Showing posts from January, 2017

Frugal Intelligence

Intelligence is best described as the ability to learn.  While it can be measured to some extent there are no tests which can measure intelligence fully.  Common sense, for instance, is a form of intelligence and can be far more valuable than 'book learning'.  Common sense allows one to draw on knowledge that is not necessarily learned but instinctive.  Experience is a great way to increase knowledge and intelligence.   Experience allows you to expand knowledge by practically applying what has been learned through book learning and intuitive experiences.  Inspiration is the inevitable conclusion of intelligence + application of knowledge + experience.

I was about to toss a zippered blanket bag in the trash the other day when I recalled that Katie, in her new sewing days, repurposed all my comforter bags.  She'd fuse fabric to the clear plastic to make a waterproof tote bag.  Quite honestly, it was a bit of frugal genius on her part and a very clever repurposing of items o…

In My Home This Week: Second Verse, Same As the First

In my home this week:

It really does look like a repeat of the week just past, with the difference that John will be home all week long.  The flooring was rescheduled to go in on Friday morning...and then rescheduled again for this coming Wednesday.  I cancelled my hair cut to accommodate the first change of plans.  Too late to get that appointment back so I'm scheduled for Friday of this week.  And John, who has spent three weeks doing a Daniel fast has requested that I keep making such meals with just the occasional meat meal thrown in.  I feel like Ground Hog Day (the movie) has hit my home and it's not even February.

Frugal Friday: Another Finished Project

Saturday:  I happily spent hours working on my genealogy notebook, organizing notes in order by date of events.  I also printed off pictures and documents to accompany sets of notes.  It was a lovely day as far as I was concerned.  I love nothing better than walking down the paths of history, watching as a family grows and leaves home, moves into homes of their own.  It's wonderful to see how the cycle of lives goes on and on.

Made Fried Rice for dinner.  Always an inexpensive option for meals.  I had a chicken breast with mine.  I pulled a packet of homemade egg rolls from the freezer to have with this meal and sliced up oranges.

I was mighty disappointed in that chicken.  I haven't had such a tough piece of meat in a long time.  This was  the $.88 pound chicken breasts I bought a few weeks ago.  I think, for my money, it's more than worthwhile to pay the $2.99/pound at the good meat market which has happily resumed those Tuesday specials on breasts and ground beef.  Now …

Coffee Chat: Oh My

Come in and have some coffee.  I keep trying to get down deep enough into the freezer to find those Banana Doughnuts I made early in the month but doggone if I can find them.  The freezer continues to burgeon with foodstuffs.  I had hoped to have made some dint in it but I haven't really.  There is a bag of ice in there but every time I take it out, John says "Oh no!  You're not going to toss that gourmet ice are you?"  He means it.  I put it back and shuffle stuff around a bit more and open up a space just about big enough for one jar of something and immediately we have one jar of something to go right into that spot.  So no dint, no doughnuts...but we do have an abundance of ice.

We've had  some weather here abouts.  Nothing touched us.  Indeed we'd never have known it was more than a typical winter rain had it not been for the local weather men and the routine beeps of hazardous weather reports on the TV.  The few branches that blew down were dead ones t…

Meatless Monday: Homemade Yogurt

Did you know that yogurt has about 11 grams of protein per 1 cup serving? 
Yes, yogurt has protein!  All milk products contain protein but yogurt has one of the highest grams per 8 ounce measure of the milk products.  That's why many nutritionists include it in breakfast menus.
I have been asked several questions about the yogurt I made at the beginning of this month when I was working on the challenge to feed 2 on $20 for one week.  This was the most successful part of that challenge and certainly has been the nicest.  It's hard to feel deprived if you've a quantity of rich, lovely, creamy yogurt on hand to eat as you choose.  Currently I'm looking forward to an after dinner treat of yogurt with fresh raspberries atop.  Oh YUM!
First I want to reply to Becky who said that her yogurt was always too tart for her family.  The only thing I can suggest is to incubate it for a shorter period of time.  This recipe calls for three hours, I think.  The longer it sits the mor…

Meatless Mondays: Combining Foods for Optimum Plant Proteins

As I looked over various charts, intent upon studying how certain combined foods will form proteins, I recalled a statement from an earlier post and felt I must share this with you as well.  I feel I would be remiss to continue to call plant proteins as 'complete proteins'.  I was reminded of this in reading another blog's comments on a post that stated peanut butter nor beans and rice were 'complete' proteins and  again this morning as I was studying this matter.  Protein provides amino acids.  Amino acids MUST have protein in order to form.  Plant proteins provide some of the amino acids required by our body but not all.  Keep this in mind if you want to explore eating more plant based protein meals.

