work was all done at last yesterday and I was more recovered from shopping in the deep heat, I went out to check the compost pile.  John said I had a squash plant out there and he was quite right.  One squash and four more blooms.  I don't know just what sort of squash it is, but it's a squash.

Nosed around the flower bed in the back yard and discovered a Star Gazer lily had bloomed in the shade of the lantana.  I clipped it and brought indoors.  I pinched back some petunias that have returned to their original cultivar and set them to root in water.

Sorry...


I had every intention of posting something this week, but between all the comings and goings, I got ill.  UGH.  I'm still recovering and still have coming and going to deal with.  I'll see you all next week.

In My Home This Week: Last Week of July!

In my home this week:







...It will be an 'in and out' sort of week.  I  have just sent John off to visit his brother in Texas. In the meantime, Bess will be in and out with the boys as she treks northward to see her family.  John comes in and then heads out to work.  Bess comes in and out again on her way back home.  It will be a busy week and a good balance for me with alone time and companion times well mixed.

It is the last week of July.  It does seem I have done more this month and certainly I am pleased with what's been accomplished if all of  my goals aren't finished they've at least been worked at.  It's so hot just now that being outdoors is a misery.  Nevertheless, as soon as John can mow about my Faith tree I shall get to work and finish off that project.  I'm not sure it will be done this week but I've done what I can until he does his part.

August Favorite Things

Here it is August and time to do another of my Favorite Things posts...It does seem I just did one for July!  Each month I wonder if I shall have anything to share with you the next month but then someone asks a question or I become aware of how often I use a product and I know that for at least one more month, I've got something to post!

Remember these posts are strictly my personal choices.  I am not being sponsored by any of these products nor am I receiving any compensation.  I'm not even an Amazon affiliate yet, though I have used all Amazon images and links this go round, simply because it was convenient and I've had a very busy morning.  So let's see what products I'm sharing this month as my favorites.

Living Frugally and Well: Sizzling Savings


Saturday:  I didn't prep food ahead yesterday for today's meal because it wasn't necessary.  I put meat in the crockpot early this morning to cook.  I needed only to chop a few vegetables for stir fry as a side dish.

I put leftover meat right into the fridge.  We didn't have the option of going back for seconds.

John offered to make pancakes for supper.  That's why we keep the mix on hand.  I have the instructions written a chalk board tag that is tied around the neck of the jar I store the mix in.  They were delicious.

Iced Tea Chat - Goal Oriented



I have lemon and mint today if you'd prefer those to go into your tea...  Oh and Orange and basil.   And why not a cool but so tasty little appetizer of Roasted Red Pepper Hummus on Whole Wheat crackers topped with a slice of cucumber?  It's my new favorite munch mid-afternoon.  Cool and crisp and full of fiber and protein and low carb, too.

I've been busy trying to accomplish my month's goals and so far, I'm on target with them.  My desk area is as complete as I can make it at the moment.  I am still searching the house for artwork and frames to finish off the wall space. I've also worked on that flower bed beneath the Faith Tree. I'm not done, but I've plodded on.  It's slow progress but it's progress.

In the Good Ol' Summertime...Outdoor seating



In summer in my childhood, we seldom visited indoors.  Oh no!  Visits took place outdoors, usually under the shade of a big old tree.  It wasn't at all uncommon, nor is it to this day in the South, to see a grouping of chairs or table and chairs under a big shady tree someplace in a yard.  Perhaps they are the sort who like to see and be seen, so they set up their seating in the front yard.  Perhaps they are more private people but don't have fences and you catch a glimpse, as you drive past, of the seating in the back yard.  

And just possibly, you might see someone with a sitting area arranged under an open carport or on a deeply shaded front porch, but mostly, most assuredly, company was entertained in the yard in summer months, where shade was plentiful, breezes were all about and the views expanded across flower beds and fields and you were serenaded by drowsy buzzing bees and birds.

