Monday, April 3, 2017

Buying for April

I have made a list of what should be bought, a few items has been bumped a couple months as it is and can't be put off any longer.

Pressure canner checked , with possibility of replacing gasket, seal and pressure gauge....pretty sure the pressure gauge needs replaced. Last time I used it I saw moisture inside of it.

Wide mouth canning jar RINGS ONLY... next to impossible to find without the lids but I don't need any more lids. I found them at Those will be ordered this month.

Filter for my vacuum. Hubby uses the air compressor to clean this out for me every other week but it only helps so long. I have a very small vacuum that is bagless. I love it ...I would get another in a heart beat It is a Dirt Devil dynamite plus.

Whink rust remover as it is the only thing that will remove the rust in the bathroom even with cleaning it daily we still get rust. Have a whole house filter and softener...pipes need replaced but it's not ours so we can't do that.As long as the water is running the landlord won't do it, not even for his own home because his wife complains of the same thing. LOL. She told me what to use. Odor is very light.

Ant traps, as the ant season has started

Amish produce auction will start April 21st. I will be able to get my spring plants there for the garden. Looking at possible cauliflower, broccoli, cabbages... not sure of what else until we get there and what the prices are going for.

Testing strips for my sugar tester. I know my sugar tester runs about 2 points above what the hospital testing does. With generic test strips it runs 15 points above so I will suck up the price for the brand name test strips. My ins has to have 2 A1C over 6. (6.5 is diabetes I'm at 6.4) before they will pay for the test strips... I found them at Amazon for 1/4th what I would pay at the drug store and 1/2 of what I would pay at Walmart.

Anything I need for Passover. As I am restricted on certain items that I know send my sugar up I will have to rework my menu for that week and the Seder meal.
Ham for Easter (Hubby and I are of different faiths)
Asparagus as it's in season and I don't grow it.
Milk (if I run out of yogurt I will need more milk)
cottage cheese
bell peppers
thin bagels
English Muffins (coupon for this at local store half off)
sausage patties (4 oz patties , coupon for this at local store 1/3 off)
frozen hash browns (coupon at local store 1/2 off)
orange juice (coupon at local store 1/2 off)
hash brown patties
Carnation High Protein essential drink. I get powdered vanilla. I can drink it and it not send my sugar too far up. I can make it and put it in my small thermos if I am on the go and need to carry a "meal" with me. I can't get granola/bfast bars due to my Crohns)

Have a blessed Week

Sunday, April 2, 2017

April Goals...Frugal plans

This used to be my Mom's and Pop's (stepdad). It's what they used to save money for Christmas to all the grandkids and great grandkids.They did cash  or wrote a check.

Since we have went to cash for groceries, dogs needs, eating out(the only entertainment we do) and other odds and ends. I've actually had change and have filled this up a couple times.

We have been doing "some" frugal things. Then Hubby decided he was retiring in Jan 2019, 2 yrs sooner than we had planned. I'm not going to tell him he can't for any reason, he works a very hard and active job and he is the oldest in the dept and has over 30 yrs at the plant.. He doesn't want to change jobs at the plant or shifts. Fine with me and it really is fine. We have a 401k and pension.

BUT I would like to "make up" what isn't going to be earned those 2 yrs as much as possible BEFORE he does retire out on the cash reserves part.

I went over to frugalwoods blog and started rereading.
Went back over our health ins and the budget. We need to decide where we will take the hit when he retires if we don't make up the missing reserves.

We decided to eat from the pantry for the month of April with only a few things to buy.

We made a list in Dec of what we wanted to get done this year by mid Aug.I need to work harder at getting it done in the that time frame with the weather getting warmer.

I want to have the gardens ready to plant by next weekend.

I want to finish changing the closet lights to LED light bulbs.

I am scheduling sewing time.

I am having sugar issues, borderlining  diabetes so I need to see what my ins will pay if I have to continuing to test.

Yard sales will be starting and I am going to make a list of what I am looking for this week.

Amish produce auctions start this month and I have a limit of amount I am going to spend.

We probably will keep updating this list.

Monday, March 27, 2017

End of March frugal

Sunshine peeking through is pretty much how it's been this week.
A lot of money was spent this week, still I would say it's a frugal week.

We ordered 2 beds from Amazon for our daughter who was going to go to a rental place. NO, pay us the payments and we will order them. She saved over $1000....which means we saved also as I know "dead season" at her work place is coming and she wouldn't be able to make the payment and still make the bills and we would have stepped in and helped. This way they will be paid OFF before dead season hits as she is paying us the payments instead. For those wondering...dead season is when a restaurant etc type place goes from good flow of customers to almost nothing or none at all due to seasons, right now we are getting warmer so people will be cooking out or might order pizza.Upscale restaurant  usually loses business. Kind of like construction in Ohio comes to a trickle during winter months.

I got new shorts...usually that means I bought shorts at yard sale, thrift shop or got hand me downs from one of the grandsons. I actually bought NEW shorts. Found them at Sam's club a style I like and I know I will wear these for years. I am still wearing the shorts I bought in 2005...fabric is starting to give.SO I figure if I wear these 12 yrs (that puts me at 70 and yes at 70 I would still be okay wearing these) I figure that's $1 a year.

While at Sam's club I also got sugar, flour, vinegar, honey mustard, coffee for me ( I drink med, Hubby drinks tar LOL) dogs dental treats which our vet thought was doing good for our dogs. Also got It. dressing, toilet paper, freezer bags(stocking for when the garden starts coming) diapers and wipes for the great grandson, carrots, baby carrots, apples and baking potatoes as I will be eating them for my lunches.Hershey candy bars as Hubby eats them with peanut butter before he goes to dinner at 5 is his bfast... he doesn't get another meal until 4 am so he eats a candybar with peanut butter before work and an apple with peanut butter at first break at 2. Cookie butter...had no clue to what this was but had 1/2 dozen kids ask me for something that had it in it. Since I didn't want to special order the cookies that it's made with I bought this. Hope they like what they asked for when I get make it.

We got binoculars at Gander Mt. The old set is over 2 decades old and no longer has clear vision and it helps to see if the coyotes are running the woods that are about 1/2 mile from us before I let my dogs out.Hubby can use them when weather spotting also.

I got yarn on sale at Hobby Lobby. Hopefully this is all I need to finish my great grandson's  afghan. I thought I would need 5 but they only had 4 left.

We ate out, hit lunch time at one place and early dinner for the other. Ate cheap for eating out.

I mended a couple shirts.

We ate the majority from the pantry and stayed out of the grocery stores. I still need anchovies and sesame oil but won't go for just that.I did grab milk today at the local small store.

We got gas using points from a local grocery.

We combine errands with doc appts or when Hubby has meetings for HAM radio

I got the electric down by $25.

I got my car in the shop due to a problem with moving my seat and asked for the car to be checked out since I was going to lend it to my daughter. Good thing because it had a bad wire that could have caught fire. Now that is fixed and it runs better so better gas mileage...but he is still working on the seat LOL.

I have started buying the Christmas gifts when I see them on sale.

I have found if I add a 2nd spin on the new washer I  can cut dryer time down by 30 min on heavy loads. I use the sensor in the dryer.

My ins requested a A1C as part of my "points" to lower the cost of next year's ins for us...not something my doctor usually runs when fasting sugar is below 100... good thing the ins did because my A1C says I am borderline diabetic. I am now testing at home and monitoring it along with lifestyle changes as diabetes runs strong in the family. It's a bit weary to have to test one and two hours after I eat and not be able to drink anything except water ( I drink 72 oz of water a day now) I am a coffee drinker with real milk and real sugar but I can go black and I drink tea unsweetened.

Hope you had a frugal week and feel good about your choices you made.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Frugal week with back procedure

My grandson's mother in law to be suggested my snowman after I sent everyone a picture of my pots garden.

On Friday I had my back procedure, drove 2 hrs in snow, snow pellets, sleet, freezing rain and then rain...I don't think OHIO knows what season it doctor had already given me my restrictions for the next 2 weeks before the procedure that I am to OBEY until the follow up appt. So we prepared for me to be down...It's not bad procedure, injections etc... I just am more limited than most because the injections flare up my cerebral palsy.We planned to eat at Golden Corral afterwards and was able to eat at lunch time so it was less than we had planned for. I put corned beef (bought on sale and froze), potatoes, carrots and cabbage in the crock pot for dinner that night which we were both thankful because Hubby wasn't really up to cooking since he hadn't slept that day and I was having problems walking.

I fixed the rest of the meals from the pantry.

I am hoping the weather forecast tonight is good so I can uncover my perennials this week and not continue to have a garden of pots.

We got haircuts while on sale and I noted on the calendar the next time they have their sale scheduled.

My son went to a coffee house and the one worker told him to rinse his paper coffee filter before putting the grounds in and he would be able to use less grounds. I tried it and have been able to cut about 1/4th to 1/3 rd of grounds in ours.

