Saturday, August 27, 2016

Frugal Friday Wrap Up 8/20-8/26 2016



What a week this has been!  Between the wildfires burning around us, the extended family drama that took a huge emotional toll on our immediate family, and the heat, I have been struggling to get things done.  All I can do is my best and do things in little pockets of time. :)  Despite all of that, I feel pretty accomplished this week. :)  Onto the savings!

~Saturday Jeff and I headed up to Couer d' Alene, Idaho to do some shopping and just have some fun.  We had lunch at Olive Garden and used a gift card.  Total cost out of pocket was $10 including the tip.
~While we were up there, we decided to go and check out camping trailers and pop up tent trailers.  I'm glad we did because now I have a better idea what I can and cannot deal with. ;)
~We stopped at the Goodwill store up there and found some more clothing, some wonderful books, gloves for Jeff and a brand new large bottle of Meyers Clear Day organic cleaner.
~Another stop was  made at the Grocery Outlet and we stocked up on 2 jars of Kim Chee for $3.99 each , large 1 lb 2 oz. containers of fresh blueberries for $2.99 each, cantaloupe at .99 each, peppers for .50 each, wheat crackers for .79 a box, Johnsonville Cheddar and Bacon burgers for $2.99 a box, a huge watermelon for $4.99, cookie mixes at .50 each, hummus, and a few other things.
~Big Lots had my favorite make up remover wipes for $1 a package so I bought 4 of them to last me 4 months until we get back up there again.  They also had 2 packs of Udon noodles for $1.75.  We found some chips on sale and stocked up on some of those for treats for Jeff in his lunches.
~Sunday I made Jeff and I a nice breakfast of sausages and an oven pancake.  He had his with homemade maple syrup and I had mine with homemade fresh blueberry topping.

~We were running low on pancake mix so I whipped up another batch of it.
~The maple syrup was getting low so I also made more of that.
~Our garden blessed us with blackberries, cucumbers, tomatoes and green beans this week.
~I hung multiple loads of laundry out on the line to dry.
~I had bought a dress for $5 at Goodwill that I was able to modify a bit to make it more practical for me. ;)
~It was really hot Sunday night and we had 3 big fires burning north of us.  Jeff and I opted to have salads for dinner and I made some cookies for dessert.  We watched a dvd we bought recently at the thrift store while I monitored the fire situation on the computer.
~Monday I baked a squash casserole and then piggy backed the oven heat by turning up the heat after I pulled the casserole out to bake 2 loaves of bread.
~My husband had a DOT physical, which his company reimburses him for.

~While my husband was in town for his physical, I had him pick up another gallon of milk since we are just about out.
~I called my doctor's office to straighten out a miscommunication between them and our pharmacy.  This will save me money on my prescription that I take daily for my thyroid issues.
~We have some elk burger that I am trying to use up.  I made a hamburger helper style casserole for our Monday dinner with it.  There are plenty of leftovers to save me on some cooking this week. ;)  I made a deal with Jeff that all our meals would be home cooked this week and that we would only pick up essentials, like milk, at the grocery store.
~The blackberry bushes are really starting to come into their own.  I picked and froze a bag of blackberries Monday.
~Jeff got done with his doctor's appointment early and made a run to the hardware store in yet another town.  It is right next to Walmart where my prescription needed to be picked up.  He got that for me, saving me a trip into town this afternoon.
~Monday was a much cooler day with temperatures in the low 70's.  No need to run the swamp cooler. :)
~I am enjoying a nice cup of tea more and more as the evenings are getting cooler again.  I try to remember to use the tea bag twice.
~I froze one of the large containers of blueberries.

