If you do stuff, stuff gets done.......

If you do stuff, stuff gets done.......

Friday, February 28, 2014

Frugal February -last post

We have company coming and will need extra snacks.  I am trying to use up pantry ingredients.
So,  I made a small batch of homemade buttercream frosting and spread in on a 1/2 of graham crackers for homemade cookie sandwiches- they are delicious and one of my dad's favorites.

Made a new recipe with melted white chocolate chips, pretzels, craisins and pecans.
Sweet N Salty snack Mix
there was 1 1/2 very ripe banana in the banana bowl,  my banana recipe calls for more but I used what I had and baked the banana bread recipe into 15 muffins,  they are fine even with less banana

we had this meatless entree last night, it is really good but next time, I am going to double the veggies to 8 cups.

Grocery Budget for February- had $101 left over

Gas Budget- we use a prepaid Walmart card and I don't know how it happened but we had $160 left out of the $200 we budget every month.  It has been so cold and we have stayed home a lot,  but I am wondering if we bought gas a time or two and it didn't get subtracted..... who knows.  I have been keeping records of some things but not that

Not frugal things
Husbands eye surgeries- thankfully his work insurance will cover most of it but it is a new calendar year and we had to pay the deductible.  But he is doing great and can see so much better even with just one eye done so far.  We are thinking his future eye glass prescriptions may be less expensive than his previous very strong and complicated prescription.  

My splurge
I have tried all kinds of things to get my fingernails to be strong and grow but nothing has worked.
So on Saturday,  I got my first ever fake nails and and polish at a salon.  I got short ones as I still want to sew and type and still need to do housework.  
I am very happy with them,  not a break or chip even after a week!  
fake nails are not thrifty and I know about the health questions,  but on this issue,  I plan to just go
with pretty nails, which I have never had before, and enjoy them. 

Joining up with 

She has done great in February, only buying dairy and using her pantry and freezer to keep her family of  6 fed. 

February Cricut project and advice to prevent colds

Wow, you all gave me some great advice about cold prevention.
I will buy some odorless garlic and VitD3 today and am also going to look into getting a humidifier. Our air has been extremely dry, so dry that I have not worn my 2 favorite tops that have some polyester content as they just cling and crackle from the static electricity, 
I forgot to mention I have been taking Cold-eeze tabs and this last cold has been very short, just a few days compared to 10-14 days of the others. We have also been taking probiotics for 2 weeks before this last cold hit us. 
Thank you all so much !

One of my 2014 resolutions was to make at least one Cricut project every month. This one is just barely making it in Feb. 
I have a stash of these sturdy Folgers cans. 

I took one of the big ones and added a few Cricut letters, some scrapbook paper and ModPodge and made it into a HotWheels storage container.

It is really simple but it looks nice in the toy room.

I also decorated the other 2 big ones to use to hold the compost scraps before they go to the tumbler. But they are even simple than the car one. They look better than an old coffee cab but not good enough for a photo. 

when the sleeping grandbaby wakes up, we are going to do a couple errands,  then I hope to finish my frugal February posts later today and join up with with FOF at Renaissance

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Update on the egg shell plants

These were planted about two weeks ago. One side is all cherry tomatos and I mostly only planted one seed in each cup - I don't like thinning out baby plants. 10 of them have sprouts.
The other side is assorted flowers and they sprouted about the same. 

I have an assortment of saved seeds, I am going to replant the unsprouted cups and hope for more plants. 

The reason for no blog posts this week - I have another cold! I've lost count, this is either #6 or #7 of this school year. I am eating right, drinking Emergen-C every day, washing my hands- etc. I don't know what else to do ( not seeing my germ spreading grandchildren is not an option I would choose at this point) 
This current cold is milder and seems to be shorter than any of the others so I am thankful for that. 

I am listening if anyone has advice 

Friday, February 21, 2014

Child size pajama pants from an adult pajama top

My daughter was given pajamas, her mother in law got them as a gift but didn't like them. My daughter liked just the pants to wear for lounging. Her daughter likes the pants too and asked for some just like them.
Since she has seen me  repair, alter  and hack so many other things, she brought me the shirt and a pair of the current size pajama pants for my granddaughter.  She asked if I could make a little pair of pants from them.
I turned the pants inside out to use the seam line for my cutting guide.
It wouldn't fit quite this way, so I turned it around and that way was fine. 
The outside of the leg along the middle of the shirt, the crotch at the sleeve seam and the waist along the top of the shirt.
It fit perfectly and saved me lots of sewing to just use the shirt hem as the pajama pants hem.
Close up of the reused hem line.
The fabric was a new type to me, it looks like satin on the front side and the wrong side is brushed, almost like flannel.,
The finished pants- the pocket is a little crooked but that is just where it ended up. I don't think a 3 year old will care one bit.
Close up of the fabric -this would be a good I spy quilt fabric except it is not cotton. 

