Friday, December 30, 2016

Frugal Friday Wrap Up 12/17-12/30 2016


   I'm doing a 2 week wrap up since the holidays found me busy, sick, busy, sick, busy and I was unable to get this posted last Friday.  I hope you all do not mind!  Christmas was wonderful this year and most of the gifts we both gave and received were homemade items filled with lots of love and meaning.  Those are the best kinds in my mind. :)  Here are some of the ways we saved...

~Over the weekend, Jeff and I stopped at Goodwill while we were in town and I found another king sized fleece blanket (it looked brand new) just like the one I found last week, but this one is red.  It was only $3.99!
~We also found some shirts for Jeff, 1 shirt for me, a cd that Jeff wanted and a few books at Goodwill.
~Monday I baked 2 loaves of Whole Wheat Oatmeal bread.
~Monday I also made some homemade breadcrumbs with the leftover bread from last week.
~Six batches of candy were made on Monday morning.  These are all for gifts for family and friends.
~Jeff and I have been binge watching "Fixer Upper" on Netflix since Netflix will be dropping all their HGTV shows come January.  I hate to see those shows go because they are some of our favorites.
~Jeff was able to help Jaysn and Rachel get their frozen pipes thawed out at their home.  Calling a plumber was way too expensive and that's what parents are for right?  To help their kids out in their time of need. 😉
~I've been working my points programs like a mad woman again.  I really want to be able to have some Walmart gift cards to use for the after Christmas sales.

~I was able to get in on a few free offers for a Christian worship CD and for Weight Watcher's magazine.
~Tuesday we had high winds here and I was afraid we might lose our power.  I got busy in the morning and made a ground turkey meatloaf and baked 6 potatoes.  After our meal we still have some leftover meatloaf and 3 of the potatoes for another meal.
~I found a small package of breakfast sausages in our small above the refrigerator freezer.  I pulled them out and stuck them in the refrigerator to thaw.  We will have a breakfast for dinner meal later this week.
~Another Walmart gift card is on the way!  I cashed out for a $25 card via Swagbucks.
~Our jug of honey had crystallized with the cold weather.  I stuck it near the pellet stove to get it back to liquid form.
~I made 10 small loaves of Cranberry Orange Bread and a double batch of Texas Roadhouse Butter for gifts.

~Bradley and Isaiah came over to spend Friday afternoon with us while their parents got one of their Christmas presents.  They bought them a miniature hamster and named it Roger. :)
~Since I was still recovering from that awful cold, I spent most of my days at home.
~In need of something healthy to eat for breakfasts, I cooked up a pot of steel cut oats and had those for several days adding some huckleberries to it that I pulled out of the freezer and just a touch of brown sugar.

Week Two:
~Saturday we did not go anywhere.  I was worn out so we skipped the Christmas Eve services and stayed home and hot tubbed that evening.  The weather was awful and the roads were bad so we watched some movies we borrowed from Jaysn and Rachel.
~Christmas was spent with our family.  The morning and early afternoon were with Chris, Heather, Jeremy, Heather's parents and her grandparents.  We had a potluck brunch and did a White Elephant gift exchange that was lots and lots of fun!  We also exchanged our other gifts and were so blessed by the creativity and generosity of everyone.  Some of the  more creative ones were a snowglobe with our grandsons pictures in it, a book of animal and pet stories from the extended family all collected and then put in book form by Heather's grandmother Sandra, a beaded bracelet that my oldest grandson Bradley made for me, a great picture of our grandsons in sepia tones on a slice of wood, and gift baskets and bags filled with all kinds of goodies!

~Christmas evening we spent with Jaysn, Rachel, Jeremy, Joyce and Michelle (Rachel's mom and sister).  We did a potluck dinner there with Jaysn and Rachel making the bulk of it.  The highlight of the evening was Jaysn and Rachel revealing that they were having a baby boy!  Steven David will be here in May!  I am so glad that we got to find out together with Rachel's mom and sister! :)  More wonderful gifts were exchanged including scarves and hats, gloves, homemade goodies, jams and jellies, gift cards and a hand thrown and painted bowl from Mexico that my cousin bought for me on his last trip there.  We are beyond blessed!
~Monday we headed out to see one of our hanai daughters, Mollie, that is home for a few weeks before she moves to Arizona for a job.  She is a traveling nurse.  Her parents live right outside of town here and we had a wonderful visit with them, Mollie and her brother William. :)
~Tuesday was spent at home digging out from all the snow.  The wind had blown it around quite a bit and we had large drifts in the driveway, backyard and walkways.
~Jeff pulled some leftover ham and a precooked rotisserie chicken out of the freezer to use in meals this week.
~While hot tubbing, Jeff and I planned out our menu for the week based on what we had on hand and came up with a plan for the rest of the month also.  We are really going to try to just buy fresh produce, milk products and maybe a few other great deals but for the most part, eat out of the freezer and pantry for the rest of this month and January.

