Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Glimpse of Home for Our Josh

 Our son Josh is in the Air Force and is stationed across the country from us.  I thought it might be nice for him to see some glimpses of home today.  Love you baby boy!

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Frugal Friday Wrap Up 5/27/16


   Sorry I am late getting this posted.  I realize it is now Sunday, but I my dad and brother were here Friday for a short visit and we had the family over that night for dinner.  We had a wonderful visit and the bed that they brought us is so comfy!  Now, without further ado, here are the frugal doings for this past week.

~Saturday was our town's big annual celebration.  The weather was looking bad but I was able to buy a few books at our library's book sale before the sky opened up and dumped massive amounts of water on us.  The paperbacks were .25 each and the hardbacks were .50 each.  I found an old copy of one of our community cookbooks that has recipes from many of our friends who had passed on now.
~Since it was dumping down rain, we came home and had a movie marathon afternoon/evening and raided the pantry, fridge and freezer to make sweet and sour chicken over rice and a nice fruit salad.
~I cut up another half a pepper and froze it, the other half was used in the sweet and sour chicken.
~Our son Chris invited us over for fresh crab and rockfish that he caught while on vacation on the Oregon coast.  There was so much crab left that he sent me home with half of it and with a package of rockfish.  Oh yes, we took over cookies and some Cheddar Bay Biscuit mix to add to the dinner that night. :)
~One of the local Dollar Tree stores received a new shipment of dvds and blu ray movies.  I picked up 3 of the children's ones and am thinking about going back and getting more since they have several of the Penguins of Madagascar series and my grandboys love those!  I already gave them the one the I bought.
~I made more Sourdough bread for Jeff's sandwiches to take to work.
~It has been raining quite a bit so I have not had to water the garden much at all.
~I entered a code in at InnovasianCousine.com towards a free product.

~I finally had enough points to cash in for another $25 Walmart.com gift card via Swagbucks.
~More of our bananas went to banana bread stage before we could eat them all so they were made into several loaves of yummy banana bread.
~We cooked up one of the pepperoni pizzas that I had bought at the Walmart deli for half price.  The grandboys love their pizza!  We had the leftovers for lunch the next day.
~Some of the volunteer lettuce was finally big enough to harvest.  I love being able to get tender lettuce right out of our garden.
~Our county library system has quite the selection of new books and movies this month.  I requested a few more of the newer items and a season of Downton Abbey to get caught up on.
~My sweet MIL is having to take things easy for a few weeks and was looking for some books to read to keep her occupied.  She loves the Amish type series so I gathered up a bunch of them that I have here for her.
~Tuesday we did our volunteer work and came home with a ton of groceries.  Some of the items were a bag of AP flour, a bag of whole wheat flour, a large corned beef brisket, lots of canned goods, pasta, bagels, rolls, juice, 2 dozen eggs, green split peas, crackers, coffee, tea, soap, jello, sloppy joe sauce, potato flakes and other items.  I figured that we have at least $150 or more in free groceries.
~I watched several shows online.
~I looked at the grocery ads online to find out what the best deals were on items we had on our list.  I was also able to scratch some things off our list since we received some of those items when we were doing our volunteer work. :)

~A dear friend, whom my hubby and I consider a sister and who is like a second mom to our boys, is up visiting this week. She has been trying to fit in everyone in the short amount of time that she has here.  I asked her when she wanted to come and visit with us and she chose to come for dinner, with wine included of course. ;) She and I have a long running joke about how every woman needs good wine and chocolate to make their life complete. ;)  And yes, I had chocolate cake ready for dessert too!
~I got an email from my mother telling me that she was sending over a bed skirt and a quilt she made for the bed that she and my dad are giving us.  My mother's quilts are amazing and I am thrilled to be getting another one.  I treasure them. :)
~Jeff and I did the big grocery shopping trip on Thursday.  While we were at Winco, I found large boxes of heavy duty aluminum foil clearance priced for .99 each.  I bought 4 of them.  That should get us through the rest of the year!
~The Dollar Tree had boxes of assorted sizes of the bowl covers that look like shower caps.  I love using those and was down to my last one here.  I bought 2 boxes of them and again, that should get me through the rest of the year since I was and reuse them over and over again.

