Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Rantings of a Grandmother, with Accomplishments Thrown In

It's mid week with Halloween just three days away.  Halloween was always a time to stress for me - as a mother of young ones - because of the creativity factor needed to design a costume.  Thankfully all of our children have inherited creativity from their father's side of the family.  I know for certain that there will be a small Peter Pan knocking on doors in his neighborhood on Saturday.  (Our area restricts trick or treating to two hours.)

A basket full of goodie bags for the grands,  I think my daughters
will be a bit upset with me.  Each bags holds a load of sugar
concoctions.  I know the parents control the amount of sugar
eaten each day after Halloween, so how upset can they get?

The following day the clocks get turned back to usher in darkness at five PM on the East Coast of the United States.  Is our country the only one that changes time in the fall and spring?  I'd be interested in hearing from other countries concerning this. 

I remember the time change was originally brought about for the farmers.  They needed early morning hours of daylight to work their farms.  I'm not sure this is currently necessary because most of the farms are now corporate owned.  (Sad, but true.)

Last night I hopped in the bathtub for twenty minutes to experiment with the detox bath solution I posted.  I used 1/2 cup Epsom salts to 1/2 cup baking soda and 12 drops of lavender oil.  I'm normally an in and out kind of girl, so it took some stamina to stay in the tub for the entire twenty minutes.

Keeping in mind this was the first time I soaked in the detox solution, this is what I found.  My skin is smooth as silk.  I don't have a problem with dry skin except on my elbows.  They are now as smooth as a baby's bottom.  Is it because I stayed in the tub for an extended period of time or because of the solution?  I can't answer that right now.  I do know I felt invigorated afterwards.  I'll know more after a couple more times in the tub, so I'll keep you posted.

My daughter cut my hair this morning in her kitchen.  After the styling and washing I was quite pleased with the outcome.  I know her life is pretty full so I tend to let my hair go for a couple weeks after I should have it cut.  Make note to self.  Stop it!  You feel so much better when your hair is freshly cut.  I also had my eyebrows done this week.  I wouldn't say Italians all have a uni-brow, but I will say I'm much more attractive when the brows are taken care of.

I'm in the process of extending my exercise routine.  I added five minutes this week (each day) and will continue to add five minutes a week until the routine hits thirty minutes.  That's the last frontier to do whatever needs to be done to stay as healthy as possible.

Tonight's dinner will be a package of fresh spinach served warm with vinegar, salt and pepper. I'll add a side of cheese and a glass of milk for protein.  Spinach has so much iron in it(as well as so many other vitamins)  and the vinegar is good for digestion.

This week's major accomplishments are minimal.  I scrubbed down the living room right down to the light switch plates, as well as the master bedroom. The master bath also was scrubbed this past weekend.  Two loads of laundry and an additional one for the bed linens.  I've had the wash ball for a month so I put it out in the sun to rejuvenate.  The powder room and kitchen just got a wipe down this week. Next week will be their turn to be scrubbed.

What did you accomplish this week?  Somehow when the tasks are put to paper, you see a lot more was done than was the original thought.

Stay safe.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Sharing Other People's Ideas

I'm not an internet surfer, but I do have my places I check out each day.  Most time I can't remember where I find good ideas or the ideas are mine.  So today I wrote down a few places I visited so I could share them with you.

Let's start with a detox bath from 'DIY Naturals"  This was on my Facebook page so I saved it to use.  Shame I can't give credit to the person who posted it, I can't remember!  Details, details.

Detox Bath
Handful of Epsom salts (I would guess this would be approximately 1/2 cup.) 
10  drops lavender essential oil.  (amazon has a ton to choose from)
1/2 cup of baking soda
This detoxes and balances the body's PH

The Cutest Ever Soaps and Candles  (Easy as pie, too)
Aprilathena7 makes easy fall gifts that look like candy corn.  Check out her video here:

YouTube channel 'At Home With Nikki' is one of my favorites.  Nikki has great ideas and a beautiful  home.  My taste is different from hers - and yours may be as well - but this lady is creative and informative. In this video she gives tips on decorating with a neutral palette.  Nikki's budget appears to be larger than most of ours, but she does use her resources in a responsible manner.

Another favorite yoo toober is 'Chic Done Cheap'.  Her budget appears to be in line with most of ours as she shops those bargains like a pro.  You may even enjoy her Jersey accent.

Sundays are a  relaxing day for me as I flip through my favorite videos and drink my morning coffee.  May your day be renewing and worry free.

Stay safe.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Extremely Frugal Gift Craft Idea

I found a craft project that I could create.  Not only could I create it, but the cost is just pennies for each item.  I made page magnets from an old magnet with an advert on it and washi tape from the dollar store.  I know if there was no advert magnet available, I would have to include the cost of store bought magnets.