~Our roses out front are so pretty so I cut a few to enjoy in the house also.
~Tuesday I pulled some of the leftover shoyu chicken out of the freezer.  We had that, rice and beans from the garden for dinner on Wednesday night.
~I stopped at one of our favorite thrift stores.  They have .25 clothing clearance racks full on clothing on Tuesdays.  I was able to find 3 shirts and a pair of shorts for the grandsons and 2 shirts for me.  I also found a new CO2 cartridge for our Soda Stream machine for $1.99, a new bottle of Coach cleaner for their fabric bags and a few other things also.  All of my stuff came to a little over $8.
~I finally got that beautiful Talbot's icy blue and beaded dress into the consignment store.  She is going to try and sell it for $90 and we split the profit 50/50.
~The used book store took one of my books that I am done reading and gave me a $2 credit there.
~I watched a live stream show by my cousin Marisa, who is a cookbook author who focuses on Canning and has the  Food in Jars blog, on making tomato sauce.  While watching I worked on getting green beans from the garden ready to cook. If you click on the highlighted link it will take you to her website. :)
~Wednesday was our volunteer work and we got some free groceries while doing that. Some of the things we received were huge bags of raisins and dried cranberries, fresh cauliflower, bratwurst, potatoes, canned goods, hamburger buns, cereal, crackers, juice and the list goes on.

~I was feeling very stressed out Wednesday morning and got out a book to read on Norway and traveling by boat there.  It was so calming to read and get lost in the pictures.  My husband's grandfather and great uncle immigrated from Norway and we have good friends there.  It holds a special place in our hearts and we hope to visit one day.
~Thursday morning one of our amazing neighbors, who has a truck farm, invited me to come and pick some corn.  We had a nice visit while he and I picked out 12 ears.  I tried to pay him but he would not allow me to and told me that he would have even more down in the other field ready soon and to please come back and pick more.  I will be making him some banana bread, which he seemed very excited about. :)
~I froze 10 of the ears of corn after I broke them in half.  I can easily pull one of the bags out and cook it up for family parties or just pull a few out at a time for Jeff and I.
~I used some of the potatoes we got while doing our volunteer work, along with some cheese and bacon sauce that we had previously gotten to make some scalloped potatoes.  I added some ham chunks (also given to us) right near the end.  It made for a very comforting meal.  I served it with the leftover green beans from the previous night.

~I can't stand to have a lot of grease on food so I use my turkey baster to suck it up an then put the oil and grease in a jar and dispose of it.
~My husband and I had a late of the potato dish above so we snacked on fresh fruit, cheese and crackers for dinner.
~More shows were watched online.
~I raided our pantry and took a box of goodies over for my grandkids on Friday. :)  Grammies are allowed to do that. ;)
~Dinner on Friday night was leftovers.  We had a lot to choose from.
~Friday I was blessed to spend the day with my SIL Heather and my grandboys.  We found a college coupon book that had a coupon for a B1G1Free burger at the place we were going to eat lunch at.  The grandboys split a kid's meal, she and I each had a burger and we had coupons for free ice cream cones for dessert. :)  She insisted on paying since I was watching the kids while she had an eye appointment and later in the afternoon when she went to work.
~I spent the afternoon building barns with Legos and supervising a water gun fight with the grandboys. ;)  Best entertainment around.
~My son Chris loves cucumbers, so I picked some from the garden and took them over with me so he, Heather and the grandboys could enjoy them.
~I found coupons for free items from on of our grocery stores in a university newspaper.  I got some coupons for me and some for Heather also.
~I did several surveys and product reviews that I was compensated for.
~I continue to use a timer when I water our gardens.  I forgot to do that one morning this week and the front garden got an hour long soaking before it dawned on me that I still had one of the sprinklers on.

   So not a bad week savings wise.  I am beginning to really feel Fall coming on and that makes me want to go into "chipmunk mode" and make sure that I have lots of food stored for the upcoming cold weather.  I looked at the long range forecast and we could be in for lots of snow.  I don't like to drive in snow or on ice so I tend to hibernate here at home unless my hubby drives me somewhere.  I blame growing up in Hawaii for that along with a car accident I was in years ago. ;)  If I feel the car slipping at all, it tends to throw my into an panic attack.  I hope you all have a frugal and fun weekend!