~I cut more flowers from the garden (this time roses) and put them in a vase inside the house. :)
~I gathered more coupon inserts from the free midweek papers at the grocery store.
~Safeway had some really good deals on marked down products this week so I stocked up on things that I knew we would use.
~I finally put all the larger Lego blocks into a medium sized canvas tote box to make it easier for the little boys to find what they needed  and to make clean up time easier.  It keeps things neater and easier to store than having them in the huge zip lock bag.
~I repackaged the huge Costco sized bag of tortilla chips into smaller gallon sized ziplock bags.
~The whole family came for dinner on Friday since my Dad and brother are here for a quick visit.  I made a huge pan of homemade macaroni and cheese, I cut up a large watermelon I got on sale, my cousin brought a green salad and Heather brought brownies.  That is how we do frugal family meals here when we all get together. ;)
~Rosauers had their 2 pound loaves of medium Cheddar cheese on sale for $3.99 each.  I bought 4 of them and will shred up 2 and put those in smaller bags in the freezer, I used 1 in the homemade mac and cheese and the other will be used for sandwiches and snacks for the next few weeks.
~Since we already had 2 dozen eggs before we were given 2 dozen more when we did our volunteer work, I made breakfast for dinner for my hubby on Thursday night.  I cooked up a can of corned beef hash (from the pantry) and fried up 3 eggs to go with that for him.  He works so hard for us and needs the extra protein since he does such a physical job.
~I was again craving Chinese and Japanese food this week but did not want to spend the money going out to eat.  I fried up some pot stickers and the rest of the bag of some cole slaw cabbage mix with a little soy sauce.  I had that along with some sliced strawberries for dinner. :)
~I froze more overripe bananas to make banana bread.

   I hope you are all having a great Memorial Day weekend!

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

It's Going to be a Hot Summer!



   The long range weather forecast came out the other day and it looks like we are in for a long and scorching Summer.  Last year we had one too and with it came awful and destructive forest fires that destroyed towns and lives.  I am praying that does not happen again this year.

  With all this facing us, Jeff and I are already making plans and trying to be proactive.  We realized after last year that the heat really took a huge toll on some of our plants so we will be moving a few of them to different locations.  Our Arctic Kiwi will be the first to be moved here within the next few days while the weather is still cool and wet.  It will find a new home in a more shaded part of our garden next to the hot tub enclosure.  We will put the trellis up on the outside wall of the hot tub enclosure for additional support.  This will help the plant since it will not get fried by the intense sun and it will also help provide some additional shade from the plant for us while we are using the hot tub. :)  We also will be going back to watering the gardens at night so that the water has a chance to sink in and get down to the roots without evaporating off.

   Our hot tub will be used a lot this Summer but not heated up.  We have found that the sun does a great job of heating it up for us all on it's own.  We use it more to actually cool off in.  There is something so wonderful about sitting in it on a hot day with the bubbles going and it helping to cool you off.  I know the grandboys are going to love doing this with us.  I swear those little guys are part fish!

   Another thing we are planning on doing is having me make some curtains to go on the back screened in porch out of shade cloth.  The sun can get quite intense and in the past we have used blinds that have rolled down to help cut the sun and heat.  Unfortunately those blinds got ruined in a windstorm so my hubby suggested making curtains.  If I find that the shade cloth is too expensive, then I will either use sheets or cheap muslin to make the curtains from.

   Speaking of shade cloth, we are planning on putting some of this up over parts of one of our garden beds.  Some of our gardens will have the heat loving plants in them but there are other plants that we like to grow that still need to have some partial shade to keep them from frying.  I am currently researching and trying to find the best deals on shade cloth as possible.  My talented hubby will build a structure to keep the shade cloth over the more tender plants.

   I plan on doing lots of canning this Summer and I know how unbearable the heat can get in the house from that.  Luckily for me I found a NuWave 2 induction burner at the thrift store recently and I will be using that out on the back screened in porch to do my canning on.  I will also be using my dehydrator out there.  I am thinking that I may also use my slow cookers and big roasting oven out there as well and try not to use the stove and oven in the house as much.  When I do need to use them, I will try to make big batches of things so we can just reheat them in the microwave.  We are also planning on using our BBQ grill a lot!