In case you are wondering, the top was a ladies size large and the pants are a 5 T. 

It just took about 15-20 minutes to make these. I cut them out on the dining table while baby grandson ate his finger food lunch, then I put him in the bounce seat while I sewed. 

Have you altered or hacked anything like this lately?

2014 Quilt #3

I first heard of I Spy quilts maybe 10-12 years ago, way before I had any grandchildren.
Each block of an I spy quilt uses novelty fabric and the fabric gets fussy cut so the design is featured in each block. 
The template I used is a 3 3/8 inch plexiglass square, which is small. If I was starting another I Spy quilt from scratch, I would use a 4 or 5 inch square. Some of the fabrics I would of liked to use had designs that were just too big. 
Anyway, I've been collecting novelty fabrics all this time and I thought there were finally enough to finish cutting out squares and sew up a quilt.
Every square is something different.

This one is for granddaughter Andie who will be 2 very soon.
It is all machine sewn and quilted. The backing has fish and mermaids riding dolphins. 

Little Andie was born early at 5 pounds  and took a helicopter ride to a bigger hospital on her first day of life. She spent a few days in the children's hospital. 

beautiful Andie
Then once she got home, she has never stopped growing and thriving.
No one would ever guess our tall almost 2 year old Andie was a Premmie.

Some of my  next quilts will be more I Spy quilts for Andie's cousins, JJ and Braeden. 
linking to the party at CreativeJewishMom.Com - craft schooling Sunday

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Frugal February- homemade sandwich buns

Linking to Friday Finances at Renaissance
I like to make bread and am trying to make 100% of our bread in 2014 at home.  Except for a tiny free loaf of Sicilian bread we got last week from a new food truck business,  we have had only homebaked bread.

We like loaves of bread but they do get dry really fast so for sandwiches, we prefer homemade buns.  They seem to stay soft and less crumbley for a lot longer than sliced bread.

This is how I make them......
I mix and knead the dough in a bread machine.  It can also be mixed in a heavy mixer or by hand.
Then I take it out after the kneading is done and let it rise in a big oiled bowl.   In this picture, that is 2 batches of dough.  As soon as the first batch is ready, I put the dough in a big bowl and start a second batch. 

Let the dough rise until it is doubled or more in size. 

Then roll out the dough on a floured surface- maybe 1/2 -3/4 inches thick.  This just depends on how thick you like your sandwich buns.
I have 2 round cutters,  I think the bigger one is 4 inches and the other one  is a bit less than 3 inches. 

Cut out the buns and put them on baking sheets. 
I use well-seasoned stone ware. 
if you bake them on a plain metal cookie sheet,  you will need to grease the sheet or those buns will stick while baking. 
Let the buns rise for about 1/2 an hour and then bake.  No matter the recipe,  I bake mine at 375 degrees and check after 15 minutes.  Sometimes they take just a few more minutes to get golden brown.
Let the buns cool- you can put them on a cooling rack if your prefer.  I don't usually but sometimes I do. 
When cool, each bun gets sliced with a bread knife.  I slice almost all the way but leave about 1/2 inch unsliced.  That way,  you can still open them up but the tops and bottoms don't get separated.
 Bag up the buns and freeze the ones that won't be eaten in a day or two.
When you need bread,  just take out however many you need.  They thaw quickly. 
This works for small households like we are now.  When we have company and when our children were younger,  fresh homebaked bread was eaten way too fast to even think about freezing it.

I think most any  bread recipe that is good as a loaf can also be rolled out and baked as good sandwich buns.

My Grandparents Bread recipe when I first blogged about it
they used this recipe to make loaves of bread as well as lots of buns for sandwiches
Grandpa's Bread2 cups warm water
1 package yeast
1 t salt
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup oil - they used Wesson or Crisco oil - I used melted butter
about 6 cups of flour - they used all-purpose flour, I used 2 cups of whole wheat and 4 cups of unbleached
dissolve the yeast and sugar in the warm water. Then stir in the salt, oil and most of the flour. Mix well, then knead until you have a smooth dough. They kneaded it all by hand, I let my Kitchenaid mixer do most of the work or I would make a 1/2 recipe at a time let the bread machine do the kneading.
Let dough rise in an oiled bowl, covered with a clean kitchen towel, until at least double in size.
Punch down. Divide in 2. Shape into loaves and place in greased bread pans.
Let rise again, until at least double.
Bake at 375 for 35-45 minutes. 
Our current favorite bun recipe
1 C water
1 egg well beaten
2 T butter
2 T sugar
3 T dry milk
1 t salt
3 1/4 cup all purpose flour
1 1/2 t yeast
add all to the breadmaker bowl in this order and set on knead cycle- check midway through mixing as you may need  to add 2-3 T more flour. 

