Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Use it Up ~ Empties August 2017

*This post contains affiliate links that may put a bit of change in our pockets if you click on them and make a purchase.  This is at no additional cost to you.   My family and I greatly appreciate your use of them and support of this blog!

Along with the foods in our pantry, fridge and freezer, I have been determined to use up products that I have on hand before buying something new that may be catching my eye, creating temptation.  Sometimes that involves searching the deep recesses of closets and cabinets when I have a vague memory of buying multiples of an item in the past.  This month I managed to use up several products, giving me a sense of accomplishment towards my money saving goal.

I will also offer my opinion of the product, for what it's worth, and whether I plan on purchasing the item again.

•  Masqueology Collagen Lifting Cream Mask ~ I purchased this product either at Walmart or Target but you can find a similar one here.  I enjoy, and believe in, pampering myself from time to time, and for under three dollars I believe this little mask is worth it.  I keep these in the veggie crisper drawer of our fridge so this creamy mask felt cool and soothing.  $ saving tip:  I use these type masks more than once, until there is no more liquid or serum left in the packet.  I neatly fold the mask back up, slide it back in the packet and seal it all up in a zipper type sandwich bag and back in the fridge it goes!  I learned this trick from a lady that purchases high end masks and I figure, if it's good enough for her, it's good enough for me!
Will I buy again? Most definitely!

•  Suzanne Organics Healthy Glow Body Lotion ~ I enjoyed the subtle glow this light lotion gave my very fair skin, and the fact that it was a certified toxic free organic product.  In the future, I would love to purchase this item again as I prefer to use items that are as toxic free and organic as possible (or as close to that as I can afford).  At this time however, the price of this item doesn't align with my money saving goals.  So when I want a subtle, sunless tan, I will use my Avon sunless tanners and lotions for a beautiful glow at a fraction of the price!

•  Anew Platinum Firm and Sculpt Cream for Neck and Chest ~ I have enjoyed slathering on this luxurious cream before bed and will likely purchase again at some point in the future during a really good sale.  I am currently using a newly opened jar of this but discovered another, different neck lotion that had worked it's way to the back of my shelf. I will move into using that one when this jar runs out.

•  Flexitol Heel Balm ~ ever since reading that Dr. Phil's wife, Robin, swore by this product for smooth feet, I have purchased, and loved the products' results! Even after comparing the ingredients to other less expensive foot products, I keep buying this one.  I don't know how many tunes I have already gone through over the years but, money diet or no money diet, I will definitely keep buying this.  A girl has gotta have smooth feet, right?!

•  Avon Skin So Soft Satin Glow products ~ I do love the end result these self tanner gels and lotions give, so by the time Avon is offering them again next summer, I will probably have run through my stash and will purchase again.  The price is always reasonable compared to other brands and it allows me to have a little color on my glow in the dark pale skin.  The only reason I might not purchase in the future is if I decide to tighten my spending even more.

•  Dr Scholl's Stylish Step Clear Cushioning Insoles for Flats ~ for less than ten dollars, these allow me to wear my beloved ballet style flats when out and about in comfort for a longer period of time.  As I have gotten older, I have lost some natural Cushioning in the soles in my feet and much to my orthopaedic foot surgeon's dismay, I'm not ready to live in running shoes.  These handy little insoles allow me to still feel stylish while providing comfort.  Not necessarily ALL DAY comfort but for long enough to do a little shopping and errand running.  I will buy these again when needed.  For the time being, I am able to switch them into whatever pair of shoes I want to wear for my outings, allowing me to be able to use the one pair in different pairs of shoes.

•  Assorted skin care samples ~ I like to try before I buy whenever possible so I am a big fan of free samples.  I actually used the whole little sample packets of these two Avon products (there was enough product in them for several uses) rather than forgetting about them while they dried up in their little pouch and ending up in the trash.  I simply folded over the opened part and set them on my shelf where they were not "out of sight, out of mind", ensuring they got used up.  Speaking of which, if you would enjoy receiving a little complimentary sample package of assorted products from me and my Avon business, just let me know~I love sharing our wonderful products with friends!

If you have any questions about any of these products that I didn't cover, don't hesitate to ask!

