Monday, December 10, 2018

Christmas Recipe Series ~ Cheeseball

This is a recipe I found in a Ronald McDonald cookbook in the early 1990s. I bought the cookbook at the McDonalds in Dunlap, Tennessee. 

This too is a tried and true family favorite. I usually make it for Christmas Eve and serve it with other finger foods. 

Cheese Ball


2 - 8 ounce packages cream cheese 
1 - 8 ounce cheddar cheese, grated
1 tablespoon minced onion
2 teaspoons worcestershire sauce


Mix cream cheese and cheddar until well blended.
Add onions and worcestershire sauce. 
Refrigerate several hours. 
Shape into a ball and serve with crackers. 

~ Living within our Means ~

Sunday, December 9, 2018

My Frugal Week

Last week we stayed home from Saturday all the way through Tuesday. We did a lot of cleaning and getting things ready for Christmas. We didn't do any shopping or up any of the gas in our cars. 

I worked Wednesday through Friday for the same teacher, which was nice to stay in one classroom for three days. As usual, I brought my lunch and snacks and spent no money out of the house. 

Last Sunday afternoon we worked on a project in the kitchen. We took everything out of our kitchen cabinets and cleaned them out. We also sorted through our dishes and donated some that we no longer used. 

We also took all of our food items out of the pantry and wiped all the tops and put them back. No surprises in there this time, although I did throw out a few spices that were expired. 

We also worked on cleaning out one of the bedroom closets. We are trying to get the house good and cleaned up for Christmas. I know I always enjoy our home more when it is decluttered and clean. 

I watched several episodes of Restaurant Impossible on Hulu this week. I am really enjoying this and I'm glad my daughter got in on the 99¢ per month deal. 

We decorated our home for Christmas this weekend. I made banana muffins that we could enjoy while we were decorating. 

How has your week been?

~ Living within our Means ~

Sunday, December 2, 2018

Christmas Recipe Series ~ Spiced Cider

This month I'm going to share some of my favorite Christmas recipes from time to time just like I did with Thanksgiving recipes last month. 

I hope you enjoy this series. 

This is a very old recipe, which I learned from an elderly lady in the early 1990s. We were attending a shower for a mutual friend in Dayton, TN at the United Methodist church. 

Her and I discussed the 3/8 cup of brown sugar called for in the recipe. She and I both figured it's about 1/2 cup of brown sugar, which works well for this recipe.

This is another tried and true family favorite and fun to drink on Christmas Eve while celebrating with family. I hope you enjoy it. 

Spiced Cider


1 quart apple cider (I've used apple juice as well)
1 stick cinnamon
2 allspice cloves
2 whole cloves
3/8 cup brown sugar


Mix all ingredients together
Boil together for 5 minutes with the spices

~ Living within our Means ~

Saturday, December 1, 2018

My Frugal Week

Welcome to the weekend!

School was cancelled on Friday, so we ended up running some errands instead. I'm so glad we did as we ended up at Walmart where they had hams marked down. 

We picked up four hams, which were marked down from Thanksgiving. We picked up three hams for 83¢ a pound and one priced at $1.25 per pound. The savings were incredible. 

Now we have our ham for Christmas, New Years, and whenever else we want ham. 

We also visited the Freeosk while we were there and were able to get four individually wrapped Rice Krispie treats. 

If you have a Panera Bread rewards card, be sure to check yours and see if you received the free bagel every day in December. 

My daughter and I both received this reward and picked up our first bagel yesterday. She picked out a chocolate chip bagel and I picked the cinnamon crunch bagel. 

Gas was down to $1.91 here yesterday, which will really make it easier on my budget this month. 

Here is what we ate for dinners this week:

Mashed Potatoes
Green Beans with Onions
Sweet Iced Tea

Vegan Chick Patties
Mashed Potatoes
Green Beans with Onions

Baked Chicken
Scalloped Potatoes
Steamed Broccoli

Baked Beans
Green Peas

Chinese Food

Wednesday & Thursday
White Chicken Enchiladas


That's all the news from here this week. How was your week?

~ Living within our Means ~

Monday, November 26, 2018

Cyber Monday

Gas prices are lower here due to an oversupply of oil right now. Last time I looked it was down to $2.05 per gallon, which is much better than we've been paying this year. 

