Tuesday, January 22, 2019

What's In My Kitchen Cupboards?

Do you ever want to peek inside another person's cupboards just to see what lurks inside?  My grandmother told me that ever since I was a small child I always liked to take a peek inside a drawer or a cabinet to see what might be there.  Her junk drawer was my favorite!

Our junk drawer

I personally love all things kitchen so that is pretty much where my fascination ends.  Bathrooms and bedrooms are safe, but a craft room might be a whole other story.  Today I thought I'd share with you what I keep in my kitchen.

Our daily dishes and glassware

I love dishes.  I love all things vintage like glassware and older cooking utensils.  I love the sweet old floral patterns on vintage plates.  And china, oh my goodness, I love old fashioned china!

Towels, potholders & dish cloths

And if you've followed this blog for very long you know I have a wee bit of a passion for vintage Pyrex, especially the pink and aqua blue.  I keep an entire cupboard of the stuff in my dining room as well as some in my kitchen.  And I use it too!  Every day.

Silverware drawer

I don't believe there is any point to having things in your home you don't use and enjoy so even if it is a collection of mine it is a working collection which makes it all the more special.  I feel the same way about my everyday dishes and utensils.

A set of mixing bowls plus our food storage containers and jars

My daily dishware is Frost White Corelle and I keep a service of 8 dinner plates along with bread and salad plates, bowls and a few serving pieces.  I bought 8 of the square lunch plates which we use most often for our meals and find them to be the perfect size.  The dinner plates seem to be too large in my opinion, but I keep them to use as serving pieces and for dinner parties.

Bags, wraps, shower hats too

Freezer containers and lids for my canning jars

My daily silverware is a set of Onieda stainless steel tableware.  It has endured us for many, many years although some of the spoons have gone missing so I added a few inexpensive ones to the mix.

Cooking utensil drawer with measuring cups & spoons

I keep a junk drawer with a few compartmentalized food storage containers inside to help me keep it somewhat organized.  Every few months I go through it and pull things out to put away in their proper place, toss out things I don't need it and then tidy up what remains.

Stuff to bake with

I have a drawer for cooking utensils and another one for plastic wrap, aluminum foil, waxed paper and an assortment of food storage bags and shower hats.  Freezer containers, lids for my canning jars and extra wrap and bags are stored in the bottom drawer.
Stuff to cook with
Above the stove I keep my cupboard for cookbooks on the right and coffee and teas on the left.

Coffees, teas and cookbooks

The cupboard left of the stove holds dried herbs, spices and oils for cooking.  The one above the microwave keeps my baking supplies and spices like cinnamon, ginger, clove, etc., sprinkles, cupcake papers, as well as our sugar bowl and butter dish.

The skinny drawer next to the stove is a good place to keep boxes of gelatin and pudding.  The cabinet below it is a perfect place to store my cutting boards, pizza stones, baking sheets and cooling racks.  It has a center divider to help keep it contained and somewhat organized.

Cutting boards & baking sheets

You've all seen underneath our sink where I keep our cleaning supplies and a bucket lined with a plastic grocery bag for trash.  Ever since I upgraded it under there with a coat of paint and floor tiles it has been a very nice space that is easy to keep clean and tidy.

Under the sink

Appliances and baking pans

So there you have it.  That is a peek inside my kitchen cabinets, just in case you might be curious.  😏

Monday, January 21, 2019

Last Week's Thrifty Moves

Sunday morning I sneaked out of the house while my girls slept in and went grocery shopping alone.  It was heaven!  So quiet and lovely as I drove to Fred Meyer armed with coupons and a strategy to get as much as I could and stay in my budget for the week.  Which I did!

Fred Meyer haul

I only had one item that we needed, we were running low on mayo, so that left my list wide open.  I had a coupon for $2 OFF $10 Meat Dept Purchase at Fred Meyer set to expire soon so I thought I'd use that up along with some others - 85¢ OFF cheese, 40¢ OFF sour cream, 55¢ OFF two boxes of Kroger tissues, 75¢ OFF kitty litter and $1 OFF ground turkey.  The tissues were on sale for 10/$10 so I got two boxes for $1.45 plus the 20# bag of litter for $2.44 adding $3.99 to my non food total.

