Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Another Christmas Has Come and Gone...

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. 

I hope you all have a wonderful week!

~ Living within our Means ~

Saturday, December 24, 2016


Graphic Credit
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. 

Graphic Credit

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. 

And for Christmas Dinner I plan on the following:

Broccoli Casserole
Crescent Rolls
Chocolate Chip Pie

I hope that all of you have a very Merry Christmas this year and that you spend it with the people you love. 

~ Living within our Means ~

Monday, December 19, 2016

Savings at Kroger

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. 

Such great buys - I love Kroger!

~ Living within our Means ~

Saturday Lunch & Dinner

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. 

~ Living within our Means ~

Sunday, December 18, 2016


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. 

~ Living within our Means ~

Friday, December 2, 2016


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.  

Tennessee U.S. Drought

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.  

~ Living within our Means ~

Tuesday, November 29, 2016


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. 

How are things in your neck of the woods?
~ Living within our Means ~

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Crash and Burn Items

 I went to Walmart today to see if they had any ground beef marked down, but didn't find any meat, although I did find some canned goods marked down.

They had these small cans of Spaghettios marked down to 15¢ each. (They were the small cans) The middle school here makes snack packs for the students and they ask for canned pasta and soup regularly, so I will be passing these along to them. They only had four cans, but I could not pass them up for that price. 

They also had Campbell's Home Style soup for 25¢. It is the Italian Style Wedding Soup, but I couldn't pass it up for that price and bought four cans. I don't know if students would eat this or not. What do you think?

And last but not least, for our pantry, I found six cans of cut Hanover Italian Green Beans. They are the big cans, 38 ounces, and were only 50¢ a can, so I bought them all. What a great deal.  :)

~ Living within our Means ~

Sunday, October 16, 2016

The Weekend Edition

Good morning! Food City has a great sale on tomatoes through Tuesday. The 28 ounce cans are only 79¢ with a limit of twelve cans. There is a big variety available. I made sure to pick up my twelve cans this week.

 They also have cream cheese for 99¢ and one dozen eggs for 49¢. You will have to buy four items to get the sale price, but you can mix and match. I bought four dozen eggs and four cream cheeses. 

On Saturday, I made Cauliflower Taco meat for dinner. This is the second time I have made this recipe from Brand New Vegan.

 Here is a link:  Cauliflower Taco Meat

As with most recipes, I did change some things. I  didn't have any mushrooms either time, so I simply left those out. Last time I used all the spices involved, but this time I just added taco seasoning mix and smoked paprika. 

I also used Worcestershire sauce instead of soy sauce because that is what I had on hand. Also, I wanted a Mexican type dish and I think soy sauce would make it more Asian. 

I think this would be a very versatile recipe too. I could see adding chopped up potatoes, which I do with ground beef for tacos, would be a great addition. I also think black olives would be a good addition. 

Cauliflower Taco Meat


One small head cauliflower
4 ounces fresh mushrooms
1 cup walnuts
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp chili powder
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp ground pepper
1/4 tsp salt


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Remove the core from the cauliflower and cut up into small pieces and wash. Pulse in the food processor until you have a rice like consistency. Place in a mixing bowl. 
Pulse the mushrooms in a food process until  you have a rice like consistency. Do the same with the walnuts. 
Stir in the soy sauce and spices and mix well. 
Bake for 45 minutes stirring about half way through. 

My daughter loves this dish already. She has even eaten it cold right out of the fridge. I love that fact that it is plant based and healthy. When I was hand washing the dishes after dinner I loved that fact that there was no grease on any of the dishes like there is after we've had tacos made with ground beef.  

I have a busy week ahead of me as I am working everyday.

 I hope you all have a good week!

~ Living within our Means ~

Monday, October 10, 2016

Hurst's Pizza Beans

Hurst's Pizza Beans

I made Hurst's Pizza Beans for dinner on Saturday night. They were very good and hearty and I will be adding these to our menu rotation. 

You can find the recipe by clicking on the link above or here


1 package HamBeens® 15 BEAN SOUP®
1 white onion, diced
2 green bell peppers, diced
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1lb. ground Italian sausage (mild, sweet, or hot)
6oz. sliced pepperoni, cut into quarters
7 cups chicken stock
24oz. of your favorite marinara sauce
Shredded mozzarella for topping


Rinse and sort through the beans. Check for any debris and discard. Pour beans into a large bowl or pot, cover with water by 2" and allow to soak overnight (or at minimum 4 hours). When ready to cook, discard the excess water.

Turn stove to medium-high, and in a large Dutch oven sauté the ground sausage and pepperoni until sausage is completely browned.

Spoon out the meats, pour off any excess grease, then add the onions, peppers, and garlic. Cook for 5 minutes, then add the chicken stock and turn heat to high. Use your spoon to scrape off any browned bits on the bottom of the pot as this will add great flavor. Add the meats & soaked beans (no marinara yet!) back into the pot and bring to a boil.

Cover the pot and place into a 350º oven for 2 hours, stir the beans halfway through the time.

When beans are completely tender, stir in the marinara sauce. Put pot back in the oven for an additional 20 minutes, then turn oven to warm until ready to serve.

The recipe can be very versatile. For example, the recipe calls for green peppers, which I like, but other family members don't and they do tend to permeate a dish when they are included, so I simply left them out. 

There is a list of suggested add-ins at the recipe site, which includes black olives. As we were eating these I was thinking black olives would be a good addition. 

The recipe actually says to add any of your favorite pizza toppings to the beans. 

My daughter said the dish reminded her of lasagna. Probably because of the use of the marinara sauce. We didn't even use much cheese either, just a small sprinkling on top, so there is a big savings on cheese for this dish verses actual lasagna. 

