Friday, December 30, 2022

Fifth & Final Frugal Friday of December 2022



Welcome to Friday! 

My Frugal Week

Last Friday we headed over to Bailey’s great aunt and uncle’s home to celebrate the holiday. We enjoyed finger foods, played games, and had the best time! 

On Christmas Eve we were supposed to go to Bailey’s uncle’s home, but her cousin came down with a stomach virus, so they had to cancel. Bailey and I stayed home and cooked our Christmas Eve dinner, baked cookies, and listened to Christmas  music. 

Even though we would have enjoyed being with family, It was so nice not to have to get out of the house in that bitter cold we had. Some days the temperature got down to six degrees. And our electric company was having rolling blackouts for 15 minutes at a time to reduce the electric load on the power grid.

We did several things to keep warm such as rolling up a towel to act like a draft dodger for the back door. We also hung a coat on the doorknob to help keep any drafts from coming in, which helped keep the house warmer. 

By the end of the week warmer temperatures came back again and we were able to turn the heat off. It felt so much better once the temperatures warmed up again. 

Bailey takes this last week of the year off as a break from her usual work week. So, we’ve been speaking our time watching movies, playing games, and her work starts back up again next week. 

Joy of the Week

Without a doubt it was seeing family again, some of whom we hadn’t seen since before the pandemic began. 

Savings of the Week

We went to town the other day to shop the after Christmas clearance sale at Walmart. W needed more bows for next year, so we picked up some of those. We also picked up some wrapping paper to have a different variety next year. 

Saving Money In My Frugal Kitchen

It was so nice to have leftovers so I didn’t have to cook much this week. By the end of the week I will have to start cooking again though. 

Meals This Week

All meals are served with either salad or vegetables and may not always be listed here. 

* If you see a dinner in bold print that means we had it more than once this week.

Finger Foods
Hash Brown Casserole, Green Beans with Onions, Corn. 
Chicken & Dressing, HB Casserole, Green Beans. 

Saving on Entertainment

Since we took this week off we’ve enjoyed a variety of movies this week. 

The Santa Clause 
Elf
Shawshank Redemption 


Thank you for dropping by my frugal blog, you are always welcome here. 

We would love to hear all about your week in the comment section.

Belinda
Mortgage & Debt Free
~ Living within our Means ~
My Linktree

~ She looketh well to the ways of her household ~
Proverbs 31:27

Friday, December 23, 2022

Fourth Frugal Friday of December 2022




Welcome to Friday! 

Quote of the Week
When they saw the star, they were filled with joy. They entered the house and saw the child with Mary, his mother. Falling to their knees, they honored him. Then they opened their treasure chests and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh ~ Matthew 2:10-11
Price of Gas this Week

Gas was $2.45 per gallon here this week. 

My Frugal Week

We have that arctic air coming through here tonight and have already lost power, so I’m going to post this, but may not be able to post comments or reply until our power is restored. 

Last Friday I wanted to make a couple of casserole hot pads to include with the ladies gifts we were bringing with us to the family Christmas get together. It only took me a couple of hours to make them. 

I think it took longer to gather all my sewing items together since I haven’t sewn in a while. My sewing machine needle broke while I was making these,  so I put my last one in the machine, and added more to my shopping list. 

One of the wheels on our desk chair wasn’t rolling correctly, so I tried fix it, but it still wouldn’t roll correctly. So, I bought a new set of wheels from Amazon, but only replaced the one wheel that didn’t work. No need to replace all of them as they are still good. Now I have four extra wheels in case anything happens to another wheel or chair. 

I’m very happy that our electric bill is only $147.15 this month, the lowest it has been all year. My half of it will only be $73.57, which is about half of the $150 I budget for the electric. I’ll put the other half in my electric slush fund for when the bills are higher in the summertime. 

We went to town on Tuesday to pick up a few groceries for Christmas celebrations. We also had an appointment and received the most recent Covid booster shot. And we’ve both had our flu shots this year too. 

Our car tires always lose pressure when the drop in temperature and cold weather strikes. I was so tired of this and having to pay $1.50 or more to put air in my tires. So, I bought a Carsun tire inflator from Amazon for this purpose. They are very affordable and easy to use and I would highly recommend everyone keep one in his or her car. 

My brother bought a 2012 Chevy Cruze back a year or so ago for our Mother. Mom never did drive it, but she would faithfully go outside once a week to start it. It’s been sitting here ever since and it sold this week. 

It’s an unusual feeling for me having Mom’s things here without her being here, and this will be my first Christmas without her, so this marks another chapter in our lives that has closed. 