Summer Eating: The Best Homemade Salad Dressings



Salads are delicious aren't they?  Let's face it though...A salad without a dressing is not going to cut it.   Plain lettuce?  Blech.  That said, despite the variety of dressings one may buy at a store, homemade dressings can be incredibly good, far better than anything you might buy.    I have a small repertoire of recipes that I use.  Given the opportunity, I'd make my own 100% of the time.  My husband however, seems to feel deprived if certain items are not bought.  That said, he's happily eaten the following salad dressings when I do make them, so I know they must be tasty or he'd completely refuse.

A Few of My Favorite Things - July

I've had good reviews from you all about sharing my favorites the past few months and I still find there are a few items that I just think are well worth the money spent on them.  Remember these are items I like and use routinely and I do not get any compensation from anyone for promotion.

I love to hang platters and trays and such on my walls.  We just hung a trio of Tole painted Nashco trays on the wall in the kitchen.

In My Home This Week: Summer Sizzles

This week in my home...

...the weather has decided to be summer-like.  I have every intent of continuing to work on that flower bed  around the Faith Tree, but I'm sure not going to push myself on doing much more than watering and sweeping porches unless I can go out very early.  Goals tend to somewhat lose importance when the temperatures soar into the 100f range for days which is what they are meant to do this week.   Gracious, I don't even want to do so much as think  when it's this hot.  When Summer sizzles, work fizzles! 

Hot weather is the best time to plan, though.  For one thing it's time to bring out my August magazines which is fun to contemplate.   I'll bet hey have plenty of hot weather recipes in those magazines.  And it's time to dig around and look for as many good crockpot and frying pan meals as I can conjure up because it's too hot to even think of turning on that oven.

Living Frugally and Well: Summer Breezes




Saturday:  Played it smart this morning: baked a cake, cooked biscuits and started a chicken roasting in the oven early this morning.  The cake went in first and the biscuits and chicken went in as the cake came out.  Cakes like dry heat in an oven, while pies and muffins and breads don't mind moist heat at all and can be baked all at once if need be.

Wish I had remember to start the zucchini while the oven was going.  I didn't and so I heated it up again nearer midday and boy was that a mistake.  It warmed the house up, made the AC run harder than it would have done and necessitated turning on room fans as well as upping the speed on our ceiling fans.  Sigh...Noted and will be sure to pay attention to that in the future!

In the Good Ol' Summertime: Water Play



As a child, summertime was hardly summer if water wasn't involved in some way.  My father was a little afraid of water.  I've no idea why but he was, so we were banned from going down river with Granddaddy when he fished in the river swamp.  He also wasn't keen on our going into the swimming pool, either.  Since I've pretty much spent all my life in the country not going to the swimming pool was far more common than going.

There were other substitutes for the elusive pools in our lives like getting wet under the water hose or running through the sprinkler, all of which suited us admirably.  Not something we got to do nearly often enough because when you live in the country the pump runs on electricity and wells have a nasty habit of running dry.  Water was to be conserved...But I must say that aside from Granny I've never known but one other who had a well run dry.  Granny's wells were generally near the surface hence the running dry (you pay per foot for the drilling).  As well, she watered the cows daily so there was already a tax upon her well and electric bill that most didn't have to worry over. 

COP and What I Did...


Hello all.  I had plans yesterday...I had a heavy duty sort of day planned.  I started well and was just about to wind things up and walk out of the door when my plans were suddenly cancelled. That's the COP part of the title.  Change of Plan.  I wasn't upset about the cancellation.  The truth is, I saw it as a gift.

A few weeks ago, our music leader pastored for the day.  He gave a rousing good sermon about sacrifices and what we're willing to give God and what we aren't.  I was convicted twice already in telling others that I really needed alone time and so I generally stayed home on the Sundays John was at work.  The people with whom I shared this didn't say a word, nor even look at me hard.  It was a conviction I felt deep down in my spirit that something was wrong with that statement.  And then I heard Pastor Jason's sermon.  It wasn't that he stepped on my toes...but he surely opened up my heart and revealed to me why I had been wrong.

Summer Eating: Vegetable Salads


Yesterday for dinner, I served a 3 Bean Salad.  My salad was from a can but it was quite good and nice and cool.  It made me think of other salads that have no lettuce.  It seemed a category worth exploring for cool summer eating.

