Thursday, December 20, 2012

Taking a rare moment to wax political

First and foremost, let me begin by saying there is no way anyone can even comprehend the pain and suffering the families of the victims of Sandy Hook are enduring right now.  My heart and prayers go out to them.  I wish I could snap my fingers and fix it all; heal every hurt, wipe every tear, bring the lost ones back to life, but I can't do that.  All I can do is pray and sympathize.
With that being said, in the middle of all the high emotions felt through out the country, we have to really ask ourselves; " would more gun laws really have stopped this from happening?"  If we are honest, we have to realize that more guns laws like the current democratic proposal to reinstate the ban on assault weapons will do nothing to stop a criminal from obtaining a weapon.  First and foremost we have to realize this shooting took place in a state with very tight gun laws already in place.  Second, he didn't use assault weapons.  Do we really think that by passing stricter guns laws, a criminal will say "Darn, I was gonna buy a gun to rob that bank, but they have background checks so (sigh) I guess it is back to finding a job".  Really?  What do gun laws do but make it harder for law abiding citizens to obtain a gun for personal protection.  Now re-look at the Sandy Hook situation, or Colombine, the Virginia Tech shooting, or any other mass killing in recent history.  Instead of helpless people, give one of them a gun.  Could that Principle, trained in how to use a hand gun, which is kept locked up in her office for emergencies only, have used that gun to stop the killer in his tracks at the outset of this killing spree? Better yet, give each teacher the ability to have a conceal carry permit and the training to know what to do in these situations and how many lives would be saved?  We ask our teachers to work in a war zone, then provide them with no recourse to protect either their students or themselves.  If it is illegal for someone to own guns, then the only ones who will have them is the government and criminals.  I for one do not accept that scenario.
Ok, I'm done now.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Ever had one of those days?

In the past 3 months we have been beset with one financial set back (that's putting it mildly) after another.  Lets see, we had to replace our freezer, our dryer died and needs to be replaced, my stove has two settings, off and high,our heat pump is no longer heating cause the compressor is out and while that is supposedly covered under the warrantee , it will still be another $500 + dollars to repair.  In addition to that, the tub in the boys bathroom has a big crack in it, the dishwasher is leaking and has damaged the floor so that needs repairing.  Our dog, Mona, ate a swimming noodle and so the vet bill was ridiculous.  And finally Christmas is here and taxes are coming.  Oh and just for kicks lets throw in the fiscal cliff, a very real, very worrisome thing.  Won't get political though. Now, some of these things we have put on hold; the dryer(hanging clothes on the line), the tub (boys are using our shower for now), the stove (making do), the heat pump was converted back to the old system so we have heat for now, and we don't use the dishwasher. Our focus right now is to have enough in savings to cover the taxes we know are coming.  After that we can address these other things.
With all that being said, there are just some days when I just want to throw caution to the wind, fix everything at once, get me a used dryer, and stove, etc and then start to rebuild after that. I want to go to the store and buy...... convenience foods!  GASP!  I go into rebellion and want to buy store bought bread!  I want to buy Tide laundry soap and.....expensive shampoo, or pay to have my hair cut.  I tell myself I won't have a garden, or can, or anything else.  Then as my husband says, we come back to our senses; preferably before we spend a small fortune.  I know these things will wait.  We prioritize our  needs and are grateful for what we do have.   I am sure I will plant a garden this year.  I know I will can.  I know homemade bread is sooo good and convenience food is soooo not goo (for you).  But just for a bit I have a tissy.  Then I go back to sanity.
So in an attempt to return to sanity, I have to get up from here and take the peanuts out of the oven, get ready to go to the grocery store to get things for Christmas dinner as well as regular groceries, and maybe come home and hang out a few more loads of laundry while listening to Manheim Steamroller's Christmas CD.
Have a great day!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Things in full swing this week.

First and foremost it is Diva's birthday today.  Happy Birthday to you sweetie.  Now a wife and mother in her own right (giving us a second grandchild in July), it is wonderful to see her taking own the role with such passion.  Why she is canning, sewing, wanting to learn to crochet, garden, etc.  Ahhh the joys of having a child follow in your foot steps.  It is a thing of beauty!  She is a beautiful young woman.  Have you seen her? Well let me show you:
In other news, this week and next will be a flurry of activity because once the 15th comes all crafty gifting will stop or at least slow to a crawl.  Once I am working two jobs (just til the first of the year.  Uh specifically Jan 5th), things will be a little crazy.  I am planning on getting groceries a week earlier so I don't have to do that while I am working.  Homeschool will be about all I can handle. Well that and maybe a batch of cookies.  LOL  Gotta have those goodies (before Big Brother takes my sugar away).  On the list for this week is a gift for my sister,my niece, great niece, nephew and his wife, and my dad.  All of these I am hoping can be homemade gifts.  We will see what I can get done.  I also need(knead) to make bread.  We are almost out.  I might do that today for the rest of the week.  If I can get things caught up today I will have the next three days to sew.  That should be a good plan.  Second cup of coffee....hmmm maybe I need another pot.  Just sayin.  Caffeine by I.V would be nice.
Trying deer meat for the first time (in a long time for me.  I was a kid when last I had it).  We are having chili tonight and deer meat will be the ground meat of choice.  Little nervous cause I have never cooked deer meat.  I just ate it when mom cooked it.  My mom says it makes great chili.  So we shall see.  I have to say that gifted deer (thanks J.R) produced a lot of meat.  It is an awesome blessing.

So I know there is a lot of craziness this time of year, but I am planning on remembering why we celebrate.  In all the chaos, I remember a little child born conceived out of wedlock to a girl engaged to someone who was not the father of her child.  That is acceptable in today's society, but then, in that culture, that was a stoning offence.  Can you imagine the love and courage it took to bring that child into this world?  Joseph and Mary's love for each other, for God, and the unborn child as well as their obedience to God are all part of this story.  It is an amazing story on its own just because it was the birth of the Son of God, Savior of the world.  It is even more amazing when you see the act of worship two young people undertook to serve their Lord.  I am not worthy of the gift God gave(and still gives today), but I accept his grace happily.  God gives  His grace freely and without condition.  He only asks that you come to Him.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Well better late than never I always say!

I know, I know, for a daily rave I am really slow and this week even more so.  I was doggie sitting at my dear brothers house til this morning and now I am home.  I did get some sewing done.  Many Christmas projects I am checking off my list, and many more, I am afraid, won't get done.  There is 1 gift I have to get done and that is for my mom.  So anyway, That is why I am late in posting. Oh, FYI, I will post a pic of my moms gift after Christmas so as not to inadvertently give the gift up.   I will try to post some of the gifts as I can.  I just have to be able to do it without the recipient getting the heads up.
 I have a lot of news for those that don't know it yet, I am going to be a grandma again.  Second time for me.  The baby is due in July.  My dd and her hubby are expecting their second child then.  So I guess you could say I am officially in the grandparent phase of my life.  Ya know with one grandchild you're "new" to this grandparenting thing.  Now I am official.
In addition to that I got the job I wanted and so you probably won't here much from me from Dec 15th til the first of the new year.  I will be working both jobs til I transfer fully over to my new job in the first of the year.  So I will have an awesome pay check for that week, but then I take a huge pay cut for this new job.  It will be worth it in that I will be off weekends to spend with my hubby and boys.  Get to start going back to church.  Definitely gonna have to be watching the pennies though.  So if I get a chance I will update more before my marathon work weeks coming up.  Not to wish my life away, but I am soooo looking forward to the first of the year.  You guys have a great day!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Chocolate a la Shea

I am coming to you from my sattellite office aka, my parents house (smile).  In fact this blog post is brought to you by my dads computer. 
I spent a wonderfully busy day with my mom and my niece cooking the food, and I do mean food (lots of it) for our Thanksgiving dinner.  Seriously people, don't let Biggest loser know.  Days will come, probably Friday, when I will get back on the road to healthy eating, but today all bets are off!  One of the treats calling my name today is a concoction of my niece called Chocolate a la Shea.  What follows is a recipe for shear heaven in a 9X13 pan.

Chocolate a la Shea

1 cup self rising flour
1 stick margarine (or butter)
1/2 cup nuts, chopped
2 sm pkgs instant choc pudding mix
3 cups milk
1 8 oz pkg cream cheese
1 1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 lg carton cool whip

Blend together the flour and margarine(butter) with a fork or pastry knife.  Add the nuts.  Spread in the bottom of a 9X13 pan.  Bake this @ 350 for 15 minutes or until just brown.  Cool.  Mix together cream cheese, 1 cup powdered sugar and 1/2 carton of cool whip.  Spread over the first layer.  Mix the pudding mix, milk, and other 1/2 cup powdered sugar until it thickens.  Spread over the top.  Top with the rest of the coolwhip.  Chill.  You can garnish with chopped nuts or shaved chocolate if you are tempted to.  We were tempted.  LOL.

