Our friend Linda came to visit us for five days after Christmas. We had a really good visit with her and other family members while she was here.
As is her usual spirit, she was very generous with us this year. She waited until she came here to decide what to get me for Christmas as she wanted to get me something that she felt we needed.
We have been getting along well without the microwave since it died last summer, and had gotten to the point where I thought about never replacing it because we had learned to live without one.
Linda felt like she could not live with a microwave and therefore she decided that she was going to buy me a new microwave for Christmas.
Here is a picture of the new microwave:
I have to admit it is really nice to be able to warm up the cream cheese danish we had on hand and to soften butter and heat up food quickly again.
She also noticed that the water filter on our sink had a red light on it, so she bought us a package of three new water filters to have on hand.
She also took us out to dinner several times this week and we also had dinner at my brother-in-laws home this past week for dinner twice.
I've been busy today in my frugal kitchen. I don't have any bread on hand, but I do have the ingredients to make bread from scratch, so that is what I did.
Here is a picture of the dough after kneading and ready to go in the oven with the oven light on to keep it warm for rising.
And after slicing...
A pork loin roast was set out of the freezer to thaw for dinner tonight. I will save a portion of this to make Pork Fried Rice for dinner Monday night.
I also cooked up some rice today, so that it will be chilled for tomorrow night's dinner. I kept the lid on the pan while cooking to keep all the heat and energy inside so the rice would cook faster, which saves money.
I am using the foods we have on hand here rather than going out and buying more food in my efforts to save money.
I also have 15 bean Cajun soup beans along with Chickpeas soaking for another night's dinner this week and for some mock tuna salad.
Finally, here is a photo of my Christmas cactus. It's not bloomed yet, but it is trying. :)
Christmas 2016 is behind us now. I hope all of you had a wonderful time and spent it with the people you love.
One of the gifts my daughter received was the Harry Potter Clue game. We spent part of Christmas day playing not only this game, but other games as well.
Playing games is a fun way to spend time together and, as an added bonus, we are not spending money.
Harry Potter Clue is different from the regular Clue board game as it has four circle pieces you connect on the bottom of the board that turn with certain plays, so the game is always changing. We really enjoyed playing it.
Other items I bought for her included a new wallet, Bath and Body Works Sweet Pea hand sanitizer, which she loves and is hard to find. Minion sheets, Taco Bell gift card, gloves, and the first season of Sherlock. She was very happy with everything I purchased for her.
She bought me a new wallet as well along with a brand new clock, which I love. I love clocks and have a whole Pinterest board dedicated to them. My large one stopped working earlier this year and she replaced it as she knows how much I love them. She also bought me a new calendar from my favorite author, Susan Branch.
Even though my income was much lower this month due to school being out for three weeks we did not overspend this holiday season.
I did not go all out and buy a lot of things since we didn't have the money this year. All gifts were bought with cash we had on hand.
I did not buy some of the traditional food items we normally have at this time of year simple because the money was just not there and I did not want to dip into our savings. But you know what? We still had a wonderful holiday. I kept dinner simple and it was good and filling. I couldn't ask for more than that.
We went to my brother-in-laws home for dinner Monday night. He served ham, mashed potatoes, macaroni and cheese, green beans, deviled eggs, and rolls. We had a great time spent with good company.
On Tuesday we will be welcoming my daughter's grandmother from Florida in for a five day visit.
Before I began this blog post I read over Christmas blog posts from years past and I saw a recurring theme. We have kept Christmas both frugal and simple over the last few years and in 2016 will be following the same theme.
My Mom asked for a sweatshirt for Christmas because she likes to wear them to keep warm during this time of year. I stumbled across some on clearance at Walmart this week that were marked down to $5.00 each. That was such a good price I went ahead and picked up three for her.
I also bought her a new frame a day calendar at McKay's Used Books. She loves the frame a day puzzles and since I bought it at McKay's, I didn't pay anything for it as we traded for it.
I also picked her up a new pair of warm gloves as she has lost hers this past year.
As for my daughter, I will refrain from saying anything as she may read my blog post before Christmas and I don't want to spoil any surprises for her.
The menu I have planned will be very simple and low key this year.
For Christmas Eve I plan on making a Chicken Olive Dip with Crackers to snack on during the evening.
I love going grocery shopping at Kroger because of their yellow stickers. We went down there (they are located in Georgia) because I knew they had cottage cheese and sour cream on sale for $1.00 each, but we hit the bonanza when it came to the reduced yellow sticker items.