I combined sales and coupons to order the seeds I need to fall planting in late July/Aug.

I juiced some limes that were starting to get old and froze the juice. I zested them first.

Hubby moved our new washer in, I moved my wringer over to the side for now. I timed the first load that was for the longest wash cycle there is. About the same as what I do in the wringer washer but it took 1/2 the time in the dryer so the electric bill will be coming down. Plus I can toss a load in more often and use the drying rack for smaller loads which wasn't convenient to do with the wringer washer.

Did the usual of curtains open and closed, lights and power strips off,washing foil and plastic bags.

Hubby darned a couple of his socks. One of the things his grandmother insisted he learn from her.

My daughter's  been waiting to get moved into her new place. Her and the kids have stayed with friend as the landlord found busted water pipes and an issue with the furnace that stopped her from moving in. Her stuff is there though. He gutted the pipes and replaced them, fixed the toilet that he found wasn't working right after he fixed the pipes and is now replacing a couple parts on the furnace and making sure there is no carbon issues with it before letting her actually live there.Gave her money off next month rent. So we went to the store and got 2 lbs of spag, 2 jars of sauce, 2 loaves of garlic bread, and 3 lbs of hamburger saving over $16 on the total for the family that is keeping them until she can live in the new place. I also got 2 dozen of eggs at 69¢ a dozen, 3lbs of hamburger for $1.29/lb, tuna for 50¢ a can and bread for 59¢ a loaf along with rolls and some cin. bread and muffins that was marked down 50%. We had the muffins and cin. bread for snacks over the weekend and the rolls stuffed with meatballs pizza style (FB recipe) for dinner last night.

We paid on our loans that are against our life ins policies (taken out when Hubby went to 3 days a week working for 2 yrs , thankful his company kept him working those 3 days so we had health ins. and I was out of work). I have been paying more on his as his interest rate is higher than mine.It's the last 2 bills we had from those 2 yrs.

I finished inputting my coke caps and donated that money to USO. I am waiting to see what Coke does next for rewards.

We are planning to plant more in the gardens but not overwhelm me, which triggers back issues, with the upkeep. I would like an asparagus bed that is raised so that's in the plans also.

I have enjoyed the weather we had yesterday, since I was able to walk decent I took the dogs around the perimeter(carried cell phone in case I needed help since Hubby was in house studying for his EMT renewal test). Wasn't sunny but was high 40s so wasn't bad when there wasn't much wind.

What did you do?

Blessed Be

Sunday, March 12, 2017

3.12.2017 Frugal and gardens

I really wished I was in the gardens because I was planting. Instead I have spent the time covering up plants that had come up due to another winter storm coming this week after our spring like weather.

I am actually going to use the aerator spike instead of buying a broadfork for the little space I want to use it in.I might use it to plant to popcorn...we will have to see if that will work.

I used straw from the north garden to cover the garlic, fall onions, strawberries and herbs in the south gardens.

I used old flower pots to cover the perennial flowers that are up by turning them upside down and making sure no holes in the bottoms would allow snow through.

I flipped my son's car back to him when we were already in the area( an hr away) helping move our daughter. Did his taxes and got lunch at his home that we split the price of a pizza and he used his discount.Saved gas and food money.

I didn't go to store, Hubby did get milk this morning at the gas station because I forgot to stop yesterday on the way home. Got it for $1.99... decent price for a gas station.

I turned the humidifier off even during the week and opened up the house.

Did the usual of washing plastic bags, foil etc and reusing. Went through the plastic containers for storage.

Open curtains for daylight and close them when getting dark except the day the wind was blowing with gusts up to 60 mph , then I left them shut to help keep the house warm.

Shared what I have in the pantry storage with daughter that moved to help her get her pantry back up. She just found a new job and a bigger place. She was proud of me that I didn't go BUY her groceries.

We did go out to dinner with friends at the local spot that had fish special so it was a little cheaper than normally it would have been.

We combined errands and appts to keep the trips to town down.

I turned off the power strip to my coffee maker and the one to my computer.

I used the leftovers to make different meals.

I saved all the five dollar bills and ones that made $5 from Feb to now  to put in my savings acct. Side benefit of paying cash for the groceries and eating out.

I mended a pair of pants and a shirt.

It doesn't seem like much LOL

Monday, March 6, 2017

Frugal note

Eat the food not pitch it in the trash after it's buried in the back of the frig behind the butter and other stuff...SIGH.

I cleaned out the frigs...we have decided to focus on eating REAL food and not preservatives as much.  We are already close to 80 % REAL and thought to try to go to 90 %.So I made a menu of 30 fresh salads with REAL food and dressings and then the grocery list... and then decided to check to see what else I needed.... mudroom frig is usually my stable stock up like butters and lard and such ... yogurt and sour cream got shoved behind it and then covered with the butter... WASTE of yogurt and sour cream and now realize I don't have as much butter as I thought.

That isn't FRUGAL.

I did some mending.

I put my coffee maker on a power strip ( garage power strip). I remember to shut it off but not unplug the coffee maker.

My son uses our mechanic and needed maintenance and tires so while I was done in his area(an hr away) at a doctor appt I flipped cars with him. I'm hoping it works out to flip again when I am down closer to him at our youngest's house. Saves both of us gas money.

Got groceries,between sales and coupons saved 37%.

We are combining errands to keep fuel costs down along with wear and tear costs.

I used the drying rack for 4 loads of laundry 

I bought a pizza and tossed salad the other night while coming home from doctor office that is 2 hrs away. Got home at 7 and Hubby had to leave for work at 8:30... the pizza made 3 meals with the salad making 2 .Not the best choice but Hubby didn't wake up until I called him I was on my way home so the roast didn't get started.

March Shopping

I would say goals but I have already done the shopping for March.

I will have to pick up milk, and a stick of pepperoni. It comes from Italy and our local IGA sells it.I slice it on my meat slicer and bag it in sandwich bags in the amts I use on our pizza. Then I put in it freezer bag and toss in freezer. The end pieces I dice for other meals, freeze it on a cookie sheet then bag and put back in freezer.

I spent $337. and saved 37%. The budget is set at $180/month I had about $75 left for Jan and Feb each.The produce should last 4-6 wks. The meat will stretch out what we have in the freezers. I'm $7 over budget. I wouldn't have spent it if I didn't have money set back to cover the rest of this month with the acknowledgement that I have to cut back the next 2 months to make up for it. That should be easy come May with the spring garden coming in.

Both of us are wanting spring to come in so I can plant salad stuff and sugar peas. Right now it's mid 50s until Sat then its back down to freezing until the middle of the following week. If I can between the rain storms I'll cover a few spots to try to have it warm enough after this next cold spell.


corned beef tip (not flat brisket which is bigger) on sale for $1.99. They are small but for the two of us we don't need big. I have one out for tonight to make rubens with.

fresh whole chicken for 89¢lb, can't remember when we had a whole roasting chicken (weighs over 8lbs) instead of turkey.

potatoes, small potatoes,cabbage(several heads that are now in root cellar) apples, pears, lemons,limes,Romaine lettuce, flat leaf spinach,celery,bell peppers,grape tomatoes,bananas, mangos,cucumbers,kiwi, mushrooms,brussels sprouts,stuffed olives, jar of artichokes,dried figs and dried apricots,


Fresh chicken breast $1.49lb
cube steak that was marked down a 1/3rd of price
tomato soup for 75¢/can (my comfort food when I am sick)
sugar snap peas
baby mix spring lettuce
dark rye bread
Razzleberry pie (Hubby's favorite)
water chestnuts that was half price so the pantry is now restocked on that.


toothpaste, on sale and had $1 coupon
strawberries 4 lb for $5. AND they actually had flavor.on sale
Red cabbage
navel oranges on sale and coupon
egg beaters (Kroger brand)
yogurt (coupons and sale)
cottage cheese (sale)
sour cream (sale)
sliced cheese (sale, coupons and one free)
asst pasta for daughter who just got the lease signed on her new place (was on clearance rack)
asst nuts...ouch price, wasn't as bad as I've seen else where but still..... but doc wants me to start eating small nuts in salads or jello salads.
asparagus. This just will not grow for us...sigh.
bibb lettuce
red onions
vine ripe tomatoes (tomato salad, cucumber tom and onion salad BLT)
cilantro, parsley, and mint (won't grow in this house)
bacon (sale, coupons and one free)
smoked sausage (sale, coupons and one free)
frozen chicken breasts (thin slice) (sale and coupon)
chuck roast ( been seeing it for $7.88/ it for $2.88/lb)
ground beef (marked down 1/3rd)
cube steak (marked down 1/3rd)
London Broil (marked down 1/3rd...haven't had it in 7 yrs finally got back in my price range with it marked down for quick sale)

I don't plan meals out much as too much happens. We usually talk about what is going on the next day and what we need to eat etc over bfast since Hubby works 3rd. My bfast is actually his supper.