~I made 2 more loaves of Whole Wheat Oatmeal bread.
~We borrowed some books and movies from the library.
~Jeff was out Tuesday shoveling snow off the roof of our hot tub enclosure and the garage.  The roof started bowing from all the heavy snow on the hot tub enclosure and Jeff was worried since the temperature started to heat up making the snow even heavier.
~I ran out of Whole Wheat Flour here in the house.  Luckily we had a bag of it in the freezer that we had been given a few months ago.
~There was just a little ham leftover so I chopped it up, added some pickle relish and mayo and made it into a ham spread for my hubby's work dinner sandwiches.
~I ordered some supplements that we needed from Vitacost.  I went through Swagbucks (hopefully it will credit this time), found one of the things I needed on a B1G1 half off sale and used a 20% off coupon code along with free shipping.
~Walmart's after Christmas clearance sales were not as good as they were in years past but I still managed to spend my $25 gift card there stocking up on Christmas themed Ziplock bags (I'll use them all year round, I could care less if they have snowflakes on them), other food gift bags, Ziplock storage containers, and yummy smelling candles.  While there I also picked up some reduced priced pizzas in the deli section, some fresh produce and some reduced priced brat sausages.  The cashier rang one of my pizzas up at full price so I got my money back on that.
~Safeway had a sale on their Rice a Roni for .59 a box, their milk prices were cheaper than Walmart, they had sugar on sale and their Seltzer water (for some reason it helps perk me up when I am starting to crash) was also on sale.  I picked all those items up there.
~I did pick up a Chinese meal at the deli of another store and there was so much food that it gave me 2 meals!

~The thrift stores .10 clearance rack rewarded me with more clothes for Steven and some for me too.  I also found some fun new puzzles for Bradley and Isaiah and an activity book for their homeschooling.  I did find a calendar that I had originally gone in for too. ;)  Oh yes, I also bought a Grammie Brag Book photo wallet to put all their pictures in and carry in my purse. 😍
~Swagbucks encraves or watch lists have been running in the background on my computer whenever it is on.
~I've gotten into the habit of wearing socks and house slippers (I love the ones from LLBean that I picked up at the thrift store) along with a sweater around the house.  It really does allow me to keep the heat turned down a bit more.
~I love Dawn liquid dish soap.  I was able to remove crayon marks from a canvas wallet using Dawn, some warm water and a little elbow grease.
~My dear friend picked something I needed up at the grocery store for me on Friday, thus saving me a 60 mile round trip to get 1 item.  She was going into town to do her grocery shopping and asked if I needed anything. I do have great friends!
~Friday I made another double batch of homemade laundry detergent.  I was getting a bit low and did not want to run out.
~We have another big snowstorm headed our way along with bitter cold temperatures and blowing winds coming this weekend and into next week so Jeff got more of the pellets that we burn in our pellet stove up on the deck and ready to bring into the house.


~I made a huge pan of elk burger and sour cream enchiladas using things from our freezers, fridge and pantry.  It was a huge hit with both Jeff and I. :)
~My Walmart Beauty Box came in the mail and had a mascara in it that I have been wanting to try along with some other really good items...happy dance!
~Jeff and I have been enjoying the homemade candies that were made for us by Heather and her Aunt Cha Cha.  We are trying to limit ourselves to a few a day. 😇
~Lots of money has been saved on gas by me limiting my trips out of town.  It has been nice to be home for the most part this week.

   I think we did pretty well.  The best part was not feeling the pressure to spend money that we did not have.  Yes, I did hit the after Christmas sales but only bought things that we actually would be using throughout the year (along with a few candles that I love and will either burn myself or give as future gifts).  I'm trying to be kind to myself and not push myself too hard as I continue to get over that nasty cold.  Each day now I am feeling stronger but know that if I overdo it, I'll set back my healing.  I'm looking forward to a quiet and cozy long weekend since my hubby is off Monday too.  With a new winter storm hitting this weekend, I think we will be spending a lot of time cuddled up watching movies and maybe even playing some Scrabble!



Thursday, December 29, 2016

My Whole Wheat Oatmeal Bread

   Here is the recipe for the bread that I make for my hubby's sandwiches that he takes to work.  I created this recipe while fooling around trying to make a healthier version of the bread that I used to make by adding some oatmeal and a bit of oil to my old bread recipe.  My hubby loves this bread and so do it!

Whole Wheat Oatmeal Bread

2 cups unbleached flour
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup quick oats
2 tablespoons dry yeast
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon salt
2 tablespoons oil
 2 cups very warm water

Mix dry ingredients .  Add wet ingredients.  Mix all together. If the dough is sticky, you may have to add a bit more flour. Knead for 3 minutes in the mixer or by hand for about 6 minutes.  Divide into 2 loaves and let rise in greased loaf pans.  Bake at 400 degrees F  for 25 minutes.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Steven David will be Making his Debut in May!

