Friday, December 28, 2018

Frugal Friday Wrap Up 12/21-12/27/18

Family Fun Night basket that I made for Chris and Heather.  It has a Pampered Chef pizza stone, a game, movie, and the makings for S'mores.

   For most people Christmas has come and gone, but for us, we are S T R E T C H I N G it out and have one more big family gathering this weekend to go to.  😊  We are going easy with just doing appetizers (and plenty of them) instead of making a big meal.  I'm bringing a cheese, cracker and sausage plate along with jalapeno poppers (I got them on sale at Costco along with the Brie cheese) and calling it good. I'm looking forward to us all being together and not feeling rushed or exhausted.  This year I did not go shopping the day after Christmas hitting those sales.  I have so much here already and if I happen to see something that I need or I think would be a terrific gift that is still on clearance the next time we go into town, I might consider it, but I am not making a special trip in.  We have been abundantly blessed and I am trying to focus on being content and not wanting more.  Onto the frugal ways:


~Two of our favorite thrift stores had all their Christmas stuff for free on Saturday.  I was able to get ornaments, fun platters, christmas goodies bags, a glass angel and baskets all for free.
~We picked up some fun Elmo dvds for Steven, a chamois shift for Jeff, 3 books, gloves for the little boys and a shirt for me at the thrift stores.
~Jeff and I went on a date to our favorite funky coffee place on Saturday night. Jeff had coffee, I had hot mulled wine and we both had dinner.  It has become a Christmas tradition for us to do this and then go look at the lights in his hometown.
~I got in on some free samples, magazine subscriptions and my gift cards that I cashed in for at Swagbucks and Mypoints came in!
~Jeff and I have been watching some fun movies on Netflix.
~I made 15 loaves of cranberry orange bread to give as gifts (that did me in for days).
~I made up gift baskets for family and friends for Christmas.
~Jeff got the fence and gate he made from free wood up at Jaysn and Rachel's.
~We watched movies we borrowed from the library.
~More Chex Mix was made.
~We went and watched the little boys sing on Christmas Eve at their church.
~We also invited Jaysn, Rachel and Steven up for pie on Christmas Eve and Steven got to play in Grammie's big bathtub and then get dressed in his new Christmas jammies. I buy the grandkids new jammies every year for Christmas.

~I saved the gift bags from Christmas to use again next year.
~Wednesday I puttered around the house trying to get caught up on the cleaning including washing all the throws, vacuuming and cleaning the cat hair off the living room furniture.  I took lots and lots of breaks in between.
~Our hanai son Lee stopped by to see us before he headed home to Portland.  Made our day and filled my love tank.
~I watched "It's a Wonderful Life" on Youtube.
~I'm trying to work my points programs as much as I can.
~I made a big meatloaf and potato trio bake for dinner on Thursday night.  The meat was free venison from our son Chris and the potatoes were ones that I needed to use up before they went bad.  There was lots of leftover meatloaf for other meals.
~We are having a second big family Christmas this coming weekend.  Heather asked me if I had paper plates and napkins I could bring.  I went through my "party stash" and found plates and Christmas themed napkins. 
~It has been really cold here so we have been dressing in layers, even in the house, and wearing warm socks, house slippers and cuddling up under throws during the day.  At night I put an extra blanket on the bed since I turn down the heat to 60F when I sleep.
~With all the snow and cold temperatures, I have been staying home more and more.  Driving on icy roads causes a lot of anxiety for me.  It has been saving on the gas bill for my car. ;)
~I made a menu based mainly on what we have here on hand.
~We needed more supplements so I went through a link at Swagbucks to get 2 sb for each dollar spent, got free shipping and got a 12% discount after coupon.

   May you all be blessed and have prayers and wishes answered in the coming new year!

Thursday, December 20, 2018

Frugal Friday(s) Wrap Up 12/21/18

    Hello All!  Oh my goodness, I have been struggling with Fibromyalgia pain and exhaustion.  So much so that I have spent days on end in bed.  When I do have some energy, we try to do things that need to be done like the shopping and than lands me back in bed or in my recliner yet again.  This Winter is proving to be a hard one on me.  I'm having to limit myself on what I do and I am absolutely chafing at the bit knowing that I am not able to make all the goodies that I usually make or even send out Christmas cards this year.  I am choosing to spend my precious and limited energy on my family and for me, that is what is best.