Blessed Be

Monday, February 27, 2017

Being Frugal during weather whiplash

 From mid 50s to mid 60s  on some days and down to 20s and 30s on others. Even with my fall garlic and onions covered up they are going to take the hit with their greens up.We tried covering them up with blankets but the winds were over 40 mph with gust higher at times. Pollen went up and took my allergies right with it. They are saying that this year will be a bad year for allergies so I picked up more distilled water for my sinus rinses and got 11% rebate on it. Turned the furnace off a couple times but had to turn the space heater on when the winds got and the furnace couldn't keep the heat up.

Filed our taxes with Credit Karma for free. We have to file a 1040 and usually that's a pretty penny.

Saved 20¢ a gal off gas buy using GasBuddy to find the cheapest and then it happened to be a Speedway so Hubby used his card for an additional 3¢.

Used the Kroger points from our shopping in Jan. Got 60¢ off per gal of gas. Won't get any off gas in March as I didn't shop at Krogers in Feb. Just didn't have any sales that was that good.

Hubby had a meeting that was going to run late so he he called me and told me to not fix dinnger good thing he had coupons with him for Wendy's and bought that for us to eat instead of my cooking dinner after he got home. Good thing because I would have only cooked for him (and for his lunch) as I wouldn't have had dinner done until 7. Very late for me to eat and take meds. IF we had knew it was going to run late I would have fixed soup or something that I could have ate and he could have when he got home.

Used my Subway card to get subs. I had enough points to pay for one and the other one was $6 on sale.

I cooked and dehydrated pumpkins...still have several to do. I turn the dried pumpkin into powder. We won't need pumpkin for about 2 yrs. I might get some wee be littles or jack be littles, some use them for decorations but they are about the right size for baking for a veg for one person.

I dehydrated a batch of the fall apples. Have one more batch of them to do . Starting to get mushy to eat but fine for dehydrating.

I took the scraps from the pumpkins and apples out to the field to compost as my composter isn't working as it should.

Figured out we save $86.50 by going after the washer instead of paying of it to be delivered. We figured milage not just gas.

Washed and dried food freezer bags, bread bags and dry food liner bags.

Saved more distilled water jugs for mini hot houses and the boxes the jugs(we buy it by the case as it's cheaper that way) for boards for my fabric.

Cleared sq ft gardens and added the dirt we already had. I have one more place to clear then I can start filling the pots that I have to plant it.

Got 4 reusable bags at home show to replace worn out ones. Using worn out ones to put donations in.

Found a great article in Real Simple Magazine( $2 for a year subs.) about HSA which is what our ins is changing to next year.

Started walking perimeter (1/3 mile) and stretching to adjust to using the clothes line and planting the garden BEFORE I actually start doing that so I don't end up in the doctor's office again this year.

Transferred my balance at Pinecone Research to my savings. I do that once a month. The same with my Swagbucks.

We were going to go visit my in law's but it was nice out and they wanted to meet us at a restaurant that was mid way to us so they could get out of the house. We used our tax refund to pay them the loan they had lent us. I used the last of the eat out budget and part of what was left of the grocery budget to pay their dinner so all it cost them was their gas.They are retired now and live on a very strict budget.They weren't planning to retire so soon but their companies sold out and that was the best to do.

We did end up eating out 4 times this month even with the pantry challenge. IF we hadn't bought mu in laws meal we would have still been under budget ...even so I still have money left in the grocery budget so we are still in budget. Leftover money was set aside to stock up this fall.

I had blood work and found my A1C had went from 5.2 to 6.4 (diabetes is 6.5) in 6 months. Doc thinks it's the steroids that the GI has had me on. SO I am being weaned off them (doesn't make GI happy , she understood though I haven't spent a lifetime doing what I can to NOT be a diabetic , runs strong in both sides of my family to go into it with meds that I don't have to take) as she was wanting me to take them for a year. The company that makes the steroid I am on said it would only work 3 months for my condition and then THEY suggest you come off...a year is for severe Crohn's. My VSL #3 seems to be doing the best for me which is not paid for by ins because my GI will not fill out the paperwork for that. She refused to fill out intermittent family leave for hubby so his company worked it out with the company that deals with that stuff so my primary could fill it out. She did say he needed it , she just doesn't do that unless you are being operated on.I would change doctors again but the others I have interviewed are worse about taking steroids and all said they wouldn't agree to me taking VSL #3 as it's not tradition meds.I will add my GI has my primary run all the blood work as she feels I don't need stuck twice and have 2 bills and I sure don't need to drive to her office to get blood work as she's not connected to the hospital here.

We decided to eat from the pantry in March.

Blessed Be

Monday, February 20, 2017

Frugal week, quick meals and a sign of spring to come

 I mended two items.

We found an automatic washer close to what my son uses that I do like. It's a little bigger than his so my comforter will fit so no more laundromat ($360 savings/yr) and the washer was on sale so one and half years of NOT going to laundromat will pay for the washer. Top with the fact it will wring out the clothes more than my wringer washer does so the dryer won't run as long. I will still  use the drying rack and clothes line just like always. The washer comes in on Thursday and we decided to pick it up ourselves to not pay the fee for delivery.

We tightened the clothesline as it's a decent couple of days and I should be able to use it somewhat with doing laundry this week.

I cut some boxes up to use to wrap extra fabric around when I finish putting my sewing room together. Which will not be this week since it's nice I will be outside in the gardens.

We went out to eat for our anniversary to our favorite steakhouse. Went during the afternoon to pay the cheaper prices, brought home enough leftovers for 2 meals as neither of us eat that much any more.

We went to a home show to see what is happening in that end, getting ideas for when we build and some ideas to pass to our son as he is looking at doing some changes in the home he bought a couple years ago. We ate brunch at Big Boy's using a coupon we still had so didn't need to eat any lunch. We finished some odds and ends in the frig for our dinner and went for ice cream for our dessert for our anniversary.

Checked the gardens to see what work was needed done before we started planting and make sure I have all the supplies I need for that.

Meal wise...

Quick and simple and cheap..

Pulled meatloaf from freezer(I always bake a second one and cool overnight and slice and package for freezer) and leftover mashed potatoes I had froze and leftover corn, Cherry pie filling in shortcakes for dessert (10 min total time, basic plate and nuke while putting cherry pie filling on shortcakes)

Pulled precooked hamburger from freezer and homemade pasta sauce from pantry for pasta, made cheese and garlic biscuits using Bisquick. Tossed what was left of the roasted winter sq in the sauce. (prep time...5 min, cook time 15 min, not including oven warming up...took less time to cook pasta that( I started with hot water and in a skillet to cut time on cooking pasta ) than it did to deal with the biscuits. Next time I will preheat oven before getting pasta around.

Pulled precooked bulk sausage, tossed with potatoes (boiled with skin on, cooled overnight and then skinned and diced) in frying pan and mixed in a couple beaten eggs. Served with toast and combination of leftover fruit.

Made soup from odds and ends and ham broth

tonight I am using leftovers from steakhouse to make philly steak pizza, pizza crust was from Tightwad gazette and takes about 10 min, I'll prebaked it while nuking the bell peppers,onions and mushrooms I will be adding to the leftover steak I cut up. Prep time 15 min, cook time 20 (I make 2 pizzas) Tropical fruit blend with kiwi added for the dessert. I have a late doctor appt today.

I plan on to eat from the frig freezers this week to clear those out.

My spring flowers, pretty sure they are my tulips LOL... even though I KNOW winter will be hitting again in a couple of days, it made me smile to see the beginning of spring.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Mid month Goal check in

Happy Valentine's day to each and everyone. No Hubby didn't give me flowers. Hubby doesn't do that sort of thing.I'll be lucky if Hubby remembers what today is when he comes in from work. I bought these for myself last year. Didn't spend the money this year.Decided I wanted hand towels and cloths for the bathroom more than flowers. I prefer to change towels and cloths daily and hadn't replaced the ones that wore out last year...we both have been sicker this year and I think that is part of the issue since I only do laundry once a week. With a wringer washer it's not toss it in and walk away.

I did my mid month goal check this morning... we have eaten out 2 times with 3 as the limit I wanted. Last night was a last minute eat out...I went to a doctor appt and it ended up with the doctor removing a spot that was cancer off my nose that hadn't been planned but he didn't feel I should drive another two hours (round trip ) for a 2 min procedure as it wasn't deep. On the negative side I drove myself and I wear glasses right where the spot is/was and it hurt like all get out with the my glasses and I ended up with a migraine by time I got home. I used grocery money to pay for the eating out.

SO where am I at.

Dogs budget is good, nothing has came out of their budget.I know dog food will come out this week since Menard's has their 11% rebate going on.

Our grocery budget is doing really good even with the Taco Bell run last night we have only spend $50. I got milk for $1.58 for a gallon and lg eggs for 59¢ a dozen and portibella mushrooms for 79¢ a lb this week. No limit on the eggs (I got 10 dozen) but was on the mushrooms.