Our precious grandson, Steven David

It's official, it's a boy!

Our Rachel and Jaysn revealed on Christmas Night that they are expecting a son!  That makes three grandsons for Jeff and I and we could not be more thrilled!  Rachel's mom and sister, along with my cousin Jeremy were there in person for the big reveal and our Josh joined us via Facetime so he could be part of it too.  Steven David is named after Jaysn and Rachel's pastor Steve who became such an important part of their lives and performed their wedding ceremony.  He was their good friend as well as their pastor and sadly passed away earlier this year after losing his battle with cancer.  Our grandson's middle name is in tribute and remembrance of Rachel's beloved father David, who also lost his life to cancer when she was just a child.  I thought it was so special that Jaysn and Rachel named their firstborn son after these two amazing men.  We all are so excited to meet this new little baby boy and now that this Grammie knows that he is a boy, I can focus on buying all those cute baby boy clothes and toys!


Friday, December 23, 2016

Meaningful and Frugal Alternative Gift Ideas

   I'm always on the lookout for inspiration on how to save money and still give generously.  I was inspired by a post at Personal about Alternative Gift Giving to share what we have done. Personal offers free financial Software to help you budget and reach your financial goals.  Here is a link to their free software financial software Alternative giving includes homemade gifts, cookie and gift exchanges, giving to charities in the recipients name or planning an experience with friends and family.  I loved all these ideas since that is what we, as a family, have done for either done years now and/or started a new tradition this year it really has taken a lot of pressure off us financially and reduced the stress of having to hit the malls to "find the perfect and expensive gift".  Here are a few things that we have done...

   This year, when the family gathered for Thanksgiving, we each donated some money and picked out several gifts from Heifer International to send to needy families and communitities.  Here is a description from their website about how this program works:
We empower families to turn hunger and poverty into hope and prosperity – but our approach is more than just giving them a handout. Heifer links communities and helps bring sustainable agriculture and commerce to areas with a long history of poverty. Our animals provide partners with both food and reliable income, as agricultural products such as milk, eggs and honey can be traded or sold at market.
When many families gain this new sustainable income, it brings new opportunities for building schools, creating agricultural cooperatives, forming community savings and funding small businesses.

   Each year our extended family gathers for Christmas and we do a White Elephant Gift exchange after a big potluck brunch.  The gifts are limited to $10 and under and can be homemade and/or thrift store or garage sale purchases.  We all know that this is a yearly thing, so we keep our eyes open for the perfect man's or woman's gift.  Those gifts have run the gamut from homemade goodies to a mosaic fish statue!  There is lots of laughter and stealing of gifts and it has become one of the highlights of the season for us.

Gift Basket with homemade goodies

   Our family loves to give homemade gifts and they are very well received.  In fact, in years when I have not made certain things, like Cranberry Orange Bread, I have heard about it.  ;)   This year I baked 10 mini loaves each of Banana Bread and Cranberry Orange Bread.  I also filled pint sized canning jars with homemade Texas Roadhouse Butter.  If you have not ever tried it, you really need to!  Spread on toast, it makes you think you are eating a cinnamon roll!  Three different kinds of candy were easily made using Almond Bark that you melt and then either stir in or top with crushed peppermint candies, craisins, nuts, raisins or whatever else sounds good to you. Spread it on pretty thinly on a wax paper lined cookie sheet, let harden and then break into bite sized chunks.   This year I did both white and milk chocolate peppermint bark and a white chocolate and craisin candy.  New for me this year was making homemade "crackers" which are just empty toilet paper tubes that you stuff with candy, fun sayings and/or little trinkets.  You just wrap them in shiny paper and tie them off with ribbons.  The gift basket pictured above is for our Heather's parents.  It has homemade Cranberry Bread, Texas Roadhouse Butter, Peppermint Bark, White Chocolate Craisin Candy, the "Crackers" and a fun ornament.  All of this was put in a basket that I found at the thrift store for  .94.  Frugal, fun and yummy!

   Most of the things that I made can be done within 1-2 hours.  The Texas Roadhouse Butter  took me 5 minutes to whip up.  Brenda at Coffee Tea Books and Me shared this recipe on her site and it is now a favorite here too.  I'm sharing in case you need a last minute gift or just want to treat yourself to something heavenly.  This is great on toast, rolls, acorn squash, yams and sweet potatoes.

Texas Roadhouse Butter

2 sticks butter at room temperature
1 cup powdered sugar
1 cup honey
2 teaspoons cinnamon

Whip together with your mixer.  Makes 2 pint jars. 

   I hope this gives you some ideas for those last minute Christmas gifts that we all seem to need.  May your Christmas be a very blessed one filled with love, laughter, friends, and family!


Monday, December 19, 2016

Frozen Pipes and Candy Making

White Chocolate and Craisin Bark
      Our poor Jaysn and Rachel have been without water at their home for 3 days now.  Our temperatures plummeted into the negatives and their pipes to their home froze up.  Imagine being pregnant and not having running water...not fun at all.  Poor Rachel.  Luckily they have been able to shower at the health and fitness center at their place of employment but still.