Yall have a great Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

This years Thanksgiving is bittersweet in that I won't get to spend Thanksgiving with my sister and her family.  My Brother in Law is fresh out of the hospital and so they are taking Thanksgiving at home with their family.  That is about the only glitch in my day.  You see even with that little glitch, I have so much to be thankful for. First and foremost my brother in law is out of the hospital, and home with his family. I still get to spend Thanksgiving with my family, my brother and his girlfirend, as well as my parents.  Our home is still standing when there are so many up north and around the country who have no home or electricity. My husband and kids are here.  That brings to mind a gratitude to our military and their families.  Their sacrifice is so great.  It cannot be repaid.   Both my husband and I are employed and I know there are many who are searching for jobs in this economy.  The list of blessings goes on and on.  We are so very blessed, and for that I have to take a moment and really remember Thanksgiving.  It is more than just the holiday between Halloween and Christmas.  It is a time where we are to stop and Thank God for the blessings we do have.  It is only right to show gratitude for everything given to us by our heavenly Father.  In the midst of struggle it is hard to see the good things you have.  Maybe it is the optimist in me, but I believe there is always some little blessing to hold onto.  They may be hard to find, but they are there. Even if the only blessing is the fact that Christ died for us to pay our penalty for sin.  That's is more than enough.   We have grace.  We deserve nothing, but that grace is everything.  
So please, during this time of Thanksgiving.  Give the day its proper time and give God his proper praise.  There will be time enough for shopping, cooking, parties, eating, etc; all the wonderful trappings of Christmas.  But take this time to praise the God who sent his Son for the most special gift of all.  After the praises, we can celebrate Christs birth all the more.  

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

When it rains it pours

WOW!  I sure am glad I have my emergency fund. It started with the refrigerator dying.  It kept making this loud "CHUNKA, CHUNKA, CHUNKA" noise and so we replaced it.  We were able to leave the emergency fund alone, and pay cash for a new fridge, but we weren't able to put any extra toward the credit card which was the plan "A".  We no more get the fridge and the dryer stops working.  I called the repair guy who listens to what it is doing over the phone (basically a "hummmm" but without turning on).  The verdict?  The motor is gone.  His words "I wouldn't put another motor in that one".  Okay, still not too bad because I have a clothes line and I can hang clothes.  Testing out those homesteady skills.  So then Saturday night I am cleaning the boys bathroom (seriously needed a hazmat suit UGH!) and found a pretty good sized crack in the tub.  Kay so the tub needs replacing   Okay.  Fine.  They can shower in our shower until we can save up to replace the tub.  Noooooo Problem.

Merrily we roll along....

Enter Mona.  She is our Pitt bull/rat terrier mix and a sweeter dog you will not find

Sorry for the blurry picture, but she is hard to capture.  Kind like Lockness.  Lol.  See that sweet face?  Okay hold that thought
Mona is a chewer.  She chews anything she can reach: eye glasses, shoes, my sofa, the deck, you get the picture.  Anyway, apparently she got nervous while I was gone to work and she was outside with the other dogs (the men had gone to Florida for a my father in laws 90th birthday.  KUDOS!).  She got into the shed and found a swimming noodle and ate it.  Not the whole thing ya know cause she has to watch her girlish figure.  Yea.  But she ate enough to put her in the doggie hospital over night to the tune of $451.  That is the total so far.  If this too doesn't pass(eye roll), we could be looking at surgery which could put it over $1000.  So after all the other bleeding gaps in our budget that we were able to plug with duc tape, this one could most likely hit our emergency fund the worst.  Now I know that is what it is there for, but it is hard to get that emergency fund back on track.  Not to mention Christmas and tax season are fast approaching. So at 8:30 this morning I will call the vet to see if she passed anything or if I am to sign my life away.  Oh well, "all the best laid plans of mice and men".....

She is cute though......

Update on Mona.  Never been so glad to hear a doggie pooped!  No surgery!  So only half of my emergency fund will be taken.  I can live with that.  Picking her up after lunch.

Friday, November 9, 2012

OOOH BOYEEEE! Connie I need you!

Yesterday I had a friend give me a deer.  I am paying the processing fee of $60, but the deer was 85 lbs.  I realize a lot of that will go to waste, but still a good deal on meat.   This is why I need you Connie.  I figured you would have some awesome how to's in prep as well as some great recipes due to your experience hunting.  Still cant message you or comment on your site.  I tried the numbers and for some reason I am not getting things right even now.  I have done those little "checks" before and never had a problem.  Anyway, if you see this, I could use the help.
In other news, I am flying solo this weekend.  My men have traveled to Florida for my FIL 90th Birthday.  Way to go JOHN!   I had to work or would have gone.  But here I am .  I am taking this advantage to clean and get some yard work done.  I am still digging and shelling peanuts.  Up to about 9 lbs so far and I am no where near done yet.  My yard, I fear won't be nice and neat come winter.  Winter is getting here faster than I can clean out.  I am not complaining though.  There are people up north in a much worse situation.  Prayers going up for them.
Speaking of up north.  There cannot be a better example of the need to be prepared for any situation.  This was a once in 100 year storm.  In other words, no one alive today ever experienced a storm like this and so would have been unprepared for the scope.  Follow that with the Nor Easter and you get a very unique situation.  If you are one of those that says "the government will take care of us", you might want to pay attention to how well that is going and decide to take care of yourself.  Sandy and the Nor Easter are showing me where I have holes in my preps.  I have lamps for light, a grill and Coleman stove to cook on as well as a pantry, but have no really good way to heat, aside from a kerosene heater, if we have no power.  If I use my grill and Coleman stove to cook, I have to use them outside.  That is fine if it is relatively warm outside, but in the middle of an ice storm, the thought of standing outside to cook a hot meal doesn't thrill me in the least.  What I am looking into is getting a wood stove.  It would act as heat and cooking if I needed it to.  I would have it installed with all the heat resistant tiles, platform etc. Still toying with it, but I want to get it sooner rather than later.
I would love, love, love to see more people taking this initiative.  It doesn't have to be an end of the world as we know it situation.  What you need to prepare for are: power outages from ice or thunderstorms, hurricanes, a job layoff, etc.  Everyday type emergencies.  If you don't currently prepare for emergencies, I ask for you to please consider doing it.  Have a great day!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Rubic is 17!

So my youngest is 17 now.  His Birthday was spent with a few friends (you know who you are) and his new Halo 4 game. Do I feel old yet?  Nahhhhhh yes.  Yes I do.  I remember like yesterday when he was born; eyes tightly shut according to the midwife.  He opens one eye and looks around to see if everything is OK and then relaxes.  My dh says he was asleep when he was born.  I was a little busy at the time so not sure what to believe.  All I know is he was (and is ) beautiful.  He keeps me laughing.  I have enjoyed the time we have gotten to spend together "doing school".  He is very thoughtful and diligent about his subject which is a wonderful surprise blessing.  Happy Birthday my boy.  I am very proud of you and the man you are becoming.  Love you bunches.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Finally getting my house in order

During the summer months my house usually goes to rak and ruin, especially when the canning starts.  It is everything I can do to keep dishes and laundry up, much less anything detailed.  I am still working on digging peanuts and potatoes, but things have slowed to the extent I am able to focus inwardly to my long neglected house.  I have managed to reclaim the man cave, dining room and living room.  This morning I got a bee in my bonnet and started going through drawers in my kitchen and dining room.  Everything got organized and cleaned.  It is amazing the things you find that you forgot you had.  What is worse is finding the things you forgot you had and now you have a duplicate.  Yea, way to stock up mom!  Lol.  I would think there is a frugal lesson to be had here.  Organization.  Organization is a frugal accessory.  When money is tight, no one needs two things of wood glue, or plummers putty, etc.  Now finding extra WD40 is a blessing, but the other things you don't use so much.  Plus if you are er ahh impulsive like me, and one morning you are cleaning the kitchen only to decide you want to clean and organize your kitchen junk drawers, where you find a little broken Christmas angel that needs glueing.  While searching for the glue(you find two) you realize you also need to clean out the art drawer ,where you find a screw driver and determine the tool drawers needs cleaning.  While cleaning out the tool drawer you find the wood glue (two) and think "ya know I could go ahead and glue that chair" and then you glue the chair and.....
NO!  I am not ADD!  I just like to multitask...alot...
Anyhoo.  For a multitasker like me it is nice to be organized enough to be able to quickly lay my hands on what I need. Seems like organization is something I need to get in the habit of using.  So I guess there is my New Years resolution.  A bit early, but hey, at least I have one this year that doesn't include a diet.  
Pkay, I have waxed on long enough.  I need to get back to work.  Have a great day all.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Occupational hazard of growing peanuts

THEY ARE SOOOOOO GOOD!  I can't quit eating them so those of you who see me on a regular basis, don't be surprised if I blow up like a ballon.  The peanut tally (counting the ones eaten) is at about 3 2/3 lba.  I still have another basket to shell and roast and that will finish up thefirst bed.  I am guessing about 7 lbs for that bed.  I also vrought in another 4 1/2lbs of bell peppers.  I think I am good for peppers.  Not looking forward to all that choppings, but it will be nice over the winter.  Still needto dig potatoes.  When I went out this morning to pick the last of the peanuts (for that bed), the wind was blowing and it was cold.  About 38 degrees(for those of you up north I know that isn't really cold, but down here it is).  My poor hands were freezing.  When finished I came in a grabbed a warm cup of coffee more to warm my hands than anything else.  

On the homefront news I am getting my new refidgerator today.  Yay!  It is supposed to be delivered about 1 pm.  I am trying to get things out of the fridge until then.  We will have hamburgers for lunch to use up the buns I have in there, and I have enough vanilla opened, and two sticks of butter to make a batch of cookies.  The freezer items have all been out for over a week now because I didn't want to lose anything should the fridge die.  All that is in there now is flour.  All that will be removed as well before the delivery guy gets here.  We opted to pay for delivery and haul off of the old fridge.  Sometimes it is worth the extra cost.  Seriously would you want to be lugging a huge fridge around?  Not to mention we have steps and Iwould rather have my fridge protected in case someone drops it.  If we drop it, it is "so sorry for you", but if they drop it they have to replace it.  

