Friday, March 16, 2018

Five Frugal Things ~ March 16, 2018

This past week, to flex my frugal muscles, I:

•  snipped some mint from the garden to add to tea, drinking water and just to nibble on (healthier than breath mints!).  I also snipped some parsley to add to dressings, my dog's food and also to nibble on, among other culinary uses.  Speaking of tea, I also took the little bits of tea at the bottom of my cups that I couldn't finish, and added/combined them in a canning jar and stuck it in the fridge for my later, iced tea drinking pleasure. (I mix whatever flavors I happened to be drinking to do this and have rarely had a "concoction" that I didn't care for.)
I wish I knew what this plant was.  It came with the house and has never disappointed with its showy display of snow white flowers!

•  cut and brought in some flowering branches to cheer up my housebound hubby.  (And me, I love fresh flowers!)

•  FINALLY baked the no knead French bread!  It's a keeper, and so much easier than the recipe I used to make when my dough bowl was intact (rip dough bowl😭).  I will still play around with the recipe until I get it juuuussst right for us. (I will take a picture after I have gotten it more to our liking.)

•  hung to air out my gently worn clothes after one wearing.  When the weather isn't too hot or humid, I find I am able to get more than one wear out of some garments.  I just hang them inside out so I know they have been worn.  It saves wear and tear on the garment and lightens my (laundry) load, saving water, detergent and energy (mine and utilities).

•  bought, blanched and froze 17 1/2 (*+) pounds of asparagus that I stocked up on when Kroger put them on sale for .88 lb.  Asparagus is one of my very favorite veggies and I have not seen it at this price in recent memory.
* the + is for the few stalks, here and there, that I may, or may not have, *wink* eaten as I was processing them.  I used the blanching and ice bath water (after it had come to room temp) to water plants.

I hope my frugal five encourages you, as others have encouraged me!

Speaking of encouragers, here is a favorite blog that, if you don't already follow, I thought you might enjoy.  I have been reading Miss Rhonda Jean's earthy, well rounded blog, off and on for years! >>> { Down to Earth }  Why don't you run on over there & say "howdy!"?
photo credit:  Down to Earth blog

I hope you love it as much as I do!  I'd love know what you think!

Thanks for stopping by! ~TJ

Monday, March 12, 2018

Gorgeous Weather!

Today, as much as I love a good, stormy, cloudy, cool day, is probably a reflection of my second favorite type of weather.  A weather sweet spot, if you will.

I have been busying myself with indoor tasks lately, as our weather has warmed a tad (I know, I know.  Cry me a river, my northern brethren are thinking. Yes, I feel compelled to add that disclaimer to all my grouchy weather commentary.😉) and with the combined humidity that makes me wilt, I thought it would be a good time to do a bit of Spring cleaning.  So, busy I have been.  Well, that and napping (did I mention this weather makes me wilt?  Oh yeah, I did.  Sorry.).

I haven't been a total garden slouch though, nor a total hermit.  I do have to go outside long enough to tend to my tender seedlings so they don't succumb to the warm winds that have been blowing things around in our yard lately.  And I have been busy planting bulbs, asparagus and blueberry bushes (to name a few).  I am determined to be more diligent in the garden this year.  Determined, I tell ya.  I am no master gardener, and am still learning.  With what feels like more failures than successes, each year I feel like throwing in the towel.  "I will never garden again!", I declare, in my minds loudest voice.  And then, after a brief sabbatical, the soil and seeds beckon me to try...One. More. Time.

Our FoodSaver is an older model but here is a similar one.
The Roll Combo Pack was purchased a few years back at Sam's Club and has lasted for.ever!  Here is a comparable pack.
Hubby and I both agree that it has been an excellent investment.

But today, OH TODAY (!!!)  our weather is perfectly PERFECT!  So, the baking (no knead bread experiment~still haven't made it. And a hubby requested cherry dump cake.) and putting up of the poundage of asparagus I snagged on sale at Kroger (.88 lb!) I planned to do today may have to wait.  (I did manage to blanch & freeze five pounds last night)  At least until the sun goes down.

Now I'm off to wander the (postage stamp) property and play with my plant babies...

Thanks for stopping by! ~TJ

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Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Rainy Day Reading

One of my favorite things about rainy days, like this morning was, is reading a good book without the nagging feeling I should be outside doing the latest necessary garden tasks.  And last night, I made a pantry inspired (read: throw together what I have on hand which was:  diced meat from a couple of chicken legs, sauce made from a can each of crushed tomatoes and petite diced tomatoes that I added a small can of mushrooms, Italian herbs, garlic powder, a pinch of sugar & salt and simmered on the stove until it thickened up a bit, and about 2/3 of a bag of a pasta trio that I cooked al dente, all stirred together with some shredded mozzarella, topped with more mozzarella then baked covered at 350°F for 30 minutes and then uncovered to bake for another 15 minutes) baked pasta dish and an easy Easy Pineapple Upside-Down Cake for dessert so I don't have to worry about making dinner tonight, as there was plenty left over for today's dinner & sweet attacks.  Therefore, I can snuggle up and read for a while.