   Jeff headed over there today to see if he could help them.  He and Jaysn have heat tape that works on a thermostat wrapped around the pipes now and bought lots of insulation to put around the skirting of the house since there was none.  Hopefully their pipes will thaw out now...if not, we will be hosting Christmas dinner here this year and the kids may bring their dishes out to wash here sometime this week also.  Jeff just called and is on his way home so that he can get some sleep before he has to go into work tonight.  I may join him and take a nap myself.

   I've been busy this morning making 2 loaves of my whole wheat and oatmeal bread and 6 batches of candy.  I made 2 batches of White Chocolate and Craisin Bark, 2 batches of White Chocolate Peppermint Bark and 2 batches of Milk Chocolate Peppermint Bark.  These are to be gifts for family and friends.  I still need to make Cranberry Orange Bread and some different types of candy, but that is going to have to wait because I am worn out.  The most ambitious I have been since the candy making session was heating up some soup I pulled out of the freezer and getting some homemade bread crumbs drying in the oven.

   I still have this cold, but I am doing much better than I was a few days ago.  I think I may be on the mend.  I certainly hope so...I don't have time for this!



Sunday, December 18, 2016

Frugal Friday Wrap Up 12/10-12/16 2016



   I'm late again in posting thanks to a bad cold that has once again knocked me off the tracks.  It seems I get over one thing and something else hits.....tis the season.  This past week has seemed unusually long to me for some reason.  No sure what all that is about.  Onto the saving...

~We've been enjoying watching Christmas movies on Netflix. 😊  Christmas in a wonderful time of year and I love finding new Christmas movies each year.
~Jeff and I spent the day at home on Saturday resting and watching movies for the most part and hot tubbed that evening.
~Sunday we had to run into town to pick up a few more things.  We combined our errands as to not have to make multiple trips.
~We found that Winco had Almond bark cheaper at their normal price than the sale price at other stores.  I needed more of the white chocolate kind because my hubby accidentally bought the milk chocolate kind instead of the white chocolate.
~Since I have a an abundance of milk chocolate almond bark now, I am planning on making more candy with this too.
~The thrift store had some great deals on Sunday!  I found a brand new swaddling blanket at Goodwill.  We have been looking all over for some from the newest grandbaby.  We also found a nice large fleece blanket for $3.99, an insulated Sachi brand lunch bag for $1.99 (retails for $22.98 at and some other things.

Whole Wheat Oatmeal Bread

~We bought toys for the fur babies for Christmas at the Dollar Tree.
~We put a large plastic mattress cover bag on the futon in the back guest bedroom since the grandboys sleep there and there have been a few "accidents" at night that required the feather bed and futon to be cleaned well.
~Monday I tweaked a bread recipe and came up with a winner...  Whole Wheat and Oatmeal bread.  I made 2 loaves for my hubby's lunches this week.
~Monday I also baked 10 small loaves of banana bread using over-ripe bananas that I have been freezing just for this Christmas baking season.
~Jeff got the fluids on our cars filled back up and ready for all this winter weather.

Homemade soups I pulled out of the freezer.

~I was exhausted after all the baking, laundry. etc. Monday so I pulled out some frozen homemade soup from the freezer to warm up for dinner.  I got some split pea out for my hubby and some potato chesse for me.  There was some broccoli that needed to be used up so I cooked that in some chicken broth and added the potato cheese soup to that.  YUM!
~All of our Christmas gifts were sent in the priority mail boxes that you can get from the post office.  I did my research and it was much cheaper for me to ship in them than any other way.
~I found some pastas on clearance at Walmart over the weekend that are the kind that my hubby and I are suppose to be eating. ;)
~Tuesday I took the grandboys with me to MOPS so Heather could sit with her grandmother at the hospital.  They got to play with the other kids and were good helpers to Grammie. :)
~Our MOPS director gave all of the child care workers a cute decorated mason jar filled with yogurt covered pretzels as a Christmas gift.  I loved it!
~After taking the little boys out to lunch and having Heather meet us there, I went shopping at the Christian thrift store and found some things in the clearance area for the new baby for .47 each.  I also found a few things for myself there too and some wonderful books for the grandboys.
~Wednesday found me running into another town to visit someone dear to us that had to have an emergency appendectomy the previous evening.  The doctors said he could go home when he was able to eat something so I took a loaf of banana bread with me as a bribe to get him to eat.  When I arrived, he was sitting up and getting ready to be released but was very happy to see me and my banana bread! 😊 He and his family took it home to eat last night.
~While in town, I stopped that my favorite thrift store and found lots of baby clothes on the clearance rack for .10 each.  I also found another swaddling blanket and a soft and fuzzy sleep sack for baby.  There was a maternity shirt that was super cute that I picked up for Rachel and some dri fit shirts in the men's section for Jeff.  Of course the book  addiction in me is a very real thing and I found two more books for myself.