So back to the peanuts...wanna know how to roast them?  Well itis really easy.  I like to roast them out of the shell; mainly becauseI like them salted.  So I shell the peanuts, wash them in cold waterand then lay them out on a towel for a bit.  Try to keep them spread out.  Then place them on a cookie sheetin a single layer.  Shake some salt on them in you prefer.   Roast them in a 350 degree oven for 20-25 min.  Take out and let cool completely before you store them.   They are good still warm, but awesome once cool.  My next adventure is to make peanut butter.

Well as much as I love todays weather for my area, my prayers are with family and friends in the north.  Please every one stay safe, and stay home.  Love to you all.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Welcome everyone! and a peanut update....

Thanks to an opportunity from Patrice Lewis over at , I have gotton a lot more views and so I wanted to thank everyone who came on over and took a look at my little blog.  You are more than welcome here and I hope you enjoy yourself while here. I also want to say I appreciate the ones who have been with me from the get go.  No one is taken for granted.  You all are important to me.  I am by no means an expert, but I do have a desire to share things I have learned from others(as well as some experiments of my own)that have helped me save money and be home with my family as much as possible. 

All that being said, I wanted to share an update on my peanut plants.   This season I planted 3 4X8 beds of peanuts.  Talk about some low maintenence plants.  Maybe it was the fact that it was the first season I planted these and so the pests never found them, but the three beds were at all times lush, full and green(and spreading, didn't know that would happen).  So anyway, I harvested 1 bed about a week ago.  Pulled up the plants and hung them up to dry.


  Some of the peanuts came off the vines and they were in a pile on the deck.

  I got 1 pound of roasted peanuts just from the loose ones and I estimate another 9lb from the plants I have hanging.  That is only 1 bed.  So judging from what I received from 1 bed, I am estimating a total harvest of 25-30 lbs.  Will I plant peanuts again?  Uhhh YEA!  I paid 4.95 plus a bit for shipping for the seed peanuts.  So doing the math, 25lbs for $4.95 = .20 lb.  Buy nuts at the store and you are looking at least $3lb for peanuts.  That is a 91% savings.  WOW!  So my plan is some roasted for eating, some roasted and chopped for Christmas/everyday baking, some roasted and made into peanut butter.   We will see how it goes.  The left over shells will be turned back into the garden. 

Monday, October 22, 2012

Hey Connie of Watkins ranch!

Just an FYI.  I tried to comment on your crisco candle post but blogger wouldn't let me.  Apparently I am a robot and can't recognize those scrambled letters.  I also tried to message you and that didn't work either.  Anyway, just wanted to say I am enjoying your blog.  We sound like kindred spirits.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Can I think of 25 frugal tips? Lets see...

Over at , Patrice Lewis has listed 25 frugal tips. In addition to that she has asked others to submit tips as well.  So here I am trying to come up with some frugal tips.  Here goes:

1.  I buy whole milk and mix it half and half with water.  I do not reccomend this for children, but for my family which consists right now of two teenage boys who don't like skim milk, it works.  To tell the truth I don't much like skim milk eaither and this way I get kinda 2 gallons of "milk" for the price of one. 
2.  Make my own cleaners.  It is amazing how easy it is to take a few basic items and make up house cleaner.  Items like ammonia, baking soda, dish washing liquid, bleach, and vinegar, when put together (not the bleach and ammonia please), can make up any type cleaner  you need.  Baking soda can be used alone for scouring powder.
3.  Baking soda is the queen of housekeeping if you ask me.  I have used it for shampoo, toothpaste, laundry, cleaners, etc.  the list is long.  Baking soda, the housewifes friend.
4.  Scratch baking.  The more from scratch the better.  Opening a box of rice a roni is cheaper than buying rice already cooked from a deli or restaurant, but cheaper still is to buy the rice plain and add your own seasonings.  Other words... make your own roni.  The same can be said for anything conveinient.  It doesn't take much more effort.  Some things do, but for the most part, once in a routine, they aren't to bad.
5.  When you cook from scratch, use the least amount of meat in your recipe.  S-T-R-E-T-C-H that meat as much as you can without affecting taste.  I have made 2 chicken pot pies with only 8 oz of chicken breast.  I have taken three chicken breasts and some how managed to cut, pound, bread, and fry them into enough fried chicken to feed 6 adults and 1 toddler. 
6.  Re purpose items:  Lids from 18 oz peanut butter jars just happen to fit my canning jars.  So I can use my chipped canning jars with these lids to store food items or transport food items.  I will cut up t-shirts into strips to make "yarn" to crochet for pot holders .  I have also used that "yarn" to tie up tomato plants or other vines.  The sleeves of said shirts go into my rag basket.
7.  Before I toss an unuseable shirt or pair of pants, I remove anything useable on it: buttons, elastic, zippers, etc.  I save them for use in other items I make.  I will also take the material and reuse it in items I need.  I just had to make some pajama pants into pajamma shorts for my son.  I used the legs of the pants in layers to be the inner lining of two potholders I needed to finish up.  They are a beautiful, elegant blue color on the outside, with a radical AC/DC/ Call of Duty inner lining.  Sounds perfect. 
8.  Gardening, gardening, gardening.  I love the fact that I can by pass the veggie ilse in my local grocer.  Wonderful feeling.  I also don't have to buys blueberries or jams. This year I have also tried my hand at herbs, and peanuts.  Making my own peanut butter?  Its a thought, but more than likely they will be roasted and eaten before I can get to that. 
9.  Canning, to really get the most benefit from gardening, you need to be able to put up either by freezing of canning, the produce that comes in.  If you are leary about learning to can, start with a Ball canning book and a water bath canner.  Wait on the pressure canning later.  Hey, every little bit helps.
10.  I cut and color my own hair as well as shave my Dh head and cut my boys hair.  Saves a ton.  Now I am not as great as someone trained, but it works for me.  You can also try using a student at a cosmotology school.  They work for cheap.
11.  Thrift stores are a wonderful thing.  Love them, love them, love them.  Especially the one my sister and I go to every week during the summer months.  Find some good ones and frequent them.  Always have in mind what you are looking for.  Keep a running list in your pocketbook for quick reference.  Keep sizes, quantitiy color etc in the list as well.
12.  Bread stores, aka bread thrift stores are a great place to get baked items for cheap.  Really great if you have a freezer to store them in.  If you can't bake your own bread items, a bread store is a great alternative.
13.  Don't be afraid to purchase items that are close to threir expiration date.  I buy marked down meat, dairy, produce, etc.  Just make sure you can freeze it at home.  Milk is good a week after its expiration date.  Buy it up and freeze it for later.  Yes you can freeze milk.
14.  Unplug appliances when not in use.  Electrical items still draw power even when not on.  It is called vampire power.(  Ve vant to drrink your dollars!)
15.  Don't be peny wise and pound foolish.  Don't purchase items you won't really use just because it is a good deal.  It is penny wise pound foolish to not fertilize your garden.  Yes you didn' t pay for the fertilizer, but you didn't get as much from your garden either.  That is just an example.
16.  NEVER TURN DOWN A BLESSING FROM SOMEONE ELSE.  If you do, not only do you keep them from being blessed, but eventually they will stop trying to bless you.  If you can't use it, find someone who can.  You can be the recipient, or the conduit.  Just sayin.
17.  ALWAYS BE WILLING TO BLESS OTHERS.  This is the part two of the above reference.  Have a generous heart.  Give and you shall recieve.  Maybe not in material things,  but certainly in the heart. 
18.  A;ways be willing to call a company if something isn't right with a purchase.  I have purchsed items from the store and had something wrong with them.  I called the company.  They want to make it right and will definately do so.  I called one time about some liquid soap I had purchased.  I had about six of them and couldn't figure out how to open the things up.  They just wouldn't open.  Anyhoo, I called the company to see if I was doing something wrong.  Come to find out it was a manufacturing error and they sent me coupons for free items.  Yay.  I still used the soap.  They said not to worry sending it back.  Call the compnay.  What can it hurt.  They need this info for quality control.  Just be honest.
19.  Call around fro quotes on car insurance.  We stayed with an insurance company for years.  happy with the service and had no complaints until they raised out rates out of the blue for some obscure reason.  I called the insurance company first who held the insurance on our house.  I saved over $750 a year!  Worth a call
20.  Gettin low on some ideas guys.....uhhhhhhh...Ooo, Okay.  I keep my thermostat set at about 65 in the winter and 78 in the summer.  As soon as possible I shut off all heat/air in favor of open windows and fans for comfort.
21.  Did you know you can get vaccinations for your doggie at a feed and seed store?  I did not know that until just recently.  Great savings doing the vaccinations yourself.  We have three doggies and that can rack up quick.
22.  Oooo in the home stretch here...   will she make it......It is getting hairy... turn off the water when you are brushing your teeth.  No need to let it run while you scrub.  Just turn it back on when you are ready to rinse.
23.  When you need to run water to get it hot, fill up pitchers (in my case one  2 quart pitcher works fine) with the cold and use it to make coffee, tea, other drinks, or for the doggies water, etc.  try to time it so it isn't running down the drain. 
24.  re use water from washing dishes to water indoor plants.  I also use grey water during drought times to water my garden.  Check with your city to make sure it is Okay.
25.  Last one.... Uhhhh....take care of the items you own.  Especially the ones that cost a lot in the beginning.  Beter to maintain your items than replace your items.  This can be the biggest savings of all I think.  Also  make sure you know ahead of time what you have and don't have in storage.  This can save a lot in not bying duplicate items.  Uhhh like buying a of WD40 cause you can't find any, only to find two bottles you didn't know you had.  We joke that the best way to find something here is to buy a replacement and then it will turn up.  lol

Well I did it!  I'm so proud of my self.  Can you think of 25?