   Onto the savings:

~Jeff and I bought Steven the snow bibs he is wearing in the picture at the top of this post at the Goodwill that were priced at $7.99.  I had a 20% off coupon so I used that to bring the cost down further.  I found them on a rack that they just brought out thank goodness because all the snow bibs and jackets are selling out fast.  It snowed a few days later and Steven came up to sled and play in the snow at our house.  He was delighted!
~We've been watching lots of Christmas movies on Netflix and Youtube as well as some we have here on DVD.
~I decided to make life easier on myself and bought 2 huge boxes of frozen Jalapeno Poppers at Costco while they were on sale, along with some Brie cheese to used as Christmas appetizers.
~I pulled some frozen veggie cheese chowder out to the freezer and added some cream and ham to it.  We had that for dinner one night and Jeff proclaimed it delicious.

~I've been borrowing books and movies from the library and even donated a bunch of magazines that we had already read here at home.
~Walmart had an amazing deal on their Wild Mike's pizzas at $1 each so I bought 2 of them and cooked them up when Bradley and Isaiah spent the night last weekend.
~Bradley and Isaiah hot tubbed with Jeff.
~We also found marked down donuts at Walmart which caused much rejoicing between the little boys.
~Our cats needed a new scratching pad and I was able to find a Elf Ski Chalet double scratching pad originally from Target but donated to Goodwill for $7.99.  I again had a 20% off coupon for donating some items and used that to bring the cost down even further.  Doofy cat in particular loves it!

~Jeff has been wanting some new bowling shoes for years now.  His are 38 years old (yes, they were rebuilt once) and he really likes to have his own shoes so I bit the bullet and found some online for half the normal price.  Since they are "fancy" with different heal and sliding thingies on the soles, they were still a  tad over $200 on sale.  Hopefully these will last him for the rest of his life and he was totally excited to pick them out.  Merry Christmas Jeff! ;) 
~I found packaged of Italian sausages (5 to a package) for $1.50 after marked down coupons.  I bought 2 for us and 1 for Rachel and Jaysn.  I used one of the packs to make a nice penne pasta with sausage and cheese casserole.  This made 4 meals for Jeff and I.
~I also found fancy salad kits that retail for $4.99 marked down to .99 each at the Grocery Warehouse and picked up 2 of them.
~With the colder weather, I was craving a childhood favorite of chili and rice so I made some for dinner one night.

 ~Since I am not able to send out Christmas cards this year, I am saving on postage.
~I sent a package with gifts for my parents, middle brother and Josh and Lauren to my parent's place since Josh and Lauren will be there to celebrate Christmas this year.  Again, saving by combining the gifts into one box and saving on postage.
~Themed baskets are going to be the big gifts this year from us to our kids here, grandkids, cousin, Rachel's family and Heather's family.  I shop all year long and find great deals, along with getting lots of free things like art supplies, when I use coupons that are sent to me combined with amazing sales.  I have had to fill in around the edges a bit but we all agreed that this year no one was going to go overboard and we were going to keep it homemade or on the frugal side.
~My best thrift store score recently was a necklace priced at $2.99 at Goodwill.  It was really pretty and it looked to be of great quality.  Luckily I had my jeweler's loupe on me and found a tiny 14K marking on it.  Yes, 14K white gold!!!  A friend of our's works there and I showed it to him.  He said I scored big time and that things like that rarely slip through up in Spokane where they price most things.  I looked it up and similar necklaces are retailing at $700.  Oh My Goodness!!!

~My skin has been really sensitive lately and feels like it is burning, itching or has bugs crawling under it (all Fibromyalgia related) so I have needed to wear only the softest clothing.  I have found a few shirts and some Lularoe leggings at Goodwill that have been a Godsend.  I think I am set now to get through for awhile.
~I've been buying 2 bottles of my favorite winter flavored coffee creamer and freezing one of them each time I need more.  This way I have some to use in the cold months when they no longer carry it in the stores around here.
~My tracfone was about out of minutes so I bought a 60 minute card that triples on my phone and combined that with a code for 20 additional minutes along with not having to add minutes (unless needed) for another 6 months instead of 90 days.
~Other great thrift store finds have been brand new Land's End jammies for me, shirts and jeans for Jeff, 2 mugs at .99 eacc that match my Winterberry Christmas china (which was also thrifted years ago) and some really nice books.
~I talked with my sister in Tahiti via Facebook's phone thing.  I had not heard her voice in about 32 years.  Music to my ears!!!
~I cashed in at Swagbucks and Mypoints for $35 worth of Texas Roadhouse gift cards.  This is what Jeff wanted to do this round and we will used them in the future for a fun lunch out.
~I took the cashback option on our credit union's points program and had that direct deposited into our savings account there.