Page magnets are used in place of a book mark.  You can place them on the side of the page or on the top, whichever is more convenient for you.  AND, they don't fall out when you open to your page.

If I had small children in school I'd make a bundle of these for their teachers as I'm sure a teacher would appreciate the gift.  Making five or six for each teacher to represent holidays sounds like a good idea.

I'm going to try to walk you through the process with pictures and instructions.  If you are interested and any detail is missing from the tutorial, please feel free to ask a question in the comment section.

Supplies Needed:  Scissors, ruler, washi tape, magnet

*  Cut a magnet in two equal pieces, to desired size.  I would suggest the size be no small than 1 1.2 inches long.  Anything smaller and there isn't enough power for the magnet to stick with a page in the middle of it.

*  Place the magnet's magnetic side down on a hard surface.  Space the two equal size pieces about 1/4 inch apart.

The two equal pieces, magnetic surface down.

*  Cut three to five strips of washi tape that will be used to cover the face of the magnet. (Non magnetic side.)  If the size is larger you may need to clip off additional strips.

* Begin covering the magnet by placing a tape strip to the center where the two pieces meet.  This will hold the pieces together and make it easier to cover the remainder of the surfaces.

*  Then continue covering the surface by placing the additional strips next to the center strip of washi tape.  Cover the top piece, then the bottom piece.

*  When the magnet is covered fold it in half at the space that was left between the two pieces of magnet.  Make a strong crease at the fold line.

*  Trim any excess tape off of the sides.

*Open the magnet and admire the ease in which the project was completed.

You can make a holiday series and place them on a piece of stock card or thin cardboard.  Embellish the card in any way you like and marvel at the frugal gift that would please anyone who loves to read, is a teacher, or works in an office.

Since mine will stay at home with me, I used a piece of cardstock
that has an advert on the back.  I made two sizes to see if the 1 1/2
inch animal print one was strong enough.  It was.  Mine are now
in my date book marking the current week's page.  The other is
marking an information page at the back of the
book.  A small way to make life more enjoyable for me.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Heed Your Words - Children are Sensitive

Everyone has deep hurts close to their heart.  Those things that we never want to examine again.  Those things that we perceived as a child as hurtful.  The fact remains that if we experienced them as adults, most things would have little effect on us.

Here's one that I distinctly remember.  I was about six years old and had the most beautiful (my perception) dress with so many under skirts on it that my arms couldn't be placed close to my body unless I used force to keep them there.  The top of the dress was pink and the bottom was grey with pink butterflies in a felt relief that shimmered in the sunlight.  I was so proud of that dress that during a walk around the neighborhood with a happy heart my arms were swishing back and forth so I could feel the skirts.  Every once in a while I would swish my arms and twirl in a circle at the same time.  I was practicing doing two things at a time at a dare from my brother.  I mastered the feat that afternoon.

It was on that day I discovered it was dangerous to be too happy.  As I mindlessly twirled  and swished I was unaware of the old lady on her porch quietly rocking and watching me with disdain. She was not afraid to tell me I was a bad little girl for wanting to show everyone my underwear. HUH?  No, I was swishing and twirling.  How did she get that I wanted to show my underwear?  My sensitive little girl spirit was instantly shattered in a million pieces, never to fully recover.

I now had no where to show happiness.  I couldn't demonstrate it in my home, for various reasons.  Now I couldn't go outside to be happy either.  This one event altered my entire personality.  I became quiet and withdrawn in all things.  My social skills were stunted to begin with, and they suffered an even worse fate. 

I was the perfect little girl because I was quiet and never gave an opinion.  Fear lived within me 24/7.  My cousins didn't connect with me (on my mother's side) because they thought I was 'perfect'.  No, I was deeply injured.  Those injuries still have not fully healed.  I think they have, then some small thing happens and they surface.  I pray then because I know Christ will fully heal my little girl spirit with time. More time.  These things don't hurt like they use to.  I'm an adult now and can rationalize and forgive.  Too bad forgetting is not in the cards.

If I ran into that same woman today, I would laugh and swish even more, then lift my dress to prove she was right.  Therein lies the difference between an adult and a sensitive little girl.

Monday, October 19, 2015

A Nice Weekend Spent With Family

It's pretty cold for these old bones of mine so the camis, knee socks, and long sleeve shirts have come out in full force.  I'm not complaining because where I use to live got snow this past weekend.  Normally there's a frost before the snow falls, but that was not the case this year in the North.  Just thinking about the cold up there brings shivers to the very center of my being.

Saturday was an active one for me.  Daughter three and I went to a yard sale with quite a few vendors at the local VFW (Veterans of Foreign Wars).  They hold a sale every fall to raise money for the post.  They also sell lunch food such as barbeque sandwiches and chips to make extra funds.  We didn't eat there, but many others did.