Monday, October 15, 2012

Good morning folks!

How is everyone?   Things are status quo here.  Making plans to go to my brothers house to watch his dogs for a few days.  That means a day in the kitchen making sure bread is made and meals are planned before I take off.  I'm on my second cup of coffee so things look good in the energy department (smile).
I was FINALLY able to dig up a few peanut plants to see if they were ready for harvest.  They are, so I am going to try to get outside either today or tomorrow and get 1 bed up.  Out of three beds of peanuts, this is the oldest.  The other two beds a a couple of weeks behind.  That's good cause I need more days in my week.
I have to share something.  Now most people won't be as interested in this, but this means a lot to me.  My mom is having a yard sale with a friend/neighbor.  I was down at my parents house the other day and she wanted me to look at the things she was selling and see if there was anything I wanted.  This is what I got:

This is my mom's water bath canner, blancher, and roasting pan.  The vast majority of  my childhood   memories, are of my mom in the kitchen.  Every summer there was jam to be made, and garden produce to be canned.  Every holiday we had my dad's side of the family over for Thanksgiving and/or Christmas and there were goodies to be made (lots...YUM), and hams/turkeys to be baked or roasted.  Then there were the times before my dad's paycheck would hit the bank and my mom would get in the kitchen and bake cookies, homemade donuts, etc.  Oh be still my heart.  Yea baby! Well these pans had a part in all of that.  Hence their significance.  I got some other things as well :Christmas dishes and glasses, and a shelf for in the bathroom.  But these are the crown jewel.
Mom if you are reading this can I just say that these items aren't symbols of work that was done in the past, but instead are representative of the care and love you gave your children and family everyday.  You are an amazing mom.  My only desire is to be able to step into your shoes(pans) as well as you did.  I love you, and Thank you.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Happy Birthday Einstein!

19 years ago today I gave birth to my oldest son.  Never one to make things easy, he was born after 5 days of labor pains and 12 hours of active labor.  Oh but he was beautiful.  He had a head full of thick black hair and deep brown eyes.  As he grew his hair remained that same thick brown, but became curly.  The kind of curly that girls would pay top dollar for.  Precious.  He used to be a mamma's boy, but over the years is more of a Dad's guy.  The little boy who used to hold the back of my shirt, has grown into a responsible young man.  A man of few words, but he gets his message across.  He knows his own mind.  He knows what he wants.   While not expressed so much in words, he is a man of deep feelings and as a mother I have always felt blessed and loved by this young man.  While I miss his youth and the small hand in mine, I am so proud of the man he has become and look to his future with great anticipation.  I love you, Buddy.  Happy Birthday!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Since nuts are now priced out of my budget, what to do?????

$6 lb for Walnuts.  Now, I am hopeful they will go down closer to the holidays and when they do I will definitely stock up.  That being said, in the meantime I need a way to add a little protein punch to my items like granola, coffee cake, etc.  So what to do , what to do.  Enter....sunflower seeds.  Did you know sunflower seeds have less fat and more protein than walnuts?  In addition I can buy organic sunflower seeds by the pound at Kroger for $2.99 lb. That's half the price of the walnuts.  Per cup walnuts have 18 grams of protein but 80 grams of fat, and sunflower seeds have 25 grams protein and 64 grams of fat.  In addition I can sprout sunflower seeds(as long as they are raw) for other uses, plus I can grow sunflower seeds on my own should I so desire.  So it seems to me that sunflower seeds will definitely be on the menu for  some of my nutty items.  Good to know.

By the way, guys, I am on a roll.  I have posted three times in 1 week!  What is that!

Waste not Want not...aka Mama needs to get a life!

Yea, I really think I should see somebody for help.....Hello my name is Diane and I am a frugalholic.....I know that isn't a real word, but nothing else so aptly describes me.  Anyway, here's why I am realizing this:
Now pay no attention to my kitchen that needs to be cleaned...LOOK AWAY, LOOK AWAY!  Instead, check out the brown paper nicely rolled and tied with twine.  Remember this paper cause it is going to Christmas wrapping paper this year.  See the box on the floor in the back ground?  That is where the paper came from.  It was stuffed in that box to pack a gift I purchased online for my grandson's birthday.  This morning while doing the regular ironing I had another "hmmm I wonder" moment.  I finished the regular ironing and while my iron was hot, I ironed out this paper.  I love the whole country look and so I am thinking gifts wrapped with this paper under the tree and stamped with a Christmas scene will be adorable.  When I get to stamping i'll show that too.  The dowel by the way is what allowed me to roll it nicely as I ironed.  I regularly order certain things each month online (groceries and pet care etc).  I get a lot of this paper.  Now I am covered which is good cause I wasn't able to hit the after Christmas sales last year.  These rolls alone are at least 50 yards of paper.  The box will be collapsed and stored for wrapping as well.  This is the time of year I start saving good big boxes.
as for yesterday, I was able to clean the carpet, but the baking got pushed off til today.  So that is on my list for today.  So I guess I should get going so I can get started.  Have a great day!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Temps in the 40's...It's a beautiful thing

Starting off my day a little early.  My Knight got up early this morning to work out at the Y before work.  We are part of a Nursing home ministry at our church and so he wouldn't be able to go to the Y after.  No worries though.  In celebration of our first fall feeling day (lows in the 40's and highs in the 60's), I went to walk this morning.  I'll take the boys to the Y later this morning, but my exercise was in the fresh air.  I love this time of year.  I always love the cooler weather, and cold weather up until Christmas.  Once the holidays are over, the gardening bug bites and I am pouring over seed catalogues.
So what should I talk about this morning.  My daily rave has become more of a weekly thing.  How exciting is my life.  On my to do list for today:  general housework, helping the boys with school, make some items for the pantry(granola, mayo, granola bars,etc), laundry, and steam cleaning my bedroom carpet.  Now in all seriousness I probably won't complete all of these things.  In fact I am sure I won't complete them today, but I keep that list running. I have a really looooong list, and if I focus on all that needs to be done around here I would faint.  So I tackle my to do list such as one would eat an bite at a time.
I harvested my last watermelon of the season a couple of days ago. I still have peanuts to harvest.  I am going to call the country extension office to see when cause they seriously should be getting ready for harvest.  In addition to the peanuts I still have peppers, tomatoes, and potatoes coming in from the garden.  I am amazed at how well these potatoes have done.  These were volunteers that came up after I harvested potatoes in June.  You never find all of them.  These sprouted and are now beautiful huge plants.  The batch I harvested in June had died back from some kind of pest (Colorado potato bugs, I think).  While I got potatoes, I didn't get as many as I wanted.  These plants, however, are lush and green with no sign of pests (Heaven forbid).  The same goes for my tomato plants.  These things looked like they were at deaths door and now in the cooler weather they are thriving.  I am wondering about changing the timing of when I plant certain items.  I mean peanuts need a long growing season, but the other stuff I think I could time it where they are coming to production stage later in the summer and/or earlier in the spring.  I am going to have to think about this.  Plan my garden accordingly.  So that is all I have for now.  Should I find anything earth shattering You will be the first to know.  Have a great day!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Weeeeellll Praise Him!