Some of the baby clothes and swaddling blankets I got off the .10 clearance rack at one of my favorite thrift stores.

~Thursday I stayed home all day.  I made myself some comfort food (artichoke ravioli with a lemon garlic butter sauce) , listened to Christmas carols and cuddled with the fur babies who have been feeling very neglected lately.  I worked on my points programs too.
~Dinner Thursday night was another sausage and russet and sweet potato cookie sheet bake.  It was quick, easy and perfect for our frigid temperatures.  It is also the kind of meal that my hubby loves!
~While we were in town, we picked up a few things that we needed at the grocery store since I do not want to have to venture out again until later next week.
~I froze 2 containers of the leftover elk roast slices in the sauce I cooked it in.  These will be great to have on hand for quick meals in the next month or so.
~Our outdoor temperatures are diving into the negatives Friday night and I was chilled to the bone after our shopping trip.  I made a nice big mug of hot cocoa to warm me from the inside out.
~Friday night for dinner, Jeff had a sandwich and chips and I had leftover ravioli and a mandarin orange.

Ten loaves of banana bread.

~My Uncle once again blessed us with a box of my favorite chocolate candies from Ohio. Our whole family is addicted to them!
~I took inventory of what we have in the refrigerator that needs to be used up this weekend and am planning our meals around that.
~I worked on more of our Christmas cards to send out.  These boxes of cards were all purchased for less than a dollar each, some even at .19 a box  at the thrift store when they had their Christmas in July half off sale.  Some of the boxes still had their original retail price sticker on them at $12.99 a box!
~More TV shows were watched online or on Netflix.
~Theraflu Severe Cold has been my friend for the past few days.  I am so glad I stocked up on it when the Dollar Tree had it in stock.

    I hope that everyone is staying warm and is enjoying this Christmas season!  Be blessed!

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Snowy Day at Home

   I'm enjoying a much needed and quiet day at home.  Things have been crazy busy lately and desperately needed a "down day" to recharge before I burn out. I have Christmas carols softly playing the the background and the dog and cat are staying close to me and to the pellet stove that is putting out a toasty warm heat.

   I started out my day with a nice hot cup of coffee in one of my favorite Christmas mugs.  When I looked down, I noticed it matched my soft and cozy flannel jammies and decided that was a "sign" that I should just stay in them all day. 😉

      I let the dog out into the back yard and was greeted with snow and ice blanketing the trees.  I settle back on the couch and took in this view out the front.

   I love the way the icicles kind of frame the top of my view.  And yes, it really is that dark outside in the middle of the day here right now.

   I was craving comfort food so I went and pulled some frozen artichoke and cheese raviolis out of the big chest freezer in the garage.  I made a simple butter, lemon and garlic sauce to go with it.  I had 2 servings of this and still have enough for another helping later tonight.

   I've been running my Swagbucks point program today trying to make up for the weeks that it was not working correctly.  I need to get more gift cards in order to stock up on those after Christmas sale you know. 😀  That is about as ambitious as I have been.  There is still laundry to fold, Christmas cards to write and address and presents to wrap, but that may have to wait until tomorrow.  Right now I have Doofy curled up sleeping in my lap and he and I are both enjoying the mutual warmth.   Life is good on this cold and snowy day.

Friday, December 9, 2016

Frugal Friday Wrap Up 12/3-12/9 2016


   What a week!  My hubby was sick, I had a 3 day Fibro flare followed by catching a virus and losing my voice.  I'm still speaking in whispers as of today.  I think the cat is enjoying the fact that I cannot yell at him to get down off things.  I will say having both my hubby and I having been ill, we have saved by staying home and not going out to dinner, the movies, etc. ;)  Onto the rest of the savings...

~We have been stream YouTube videos of Kitty TV to keep Doofy amused and out of trouble.  He loves watching the bird and squirrel ones.

~Saturday my hubby was really ill so we skipped going to the Victorian Christmas program and stayed home instead.