   There have been many more things that we have done but as usual, I forgot to write them down so here is what I do remember off the top of my head.  Have a blessed and wonderful Christmas!

Saturday, December 8, 2018

Good and Frugal Food!


Wonton, Napa Cabbage and Kamaboko soup.

   I thought I would share some of the more frugal and yummy meals and treats that I have been making here at home over the last few months.  Money is tight and I really do have so much food on hand that needs to be used in my freezers, refrigerator and pantry before it goes bad.  With the weather getting colder, I am also inside and home more since my body does not like the cold and changing weather at all.  On the days when I have the energy, I try to make us a nice and comforting meals.  These are just a few examples of what I have been cooking up in my kitchen with the ingredients that I have on hand.  Enjoy!

Fettuccine alfredo with chicken, spinach and red peppers.

Turkey pot pie with leftover turkey from Thanksgiving, orange wedges and olives.

Pork Lo Mein with veggies.

Homemade split pea soup with ham.

Steamed dumplings (bought at Costco), homemade coleslaw, kim chee
and grapes.

Steamed dumplings, braised napa cabbage and some wine.

Garlic pork roast and baked and seasoned spicy sweet potatoes.

Homemade Scrapple served with a big salad.

Homemade scrapple and huckleberry pancakes.

Burgers, apple slices and mashed red potatoes with parsley from our garden.

Chicken breasts, stuffing and sauteed zucchini.

Baked squash and cheese casserole.
Vanilla ice cream topped with homemade huckleberry topping.

Monday, December 3, 2018

Into Every Life a Little Rain/Snow Must Fall

     I know that it is not officially Winter yet, but we have had some snow and I can feel the cold penetrating deep into my bones and muscles making me ache even more than my "normal".  This year it seems to be affecting me more than it has in the past.  I'm not sure why, but I am finding that I just cannot tolerate prolonged cold weather.  

   The corner of our couch next to the pellet stove has become my favorite place to sit all cuddled up under a warm fleece throw while I listen to Christmas carols with our cats keeping me company and providing me with a good "hand warmer" as I gently stroke their soft fur.  They provide me with so much comfort and help calm me when I am feeling defeated by my illness and at other times they just remind that life really does have so many beautiful moments and simple pleasures that we will miss out on if we don't take the time to just sit quietly and appreciate them.

   My energy levels have been low lately as I continue to process the traumas in my life that has lead me to this place that I am now health wise.  I find myself "crashing" more often and go back and forth between not being able to sleep well for days on end and then falling apart at the seams and not being able to stay awake and having to spend the day in bed dozing on and off.  Trying to still be there for my family has been my top priority and there are times when I cannot make that happen.  I am blessed that they do understand that I am doing everything that I can to try to be there for them, but sometimes I have to cancel out on plans as I did this weekend when I crashed.

   For now I will try and just cherish the times that I have been able to spend with them lately.  Sharing a big family Thanksgiving together our family combined with Rachel's side of the family, including cousins, being there when Steven had his surgery to have tubes put in his ears, being able to hug and kiss on my two oldest grandsons Bradley and Isaiah, calling and surprising my mom on her birthday, sharing a long hug with our Heather and Chris, and watching Steven enjoy sledding in our front yard with Jaysn and Rachel.  There have been phone calls with our Chris calling to check in and tell me about the progress on their new home, messages from our Josh, emails that have touched my heart from my mother, and visits from Rachel, Steven and Jaysn who are right here in town and stop by to see us often.  

   So yes, I have been taking time for me and stepping back from blogging while I work through things in my past and spend time with those I love most that are in my present.  I do hope at some point to get back to posting on a more regular basis, but for now, I will give myself a much needed break and not feel guilty for taking care of me.  Be blessed my friends and know that I really do appreciate each and every one of you and wish you all the most joyous holiday season. 😘