Thursday, October 27, 2016

Spring Cleaning Completed

I was able to finish up my semi-annual spring cleaning here at our humble abode.  I had started in the living room and dining room a few weeks ago before moving on to bedrooms and bathrooms.  The laundry room got a good cleaning too.

Along the way we de-cluttered and made sure we weren't getting back into old habits of collecting items we didn't need or use.  I was very happy to see we have been really good about staying on top of things.  I sent some stuff out to the recycle bin but I don't have anything to donate or toss.  How about that?

I need to refill that cookie jar

Spring cleaning the kitchen is always a chore as it sees a lot of activity.  I started on it a couple of weeks ago taking it in sections washing cabinets, straightening and organizing drawers and cupboards as I went along.

Saturday, before we headed off to marching band competition, I got up early determined to get this chore completed.  I started by cleaning and re-organizing the pantry and the freezer on the refrigerator.

Love this pantry!

I had already done inside and outside of the refrigerator as well as the walls around it and the floor underneath.  I had also done the stove inside and out as well as around and underneath.  Both are yucky chores.  I did the microwave inside and out last Friday before I went to work.

All clean and organized

I took a few things out to the recycle bin then came back in and took everything off of the counters on one side of the kitchen.  I scrubbed up the counters, backsplashes and walls and then did the same thing on the other side.  Lastly, I tackled the range hood over the stove.

I love a working kitchen with clean and shiny surfaces

I am happy to report my crazy repair to the backsplash behind the sink is holding up very well.  And I have to say my favorite home improvement project I've done so far this year is definitely the overhaul of the cabinet under the sink.  So much nicer and much, much easier to keep clean.  It has stayed nice and neat ever since my daughter and I finished that.  I love it under there.

Squeaky clean microwave

With the kitchen all cleaned up it didn’t take me long to get back in there and start cooking and baking.  Something about a super clean kitchen just makes it so nice to cook and bake.  I get really motivated.

How often do you deep clean the rooms in your house?

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Old Fashioned Cake Donuts

Cake donuts are my very favorite type of donuts and homemade old fashioned cake donuts are by far the best.  Not to mention all the fun you can have topping them.  Oh my gosh, the endless possibilities.  My oldest daughter is crazy about donuts.  Hands down they are her favorite food.

Old Fashioned Cake Donuts

4 cups flour
1 cup sugar
4 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1 cup milk
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs
Oil for frying

In a large mixing bowl assemble all of the dry ingredients.  Use a whisk to thoroughly combine.  In a small mixing bowl assemble your wet ingredients and whisk together.  Pour wet ingredients into dry and with a spoon carefully stir together.

Turn dough, which may be rather sticky, onto a well floured surface and knead with extra flour just until it is easy to handle without over doing it.  Pat dough out flat to about 1/2" thick and cut with a donut cutter.

Heat a couple inches of oil in a large heavy bottom pan to about 360°.  Test with a donut hole.  Oil should sizzle right away.  Carefully place 3 to four donuts and holes in the pan.  Turning several times fry until they are a deep golden brown.  Remove to rack placed over a baking sheet and allow to cool.

Makes approximately 20 donuts and holes.

Once the donuts are cool the real fun begins with all the fun toppings.  You can roll them in powdered of granulated sugar or a mixture of cinnamon and sugar.  I also like to start with a simple glaze of powdered sugar mixed with a bit of milk and decorate with sprinkles, mini chocolate chips, M & Ms, flaked coconut, chopped peanuts or sliced almonds.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Only Two More Months Until Christmas

Halloween is next week!  Unbelievable isn't it?  Our home is decorated for fall with a few Halloween decorations here and there and somehow that seems to have spurred me into action this past month.

I took a day off of work at the end of September so I could sew while the girls were in school.  I managed to get all the sewing I had planned to do for them finished as well as another gift project I was working on.  I was thrilled about that.

While shopping at ShopKo I received a $10 OFF a $10 purchase coupon.  I used it to buy the girls each an extra gift for free.  That made me super duper happy! 

