Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Wednesday's Wisdom

When I was single and living in a downtown San Diego apartment I heard a man at church talk about the single biggest way to save money--Stay put. Don't move from house to house. I didn't appreciate his wisdom then as much as I do now, after marrying an active duty Marine and moving from coast to coast and bouncing around a couple of other states in the middle. Since that time in the apartment I've moved eleven times. Eleven different houses.

Not once have the curtains from one place fit the next. There are always little things left behind that have to be replaced again, and again, and again. And each place seems to need some updating, repairs, and things done that will make the home mine. All of that costs money. I don't think I've ever lived in a house that I considered finished. (Neither did my mom, and she lived in the same place for sixty years!) But you know what I mean. I think she got bored, I'm just trying to make it mine.

So I guess the real wisdom is stay put if you can, become a do-it-yourselfer if you can't.

Here's the latest in my quest to make over this house to suit me.

It began today with some Spring cleaning. I took down plates, dusted shelves, and ceiling fan.

Mr. Movie appeared and I recruited him to replace the awful sconce lights with the new ones.

Nice improvement already.

Now that's more my style!

Mr. Movie had some more time before work so he put up a new ceiling fan/light fixture to replace the old "dentist office" fixture. (Although I couldn't hear it, Noble always complained about a high pitched buzz from that old fixture.)

After all the installation I finished the room by mopping the floor, so all is clean and pretty now from top to bottom!

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Tuesday's Treasures

I keep a running list of things I need or want so when I go to a thrift store or yard sale I know what I'm looking for. (I'm so easily distracted.)

Beautiful mirror for $10

Full length mirror is now checked off the list.

Like I said, patience is a virtue in being frugal.

What treasures have you found recently?

Monday, March 28, 2016

Monday's Motivation

The struggle of life is one of our greatest blessings. It makes us patient, sensitive, and Godlike. It teaches us that although the world is full of suffering, it is also full of the overcoming of it.                        --Helen Keller            

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Sunday's Spiritual Thought

He lives!

And this is how I feel about it:

I know He lives! My gratitude for Him and His Atoning Sacrifice knows so bounds. It truly is a Happy Easter!

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Wednesday's Wisdom

Work first, play later.

Eat dinner, then dessert.

Eat your vegetables, then the foods you like.

Anyway you say it, it means the same. Do the task you fear or dread first, then the rest is easy.

Procrastination only prolongs the agony.

How do you express this thought?

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Sunday's Spiritual Thought

Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the seventh day, and hallowed it.                 Exodus 20:8-11

Moreover also I gave them my sabbaths, to be a sign between me and them, that they might know I am the Lord that sanctify them.              Ezekiel 20:12

May you enjoy a day of rest from your worldly cares and labors as you keep the sabbath day holy.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Saturday's Sewing

My Mother's Legacy:

Mom made us matching dresses for Easter 1962
Rozylass at age 4

My Lovely Mother age 34
The whole family (my adopted sister came much later) 
I do not remember these dresses, but I do remember seeing the patterns among my mother's. Perhaps this is where my love of yellow and gingham came from!

Friday, March 18, 2016

Friday's Frugal Roundup

Favorite Tools in the Kitchen

Many who advise on de-cluttering, or minimizing will say something like "Get rid of duplicates." "Have multiple use tools, instead of single use ones." To which I say Hogwash! At lease for me in the kitchen.

I spend too much time in the kitchen to have only one spatula that has to be washed or rinsed off so I can use it on the next task. I enjoy having multiples of my favorites, different sizes, different flexibility, different uses. I like having lots of wooden and bamboo spoons and implements. I really like having the correct knife for the job at hand.

I have lots of measuring cups (gotten at yard sales and thrift stores), lots of measuring spoons (acquired similarly) and plenty of metal mixing bowls in all sizes.

Acquiring things at thrift stores and yard sales means I can have the finest quality tools in my kitchen (patience in a factor here, don't settle for less than the best) at a fraction of the price.