This Honey Oatmeal Bread at AllRecipes.com also makes delicious buns but I have not been baking it for a few months as our youngest grandchild really likes homemade bread but he can't have honey until after his first birthday. 

Where we live,  flour is cheapest at Aldi.  Yeast is cheapest at Sams.  It comes in a twin pack of vacuum packed 1 pound bags.  I keep the yeast in the freezer, the opened one gets pour in a jar with a tight lid.  It keeps in freezer for a long time too and will still be active way past that date they put on the packages. 

So,  go bake some buns when you have time.  They are delicious and easy and your family will be so happy.  And you will spend much less on homemade buns than what store buns would cost. 

Monday, February 17, 2014

Frugal February - day 17

Good Monday morning to you all
My house is in need of some cleaning this morning and I am working on that. 

It is warming up so I planted cherry tomato and flower seeds in the egg shells I've been saving.
The pigs and elephants are from Dollar Tree. They have tiny solar panels on their backs and when they are in sunshine, the pigs flap their wings and the elephants flap their ears. Dollar Tree makes them for some holidays. Last sping, their were dancing daisies and in the fall, their were scarecrows.
They are silly and make everyone smile when they see them wiggling.
The egg shells are just in old egg cartons on a thrift store tray to catch the water that spills. 

Part of my housework today is laundry. For 2 reasons, I am hanging some of the laundry to dry, either on a drying rack or in hangers in doorways.

It is cheaper (very little electricity used)
Our air is so dry right now, I hope as the clothes dry that it will moisturize the air.
We have an outdoor clothesline  but the wind is gusting to 40 mph today- so indoor drying is best right now.  
Before I air dry, I add liquid fabric softener to the final wash rinse and then the clothes get fluffed in the electric clothes dryer for 10 minutes. Even air dried, our laundry is soft and wrinkle free this way. 

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Frugal February and thrift store Saturday

One thrift store visit this morning---
The Valentine stickers were 90% off so just 5 cents for both sheets.
My husband liked the $2 crystal frame.
The wood plaque was $1 and was something I was looking for so I can make a version of a Pinterest pin.

Remember last week I bought all that Farberware for a song? 
I thought this big covered skillet was Farberware, but when I washed it and saw the marks, it is really that waterless cookware that used to be so popular. It is also very expensive. When I looked last week on EBay, there were a numbers of listings for waterless cookware but only one cover 12.5 inch skillet. And it was $299!  I have shopped at thrift stores and yard sales for a long time but this is the best deal I have ever come across. 
I am cooking in it for the first time tonight and it cooks so nicely too.

My husband is having eye surgery soon and he had a prescription for Vigamox eye drops. With his insurance, at CVS, his cost $20.
A relative just came down with a corneal ulcer, from wearing contact lenses too long. That relative also got a prescription for the same Vigamox and filled it at a locally owned drug store. That relative has a different employer but the same medical insurance.  Unfortunately, that prescription cost $110. 
The prescriptions were filled 9 days apart. 
Needless to say, that relative will be going to CVS is future prescriptions are needed. 

Frugal tip- pharmacies are not all the same. Ask others, call about prices, asked for generics- hopefully you won't pay $90 more the same tiny bottle of eye drops.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Frugal February day 13 - the nut house

My husbands coworker, David,  had a very good pecan harvest,  he gave us some pecans and we also picked up a lot of pecans on halves at his orchard. I don't know how many pounds are already in our freezer, but lots, and there is going to be more.  Back in the fall
My husband cracked and picked all of ours out the old fashioned way, with hand crackers and a metal pick.

David had more pecans mechanically "cracked and blown"   The pecans are not ready to eat after that process but a lot of the shell has been removed.  He wants them picked out all the way and my husband is doing it for him, on thirds. David will get 2/3s of this batch and we will get 1/3.

This is what the cracked and blown pecans look like- there is very little shell left in. 
David brought us a big storage tub with 2 trash bags full of pecans. 
My husband has already cleaned half of them,  I think it yielded 6 gallon bags - each bag is almost 4 pounds of pecans, from just half of them. 