We will be spending time with my exdh’s family, who are Bailey’s family too. Since Mom and Dad are not here this year, I’m very grateful to still have some family to celebrate with. 

New: Subscribe by Email

I’ve had several people ask me over the last year what happened to the email subscription to my blog. Blogger did away with that feature, but I recently found something else that I hope will work in its place called Follow It. There is a link in the top of the right sidebar if you’re interested in signing up. 

Freebies

I have a friend who had too much produce, so she shared some of it with us. She gave us about twenty pounds of carrots, potatoes, onions, and cabbage. We will definitely be putting all of that to good use. 

Joy of the Week

I received a Christmas card this week from a very dear blog reader, Bobi. It was such a sweet gesture and really made my day. πŸ’• 

Avoiding Spending

I did the majority of my Christmas shopping in November and when I was done I was really done. So, no spending for me this week except for a few groceries and some gas. 

Saving Money In My Frugal Kitchen

I used up the last of some crab Rangoon we had in the freezer while gaining that space back. I used up a can of vegetable soup and Veg All from the pantry for lunch one day. Someone gave us four cans of vegetable soup, so I am working to use them up. 

We made five dozen cookies on Thursday to bring to family on Friday and Saturday. One of the recipes was our old favorite one and the other cookies were made using a cake mix. It’s one cake mix, two eggs, and 1/2 cup vegetable oil. Bake at 350 degrees for 6 to 9 minutes, depending on your oven. 

Meals This Week

All meals are served with either salad or vegetables and may not always be listed here. 

Chicken & Olive Spread, Fried Rice, Corn on the Cob, Carrots.
Open Face Roast Beef Sandwiches, Roasted Potatoes, Carrots and Cabbage. 
Baked Potatoes, Mixed Vegetables, Corn. 
Beef with gravy, Mashed Potatoes, Mixed Vegetables.
Macaroni and Cheese, Mixed Vegetables. 
Homemade Pizza for Movie Night
Better Cheddars, Rice & Cheese, Mixed Vegetables. 

* If you see a dinner in bold print that means we had it more than once this week.

Recipe of the Week

Bailey requested Hash Brown Casserole for Christmas dinner this year, so I went looking for my recipe on my blog here and realized it’s not on here. So, I’m including it here for future reference. This is the Cracker Barrel copycat recipe, but I use cream of potato soup in my recipe along with extra sharp cheddar cheese. 

Hashbrown Casserole


Ingredients


1 (32-ounce) package frozen diced hash brown potatoes, thawed

1 (10 3/4-oz.) can cream of potato soup

1 (8-oz.) container sour cream

1 cup shredded extra sharp Cheddar cheese

1/2 cup chopped onion

1/2 cup melted butter


Topping:


1/4 cup butter, melted

2 cups corn flakes cereal


Directions:


Preheat the oven to 350°F. 

Stir together the first 6 ingredients.

Spoon into a greased 9 x 13 baking dish.

Crush the cereal, and stir in the melted 1/4 cup butter. 

Sprinkle over the potato mixture.

Bake at 350°F for 50 minutes.


Saving on Entertainment

One of the films we watched this week was Knives Out, which is a murder mystery about crime novelist Harlan Thrombey who was found deceased at his mansion and an investigator is secretly hired to investigate his death. It was a good film, which I thoroughly enjoyed. It’s free to watch if you have Amazon Prime. 

What I've been Reading This Week

Simplest Ever Sewing Projects

Dr. McDougll is offering all of his books for free right now on his website. All you have to do is click over to his website, click on shop, and go to ebooks. From there you can download seven of his books. drmcdougall.com




Thank you for dropping by my frugal blog, you are always welcome here. I hope and pray that each one of you have a wonderful holiday weekend however you plan on spending the days. And above all I hope you all stay safe and warm. 

Belinda
Mortgage & Debt Free
~ Living within our Means ~
My Linktree

~ She looketh well to the ways of her household ~
Proverbs 31:27



Friday, December 16, 2022

Third Frugal Friday of December 2022


Welcome to Friday! 

My Frugal Week

Bailey and I went to town last Friday to run errands. One of the stops was to Home Depot to make a return and to pick up some deck cleaner. It has finally stopped raining after raining every day for two weeks, so I will tackle this task soon. 

I finished steaming the clothes Bailey has in her inventory and processed them. Now it’s time to relax a little and enjoy the holidays. 

Question of the Week

What is a perfectly frugal day to you?

Mine would definitely involve staying home these days, not spending any money, having the house and windows opened up enjoying a cool breeze while having a good book to read or something to do that I enjoy such as a sewing project. 

How about you?