I made a purchase that was unexpected.  I bought six vintage plates that I have no where to store or even a use for bur they were so beautiful I couldn't pass them up.  The edges have 14 karat gold trim so they even need to be hand washed.  Since I hand wash most things anyway, that part is not a problem.  They were marked $10.00, but when the man saw me walk away, he lowered the price to $5.00.  What was I to do, I ask you?  Since I recently de cluttered the kitchen cabinets, I'm sure there will be a place for them.  To take care of the use problem, I'll be using these plates each night for dinner.

I fell in love with these plates.  You could say it was love at
first sight.  It's funny because this is not my normal decorative
style attraction.

When we left there we hit up three more residential sales with little luck.  Then home for a rest.

Daughter number one spent the morning at the baseball field with her sons for make up games.  Later in the afternoon she met us at number three's house for an early dinner of spaghetti.  The two of them lined up their kids and walked to a convenient store for cold drinks while I stayed back with the pup and enjoyed the quiet I knew was soon to disappear. 

I have enough quiet at home and also enjoy the noise of happy kiddos playing and even bickering.  Sibling bickering brings a smile to my heart - I do so miss the sounds of family life.

Sunday was a low key day for all of us.  I watched a video about dehydrating food and thought I have lots of dehydrated food.  Perhaps it was time to use some of it to test it's flavor. (Hoping I did things the right way.)  So I got out carrots, green beans, squash, mushroom powder. green peppers and a vegetable stock I had in the freezer.  I made these items into a soup them added a rue to make a vegetable stew which I put on a slice of bread,  I was pleased to note I did dehydrate the veggies correctly as they plumped up and softened to their original state.  The one mistake I made was using stock made from asparagus.  Too strong, but I ate it anyway and so did the pup.

I also decided I had too much celery in the refrigerator so I blanched most of it and dehydrated it.  Even though the celery was cut into small pieces it took about 15 hours to fully dehydrate.  The rest of the day was spent in lazy mode.

My goals today are to wash the bedding and vacuum the rugs.  Let's see if I meet them.  It's not that the goals are lofty, but I've been tired feeling lately - even though my blood work shows no problems.  If there is a day of good energy, I seem to need two days of rest to build up energy again.

Stay safe.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

The Sales Are Amazing This Time of the Year

I know I've been missing in action for a week or so.  A number of things have kept me from my keyboard.  One of which this is the season that super sales are happening and I've been scouring the stores to find good deals.  I have found a number of them - some for Christmas gifts.  I won't remember some of the deals but I can start at the Yankee Candle with a coupon for buy two candles, get two free.  Daughter number three and I went and split the cost, each of us walking away with two holiday candles.  It happened on that day they were giving a free votive with any order so we each received a free candle.  (I bought a small item in addition to the split order.)

A local grocery store is having  double coupons up to $2.00 which, of course, I had to take advantage of.  Armed with two $2.00 coupons as well as a few $1.00 coupons I came away with two free large tubes of toothpaste, two boxes of herbal tea at .50 each, free granule honey, (new item on the market), and olive oil for $3.39.  What I like about this store is if they have a BOGO item only one can be purchased at half price.  The oil was half price with a doubled.55 cent coupon.

Out of pocket cost for these six items was 4.39. 
I know there are people who can do quite a bit better,
but I'm satisfied with the deals I got.

We also went to a fabric store that was having 70% off many items.  I picked up two one yard remnants for a total of $1.87.  I'm not sure what I'm going to do with them yet, but ideas are forming.

The remnant on the bottom is the material that's used
to make fancy dancy kitchen towels.  I'm thinking of
trying m hand at making a couple of those for gifts.

A look through the 70% off rack at Penney's netted two high quality men's shirts for a little over $15.00.

Michael's was on the band wagon with the 70% sales so I picked up 8 pounds of 'gourmet' coffee for  $2.10 each, two which were dark roast.  Those are for me!

I bought a few pieces of clothing from WalMart, but most of them are being returned.  For anyone who's interested they have camis for $1.68.  The sizes are not consistent so instead of fighting it, most items will be returned.  I'm keeping the camis for extra warmth during the winter months.

I had an appointment yesterday and while waiting I did my list for the grocery store, with coupons in hand.  The lady who signed me in showed a bit of interest in the coupons stating that she was unable to take time to coupon and save money.  So this was my chance to jump in and explain to her that she didn't have to be an avid couponer.  To begin by looking only for one type of coupon.  Then as she becomes familiar with that routine, she could move on if she wanted to.  I offered her the address to this blog with the hope that she has a few minutes to check it out.  Our conversation ended at my end explaining how any dollar saved is one that's in her wallet, not a store's.  If you have joined us, I welcome you with open arms and hope there is information here that you can find useful.