We have ate from the pantry. I baked the last ham that was in the freezer. I have ham broth to can today and ham fat to strain and freeze today also along with apples, oranges, pumpkins and all else that needs to be dealt with that was in winter storage that will be getting icky with the coming of Spring. I made note of what we didn't use to compare to what we stored so I don't get as much this coming year.

We are doing the programs for our health ins. Have met the min requirement already and are working towards the next level. There are 3 levels and each level helps lower the cost of what we pay next year.

I still haven't finished the cookies and candy for the kids...SIGH.

I have been getting 50,000 steps a week even without walking the perimeter daily. Weather has either been too cold which makes me hurt or too wet with walking in mud as the perimeter isn't very grassy.

I haven't been doing my yoga but have been doing the stretches and PT my therapist told me to do at home.

I missed 2 days of shining my sink (not back to back)but caught them up the next day. I missed 2 days of decluttering but since I am down to 94 places to declutter for the year I am not too worried about that.

I started my great grandson's afghan yesterday at the doctor's office.

One on the sweet potato's that I started for slips isn't doing anything so I tossed it this morning and will start another one this afternoon

The mudroom frig freezer that I am working on emptying got filled back up with leftovers. I think I am going to have a eat from the freezer week next week to bring it back down. I do know we have several ice packs that I am probably going to get rid of a few. I need to make veggie broth also, that will clear out a pretty good spot as I keep that veggies peelings in the freezer.

I rolled my coins and put that in my savings this week. We put Hubby's attendance bonus in one week and his overtime in last week. I have the fives I've been saving for this week. We are trying to put something extra each week in the savings.

I am still struggling with my Home Blessing routine. I've got the shine the windows,shine the sink and take out the trash down. Dusting, swish and swipe , sweeping,vacuuming and mopping is still not regular...well the swish isn't daily but it's often enough because we have rusty water and it leaves a nasty ring in the toilet if you don't clean if often enough LOL.

How are you doing ?

Monday, February 13, 2017

I don't use a crock pot or Instant pot meals

even though I have both. But I do have one pot meals that I make  when I am busy. They are dishes that can be put together ahead of time and then just put on the stove or in the oven. If they are going in the oven so it the sides that includes dessert and sometimes the bread.

Green beans, diced potatoes, onion and ham chunks.(pot)

Cabbage, chunked potatoes , chunked carrots and ham chunks (or bacon or no meat)(pot)

Cabbage, potatoes and smoked sausage coins (pot or skillet)

Hash (any meat with any diced veggie) (Skillet)

SOPP . smoked sausage coins, onions, potatoes and peppers (I use colored peppers) Skillet

Tuna Noodle with peas (skillet or pot)

chicken a la king (pot or deep skillet)

Goulash (boil pasta in skillet first , cooks quicker and you are only having to wash one pan)

chicken and dumplings (pot or skillet)

chuck wagon beans (pork and beans, hamburger or bulk sausage) skillet,fry meat first , either leave grease in or wipe out.

Porcupine meatballs

Boston baked beans

homemade baked beans

scalloped potatoes and ham

stuffed baked squash

fried cabbage and potatoes

Fried potatoes served with milk gravy and cornbread (grew up with this one when Dad didn't get anything while hunting or fishing.)


pork and kraut

dried beef gravy/sausage gravy/hamburger gravy/ leftover meat gravy  served over bread (or biscuits or mashed potatoes or pasta)

Amish chicken roast ( pieces of chicken mixed in a bread stuffing/dressing and baked and served with gravy over it)

pot pie with leftover meat and veggies with leftover gravy (or make a cup of milk gravy...1 tbsp of butter (or grease of any kind) 1 tbsp of flour and 1 cup of milk)

Nonna's soup pot (bean soup on Monday, add veggies and water Tuesday, add rice and more water Wed and pasta and more water on Thursday add more water Friday and served over stale bread that was baked on Saturday and be grateful there was food on the table)

any meat that be roasted ...beef roast, round steak, cube steak, pork roast, pork steak, pork chops,Ribs short ribs, chicken whole or parts, turkey whole or parts, (I've been known to cut off the legs and wings before putting the turkey breast in the freezer. Gives me wings to either fix as a meal or make broth from)  Meatloaf, meatballs, salisbury steak,ham, ham steak, fish loaf (suppose to be salmon but Mom always used mackerel)Swiss steak,

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Frugal week and not shopping

These paperwhites have brought more pleasure than we thought they would especially on today watching the sun shine down on them.I planted them in dirt because I plan to transplant them and hopefully have them again next year.

We have kept bread sacks to reuse.

We have kept the inserts out of cold cereal boxes/baking mix boxes etc to reuse as wax paper.

We kept what few plastic grocery bags we get (we use reusable mostly except for meat) to line the small trash cans in the house.

I made a different laundry soap and only made a little of it as I am not sure if it's going to clean as well. If it doesn't I can always use to to wash dishes with or scrub the floors or something. I won't throw it out for sure.

I double wrung our laundry here is our washer so you understand what I mean by wrung out .LOL

By doing that it cuts drying time in the dryer by 30 min. I hung some things on hangers after they were dried some in the dryer to finish drying, others went directly to the drying rack. I look forward to warm dry weather so I can use our clothes line.

I have been focusing on using my right hand to turn water on at the sinks..why? because I usually use my left and that means I am turning on the hot even when I don't need hot and that runs up the electric bill.

I've checked daily for frugal ideas at The Prudent Homemakers site. Picked the wisdom of Brandy and all that post on her site. 😊

We ate from the pantry even though there was a couple times we had "snacky" foods for meals because of what was going when the furnace went on the blink and I spent most of the day curled in blankets trying to stay warm while the repairman (landlord's nephew) worked on it. We do have a couple space heaters that do an okay job but it was a very windy and cold day so they were struggling to keep the house warm. Even the dogs were curled up with me...or the blankets I should say. At least that isn't a bill I will get. BUT the regular maintenance bill I would get as the landlord doesn't fix what isn't broke. Nephew shows us how to do the regular maintenance so we wouldn't need to  pay someone else (his company only does repairs to what they install) to come do it.

We didn't go to the store to get the buy 2 get 3 free... even though I am craving beef and could have go 2 lbs of ground beef (and 3 lbs of ground sausage for free) I had to really look at the freezers and ask if I wanted to fill them back up....NOPE. I did find 1 1/2 lbs of ground beef in the freezer that is suppose to be fruits and veggies and was able to mix it with a 1lb of ground pork and make Swedish meatballs for last night's supper. SO this week I spent $0 on food.

This week is really busy for me. I have 2 doctor's appts possible 3 as the 3rd one is for filling out family leave papers for Hubby employer. I have 4 webinars to watch for our health ins. I am still spring/deep cleaning and have started planning/organizing seeds etc for this year's gardens.PLUS Saturday is our anniversary and we have chosen to go to the home show which is an hour from us but is in the area we are thinking of moving to when Hubby retires (some year LOL).Price of tickets is less than the local movie which Hubby wouldn't go to anyways.

Today I roasted butternut squash, delicata squash, sweet potatoes and acorn squash and diced them to add to meals through the week. I will also prep carrots,celery, onion, mushrooms and whatever else I find in frig as I prepare dinner tonight.

Tentative meal plan for this week

Bfast: oatmeal,  whatever dried fruit we want mixed in ,cream of wheat, home made egg Mcmuffin using leftover ham instead of Canadian bacon, muffins, French toast(in freezer) and eggs.

Lunch for me  is whatever is leftover or grilled cheese sandwich, Naan bread veggie pizza or crackers, cheese and fruit or cottage cheese and beets. Hubby's lunch is whatever we have leftover from dinner.

Sweets: Eggnog refrig pie, oatmeal and dried fruit bars, cookies (that I need to make for the kids anyways). Jello with fruit, orange jello with shredded carrot(Sunshine jello)

Dinner: spaghetti squash with leftover Swedish meatballs with pasta sauce and cheddar garlic biscuits/ lasagna noodle with mashed potatoes (Facebook recipe) with salad/ hash with root veggies/ mushroom sloppy joes (instead of tomato base sloppy joes it's made with cream of mushroom soup) either as sandwiches or over noodles to make poor man's stroganoff depending on what breads I bake this week/ big egg or casserole to finish off whatever needs ate up. Saturday we plan on eating out.

May you find beauty in your day

Monday, February 6, 2017

Frugal refresher course instructor

Okay it's my Dad. He will be 90 in May and when I go visit I always pick his brain for wisdom. He has "slight" dementia, actually, he thinks his memory is bad because he can't remember sometimes what he was looking for...We do that most days.

BUT when it comes to being frugal...there is NO memory problems what so ever  LOL.

I told him I had ate from the pantry all week, even made calzones. He asked if I baked my own breads...nope as we bought a lot of bread on sale for cheaper than I can make it and then I got the lecture about preservatives preserving my digestion system.