Friday, August 26, 2016

Deleted...and Thank You All

  I deleted my last post after reading all the wonderful advice and your experiences that you shared with me.  Some of them were so personal and heartbreaking.  I just wanted to reach out and give you a big hug.  I wanted so badly to protect you from ever feeling that kind of pain again, pain that I know so well.  I want you to know that I took everything you all said to heart and I shared it with my husband and thought about it.   I so appreciate the time you all took to respond.  

  I decided to delete the post for several reasons.  The first being that there is a minor child caught in the middle of all this mess and we love them with all our hearts.  This has been extremely hard on them and through no fault of their own, they have also become a casualty of all the nastiness.  The person that has caused the mess is one of their parents.  I want to protect this precious child to the best of my ability.  

  The second reason is that I do not want this blog to become a place of deep pain for me.  This situation is one of the most gut wrenching things that my family and I have continued to go through for years now.  It is wearing me down and taking me to places that I do not want to go again.  I want to focus on the good for the most part because that is how I try to live my life.  I realize that life has it's ups and downs, but this situation goes way beyond that. It's not healthy for me to continue down this toxic path that keeps getting worse.  

  The third reason is that I need to take care of my husband, my kids, my grandkids and myself.  I need to focus on our family (and thank you to all of you who pointed that out, sometimes I need to be reminded of things that I know in my heart, but my mind starts drowning in the toxic sludge) and friends and the people who want us in their lives.  These are the people who I need to give my time, love and attention to.  I don't want to waste precious energy and risk my health worrying about this ongoing and further decaying mess.  I want to be happy and spend time with people with whom I have mutual love and respect.

   Today I spent the majority of the day with my sweet Heather (DIL) and my grandboys.  We laughed, shared hugs and smiles, talked about what was important to us and played.  I watched in wonder as my grandsons played and seemed to be growing up right before my eyes.  My oldest grandson Bradley, who is 4 is reading now.  He has an excellent teacher in his mommy who has been working with him.  Isaiah, our 3 year old, is asking more and more questions about how things work and is always wanting to build something.  Today he and I built a barn together with Legos to house some of his toy animals.  My son Chris came home after a long day to find his sons and I playing in their front yard.  He made the comment that Isaiah no longer had the "baby" look but was now a little boy.  It made me take a second look at Isaiah, through my son's eyes.  I realized in that moment how quickly the boys were both changing and growing and how I want to be present in each and every moment with them and take it all in.  I want to remember how Bradley woke up from his nap and sleepily cuddled up with me while Isaiah and I worked on building the barn. I want to remember the look of delight on Isaiah's face when he jumped into the cooler that was filled with water so he and Bradley could fill their water guns up in it.  I never want to forget watching Heather share ice cream cones with the boys and their smiling faces.  These, and other moments spent with my husband, children, grandkids, and the rest of my amazing family and friends are what make my life so rich and meaningful.  My energy is limited so I want to spend it wisely.

   So thank you again to all that reached out, shared, and gave me good and sound advice.  I appreciate you all so much and I thank you for helping me put my focus back where it needs to be and to try not to dwell on the situation in which we have no say or control over.  Be blessed and again....thank you!

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Frugal Friday Wrap Up 8/13-8/19/16


   Here we are at the end of another week of trying to live a full yet frugal life while getting ready for the cooler months to come.  This will go down as one of the better weeks for frugal doings in awhile. :)  I have been pushing myself to get things done and by Friday afternoon I was hurting all over my body. I hurt to touch.  I tucked myself into bed after an early dinner and watched the movie "Holiday Inn" on dvd.  I can't believe I had never seen it before.  Jeff cuddled up with me to watch the last half of it while he had some coffee before he had to get ready for work.  Hopefully I will not be as sore tomorrow but Jeff has already told me that I need to take it easier this weekend and be kind to myself.  I love that man!  Now, without further ado, onto the frugal doings...

~While doing the watering, I filled buckets and the cat and dog water dishes with the water from the sprinklers also.
~Jeff and I stopped at the thrift store to donate a bunch of stuff and we found a few things there for ourselves.  He found a shirt and I found a cami, 2 shirts from Coldwater Creek, a sweater, an antique oval picture frame and print, some sterile gauze pads and a dvd.
~We also stopped at a garage sale on Saturday and got 2 movies, a season of Castle, and a book on homesteading, all for $5.
~I have been able to harvest some blackberries from our plants and they are so good!