Meat bargains

On the way home I swung by Albertson's and picked up eggs, I had downloaded a digital coupon for 99¢ a dozen, the mayonnaise we needed and some cheese snacks on markdown for $1.49!  Even still my final total came in at $18.96 which left me with a dollar to spend.  I think I got quite a lot for my $$.  I dropped my oldest off at work later that afternoon so the youngest and I popped into Dollar Tree real quick and spent my one remaining dollar on a jar of sweet relish bringing my grand total to $19.96!  Whoooo, hoooo!

Sopa Seca

I cooked up the brats I bought on markdown for my lunches last week, cooked up one of the packages of ground pork to make Sopa Seca (dry soup) and put the rest of the meat in the freezer.  I also baked up another cake mix from my pantry in my bundt pan for the girls to enjoy.

My youngest daughter and I went through the photo box and chose a chunk of what we will be working on.  I had already gone through, sorted, organized and divided photos into stacks.  Now it is time to work on getting those stacks archived.

Creamy tomato basil soup with grilled cheese

Monday I made homemade tomato soup with grilled cheese sandwiches for the girls while I had a couple poached eggs.  The cake I baked on Sunday came in handy when we had friends stop by that evening after supper for a visit.  I brewed a pot of tea and served it with slices of the cake which they enjoyed very much.

Tuesday was a fun evening for us.  The girls had leftover Sopa Seca for supper before we headed out to the $1 movie.  We saw Instant Family with Mark Wahlberg and only spent $3 for all three of us to go.  Love dollar movie night!  The movie was very good and I heartily recommend it.

Beef noodle soup

Wednesday I made a pot of beef noodle soup and served it with some of the dinner rolls still in our freezer.  I served the noodles separately so I could have the soup and the bonus is they didn't end up getting soggy in the broth.  Thursday the girls had clam chowder and I ended up making myself a fried egg before we headed off for a band concert at the high school.

Friday we finished up leftovers and spent a quiet evening in.  After a full and busy work week I was ready for it too!  Saturday we still had leftovers to finish up and I made a big salad to go with.

I combined items and was able to get rid of a lot of packaging that took up extra space

Last week I checked the ads and planned out my next grocery shopping list.  I downloaded digital grocery coupons to my store rewards cards which will help me shave even more off of my total each week.  I am able to use that extra savings to buy additional items I wouldn't otherwise be able to get.  I also downloaded my Fred Meyer Friday Freebie offer for an organic iced coffee beverage.

I trimmed my oldest daughter's bangs saving her the cost of a $5 bang trim at the salon plus a tip.

Baking spice cabinet all tidied up

I've had a lotion bottle upside down on my desk at work and I was able to use up every last bit of the lotion last week.  I replaced it with one I got for FREE with a coupon from Bath & Body Works.

I used a rubber spatula to scrape out an "empty" peanut butter jar and had enough to make my girls peanut butter toast for breakfast one morning.  I set a sugar free syrup bottle upside down and was able to get out the last of it for my keto waffles one morning.  I used up the last of a bag of walnuts and a bag of mini chocolate chips to make a batch of cookies for the girl's lunches.

I also went through my coffee and tea cabinet

I saved the rendered fat from cooking bacon for our Sunday breakfast.  I poured it into a jelly jar and put it in the refrigerator.  I used it to cook various things throughout the week.

Our chickens have started laying again!  We got 10 eggs last week.  Hurray!  I made them a suet cake using up some rendered beef fat I had saved and put in our freezer.  They loved it!

Homemade suet cake

We fed the hens our kitchen scraps and some stale bread.  We composted coffee grounds, tea bags, onion skins and egg shells.  I added one small bag of trash to our garbage bin so we opted to not set it out for collection again last week.  We did, however, add plenty to our big blue recycle bin.

I worked a little bit of overtime.

Our weather was a bit odd last week starting out cold and snowy and hitting 50° by the end of the week.  I ended up spending some time out in the garage tidying up and purging Friday night.  I filled up the garbage bin halfway and added some more cardboard to the recycle bin.

I do not need to buy any more molasses!

Saturday I loaded up the glass recycling into the back of our truck and hauled it over to the giant collection bin at the grocery store.  It feels really good to have that out of our garage.  I did some more tidying up in the garage and found a one gallon jar I had forgotten I had.  I brought it in and washed it up with plans to use it for food storage in my pantry.