Now that said I thought this particular site was the most helpful, mainly because it provided the information in distinct categories.  This site suggested you should start with a BASE for building protein.  Base foods are:

Category 1:  Breads, Cereals, and Grains

Meatless Monday and Tuesday and Wednesday...

With John's desire to eat Daniel meals the majority of January, I had to really stretch myself to prepare meatless meals.  I had a few meals I could draw on but nothing to cover 21 meals a week.  It took a lot of creative thinking and attempting some new recipes.   We are and have always been meat eaters.   I don't expect that to change but I will say that the most surprising thing to John has been how satisfying meatless meals can be, even to the point that he's asked me to serve a few each week after we're done with this time of fasting.  I thought perhaps some of you might be interested in what I made and how I made it. 
And just for those of you who are interested, I have, for the most part, been able to eat the same things John did without adding meat.  Only one meal was not the right balance of carbs and non-meat proteins and I paid for it with a spike and hard drop.  The meals that gave me little trouble were almost always the bean based meals. Not one of thos…

In My Home This Week: Quiet Expectations

In my home this week...

...It's been a nice quiet weekend here, despite storms about us.  We've had a few rumbles of thunder but no high winds, no excess of rain.  It's pretty much been a normal rainy winter weekend.  For that I am deeply grateful.
Today, John and I attended church.  I love when the sermon lines up with conversations we've had.  John used a word this morning, "Expectatious"...He was discussing his desire for having prayers answered.  I looked at him in wonder.  "I don't think that is a word, John, but it should be.  It seems to say you've got audacious expectations."  We both laughed at that because it's true.  Our pastor's sermon today was partly about having those high expectations.  After service, I was able to speak to him briefly and shared with him John's word.  He laughed out loud.  "That's it!  I like that a lot!"
Expectatious is what I am about the new administration coming in.  I know ther…

Frugal Friday: Mighty Fine

Saturday:  Rest day in our home.  We had cold cereal for our breakfast.  John used Almond milk.  I had two bananas that were perfectly ripe.  One more day and either one was done for.  Having supplied my freezer with banana pound cakes and baked banana nut doughnuts and made banana cookies this past week I was hardly ready to put more banana anything in the freezer, which wouldn't have held so much as a banana anyway.  So I doled out one a piece and we ate the whole thing.  That would be TWO fruit servings each.  I did find the banana offset any need to add a sweetener to the plain cereal I was eating.  Since 1/2 banana has about 15 carbs and a 1 tsp of sugar has 22 carbs, I came out ahead eating two halves of bananas if it made that cereal palatable without sugar.

We had the second pan of 3 bean chili and rice enchiladas.  It was so yummy, even the second time around.  Cheap eats can so be delicious and flavorful.  And there's a third round of leftovers that I made space for …

Dressed Like a Lady: At Home

I started this series of posts this week because I think how we look is important. I don't mean whether or not we're fashionably up to date or wearing the latest designer styles, but how we present ourselves to the world, whether it's the community outside our doors or to those who see us daily in our own homes.

I do realize that many will say this is shallow and unimportant but I disagree on many scores.  Number one, how we look affects how we perceive ourselves.  It's easier to feel more confident and self-assured  when we take time to tend to our personal care and show it.  I think that looking decent has an effect on our overall sense of how prosperous we are.  Even when I had just two shirts and two pants long ago, knowing that what I put on daily was clean and freshly ironed and starched made a HUGE difference in my concept of NOT feeling poor.