We talked about drinking water between drinking anything else and between bites of food (helps digestive system and him swallow, swallowing can be an issue as we age).

We talked about shopping at Aldi's (he gives a list to my niece that does all that type of thing for him as she's there and I'm not) Said his grocery budget went down by $25 a week because she buys nothing that isn't on the list. Even with him paying her, he is saving money so he thinks the clicklist at Kroger's is a good idea, better one if Aldi's was doing it.He( and my niece) has noticed that prices are higher at the beginning of the month and cheaper with more sales at the end of the month. So she does his non food and other items he gets from Walmart at the end of the month. We talked about what I had on my basic grocery list which he removed half  off the list. Said ...I would enjoy my food MORE if I ate in season for fresh produce...except for the mushrooms, he left the mushrooms on the list.

Carrots, celery, onions, white potatoes and sweet potatoes(only through late fall and winter for the sweet potatoes) and bananas and apples for the fruit. OH and the mushrooms. Right now cabbage is on his list.He might suck that one up as it's the base of the soup he makes every other week. Then he started about gardening. Not surprising as it's Feb.

We talked of planting early potatoes, mid-season potatoes and late potatoes. Late potatoes you can keep some back to replant. Early and mid-season not so much. We talked of heirloom seeds and what he would buy that wasn't heirloom.He still remembers helping his Dad gathering the tomato seeds from the bottom of the bucket for planting the next year. Growing transplants WITHOUT electric.

Starting the work in the gardens in early March as early potatoes, onions and turnips were going in Ides of March. Mid-season potatoes was 2 wks later and late season was mid-April.Granddad always was looking for any place he could put a spade in and turn the ground over to plant food.

I told him I bought the seeds for the next 2 yrs out of the money I saved from eating from the pantry. He said that's how it should be, anything to do with food including what I use to preserve it should come from the grocery budget. If I'm not growing enough (or buying it cheap enough like at the Amish produce sale) then I need to go without it. I told him I planned to do a covered garden for this coming winter. He said if he wasn't alive then he would be looking down watching me,probably wondering why I wanted to eat greens.I have been getting those statements for over 20 yrs..

I decided to not go to the store for perishables, got the milk at Menards when we were getting distilled water for the humidifier even though I paid 50 ¢ more than I would have at Aldi's which was just 1/2 mile away. It kept me away from the cube steak that has been calling my name for a week which I would have spent $10 on and I know that.

I bought a few more seeds that were discounted that I will use in the winter gardens only.

I started my second sweet potato for slips.

I made a list of what I need to plant in the garden and at what time. I need to list when to start transplants through the summer for the fall gardens. I still need to decide where to put what. Dad vetoed where I was putting the potatoes LOL.

Hubby uses his gas card to get 3¢ off a gal of gas. I use my Kroger pts.

I submitted my coke pts (which is ending in March ;( !  ) I'll probably donate the pts to USO as they no longer have what I always as a reward got available any more.

I stopped using plastic bags for things that go in my frig and used containers like the bacon I fried that I got free from Krogers.

I open curtains (and inside doors ) to let sun in,

I saved the grease from the sausage I fried for calzones and made sausage gravy for our dinner.

We turn the lights off when there is enough sun out.Hubby is bad about turning on lights and leaving them on. After 20 yrs he is now turning off the lights and opening the curtains .

I forced paper whites and put them in dirt so I can transplant them for next yr.

I did the mending.

I started cutting cardboard we had saved to use in the craft/sewing room for some of the fabric.I am peeling the "part" off that has writing on some of it.

We both did required things so our health ins won't cost us as much next year when we switch to the HSA.

I decluttered the office supplies and realized we didn't need anything except for printer ink next month.

I decluttered the bathroom and realized I was out of some things...completely OUT so that's on the buy list now.

Our youngest moved and gave us back some planter pots and a picnic table. The older daughter gave us a swing frame so I just need to get a swing for it instead of the whole thing. Mine broke and it's beyond being fixed

Hope I do better at being frugal this week

Friday, February 3, 2017

In the Gardens

But with the weather here in Northwest Ohio, it's 19° with winds at 7mph making the wind chill at 11° and I have no low tunnels (plastic over hoops that just cover the plants) so the gardening is in my head. Unless we count the paperwhites and Ameryst I am force blooming and the sweet potato that I have in water hoping for shouts to start slips.I really miss this rhubarb patch...though I am not looking forward to this springs work of separating it out, it needs to be done so it has more room. I have 2-3 people wanting my "extra" starts off it. Can there be extra when it comes to rhubarb?

I bought half my seed at Menards. They had 2017 Burpee seed at 1/3rd( some was almost half off) off and their 11% rebate. SCORE.
I ordered the rest using discounts. I stayed with what I know grows here at least 80% of the time. I gave up starting seeds a few years ago using grow lamps. Didn't get many out of it and the electric bill was just too high. Even though we have cut the bill almost in half on a regular bases, I'm not sure I want to try again right now. BUT I will start growing seeds for late fall and winter planting.

I have 68 different seeds (no broccoli, cauliflower,red or green cabbages,kohlrabi, as I get the transplants cheap at the is like anywhere from $3-$10 for a flat of 36-48 plants and that includes bell peppers, hot and mild peppers and tomatoes plants in May). We have decided to do winter gardening this year so I will be ordering a few more seeds to cover the winter. Same types that do will in the spring don't always do well in the fall.

I ordered another 10 yesterday and have 2 on the please notify if they come in stock again.

Right now the total cost is at $300 ( right on the mark) with a savings of $65. Those seeds will cover 2 years of planting some 3 yrs.  I figure $ $200 a year for seed. That's a lot of money I used the money we saved from eating from the pantry during the month of Jan to pay for it. But really it isn't when you look at that grocery bill and see I spend on average $125 a month on fresh produce. from Oct to April, sometimes May depending on the weather. IF I grow it and do succession plantings (something I haven't been doing) and interplanting like radishes with the beets, green onions around the tomato plants) and do a winter garden that bill should cut down quite a bit. I won't even attempt to grow my mushrooms. I know that in July I will have to prep the winter gardens. I'm adding more work to myself, work days will be longer and more . I also know that I have to sit down NOW and plan what needs to be done at what time because it's not my norm ...when to start seeds for those fall plantings as I will want the plants to be ready to put in those fall gardens for this winter. I need to check the supple of pvc pipes we have and their conditions along with plastic and purchase some good row cover. I used to read MotherofaHubbard blog...she's moved to Four Petal Farm and is on FaceBook if you want to check her out.She's in zone 6A and I'm in 6B so I need to adjust for that. We get colder 2 wks before her and warm up 2 wks after.

I am going to start some of my spring seeds in water/milk jugs like this

I also pick the brains over at Old World Garden farms blog...they live across Ohio from me but the weather is usually very different, you wouldn't think so looking at a map. But we do get lake affect snow from Lake Michigan at times.

What are the goals for this gardening? that I can put fresh veggies on the table year around (which also means eating in season) and not spending money at the store...or money buying gas to run to the store. I know what has been put on the veggies or what sprays have been used (hot pepper spray to kill the bugs that eat the plant anyway, must have thought the spray was a condiment LOL)

I wouldn't have to spend $5 for a bunch of Swiss chard in mid winter when the garden seed is $1.99 for 250 seeds.

SO ready for spring.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Quick meals

quick meals  less than 30 min on the table... I make sure I keep the food required in the pantry to do this. I actually have a menu of these listed for me to see when I am thinking of eating out.

I precook ground beef, ground sausage(bulk) and ground pork when I bring it home. I try to keep 10 lbs of each in the deep freezer already done. I prep my veggies the day I shop or once a week so I am just grabbing veggies and not going: gee I don't feel like dealing with the carrots, onions and celery...we'll just eat out. I boil a few potatoes with skin on and then cool and refrigerate also. Doesn't take much reason to eat out..I will make taco meat and sloppy joes for the freezer also

Mac and cheese.Use small shells and boil in a skillet, less water means it heats faster.
 Can toss smoked sausage, ground sausage, ground hamb. ground pork or tuna. Mom used canned mackerel and canned salmon.

Tuna,mackerel or salmon patties, home fries and veggie

123 pasta(1 onion, 2 cups protein and 3 cups veggies usually leftovers with 1 lb of pasta and what ever sauce/gravy/cheese)

big egg (leftovers or what ever is cut up tossed in with eggs to make a fritta or open omelet)

omelets/fried egg sandwich/ egg salad sandwich

oven meal casserole (from my aunt when I got married, 2 cups of leftover meat covered by what ever veggie covered by sliced potatoes and some can of soup...she floated between cream soups, tomato soup and cheese soup cover and bake 20-30 min until hot at 350°)

hamburger pie using sloppy joes and instant mashed potatoes (pretty much the only thing I use instant mashed potatoes for)

grilled cheese (we change what cheese) and raw veggies.

grilled cheese with pizza sauce and pepperoni or some kind of "pizza" meat called Rocket Blaster by our school system.

subs or tortilla wraps with what ever we had on hand(sandwich bar) sometimes just scrambled eggs or a egg cooked flat like Subway does.