Have you read this one?...
A Householder's Guide to the Universe by Harriet Fasenfest

I'm just getting started, but so far, I am really enjoying it!  It's a light, informative (for this amateur gardener) read.  It is sprinkled with the authors personal thoughts and experiences and so far hasn't had so much technical detail as to make my brain hurt.  (There is a bit of colorful language, so if that isn't your cup of tea, consider yourself  forewarned.)  The book is divided up by month, and each month has a "home", "garden" and "kitchen" section, with discussion of various tasks that Mrs. Fasenfest performs and/or suggests be done for that month.  Also, just by flipping through the pages quickly, it appears there are some recipes to go along with charts of what the author plants in her own garden and when.

I got mine at Goodwill for $2.99 + a 30% discount but you can find one here.

If you've read this book, I would love to hear what you thought of it!  Also, if you have any favorite books (of any genre) I would love the recommendations as I am a notorious bookworm.

Alas, all good things must come to an end.  At some point during my deep immersion in the householder "manual", the light rain stopped.  Which is just as well, as I had to go to the grocery store to stock up on a few things.  My daughter went along with me to buy some groceries for herself, which made my grocery trip extra enjoyable.  And then I got to come home and play in the garden for a little while before it got too dark!  I sowed some mesclun, moonflower and morning glory seeds and re-seeded some lettuces that never sprouted. 

It was a very nice, and relaxing day.

Thanks for stopping by! ~ TJ 

*We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to and affiliated sites. 
There is no cost to you, dear reader, by clicking on my affiliate links.  We thank you for your show of support for the blog when you use the links to make purchases!

Friday, February 23, 2018

Five Frugal Things ~February 23, 2018

Whooooowheeee!  Lawd have mercy!  Our weather has changed from chilly/cold/wintry to warm and muggy.  All in a matter of ONE DAY.  I had some Michigan in-laws that came to visit years ago, and after experiencing our high humidity, said they felt like they were suffocating.  Said they literally felt they couldn't breath easily.  So, if that gives y'all any idea of the dripping-sweat-before-you-can-dry-off-fresh-out-of-the-shower ick I am currently experiencing, there ya go.  Or, it could be hot flashes.  No. NO!  Dripping-sweat-before-you-can-dry-off-fresh-out-of-the-shower ick has been a thing the whole of my life living here.  But, I'm not complaining (as much as I could be if I really let loose). 😉

I know from reading instagram posts (@tjssweethome should you be inclined to check it out) that there is such a wide range of weather conditions everyone is experiencing, and it seems everyone is "over it", no matter what they're weather is like.  Even though I grouse a bit, I do realize how fortunate we are here in our climate (the giant fire ants hills and mosquitoes that are already staking their claim to co-exist with us notwithstanding).

I'll let that be a segue into my Frugal Five this week:
•  I saved money by not having to go to the sauna for my steam bath and facials.

Just kidding...

•  I took some bananas that were getting all freckly and froze them, along with some apples that I "baked" in the crock pot with some cinnamon.  I'll add them to my smoothies at some point.  Or a dessert.  It all depends on if I'm feeling healthy or "in the mood for something sweet".  I also placed a small amount of leftover fresh cilantro in an ice tray and filled them with water until they were submerged.  I will throw the cubes into soups or some other yummy dish at some point.  I froze some homemade yogurt, before it got to the aforementioned "lactic acid face mask" stage, in my handy dandy ice cube trays.  They are also destined for smoothies or whatever recipe might call for yogurt (or even sour cream).

•  I have been using some expired homemade yogurt for lactic acid facial masks.

•  I have been leaving the blinds and blackout curtains closed during the sunniest and hottest parts of the day so the a/c doesn't have to work as hard.  Our weather has been in the 70's lately which doesn't sound bad until you add in our high humidity. Being a "lady of a certain age" (😂😭) hasn't helped endear me to our weather either! I follow the strategically placed fans that are throughout our home, only turning them on when I am in the direct path of their glorious breeze. #followthefans

•  I picked up three cans of wet cat food using the last of the coupons that was included in Galahad's (our kitty) adoption kit.  I also had three coupons for free items at our local Randall's grocery store that I received playing their Monopoly game.  And let's not forget the free Chobani coupon I took advantage of to get a plain yogurt to start more crock pot yogurt. (I know I could've used some from my last homemade batch kinda got away from me.  Hence the frozen yogurt cubes and lactic acid face mask.  Sometimes, no matter how diligent I try to be, I miss the mark.  What can I say?