~Sunday we stayed home again and watched movies on Netflix
~Monday my hubby took his car in to get the brakes worked on.  He has them do all that he cannot do but will do the parts that he can and that will save us $200 after having had to already lay our $340.  OUCH!
~I was on day 3 of  Fibromyalgia and CFS flare so hubby stopped at the local Chinese deli and got lunch for us both on Monday.  They give you so much food that he and I are able to split a meal for $6.37.
~I checked the library website and renewed some things I had on Monday so I would not have to leave the house.
~Jeff and I talked over our finances and talked about our health and decided to cancel out on our trip to see my sister in Tahiti.  Both of us would be miserable after having to take the long flights there with our back issues and with my other issues as well.  She will be coming here to see us instead and will get to meet the rest of our family and we will make the trip over to the Seattle area with her so she can see our baby brother and meet our sister in law and our nephews.
~We will used the money we have raised so far by selling things to buy another ton of pellets instead of using that money towards passports now. We are expecting lots of snow and ice in January-March and I want to have the pellets here before that so that we don't have to worry about borrowing my son's truck to transport them on icy roads.
~I continued to work my points programs to the best of my ability.  Swagbucks is having a third party server issue with their videos making it really difficult to meet my daily goals. 😝
~I'm trying to use up the tomatoes from my garden that I picked when they were green and they are all now ripe.  I made a pasta side dish to go with some breaded veal patties that had some whole grain pasta, some chopped up tomatoes, fresh minced parsley, garlic, butter, salt, freshly ground pepper and some parmesan/asiago cheese blend.
~Catalogues have been my "go to" source this year for food gift ideas.  I'm not going to buy what the catalogues are selling at outrageous prices, but I will try to recreate some of them.  😉
~Since it has been colder, I keep a sweater handy to throw on during the day in case I get chilled around the house.
~Tuesday I worked in the morning and then did the shopping after that.  I found a gift for a friend's baby shower at Ross along with a really pretty and soft bathrobe for $14.99.

~I also stopped at Goodwill, after going to Ross, and found another brand new bathrobe there for $3.99.  I debated about taking the bathrobe that I bought at Ross back but my hubby told me to keep them both since I live in them during the colder months.  I also found 2 new bras for $2.99 each in the style that I love wearing when I am home all day because they have no underwire and are so comfy.  While there they announced that all purses and luggage was on sale for half price for the next 15 minutes.  I happened to be ready to check out and thee basket full of wallets were right by the checkout area.  I spotted a beautiful leather Fossil brand wristlet wallet and asked if the wallets were also on sale.  They were so I picked it up for $3.99.  Score all the way around!
~The Dollar Tree still had some of the bottles of the Apple Cider that I am loving.  I picked up 5 of them.  I calculated that I get 10 or more mugs out of each bottle.  That is .10 or less per mug of hot cider.  If I went out to a fancy coffee shop, I would be paying at least $4.00 for a mug of apple cider.  I am set on cider that I can enjoy here at home, in my jammies, for at least a couple of months now.

~Our wonderful Shannon from next door brought over a kids Christmas movie for the little boys to watch.  Her face just lit up when the boys said "Thank you Aunt Shannon".  She is after all part of our hanai family so it seemed fitting to have the boys call her Aunt Shannon. 😘
~Chris, Heather and the little boys hot tubbed when Chris and Heather came to pick them up from our house.  They all had a great time!  I am so glad we have that here for them to use.  Jeff and I used it after they went home since it was already heated up to a good hot temperature.  We usually keep it on the economy setting at 85 degrees and then heat it up to where we want it when needed.  This saves us quite a bit of money as opposed to keeping it at 99 or 100 all the time.
~Wednesday found me ill at home with no voice.  I spent the day curled up watching a "It's a Different World" marathon on Netflix and also listening to music that I streamed from KLOVE Christian radio.
~I was able to get some points at Swagbucks responding to one of their offers and got a free magazine subscription too!
~Leftovers were what we grabbed for dinner on Wednesday night.  Neither one of us wanted to cook anything since we were both not feeling that great.
~Thursday I mended a leather tote bag.
~I deposited $20 into our saving account here in our little town.  I'm going to try and put my smaller earnings checks into there whenever I can and kind of use it as an emergency fund until we can pay off our house and then put more money into our other savings account.

~Dinner Thursday night was halibut (given to us by our Heather's parents), brown rice, a nice romaine lettuce salad and sauteed broccoli stems and sweet orange peppers.
~Jeff moved more bags of pellets up to the back porch so he would not have to go back and forth along the breezeway with the snow making it slick with those heavy bags.  This is a potentially huge money saver because if he slipped and fell, it could be disasterous!
~I sent Jeff with a list of needed items from the Dollar Tree, Walmart and Safeway to pick up before he went to his bowling league.  I had him take my car since we are expecting snow and it has 4 wheel drive.  He'll fill it up with gas for me too at the cheaper priced gas station.
~Friday night I live streamed the Jazz Christmas concert from University of Idaho.  😊
~Jeff had  a mandatory meeting at work Friday night and they provided pizza for dinner for the entire crew.  He really does work for a great small family owned company.
~Since Jeff was gone at dinner time on Friday, I just made myself a roast beef and cheese sandwich.  It was easy, tasted good and left me with very little clean up to do.