Saving Money In My Frugal Kitchen

A few weeks ago we found one package of four chicken thighs on markdown at Ingles. I thawed them this week and made Sticky Pineapple Chicken out of them and that lasted us for two meals, and we still had some left for lunch the next day. 

Meals This Week

All meals are served with either salad or vegetables and may not always be listed here. 

Crashed Potatoes, Rice and Cheese, Steamed Kale, Vegetable Stir Fry
Egg Roll in a Bowl, Spinach, Corn on the Cob
Vegetable Plates (Potatoes, Carrots, Broccoli, Corn on the Cob, Tomatoes)
Breakfast for Dinner
Sticky Pineapple Chicken, Carrots & Potatoes 

* If you see a dinner in bold print that means we had it more than once this week

Saving on Entertainment

This week we watched two films that are true stories, which is one of my favorite types of films to watch. The first film we watched was Spotlight, which is the true story of how The Boston Globe discovered the scandal and coverup by the Catholic Church. 

The second film we watched was She Said, which is based on the true story of two reporters’ investigations of the scandal surrounding Harvey Weinstein, which helped spread the #MeToo movement. 

Thank you for dropping by my frugal blog, you are always welcome here. I hope you enjoy this last week leading up to Christmas. We will be enjoying ours at home after some time spent with family. 

Belinda
Mortgage & Debt Free
~ Living within our Means ~
My Linktree

~ She looketh well to the ways of her household ~
Proverbs 31:27




Friday, December 9, 2022

Second Frugal Friday of December 2022


Welcome to Friday! 

Quote of the Week
I sure hope you’ve all had a great Thanksgiving. As the years fly by and things change, and people are no longer with us, more than anything, I am so thankful for the wonderful memories.~ Mandy @ Read Write Mom 
My Frugal Week

I said last week that I would make up for the short blog post, so here goes…

This week was odd as Sunday felt like Monday and then Monday felt like Sunday. I was leisurely reading some of my favorite blogs on Monday morning, which made it feel like Sunday since I usually enjoy reading on the slower pace of the Lord’s day. 

Thank you all very much for the sweet comments you left last week about Beaux Gatsby. We had him cremated and placed his ashes next to Big Kitty. The crematorium gave us a clipping of his fur and a print of his paw made into an ornament for Christmas. 

Bailey and I went to town last Friday and stocked up at the grocery store. We also finished our Christmas shopping. We did that so we didn’t have to enter another store before Christmas as it gets very busy, as you know, at this time of year. 

This year we bought a new Christmas tree as our old pre-lit one died last year. We spent the week decorating and making the house nice and cozy for Christmas time. On Tuesday I was able to finish wrapping presents, so now I feel like I can enjoy the holiday more.

One way to save money at Christmas time is to make it acceptable to receive second hand items for presents. Bailey knows that second hand gifts are perfectly acceptable to me. Let people off the hook and let them know this is OK. 

Gary Chapman in his The 5 Love Languages book writes about five ways people feel loved, including acts of service, physical touch, quality time, words of affirmation and gifts. One of my favorite ways of showing someone I love them is through acts of service. Folding someone’s laundry for them, or making them their favorite meal or beverage costs less money and is usually always appreciated by that person. 

The Driveway & Traffic Cones

Even though we recently had our driveway repaired, there is still some work that needs doing. We have traffic cones set up in some areas where we have tiles/culverts, which divert rainwater away from the new gravel. The UPS man accidentally drove over one of the traffic cones because I’m sure it was too dark for him to see. 

The fix was a $5 can of spray paint, which was money well spent to protect a $3,000 driveway. 

Here is a photo of the before and after:

 

New Washing Machine

Guess what we had to buy this week? A washer! 🀷‍♀️ 

We bought our last washer in the first year of the pandemic in the summer of 2020. It was a mid priced ($699) GE Brand washer. We decided to buy into the mid price range models to see if it would last longer, but due to planned obsolescence we should have known better. 

We had trouble with it from the start, had multiple repairmen out to look at it to no avail and it finally quit working this week, so we went looking for a new one. 

We looked at Lowes and Home Depot and then decided to stop in at a locally owned appliance center. The salesman wanted to sell us a couple of washers for $799, but we were a little gun shy that they wouldn’t last long. 

We decided to buy a preowned washer for $250 from the locally owned store. It’s a Maytag washer and comes with a thirty day warranty and so far it’s been working well, no issues like we had with the last washer. Now we are all caught up on the laundry for the moment. 

Time will tell as to how long this machine lasts. If it lasts two years like the last one we will have saved money in the long run. I’ll keep you all updated here like I usually do with our washers/dryers. 