Thanks for stopping by! ~TJ


Friday, September 15, 2017

Five Frugal Things ~ September 15, 2017

Encouragement from an afternoon walk that Autumn temperatures will soon be on their way!
This week's frugal five are again, little things that all add up.  This week I:

•  used bubble bath that I had on hand to refill a hand soap dispenser when both it, and my large refill bottle, ran out.  I didn't want to make a special trip just for that one item (which inevitably turns into several items by the time I leave the store!). The bubble bath was thick enough that I ended up adding some water to it to thin it out a bit.

•  finished the last little bits of a few different products.

•  received several cents off coupons for, and a coupon for a free package of, cat litter.

•  transplanted plants that had self sown in out of the way places to brighten up bare spots in the garden.  Propagated a couple of plants from cuttings of plants I already own.

•  only ran errands on one day this past week rather than my usual couple of errand running days.

I hope you found some new ways to save money this week!

Thanks for stopping by! ~TJ

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

My Reflections on Hurricane Harvey 2017

*I would like to preface this post by saying this is my, and my family's experience ONLY.  I know that others in the path of hurricane Harvey, and now Irma, have suffered damage, loss and heartbreak that I cannot begin to fathom.  And devastation that we did not experience.  While I am thankful and grateful to God that we were spared, my heart and prayers and donations are with those that were not.  Survivors, I encourage you to try to believe and remember, although it may not feel like it, God is with you and he sees you.
I mentioned recently that I would post about our hurricane Harvey experience.  I have come to the conclusion that if I don't get it on "paper" in bits and pieces, that the post won't happen, since my heart and mind have, and are still experiencing, different stages of shock, grief, numbness and gratefulness.  Like the roller-coaster that it is, there have been few moments where I felt I could catch my breath long enough to form a complete sentence, let alone a lengthy post. Therefore, this will be a work in progress for a while...

August 25, 2017 the Friday before Harvey, after discussing evacuation vs. staying put with hubby and deciding to stay, I felt the strong urge to make one last trip to the grocery store.  Having lived on the gulf coast for most of my life, I have lived through the aftermath of hurricanes and knew all to well what we might be facing if we were hit hard.  Although there's know way to predict the outcome, we can only use our best judgement and do what we feel is best for our personal situations.  Even though we live merely blocks from a large body of water, and are surrounded by smaller bodies of water and the gulf, we were not under mandatory evacuation orders, and the initial land hit was forecasted to be Corpus Christi (where my brother lives, and due to being a first responder and nurse, cannot evacuate. I was more concerned about HIS and his family's safety than I was ours at the time.) so we felt staying would be prudent, especially since travelling would be excruciating for my husband and his pain level.

After the "last stop shop" on 8/25, I set about battening down the hatches, so to speak.  Working in the yard, I moved and removed any plants, furniture or other items that could take off flying with a good wind (a few years back, we had a wind shear go through our area and ended up with a portion of someone's fence in our backyard😨).  Then I filled some gallon water jugs with tap water that we had saved for such a time as this, and filled the upright freezer with them.  This would serve a couple of purposes in my mind:  help keep the frozen foods in there frozen for as long as possible and, if the electricity went out for long enough that they thawed, we could use them to drink, flush toilets, wash up (dishes or our faces and bodies), etc.  I also took a clean 25 gallon plastic tote and filled it with water from the garden hose.  Trying to think of extreme "what if" possibilities, I brought a nylon rope inside so it would be handy in case we flooded to the point of floating away (not a pleasant thought but it happens).  It would give us something to hold onto to hopefully stay together in rushing currents and not lose each other.  I also washed every last stitch of dirty clothing so we would have clean clothes to wear for a while if we lost power and couldn't wash them.  I baked bread knowing there would probably not be any on store shelves.  That is, if and when, the stores were open after the storm made landfall.  (In fact, even during my pre-storm, last minute shop, food items and store shelves were already showing shortages.  And when overhearing another customer question a store employee about a certain item, the employee warned, "if you see it, get it, because we don't know when we will be getting any more deliveries after today".)

Skipping ahead in the scenario for now since just writing the above has raised my feelings of anxiety & blood pressure...