   Speaking of Summer meals, we do a lot of salads and I drink lots of iced tea and iced coffee.  I try to prep our meals when it is cooler.  I'll make up big bowls of various kinds of pasta salads and get our salad greens all washed and torn so they are ready for us to use.  We grill extra chicken and venison steaks so that they can be cut up and used in salads also.  I'll cut up fruit and have it ready to go and also cut up carrot and celery sticks, make quick cucumber pickles and cucumber and tomato salads.  I also enjoy flavored cream cheese on bagels and have found that I can mix up some of my own cream cheese spreads at a fraction of the cost of the premade ones.  I save the leftover morning coffee and make iced coffee drinks with it in the afternoon.  I also am a huge fan of sun tea and I have some going most of the time.  The grandkids love homemade slushies made with Koolaid just as much as their daddy and uncles did at their age so I try to make those as a treat when they come over. :)

  Our dryer will be getting a vacation for the most part during the hot Summer months.  I dry most of our clothing and bedding on the laundry lines.  There are only a few things that I put in the dryer and some of those can be dried outside and then just "fluffed" in the dryer for about 10 minutes to get any wrinkles out.

   I make it a practice to draw the curtains closed on the sunny side of the house in the heat.  I am amazed at how much it really does help to keep things cooler.  One of the other things that we have found really helps is putting big sheets of cardboard in the windows of the rooms that we do not use on a regular basis.  Our pantry is actually located in the big closet of the front guest bedroom.  Using the cardboard in the window has helped keep things much cooler in there and the heat does not build up as quickly.  When it does get too warm in there, I simply open the door to that room at night and let the cool air from the swamp cooler flow into it and cool it back down.

   Since I get overheated easily, I try to get all my errands run in the mornings when it is cooler and combine things so that I only have to go and spend 1 or 2 days a week outside the home. This saves time as well as gas.  I keep 2 insulated bags in the back of my car to put all the refrigerated and frozen things in that I buy at the grocery store.  I also keep a cardboard box and  blanket back there year round.  If I have too many items to fit into the bag, I put it in the box and then throw the blanket over it.  It really does help to keep it cooler.  I also try to remember to throw some of the blue ice packs into each of the insulated cooler bags before I leave the house and will also throw a bottle of water or 2 in there for me to drink while I am out and about.

   On the days that I will be home, I try to get out into the garden early in the morning to pick things and do my weeding or I will do it later in early evening when the sun is not as intense.  I also try to get my walks in when it is cooler, for my sake and for our Caesar so that there is no chance of him burning his paws on the hot pavement.  I spend the hottest part of the day inside doing chores or even just sitting and reading or working on my points programs and getting caught up on blog reading.

   The town that is half way between us and both sets of our kids that live in the area has a pool that is free to use.  We will meet our kids there and go swimming with them and the grandkids. We sometimes will pack a picnic lunch or dinner to eat in the shaded park there as well and the grandboys can play on the playground equipment or play basketball with the G-pa and uncles. ;) Sometimes we will make a trip down to the river and spend the morning or late afternoon there as well.  I pack food for that as well.

   I'm always looking for more ways to stay cool, protect my gardens and have frugal fun while staying close to home during the Summer.  I really am hoping and praying that we will not have the fires to contend with again this year.  It was awful last year for everyone, but especially for those that lost their homes and for those who were trapped inside their homes due to breathing issues.  It's ironic that I am writing this right now, curled up in my robe and under a blanket with the pellet stove running to keep me warm.  I know it will be all too soon and I will be wishing and longing for a day like this. ;)



The Grandboys Came to Play!

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Frugal Friday Wrap Up 5/20/16

  Sorry I am a bit late in getting this post up.  I had planned on getting it up last night but my computer decided to do an automatic update to Windows 10 and that took some time to get done.  Better late than never thought right? ;)

~We have 2 huge containers of salad greens and I needed to get the older one used up quickly. I made taco salad for dinner using lots of the greens, tomato, cheese, sliced olives, elk burger (this needed use up too) cooked with taco seasoning, avocado, corn chips and ranch dressing.  I pulled a peach margarita wine cocktail thing out of the freezer to go with it.  YUM!
~We watched several TV programs online.
~I brushed Caesar again outside right before my hubby mowed the lawn. I did notice a few birds picking up some of his hair to use in their nests before my hubby mowed over it and it got sucked up into the lawn clipping bag.  Free building material for the birds...I like to do my part to help them too. ;)

