The Complete Tightwad Gazette

tightwadOur financial situation has changed quite a bit over the last several years.  We’ve had to tighten our belts, loosen them a bit, tighten them again, and just when we thought things were getting better we had to tighten more.

I’ve pulled out The Complete Tightwad Gazette by Amy Dacyczyn to re-read.  It’s a compilation of the bygone newsletter The Tightwad Gazette.  The book is a bit outdated, and while everything she presents in her book may not apply, the book itself can be a good read to find ideas to apply to your situation and put you into the frugal mind set to come up with your own ideas. It’s one of the books I think everyone could benefit from reading.

Amy’s personality made being frugal fun, not drudgery.  Her wisdom and experience really helps you refocus the way you see things.  One of the things I like about this book is all the creative ideas for repurposing.  I have to be careful, I have a tendency to save everything thinking it could be useful one day. lol

The book also has recipes.  Here is a recipe we like from The Complete Tightwad Gazette for Bean-Bacon Chowder (just in time for fall!) I make my own versions of this quite a bit.

Bean-Bacon Chowder

6 slices bacon, cut up
1 cup chopped onion
2 tbsp flour
3 cups milk
2 medium potatoes, peeled
1/4 tsp crushed dried thyme
1 22-oz jar of baked beans or substitute homemade
1/4 cup snipped parsley

Cook bacon and onion in a saucepan until bacon is lightly browned and onion is tender. Blend in flour. Add milk; cook and stir until bubbly. Dice potatoes; add with thyme, 1 tsp salt and 1/8 tsp. pepper. Cover and simmer 12 to 15 minutes or till the potatoes are done. Stir in beans and heat through. Top with parsley. Serves six.

Genesis 41:35-36 – And let them gather all the food of those good years that are coming, and store up grain under the authority of Pharaoh, and let them keep food in the cities. Then that food shall be as a reserve for the land for the seven years of famine which shall be in the land of Egypt, that the land may not perish during the famine.

Recipe: Pancakes from Scratch

pancakerecipe1aMy grandmother’s cookbook. Even though the copyright is 1946 (the year before my mother was born) I use it often.  The pages are a bit brittle and yellowed, the cover is loose…but it is always the first place I look for recipes.

THIS is my main pancake recipe.  So versatile, I switch it up using fruit, seasonings, make it for breakfast, lunch or dinner.  We actually have these more for dinner than breakfast.  By request.  Hubby loves pancakes. I also use almond or coconut milk since I’m not supposed to have dairy and I use honey instead of sugar.  And pancakes pancakes1aare frugal too.

Honestly, homemade pancakes don’t take much longer to make than boxed pancakes and taste so much better in my humble opinion.  And the fresher your ingredients, the better they taste.  And did I mention they are frugal?

Here is the recipe for you:

pancakes2aSWEET MILK GRIDDLE CAKES

2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
2 tablespoons sugar
2 cups milk
1 egg
1 tablespoon melted shortening

Mix and sift flour, salt, baking powder, and sugar.  Add milk, well-beaten egg, and shortening and mix well.  Drop by tablespoons on a hot griddle, greased well, and brown on both sides.  Serve hot with marmalade or honey.

I’d love to hear about your favorite pancake recipe, and if you try this one, I’d love to hear how you like it.  Until next time…grace and peace!

John 6:47-50 
Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me has everlasting life. I am the bread of life.  Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and are dead.  This is the bread which comes down from heaven, that one may eat of it and not die.

Where has the time went?

13-11-08snow

Fall leaves by the garden a few years ago.

It’s the last day of September.  How can tomorrow be October?  I love fall, it is my favorite season, but it seems summer slipped by somehow.

It is a bit odd not to be harvesting from the garden.  We didn’t purposely leave it fallow, we really did intend to put in a great garden this year.  It just got put off by so many other things.  In the end, leaving it fallow isn’t a bad thing for the garden, but I do miss the fun of reaping the harvest of what we planted.  Now it needs to be cleaned up and prepped so that we can be ready for spring.

But we do have eggs.  Our three hens Marigold, Lucy, and Izzy are laying some beautiful eggs and they are such fun to have around.  It is time to start buttoning down the coop and run for winter and start making plans for what we need to do.  Since this is our first winter with chickens it will be a lot of trial and error for us.  I’d love to hear some winter tips from experienced chicken owners.

13-08-08harvest

One of our past harvests.