~Multiple loads of laundry were hung out on the line to dry.
~I was able to get a free subscription to Field and Stream for my hubby.
~Jeff and I went to see the new Jason Bourne movie.  We used a gift card and went to a matinee.  We did buy popcorn and split a large drink so our cost out of pocket was $3.
~Hastings is going out of business so Jeff and I stopped by there to see if they had anything we might want.  We did find Lethal Weapon, Lethal Weapon 2 and Lethal Weapon 3 in one set for $5.60.  We had been looking all over for Lethal Weapon and had the others but we went ahead and bought the 3 pack since it was less than the price of just buying the one movie alone at Walmart.
~I had a coupon for a free small sized Bath and Body Works product.  I got a lotion in an apple scent.  I love that scent for the Fall.
~Caesar's claws were is desperate need of clipping so I finally got that done Sunday evening.  It takes both Jeff and I to do it.

~We stumbled upon an amazing deal at Winco.  They had their Echrich Turkey sausages marked down to .99 a package.  We bought 8 packages of them and froze 7 for future meals.
~While at Winco, I had planned on buying some more avocados but they have gone way up in price so I scratched those off my list for the time being. My hubby picked some up on Monday from Walmart for me since they were cheaper there and he was in town anyway.
~More things were harvested from the garden this week including a few blueberries, cucumbers, beans and a small zucchini.
~Monday I cooked up a crockpot full of potatoes, onions, some of the sausage I got on sale and kale from our garden.  I cooked this all up in some chicken broth and added some freshly ground pepper to it right before serving.  I had needed to use up half a huge onion and some potatoes, along with some kale, so this was the perfect dish to do it with.
~I also made 2 loaves of Cuban bread so my hubby should be set for bread for the next 4 days or so.
~Monday was my sheets and towels day.  I got them all washed and hung out on the line to dry.  Jeff remade the bed when the sheets dried and before he went to sleep for the afternoon and early evening.
~Remember that big box full of nectarines?  Well I pitted and sliced up 10 of them, packed them into jars and then filled it up with vodka.  In a week I will strain the fruit out of it and add some simple syrup to the liquid.  Some of this may become Christmas presents...that is if I can stay out of it. ;)

~I strained the second batch of homemade raspberry gin.  I am set for quite awhile. ;)
~Three magazines, all free subscriptions, came in the mail for me.
~We used SKYPE multiple times this week to talk to our son Josh.  He made us laugh with one of our conversations where he was showing us just how gray his hair is starting to get.  My poor boys inherited the going gray prematurely from their daddy and then losing their hair from my side of the family.
~I was able to get in on the free samples from PinchMe on Tuesday morning.
~Jeff and I used the $25 Walmart gift card that I earned through Swagbucks to buy the following: 2 character beach towels for $5 each (these will be Christmas gifts for the grandboys), a shirt for Jeff that was on clearance for $2, a package of hamburger buns, a package of hot dog buns, a huge container of organic salad mix, and a package of Johnsonville cheddar and bacon burgers. My total out of pocket cost, after the gift card, was .65 .

~Jeff found a part that he need to fix the sprayer hose on my car for under $2 at the local home improvement center instead of going through the car dealership where they wanted a fortune for one.
~We were given free bottles of water to take home with us at a restaurant as part of the welcome back for the WSU students.
~Tuesday evening I took Caesar for a walk and we foraged for wild plums and came home with about 10 of them.
~I found blueberries for .99 a container and bought 2 of them.  I would have bought more but my freezer is stuffed!