  At this rate I think we will be home for most of this weekend unless we need to go and pick up the grandboys and keep them with us for awhile.  I need to get the back guest bedroom ready for them just in case we do.  Other than that Jeff and I will be wrapping gifts and getting things ready to mail out.  I'll have to wait on the baking and candy making until I feel better.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Staying Warm and Silent

     Yesterday I worked in the morning with the 18 month to 3 year olds at MOPS and then did all the shopping.  I then met Chris and Heather on my way home in Palouse to get the little boys and bring them home with me so that we could watch them while Chris and Heather went to a movie.  I had picked up a pizza for dinner because I knew that I had a really long day by that time and was really tired.  Well, the dog literally ate the whole pizza so we had LIttle Smokies sausages and homemade russet and sweet potato jojos instead.  We had so much fun with the grandboys and they enjoyed being able to hot tub with their parents when they got here. It was a really good day and one that I totally enjoyed...despite the dog eating the pizza. 😉

   This morning I woke up with no voice and thankfully had nowhere I had to be.  The temperatures took a dip into the single digits last night and it is a beautiful, if not frigid day outside.  We are expecting back to back days of snow starting tomorrow.  Luckily I got all that we needed from the grocery store yesterday to see us through.

   Rufus and I have been seeking out the warmth of the pellet stove.  He of course wants to be as close to it as possible, especially after he has taken a quick trip outside because he is a finicky cat that still thinks he NEEDS to go out on the back porch, even if it is just for a few minutes before he decides that it is just too cold and then goes and sits in front of the stove to warm up.  

   I've been curled up on the couch wrapped in a new fuzzy bathrobe with a blanket that my mother made for me.  Netflix has been entertaining me while I watch a marathon of the old TV series "It's a Different World".  I loved that show when it first aired and am enjoying it all over again now.  I am trying to get caught up on the laundry since it is something that is never ending and I can fold it all while just sitting here.  To be honest, that is about all I can handle today.  I'm not sure if I am getting the virus that has been plaguing my husband or if I have just pushed myself too far again (or possibly both).  Either way, I am listening to my body as it tells me to rest and take care of myself.

Monday, December 5, 2016

Fancy Smanchy Gift Ideas

  I received a catalogue in the mail today from Bed, Bath and Beyond and was absolutely shocked at the prices of their food gifts.  There are so many that can be recreated at home for pennies upon the dollar of the prices they are charging.  Here are just a few that I saw:

$34.99 for 4 caramel and chocolate covered apples.  I could do this for $4 tops!

or even more ridiculous...

$23.99 for one jumbo apple!  Seriously...who would pay that?

$8.99 for a 12 oz. tin of Peppermint Bark  
I make this in big batches myself every year with some white chocolate bark and crushed peppermint candies (I get the candies from the Dollar Tree)

$2.49 on sale for what is basically brown sugar with some cinnamon to sprinkle on your baked sweet potatoes.

$44.99 for 2 pounds of old fashioned candy in a tin.
This could be recreated with the old fashioned candy that you can get at the Dollar Tree and put in a thrifted or recycled Christmas tin for under $4.00

   I'm sorry but is anyone else either shaking their head in disbelief or rolling on the floor laughing at these prices?  And it's not just Bed, Bath and Beyond.  Look at any number of other websites that offer "Holiday Food" and you will be shocked at what you find there also.  Any of the above and more could easily be made at home frugally, wrapped up nicely and given as a Fancy Smanchy gift and you get the satisfaction of knowing that it was done with love, creativity and on a budget!

Friday, December 2, 2016

Frugal Friday Wrap Up 11/29-12/2 2016 Part Two

Homemade Chicken Noodle soup served with some reduced price Garlic Knot rolls

   Ok, I hit the publish button on my Frugal Friday post for this week too early and since you lovely friends were already commenting on it, I decided to split it into two posts for this week so consider this part two. 😉  LOL!  I will have pictures from both part one and part two in this post.

 Anne Klein tote bag (Forest green color) and a purple leather wallet that blocks thieves from being able to scan and steal your credit card info

~I worked on Tuesday for the MOPS program and had a wonderful time with the 3-5 year olds.  One of the other teachers was out so I filled in for her in that classroom.  It brings me great joy to work with all those precious kids and I still can't believe I get paid to do this. :)
~I stopped at the Dollar Tree and picked up the rest of the candy to fill the Christmas"crackers" with.

Brand new in package Boppie infant lounger for the newest grandbaby

~Since I was in town I decided to stop by the Hope Center Thrift store and Goodwill.  At the Hope Center I found fleece pullover jackets for .47 each on the clearance area for my grandsons.  I also found a ziplock bag full of Christmas ornaments made of painted gold wood "G" letters.  Our grandsons are having their own Christmas tree in their room this year and since our last name starts with G I thought this would be really cute.  Our Heather (their mommy) said they would love them!    I found some brand new cute snowman ornaments that will be sent to a friend in Hawaii since it has become a tradition for me to send her a new Christmas ornament each year and a Montana Huckleberry mug that I kept seeing at the gift shops in Montana but never wanted to spend the $12 to get one.  I bought this one for .94 !  Oh I also found a really nice wallet that blocks thieves from being able to scan and steal your credit card information.  I have been wanting to get one of those for some time now.