~I water the gardens in the evening when the temps will not be going too low at night.  This gives the water a chance to go down deeper into the soil and not just evaporate off so quickly.
~Used some of the cleaning products we got for free to clean the master bath shower that was a need of a deep cleaning.
~Our son Jaysn came out to troubleshoot why our CD player was not pushing sound through the speakers.  It turns out that our receiver has gone out.  Jaysn hooked the CD player up to our TV so I can run the sound through that.  I am now happily listening to some Jim Brickman music.  He is one of my favorites.

~I used up some overripe bananas to make 5 loaves of banana bread.  I sent 1 loaf home with Jaysn, froze 2 for when my father and brother come over in a few weeks and the other 2 are for us to enjoy this week.
~I washed several purses that are made from cloth in the washer on the gentle cycle.  They came out looking brand new. :)
~Jeff helped Jaysn adjust the latch on the trunk of his car so it works better now.
~I trimmed my bangs because they were driving me nuts!

~It rained on Saturday afternoon which meant I did not need to water and it help fill the rain barrel.
~Since it was raining Saturday afternoon/evening and we could not work out in the garden, we decided to watch a movie.  My husband's pick was "Lara Croft: Tomb Raider".  My cousin had given this to us last week. :)
~My hubby made an amazing score at Goodwill.  He found a Total Gym Pro Plus.  He has wanted one of these for a long time.  It was marked @19.99 and they had a 15 minute sale on all "furniture".  The tag was marked as furniture so he got it for $10!

~My Goodwill score for this week was a pair of Sketcher's walking shoes that looked like they had been worn once.  They were $9.99 and I got 20% off because we made a donation.  I need a new pair of walking shoes and  just about bought a pair at Shopko on sale for $54.99 but decided to hold off.  I'm so glad I did!
~Hubby and I went out for a lunch date at Buffalo Wild Wings and used a gift card to pay for part of it.  It cost us $8.17 out of pocket and that included a nice tip.
~I love Lanz of Salzburg pajama gowns.  I have ever since I was a little girl and I was given one for Christmas.  My mother and I both look for great sales on these because they are so comfortable and well made.  I found one at Goodwill that looks like it is brand new and that someone had just washed it.  The cheapest I could find one that is in the same style and flannel was $64.95.  I paid $5.99.  YES!

~I found a 6 comedy movie set for $2.99.
~I am stocking my gift closet again for Christmas this year and found a beautiful cookbook that is all about cookies!  I got it for $2.00. This is the perfect gift for someone in our family. ;)
~We SKYPEd with our son Josh again...love those free calls where I can see my baby boy!
~We made popcorn to share while we watched movies this week. :)
~We watched several episodes of MacGyver that I had bought last year at a yard sale.

~More movies were watched that we borrowed from the library.
~I collected rainwater in buckets as well as in our rain barrel.  I used the water in the buckets to water the houseplants and the potted plants and the ones that are waiting to be planted in the garden.
~It rained all day Sunday and it was a cold night...perfect weather to snuggle up and watch a movie. Jeff and I watched "The Good Dinosaur".  We had borrowed it before but we did not have a chance to watch it so I borrowed it again from the library.
~Monday I made 2 kinds of pasta salad, cookies and croutons.
~Our neighbor, Uncle Bob, gave us some cauliflower and cabbage starts.

~I transplanted some beautiful blue lupine volunteer babies into a bare patch of my backyard flower border.
~I used water from the rain barrel to water in some new columbine plants.  I think rain water gives them a better start and is less of a shock than chlorinated water.  I did the same with some million bells that I potted up.
~On Monday I pre-cooked up some Sloppy Joe meat mix using half of a large cut up red pepper to stretch it a bit and add some flavor and a bit of crunch to it.  I froze the other half of the red pepper to use later.  I used more of the elk burger from our freezer, using the packages that had been in their the longest.  I did this while I was making the  2 different pasta salads, using the same kind of noodles for both so I could just boil up one large pot of noodles.