The Walmart I shop at. (Photo taken from Facebook~unfortunately, I don't know the individual to credit this to)




The extent of our property damage: 
Pear tree in our backyard that split vertically and fell. I noted with astonishment, how the fork fell AROUND my birdfeeder pole, jostling it but not damaging it. The tree had not produced this year, and even when it had, the pears were hard, making processing difficult. We still have some delicious spiced pear sauce in the freezer from when it did produce though! We also had our very own "waterfront property" for a while.


the bread shelves at the grocery store ONE WEEK AFTER the storm.


September 12, 2017 my daughter and I had some errands to run.  After stopping to fuel up her car and noting the gas station was still out of premium fuel, we decided to visit the neighborhood we lived in before moving to our present home (which was virtually unaffected by the storm, which is mind boggling, since the two neighborhoods are only a short drive from each other.) since we had heard it was under water during Harvey's rains.  The heartbreaking scene that awaited us...
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Construction debris pickup trucks in hard hit neighborhoods. (9/18/17 photo from our city's government Facebook page)

Just as we were turning into the neighborhood, a huge truck that we assumed was for debris pickup, turned in ahead of us.  What a job lays ahead for them.  Because of scenes like this, trash and recycling schedules in our area are still not back to normal. 

It is the strangest, most indescribable scene to witness and live, let alone comprehend.  Some areas and neighborhoods appear normal, as the city is boasting beautiful weather.  Mail delivery is back on schedule.  But as mentioned above, trash and recycling schedules are not.  Gas shortages still exist here and there as do some food items on grocery store shelves.  There are many words, and yet none, to try and express this aftermath...

I'll be back soon to add to this.

For now, thanks for stopping by!~TJ










Friday, September 8, 2017

Five Frugal Things ~ September 8, 2017


sidewalk lined with flowers on each side~take time to savor the beauty all around you!

This past week's frugal efforts have been mostly about "continuing to's".  Things I do regularly, nothing new, major or out of the ordinary.

I continued to:

•  wash and dry resealable plastic bags to be reused.

•  rinsed fairly clean, but used aluminum foil to be reused.

•  hang and air out gently worn clothing in order to wear a second wearing.  We've had a few cool, low humidity days this past week. Combining that with wearing certain outer garments for a short time, allowed me to justify this.  Less wear and tear and breakdown of fibers going through a laundry cycle resulting in being able to own and wear the items longer, and not have buy a new piece of clothing sooner rather than later. (I usually only practice this during cooler and/or less humid weather. During hot, muggy, sweaty weather, clothes MUST be washed after each wearing no matter how short of a time I wore the item.)

•  create meals using items on hand, concentrating on first using items before they expire, rather than just cooking what I "feel like" cooking.  This is requiring a lot of thought, focus and prioritization on my part, lol.

•  strategize and think through online purchases.  I waited for, and used, a "25% off total purchase" Joann Fabric coupon to purchase some fabric I had been wanting.  I also took advantage of a labor day coupon code for 15% off my total online coffee purchase.

Little things that all add up! (Or at least help to offset those times out of our control, when we can't save money, or have to spend unexpected dollars due to emergencies.)

I hope you have been able to "stay the course" with your frugal efforts this past week, no matter how seemingly trivial!

Thanks for stopping by! ~TJ

Friday, September 1, 2017

Five Frugal Things ~ September 1, 2017 Edition


summer squash & collards
This week's frugal five are brought to you by Hurricane Harvey...

Seriously though, everything I'm listing is a direct result of dealing with the storm. I almost hate to list them when my neighbors have lost so much this past week. But I must remind myself, this is the reflection of my reality and it in no way takes away from their pain. They are continually in my prayers and thoughts. I will be donating what I can to the efforts to help my community rebuild. And we will rebuild. Life must go on. That being said, I decided to carry on. We must.

This past week:

•  I did not leave my house for the entire week.  Not that I run the roads all that much under normal circumstances, maybe one or two days of the week I have errands that I run, or I  might take the three hour trek to visit my parents. This week though, no costly gas or wear and tear on our vehicle was expended as we hunkered down and waited.

•  I used the idle times to earn more Swagbucks

•  Because of the relentless rain, I didn't have to water plants or the lawn all week.