Number two, it's important to our family.  Has your family ever asked you "Where are you going?" when you…

Dressed Like A Lady: It's Not Just Clothes

Parts of this post are a repeat post from July 2015.  I thought it appropriate to our theme this week of 'Dressed Like A Lady'.  I do not currently use all the brand specific products shown within the original post.  Often it is about the TYPE of product used rather than the brand used, so please note that.  I've also added more  information to the material to round out the post for our purposes here this week.

While this is hardly a fashion blog and not likely to turn into one, it has certainly been my focus of late about how to look my best on a budget.  That being said, it's understandable that as I put on my makeup today I couldn't help but note some basic items that I consider my 'go to' items.  I do have other make up items but they don't stay in my cosmetic bag.  They move in or out depending upon my mood/season/desire for change.  My basics stay pretty much the same.  I thought you might be interested to know what I use and why/how.

I start with…

Dressed Like a Lady: Appearances Do Count


Dressed Like A Lady - A Challenge for Us This Week

I watched a marathon of several episodes of the six seasons of Downton Abby at the end of December.  I love much about this series: witty repartee, outstanding actors and actresses, beautiful English countryside, gorgeous costuming, and a real live look at history as it was. 

One of the things I noted in several of the last episodes I watched related to the dress of the Ladies of the manor.  I thought,"I could be well dressed, too, if I had a lady's maid!"  Well I can be well dressed without a lady's maid if I just pay attention to the things I noticed while watching the program.

They planned ahead what they would wear the next day.  When the Dowager lady Grantham discovered she'd be having a caller the next day she told her lady's maid Danke that she'd wear something else instead of the dress chosen.  I was less concerned with what was said  after that because I was too busy going "Huh! She'd planned her wardrobe already!" 

A couple of ye…

Eating On A Tight Budget: Mother Hubbard Challenge - Others Join the Challenge

L.E. said...

Very interesting challenge. I live in a fairly high COLA city, but thankfully we have Aldi. I could do this challenge only because we don't eat meat, and because of Aldi. Our Aldi has handheld baskets available for free so I wouldn't need the quarter for the cart.

By us, per pound, potatoes are the cheapest food there is. Aldi sells even cheaper potatoes than I buy.

All Breakfasts: fried potatoes and 8 eggs over the course of the 7 breakfasts.

PB & J - 5 days a week, with a banana on the side
Omelette using eggs and milk, and 1/3 zucchini & cheese; 1 piece toast per person - 1 day
spaghetti with red sauce (no zucchini) - 1 day

Baked potato with butter, and broccoli and melted shredded cheese on top (5 days.) If still hungry can have a second baked potato with butter. 2 days have beets on the side, and 3 days add some black beans for added protein. If don't want the black beans, can either add to the lunch omelette or to spaghetti …

In My Home This Week: I Got Sunshine!

In my home this week...

...I thought I'd do something a little bit different and just share a few random thoughts.  Okay?
...I am watching as my calendar begins to fill up for the last of the month.  I am always amused by these times when the calendar fills and how the days all seem to fall together.  And then I'll go for weeks without any sort of an engagement or appointment at all. 
... I read an interesting passage in my Bible, in Leviticus this past week. It spoke of the Sabbath of rest for farmland.  I know that we often see fields here in the South uncultivated for a year or so after cotton is grown on it but I don't know any farmer that adheres to the Sabbath rest for the farmland.  I would be interested to see how the Sabbath rest would work for a field, because the promise is that if you do this, the sixth year of harvest will be so large and so abundant you will have enough food until harvest time in the eighth year...with foods leftover to toss away!  Now that i…

Frugal Friday: Getting Things Done!

I purposely turned  one jar over on it's side so you could see how thick the yogurt turned out.  It's so good!  Not tart, which is something I dislike about many store bought yogurts, nor does it have gelatin or cornstarch to thicken it.  It's just yogurt and milk.  It will keep up to a month unopened and for one week once opened.  I can use this too to make the next batch of yogurt.

