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!