Confession here: The only exception to that in my kitchen is my Cutco knife set. I bought that brand new twenty years ago from a niece who was earning money for college. (Not sure I'd do it again, but they have served me well over the years.)

Another confession. My husband worked while going to college at an upscale cabinet shop where he built cabinets for million dollar homes. He'd come home and describe these lavish kitchens he'd worked in. Once in a while he'd meet the owners and usually would ask the wife if she liked to cook. Not one of them said yes. They didn't spend much time in the kitchen at all. Generally they just used it for making coffee and microwaving something. I had to tell TopDad to stop telling me about these spoiled women and their fabulous kitchens. I enjoy cooking and baking, and throughout our marriage have put three meals on the table each day, especially when we were homeschooling and all five children were around. I've had to make do with some pretty cramped and humble kitchens.

I'm optimistic that someday (maybe my mansion in heaven, if I ever get one) I'll have a well laid out, commodious kitchen fit for entertaining all our children and yet to be, grandchildren. A girl can hope!

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Thursday's Thrift in the Kitchen

Planning Ahead

Although I don't make a month long (or even a week long) menu plan I do tend to plan ahead on a regular basis. I'll explain, and show you what I mean.

Last night we had hamburgers (from the patties I made and froze last week), and oven fries. I made lots of fries so I'd have enough leftovers to make Breakfast Salad this morning.

Planning ahead to use up leftovers is a way to save money in the kitchen.

Oven Fries
8 medium potatoes, cut into eight wedges each

Mix together in a small bowl or measuring cup:
1/4 cup oil (your choice, I use canola and/or olive)
1/2 teaspoon each of salt, pepper, onion powder, paprika
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon Parmesan cheese

Place potato wedges in a large bowl, pour oil mixture over the wedges, stir to coat all the potatoes. Place the wedges on a large baking sheet in a single layer.
Bake at 375 for 50-60 minutes (depends on the thickness of the wedges and the heat of your oven)

Breakfast Salad (basic version)
Brown a small amount of bulk sausage (I use about 1/4 to 1/3 of a pound) in a large skillet
Cut up leftover oven fries and add to the browned sausage
In a separate pan, scramble two eggs; add to the sausage and potatoes.

If you have more time adding chopped onions and various colors of bell peppers adds lovely flavor and color to the salad. This is one of those expandable recipes. For large families or other crowds, just increase the quantities of each ingredient, or add something that you like or have on hand. A salad is simply a collection of ingredients, it can be whatever you like. Experiment and have fun!

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Tuesday's Treasures - A Day Late, Combined with Wednesday's Wisdom

Patience Is Rewarded  (That's the wisdom part)

When I saw this metal desk in September at Salvation Army it was marked $40. I said "No way!" We had bought two metal desks from a school surplus sale for under $10 each in August. I'd keep looking and be patient.

During Christmas break TopDad and I were in the SA again and the desk was still there, only this time it was marked $1.29. That's right! $1.29!! I grabbed the tag and headed for the cashier.

That doesn't always happen, but when it does, what a good feeling. And Dandylion likes his "new" desk.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Monday's Motivation

Wise words from Eliza R. Snow
"Don't you see that our sphere is increasing? Our sphere of action will continually widen, and no woman in Zion need[s] to mourn because her sphere is too narrow.
"God bless you, my sisters, and encourage you, that you may be filled with light, and realize that you have no interests but in the welfare of Zion. Let your first business be to perform your duties at home. But, inasmuch as you are wise stewards, you will find time for social duties, because these are incumbent upon us as daughters and mothers in Zion. By seeking to perform every duty you will find that your capacity will increase, and you will be astonished as what you can accomplish."
          From "An Address by Miss Eliza R. Snow," Millennial Star, Jan. 13, 1874, 18.
          Quoted in Daughters in the Kingdom, 58-59

Friday, March 11, 2016

Friday's Frugal Round-up

I honestly can't think of anything I did this week, out of the ordinary, to spend less.