Rice or mashed potato bowls

nachos using tortilla chips chili and cheese

Chili over spag. for Cinncy chili


Soup either canned or leftovers tossed in broth (can add rice,pasta or potatoes if on light side)

Burritos (canned beans, sometimes add cheese or rice or both) Tostadas or enchiladas the same

Poorman's stroganoff  ground beef with cream of mushrooms soup and horseradish over pasta.

Breakfast for dinner...I am to make sure we have something for Hubby to pack as our dinner is his lunch to warm up at work. He doesn't eat sandwiches that much.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

February Goals

Delicata winter squash... I also have butternut, acorn and spaghetti squash still to use up.

Eat from the pantry and limit eating out to 3 times this coming month (we will eat out once with Dad, and then there is Valentine's day and our anniversary that I think we should combine but Hubby thinks we might not as he would prefer once a week eating out. I think if I get back to bread baking and make tortilla wraps, sub buns along with calzones and pizzas, he won't care about eating out.We did set an amt of $120 for eating out for the month. That means if we go to Lock 16 we will be eating out twice instead of 3 or more and I set the budget at $180 for dairy and fresh produce The dogs budget is $80...yep they have their own budget and that includes vet and meds for them besides food and treats. I also plan to have the mudroom refrigerator freezer empty eating what is in it by the end of the month . We also have a couple programs connected with our health ins that gives us points (which lowers what we pay) for eating real (no preservatives) and eating fewer processed foods (bake my own bread).I will finish the candy and cookies for the kids/grandkids and get them delivered.

I plan to walk 50,000 steps a week (connected to ins also) and start my yoga back up.

We are rebuilding our savings...slow but steady. We decided on some changes to the budget but I am not sure if they will work in real life and we are making payments on the last 3 loans we have following the Dave Ramsey Snowball method.

I am continuing with shining my sink and adding the habit of decluttering (Flylady)

I am continuing with Declutter 365 (Taylor at Home Storage solutions 101) actually I am about halfway through the year because I skipped the ones that will take weeks if not a month to do to work on after I get the "faster" ones done.

I'll pull a couple recipes off Ree (The Pioneer Woman) site like MM favorite sandwich and onion strings. Smothered pork chops.Caramel apple pie and cinnamon rolls to please Hubby (might help the "let's eat out once a week" thing he has going on.

Start more sweet potato slips.

Plan the garden (I already made planting schedule) and start transplants toward end of month.

Finish processing oranges and pumpkins.

Continue working on time mgt and weekly home blessing routine.

Decide which pattern I am using for Great Grandson's afghan....I've changed my mind about every other day.


Because I want more life..
more pleasure, more baking, more crocheting, more sewing, more crafts, more writing and lot more time with family and friends.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Last Week frugal

My fortune out of my fortune cookie. I thought it was a good poke as I found it in the car when we went to town. We went to the local Hong Kong Buffet for Chinese New Year on Saturday. I had coupons and shared them with the others that went with us and the table behind me since they had children under 7 and we don't. Everyone else went shopping , we went home.

I grieved for Ree at Thepioneerwoman as they lost their nephew and their oldest dog with in days of each other this past week or so.

I made Brandy's Swiss Chard soup from ThePrudentHomemaker. Reread all the posts under last week's frugal post from Brandy. Reread eating from the pantry and saving.

Bought the Oliso Iron after reading the review at Steamykitchen by Jaden. Been putting that off because I wanted a heavy iron and wasn't finding any in the stores and really hate ordering something that I can't touch even though I know I can return it. This one does what I want it to the first time.

I found a recipe for Kale and Farrow(when I get some of that ) and info on making complete proteins while eating meatless from Terri  at Bluehousejournal.

I found a recipe for slow cooker ham and potatoes from Katie at goodlifeeats.

The soup recipes will be going into my rotation of soups I am now making at least once a week if not  more often.

I put Dave Ramsey Debt Snowball method in effect the beginning of Jan. That is doing  well. I also listed the savings as a bill and set it to automatic. THEN without telling Hubby as he has a the tendency to start shopping when I am trying to save. He used to farm and is very used to always living in debt and living on loans. NOT living that way is a struggle for him. I transfer any money not needed at the end of the month to the savings.

My mother in law told me they saved five dollar bills and that's what she used to buy the house when they retired from farming.She saved 20 yrs. When she started she thought it would help make a down payment at the end of each month she deposited the fives. Then after a year she decide any five, whether it was 5 ones of a 5 dollar bill. SO I am doing 5 ones and 5 dollar bills.In my savings.

Prepped veggies at the beginning of the week part of the Revive course that I took from Jessica at lifeasmom. OVER prepped so I cooked what was going to end of being pitched if I didn't and split it between the turkey(leftover turkey from another meal) to make 2 burritos for our lunches and the rest of the turkey and some of the veggies went into making last night's turkey and dumplings. I have a container of the veggies to go in the pasta or calzones tonight and the rest of the veggies got dumped into what was left of the mashed potatoes that was leftover that I made mashed potato patties.Had mashed potato mixture left so mixed that the veggies and froze it to reheat as a side or add milk/broth/water to for soup for myself. I can also take a container to Dad and he can reheat it for a side or soup...just thought if I added cheese and some meat it would be loaded mashed potatoes. LUNCH. LOL

I had tossed the bag the chicken came into the kitchen trash and the next day Hubby had to take it out because of the smell...felt it was a waste as the bag wasn't really full and the trash goes to the road on Monday mornings. He tossed some of the burn trash (we have open burn here and use a burn barrel. We don't put anything in it we wouldn't put in our gardens as the ashes either go in our gardens or in our landlord's fields). I told him for now on I would either do the chicken on Sunday or put the "trash" from it in a bag and in the frig or freezer.Not wasting another kitchen trash bag.

How was your week?

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Frugal week and eating from the pantry.

The week started good....and then.. DOWN HILL SLIDE .isn't that how it usually goes?

Been eating for the pantry (pantry challenge over at Good Cheap Eats) , definitely haven't been eating out like we were.I have been focusing on clearing this freezer to the mudroom frig. Yesterday I pulled things out to see what was left...I have enough to make it to the end of Feb...HUM didn't think I could pack it that full and then  I wonder how many meals is in Monty that is the 27 cubic ft deep freezer. Guess I am going to find out.

We went to the store...kind of...Actually we went to Menards to get shelving for the root cellar section of the pantry in the basement. It was on sale and they had their 11 % rebate and we had 3 rebates to apply. Got two metal shelving units for $33 with the tax. COOL. ALSO got half the seeds for the gardens for 40% off and they are FRESH seed not last year's leftovers... add another 11 % taken off that when the rebate comes in...sigh, they had the chips on sale...chips is on the list for Feb,,,, yes I buy chips. Tortilla chips for nachos, taco salad, taco casserole, guac and salsa , cream cheese (Hubby likes it ). Fritos for taco salad, chili, spinach dip (it's the only time Hubby eats cooked spinach), potato chips for the times I am craving carbs, salt and needing potassium.and then I usually get something like puffed popcorn or cheese puffs for those times I crave crunch but can't eat raw veggies (CELERY CELERY CELERY). I got a nice variety and specified they had to last until March AND saved over 50% and I am still UNDER budget for the month.PLUS they will also get the  11% rebate. I hid the chips LOL.

We went to Walgreens as I had coupons on my card and a few paper coupons and got our year's supply of vitamins and supplements. I might have to pick up B vitamin depending on the blood work I get for next month. Saved over a 1/3rd. which is better than what I did last year as I only saved 15% last year and it averaged out to be $20 a month. This time it's averaging less than $9.for both us together. I have to take multi vitamin, vit D, Calcium, vit B. I have to float between 3 multi vitamins to keep my stomach from throwing a hissy.

Wed was my birthday, we thought we would go to town after Hubby got home from work and I would get my blood work (after fasting), then go get my free breakfast from Perkins and then get the tags and my license renewed then get the shelving and vitamins and some odds and ends at the did NOT happen...Oh yeah I fasted ,,,went without my morning coffee (or tea) and about the time Hubby should have been getting in, he was calling me to come get him because the truck was broke down.

The day slid down hill from there. Truck wouldn't be jumped, came home to take the "box" we have on the trailer off (we use the box when at auction or this time was moving our daughter) went back and winched the truck on the trailer which took an HOUR and then hauled it to the mechanic at 30 mph back roads.Getting it off the trailer was easy as we parked so the truck would roll backwards without much of a push.