We might not have a harvest from our garden, but now that it is cooler I will still be doing a bunch of canning, freezing and dehydrating.  We can get some produce here locally (golly the prices have gone way up since last year!!) and we’ll be getting meat as we find some good deals.  Apples are in season so I want to start off with that, and I’ll see what deals I can find locally.  I also want to try using the apple scraps to make apple cider vinegar.  We’ll see.

The end of summer has brought a real struggle with my health.   I’ve been having a real battle with my asthma and all the medication that goes along with that really scares me.  Fall is always harder for me anyway because there is a lot of leaf burning around here and the smoke seems to hang in the air.  I really want to find some good ways to help my asthma that would reduce the medication or maybe even eliminate the need for it.  I can hope.  I have tried a lot of stuff but have never really seen any benefits.  The biggest thing I know I need to do is get back to eating healthy and avoiding foods I know do not help…like dairy and sugar.

6thgrade

Throwback, first day of 6th grade.

Homeschooling is also in full swing.  Hard to believe it is the last year.  Also hard to believe that we homeschooled 12 years.  Wasn’t always easy, but I would do it all over again.  It is going to be weird hanging up this chapter of our life and not homeschooling next year.  I also can’t wait to see what God has in store for our son as he moves on to college.

That is it for now, off to do some chores around the house.  Until next time, I hope you have a wonderful and blessed day!  Grace and peace….

Spring Has Froze

Greetings from cold and snowy Indiana!  Spring is struggling to get going this year and our spring projects are a bit slower than we had planned.  In my cup this morning is regular old coffee with stevia and almond milk.

DSCN3224-webreadyOne of our projects was to build a backyard chicken coop for the chickie babies.  Not so much babies anymore…they are all feathered in now and getting big.  But they are growing fast and outgrowing the dog cage they are in.  We have all the supplies for the coop…just waiting for the weather to cooperate.  So far our diva dog Pepper has been very good with them, so we are hoping she will turn out to be a good protector and not an antagonist.
I had hoped to get the early spring garden in but again, trying to work around the weather has made it a
challenge.  pantryMy seed starting indoors was a
big failure and I haven’t had a chance to redo the heirloom tomatoes and peppers I wanted to start. Are you seeing a pattern?  lol  Even so, God is in control so in His capable hands I will leave it all and just take things one day at a time.

One of the indoor projects that we did finish turning a spare closet into pantry.  Hubby and son work hard and got it finished and I got it filled it up.  It is so nice being able to have everything in one place now…and fairly organized.  They did a great job!  Our washer also sprung a leak and thankfully hubby and son were able to fix that as well saving us from having to buy a new washer.  We are also waiting for better weather to finish the roof.
Another things I’ve been up to is I have been slowly working on restarting my craft business.  I had it going successfully for a long time, then decided to pull the plug grayshawl1when it (and other things) started taking a toll on my health.  Things have changed a lot in the short few years since I stopped and since I want to do this right I am not rushing things.  The most time consuming part for me is taking pictures of everything and listing them.  I have lots to list so taking pictures, editing and listing is a slow process.  Despite that I find myself enjoying this much more than I ever have.

That’s it for now.   I hope all is well where you are, I’d love to hear how your spring is going.   Until next time, grace and peace!

Psalm 51:1-2
Have mercy upon me, O God,
According to Your lovingkindness;
According to the multitude of Your tender mercies,
Blot out my transgressions.
Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,
And cleanse me from my sin.

 

BACON!!!!

160206bacon

Hubby and son built a trial rocket stove, so I thought I’d test it out with what else?  Bacon!

I don’t know many people who don’t like bacon.  They are out there in the world, somewhere, but I don’t know them.  Here @ home…we love bacon.  Unfortunately we don’t love the nitrites and other ingredients that make bacon what it is today.

Curing meat is a way of preserving it for long term.  Salting and smoking allowed the perishable meat to be stored without spoiling and used later when fresh meat wasn’t readily available.  While some people still cure their own meat for long term storage, commercial meats are cured with chemicals and mainly for taste rather than storage.

For me in my mind, it seemed rather absurd to purposely buy something like bacon in the grocery store that is loaded all sorts of who-knows-what to achieve that salty cured taste.  It didn’t need to be stored, it was readily available…if we are only buying it for the taste, why take any chances?  So we avoided it and other commercially cured foods like lunch meats.  We started buying regular uncured meat and cutting it up for sandwiches, but totally avoided bacon.  Until we came across something called fresh side pork…or fresh bacon.