Another part of frugality is taking care of what you have and planning ahead. Thursday I spent some time in the warm sunshine cleaning out my flower bed.


Sweet William and Daffodils

 At least I hope they are daffodils. I planted some mystery bulbs in the fall of 2014; all they produced last year were green leaves. I'm hoping they produce flowers this year.

I'm working on a landscaping plan for the whole yard so I can beautify our grounds and put in some edible plants too.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Thursday's Thrift in the Kitchen

Processing Bulk Buys

Buying twenty pounds of ground beef isn't very thrifty if left in the ten pound tubes, they're too difficult to use. But I learned something from one time of leaving a tube in the fridge for a while. (Sometimes I'm a slow learner.) What I learned is that I can pre-cook the meat and store it in the freezer for almost instant meals. Now that's thrifty.

This time I did half and half. I determined ahead of time what I wanted:

3 lb. made into patties
4 lb. in 2 packages for meatloaf
3 lb. in 3 packages for casseroles

4 lb. cooked with chopped onion put into 1/2# packages
6 lb. made into meatballs, cooked and packaged 2 dozen meatballs in a package

crumbled ground beef with onion

Meatball mix
Meatballs ready for baking

Baked Meatballs
They didn't come out quite even dozens, so I made one small package, perhaps for when it is just TopDad and I.

Recipe for Baked Meatballs

1 lb. ground beef
1 egg
2 tablespoons water
1/2 cup bread crumbs (I used homemade bread crumbled in a blender)
1/4 cup minced onion (this time I used dried onion powder)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

Mix all together and form 1" balls (a cookie scoop works great), place on a cooking sheet.
Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes.

When they were finished I scraped all the lovely drippings up along with the meatballs into the containers to freeze for the added flavor.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Wednesday's Wisdom

Parental Paydays

Rebecca, over at her blog called Renaissance, shared some delight pictures of her baby smiling.

I commented that it looked like a parental payday to me.

What is a parental payday? Well it's what TopDad and I call those infrequent moments when what a child says or does makes us feel that our efforts to raise that child have paid off, been worth it, been successful.

Most jobs offer money and other tangible benefits that come at usually regular intervals. Working as a parent can often seem like a thankless, benefit-less, exhausting effort. But then those little moments happen, like a baby smiling, or a teen doing a task without being asked, or a young adult expressing genuine gratitude, and it's a parental payday!

It reminds me to be a better child to my Heavenly Parent, smiling and being cheerful, doing things without being commanded (or nagged), and expressing real gratitude for the multitude of miracles and blessings I receive daily.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Sunday's Spiritual Thought

For behold, the Spirit of Christ is given to every man, that he may know good from evil; wherefore, I show unto you the way to judge; for every thing which inviteth to do good, and to persuade to believe in Christ, is sent forth by the power and gift of Christ; wherefore ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of God.
But whatsoever thing persuadeth men to do evil, and believe not in Christ, and deny him, and serve not God, then ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of the devil; for after this manner doth the devil work, for he persuadeth no man to do good, no, not one; neither do his angels; neither do they who subject themselves unto him.
Moroni 7:16-17
The Book of Mormon 

Friday, March 4, 2016

Friday's Frugal Roundup

Often, being frugal is more about what you don't spend money on, rather than what you do.

Some examples from my own life:

I don't have an appointment every eight weeks with a hair salon. I get my hair cut about every six months or more. I don't color or highlight my hair. During a time of extreme frugality I let it grow for over four years, relying on free trims from myself, my husband and children to get through. Last fall I got a perm to help me get through the "ugly" stages of growing out layers. I don't spend very much money on my hair. To my eyes, natural hair is more attractive. We've been pretty well brainwashed to believe that light colored hair is more beautiful, or that having a new color or style every few months is necessary. Hogwash! Natural hair that is healthy and silky to the touch, that swishes with head movement is the prettiest to me. And when my hair began to go white at the temples I named them my racing stripes! A frugal person has to have a good sense of humor.