Saturday:  Bitter cold with sharp winds today.  John went out this afternoon to insure the pump house light bulb was working so we could plug it in tonight.  It took a few minutes to discover why the light work. The outlet ground switch had to be reset.  So glad he took time to discover that in daylight instead of struggling in the dark to find out what was wrong.

Leftovers today.  My refrigerator is so full I can barely move anything.  I'm not sure just why it's burgeoning.  I've neither done that much cooking nor did I purchase that much fresh produce this last week but  there is …

Coffee Chat: ALL the Possibilities!

I am very much a New Year's glass FULL sort of woman and every thing, absolutely every thing is possible.  My Katie, whom I love for her quiet wisdom, tends to be more realistic.  She is prone to remind everyone who spouts off their resolutions that they will be the same person on New Year's day that they are on New Year's Eve.  She's got her point.  We aren't changing a thing if we're so caught up in talking or writing or daydreaming about changes that we aren't doing them.  I've learned to prefer action over day dreams.  I've seen my youngest daughter's wisdom in her too too truthful statement. 

It was action that pushed us last year to get so much accomplished to improve our home.  The decluttering, organizing, refurbishing, sacrificing wants for carpeting and tile and shed, putting in the labor to slowly put in a few feet of mulched flower bed each month, etc. were all positive changes.  I looked about my home on New Year's day this ye…

January Challenge II: Organize the Kitchen

It hits me every single January: the desire to clean hard, declutter, and organize.  This year it's not nearly as big a task as in the past, thanks to the fruit basket turnover of the whole house late last year.  BUT, there's always room for improvement.  I stumbled upon this calendar for decluttering on Pinterest. 
I am fortunate that I don't need to do a lot of work anyway, but  I love that this is broken down into daily tasks, so the job of organizing is never overwhelming. Yes, I know that I've started a week late on posting this but some days the 'task' is to read about her recommendations and suggestions on organizing and storage.  That's not hard duty and you can quickly catch up to date just by following the suggestions.
And this does tie in with the USE IT UP challenge.  I definitely found some things to USE and some that I need to use up!
Because I am ahead of the game, I was able to sort out my spices today, as well as the dish cupboard, under t…

In My Home This Week: A New Challenge

In my home this week:

It's cold and rainy as I write but meant to be sunny and bitter cold all the weekend.  I love winter for just this sort of weather.  I relish the coziness of my home.  I have warmth, light, food, good books to read and emergency heat and water should I need it.  In other words, I can be safe at home and assured of not having to go anywhere for any need whatever the weather might send my way!  It's a lovely feeling to be secure at home.
The first week of the New Year seems to have flown by.  Did it seem so to you, as well?  I did get busy and do some of those put off tasks, like planting the bulbs and hemming my jeans.  I managed to clean and organize a good section of my shed.  I sorted through a couple of boxes of books and I worked hard at writing posts, preparing foods and tending to the shopping.  I feel prosperous after this past week and I relate that to the Mother Hubbard challenge.  I look forward to my next Eating on a Tight Budget challenge next…

Eating on a Tight Budget: Mother Hubbard's Cupboard, Final Post

This will be the final post in the first part of this series.  I was pleased so many of you interacted and commented about this series.  I thank you all for participating. 

Just as a reminder: My challenge this week was to stretch $20 as far as I could to provide meals for TWO. In my scenario, I had no pantry and no freezer to pull foods from and I was in the current season with nothing growing nor able to forage for any foods.  In a perfect world, a neighbor or family member might well have helped out.  Heaven knows Mama was the food angel for our household many times, bringing in a bag of fruit or a grocery sack filled with meat she'd bought on sale to help carry us along.  But in this scenario, it was John and I and $20.

I took note of several things this week:

1. Were it  necessary, I COULD provide for us on $20.  The meals wouldn't be well balanced and nutritionally sound, but they would sustain us and feed us three meals a day. 

2. Second, I recalled why I like some o…

Frugal Friday: Use It Up...

Saturday:  John worked last night.  I wanted to make him a big breakfast due to that, rather than our usual light Saturday morning fare.  I had half a steak left from Christmas Day dinner and made hash browns, fried eggs and toast.  He seemed to really enjoy it and said he'd just skip dinner or at least wait until later to eat.

