Thursday, August 29, 2019

My Frugal Week

 I stopped at a yard sale on my way to the grocery store on Saturday. I spent $6 for everything you see in the picture above. The blouse was $2, still had the tags on it and I can add it to my work wardrobe. The paintbrush will come in handy as I continue to paint the basement. I will be giving my granddaughter the headbands for her birthday in October, the bag was only 25 cents and I can also use that for many things. The Betty Boop salt and pepper shaker set was the most expensive item at $3.00 and since my mom loves all things Betty Boop, I will be giving it to her for a gift.

We ate all our meals at home. I made another loaf of bread, a spicy black bean soup, tacos, sausage with peppers and noodles, frozen pizza, chicken broth that is now in the freezer, crock pot green beans with bacon grease and onion, and pasta salad with tuna. I also made a cake from scratch with chocolate frosting.

We had our two granddaughters over for dinner on Wednesday night. We had hot dogs, macaroni and cheese, salad, and watermelon with cookies for dessert.

I went to Walmart and bought Dawn dish soap. I always buy the biggest bottle, transfer it to a smaller bottle and add a little water to the top. It is so concentrated that I find a little goes a long way. We wash all our dishes by hand and we like Dawn the best. I also use it as a cleaner.

I drive a lot for my job and have been blessed to get gas for a much better price than usual at $2.40 per gallon. While I'm on the road I listen to podcasts that I download on my phone. Recently I listened to Belinda at Frugal Workshop.

I washed my large and small baggies so that I can reuse them, unless they had meat or other messy thing in them. We wash them by hand in soapy water, turn them inside out, and hang them over a large utensil until dry.

I paid all our bills online. The only bill I don't ever pay online is our water bill because the water company charges an additional $10.00 for the privilege of doing so.

I peeled and froze tomatoes from our garden. They will come in handy for soups and sauces.

It's been cooler here lately so we are taking advantage of it by getting some yard work done.

Have a great week!

Saturday, August 24, 2019

Simple Living

Enjoying the simple things like a swallowtail butterfly

At this stage of our lives, Papa and I have been trying to make life easier on ourselves by keeping things simple. We both work during the day so our time can be a little limited for doing things that need to be done around the house. I am in the process of eliminating things that aren't really necessary in order to make time for what is most important to us.

Here are a few things I have been doing so that life can be simplified:

  1. I have de-cluttered my email inbox. I have a personal email that I have used for the last 15 years and the amount of daily emails that come in can be overwhelming. Nobody needs that many daily emails! (I use a separate email address for the blog). So for the last couple of weeks I have been unsubscribing from emails that I don't need or want. Most are from websites that I subscribed to for informational purposes but I have noticed they really just want to sell me something and I am trying not to buy much these days. I have noticed that sometimes you really have to look for that "unsubscribe" link. The font is very tiny! 
  2. I am making our meals less complicated. Simple is better. I will try a new recipe once in awhile but will be sticking with simple, easy, and familiar recipes that I have used for years for the most part.
  3. Grocery shopping. Before going to the grocery store I check the refrigerator, freezer, and pantry for needed items and to see what we have that I can use for meals. I then check the sales fliers to see what really great deals there are. I make my list based on those two things. When I get to the grocery store, I stick to my list but I may change my meal ideas if I find an exceptional deal. Many weeks I don't buy much at all because I have stocked up on those exceptional deals on precious grocery shopping trips. 
  4. I have stream-lined my house cleaning by decluttering the amount of knickknacks that I have to dust. I still have a fair amount of decorative items in my house but I try to keep them under control so there is less to keep clean. And, less for Miss Bella to knock over!
  5. I love to save links on my laptop that I want to go back and read later. Sometimes I will read them at another time but mostly I don't, so I have been decluttering those, too. Same goes with Pinterest!
  6. Less shopping. At this stage in our lives, we really don't need much and shopping just doesn't have the same allure as it did when I was younger. It can be exhausting and a little frustrating. I'm not finding the styles of today as attractive. Maybe it's my age or my style. I don't know. But I try to just buy the basic items, such as, a good pair of shoes for work or clothes that will last so that I can wear them a few years. I usually check the thrift stores for clothing first then retail. 
  7. Decluttering my home. I keep a box or bag in my closet just for clothing I no longer need or want. Next is Papa's closet and dresser! After that, the basement (oh, boy!). 
  8. Getting out of debt. This is the most important point. We are doing all we can to reach this goal. In two months we will have the truck paid off and in another year everything else will be paid off (if all goes according to plan). Having less payments to keep track of and less open accounts will simplify our lives in a big way. 
  9. Gardening. We love to be out in the yard and planting flowers and vegetables. We are learning which plants are the most important to us and that is what we are staying with right now. 
Minimalist quote: "I am beginning to learn that it is the sweet, simple things of life which are the real ones after all." - Laura Ingalls Wilder

So, that is how we are making our lives a little bit easier. Share your ideas on how you are simplifying your life!