I have only one more gift to purchase for my youngest and I will be officially finished with Christmas shopping.  The last one I'm holding out on as I hope to get for a good price on Cyber Monday so I'm going to wait.  The only other gifts I plan to make are food related and that will happen closer to the actual day.  But in the meantime I'm taking advantage of sales and coupons to restock the baking box.

All of the gifts I've acquired or made have been wrapped and tagged, ready to go under the tree when we set it up.  In the meantime they will reside on the top shelf of my bedroom closet.

I made a trip to the liquor store to grab a bottle of gin and a bottle of vodka to restock the liquor cabinet.  The vodka will be used for blueberry martinis and cosmopolitans.  Next month I plan to pick up a bottle of Bailey's Irish Crème and I think a bottle of Kalhua.

After making a huge dent in the Christmas project list I feel like I am not only caught up but ahead of schedule.  What a relief it is to know the biggest chunk of the preparations are complete.

How are your preparations coming along?

Monday, October 24, 2016

Last Week's Thrifty Moves

We finally got rain!  Hurray!

Sunday I headed off to Gordman's with a 20% OFF coupon to pick up one of the two items left on my Christmas shopping list.  Only one more gift to go!

The dollar store is next door Gordman's so I walked over and picked up a few items on my list.  Toothbrushes, fabric softener and marbles to put in a quart jar kerosene lamp I put together a couple months ago.  While there I found the perfect item for my youngest so I snapped it up to put in my stocking stuffer stash.

Then I walked next door to Alberston's to pick up 8 cans of my girls favorite clam chowder on sale for 99¢ a can.  I had printed two online coupons for $1 OFF four cans making the final cost of the soup 74¢ a can.  In order to get the sales price I had to buy ten items so to make ten I also picked up two tubs of frosting for the baking box at 99¢ each.  Total spent $7.90.

I used label stock I had to make these labels for my big batch of apple butter

I received two free $25 restaurant gift cards in the mail.  I earned both of them by participating in a healthy lifestyle challenge sponsored by our health insurance company.  I also received a $25 Visa card for participating in a health screening at work.

I did my big shop this week and dragged my oldest along with me to help.  Surprisingly, she actually had a pretty good time grocery shopping with her mom.  She was also impressed with the deals we found and the coupons we used to shave off a ton of money at the checkout.  She was especially impressed at Albertson's when the total went from $39 to under $18.

I had coupons which saved me $2 on a veggie tray as well as 45¢ on a bag of spinach.  I didn't want to pass up more pasta at 49¢ a box (6), potato sides for 69¢ a package (8) and a dozen noodle snacks for 20¢ each.  Buying those cups of noodles made me a hero.  My girls love those things.

At Fred Meyer we found several items on markdown including a 2# block of organic medium cheddar for $5.  Broccoli florets, a spinach salad and guacamole were marked down 99¢ each.  I love when I can find these things so inexpensively and we can enjoy a few extras.

Saturday our day was devoted to high school marching band competition at BSU.  The weather was perfect and we had an amazing time.  Of course, I had my proud mommy moments watching my oldest girl marching out on the field.  They did a superb job.

I laminated a sliver of bar soap to a new bar so we can easily use it up.

I washed out a couple Ziploc bags to reuse.

We gave our kitchen scraps to the chickens.

How was your thrifty week?

Friday, October 21, 2016

Five Year Blogiversay!! (And A Giveaway!)

Five years ago today I wrote my first post and started this blog.  It is really hard to believe that an entire five years has passed already.  Seems like only yesterday.  I have to say it has been a true joy sharing our thrifty lifestyle with all of you.

Along the way I've gotten to know a lot of wonderful people I otherwise would never have had a chance to meet.  I have loved all the wonderful and encouraging comments that have been left for me.  Hearing what my readers have been up to is always a treat.

Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas
To celebrate five fantastic years I thought we should have a giveaway.  I have decided to put this darling holiday set of handmade hanging dish towels up for grabs.  Enter to win by clicking below and leaving your first name and last initial.  Next week I'll select one lucky reader and announce who the winner is on Friday.  

Click here to enter the drawing

Isn't this exciting?!  

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Are You Ready For The Next Recession?

It is hard to say when the next recession will hit, but at some point in the future you can plan on it happening.  History has a way of repeating itself.  Speculation in many camps is that it will happen right after our presidential election regardless of which candidate wins.  I happen to believe this a real possibility.