Finished up these walnuts and baking chips by making a batch of cookies!

I went through my spice cabinets and baking supplies again to purge and reorganize getting rid of another bag of items I don't need or use.  I used up quite a few items from our pantry and freezer last week to make meals and reduce food waste.

Some of the 15 Minute Chores I accomplished to keep my home in order:

Laundry Room & Half Bathroom - scrubbed bathroom sink , wiped down counters & toilet, vacuumed floor.  Daily swish & swipe.

Dining Room - dusted shelves, wiped off window sill.

Kitchen - pulled out the stove & cleaned floor underneath, completely wiped down stove & moved back in place, scrubbed & bleached kitchen sink.

Bedrooms & Main Bathroom - my youngest washed mirrors & vacuumed, my oldest cleaned tub, toilet & sink.

Other - four loads of laundry (we all folded & put away), dusted & vacuumed living room, hallway & entry, polished end tables & buffet (currently our TV stand), cleaned hearth, TV & fireplace.  My oldest swept front porch.

How was your thrifty week?

Friday, January 18, 2019

Toiletries & Saving My $$

When it comes to personal care I can easily claim myself to be a minimalist.  I honestly don't keep a lot of toiletries and my daily routine is pretty minimal.  So is my budget.  I try to keep nonfood expenses to about $25 a month.  This typically includes supplies and food for our cats too.  Even still I find this is more than enough to cover our needs.

I buy toilet paper and tissues when they are on sale and if possible I use a coupon to shave even more off of the final price.  We purchase our feminine hygiene products at Walmart and we find their store brand is quite adequate to meet our needs.

I purchase national brand bar soap, facial cleanser, shampoo and conditioner, deodorant, toothbrushes, toothpaste, floss, lip balm and cotton balls at the dollar store.  Hair brushes, combs, hair bands and bobby pins too.  They often have name brand makeup as well which I will purchase for my girls as gifts, but as a rule none of us wears makeup on a daily basis.  We just prefer not to.

I pick up body cream, which I use as my face cream, lotion and shower gel at Bath & Body Works and I usually get it either for free (coupons and gift cards) or extremely cheap on sale.  It lasts a good long time and the shower gel pulls double duty when I mix a tablespoon of it with some warm water to make foaming handsoap refill solution for our soap dispensers.

We often give and receive toiletries as gifts.  The girls will give me a year supply of chapstick for my birthday and Santa always gets them toothbrushes and toothpaste in their stockings.  The Easter bunny brings it too.  Lotion and shower gel from Bath & Body Works are almost always a part of birthday and Christmas gifts.

The biggest way we save money is to not overuse products and that makes things last a very long time.  We also don't waste anything.  It only takes a nickel size dollop of shampoo and conditioner to get our hair plenty clean and we don't "repeat" despite what the bottle says.  A pea sized amount of toothpaste is more than enough to brush your teeth with.  And you don't need a giant wad of TP for your bum when a few squares gets the job done quite nicely without clogging up the plumbing.

I find I don't buy toiletries all that often and when I do I make sure that I find what we need at the best possible price.  And if something seems to be running low we aren't above standing it upside down, adding a little water and giving it a good shake or cutting it open to scrape out the last little bit before declaring something gone or empty.

Spending less $$ on toiletries means I get to save more of it for other things!

Thursday, January 17, 2019

My 4 Season Capsule Wardrobe

I love the idea of a capsule wardrobe.  A handful, usually 40 or 50 pieces, of mix and match items you can pretty much wear for just about any occasion.  Simple, functional, affordable, organized and stress free.  All the things that really click with me.  You can tailor your capsules by season - Spring, Summer, Fall & Winter equaling four capsules or you can do Spring/Summer and Fall/Winter and do two capsules.  The idea being that the season you aren't in goes into storage and only the current season is in your closet.

Basic pieces to mix & match
Black & gray slacks with black, gray & magenta sweaters
Three tops - 2 print, one solid
While that all sounds wonderful the idea of rotating clothing and putting things into storage doesn't work all that well for me.  I honestly do not have the time or the inclination to put that much effort into my wardrobe.  I need it to be really easy.  So my capsule is a four season wardrobe - Spring/Summer/Fall/Winter.  That is just how I roll.