Then got the tags and my license and then WENT back to the truck to put the tags on it. I did run through Walmart and get printer paper ( I don't print picture when I print recipes and I usually copy and paste so I can change the font to one that doesn't use as much ink)as I was completely out and some pears and a gal of milk.  I used a gift card and it still has money on it. I got my blood work Friday,

Got home and found out that our neighbor's mother that used to be our neighbor had died and her viewing was that night at 4 so Hubby got 3 hrs sleep before he was back up and off we went to the viewing...meantime I had checked my email and found that Hubby's employer is changing health ins to a HSA in 2018.... we don't pay for our ins at all right now but we do pay a deductible and copays....been expecting the change for years so it didn't throw us but I decided to change the budget NOW to reflect that change so we are used to it by Jan of next year. THEN since I didn't get my free bfast Hubby was feeling bad for me so he called in to our favorite local restaurant and ordered me the fried chicken dinner to go. Dropped me off at home and went and got it...didn't think to check the order before he left the restaurant...half my meal wasn't there SIGH. I ended up cooking sides for myself and he called to complain. I went to bed early,

I cooked a big batch of bell peppers, onions with 1 lbs of smoked sausage cut in coins and added 2 qrts of home canned tomatoes. 1/3 went into pasta and cheese, another 1/3rd went over rice and the last was strained (juice was left for the rice one) and used in tortilla wraps. Should have saved some for the omelets I made later this week.

I cooked 2 soup pots of rice. one for to make fried rice and the other for regular dishes or for bfast with raisins and milk.

I made eggroll casserole that made our dinner and then bagged 19 more servings(that way I can use it for my lunch, or Hubby"s lunch or for eggrolls or potstickers without thawing a lot of it) of it for the freezer. It used the last 2 heads of cabbages we had from last fall.

My GI doctor wanted me to read up on Ayurveda so I was able to do so through my Amazon kindle. I downloaded 12 books. I do unlimited, which is good for me as it's 20 miles one way to the nearest library and their selection isn't very good.I read several books at a time, nothing for me to go through a book or even two in a day. I don't watch tv except for the evening news and sometimes morning news for the weather and I limit time of the computer , I do NOT have Facebook on my phone or any other social media. I have started timing my time on Facebook when my youngest texted me and asked why I was still on FB after 30 min (I was reading some bloggers LOL)I read two hours every night and did when the kids were little, I read in bed instead of watching tv.

I have started dusting and sweeping more often to cut back on the issues with my allergies. Also using a nasal rinse twice a day and found if I do all of that I am not having to take the allergy meds or the Afrin spray...which is better for my tummy as Crony (what I call my Crohn's) isn't happy with allergy meds. also saves me over $20 a month. My daughter suggested I toss the throw blankets etc out over the clothes line even if it is freezing to help air them out instead of using the dryer.

I save all the junk mail envelopes and expired coupons and any piece of paper that can be used for notes etc.

I wash freezer bags that wasn't used for meat, foil and bread bags,

 I researched through the internet (and my Swagbucks)for the best prices for the last of my seeds I wanted to order and then ordered them using discount codes etc I cashed in my Swagbucks to claim my extra points for my birthday. I used what I cashed in for Amazon and then ordered Hubby a new tracker as his was no longer working with his phone and wouldn't connect to our health ins (ins does a point system, you do certain things like walking 50000 steps a week and get points that helps lower the costs of the health ins )Hubby had bought me a new one in Dec when he found them on sale but he didn't like what was on sale so didn't get a new one him self. I found what he liked on Amazon on sale and my Swagbucks paid for over half of it.

We decided to use my free bfast coupon this week as it expires. I then found a coupon for Perkins for Hubby to use for his meal when I decluttered area by the calendar. I don't usually keep Perkins coupons as it's not a place we go very often. THEN we decided to go Monday night since I have 2 doc appts to go to. I already have a lunch in the freezer for Hubby to take to work that night. I hope to get produce then also.IF not we will be going without because I'm not making a special trip to get it.

I went to The Prudent Homemaker site and read the frugal posts daily. Even if it means to reread, I always seem to find another piece of wisdom to try to keep the week frugal.

Blessed Be

Monday, January 16, 2017

last week's frugalness

I washed my produce before preparing it and put the skins in a bag in the freezer to make veggie broth when the bag is full which should be this week.

I canned 8 pints of oranges, dried the zest, added some of the zest to salt for citrus salt, put some of the peels in vinegar for citrus vinegar cleaner and prepped the nicer peels to make candy orange peels today.

We ate from the pantry doing the pantry challenge from Good Cheap Eats except for Saturday when Hubby brought a pizza home after working outside in the cold and wet with HAM radio group.

I dehydrated some more eggs and powdered them for storage. I noticed the price is starting to creep back up to a dollar a dozen. I would like to get more in storage but if I don't , I'm okay.

I put 14 qrts of turkey broth, 7 qrts of beef broth and 14 pints of ham broth.

I put 4 meals of ham in the freezer.

I canned 12 half pints of butter. I grew up canning butter so it doesn't worry me to do this.It is a personal choice.

I bumped a couple of errands and appts to the same days so we are only going to town 2 days this week instead of 4.

I baked a peach dump cake and took the extra peaches to add to peach jello.

I didn't keep track of what I was doing frugal and I think since I didn't I might not noticed that I could have been frugal or more frugal if I had been writing things down daily.

Blessed Be

What I plan to do this week

 These come from REVIVE course from Jessica Fisher

These week's goals.

Declutter 365 ( Taylor at Home storage solution 101). We are in the pantry...yesterday I measured all areas of where I store food and non food. We have thought 400 sq ft....NOPE. 700 sq ft. that's bigger than the house my youngest lives in with 3 kids. I took pictures yesterday, noticed clutter that I was "blanking" out when I was actually in the room along with some why did I sit that there? issues.  I won't be inventorying it ...HA HA. Nor will I be inventorying the 27 cubic chest deep freezer, 22 cubic chest deep freezer or 7 cubic chest deep freezer. I might the 2 refrigerators freezers. That is a BIG might.

I changed my zones from Flylady's zone to match my house better. The zone for this week is the upstairs bedrooms. I will also be focusing on 27 fling boogie 3 times a day out of these 3 rooms.I took pictures of this also. We'll see where I stand in these 3 rooms before I decide which is the project for this weekend.

I am doing Revive, using the time budget, time analysis, cleaning schedule  daily. Made a menu for bfast, lunch, dinner and snacks.

Doing snowball debt  from Dave Ramsey and focused on rebuilding the emergency fund. In with this I have gotten paperwork for my doctor to fill out to try to get my health ins to agree to pay for a medication not covered by my ins.My ins suggested it, that even if my ins doesn't pay it , I might be able to get my money back through my flex spending acct.

I've been reading The Prudent Homemaker daily gleaning the wisdom on the frugal posts but the others also. I just gave away a skirt that I loved but was huge on me that I could have taken in.. I do sew DUH. It took seeing Brandy's daughter in the skirt she took in to make me realize I need to stop with, this don't fit get rid of it and ask if I can redo it to make it fit.

I am processing food that will start going bad with spring coming.

Have a great week

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Jan 15 to 21 menu

Due to changes in meds (and there will be another one in a couple weeks) I have sat down and wrote out the meds schedule and when I have to eat...because over half my meds need to have food with them but can't be taken close to other meds. I am really focused on serving sizes and getting more walking in as I don't want to gain weight.

Bfast menu is French toast with bacon/oatmeal bar with yogurt/apple muffin with yogurt/egg sandwich (bagel,bread or English muffin) cream of wheat with sausage patty/oatmeal with egg (how ever I want to fix it that morning LOL) and omelet.

Morning snack. My doctor strongly suggested pureed fruit with my new med which is what I take at this time so that will be what this snack is. I will set up my blender so if I don't have applesauce in the frig like I do right now, I can puree up what ever is on hand.

Lunch...SIGH... I am going to try to eat salads....daily.... I like salads, I always eat them when out, I eat a chef salad before I eat my pizza but let's get real...I HATE PREPPING SALADS. I just am not willing to pay that extra money to have it prepped for me LOL.... I have been known to eat what my friend calls salad sandwiches.So Sunday evening I will be prepping salads but in my head I will tell myself I am prepping veggies to use during the week in dinners instead...Sometimes I have to "mommy" myself.Salads will have a protein/carb with them due to meds.

Afternoon snack.This is around 2 pm when I have my tea, it will be mostly a small carb...biscotti, cookie, cake, fig newton, something small. I've done this for years so it's not a change.

Dinner this week...123 pasta (using leftovers up)/Eggroll Bowl (has rice)/ smoked sausage,bell peppers and onion over LO Rice/ham and scalloped potatoes casserole/ red beans and LO rice/Chicken breast (several varieties of precooked in freezer)with winter sq (depending on choice of chicken of which winter sq) and Risotto...probably beef,mushroom and radicchio

Evening snack...jello, pudding, custard, yogurt, frozen yogurt or juice, Maybe popcorn ...something very light but still enough I can take the last med that requires food.I might try to ride the exercise bike after the snack instead of riding it in the morning.Though taking a walk around the perimeter in the dark (I have a good flashlight) in the cold might help me sleep longer than 4 hrs.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

What I am doing

Declutter 365 is going good.I have the upstair hall and staircase (stash dash and wait until I am going up for some other reason since we don't use the upstairs much any more. That's going to change) done and cleaned.