Cole Slaw mix marked down to 49¢.
A pork roast marked down to $3.09.
Pumpkin Spice non alcoholic beverage marked down to 59¢.
Ball Park cheese dogs marked down to $1.49.
Mangoes and Broccoli in the reduced produce bins for 99¢.
Red Grapes marked down to 99¢ for the bunch.
Kroger brand Cinnamon Caramel Apple cream cheese marked down to 59¢.
Kroger Pumpkin Spice cream cheese marked down to 29¢.
Yogurt marked down to 19¢ each.
And finally, the cottage cheese and sour cream I went after.
Lunch today was mostly leftovers, which were reheated. My daughter had leftover spaghetti, which I was about to put into the freezer for safekeeping. While I had a small spinach salad with tomato, red pepper, a few raisins & craisins for sweetness and finally the last bowl of vegetable chili. Using up what we have on hand saves us money.
The weather on Saturday was cold and rainy and nothing warms me up better than a bowl of chili on a cold day. So, that is what we had for dinner, a nice meaty chili with sour cream on the top.
Thank you all very much for your warm and kind thoughts regarding the natural disasters that have taken place here in Tennessee the last couple of weeks.
I ended up working three days the week after the tornado came through and I was very grateful for that. I also worked three days this past week. I will be so glad when school starts again in January and I will be able to work regularly again. We are hoping for a mild winter here to help make that happen.
Tennessee has been in the news this past week for multiple reasons, which include the extreme drought, a deadly school bus wreck in Chattanooga, the wildfires in our community and especially the one in Gatlinburg, and the devastating tornadoes, which swept through the community we call home.
Our local fire station was leveled to the ground by a F3 tornado that swept through our community Wednesday morning at 2:30 a.m. while most people were sleeping.
We have no warning sirens here for tornadoes as we live in a rural community.
Our local post office was also a total loss.
We are very grateful for the rain that we prayed for to end this extreme drought, but deeply saddened by the devastation to our community from the storms that came with the rain.
The wild fire that swept through Gatlinburg, Tennessee has also been devastating. Thirteen people were killed during the fires in Gatlinburg, two people from my community were killed in the tornado, and multiple homes and businesses have been lost in both places.
How has this impacted our lives here?
We are OK here and are counting our blessings, grateful to still have our home and each other.
We were without power for 18 hours when it was finally restored Wednesday night.
School was cancelled for the rest of the week as power lines were still down, roads were still closed, buses could not get through, and the high school, where I sub, is still being used as a Red Cross shelter.
Next week there was going to be a 3 day seminar in Gatlinburg for teachers and all the subs were booked for those 3 days next week. That conference has been cancelled.
As a result of all this devastation, I did not work this week and have had 3 days cancelled for next week due to the conference being cancelled. I am hopeful that someone will still call me to sub if school is reopened next week.
You see we were off last week for the Thanksgiving holiday, and having 3 weeks off with no pay will make it hard, but we are strong. Tennessee is known as the Volunteer State and they have lived up to that motto during this time. The community where I live is strong and we are #TennesseeStrong.
If you are so inclined, I'm asking you to pray for Tennessee.
Sorry I've been absent from my blog for a couple of weeks. I've been working almost every day and also have some other things going on, but wanted to check in this week with a blog post.
I hope all of you are doing well and had a wonderful Thanksgiving. 🎩
We spent the day with my brother-in-law and his family and friends and had a very good time. 🎃🦃
I made up several things for lunches for the coming week. First off was Tuna Pate, which I placed into small containers for my daughter to take for her lunches. She gets tired of sandwiches, but she can take some crackers with her and spread the tuna on those for her lunches.
I also boiled two dozen eggs for lunches. She was getting tired of egg salad, so this is a better solution and still affordable for lunches.
I've also been making a large stockpot full of soup on the weekend and dividing it up into these 2 cup containers that I purchased at Sam's Club. I've been doing this for the last month and it has been terrific to grab and go for lunches during the week.
This is some vegetable chili I made this weekend. We ate on it for Sunday Dinner and then I was able to make 8 containers up for lunches this week.
A great deal I found this week was one pound bags of garbanzo beans at Publix. I bought five bags. These will be great for hummus and mock tuna salad.
That's what's been going on here at the Frugal Workshop.