Same pieces mixed give me three more outfits

I swapped out the orange top with a solid black one
and mixed again to make three more outfits

To make a four season capsule wardrobe work I layer my clothes.  I work in an office environment that is pretty much freezing all the time.  The heat is never warm enough and the A/C works overtime so I'm always cold at work.  I literally wear my sweaters year round.  But since I'm not always at work layering makes the most sense for me.

The versatility by adding in two more tops and a blue sweater

Mix it up and 2 more outfits are created

I start with the base, from the waist down.  Since I have difficulty distinguishing between navy and black I don't buy anything navy and stick with black.  It's my favorite color anyway.  I have two pair of black slacks, one pair of gray slacks, two pair of blue jeans and a pair of gray casual pants.  I wear black dress socks to work and sport socks on the weekends.  I have a good pair of solid black leather work shoes and two pair of sport shoes - walking and cross trainers.

Another top and a red sweater along with my black top and a hot pink sweater

All of my color is from the waist up.  I have a variety of solid and patterned sleeveless and short sleeved tops.  I pair my tops with a set of colored sweaters - red, purple, fuchsia, black, gray, royal blue and magenta.  I can mix and match the tops and sweaters to get a ton of different looks, which I love.  Accessories are limited to a handful of earrings and a few scarves.  I keep it pretty minimal.

More mixing creates more options

I own a black suit that I wear to funerals and job interviews.  Fortunately I don't need to wear it very often.  I also have a little black dress and a pair of heels for dressy occasions.

Layering pieces gives me variety and allows
me to dress seasonally with all of the same clothing

I think capsule wardrobes are a fantastic idea.  The keep things simple and they are very thrifty as it doesn't take much to put one together.  I encourage anyone to give it a try.  Whether you do a four season wardrobe or one for each season, capsule wardrobes can be a great way to pare down an overstuffed closet and add some simplicity to your life.

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Giveaway! Embroidery Transfers

A friend of mine gave me several of these embroidery transfers so I decided we should have ourselves a little giveaway.  If you would like a chance to win this packet of cute Aunt Martha's Clancy The Clown embroidery transfers leave me a comment below and I'll put your name into a drawing.

How fun, huh?  I will announce the winner next week!

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

It Is All About Spending Less!

I hope to make 2019 my year of spending less money in order to put more of it into my savings account.  I want to retire early and do some traveling and in order to do that I'll need to pad my savings accounts to ensure that I can manage it.  I will most likely take a part time job or work seasonally until I hit my full retirement, but if I really want to retire early, and I do, I need to be prepared.  The best way I know of to save more of my money is to spend less of it.

One of my goals this year is to use up what I already have in order to avoid spending money.  Using up or making the things I need from items I already have in the house will do many, many things.  It will save me from having to run so many errands.  I will save fuel in my car, wear and tear on my automobile and most likely a lot of time from needing to go somewhere to purchase stuff.

I'll be able to create my own gifts and cards for those I love and it will enable me to enjoy a lot of my favorite hobbies in the process.  Homemade gifts can be tailored specifically for the person you are giving them to so they are much more personalized.  They are also usually much better made and constructed too so the quality of your gifts is higher to what you might buy in a store.

I'll be able to use up things I've already spent my money on so it won't go to waste.  It will also allow me to declutter my home in the process because I'll be bringing less stuff into my house while using up what I already have.  That is certainly a win-win.

Spending has a tendency to put us into debt, especially if we have an unexpected expense crop up that we aren't prepared for.  For a lot of us spending money, especially mindless or impulsive spending, creates stress and anxiety.  Perhaps not initially, but if we overspend eventually it catches up to us and no one enjoys feeling like that.

Saving money and building up a nest egg actually has the opposite effect.  It creates a sense of calm and wellbeing.  And as that total on our balance rises it is empowering.  Anxiety and stress is now replaced with joy and excitement.

One of my self-improvement goals I set for 2019 is to live with more intent and purpose.  This year I want to make sure I spend my hard earned $$ more purposefully and with intent.  I really want to take a moment and put some thought into where I choose to spend my money before I hand it over.  And in the meantime I will sit back and enjoy watching my savings account grow.

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