I worked on the butler's pantry, another dump until I go down to the basement area as the basement door is right there..which meant I was stepping over things to get to the dry goods that I can't store in the pantry in the basement or things I use daily (I don't store food in the kitchen cabinets, never have).

This is what it looked like before I started....

there is over 50 cake mixes on that top shelf. My youngest gave me a recipe to use them up making cookies .If I had 50 brownie mixes I would have everyone of my grandkids offering to bake them LOL.

I took some stuff and placed in 5 gal food grade buckets with lids and put in basement pantry including 30 of the cake mixes, kept no more than 2 of each kind plus brownie, muffin and cookie mixes I was given. I have a few things that were missing and didn't realize it until I cleaned it so today I will be making a grocery list of those items as right now they are just jotted down on the white out board on the side of the frig that sits at the doorway to this area.

I forgot to take a before picture of the pegboard I hang my pots and pans on (idea from Julia Child). To say the least it was a horrible mess since I had bought new pans  and the set had more pans than the set I got rid of (gave to grandson that got his own place) and never dealt with it. Hubby likes the new way because if he hangs it in the wrong spot it's be into another pan and he KNOWS that isn't how it's set up.  I got rid of the rice cooker that I haven't used since the kids left home (hum, 9 yrs?) and put the instant pot in its place so it's off the floor.

SO after 3 days of several hours a day this is what I now have.

and then I have this...I hang the tablecloths here. We don't use the baseboard heater (shut off at breaker box) so I use it for the cold cereal. I very seldom buy cereal unless it's on sale for less than $2 and I have coupons.AND if I can get a rebate from it it's even better. BUT Hubby likes his cold cereal and at least it's not the kind with tons of sugar. We are stocked for about 6 months if not more.
Hubby built this as a bookcase for me in 2005 when I started my business as a personal/private chef.It's purpose has changed several times through the years.I have a step stool that isn't in the picture that usually leans against it. It's being used upstairs at the moment. This is another one Hubby built. We had moved into a very small rental house that had a built in pantry wardrobe and there was this spot next to it that nothing fit in and I didn't have any place for my baking staples so Hubby built it to fit the area. When we moved here it fit in this corner but now it holds the teas, sodas,jello, pudding, and the booze. Just FYI, we don't drink 95 % of it. It's for cooking mostly that I used in my cheffing....I pawned some off on my bartending daughter for her and her coworkers to use coming up with new drinks etc. Still have some I am either going to have to pawn off or find recipes for since I have retired.Got a few from Mom before she passed away and a couple from a friend that brought it back from Italy. I plan to start working on the shelves that are in the staircase to the basement next. Kitchen is just wipe out cabinet and drawers and the top of the cabinets wiped out. I keep the kitchen decluttered mostly. The kitchen table gets a lot on it as it's the only work area and holds the coffee maker,my kitchenaid, tea box, water pitcher, cookie jar LOL's only 24 inches by 40 inches so it's a work horse for it's size.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Pantry challenge frugal week

Hubby said he knows why we don't do menus ...I take the leftovers and keep adding to it to provide one more meal...  this was said after I cooked a combination of veggies to add to our subs and then served them in  4 more ways to provide meals. I put the last of them in enchiladas tonight but we still have enchiladas left for tomorrow so I guess that makes was 3 bell peppers, 1 jumbo onion and 1 lbs of mushrooms .. that I added 1/2 cup of cooked sausage, 1 cup of leftover cooked shredded beef and tonight I added refried beans to it... We had it this morning with eggs and country style gravy.

We had bbq ribs, mashed potatoes and kraut and repeated it the next day. I had poorman stroganoff (hamburger stroganoff with horseradish) over Ramen noodles.  I baked a ham and served it with mac and cheese and green beans. The next day we had ham sandwiches with leftover mac and cheese. I cut of what was left of the ham for 3 casseroles (put that ham in freezer) and simmered the bone to make ham broth for soup that I canned. I roasted a chuck roast and used it to make beef and homemade noodles with a molasses custard baked in wee be little pumpkins (usually used for decorations).

I canned beef broth and turkey broth and butter ....yes butter. I grew up with canning butter so I don't worry about doing it now. It's what we used during the summer because it would stay soft in the frig and leaving butter out during the summer was usually not good idea.

I mended a shirt for Hubby and 2 dog toys that the dogs got for Christmas.

We redid the 2017 budget. Had to increase some areas and decreased others to make it balance and still be able to put some back in savings. We did better financial in 2016 than we had the five years before that even though we lost income. I garden more and we get what I don't grow at the Amish produce auction instead of buying organic at the store.

We went to the store even though we are doing the pantry challenge. I matched non food coupons to the sales. Ended up getting 3 lbs of meat for free due to coupons and sales also. Got my dairy and produce that I was out of. Saved over 30 % so I felt better about going to the store. I downloaded the free Friday coupon from Krogers. Matched rebates with Mobisave, checkout51 and Ibotta.

I'm decluttering daily and repurposing things so I don't have to buy anything.

I started my sweet potato slips.

Hope everyone is safe, warm and having a good week

Monday, January 2, 2017

Jan menu and shopping

Since we are on the pantry challenge over at goodcheapeats. I decided we would only buy things that are on the basic weekly grocery list (no stocking up)...then Hubby decided we would only go to the store every 2 weeks...then I decided since we wasn't going to be in town for anything for 3 weeks we would go 3 weeks with picking up milk at the local IGA when he heads home from work in the mornings.

THEN I decided to not spend more that $100 for the month on food with the thought of closer to $50 for the month.

THEN ..ha ha I got to thinking about what would I be willing to buy

Apples as Hubby packs these in his lunches and also will eat them with peanut butter. Right now I have a good supply but by the end of the month I can see us need more.

Bananas as a requirement of my diet. This might be another pick up at the local IGA as I do NOT see me driving 30 min round trip for 7 bananas.

Celery, carrots,bell peppers, fresh mushrooms and dark greens. I have plenty of everything else in the pantry but I don't even have dried celery or dried carrots.

Vernor's ginger soda and Sprite...WHY because I am sick  😢and when my Crohn's flares up that's what the doctor's put me on also...especially the ginger soda. I do ginger tea but it can some times be too strong with my Crohn's so I drink the soda FLAT AND WARM.

AND the last would  be  milk, heavy cream, half and half and buttermilk. I have enough cottage cheese and cheese (dairy is my protein during Crohn's attacks) for the month. I have enough yogurt that if I need more I could make it if I had the milk to make it.

 I have the baking supplies for bread, biscuits,bagels, English muffins, flat bread, Naan bread, crescents (even though for some reason I have several store brand crescents ) and tortilla wraps.

The menu for the month

 Bfast we will rotate through pie, fruit muffins and fruit bread, oatmeal and cream of wheat (might do grits) Egg or bfast meat sandwich,  Sunday, Friday and Saturdays when Hubby working will be brunch...pancakes,waffles, French toast,frittatas (Big Egg is what Hubby calls it) or omelets. Not quite the Irish full fry but close.

Lunch, Hubby packs leftovers from our dinner or takes a lunch meat (can be meat I sliced off of roasts) wrap or sandwich. He prefers tortilla wraps or flat bread over regular bread most the time.

I will have mushroom soup, tomato soup, potato soup or egg drop soup. I will also have PB and honey or grilled cheese sandwiches Egg salad or tuna salad with crackers is an option. Sometimes I just do "snacks" for lunch like cheese, crackers and pickles or olives

Dinner, I listed the proteins instead of the sides...I do sides based on what I have already eaten and what Vit I still tonight I will need Vit A so I will make sure that what I eat will have that.


Seafood: mackerel patties, Salmon patties and tuna noodle casserole.

Soups and stews: Pasta e Fagioli (first day I don't add the pasta, second round I do) beef bourguignon or beef stew depending on if I want to make pot pie or add dumplings 2nd round. Brunswick stew, and bean soup.

Pork meals are roasted pork (LO pulled or Brunswick stew), pork chops, bulk sausage,sausage patties,smoked sausage, and ham (with lots of LO)

 Roasted beef (LO as stew, potpie or noodles) hamburger, fajitas, subs(mock Philly cheese steak) stroganoff  

Enchiladas with any meat

Grilled bologna ( from G&R Tavern in Waldo OH)

Homemade calzones and pizza

pasta , 123 pasta is a go to a lot...1 onion, 2 cups protein and 3 cups or more veggies... I will toss that combination on top of rice also.

We will do bfast for dinner also. I do have a list of meals that are stocked that can be prepared with in 15-20 min.