Now for a couple frugal hack recipes  to help keep your life simple and hold your cash close.

Confectioner's Sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
2T(ablespoons) corn starch
Wiz the ingredients in a food processor until they reach the powdery consistency of confection sugar.  (Icing sugar)

Sugar Sprinkles
Granulated sugar
Food coloring for the desired color
Mix ingredients well in a bowl.  Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and spread the sugar evenly.  Place in a 350F oven (180C) for 10 minutes.  Let cool.  Store in a closed container.

To close I'd like to leave my reader's with this quote that left an impression on my heart.  I don't know where it came from, so I can't give any credit for it. Maybe a reader will know more than I do.

Just for fun!  The fall decorations on the front porch.
The air has a crisp feel to it so all is well in this
part of the world.

'You look in your neighbor's bowl to see if they have enough, not if you have as much as they do.'

How profound.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Frugal VS Cheapskate

I've been searching for a refreshing subject this week, and I think I may have found one.  What is the difference between a frugal person and a cheapskate?  Are there times people are forced to move from the frugal front to the cheapskate front?  What makes up a cheapskate?

All interesting questions to me after watching a number of 'Extreme Cheapskates' on yoo toob.  Without the benefit of a dictionary definition I would define frugal as a chosen way of life that utilizes the resources a person has to the fullest degree.  As an example, being conscious of using power and water.  Both of these are resources that are at our finger tips to be used at will.
  The cash flow into the home is the biggest resource we have.  How much we get to keep in our pockets is up to us.  We have choices in this area, as well.  The choices we make need to be made with the other family members in mind.

I learned that lesson when my husband became agitated when he was refused any goodies in the grocery store.  To say he was agitated is putting it mildly.  Since I was the one who controlled the grocery money, it was my responsibility to change my methods.  At the time we were on a limited income so whatever I came up with had to be frugal.  I added five dollars to the grocery budget for him to choose any goodie he wanted each week.  I took the five dollars from my allowance money.  It was worth it to see him satisfied.

Some frugal hacks that have become a normal for me:

Washing the clothes with a wash ball.  I am in love with the fresh smell the clothes hold when they come out of the wash.

Using dryer balls in the dryer.

Hanging the wash either outside or in the bathroom, depending on the weather.

Using solar lights in the evening to save on the power bill.

Cooling the house (in summer) at night so the air conditioner doesn't run during the day.

Cooking from scratch in large batches and freezing foods for future meals.

Growing a garden.

Canning from the garden.

Dehydrating veggies that are bought on sale for winter soups and stews.

Making bread, but not eating a lot of it at one time.

I have a single serve coffee machine that I use reusable pods in. I fill a pod and use a large coffee cup.  I run the machine on the normal setting, then run it on the lowest setting to fill the cup to the top.  Being single, this routine works well with no waste.  However, I would not insist anyone else do this when they visit.

Boxed prepared foods are something I rarely purchase - even on sale.  I try to take care of my health by using fresh foods or making foods with fresh ingredients.  Since I'm older, I do have a couple of health issues, so I do everything I can to stay healthy.  This saves big dollars on health care.  My biggest fear is that my children would have to take care of a body that's worn out in the years to come.  There are a couple of prepared foods I use such as cake mix.  But not the frosting on a cake. Although, I have been known to buy a can of frosting to eat from a spoon as dessert.

I have recently begun to use rinse water from the dishes to water the house plants.  Just to reduce waste.

I use coupons on health and beauty items or fresh foods.  The fresh food coupons are far and few.

I utilize the dollar store, the real dollar stores. 

Making a pizza from scratch is a great way to save on a food bill.
I made a big batch of dough and froze it in single size portions.
The sauce is home made and brought out from the freezer, too.
I used one fifth of a block of cheese that cost 2.00 on sale.  So for
approximately .60 cents I had two meals to fill me up.  I had a piece of
fruit on the side. No suffering involved, just a bit of work.

It's now time to talk about cheapskates.  A cheapskate will save a penny in any way they can, not taking into account the other family members.  They want it their way - the end.  Family members have been known to be traumatized by their actions in public and at home.  They grab water from public parks in bottles and cover the faucets at home so no one can use the house water so the bill is low.  Or insist that all clothing comes from charity shops, just to save money.  Not because the clothing funds are short, just for the hunt of a bargain.  I have no problem with a single person buying clothes like this, the problem begins when a teen is forced to live like this - all of the time.  There are plenty of bargains in the stores at the end of a season.

Pretty much the actions of a cheapskate are self centered and uncaring of family members.  That sums it up in a sentence.

There may be times of hardship when some cheapskate measures must be upheld.  However, when the crisis is over going back to the frugal norm for a family is an appropriate move.

Being a good steward of our resources is important today more than ever, but so is being a good steward of the people in our lives.