I don't get manicures and/or pedicures, other than the ones I give myself.

To my eyes, natural is best. And, of course, it is the easiest and cheapest to keep up. Nail polish is pretty for special occasions, but a woman or girl with chipped nail polish and scraggly nails is not impressive. Want strong nails? Take an Omega 3-6-9 supplement each day! It's great for both skin and nails.

I don't follow clothing fads or fashions. I'm either ahead of or behind the times. But who cares. Most of us are not photographed as the current "It" girl. Most of us are just anonymous women living normal lives. Looking good is more a matter of cleanliness, good fit, (mended, no drooping hems or missing buttons) and appropriate colors. That doesn't need to break the bank or keep us in debt.

I don't have a smart phone. I use a five year old Tracphone flip phone to call and text my family.  I spend maybe $100 per year. Using a non-smart phone takes planning ahead, but that's what we did in the "olden days" so I'm used to it.

We don't pay for cable, satellite or dish TV.  In fact, we haven't watched television for over twenty-five years. I'm sure we haven't missed much of value.

I do my best to adhere to the pioneer adage "Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without" which invites and encourages creativity in using what we have, whether food ingredients or crafting supplies to make what is needed or wanted.

Another virtue of a frugal person that I've developed is Patience. Waiting for the perfect deal, the right piece of furniture on Craig's List, the best sale on canned goods, or whatever it is. Sometimes when we're patient, the "need" goes away by itself, or rather because circumstances change and it wasn't such a pressing need after all. Or if we put the word out we find that someone else is wanting to get rid of the very thing we want! Or maybe it comes for a birthday present or other gift occasion. Frugal people are patient! And we work out creative alternatives in the meantime.

How were you frugal this week?

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Thursday's Thrift in the Kitchen

Patience Rewarded

The other day TopDad got into the chest freezer for something and reported to me that it was looking kind of humble in there. In other words, stocks are low. That's because I've been waiting for the right sale to fill it up again.

This is the sale I've been waiting for. I bought two tubes, one for making burger patties, and two pound packages for meatloaf. The other tube I'll be making meatballs, and frying the ground beef with onion for taco meat, or for adding to spaghetti sauce, and such. The ol' chest freezer won't be so humble when I get done with all of that.

Patiently waiting for the thing you need to go on sale will save you money! Remember to use it up, and make do!

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Wednesday's Wisdom

Stow as you go!

This little piece of wisdom goes a long way toward keeping a home neat and tidy. By putting things away, whether in a cupboard, drawer, closet, or trash/recycling bin, as soon as we're finished with it, we can keep counters, tables and other horizontal surfaces clear, be able to find things the next time we need them, and save time in the long run.

I often say to my family members, "If you don't have time to put it away correctly now, when will you have time to do so?" It generally takes under a minute to put things away right after they are used. Getting rid of a pile or counter full of clutter takes much longer.

Here's what Marilla Cuthbert, from Anne of Green Gables, had to say about it:
"Now, Anne, I noticed last night that you threw your clothes all about the floor when you took them off. That is a very untidy habit, and I can't allow it at all. As soon as you take off any article of clothing fold it neatly and place it on the chair. I haven't any use at all for little girls who aren't neat."
I think of the extra steps taken to put things away immediately as exercise, and therefore a good thing. Whether it's in the kitchen, bath, bedroom, laundry, living, family, dining room, or garage, putting things away as soon as we're finished using them (especially putting things in the trash or recycling) is a valuable habit to establish.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Tuesday's Treasures

Plates used exclusively for desserts make even a plain piece of banana bread special!

It's easy (and cheap) to set a beautiful table with thrift store finds. I found these pretty dessert plates a dozen years ago at a thrift store where I volunteered one afternoon a week. The lead crystal spoon holder was a gift from my mother many years ago. The silver plate forks were a more recent purchase at a thrift store for 35 cents each! And the pale blue damask tablecloth was purchased at a thrift store (when and where I don't remember!). I enjoy using these to make dessert special.