I am pleased and I should say shocked.  I have come through yet another grocery battle with my hiney intact.        
I have to say at the beginning of this endeavor I was thinking I would go over, but such is not the case.  I am actually $10 under for the month.  It seems like every step of the way I found a little bit here and a little bit there.  In addition to that, there was this continuous situation where I would think I had only so much money, and then get to count my money and low an behold I would have another $5 or another couple of ones.  This happened at least three times.  So going to the last store, I just said a quick prayer thanking God for His provision, and low and behold if I don't get a coupon from the register for $3.50 off my next order.  It was going to expire in a couple of weeks and I don't frequent this store very often, so I went back in a got a 5lb bag of fries to have with hamburgers and such.  A treat for sure.  Love crinkle fries.  For those really interested in what a normal grocery shopping trip looks like for me, here goes:
50 lbs wheat berries( grind for flour)
1 lb sunflower seeds
2 bottles oil
20 lbs sugar
1 gallon raw honey
1 lg container of coffee creamer
20 lbs ground turkey
chicken breast
canned mushrooms
french fries
Cheerios(Aldi brand)
corn flks
frozen peas
3 institutional size peas (mark down)-once opened I will re can into smaller pint size jars.  It ended up being equal to getting a can of peas for .33.  Can't turn that down.
whole milk
produce(apple, oranges, bananas, etc)
Heavy whipping cream(bunch marked down.  I use it to make ice cream)
tortilla chips
Cheese(mozzarella, american 5 lbs ea)
Quick oats (10 lbs, use it for breakfast, granola bars, and granola)
chips (Cheetos, Doritos etc.  Hey we have to have some junk.  Got Aldi brand)
Ugh!  That is about all this still sleepy brain can remember, plus  i'm sure you are bored by now.  I realize some of these items are in bulk(ya think?), but I was raised with a mom that kept a pantry and I keep a pantry.  That means I always keep a supply on hand in case of emergency.  I guess that would be a "black belt frugality segment".  To me having a supply of staples on hand is a must.  In the event of  a layoff how nice would it be to not have to worry about where your kids next meal is coming from, and be able to focus on the bills you need to.  For example, when my daughter and her husband were having financial difficulty she was able to "shop" from my pantry.  I can also get items on a good sale, stock up on them then and not have to repurchase until the next sale.  Because I buy my things in bulk, I usually get a break on price(usually, always check your price per ounce).  Famous Georgia "snow" no longer has me running to the store for bread and milk.  I get to sit back and watch the news on TV nice and cozy in my home.  You don't have to have a "sky is falling" reason to keep a pantry.
Aside from the large sizes and small amounts of junk food, my point is that my purchases are primarily staple items.  Basic items I have to put together in order to make something for my family: cookies, bread, granola, granola bars, etc. When it comes to the wheat berries my brothers response is "Sooo you buy the raw materials to make the raw materials to make something from scratch".  Yep!  That is about it.  Glutton for punishment, but I know what is in the food I feed my family.  There are no questionable items like preservatives, dyes, words you can only understand if you are a scientist, etc.  Plus I enjoy it.  I mean really, there must be a screw loose somewhere when I get so excited over grinding corn for the first time.  Either that or I am really easy to amuse.  Okay, I guess that is it for today.  I am off to finish my breakfast, and go to the Y with my sons.  I might even get on a treadmill, but that is another story.  Then since it is raining outside all day today(thank you, Lord)my plans is to get some house work done and try my hand at grinding some of the wheat I bought and making some whole grain graham crackers.  I have been itching to use my grinder on those berries.  You guys stay safe!  Have a blessed day!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Yay! My doctor is happy.

Went for my annual check up today with my endocrinologist.  I have Hypothyroidism for those interested.  Anyway, I haven't seen her for a year.  This year she wanted to do a complete panel.  You know cholesterol, glucose, etc.  Not only am I down about 20 lbs from last year, but all of my tests came back well in the normal range.  Her comment was "everything is perfect".  Now as for the weight loss, I will be totally honest and say that any dieting I have done went on hold in April.  With gardening and canning I haven't had a lot of free time to go to the Y, but I have gotten my exercise in the form of garden work.  Not daily, but I am moving daily.  As for any "diet", I am doing my best to eat real foods.  No more sugar free, fat free stuff.  No more highly processed foods.  Now exceptions to that due to finances, are sugar, and white flour; BUT  now that I have my grain mill that will change.  I use raw honey in my whole wheat bread and my granola, but am seriously thinking of finding more uses for it.  Honey, raw honey, not only tastes good, but has antibacterial properties, helps with allergies (if you buy local raw honey), and has many minerals and nutrients not found in sugar or even pasteurized honey. Anywhere I can use this to replace sugar will be an asset and quite honestly, with the price of sugar being what it is, I don't think the price difference will be that great.
As for the flour, I have many pounds of flour to use up before I will be totally switched to fresh ground flour. In the meantime I am still going to buy the wheat berries and begin grinding them to mix half and half with the existing flour I have on hand.  As my flour supply runs low it will be replaced with the wheat berries.  Wheat berries store forever(so to speak) as long as they haven't been ground.  Once ground, wheat flour loses a lot of the minerals and nutrients within days.  Within 72 hours most of it is gone. So that is my plan for flour.
Isn't it amazing how a report of progress can be such an incentive to proceed, especially when you feel like you are actually on the right track health wise.  Things I currently buy for example are butter (gasp!), olive oil, sugar/honey, red meat(shock!), whole milk( I do thin it with water. Shhhh, don't tell the boys they don't know).  Things I currently make and serve are breads, pizza, cookies, etc.  Some of these things fly in the face of current trends of low or fat free and sugar free or no carb.   Now if you have a gluten allergy or celiac disease, this would not be good for you, but as a general rule, barring that, there is no reason to not have a food created by God. Now that being said....remember...everything in moderation.  I am not eating bowls of cookies, butter, breads etc.  I am only trying to eat when hungry and drink when thirsty.  I am not an expert in this nor do I wish to be one.  I am only speaking from what I have learned, what I believe, and what I feel is best for myself and my family.  To each his own.  Everyone has to do the best they can for themselves and their family.  These are the things I am going to try.  We'll see where that goes.  As for organic...not sure I am sold on that one and couldn't afford it if I was.  For now the best I can do is to take as much processing out of our lives and see how we do.  Okay, there is my opinion for the day.  Hope everyone has a great day.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Ham and Corn stew

Ham and Corn Stew

2 cans navy beans(or you can cook dried to make 3 cups)
3 cups water
2 decent sized potatoes, diced
2 cups whole kernel corn (or cream is fine)
2 stalks celery
8 oz ham
1 med onion chopped
1 tbs butter
1 regular sized tomato chopped
1 pinch dried parsley
 salt and pepper to taste

In a skillet, melt the butter and put your onion and ham in to cook.  While that is cooking, put your beans, water, and potatoes.  Bring to a boil, then let simmer for about 15 minutes.  Then add your celery, the onion and ham, and the tomato.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Add pinch of parsley.  Let cook 30 minutes. Taste again to make sure you have enough salt and pepper.  Add more if needed.

We are having this tonight with some corn bread made from stone ground corn meal ground in my new(to me) grinder!  Tea to drink.  Enjoy.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Well Student loan down....

2 credit cards, a car payment and a mortgage left.  I have to say it's hard "naming each dollar".  We had a family meeting on payday and said "Okay, if you need anything now is the time to say so or it will have to wait until next payday".  So we made our list, which wasn't long, and named every dollar.  Now, with still 10 days to go until pay day we are noticing we have forgotten things.  We forgot to budget oil for an oil change for our van, my son and I need cheapo headphones for the Y,  as well as other various things.  All of these are little expenses, but they add up.   Sooo need to remember those for next meeting.  Can't get them now.  Grocery day is next week as well, and so it is getting to the "creative stage" of cooking.  You know when you are saying to yourself " I need to use up this, and this, and this...".  The benefits of that process are being able to defrost the freezer and clean out the fridge for grocery day.  Sure does make putting groceries away easier.  Used up 1 cup of applesauce in the fridge for a loaf of applesauce bread using my quick bread mix.  Makes for an easy use up.  You can see the recipe for the quick bread mix here.  Made two loaves of bread, and a batch of chocolate cookies.  Yea, I come by my figure honestly.  NO SILICONE HERE BABY!  lol.  Seriously, though, the cookies are dolled out sparingly.  I'm  not crazy!
Tonight's dinner will be ham and scalloped potatoes( from the garden), broccoli(from the garden), and maybe some peaches or pears.  I love cooking when it is rainy outside.  Snowy is my favorite.  Something so cozy about baking in the kitchen and watching the snow fall.  Making cocoa to drink when the kids come in from playing outside.(sigh).  The kids are older now so not so sure if I will be dealing much with wet clothes and such this winter.  Maybe I will.  I know I will be dealing with cocoa.  That goes without saying.  Okay, so signing off here.  You guys have a great day.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Things I have learned from this years garden