Fresh side pork is uncured bacon.  We get it from our local butcher shop.  It is cut into slices just like bacon except that it is raw, uncured and unseasoned pork.  And I cook it just like cured bacon except I season it with salt and pepper first.  And it does taste like bacon except it has more pork flavor.  It actually tastes much better than commercial cured bacon.

If you are raising your own meat, curing can make sense.  If you have access to sides of beef and pork, it might make sense for you also.  You might just enjoy smoking and curing your own meat.  But for me, it just doesn’t make sense to ingest all the commercially cured meats just for the taste and convenience.  If you get the opportunity, try some fresh side pork and you’ll see what I mean!

Happy New Year!

Wow, it’s been a little while since my last post. After my laptop died and then my tablet shattered, my online activities were greatly diminished.  They still are to a point, but thanks to a new tablet some things are a bit easier.

I hope that you and yours had a wonderful time over Christmas and New Years.  We didn’t go anywhere and didn’t have anyone over (everyone seemed to have their own plans already) so ours was nice quiet time at home.

Now that it’s the new year, I’m already thinking about the gardens.  I am making lists of seeds that I’d like to order and starting to draw out where everything is going to go.  I am also shopping for clearance garden supplies…you can get some great buys this time of year.  Tomatoes and peppers will be started here soon so I need to inventory my supplies to see what I’ll be needing.

I am also re-launching my craft business.  I was doing quite well but a few years ago I with everything that was going on at that time, depression set in and I quickly got burned out trying to keep up with it.  I thought it best to step back from it and focus on myself and my family.  The time seemed right to revive it and I’m excited.  While I will have a link to my business, this blog isn’t for selling anything.

I am still committed to minimizing my home and life.  I did quite a bit of decluttering in 2015, not as much as I wanted.  Being a borderline hoarder I think I did pretty good.  I found a book online by Marie Kondo called The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up and I am hoping to get it. I think one of the biggest roadblocks I have to decluttering is letting go. If I can change this mind set I will be on my way.

I am off to start planning our sons birthday day. He wants to start the morning off with French toast and bacon, ending with dinner at his favorite restaurant.  He is growing into a fine young man.  I adore him!

Until next time…grace and peace.

A New Week

Glad this weekend is over.

Hubby and son are still working on the roof. During the tear off of the shingles Hubby determined that the last roof job wasn’t done right. After the tear off he saw the result…lots of rotted wood and rafters. That has meant lots of unexpected repair which also means lots of unexpected money. Also unexpected was the rain we got while they were working. Thankfully there were no leaks into the house, but we did have some in the garage and had part of the ceiling fall. After taking a week off of work to do this, hubby is only half done with roof repairs and is back to work this week. So the rest of the repairs will be done when he gets home from work. It is going to take him a while to finish, but it will get done.

I’ve been doing what I can to help outside, but my health gets in the way. So I have been trying my best to make sure they are fed well, hydrated well, and rested well. Yesterday while making breakfast we found that our refrigerator stopped working. Another unexpected expense. Well, we lived without a working stove for quite a while before we could afford a new one, we’ll live without a working fridge also until we can afford a new one. Thankfully the weather is getting colder and we have two deep freezers to keep us in ice.

I did clean and vacuum the fridge well, even cleaned under it to see if it would help. It did not. If we were more knowledgeable about fixing things like this we could probably figure it out and get it working again. Since we aren’t, we’ll just muddle through and do what we can.

I cleaned out the fridge and freezer and moved what I could to the deep freezers. I moved what needed to be cold up into the freezer area because it is smaller and will be easier to keep cold. We have jugs of frozen water in our deep freezers to take up space so they’ll run more efficiently, and we’ll rotate those into the fridge to keep things cold. It will be like a big cooler. Once the weather is colder, we’ll be able to use the garage to keep things cold as well.

And while cleaning the fridge, I pulled the chicken parts out that I had been saving in the freezer to make stock. I ended up canning eleven pints of chicken stock and three pints of chicken. I still have pork and beef bones to make stock from, but I’ll wait on that.

Step by step, right? We’ll get through this, it will just take time. God has been very good to us and even when things are hard He never lets us go through it alone. My faith is in Him and I trust Him to bring us through what ever comes our way…to His glory. His mercies are new every morning…