I took a frozen entrĂ©e of Turkey and Dressing with gravy from the freezer intending to have that for today's dinner.  Then Mama called saying she'd like to stop by here around noon.  She then texted to say she was bringing pizza.  I made a salad using the last of the tomatoes and lettuce and took that half carrot cake from the freezer to thaw.  It made a pretty good impromptu dinner and yes, John did eat, lol.  We just had a very light supper for tonight and did eat it a bit later than usual.

There were two slices of pizza left.  That will be part of our supper one night in the early part of this week.

Mama took home the rest of the carrot cake with…

Eating On A Tight Budget: Mother Hubbard Challenge - Kathy's Menu

I was so pleased that Kathy decided to accept The Mother Hubbard Challenge!  I'll be sharing her shopping list and menu plan very shortly.  I'll follow up with a few replies to comments on this series of posts rather than wait until the end of the month.
Kathy: Thanks for your challenge! It is much harder than I expected, and I'm glad that you aren't going to follow the menu exactly. Your health is more important, esp with diabetes, but I think it is good to think of what we might do.

Since there are 2 adults and 2 teens here, I wasn't able to come up with a menu plan for $20 for a week. I tried to do a dollar a day per person which would have been $28, but I was still having trouble with that I think I could feed us for $37. I would have some of the same meals:
oatmeal with apple or banana
eggs/toast, french toast
pb&j or pb&banana, chicken salad with apple and ranch dressing, hard boiled eggs
taco soup x2(prudent homemaker recip…

Eating On A Tight Budget: Challenge #1 Mother Hubbard UPDATE

I knew when I set a budget of $20 it was going to be a stretch and a tough one at that.  I knew it would mean some deprivation and yet I was convinced I could feed two enough to keep us going a full week. 

I gave my proposed menu plan and shopping list here.  I thought I'd update on how it's going thus far and my findings regarding what I thought things cost, etc.

I'll start first with a revised grocery list.  Prices varied a lot from those I posted using my last receipts.  Not all of them rose post holiday either.  Some actually went down  I learned that some things were actually better priced at Publix and some were the same as Publix, which is a surprise to me as I thought Aldi surely was lower than Publix!  I checked prices online at Kroger and there's no need to even consider adding those prices to compare because they were pretty much the same.  So here's how my final shopping list looked:

15 ounces peanut butter $1.49
Grape Jelly $1.49
salt $.49/contai…

Questions, Answers and Comments, Oh My!

Although this particular comment isn't from a December post, I must address Anonymous who seemed mighty upset that my blog now has ads.  YES it is the blog, not your device.

I am desperately trying to add a small amount of income to my household through various venues and since I spend a good many hours weekly working on this blog it would be nice to make a small bit of money from it.  I hope to get an Amazon affiliate link up as well if I can figure out how to activate the old one.  The revenue from ads is small but it does add up.  I don't ask anyone to click on anything they aren't interested in but if you do click on an ad for something that you'd like to know more about I'll receive a pittance for it and appreciate it greatly.

Now on to last month's comments and to answer any questions asked on those posts.

Gracious!  Lana commented on the first post of December (a Frugal Friday) that she was making Cranberry orange relish and Sweet Potato Casserole.  YUM…

Eating On a Tight Budget: Challenge #1 Mother Hubbard

Over the holidays I spent more than the usual amount of time on Pinterest.  I find it a great resource for a brain jog.  On this particular evening, I'd been looking for inexpensive meals one might make.  I stumbled upon this list on which listed 35 foods to purchase when you're broke.  I think the list a very good one and a frugal one but I couldn't help but think back to my Food for Thought post.  What if I had no pantry, no freezer filled with food, and a very limited budget?  How well could I manage?

I went online and read hundreds of posts about various food budget amounts ($27, $37, $50, $75) for a week's worth of groceries.  I read posts to see what was purchased, how it was meted out, what menus were used, etc. 

Well, here's my take away: a great many of those posting didn't adhere to a hard and fast  "this is all we have and no more" budget.  They freely drew from a pantry, cabinet, fridge and just supplemented wi…