Yes, it is that time of year where I make me observations of this years garden to hopefully do a better garden next year.  Things I have learned this year are:
1) I am going to definitely plant potatoes.  I bought seed potatoes at our local Ace Hardware store for 9.99.  I was a little disappointed in this years yield.  As an experiment I took a few of the tiny, tiny potatoes that didn't have a chance to grow before the plant died(from whatever got it), and planted them again to see what would happen.  I would say it was about a 10 ft length of row.  Well they came up, and the plants are currently about 2 ft tall; and that is over the dirt I am piling on them.  In addition to those plants, I have about another 20 feet of row that came up on their own from potatoes I must have missed.  All oft these plants are lush green and healthy.  Because it is cooler right now, (knock on wood) I am thinking they are happier and less susceptible to pests.  I am hopeful I am able to add considerably to my original yield.
2) Not planting Jalapeno peppers next year.  I had more than I needed.  I will use up what I have and when I do plant them, it will be a lot fewer plants.
3)  I need tomato plants that are resistant to wilt.  Period.  I have tried everything I can think of to keep my plants happy.  I lose a lot of yield because my plants get this wilt and die back.  Now the plants are coming back and making more tomatoes, but I will only get a handful compared to what I would get.  Next year I get resistant ones.
4) I will use seeds, I think, exclusively.  We have such a long growing season, I am thinking I am going to just plant seeds.  I may start some indoors, but many I will just plant directly in the ground.  I am thinking my plants will be stronger as a result.  So it may be later for me to start canning.  I can live with that.  Who knows, maybe I can have a few weeks of marathon canning and then be done.  I can live with that too.
5)  I will stay ahead of the pests on my peach trees.  I am tired of tossing at least  a bushel of peaches each year because of uninvited guests.
6) Uh... yea... plants your perennial herbs on a container.  Apparently they spread.  WELL I KNOW THAT NOW!
So that is my education for this year.  Here is that list of what my garden produced this year:
Blueberries-31 lbs
Black berries- enough for about 8 pints of jelly
Peaches- just enough for 4 pints of jam
potatoes-60 lbs and counting
Lima/Pinto beans- ended up with about 50-60 pints.  We have used some pints already so this one is hard to judge accurately.  I just know I shelled a lot of beans.  Well that and I counted what I have and rounded up a little.
tomatoes- about 172 lbs which made 39 quarts of sauce and 24 pints of salsa.  Still producing.
Broccoli- 16 lbs
spinach/lettuce- enough, but hard to weigh.
Corn- enough for 3 quarts canned, 8 quarts frozen, and some used immediately for dinner
Peanuts- don't know yet, but it is looking good so far.
Onions- 6 lbs-  not worth the time and space.  I will by these from the store next time.  Might do green onions.
Jalapenos-  well I used 3 lbs, but got so much more than that.  I just gave away about 10 lbs and have given away more than that before.  They are still producing so if anyone wants more, I can help with that.  Anyway, I got my salsa and my red hot sauce(about 3 pints)
Bell peppers-  4 quarts so far chopped and frozen, and they are still producing.  In fact they are producing more than they did all summer
Mint and other herbs- enough to fill some a pint jar with each dried herb: mint, oregano, parsley, rosemary, and thyme
Watermelons-4 so far picked and eaten.  Still counting about 6 that will be ready before the first frost.
Green beans- just enough for a dinner or two.  The bean Beatles got em.
Sweet peas- 1 quart shelled and frozen.
I think that is it for now.  Not a too shabby output.  Need to get beans next year though.  We have enough to make it through the year without buying any.  I did try to weight them, but as it got busier I kept forgetting.  But I ended up with 104 pints food, 123 lbs of other food, 4 watermelons, and 55 quarts put up.  That doesn't count the peanuts, watermelons, tomatoes, more herbs,and potatoes still to come in.  Other things canned this season are carrots, chicken, beef, chicken broth, "applesauce" and "apple pie" filling.  I meet goals on everything except green beans.  I am happy and thankful for that.  I am thankful for whatever I get.
You guys have a great day!

Monday, September 10, 2012

For those of you I haven't announced it to...

I HAVE A GRAIN MILL!   WOOOUP, WOOUP!  Interesting story to tell,  My sister tells it better than I.  After cleaning my sisters house Friday, I went by a thrift store near(really near)her house.  I have mentioned said store in the past.  It is The Ric Rac.  My sister and I go there often.  Anyhoo.  I was going to find a larger TV for my hubby's "man cave".  My son and I get there and I am showing him around the store.  We go into the kitchen section and I tell him "I always have to come in here to see if  they have a grain mill for sale, but they never do.  Ah well".  So we leave that section and go down  stairs to the furniture and electronics.  We find a suitable TV($25), a 27 in.  I turn to go up stairs to pay for it and, don't ask me why I noticed it, but I notice a box.  ACROSS THE ROOM.   I walk closer and notice it has a picture o fwheat stalks on it....closer and I see a knob on the front with the settings of coarse or fine.  OMG IT IS A GRAIN MILL!  Breathlessly I look at the price $75!  The great thing about this mill being a used mill, was there was flour in it from before.  I was able to tell how fine it would grind the flour.  It goes without saying I BOUGHT IT!   Now my sister tells me that God wanted to bless me with this grain mill.  He said "Okay, we need to hide this mill in the furniture section so no one finds it.  And also you need to mark it $75 cause that is all she will have".  That part is true.  It just so happens that I get paid $75 to clean my sisters house and I had just gotten paid.  She says I probably noticed it because I had an angel standing behind me going "look that way".  Anyone who has read Frank Perretti's "Piercing the Darkness" will get this..I have to say I like my sisters version.  It is nice to know God does desire to give us good things.  I think sometimes people make the mistake of thinking the good things God is supposed to give us are things like a check mysteriously coming in the mail that pays off all of your debt, uh  the ability to never ever get sick(heard that one), A BRAND NEW CAR!  You know like God is the Price is Right.  Now I am not saying He doesn't do those things, but most times those blessings come in the form of say a helping hand to put on a new roof, a loaf of bread made by hand, pears from a friend, someone to hold your hand when you need strength, someone to pray for you, hug you, love you.  God can and does bless us in so many ways.  Ways we even now don't deserve.  He doesn't do it because we deserve it.  He does it because like any good father he love us and wants to give us good things.

"If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your father in heaven give good gifts to those that ask him "Matt 7:11. 

But you know the best gift God can ever, and has ever given us is His Son, Jesus.

"But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners Christ died for us".  Romans 5:8

While I love my grain mill as well as every blessing I have received, they can all pass away.  I am content with the greatest gift I have ever received.   Christ loving sacrifice so that I might be able to have a relationship with Him. Awesome.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Oh well, moving right along

Plans for today were to include yard work and cutting grass(for the boys).  God has other ideas in that it is raining and has been raining since last night.  I do appreciate the rain though.  So we will go with plan "B" and spend time in the kitchen.  I need(knead) to make bread.  I could probably add some other things to that list, but we will see.  I am planning on going this after noon to a friends house to pick pears to can.  That will mean another trip to the kitchen for canning the rest of my lima beans(this should be it) and then the pears.  Once the garden is wrapped up, it will be back to trying to sew some of the doll clothes I have cutout, but that is another post.  I did makesome granola for breakfast.  YUMMY!  Man that stuff is good.  I love granola anyway. 
Went to see the movie"Lawless" last night.  Good movie based on a true story about bootleggers in the 1920's.  Now I did watch the movie,but tell me I am not crazy in that instead of really watching the characters, I am looking behind them at the scenery, cabins, rooms in the cabins, kitchens, etc from the time period.  It was cool.  I did the same thing watching "Hatfields and McCoys" on the History channel.  I can't help it.  I love that kind of stuff.  Good movie though.  Want the granola recipe?  Okay, you twisted my arm...  I got this from the tightwad gazette in full disclosure.


5 cups of oats(I use 4 cups oats, 1/4 cup groundflax seed, 1/4 cup wheat germ, and 1/2 cup walnuts)
1/2 cup dry milk
1ts ground cinnamon
dash salt
3/4 cup brownsugar
1/3 cup oil( I use extravirgin olive oil)
1/3 cup honey(I use raw honey)

Pre heat oven to 375 degrees.  In a sauce pan, heat the oil, brown sugar, and honey on a med low heat.  While that is heating up, take your oats(etc), dry milk, cinnamon, and dash salt and mix thouroughly in a greased cookie sheet.  Take the "syrup"and pour over your grains.  Mix as well as you can with a spoon, then put the spoon down and use your hands to incorporate it well.  Once mixed well put it in the oven for 10 min.  Take out of the oven.  If you want to put raisens in it, you do that now. Bout halfa cup.  Stir it in thenjust let the granola sit til it is cool.  Then break up.  If you don't add the raisens, then just take the granola out andlet it sit.  Don't stir it.  Let cool then break up. 

Monday, September 3, 2012

Dare I dream?

DH and I are once again embarking on an adventure.  An adventure in Financial Peace University. We have taken the classes before, tried and failed.  BUT!  We are going once again.  Our debt isn't astronomical, but any debt (even the "good debt") is contrary to God's word.  "Neither a borrower or a lender be" isn't just a line from Hamlet, but comes from the book of Proverbs.  We have over the years seemed to spend our tires around baby step #1.  The saving of the initial $1000 for an emergency fund.  During the last FPU classes we managed to save the thousand dollars twice and it was spent twice.  The Government (bless their heart NOT) took it the first time, and then household things like AC going out, car repairs etc, took it the last time.  We get a bit nervous getting excited about this step because once we say out loud that we have that step accomplished, something happens to take it away.  So forgive me if I don't update things too loudly.  We are moving right along is all I will say.  Barring any unforeseen circumstances (Good Lord willin and the creek don't rise) we will have my DH's student loan paid off by 9/14.  Then we will tackle a credit card.  My hope is to have both the student loan and this one credit card paid off by the end of the year.
Funny thing debt.  If you have a good credit score you can get more of it.  Hmmm  I am beginning to realize that maybe I don't want any more debt.  Whatcha think?
***pause here*** wish you guys could really hear this.  Knight in shining Armour, Rubic, and Einstein are in Einsteins room playing "little big planet" and singing Bohemian Rhapsody.  Yea.  Interesting goings on at the frugal maven ranch.

Anyway, back to my original topic.  Want to know an interesting tidbit?  Larry Burkett once said that Americans could live off of minimum wage if it wasn't for debt.  I have found this to be true for us.  In order to keep us motivated I made up a "Dream Budget".  What our budget would look like with no debt.  Not even a Mortgage.  We could live off of what I make part time.  Dh's response to this is "Okay I'll just retire then".  Uh no!  LOL.   But at my age, to think of going into retirement in 15 years with no debt, no mortgage, would be a fantastic thing.  It is the best retirement plan in my opinion.  WOW.  So dare I dream this dream?      I have to at least try.   