Freebies

Our local community has a Trading Post event where people bring stuff they no longer need, bring them to the event and set them down and then walk around and pick up things they do need. 

We went to one this week and brought several articles of clothing, a lamp, a cat toy, and a  Starbucks reusable cup. 

Here are two photos of the items we were able to pick out:


Reynolds’s foil sheets, one green pepper, cucumber, and onion, two sweet potatoes, grape tomatoes, blueberries, chocolate chips, a bag of organic potatoes, two cabinet lights, and some Waverley fat quarters. 


It’s a great way to declutter items you no longer need and then trade them for items you do need and no money changes hands. 

Saving Money In My Frugal Kitchen

Doing all the usual things like avoiding food waste, using up what we have on hand, freezing leftovers for another meal another day. 

One thing I do is to watch what my family leaves on their plate and adjust accordingly. If my daughter leaves her cucumber salad because I made too much other food, I will save her individual portion and serve it to her at another meal. It takes planning, but will save money. 

Meals This Week

All of our meals are served with plenty of vegetables and/or salad. 

- Homemade Vegetable Soup
- Chicken Teriyaki, Steamed Cabbage, Carrots, Onions, and Broccoli. 
- Vegetable Plates (Potatoes, Carrots, Corn on the Cob, Cucumber Salad). 
- Chicken & Dressing (recipe below), Green Beans with Onions, Carrots
- Vegetable Stir Fry, Roasted Sweet Potatoes, and Kale Greens. 
- Meatloaf, Sweet Potatoes, Steamed Broccoli. 

* If you see a dinner in bold print that means we had it more than once this week. 

Recipe of the Week

This one is definitely a favorite around here. 

Chicken & Dressing Casserole

Ingredients:

4 cups cooked chicken
1 - 10.5 ounce can cream of chicken soup
1 - 10.5 ounce can cream of mushroom soup 
(I substituted using the recipe found below)
1 cup milk
1 stick butter
1 - 8 ounce package dry stuffing mix 
(Pepperidge Farm is my favorite as my grandmother worked there)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Spray a 9x13 pan with cooking spray
Whisk together soup and milk and add chicken.
Pour into casserole dish. 
In another bowl, melt butter and add dry dressing mix and mix well. 
Sprinkle over chicken mixture in pan. 
Cover dish with foil, but remove 5 minutes before taking the dish out of the oven. 
Be careful and watch the top so it won’t get too dark. 
Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

Condensed Cream of Chicken Soup

Ingredients:

6 Tbsp butter
2/3 cup flour
2/3 cup milk
2/3 cup chicken broth
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp onion powder
Salt & Pepper to taste

Directions:

Melt  butter in saucepan.
Add flour and mix into a paste.
Whisk in milk and chicken broth. 
Add onion & garlic powder, salt & pepper.
Continue to whisk until smooth and creamy.
I also added about one cup of sour cream to make it very creamy.

Use 1 & 1/3 cup to replace one 10 & 1/2 ounce can of cream of chicken soup in recipes. This recipe makes the equivalent of two cans. 


Saving Money YouTube Videos

Inflation Fatigue by Frugal Queen

Stretching Our Food Budget by Frugal Queen

Saving on Entertainment

Facebook has been showing me old Leave it to Beaver episodes recently. Some shows from that time period show the father/husband to be domineering, but this show didn’t do that, which I find refreshing. It’s free to watch on Facebook if you’re interested. 

One of my favorite tv shows is American Dreams. The father/husband is domineering in this show, but I still enjoyed it, but it only lasted three seasons as the show didn’t really find an audience. Only the first season is available on DVD, but there are some shows on YouTube for free if you’re interested. 


What I've been Reading This Week

This week I’ve been reading Doctor Caldwell B. Esselstyn’s book, Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease. 

His son Rip Esselstyn is the one who created The Engine 2 Diet while his wife Ann and daughter Jane have a new book out called Be a Plant Based Woman Warrior. I have that last book on my Amazon wish list for Christmas. 

Ann and Jane also have a YouTube channel, where they share many of their plant based recipes for free from several of their family’s books. If you’re interested in plant based eating you will want to check out this resource. 




Thank you for dropping by my frugal blog, you are always welcome here. I love hearing from you! I always respond to comments, so please don’t hesitate to leave a comment. πŸ’• 

Belinda
Mortgage & Debt Free
~ Living within our Means ~
My Linktree

~ She looketh well to the ways of her household ~
Proverbs 31:27



Friday, December 2, 2022

First Frugal Friday of December 2022

Welcome to Friday! 