While I am not an economic forecaster I do know that recessions happen and usually after a big event in this country, presidential elections being one of them.  I also feel that the best way to prepare for a recession, no matter what the circumstances that cause it, is to be well prepared ahead of time.

Money $$

I have an emergency fund and I add to it on a fairly regular basis.

I keep my bills paid ahead of their due dates.  In the case of an emergency or job loss this would give me extra time before the next ones are due.

I'm working very hard to eliminate my debt.  It won't be much longer until that is all gone, thankfully.  After that I'll be working very hard not to go back into debt.

Job loss can happen and sometimes unexpectedly.  My resume is always kept up to date and I'm prepared to get out there immediately and start hunting.  I'm also not too proud to take a job scrubbing toilets or flipping burgers if need be.

I know my options.  I know where to go, who to turn to and what is available to me should the worse happen and I find myself in desperate need despite my best efforts.


Our home is our safe haven.  It has a sound roof and foundation and is properly insulated.  We keep it well maintained and buttoned up for winter so our heating and cooling costs are relatively low.

Our home is small and very affordable.  It is large enough for us to be comfortable and well housed but not too big at 990 square feet, give or take.  It is also economical as far as the mortgage and utilities are concerned.  A full time job at McDonalds, if need be, would easily cover our house payment and utilities.

Inside we have enough of the items we need with regards to clothing, blankets and basic essentials.  I also have enough skills and supplies to know if I can't buy it I can probably make it and if I can't pay to have it done I can most likely do it myself.


Despite our extremely low grocery budget ($150.00 per month for three people) we have managed to stock our pantry, chest freezer in the garage and the freezer on our refrigerator quite nicely.  If we had to and were careful I'm sure there is enough food in this house to sustain us for at least a year.

We have a garden space in our backyard and a supply of seeds to plant.  We also keep chickens for eggs.

We keep several one gallon jugs of water stored in case of an emergency.  At some point I'd like to add a couple rain barrels to our house.

While we live in an area that is less likely to be hit by natural disaster or even terrorists (knock on wood) and I'm not a big believer in zombies no place is immune to financial crisis.  The economy effects us all.  It effects the real estate market, the job market and the price of goods.

Even without a country wide recession, a job loss or medical emergency can put a family into its own private recession.  For most of us the financial crisis that hit back in 2007 effected us greatly and it wasn't too long ago for us to forget about it either.  A lot of us are still effected and working our way out of it.

Are you prepared?  What are some of the things you've done or are doing right now?  Do you think another recession is on the horizon?

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Super Easy Chicken Enchiladas

I don't use creamed canned soups that much anymore but it is nice to have them on hand for certain recipes and this would be one of them.  My family has always loved this recipe and through the years I've tweaked it a bit here and there.  Here it is in its latest rendition.

Chicken Enchiladas

1 1/2 lbs skinless, boneless chicken breast or thighs, diced
1 small onion, diced
2 Tbs oil
1 cup green chile enchilada sauce, divided
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 cup milk
1 cup sour cream
18 corn tortillas
2 cup shredded cheddar or monterey jack cheese

In a large deep skillet heat oil.  Cook chicken and onions until tender.  Add 3/4 cup enchilada sauce stirring well to combine.  Whisk milk into soup and add to chicken mixture.  Stir well and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes.  Remove from heat and stir in sour cream.

Lightly grease a 9" X 13" baking pan.  Lay out 6 tortillas in the bottom.  Top with one third of chicken mixture.  Sprinkle with half the cheese.  Lay out another 6 tortillas.  Top with another third of the chicken mixture and remaining cheese.  Lay out final 6 tortillas and top with remaining chicken mixture.  Drizzle 1/4 cup of enchilada sauce over the top.

Cover pan with foil and bake for 35 minutes in a preheated 400° oven.  Allow to rest 15 minutes before cutting into squares and serving.

It is more like a casserole but seriously delicious.  I will usually make a big green salad to go with it.  This is a great go to meal for Sunday dinner, but it is really quick and easy enough to prepare on a weeknight too.

Give this one a try and let me know what you think.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...