~Our dear friend and neighbor made dinner for Jeff and I on Wednesday night.  We had been out running errands that afternoon and evening and picked something up for her in town that she needed.  She is so very sweet!  I refer to her as my hanai (adopted by love) sister. :)
~Jeff and I stopped to get more canning jars on Wednesday since they were on sale.  While we were there, Jeff also found something that he needed for his gun and it was 40% off.  The five out free popcorn there which was perfect because Jeff had not eaten since he got up.  I had brought a bottle of water with me so we had popcorn and water as a snack to hold us over until we got home.
~We stopped by the newly expanded Christian thrift store that helps people who are struggling to get back on their feet.  We found some more clothing items, some car stereo speakers,  and a brand new leather cross body purse there.
~We also stopped at Goodwill and found a dress, a brand new bra, some Bath and Body Works stuff, books and dvds.  I was able to pick up the first 2 seasons of Sex in the City for half price since the price tag was their discounted color tag of the week.  Season 2 had not even been opened.
~More shows were watched online.
~I sliced up some cucumbers from our garden and put them in a container with some seasoned rice vinegar.  It makes for a very light and fresh tasting pickle.

~Thursday I made some fruit leather with some nectarines, lemon juice and honey.  I could not find all my fruit leather insert trays so I made some with parchment paper.  Of course right after I did that, I located all the fruit leather trays. ;)  I cut the fruit leather and rolled in up on the parchment paper and put them in a freezer type Ziplock bag and froze them.  This will keep them fresh and I can just pull some out as needed.  I hope the grandboys like them...this Grammie sure does.
~The hanger for the muffler on my husband's car broke.  Jeff, being the handyman that he is, was able to rig up a new hanger for it. :)
~My hubby loves hard boiled eggs to snack on so I hard boiled a dozen sale priced eggs up for him.

~I was craving a cocktail so I went to my pantry and found orange juice and some vodka that I had leftover from making the nectarine vodka.  Screwdriver time!
~The trays for my huge dehydrator are a pain to wash in the sink because they do not fit.  I have found my big sunken bathtub the perfect place to soak and wash them all at once.  The hand held sprayer from the shower just makes the job of rinsing them all off so much easier. :)

~PinchMe sent me a box with dog food, a wake up aid and lots of coupons that I had ordered from them last month.
~I have been diligently working my Swagsbucks program.  I would like to be able to get another gift card at the first of next month as the discounted rate.
~Friday I cut up most a a large bag of onions and have them dehydrating in the garage.
~Three more cucumbers from the garden were cut up and made into refrigerator pickles.

~I have been watching videos on making artisan breads on YouYube.  This is something that I want to learn how to do.
~I froze a bunch of blueberries Friday that I had not gotten eaten because I did not want them to go bad.
~I am finding that my new go to outfit at home, for the days when I am not going anywhere, are shorts and a camisole. I stay much cooler and do not have to turn the swamp cooler on until later in the afternoon.  I had tons of camisoles just sitting in my drawers so now they are being put to food use.
~Friday evening I was worn out and really sore.  My hubby BBQed some burgers for dinner and I made a southwestern pasta salad to go with it.

~We had leftovers several times this week.
~I have been trying to eat a bit healthier and get more protein into my diet.  I'm trying to have cottage cheese with either fruit or fresh veggies mixed in with it each day.
~While at a store earlier in the week, I picked up the free newspaper with the ads in it.  They also contain coupons so I picked up 3 copies.
~I completed a few surveys for some companies and will be compensated for that.

   So not a bad week at all. :)  I have more onions to dehydrate and depending on how many more cucumbers that come ready next week, I may be making a few jars of bread and butter pickles.  I'd also like to make some more pickled green beans to have on hand.  Be blessed and I hope you all have a great weekend!

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

 hubby told me the other day, after I had yet another night filled with disturbing dreams, that he wanted me to not worry about returning to work and to consider myself retired.  I stopped substitute teaching in the Spring of 2015 after a very stressful encounter with a student that left me shaken to my core and that threw me into a downward spiral healthwise.  I realized, in that moment, that the job that I once loved and looked forward to each day had become more and more difficult due to changes in society where people were not held accountable for their own actions and many parents no longer taught their children self discipline and responsibility or even cared about how they were harming their children and setting them up for failure by not teaching them to respect others and that it was all about them.