My Frugal Week

We are heartbroken this week as our sweet kitty Beaux Gatsby passed away unexpectedly on Sunday. We only had him for six months and he was only a few months older than that. We decided to have him cremated and placed next to Big Kitty. 

Bailey went with her bonus Grandma last Friday to the aquarium in Chattanooga. Her friend bought all three of them tickets. 

One of the Christmas presents I bought was reduced in price with both a discount code and a $10 rewards certificate. ($18 saved)

Joy of the Week

We had a nice surprise come here this week. UPS dropped off a package on Wednesday evening. It was a Ghirardelli gift basket from my sister and her family. 

Saving Money In My Frugal Kitchen

My big money saver this week was a stockpot of homemade vegetable soup, which we ate all week long. 

Meals This Week

Chili
Chicken Tenders
Pot Roast, Mashed Potatoes, Carrots
Chili
Pizza
Cheesy Potatoes 
Vegetable Soup

Thank you for dropping by my frugal blog, you are always welcome here. This is a short blog post because it’s been a hard week here. I’ll be sure and do a longer blog post next Friday. 

Belinda
Mortgage & Debt Free
~ Living within our Means ~
My Linktree

Friday, November 25, 2022

Fourth & Final Frugal Friday of November 2022




Welcome to Friday! 

Price of Gas & Barrel of Oil this Week

Gasoline is $2.60 per gallon here while oil is $77.90 per barrel. 

My Frugal Week

It’s been a quiet week here even with Thanksgiving. This is the first Thanksgiving without Mom, and Dad returned to Illinois earlier this month. We do have company coming on Friday for two days, so that will be good. I made a stockpot full of chili for when they are here. 

I have about half of my Christmas shopping done already. I’ve also been thinking about what we will serve for Christmas this year. What do you plan on serving this year? I am thinking about Lasagne on Christmas Eve, and I’m going to start making my list so I can get organized ahead of time. 

Avoiding Spending

Remember the more effort you put into frugal and resourceful living during the times when you have more money than month, the easier it will be to get through the times when there is more month than money.

Saving Money In My Frugal Kitchen

We did all the usual money saving tips this week like eating all the leftovers, keeping the dishes washed and kitchen cleaned so we feel like going in there to cook. It’s so much easier to start with a clean kitchen.

I make my hot chocolate with water rather than milk, so we can save the milk for cereal and/or cooking.

Meals This Week

All meals are served with either salad or vegetables and may not always be listed here. 😊 

Grilled Chicken Salads
Meatballs in Gravy, Corn on the Cob
Mac & Cheese with Ham
Chicken Loaf
Chicken Cornbread Casserole (Recipe of the Week)
Ham
Chili

Recipe of the Week

This week I was watching a video from In The Kitchen with Mama Mel and she demonstrated four new chicken casserole recipes. 

Here is the video link: Chicken Cornbread Casserole

The first recipe intrigued me, so I decided to get the ingredients and make this. I knew Bailey would like it because it’s saucy and she likes Jiffy cornbread, which is sweet. This was delicious and definitely a keeper. We had the leftovers for brunch the next day. 

Farmhouse Chicken Cornbread Casserole


Ingredients:


Filling:


1 (10.5 oz) can condensed cream of chicken soup, not diluted

1 (10.5 oz) can condensed cream of mushroom soup, not diluted

¾ cup milk

4 cups cooked, diced chicken

1 cup grated cheddar cheese


Cornbread:


1 (8.5 oz) box corn muffin mix (such as Jiffy brand)

1 (14.75 oz) can cream style sweet corn

⅓ cup sour cream

1 egg

2 tablespoons melted butter


Directions:


Preheat the oven to 400°F. 

Spray a 3-quart baking dish with cooking spray. 

In a large bowl, whisk together condensed soups and milk. 

Stir in cooked chicken and cheese.

Pour chicken mixture into a baking dish.

Mix Jiffy mix, corn, sour cream, egg, and butter. 

Spread evenly over the chicken mixture.

Bake, uncovered, for about 40-45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the topping comes out clean. 

Cover loosely with foil if it starts to brown too much. 

Let stand for about 5-10 minutes, then serve. 


What I've been Reading This Week

If you're looking for something new to read don't forget about Project Gutenbergwhich is a library of over 60,000 free eBooks. There is also the FreeReadFeed website as well

Thank you for dropping by my frugal blog, you are always welcome here. 

How was your week? What did you do this week to spend less, save more and make do? We hope that you all had a blessed Thanksgiving and as always be safe and healthy.

We would love to hear all about your week in the comment section.


Belinda
Mortgage & Debt Free
~ Living within our Means ~
My Linktree



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