~At Goodwill, I found 2 shirts (one was the half price rag color of the day too) for myself, a leather key holder for my hubby (half price tag too), a Christmas movie, a Christmas mug and a brand new Infant Boppy for my newest grandbaby that is due in May.
~I picked up a few groceries that we needed at Winco including a cheap frozen lasagna that I popped in the oven as soon as I got home.  We had that for a late lunch/early dinner.  For under $3 it sure beat stopping and picking up a pizza on the way home.
~Jeff and I used our hot tub several times to ease those aching muscles.  Poor guy was really sore after his Monday night shift.
~Wednesday, Thursday and Friday I stayed home so there was no gas used in my car.

~Dinner Wednesday night consisted of tamales I had gotten for 75% off and some Spanish rice.  We had leftover so I had a tamale and some of the rice for lunch on Thursday.
~Thursday we sold our weight bench and all the extra weights for $100 to some really nice college boys. :)  We now have a few less things in the garage and are hoping to clear out even more stuff that I listed on one of the local buy and sell facebook sites.
~I cashed in for another $25 Walmart gift card for the reduced 2,200 points at the beginning of the month at Swagbucks.
~I did 5 different Pinecone Research surveys and cashed out for a $18 check.
~We received several free magazines in the mail this week.
~The present closet was gone through and things sorted out so that I knew what I had for each person.   I found things in there that I had forgotten I had picked up throughout the year. Some of the gifts are now wrapped and ready to go.

Venison Stroganoff skillet dinner

~I finished off a wreath that I started making last year and got it hung up and found the other poinsettia garland that I knew I had somewhere and got that up too. 😉
~The Christmas quilt my mom made is now proudly sitting on the back of our sofa ready to snuggle up in.
~Thursday night was leftovers night for dinner.  I try to plan out at least one leftovers night per week to make sure we don't waste food and so that I don't have to cook that night.
~Thursday night I was chatting with my sister via facebook and got a wonderful surprise.  I'll share more about that later but let's just say that my husband and I now need to get passports! 😎  I'll be trying to sell even more things to raise more funds!

Christmas movie I picked up at the thrift store

~Now that we are running the pellet stove again we are reusing the bags as our big heavy duty trash bags in the garbage bin.
~Our local Dollar Tree is carrying the Old Orchard Apple Cider.  It is one of the few that I can drink without getting a stomach ache.  For $1 it is a great deal and one that I am enjoying very much.
~I cleaned out our mugs cabinet and have 3 huge ones to pass onto my Heather (she wanted any large ones I had and was getting rid of) and will list some of the smaller "vintage" ones online and see if anyone is interested in buying them.  I also listed some of our dvds that we have duplicates of and our Elliptical Trainer.

Duplicate DVDs that I have listed for sale

~Dinner Friday night was roasted russet and sweet potatoes, onions and orange peppers mixed with some beer and brat sausage.  It was so good and was the perfect meal with the snow starting to fall outside as we ate.

Oven Roasted Veggies and Sausage

~We watched some shows on Netflix and online.
~Since I have been having trouble sleeping again, I have been watching some episodes of Keeping Up Appearances to help calm my mid down so I can relax and get some sleep.
~I have a fleece throw next to our bed that I grab when it gets a bit too chilly at night.  Most of the time I don't need it but there are those times that I do.

   I think it has been a pretty good and frugal week!  We are hoping to attend a free Christmas event tomorrow but may have to skip that to help our kids with a plumbing issue at their house.  We shall see!  Be blessed all!

Monday, November 28, 2016

Frugal Friday Wrap Up 11/26-11/28 2016 Part One

~Saturday we stopped by one of our favorite thrift stores and found some great deals!  LL Bean fuzzy house slippers for  $1.99, a beautiful Anne Klein tote for $3.99, some cranberry scented candles, 2 dvds (Black and White, a Christmas one for the grandboys), a Bonia travel fanny pack (from what I am seeing these things are really pricey brand new), and a nice heavy duty splatter guard.
~Sunday I made some homemade chicken noodle soup using up the rest of the reduced prices rotisserie chicken, some celery, onion, carrot, garlic, parsley and seasonings.
~We are enjoying our new Roku and being able to watch lots of movies and even Youtube on our large TV in the living room. 😁
~I'm saving the inner cardboard tubes from our toilet paper rolls to make Christmas "crackers" for the little kids in the family.  I will fill them with candy and wrap them up with Christmas wrapping paper and ribbons.  I thought this would be a fun new addition to our big family Christmas celebration this year. :)
~Monday night I made a venison and noodle stroganoff skillet dinner.  I used some green onions and tomatoes from the garden in it too to boost the "yum" factor and nutrition.
~I used 3 full poinsettia swags that I got at the thrift store for .99 each to decorate our entertainment center and the hanging light fixture above our dining room table.
~I listed a few things to sell on one of our local buy and sell facebook pages.  I sold my old desk right away to the mother of 3 of my favorite students. :)  That's $20 more than I had earlier in the week. ;)  I think I will put it towards taking the grandboys to their favorite indoor play area business. :)