~Jeff picked up 2 more packages of the same kind of underwear he bought last week because they are so comfortable and they are on clearance right now.  Since they are on clearance, we don't know if the store is just not going carry them or if that particular style is not being made anymore.  He wanted to just get one package, but I had him get two.
~Tuesday I had to run into town to get more potting soil and a few more plants to fill in my hanging baskets.  I had another $10 off $25 coupon come in my email for Shopko.  I bought more flowers and also bought also bought 6 bell pepper plants and 6 kale plants since all my kale has gone to bolt already.
~I found pizzas in the deli at Walmart marked down to half price and also found a large already hot and ready to go pizza for $2.50.  Since it was a long day of shopping, we had the hot and ready pizza for a late lunch and there was still 2 slices left for another meal.   The other 3 family sized take and bake deli pizzas were put in the freezer for use later.  I also found pork and beef burger patties marked at half off so I got those and we BBQed them up for dinner on Wednesday and had the leftovers later in the week also.

~Safeway had lots of their dairy products marked down for quick sale, including chocolate chip cookie dough.  I bought 4 of the cookie dough packages because it was cheaper to do that than make them from scratch and the grandboys love to make cookies with Grammie this way. ;)
~I printed off some coupons via Swagbucks and used them today at the grocery store.  I will get 10 points per coupon.  Every little bit helps!
~Wednesday found me out in the garden weeding and then planting all the cauliflower and cabbage seedling.  While I was weeding I found a bunch of volunteer dill. :)
~I top fed the rhubarb with some cow manure.

~Hung out laundry to dry on the nice days this week.
~Jeff BBQed up some burgers for dinner on Wednesday night.  YUM!
~I opened up a jar of some of my homemade squash pickles that I made this past Fall and they are so good!  I will definitely be making more jars of these this year. :)
~I mixed up some "magic mix" potting soil.  I used potting soil and added some well rotted cow manure to it.  It should really give the newly potted plants some good nutrition.
~I used coffee filters in the bottom of my hanging baskets so keep the soil from falling through.

~We went to a garage sale and a church rummage sale on Friday.  At the garage sale we found a Charbroil combo barbeque grill/smoker with a nice cover for $20.  At the rummage sale we scored big time on the clothing.  I found 2 cashmere sweaters that retail for $295 and $235.  I also found a purse that retails for $85.99 and lots of other named brand clothing that is ridiculously expensive when you pay retail prices for it.
~This week I also found some books at thrift stores and at the rummage sale. :)
~I put a lot more effort into working my points programs this week.

~The mail this week brought a free package of wildflower seeds and 3 free magazines.
~Picked up a free local magazine and some free medweek newspapers that had coupon inserts in them.
~Since it was just me at home for dinner on Friday night I baked a potato and cooked some broccoli.  I mixed that together with some butter, salt, cheese and bacon.  So good on a cold and rainy night.

~My computer automatically upgraded to Window 10 and I am now trying to do all the needed updates to the other programs I have running on the computer.
~I cooked up an entire package of turkey bacon and put it in the freezer to pull out and used when needed.

   I hope you all had a good and frugal week!

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

On the Menu for Tomorrow

   Our temperatures are expected to drop drastically tomorrow with a high of only 55F.  Between the lower temperatures and me overdoing it today and hurting my back, I am thinking some good old fashioned comfort food is in order.  I have everything I need to make Broccoli Cheese Soup.  It's another one of my throw it together soups that I don't have a set in stone recipe for.  Looking forward to having this and some homemade biscuits  for dinner tomorrow. :) 

Monday, May 16, 2016

A Quiet and Rainy Day at Home

My sweet hubby worked on weeding the garden in between the waves of rain.

A new to me cookbook that I picked up at the thrift store yesterday was read through and enjoyed.

Rufus went to town trying to get every last bit of catnip eaten that I had sprinkled on his bed.

Caesar worked on dismantling his new toy. ;)

Garlic and herb croutons were made, much to my hubby's delight.

A dear friend's video she shared of her walk along the beach in Hawaii inspired me to make some white chocolate and macadamia nut cookies.

Caesar decided that Rufus's bed made a good pillow to rest his head on while he napped.

I made my hubby his favorite tuna and pasta salad for his lunch today.

And I also made a Greek pasta salad for me.  Sometimes a quiet day at home is just what we all need. :)