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

The Last of the Summer and a Bread Recipe

Summer is winding down and the kids in my neighborhood have gone back to school. Mornings are getting cooler, too.  Every morning I open a couple of windows so that Bella can enjoy whatever is going on outside in the yard, although it is still dark when I am getting up for work now.

My zinnias are doing well and always bring the butterflies. They are just about the easiest thing to grow. I bought the seeds at the Dollar Tree for 25 cents for each envelope back in the Spring.

We have so many tomatoes and jalapenos right now. We have frozen some, given some away, and eaten so many tomato sandwiches that Papa has actually said that he has almost had enough (we pretty much grow tomatoes just for the sandwiches).

I am making another tomato pie today. It was so delicious last time that we want another one.

I also tried a No-Knead Whole Wheat Bread. There were a lot of steps but  I worked them into whatever I did throughout the day easily. Next time I will add vital wheat gluten to add more texture and absorb more of the moisture. I had some toast made with the bread this morning and it was very good.

I hope your day is a good one!

Sunday, August 18, 2019

Weekend Cooking

Classic Southern Tomato Pie

I love to spend time in the kitchen. It's relaxing and a creative outlet for me. Since I work during the week, I will do most of my cooking and baking on the weekends.

This is is what I cooked this past weekend:

I made the Tomato Pie I had planned earlier. It was such a bit hit at our house that I will be making another one next weekend. Here's the link to the recipe I used:  Classic Southern Tomato Pie

I made two kinds of bread: white with a little rye flour to up the fiber content and Cinnamon Raisin. I just started making our bread again and I am thoroughly enjoying it. Since there is only the two of us I will be putting about half of each loaf in the freezer.

Roasted cherry tomatoes. I added basil, garlic, salt, and olive oil. I roasted them at 300 degrees for an hour. They are delish! I will add these to soups, sauces, or wherever.

Tuna Salad for our lunches.

Today Papa will be putting 2 whole chickens on the grill. We will have lots of chicken, but we will use it for chicken and noodles, chicken salad, chicken soup, and chicken broth. Whatever is left over will be tucked into the freezer for future easy meals.

Last weekend we had a picnic with the family and we had a lot of leftover hamburger and hot dog buns. We didn't have the room in the freezer for all of them so I toasted some in the oven and made bread crumbs. I keep them in the freezer and pull them out whenever we need them.

What is on your calendar for future meals?

Saturday, August 10, 2019

Pictures to Share

As you may have noticed I have a new profile picture. It is a photo of my own "Nana" when she was 16 years old and right around the time she met my Grandpa at the rolling skating rink!

This week we have collected many bowls of cherry tomatoes. The orange ones are the sweetest but the red ones are the biggest! And basil. Always basil. I use it fresh or I dry it and use it throughout the winter months.
I made a loaf of bread. I usually use my bread machine to make the dough and then bake it in the oven. We like it better that way. I put some garlic and Italian herbs in this one for more flavor. Papa made many tomato sandwiches with this loaf. Yum!
This picture is of our four grands from the Fourth of July parade❤
We visited Papa's sister and brother-in-law. These flowers were in their front garden and we didn't know what kind they were, so if anyone has a clue what kind they are, please let me know! They are so pretty.

The next 2 pictures are cross-stitched quilts my own Grandma made in the 1980's. They are light-weight and perfect for summer sleeping.

It's hard to believe that we are already in August and summer is winding down in our part of the world. Before we know it we will be pulling out our sweaters and jackets again! Have a wonderful weekend!

Friday, August 2, 2019

My Walk

I will often walk during my lunch at work. There are trails and sidewalks that make walking enjoyable and on a beautiful day like today, it was especially nice. 

 The sky was a perfect shade of blue, the breeze was light and the birds were chirping.

It is so nice to get out from behind the computer screen in the office and soak up the sunshine and warm air. I always feel energized after being outside in the middle of my work day.

Have a beautiful weekend!

Saturday, July 27, 2019

Our Meal Plan

Since Papa is off on Fridays, he usually takes the opportunity to scour the grocery store sales and marked-down items. This week's best sale was whole chickens for 49 cents a pound which is a super price in our area. The limit was 5 chickens so he bought 5 and then we went back Saturday morning  and bought 5 more. Toothpaste was 88 cents each and so I asked Papa to get some toothpaste. Well, you had to buy 8 to get the toothpaste for 88 cents so that is what he did. We won't be buying toothpaste for a very long time!

Our Meal Plan for the Week:

1. Chuck Roast on the grill with BLT pasta salad.
2. Roast chicken and vegetables.
3. White Chicken Chili and cornbread (Our granddaughters will be joining us)
4. Ham and lentil soup in the crock pot
5. Tacos made with the chuck roast meat
6. Leftovers

Chances are there will lots of leftover food so some of it will go in the freezer for future meals.

Our tomatoes are starting to come in and one plan I have is to make a tomato pie.

                                                                 Our girl Bella