Monday, January 23, 2017

Last Week's Thrifty Moves


My main focus this past week has been to get myself back and forth to work, make it through work each day and then get home to rest.  Mission accomplished, but it wasn't without helpers.  And I can honestly say, without a doubt, I have the best daughters ever!  And awesome friends too!

I thought this was so sweet.  My youngest with her wounded kitty.

To start out the week we began with a house call from the vet (not so thrifty).  Our thirteen year old yellow tabby apparently slipped on the ice outside and sprained his "ankle".  Pain meds and downtime was the prescription, so he and I spent a lot of time together.

A quick trip to Fred Meyer so the girls could pick up a few things to help them with the cooking.  Unfortunately I don't have a picture of what they got and I wish I did because they did such a good job.

On the way home from work Wednesday I stopped at the bank and made a deposit into my savings account.  Yipeeeeee!

Me and Leonard working on the afghan together

Throughout the week I worked on my granny square afghan and used up quite a bit of leftovers in the zippered storage bag I keep my yarn in.  It is looking fantastic!  

I uploaded the Fred Meyer Friday Freebie to my rewards card - Annie's Mac & Cheese. 


I went to one thrift store Friday evening after dropping my oldest off at a basketball game.  I found pajama patterns for 12¢ apiece (hard to beat that!) and a package of drawer pulls for $1.95.  I thought these pulls would be nice to have for a project I've been thinking about doing.  I think these drawer pulls are rather expensive at the hardware store.  I'm also pretty excited about the patterns.  I plan to make the girls pajamas again for Christmas.


Saturday morning my oldest surprised me and took me out to breakfast.  With her tiny budget and a coupon we dined at Burger King.  It was perfect!



After our breakfast I dropped her off at her robotics workshop.  On the way home I was feeling pretty good so I popped into a thrift store to see what they had.  I found a couple of treasures.  Three brand new skeins of yarn for $3.97.  I see another project in my future.


Two vintage quart jars for 59¢ each.


A couple votive candles 39¢ and 79¢.  A striped blue pillar candle for 99¢ and a cute flower candle holder for 59¢.  I plan to save the blue pillar candle and the flower candle holder to give my oldest as a birthday gift.


I've been looking for quite awhile for a little china dish to use as a soap dish.  I found this pretty one and I think it will be perfect.  I will keep it for my future retirement house.

Ready for the oven

Later that day I played Pinochle with my girl friends.  It was a welcome distraction to be able to sit and visit and play a game we all love.  My youngest helped me make a couple veggie pizzas with whole wheat crust to contribute to our little snackfest.  They were a hit.

That was pretty much it.  How was your thrifty week?



Friday, January 20, 2017

Reversible Placemats - Tutorial



For a fun and easy project this one could be easier... or more practical.  If you happen to be in need of a set of placemats, that is.


Last fall I made a set to give as a Christmas gift and because the recipients of said gift follow my blog very closely I had to wait to share this project with you until after the holidays.  Even though Christmas is over you can still make these for a gift for this year.  Or you could just make them for yourself.


You will need:

1/2 yard of fabric - one color
1/2 yard of fabric - another color
1 yard of interfacing
Spool of coordinating thread
Pattern (homemade, of course) - 12 1/2" X 18 1/2"

I used my current set of placemats to make my pattern.  In fact, I just used one as my pattern.  And because I think my set of placemats is quite large I didn't add extra for the seam allowance.  I just pinned it right to my fabric.  A couple sheets of copy paper taped together would work to make a pattern with or a sheet of newspaper.  Or, if you are really good at cutting use a matte and cutter.



Cut out two rectangles from each piece of fabric and two rectangles from the interfacing.  With right sides together lay one piece of interfacing on top.  Pin at each corner and in the center of each edge to hold in place.


Stitch along the edge a 1/4" seam allowance leaving a 3 inch opening for turning.  Clip the corners and turn right side out.  Press.



Top stitch the edge of each placemat closing the opening in the process.


I also made a set of napkins in the same coordinating fabrics to go with.  I've covered cloth napkins before.  If you need a tutorial click here.



That's it!  Pretty easy, huh?




Thursday, January 19, 2017

Organizing My Important Papers - The Binder


It has been really important to me that I make sure all of my paperwork is in order and organized in one place.  I took a large binder, some tab dividers and several sheet protectors and was able to do just that.