We've been keeping the heat off for the most part except for the bathroom when taking showers. I like having a lower electric bill and keeping the heat off helps. Blankets, warm hoodies, socks and hot drinks all help in the process to save money.

Pictured above is a Cherry Pit Bed Warmer that I made last year. I first learned about them years ago in a book from Mother Earth News. We saved cherry pits every summer to be able to make this. 

Last night I heated this in the microwave and put it under the covers at the foot of my bed.  It definitely kept that part of the bed warm for a long while or as long as it took for me to fall asleep. 

It definitely helps to save money by keeping the bed warm since I kept the heat off last night. 

My Christmas cactus was in bloom for Thanksgiving this week. I think it bloomed early because it was unusually cold here for this time of year. 

We sold our old dog house over the weekend. None of our pets were using it, so it was time to go. We earned $25 in the process. 

We haven't been out of the house since last week saving gas money and wear and tear on our cars. My plans for now are to go out on Thursday as I have to work that day and do any errands afterwards. 

How is your week shaping up?

~ Living within our Means ~

Friday, November 23, 2018

My Frugal Week of Thanksgiving

For my North American readers, we hope that you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday and spent it with the people you love. We spent our day with friends and family and had a wonderful time. 

Since the weather has turned cold we've been enjoying many cups of warm tea. I've been enjoying Peppermint Chocolate, Tumeric/Ginger, and Hazelnut Cookie. 

Bailey has been enjoying Echinacea and Throat Coat. She is still on the mend after having strep throat and is on her second round of antibiotics.  

We've also been enjoying some homemade hot chocolate. 

Hot Chocolate

1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup cocoa
dash of salt
1/3 cup hot water
4 cups milk
1 teaspoon vanilla

In a saucepan combine sugar, cocoa, and salt. 
Add water, bring to a boil.
Cook and stir for 2 minutes.
Stir in milk and heat to serving temperature. 
Do not boil. 
Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. 


This week I brought down the blankets that I keep in the living room to cover up when we're cold. I shook them out and then washed them. I'm careful to shake blankets out after summer storage to get rid of any spiders. Once my girlfriend was bitten by a brown recluse spider after not shaking her blankets out. 


We stocked up on pasta this week. Publix had it on sale for buy one get one free and we had coupons, so we paid 57¢ per box. We still had some from the last time we stocked up at Kroger, so I did not buy as much, but we did buy 30 boxes. 


Our electric bill this month was only $137, which is a huge savings for us. We've not been running the heat or the a/c and it showed up on the bill. We can check our usage daily online and that helps me to know what appliances are using more electric. For example, when we wash bed clothes, I can see more usage than on days where we don't wash multiple loads. 

This week I was able to cash in my earnings from Inbox Dollars. I have a check coming to me for over $30.00, which I will used towards Christmas. It's easy enough to earn money from Inbox Dollars and you can sign up here and start earning money too. 
Today is Black Friday and we have no plans to leave the house today. I would much rather be at home than out in the crowds, so we're staying home today and working and enjoying our home. 

I hope you have a great Friday!

~ Living within our Means ~

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Thanksgiving Day Menu

This past week I've posted several of the recipes I use to create our Thanksgiving Menu each year. I hope you've enjoyed reading the recipes and where each one came from. 

I've decided to place them all on one page, so they can easily be found. 

Thanksgiving Day Menu

Turkey or Ham
Cornbread Dressing
Mashed Potatoes
Sweet Potato Casserole
Broccoli Casserole
Brussel Sprouts
Cranberry Relish
Relish Tray
Deviled Eggs
Crescent Rolls

Pumpkin Pie
Pecan Pie
Chocolate Chip Cookie Pie
Jello Salad

~ Living within our Means ~

Monday, November 19, 2018

Thanksgiving Day Recipe Series ~ Jello Salad

Growing up jello salads always graced our holiday tables. This one is a particular favorite of mine when using pistachio flavor pudding mix. It makes a very special side dish or dessert. 

Jello Salad


1 - 8 ounce can mandarin oranges
1 - 20 ounce can crushed pineapple
1 -8 ounce container cottage cheese
1 large or 2 small boxes jello (any flavor you prefer)
1 - 16 ounce - large container cool whip 


Drain oranges and pineapple. 
Pour jello over oranges and pineapple and mix well. 
Add cottage cheese and mix well with a hand mixer. 
Add cool whip and mix again. 
Refrigerate until ready to eat. 

~ Living within our Means ~
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