•  And last but not least, making shopping lists and sticking to them! I am getting better at not allowing myself to be distracted by all the pretty shinies that like to capture my attention like so many, trench coat clad, back alley "watch salesmen.  "Pssst! Hey, sweet-hahhht. Wanna buy a... ____fill in the blank_____".  Taking deep breaths, and thinking purchases through, before my trembling-with-excitement hand places said unlisted item in my cart has been my strategy.  My recovery even includes sometimes removing items after taking the item on a happy, breezy tour of the store.  Yes, it means I have to backtrack to put them back in their rightful place, but I try to look on that as the exercise that I so desperately need.

Now your turn!  I'd love to hear how you make those pennies, nickles and dimes clink in your change jar.

Thanks for stopping by! ~ TJ

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Focus: Garden

I mentioned in this post that I would elaborate more on each of the things I am mainly focused on right now.  Priorities,  if you will.  And one of those is the garden.
The garden began coming to life weeks before the cold weather ended.  One of the first signs were these birds.  We have resident Bluejays that visit us regularly, an occasional cardinal, and recently I noticed very small birds that are about the size of finches frequenting our yard.  (Fun fact:  I used to have a pair of finches many years ago named Lance and Lacy.  No, I don't watch soap operas, lol.)
The next inkling that Spring was on it's way was these bulbs, peeking ever so shyly from beneath fallen leaves in a bed next to the driveway.  I bought a markdown container of bulbs at Kroger last year and when they faded, I planted them.  These are those.  There were a few more bulbs, but so far only four have come up (one requested to not have me take it's picture because it was feeling homely.)

I began a project a few weeks ago called Wintersowing.  I was itching to get a head start on seed sowing but did not want seed trays and potting soil inside the house.  
Although we don't get much of a winter, and I probably should have started the experiment sooner, so far I am enjoying the results!

Since I didn't have as many gallon jugs as I needed for the number of seeds I wanted to get started, I improvised by making tiny greenhouses out of gallon zipper bags to supplement my seed sowing efforts.


a peek inside a gallon jug with spinach mustard seedlings happily growing

baby dill inside a gallon zipper "greenhouse"

Other cold weather seed sowing...
radish seeds planted in ground enjoy a moist, warm, glass canning jar incubator on a brisk day

An experiment with layer propagation of a boxwood...


I'm hoping to create more of a welcoming sanctuary for bees, birds and beneficial insects this year by having more flowers and flowering plants, and this is just the beginning of that adventure!

Do you have any gardening tips, tricks or advice you would care to share?  I'd love to hear them!

Thanks for stopping by! ~TJ

Friday, February 16, 2018

Five Frugal Things ~ February 16, 2018

seasonal fruit abundance 
It's been a good while since I've posted a Five Frugal Things.  Not because I'm not being frugal.  On the contrary!  I have actually tweaked, and tightened up, my frugal ways (because there's always room for improvement, right?)!  In all honesty,  I had started to feel like my frugal practices posts had become a tad redundant.  I started thinking though, that maybe it just felt that way to me.  After all, it's easy to lose perspective on a situation when you are in the thick of it.  So, without further ado, here is this week's edition of (drumroll please 😉) Five Frugal Things...

•  I made a simple nectar to fill my hummingbird feeder with in hopes of attracting the first influx of migrating hummers.  One of my garden goals this year is to be more inviting to the birds, bees and beneficial insects.

•  I've been sowing many, many vegetable, herb and flower seeds over the past few weeks.  I exercised extreme restraint in that I concentrated on sowing seeds that I had on hand before purchasing more (new and wonderful, can you hear the angels singing? albeit experimental, varieties) More importantly, I've been concentrating on continuously amending our sandy/clay-y (clay-y = not a word...I don't think) soil.

•  found a no knead French bread recipe that I plan on trying soon.  Since our dough bowl on our Ninja  began malfunctioning a few months ago, and since I refuse to knead dough, we've been subsisting on (gasp!) store bought bread.  And it just. Ain't. The. Same.  So my mission has been to find a delicious no knead version.  I will keep you posted. Speaking of, the Sourdough bread I was experimenting with was a bomb.  It was too sour for our liking, so I have shelved the experiment for now, since I hated all the wasted bread that was happening.  (Any sourdough experts out there that can give me a no fail recipe or tips?

•  had a Mumzy/Mumzy Jr. (Mommy/Daughter ~ yeah, we're eccentric like that) date at our local "dollar" theater on their fifty cent Tuesday.  Can't beat $1 for two movie ticket deal!

•  started keeping a bunch of bananas on hand for a grab and go snack to have on hand for when I'm out and about.  I know this isn't unusual for many, but for years I have kept protein bars ($$$) on hand for this purpose.  45 cents a pound (bananas) vs $5+ a box (protein bars)

How are your frugal adventures going?  I'd love to hear!

Thanks for stopping by! ~ TJ

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Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Happy Valentine's Day!

Whether your day is filled with simple, 

or simply indulgent 

I hope you ENJOY every bit of it! ~ TJ 


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