The binder holds all of our insurance and banking.  It also has our immunization records, birth certificates and the titles to our vehicles.  Eventually, once my Will is completed, a copy of
it will go inside too as well as funeral plans and final wishes.

I thought it would also be helpful to have a list of my online activities so if someone in my family needed to act on my behalf, such as pay bills or check my email, whatever, they could do that for me.  Pretty much everything they would need in the event of an emergency or my death is in there for them.


We keep it in a safe place and only my girls know where it is.  They also know that if I'm ever incapacitated or pass away the information they will need is there.  It is important too that I maintain this binder and keep it updated as things change.

My reasons behind this binder are two-fold.  One, I wanted all of this stuff neatly organized and stored.  And two, I wanted it available for my girls should something happen.  I imagine it would be traumatic enough for them without having to go through everything and try to figure it all out on their own.  In some instances, there are things that no one would even know about that would need to be dealt with.

Although talking with your children about your untimely demise may be unpleasant, once they are old enough I feel it is an important conversation to have.  We had that conversation not too long ago.  It was good too in that they were able to ask questions and know what might happen if worse came to worse.

They also made me promise to live to 99.  I told them I would certainly do my best.



Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Thrifty Meals Around $5 Or Less - Tomato Basil Pasta


This recipe comes in way under the $5 mark.  Not only is it thrifty, but super easy and delicious.  It's kind of nice to have a pasta dish that isn't covered in a heavy sauce.  My girls learned to make this when they first started cooking.


Cook and drain one pound of pasta.  


In the pasta pot empty one can of Italian style diced tomatoes.  Rinse out the can with about a quarter cup of water and add that to the pan too.  Add  one crushed clove of garlic (or more if you like) and a rounded teaspoon of dried basil. 


Bring to a bubble and remove from heat.  Toss in the pasta and serve with grated parmesan.

Pasta - 69¢
Tomatoes - 50¢
Garlic bulb and dried parsley - 10¢ ???
Parmesan - 50¢

Total = $1.79

We had salad leftover from a previous meal that night to go along with it, but even if I had to make up a new one it wouldn't have cost much.  You would still have room in a $5 meal budget for homemade french bread or bread sticks.  A little browned sausage or cubed chicken is nice in this too.


Everything I used was purchased on sale which helps curb the cost quite a bit.  There was more than enough here for four people or in our case a mom and her two ravenous teenage girls.  In fact everyone had seconds.

Good, healthy food doesn't really have to cost a lot.


In some cases costs are approximated.  Groceries prices vary depending on where you live.  I don't include condiments, oils, herbs and spices when I figure the cost of a meal as it would be incredibly tedious to do so.  Plus condiments are subjective as each person uses more or less.


Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Weather Update


Thankfully the freezing rain everyone was so worried about didn't happen.  It warmed up, rained and melted away about half of the snow which did lead to some significant flooding, but not in our neighborhood.  We all managed to clear the gutters and storm drains and keep the water flowing in the right direction.

Thank you soldier!

The county and the National Guard have been working hard to clear the streets.  They made it to our neighborhood, but did not come down our cul de sac.  It pretty much looked like the school bus routes were the priority.  We have pretty much one lane in and out of our subdivision.

Classroom picture courtesy of Idaho Statesman

Schools were closed a record number of days.  They went back last Wednesday, but closed on Thursday when they realized they hadn't cleaned up enough and it was hazardous for students.  They spent the day, even asking for volunteers to clean parking lots and clear walkways.  A few schools have seen some damage from frozen pipes and flooding.  It has been pretty crazy.

Courtesy of Idaho Statesman

A nearby apartment complex lost it cover parking area.  Unfortunately it collapsed at night when it was full of cars.  Fortunately it collapsed at night and no one was hurt.  The city has condemned that structure needless to say.  Carports around the valley have taken a big hit as well.

Weiser, Idaho bowling alley courtesy Channel 2 News

Weiser, Idaho lost its bowling alley and Parma, Idaho lost a warehouse when the roofs caved in under the heavy weight of the snow.  Several of our Walmarts closed until they got crews up there to remove the snow from their rooftops.

What I have noticed quite a bit is that people, for the most part, seem to be taking it all in stride.  Helping people when they get stuck, watching out for fellow motorists who need to cruise through a stop sign, and taking their time when driving.  Neighbors are helping the elderly with snow shoveling and friends are helping each other.  If nothing else, this winter has seemed to make people come together as a community.