Thursday, August 30, 2012


For those of you with a wrinkled brow concerning the title of this post, let me assure you I am not nuts(well not technically).  Our family is big Christmas Story fans.  Watch it every year on Christmas eve.  So if you know the movie you will know what that is in my title.  Don't know the movie, I will splain.  Apparently the Dad had this on going battle with the furnace and you could hear him working on it and "swearing" at it.  Course it was supposed to be so bad, but the audience only hears the above word.  So this morning I am trying, as a christian woman, to find the appropriate word to describe what happened this morning.  That word fits.  Perfectly.
I guess a subtitle of this post would be "why you should not do heavy amounts of baking at 4:45 am with no coffee".  Yea that would work too, but the first word is shorter(not if I have to explain it though).  I wake up this morning and can't go back to sleep.  Thinking about my day, my week, Christmas, Birthdays, sewing, gardening, raised beds, SQUIRREL!  Oh sorry... I digress.   Anyhoo, you get the idea.  I decide to go ahead and get up(Proverbs 31:15 she gets up while it is still dark; she provides food for her family and a portion for her servant girls.  That's me!).  I need to make blueberry muffins and something for my knigth in shining armour to take to work in his lunch.  I think "I know, I will mix up brownies and blueberry muffins and bake them in the oven together in order to save electricity!"  Brilliant!  Ummm yea.... not so much.  Apparently when one tries to cook that early in the morning after 5 hours of sleep and no coffee, one can drop the ball so to speak.  The muffins turned out great, but I couldn't figure out what was wrong with my brownie dough. That is until it had baked.  Yea....forgot to add THE SUGAR!  Mmmm mama made black play dough!  Well it is trash now.  Grrr.
I share this for two reasons, 1) if you are going to attempt to be the Proverbs 31 woman, you need a good supply of caffeine, and 2)  I want you guys to see that all is not always rosy at the frugal maven homestead.

Now, my attempt for the rest of the day is to do laundry and other various house cleaning things, and make bread.  I have had two cups of coffee so I am hopeful for success with that one.  I will also attempt something else in the snack area for lunches and such.  This should be interesting though cause I am now out of eggs til tomorrow.  Tomorrow is grocery day.  Yay!

So I hope you guys have a great day til I can see you again.  Remember!  Always be positive.  I.E   I am positive I will use sugar next time.  See?

Friday, August 24, 2012

Putting the garden down for a nap, and trying something new

New to me anyway.  I actually spent 4 hours yesterday outside in the garden(housework went to rack and ruin but...)putting some of the beds down for the winter.  I have blister on top of blister this morning and my shoulders are sore, but it is a good feeling to have three beds prepared.  I am trying something new.  A variation from another blog site I read.  You can link to it here.  I really enjoy this site.  The couple live in the North Ga mountains which aren't too far from me.  They pretty much grow all they eat with few exceptions. Anyway, Here is what I am doing.  I dig up the bed, putting the dirt onto a tarp, then fill the bottom of the "hole" with organic stuff from the garden i.e. dead weeds, corn stalks, bean plants dug up, etc.  I layer a nice thick layer, liberally sprinkle fertilizer over it all then top it with the dirt from the tarp.  I then cover all of that with black plastic.  The largest pieces of stick are mainly the pruning from my blueberry bushes.  It is a great way to get rid of yard refuse and build up the soil in the process.  I hope.  But at least it does get rid of the yard waste.  Kind like sweeping the dirt under the rug, but more beneficial.(smile)  I will update in the spring if I was successful.  It is kinda like having individual compost bins.  So I accomplished three of these beds.  I would have done four. I did cultivate the bed, but when I was going to put the bed down for the season I discovered 3 potato plants.  So instead I covered them up with more dirt and left them alone.  Later on in the day I found 4 more potato plants.  So my final tally of 60+ lbs for the season, may be premature. We'll see.  My tomato plants continue to come back.  Not sure if I will get much from them, but they have plenty of blooms.  I am dying to dig up my peanuts, but I must be patient.  They aren't ready yet.  I hope I get a good harvest from them.  The plants look wonderful.  Well, I am off to clean. Unfortunately, not my house. Mine will have to wait a bit longer.  It'll just get dirty again anyway.  As my sister says "If evolution were true, houses would get cleaner".  You guys have a great day.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Hello all!

Just biding my time as I watch the canner percolate away pressure canning some red beans and rice.  Uh minus the rice( to be added when serving) can't can rice.  You end up with something akin to glue I suspect.  I got the idea to just make up the recipe instead of just canning beans.  I don't know why I didn't think of this before.  Hey I'm slow, but I get there eventually.  The convenience will be awesome.  Just open the quart jar and heat up while I am cooking some rice.  This is going to be so awesome this winter.
Finished up with the harvest of navy beans for the summer.  I figure I got about 4-5 lbs from about 1/2 cup of beans to begin with.  I would say a great return on my investment.  My pinto bean plants aren't quite ready yet, but they are hanging with beans.  I am just waiting on them to get some color.  I have 10 watermelons that will more than likely be ripe before the first frost.  Add to that I found potato volunteers growing and pretty good size yesterday.  We will see what I can get from these by the first freeze.  None of these items came from heirloom variety seeds/tubes.  Yet they are not only producing, but producing well and producing an item true to the parent.  My navy beans are white little beans, look like navy beans, act like navy beans; my watermelons are green on the outside, red on the inside(with seeds) and sweet!  My pinto beans so far are exactly like pintos should be.  We have all eaten this stuff from the garden.  No one has a dread disease or anything, so I am feeling fairly confident that I can save pretty much any seed I need to.  Yesterday I harvested my first group of lettuce seeds.  They are currently drying on top of the bread box.  Along with some jalapeno seeds
The little green buds here are the lettuce seeds:
You tear them open(easier after they are dried) and inside are the little lettuce seeds.  See
The little bit of white represents the seeds.  Not a great picture, but my talents don't lie in photography.  So far this year I have saved seeds from lettuce, Limas beans, green bell peppers, jalapeno peppers, watermelon, and seed potatoes.

Onto a different subject, remember the doll I told you about?  The one a wonderful co-worker gave me?  I am going to post a pic of her so you guys can see what she looks like right now, and hopefully I will be able to repair her and post a new pic of her. Now more than likely I will have to send her off to someone who  can take care of the really hard part, but the cleaning, etc.  I am hoping I can do.  Here she is:
You can't see it in this pic, but the paint at the seams of her legs is flaking off.  She will need to have her legs repainted and that is something I am not equipped to do.  I love her little face.  She looks very young for her age as she is 88 years old.  She was made in 1924.  She is about the size of a 1 year old baby.  She is actually in remarkable condition all things considered.  I already have plans for the outfit I will make for her.  Picture a little off white dress edged in lace and with tiny Christmas red roses.  I want to get her some little off white stocking and black patent leather shoes.  I want to make her a little coat and bonnet out of  Christmas red , trimmed in off white lace and ribbons.  She's gonna be such a pretty girl.
Well that is all from my neck of the woods.  How is everyone else?

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Just thought I would check in

Nothing very impressive to report.  It is a cloudy morning and I sit here drinking my second cup of  percolated coffee.  In keeping with my homesteady decor, my coffee is percolated on my kitchen stove in an old fashioned lookin camp coffee pot.  Drip coffee does not, I repeat does not come close.  Percolated coffee is rich, but not bitter, hot(and I do mean hot), the smell permeates the house as it perks, and it used less coffee grounds.  My Dh prefers drip coffee, but while he is away on a training, I get percolated.  When he comes home, it will be drip.  The things I do for love!

  Well I'll be!  The sun has won and broken through the clouds!

This morning at 5:45 am I was awoken by thunder and lightning.  No rain, and I snuggled down in my sheets.  .  I was startled awake by the realization that I had clothes hanging on the line that I forgot about yesterday.  Now Murphy's law will tell you that had I stayed in bed and said "ah they'll be fine", I would have had a downpour on my hands as well as soaked clothes.  So up I get and outside, in the dark, to get the clothes off the line.  I got them into the house and situated, then went back to bed.  Yea....not happening.  I was awake.  It didn't help that my dog, Wolly,

 decided if I was up it must be time to get out of the kennel and Mama just forgot.  So he kept whimpering while I was trying to go back to sleep.  BAD DOG!  So giving up sleeping, I put on a pot of coffee, and started my day.  I made a batch of banana bread for breakfast, and am trying my hand at making pinto bean bread.  The recipe is in "The More with Less" cookbook pg 62.  We'll see how it does.  If successful I will have a bread that not only can be good for sandwiches and such, but could actually be a meal.  The addition of the pinto beans will make this bread a complete protien.  Add some fruit, soup, or salad with it and voila!  Dinner!  We will see.  I can tell you it does rise quite a bit.  Oh by the way, paused to add...It did not rain... Yea Murphy Law got me on the other side.  I knew that would happen.