   As much as I love teaching and seeing the "light go on" when a child realizes that they have learned something new and feels that wonderful sense of accomplishment, I just cannot deal with not only the apathy that I see in so many kids and their parents, but the disruptive behavior that makes learning and teaching nearly impossible at times.  It also upsets me that we have the "No Child Left Behind" mandate that forces teachers to cover tons of information and do so much testing that it leaves little time for students to actually absorb and master the information and skills needed before they move onto the next building block of knowledge.  Students all learn at different rates and for those student who struggle to learn new materials, and who need a bit more time and practice on new skills, this is a nightmare for them and leaves them feeling frustrated and defeated.  It honestly breaks my heart.

   I miss teaching.  I miss the many wonderful kids that I have come to love over the years.  I miss the hugs, smiles and laughter that I have shared with so many.  I miss the dedicated and wonderful teachers and para pros, along with many of the additional support staff at the school.  But I don't miss the feeling of frustration when kids just don't care.  I don't miss the ones who disrupt the classroom over and over again, with absolutely no fear of the consequences for their actions because they know their parents either won't care or will come unglued on the teacher or the principal for daring to hold Junior accountable for his actions.  I don't miss the huge meltdowns of a child who refuses to follow directions because she is not made to follow directions at home.  Granted, there are some children who honestly have behavioral issues that also have wonderful and caring parents that are working with their children to help them learn to follow directions and handle their frustration in a healthier way, and I commend those parents for the hard work, time and love that they invest in their child.  Those are not the children or parents that I am referring to by any stretch of the imagination.

   So I am now, in the words of my sweet hubby, retired.  I have not completely shut the door on returning to subbing at some point, but for now, I will happily focus my time and energy on my home and my family.  This is not to say that I will no longer be doing some teaching and creating learning materials for some very wonderful students.  I am going to be helping my DIL Heather with the homeschooling of my grandboys. :)  I can't think of a better way to use all those years of experience of teaching in the public schools, tutoring and also homeschooling my own sons. :)  I can help as my health and energy allow and not be stressed out, which leads to "crashes"  due to my CFS.   All in all, this is a very positive thing for me and it is what is the most beneficial to our family. 


Monday, August 15, 2016

Passive Frugal Doings and a Huge Thank You!


Crockpot lasagna
One of the things that I have found the m
ost enjoyable and life enriching about starting my blog is the interactions with others and the sharing of ideas and encouragement we can give to one another.  I look forward to reading comments left on my blog and to visiting the blogs of those of you who have them.  I feel like I have made all these wonderful friends across the world and I do want you to know how very much I appreciate all of you!  As a stay at home wife and grammie in a very small rural farming community, you help open up my world and allow me to learn new things , armchair travel and grow. :)  So thank you all for that!

   One of the comments that I get over and over again is that I do so much to save, even with my limited energy.  I went back and read over a few of my Frugal Friday Wrap Up posts and realized that yes, I do a lot but a many of those things are what I refer to as "passive frugal doings".  They take little and sometimes no energy at all.  Let me give you some examples:

1. We dropped our satellite TV subscription and now watch the one local station we get and a few PBS channels on the TV in our bedroom.  That TV is hooked up to a big old fashioned TV antenna that was here on the house when we bought it.  The other shows that we want to watch are watched online via my computer.  This costs us nothing but the electricity to run the TV and my computer and takes absolutely no effort on my part.

2.  Watering the gardens.  The main gardens are set up with soaker hoses and sprinklers.  All I have to do is turn them on, along with my timer so that I know when to switch the splitter so that I can then water another garden.  I do hand water one small garden area along with the potted plants and some flower beds by hand, and a few fruit trees, but that goes quickly and for the most part I use water that I have collected in buckets while the other gardens are being watered, the run off from our swamp cooler or water from our rain barrel.  I save time, energy and water this way.  It also makes it really easy for when we go somewhere and have someone come in and stay with the fur babies to keep the gardens watered too.