And of course using beans instead of noodles helps to keep my blood sugar stable. 

Please let me know if you decide to try the recipe and what you think of it.   :)

~ Living within our Means ~

Saturday, October 8, 2016

It's Not All Bad News

This past week was Fall Break from school, so I had some extra time to get some things done around the house. 

One job was to take my old car to the tire shop to repair the tire with the slow leak. 

This tire had a nail in it and was breaking down inside, which meant it could not be repaired. Rather than go with a new tire for $87 I bought a used tire for $25, which saved me some money. I only drive this car for certain errands and as a backup vehicle, so this works for me. 

Another thing I did this week was to hand wash my old car. It had several areas that were really dirty and moldy and it definitely benefited from hand washing. It looks so much better and didn't cost me anything except a few sore muscles. Getting older is not for the faint of heart.  :)

In other bad news this week, the breaker on our freezer tripped last week and we did not notice until it was too late. So, I had to throw away all the food inside and clean it out. 

This freezer sits on our back porch, which is located on the second floor of our home. I was able to bring the outside hose upstairs to clean it out, which helped a great deal. It was a big job, but I'm glad it's done. I have it plugged in again, but will not be using it until I purchase a freezer alarm for it. 

This is the time of year where one of my favorite apples is available, which is the honey crisp apple, but they can be expensive. I've seen them priced at $2.99 and higher. 

However, I have found one way to save money on them. Since these apples are expensive, I figure that not many people are buying them, so they tend to be the type of apples that I find on produce markdown shelves. 

I went to Food City today to pick up a prescription and naturally went to check the produce mark downs and sure enough there were two packages of Honey Crisp Apples on markdown. 

I was apple to get 12 apples for $2.98 or 25¢ each, which is a great deal and much cheaper than paying for them at the regular retail price. 

Blog Business

For the time being I wanted to let my readers know that I've turned the comment section from being able to post automatically to moderated for the time being. I had spam from the same user on multiple posts, which have already been deleted. 

~ Living within our Means ~

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Weekend Shopping

It was a busy week here as I worked four days this week and have four planned for this coming week. Now that I am back to work it's time to stock up my pantry again after being in use it up mode all summer long. 

I received a free copy of the newspaper this week and scoured the sale ads and made a list of items I wanted to get. 

My first stop was at Fresh and Low because they have the best price on bread and black olives. Bread and hamburger buns are $1.00 here, and black olives are 88¢, which is much cheaper than every store in town. I also picked up a jar of pickles. Total spent was $10.30.

My next stop was Food City for store brand canned salmon for $1.99, but they were sold out, so I picked up a rain check. The manager then offered to sell me the Starkist salmon for the same price, so I bought four cans and he told me to keep the rain check for next time. Sweet. I also picked up apples, strawberry preserves, and some seasonings and spent $16.02. 

My next stop was Piggy Wiggly where they had Oscar Meyer bologna on sale for 99¢ for the one pound package. My daughter is tired of PB & J sandwiches, so this will be a welcome sight. I picked up ten packages spending $9.90 and placed nine of them in my freezer.

I also stocked on on Luck's chili beans for 50¢ a can. Chili Beans are one of the very few canned beans I will purchase if the price is right. They have a thick chili sauce that we enjoy. Most all of the beans we have here are soaked and cooked from dried beans as they are the most economical. 

My next stop was Publix where I bought pasta, granola bars, Campbell's Beefy Mushroom soup (for cooking), Cinnamon Toast Crunch, and Cheese-It crackers. I had $8.40 in coupons for the granola bars, soup, cereal and crackers and spent $31.94 there. I was really able to stock up here. 

My next stop was at Food Lion because they had their store brand products on sale and if you bought four items they would take 25¢ off each one. 

I bought eight cans of corn and should have paid 43¢ each, but it didn't work and they couldn't explain it to me. They told me it was "probably" added to my MVP card and if it didn't come off next time to save my receipt and they will fix it, so they owe me $2.00. 

 When I was at Food Lion I was looking at the produce and saw a sign on the 5 pound packages of Ruby Red grapefruit which read 99¢ a package. When I checked out, they rang up to $5.99, so I explained it to the cashier and after checking the price she honored the 99¢ price. So, I got 10 grapefruits for less than $2.00 making them 20¢ each. 

What a steal! 

I was going to buy some oranges on my list today but no need to after finding this deal. 

We also managed to get to Kroger this weekend. I just love Kroger. They had their half gallon sizes of milk on sale for $1.00 this week. They were out of skim milk, so we bought 1% instead, and also chocolate and buttermilk. 

They have such great deals on markdown. Here is a bag of romaine marked down to 99¢ and the photo underneath is a pork loin roast, already cooked, marked at $3.99.

This was the weekend for the cereal deals. I combined a couple of sales with some coupons and bought all of these cereals for a little over $1.00 each. 

Cereal can be so expensive, but when combined with a sale and a coupon it is more affordable and fits into my budget easier. I would not pay the regular retail price for most cereals, but when I can get it for close to $1.00 a box then I will buy it. 

My neighbor blessed me with two more butternut squashes this week. 

Kroger had their store brand of chips on sale for $1.00 a bag this week. Chips are a rare treat here, but $1.00 is an acceptable price to me, so I bought several bags for lunches this week. 

I found a package of eight half-pound burgers this weekend for $9.79 which worked out to $2.44 a pound. Of course I will stretch this to use not only for burgers, but maybe a meatloaf and tacos as well. 

I know this post is long. so I will wrap this up. We are definitely stocked up for a good long time now.  I wanted to share my deals with you and hope that you are inspired to save as much as you can on your grocery budget as well. 

~ Living within our Means ~

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