So the plan for today is for the boys to cut the grass.  I am hopeful I can finally get back into the garden.  That is after my sons lessons are done for the day.  I am sure they are going to want to go to the "Y" for a swim, but the lawn has to be done first. So that is my day in a nut shell.  Like I said nothing earth shattering.  I guess I need to get going again.  Hopefully I can have something more impressive to write about next go round.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Thoughts turning to fall

I know, yesterday was hot and steamy, we still have about 7 weeks til the first day of fall, but I am beginning to think along those lines.  We have had two days of real rainy weather here (Praise God), and before that we had pop up storms; so my time out in the garden has been limited.  I was able to get out there yesterday to pull weeds and with the ground wet it went pretty fast(though muddy).  Anyway, I digress.  Since we have had a few rainy days I was allowed to focus more on house work  I have started my "fall cleaning".  I usually start on one end of the house and work my way slowly but surely down to the other side.  It was a day of pulling out furniture, sweeping and mopping underneath, brushing down cobb webs and dust bunnies, washing windows and curtains.  So far I have one half of 1 room complete!  See I told you... slow going. I will work on more stuff today.  Little by little I will reclaim the house from a summer of gardening and canning.  Anyway.  As I take down curtains I am trading them for heavier curtains used during colder weather.  We keep the thermostat set at about 65 during the winter.  Needless to say everyone has their favorite blanket to carry around.  It is rather cooling to think of fall weather.
I think one of the reasons I am thinking fall is because I have had to get into that mindset with the garden.  You know making plans and such for what will have enough time to produce and what needs to be replaced.  Most of it will come up in the next few weeks.  I will plant some more beets, spinach and lettuce.  That with the beans I just got in (who are up out of the ground now), and hopefully the tomatoes will be the extent of my fall garden.  I can happily record that so far I have harvested 2 watermelons, 16lbs of broccoli, approximately 180 lbs of tomatoes, 6+ lbs onions, 4 lbs navy beans(so far), 8lbs lima(so far), 60 ears of corn(so far), 3 lbs bell peppers(so far), 6 lbs of jalapeno peppers(so far YIKES!  I don't need this many, any takers?), 1 lb pintos (so far), 35 lbs blueberries, 14lbs black berries, 4 lbs peaches, 60+lbs potatoes,parsley, mint, rosemary, oregano, thyme, lettuce, and spinach.  so a total so far of 331lbs of produce so far not counting the stuff I didn't weigh.  Still looking to harvest more tomatoes(hope), corn, green beans, lima, pinto, and navy beans, peanuts, parsley, mint, and later beets, spinach and lettuce.  Not too shaby for the season.  Not taking too much credit for this one, I just planted the seed.  God provided and for that I am truly thankful.  Come winter I will smile a little as I open a jar of Tomato sauce, BBQ sauce, jelly, salsa, beans, corn, peanut butter, etc.  Somehow when it gets to winter and I enjoy the product of a summer of hot dirty sweaty work, I forget how much work it took and the fact that at the end of the summer I am usually saying "never again".  That is usually when the seed catalogs arrive and I am once more lured into the thought of spring planting.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Whoa, sticker shock today and what can I do about it.

So went for my monthly grocery trip today.  It is definitely and adventure to shop once a month, but once done I am done for a month.  No putting groceries away every week or two weeks. I knew going in how much prices would be for Sams thanks to their website, but wasn't prepared for the price hikes in everything else.  I allow myself $400 a month for groceries.  I know a lot of people that would tell me that is what they spend each month as well, but mine not only includes toiletries and pet items(i.e dog food, cat food, kitty litter), but I also try to always add to my pantry for emergencies.  Items I did not need this go around but bought to add to my pantry are: sugar, flour, cocoa, oil, butter, lentils, dry milk, popcorn, tortilla chips, boxed mac and cheese, raisins, canned fruit, oatmeal, and all natural peanut butter.  I will do this as long as I am able to do so.  The vast majority of these items I am buying before a price increase.  Namely the corn products.  I get a better price on these things when I shop like this and have them to fall back on if inflation kills us(just a waiting game til it happens I assure you).  Even with trying to shop for items at a good price, some things had spiked already.  I almost needed CPR when I saw the price of eggs.  YIKES!  Last month I  paid about .84 dz for eggs.  This time at Aldi no less I was to pay $1.69.  Double!  I can't stick to a budget of $400 and stock up with prices like that.  Dried beans had gone up as well.  So how can I combat prices like these.  Well first off I didn't buy eggs.  I still have some and so will watch for them to go on sale (hopefully).  Until then I will use substitutes in baking, and our breakfast will more than likely be things like muffins, oatmeal, etc..  I have "egg substitute for baking.  It is a powder made of potato starch that I use sometimes in baking.  You can get it in the whole foods section of your grocery store.  It is simply called "egg re-placer". It is around $6 or $7 depending.   If you can't buy that you can simply use soy flour.  I Tbs of soy flour and 1 TBS of water.  Other things I am trying include: cut out all store bought snack items such as potatoes chips, cookies, crackers, etc.  You would be amazed at the amount of money chips etc can add to a grocery bill.  Cookies, and crackers will be made at home by me.  I bought French fries at Sams to bake in the oven instead of chips. I am also making my own yogurt and am attempting to make things like yogurt cheese with it. I will also use my yogurt as a substitute for sour cream in recipes.  Meat will be cut back and will become more of an accessory instead of a focal point in our meals.  Each purchase today was thought about.  Nothing was tossed willy nilly in the cart.  I couldn't afford that.  I still have money left over from today to keep us in fresh produce.  This is where gardening comes in handy because I really only had to get fresh fruits and celery.  I know there will come a time when in order to keep up with my pantry I will need to reconfigure my budget, but for now I am holding on.
***TIP OF THE DAY!!!!*** I have omitted cooking sprays in my quest to cut our food dollars.  In order to grease my pans the old fashioned way, I needed paper towels.  Dreadful things those.  I hate to use them.  Seems like such a waste.  I was just about ready to throw a roll of paper towels in the buggie when I saw paper napkins.  Same number of sheets, but $1.00 less than the cheapest paper towel.  Yay!

So off I go to finish up before Dh gets home.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012


It is a rainy morning here.  Not a heavy rain, but I will take what I can get.  Especially when I got to get in my last planting of bush beans yesterday.  If I have them in the ground by August 1st, I can get one last harvest before the first frost hits here around the end of October.  So I can check that off my list. Right now I know I should be canning limas and navy beans, but instead i'm on here.  Hmmm.  I'll get to it in a minutes.  Don't rush me!
Anyway, I have been somewhat productive this morning.  I put up my first dried parsley.  I still have some store bought that I will need to use up so this was crushed and then stored in the freezer.  Apparently drying herbs isn't as hard as I thought.  You cut them, wash them well, tie them into a bunch(preferably but the stems), hang them upside down in a cool place that gets good air circulation, and let them dry thoroughly.  Then all you have to do is remove the leaves from the stems, take the leaves and roll them in your hands.  Kinda like rolling dough for cookies.  The herbs will crumble. Roll it until it is the consistency you desire.  Then store in a jar either in the freezer if it will be a while before it is used, or on your shelf for immediate use.  See!  Easy Breezy.  Right now I have Oregano, Rosemary, Mint, and Thyme drying.  My closet smells soooo good.  Oh FYI, my walk-in closed is split into two.  Half is for our clothes, and half is my "pantry".  I will try and get a pic, but right now I can't find my camera.  Ya know there are just some times when I get a small inkling of how weird I am.  But I embrace it!  EMBRACE THE WEIRDNESS!
On a normal note, I can share a blessing I received yesterday.  I try to say "blessing" instead of "lucked up".  Sometimes I slip, but I try to remember that "every good and perfect gift comes from above" so I figure if God can take the time to count the hairs on my head (that gets easier as I get older lol), He must want to  take the time to bless me with small little gifts as well.  This gift came in the form of more herbs.  I went to the local Ace Hardware yesterday to get some more bush bean seeds to plant.  When I was going into the store I noticed some really rough looking plants in the corner.  They looked about dead.  I said something to the cashier about them and she said they were throwing them away.  I said if they were throwing them away I could take some off her hands.  She said to take what I wanted.  I picked out three "orange citrus"mint, 1 dill, and one Parsley.  I know I don't need parsley, but it was fighting for life.  I didn't have the heart to leave it to die.  So I brought everyone home.  Once I pulled the dead branches from around the mint I realized there were living little mint plants bound and determined to live.  I am happy to say they made it through the night and seem to be doing well.  I will share one with a friend(hey K), one with my sister (hey D), and keep the last one.  The dill and parsley were replanted, dead branches removed, well watered, mulched, and shaded yesterday to let them get their roots established. Then I gave them the talkin to that I usually give my transplants/volunteers. " I have done all I can.  If you die it is not my fault".   That speech has worked so far.  Why mess with a good thing ya know?  Today is a perfect day for them to come out from the shade a bit because of the clouds and rain.  So far they are looking Okay, but it is still a wait and see.  The dill I believe is a perennial and so I will be very excited if I can get it to come back.
Speaking of "coming back".  My tomato plants are doing what they do every year.  They will die, or at least look about dead in the hottest part of the summer.  Leaves turn brown, no blooms. The blooms just wither and die back.  Then just about the time I go out to pull them up, I notice new growth, blooms, etc beginning. So I make sure they are well watered, weeded, etc to give them the best chance.  After a while I will have lush green tomato plants hanging with tomatoes.  Just about the time they are ready to start ripening, We have our first frost and that kills the tomato plants.  The tomato don't ripen and I end up with a lot of green tomatoes use. I have canned green tomatoes for fired green tomatoes, I have made green tomato mincemeat, and salsa.  I don't need anymore.  So my plant for this year is to cover them with a hoop house prior to the first frost.  If I can just give the plants enough time to let the tomatoes ripen naturally, I think I will get a good second harvest.  Well worth the cost of making a hoop house.  In addition to beans, and tomatoes in my "fall" garden, I will plant beets and spinach in the next few weeks.  Other than that things should slow down.

So now that I have rambled for a page or so, I have to go can beans and BBQ sauce. I can't put it off anymore.  Well unless I can think of something else to do.  Lol  I hope everyone has a great day.