3.  Making bread is easy For years now I have used my breadmaker to make most of our bread.  It takes me about 5 minutes to get everything in it and make sure that the dough is the right texture.  The machine does the rest of the work.  When I do make Cuban bread, I use my Kitchenaid mixer, which also does most of the work.  I just have to punch it down after the first rising, put it in bread pans, let that rise again and then bake it.  The recipe does 2 loaves at a time so I do not have to make bread every other day like I do with the sourdough bread that I make in the breadmaker.  I will be making some more Cuban bread today.

4.  Hanging our laundry to dry on the clothesline is another huge savings but one that takes very little time and is actually something that I really enjoy doing.  My clothesline is in my backyard maybe 30 steps from my back porch.  It has 5 lines on it so I can hang up quite a bit at once.  There is something very calming to me about standing out there hanging the laundry out while listening to the birds chirping and the squirrels chattering back and forth with one another.  I also enjoy taking the laundry off the line while it is warm from the sun, folding it and putting it in the basket.  It is then ready for me to put away.

5.  I use my crockpots to make lots of different dishes.  I love the convenience of being able to throw the ingredients for a meal into the crockpot and just let it go for the day.  I make soups, stews, lasagna, kalua pig, pork chops, roasts and many other meals in my crockpots.  I also make applesauce in them.  And yes, I do have multiple crockpots.  I currently have 5 of them.

6.  Cooking and freezing future meals is a huge time and energy saver.  For the most part, I cook in large quantities because I don't know any other way. ;) I was raised to help run my childhood home because my mother worked full time and also ran us kids around to many different activities.  She was a teacher so her work day did not end when she left the school.  There were still hours of correcting papers and lesson plans to do every night.  My father started out as the assistant manager and then became the manager of a exclusive resort in Hawaii.  He had to be onsite both day and night on his work days because there had to be a manger present 24/7.  He spent an average of 4 nights a week there, after having worked all day long and help entertain during the evenings.  My mother joined him in entertaining guests for dinner there quite often also.  On my father's nights off, he was usually gone at meetings or officiating football games.  We actually saw him more at work, when we would go down for the day on weekends, than we did at home.  This left my mother with very little energy to get everything that needed to be done at home so she divided up the work at home between us kids and herself.  Since I was the oldest, a lot of that fell onto my shoulders.  I quickly learned from my mother to cook and bake in large quantities so that there would be leftovers for another meal or to make large stockpots of soup and freeze some for future meals.  She is an amazing cook and also taught me how to find the best bargains and stretch our budget and food.  That is why I will still cook in large quantities and freeze part of what I make or even freeze leftovers for future meals.  It saves me time, money and energy and gives us a great variety of things to just pull out on those days when we are busy or I am not feeling well.  Cook once, eat 3 or 4 times in our case. ;)

   So there you go.  Those are just a few things that I do to save money that take little effort, time or energy on my part and that I consider "passive frugal doings".    We have tried to set up our lives to do these things to make our lives easier and more enjoyable while saving money.  I find that as we get older, I am trying to find even more ways to make our lives easier while still living on a strict budget.  Speaking of doing things to save money, the sheets and towels just got done in the washing machine and I need to get them hung out to dry.  Be blessed and have a great day!



Sunday, August 14, 2016

My Woodpecker Theory

   I have this theory based on what I have observed over the years having to do with the behavior of woodpeckers in my area.  During the Summer, it is rare that I will see them, but come Fall, they seem to be out and about hunting for food.  This afternoon, I noticed 2 of them.  One in my yard and another just down the street while I was taking a walk.

   I realize that we are just hitting mid August, but there have been many signs that are pointing to an early Fall here this year.  Our neighbor's burning bush started to get tipped in red in July and now, here in mid August, some of the leaves are totally red.  I've even noticed the leaves turning on some of the trees lately.  Our nights, for the most part, have been really cool, down into the upper 30's at times but averaging in the mid to high 40's.  This is not normal for our area at all.  I am just praying that our tomatoes will ripen and we will get some more squash before too much longer.

   Animals sense changes in weather far sooner than we do and start to prepare.  Woodpeckers are kind of barometers for me.  When they arrive, I know that Fall is not far behind.  This has been a very strange year weather wise for us with an earlier than normal Summer combined with really cool nights so I guess it does make sense that Fall will be early too.