I am grateful for all of the employees who made it to work at gas stations, grocery stores, hospitals and clinics.  To the firefighters and police officers who did their best to help people and respond to 911 calls.  I feel for my neighbor who works for a towing company and has worked round the clock to get people unstuck and pick up stalled vehicles.  And for our county transportation department that has worked so hard to keep the roads open and safe.

And as I wrote this, it was snowing.  Big fat flakes.



Monday, January 16, 2017

Last Week's Thrifty Moves


Sunday I shoveled another gob of snow that had fallen the night before, cleaned up the gutters and removed snow away from the roof so water could all drain properly.  I also cleared away snow and ice from the downspout.

I spring cleaned the laundry room and downstairs bathroom.  I also got all of the laundry washed up.  I added some water to an empty bottle of laundry detergent and gave it a good shake.  I ended up with enough soap to wash a load of clothes.

The path through our yard leading to the chicken coop

I hemmed three pair of Levis for a friend who bartered with me for a stick of RAM and a year of free internet security for my laptop.  Bartering is AWESOME!  He also let me keep the denim scraps for a craft project I have in mind.  😃

I polished my black leather work shoes.


I melted some saved beef fat I had in the freezer and mixed it with scratch grains to make the chickens a suet cake.


Albertson's had pot roast on sale for $1.99 a pound.  I bought three.  I also picked up a large bag of apples for 78¢ a pound. They had cereal on sale so I stocked up on that too.  I was planning to buy cereal next month but at two large boxes for $3 I decided to get it now.  I used money I had already set aside for February to cover the cereal purchase.


Monday evening after dropping the oldest off at the youngest and I headed off to ShopKo.  With no snow to shovel and the weather holding I was finally able to get in there and see if they had their Christmas gift wrap marked down to rock bottom yet.  They did!


We picked out a four pack of gift wrap for $2.39 regularly priced at $11.99.  I also found a package of 75 sheets of white tissue paper for $1.29.



Along with the gift wrap I found a snowman scented wax warmer on clearance for $3.19 and a package of the scented wax for $1.19.  First Christmas gift bought and paid for!  I also found bags of Hershey's kisses and a bag of hugs marked down for $1.24 each.  




Stored upside down in the refrigerator they will last a long time

On the way home I popped into Fred Meyer to pick up sour cream on sale and a couple bags of all purpose flour as I was running a bit low.  I found cottage cheese on markdown for 45¢ each.  I had a $2.00 OFF next shopping trip coupon which made two of my containers of sour cream free!



When I got home I separated all of the red and silver ones from the green ones.  I'll use the green ones to make peanut butter blossom cookies.  The red and silver ones I have put away on the gift shelf in my closet and will be given to my girls for Valentine's Day!

The young one and I tested a few to make sure they were still good 😍

Monday I was feeling a bit achy, which wasn't a surprise given all of the snow shoveling we've done over the past few weeks.  But I wasn't prepared for my body to completely revolt on me.  I woke up Tuesday morning and could barely walk.  The muscles in my lower back were inflamed as was my sciatic nerve on both sides.  It was excruciating. 

Best stuff in the world - OMG!

Long story short,  I was informed I had overdone it, needed to take it easy and to remember I am not 18 anymore.  Grrrr, but I didn't argue.  So what is a girl to do when she is laid up, in pain and trying to take it easy?  She makes granny squares.


Since sitting at my sewing machine was out of the question I had my youngest bring me my bag of yarn and crochet supplies.  I sorted through what I had and sat in my recliner with my heating pad and ice packs and crocheted a stack of granny squares using up scraps of yarn leftover from various projects as well as yarn I've picked up at thrift stores during the past year.  I was thrilled to find I had a significant amount of yarn in complimenting colors.  I decided to use the yarn to make an afghan for the retirement house.

Not a bad stack so far

I did go back to work on Thursday and Friday, but that was all I did except for down time with the ol' crochet hook.  The food I had cooked ahead in case of a power outage really came in handy.

Saturday I felt a ton better so after picking up the oldest we checked out a new thrift store in our neighborhood and then stopped in at JoAnns to pick up a few skeins of yarn to complete the afghan.  The yarn was on sale for $2.79 each.  Once back home I settled in to rest and crochet.  I have about a two week recovery time and I can tell it is probably going to take that long.  Dang it!  I am not very good at this.  But on the bright side I'll probably have a finished afghan by the time all is said and done.


While I crocheted I also watched a ton of Youtube videos of this guy building a tiny house.  That was fun to watch.

How was your thrifty week?



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