•  I didn't grocery shop all week. I usually make at least one trip to the store for something, as I haven't gotten myself organized enough yet to go more than a week without shopping. This week though, if we didn't have it, we didn't eat it or use it. We  made do.

•  We had no major storm damage, thank God, so there will be no repairs we will have to pay for. That's major! I am all the more grateful especially after speaking to one of my Avon clients last night and she told me that her daughters family lost their home, cars and the husbands business building. There is devastation all around us and we were spared. And I'm so very thankful.

I hope you had a delightfully uneventful week and please keep Texas in your prayers!

Thanks for stopping by!~TJ




Thursday, August 31, 2017

This Week's Meals in Review ~ Hurricane Harvey Edition

from my snapchat~username: dflombard
Wow! What a week this has been with our area dealing with hurricane Harvey. Thankfully, our family and home remained high and dry, although there were some scary moments when water was creeping up towards our home from the street.

Below, I share some meals we enjoyed from our food stock. Of course this is not the only meals, snacks and beverages we consumed, only what we ate from what we had on hand. I hope it encourages you to assess the food you may already have on hand and challenge yourself to come up with tasty meals and treats, seemingly from nothing!

Breakfasts

•  fried eggs and toast
•  oatmeal with raisins

Lunches/Dinners

•  spicy pintos with chorizo, cornbread
•  grilled cheese sandwiches
•  macaroni and cheese
•  lentil and broccoli soup
•  ham sandwiches

* meals listed above only reflect what I had on hand in the pantry, fridge or freezers and may have had additional side dishes added that were recently bought during my weekey grocery shopping trip.

Snacks, Sweets and Treats 

•  peanut butter cookies
•  one bowl cocoa powder brownies

Beverage 

•  fruit smoothies

I will be adding a post soon with more about our Harvey experience so stay tuned. In the meantime, if you are able, please consider donating to the folks affected by the hurricane or helping in whatever way you can. If you are unsure of places to donate, I strongly suggest, believe in, and donate regularly to, the Salvation Army . Also, my beloved Avon, is gathering donations to be able to transport toiletries and home goods to those in need. You can donate as little as one dollar also. It all adds up. You can read more info on my Facebook page or go directly to the Avon website to be taken directly to to donation page.

PLEASE NOTE *I DO NOT RECEIVE COMMISSION ON THESE DONATIONS* 
This has been set up strictly to help those affected by Hurricane Harvey

Wherever and however you decide to help, I, and my neighbors THANK YOU from the bottom of our hearts!

Here's wishing you sunny days from Texas! 
Thanks for stopping by ~TJ



Saturday, August 26, 2017

Five Frugal Things ~ August 24 Edition

my sweet, but high maintenance fur babies
I'm a tad behind in posting this. Living on the gulf coast, our family has been on hurricane Harvey watch. Fortunately for us, we have only had some heavy rain and wind, nothing damaging. As I type this, it's raining, thundering, windy and we are still under tornado warnings and flash flood watches. More of the same is expected over the next few days. My thoughts and prayers are with my coastal neighbors.


In this week's frugal adventures I:


•  organized my grocery budgeting plans a little more so I can be aware of how much I'm spending each month when grocery shopping. This will be an ongoing project for a while until I feel I've figured out a good grocery budget amount.


•  continued filing my dogs nails with the Pedi Paw and giving her a supplement that seems to be helping her not to need to have to have her anal glands expressed (sorry, real talk here) every three weeks. This has been saving us the $40+ every three weeks that I was paying the vet to perform this service. It doesn't totally eliminate having to take her for these services occasionally, just buys more time in between visits.


•  made homemade mosquito repellant for our yard. Non toxic for us, our dog and the environment and best of all it works! I have a feeling we are going to need it when the rains subsides!


•  took some apples that were past their prime and made applesauce in the slow cooker. I took the portions of apples that were inedible and placed in the freezer in a clearly marked bag to use in the future for simmering potpourri.


•  my daughter had a medical procedure at the hospital so I took my own coffee and a protein bar for when I got hungry while waiting. Downside: I usually take my own water everywhere I go, but forgot this time (it was early and my brain doesn't switch on until later in the day /: ) so I ended up buying a bottle of water.


I hope you have had a wonderful, frugal week as well.


Thanks for stopping by! ~TJ




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