I have a recipe I haven't made in quite a few years.  It is made up of fresh green beans steamed but still quite crisp.  One the beans are cooled, add diced tomato and make up a vinaigrette to dress the salad.  Chill.

This Week In My Home: July Showers

This week in my home...


...I am amazed but the weather men have been on a roll of late in predicting the weather rightly.  There is a chance of showers every day.  Every day it rains just enough to soak plants.  The flowers are so appreciative they are just overflowing with blooms.  April showers may bring May flowers but July showers bring a frenzy of summer blooms and I'm loving it!  Who knew what a mild summer with rain could be like?  I'd gotten so accustomed to last summer's hot dry wind and lack of rain where everything curls up and turns brown right away.  Our temperatures are not meant to get much above the high  80s  (the 'feels like' temperatures are much higher) which is unheard of for this time of year.

Living Frugally and Well


Friday:  I have many address labels that are very specific to a season or simply not to my taste.  I found I could cut off the design on the labels and they were simply plain address labels, which suited me very well.  As well, I have myriad labels with MY name on them but none with our name.  Really all that is needed as a return address is the address.  So I clipped the name portion off nd now have plenty of address labels.

Set up bill box and wrote out checks.  Nothing will go in the mail until we're paid on Monday, but I am so pleased that I was able to pay the renewal for the car insurance two weeks ahead of time, and refill the sub account that I borrowed from two weeks ago.

In the Good Ol' Summertime: Firefly Summer




Fourth of July when the fireworks were going off in the neighborhood, I'd slipped out on the porches to see if I could spy any of them over the trees.  Not a single flare did I see but I did see a load of fireflies gently lighting the brush along the sides of the yard.  I stood there in the semi-darkness watching them as they flashed on and off like a slow turn signal and smiled at the memory they brought.

Iced Tea Chat - Better Things to Come



Hello all.  Come on in and let's settle right down with a glass of iced tea.  I've had a busy day today and a busy one tomorrow and heavens, then there's Friday and the week will be done and where did it go?!  Well it's still mid-week and while it's true it's flying past, I'll not rush it on.  However, I am ready to take a bit of a break and hope you're ready for one, as well.

What on earth have you been up to?  I can tell you what I've been up to and what I haven't rather quickly I'm afraid.  What I've been up to is trying to pinpoint what I want to change in my home and life.  I've started with my desk/work space.  It's not suited me for a long time and irritates me no end because I can't push it flush up against the wall without interfering with the blinds and curtain to the window.  If the desk were but 4 inches less wide it would be perfect, but it's not 4 inches less and there's no real way to manage to make it so without messing it up entirely.  I could, if my wood working son were at home tell him what I want and he could alter what I have or build me something fresh.  Alas the Coast Guard insists upon his staying in the line of duty so I do without, lol.   So I'm looking for an affordable alternative.  In the meantime....I make the best of what I've got.

Have a Terrific Fourth of July!

Isn't this a lovely image?  I love the way the flags and her dress both are moving in the breeze.

Have a happy Fourth of July!

Setting Better Goals



I mentioned earlier last week that I was thinking of revamping how I go about setting goals.  I have been studying this all week long and have learned a few things about how I might improve my goals. 

 I am on target in one way: I set goals in focused areas of my life. I focus on seven areas of my life: Spirit, Marriage, Family, Self, Home, Blog, Finances.  You can certainly choose any focus areas you like and be even more specific than I've been if you'd like.  These are the areas I have chosen to focus on for the past few years.

In My Home This Week: Refocus

In my home this week...




...I am writing this on Friday, the day before the 'great reveal' at John's workplace.  We had a brief discussion of it this morning at breakfast and we're of the mind that whatever the outcome tomorrow morning...We go on.  Whether he has a job, whether he hasn't, we go on.  Whether it's with the county or a new entity, we go on. All we're certain of is change.  Period.

Regardless of what is ahead we must refocus a little this month.  There are changes ahead and we must face them.  That means we change, too.  We change what we can where we can and as we can.  

Afternoon Coffee Chat: Weathering the Storm

Hello dears...Do come in.  I've a fresh pot of coffee and though it's hot outdoors, I confess that after my day in the kitchen t...