These pecans would be especially delicious in pecan pie but we are trying to not eat that many calories. 
We do like to snack on nuts so I tried roasting a few from the freezer. I stirred them in just a little melted butter and salt, then baked them at 350 for about 8 minutes. I think they taste really good. 

For portion control and convenience, I used a 1/4 measuring cup and divided them into small dishes. 

I expect some of our pecans will end up in pecan pies or chocolate chip cookies but for everyday eating, we will enjoy eating our pecans roasted and in small portions. 

My frugal tip- everyone isn't friends with a pecan grower but everyone knows busy people. If you are willing to do odd jobs, I think there are plenty of opportunities to do similar things, 

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Rescued from the rag bag

Finishing this quilt top did not take too long. If you remember,the finished top was something my dad got at a yard sale or thrift store. It is all scraps and was not much to look at it. But my husband likes it, and since I want to make a bunch of quilts in 2014, I finished it.

Linking to the party at Green Willow Pond
Our bed is a queen and the new quilt is laying on top of the bedspread. I think the new quilt would cover a double bed just fine. It should be quite warm as the batting in it is a thick cotton one.m
Oh Sew Scrappy......
The back is scrappy too, I couldn't decide what the predominate color was so I used 4 scraps and pieced them to back a piece big enough.

Quilt Purists would think this is very primitive but that is OK with us. I like precise, perfectly made quilts but at this stage of my life, I can't fit that fussy sewing in. Sew- if I do finish 6 or 12 quilts in 2014 like I hope to- some of them will be more projects like this. 

Frugal February- day 11

I pack this little cooler for my husband before he goes to work. It is pretty much the same thing every day -
2 servings of fruit
1 serving of nuts
1 string cheese
A sandwich on a homemade bun with a few chips and pickles
Coffee and a bottle of water, an ice pack and a cloth napkin
This keeps him fed for lunch and breaks.
I like these Ziploc 3 compartment containers as they keep the sandwich and chips from getting squashed. 
The nuts are in a reused baby food container. 
I try not to use many sandwich bags -they only cost 2 cents at Aldi though.

All of his coworkers but 1 buy their breakfast and lunch at nearby fast food restaurants everyday. Those coworkers also complain about being broke too. They think my husband is spoiled because I pack his lunch too.  Silly men! 
Packing a lunch like this is not really any trouble, it just takes a little planning. 

When I was younger and living at home, I packed my dad's lunch pail. He did not care what was in it, he was just happy if I would fix it. He liked fruit and homemade cookies and crackers spread with peanut butter. I remember one time that we needed to buy groceries and all I could come up with for dad's entree was a stale hotdog bun with cheese and pickles. When he got home from work, he told me it was a delicious sandwich. 

When I was just a baby, my dad and his uncle worked at a petroleum refinery in west Texas.  All the men took lunches.  One man, a real creature of habit, always had the exact same lunch- a bologna sandwich, a banana and a Hershey bar. The men at this plant were jokesters, especially Uncle Jesse. One day, he convinced all the men to bring that same lunch and to eat it at the same time as the creature of habit man. Dad said all the men had a great time doing it but the guy did not realize he was being pranked until all the men were eating Hershey bars at the same time. 

The contents of my husband's cooler costs less than $2. 
If he ate fastfood, I am sure it would cost at least $10-$15 every day.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Sunday stitching

Linking up with Kathy's Quilts- Sunday slow stitching HERE

All the animal squeezums were finally finished today.
They are made with an old pattern from plastic canvas and yarn, with silly google eyes.

This quilt top is from This Crate full of WIPs and UFOs.
I felt so good about just finishing the string quilt that I went to this box and pulled out a couple of quilt tops. My husband voted to finish this scrappy one first. It is really scrappy, isn't it? Many of the sewing pieces in that crate were made by mom, but not this one. I think it must of been a thrift store find or something my dad got at a yard sale.
I can imagine a woman piecing it with just whatever small fabric scraps she came by. Did I mention it is really really scrappy?

 I plan on just tying this one.  I had to piece a backing and I will show it when I finish it.
I'll be siting here hand tying for much of the remainder of this Sunday. 
If you like to sew, I hope you have had some pleasurable sewing time this weekend too. 

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Frugal February day 8- sewing and thrift stores

The first quilt of 2014 is finished. It was made with all scraps except for the batting and of course the thread. I bought the batting and thread on sale and with a coupon at Joann's. They have great sales.
I had the quilt spread out in the living room and my son is here, trying it out.
I wanted a dark backing for it and used these 2 fabrics, neither was big enough so I pieced them together.

I thought it be fun to make 12 quilts in 2014 but realistically, I am shooting to make 6.  So 5 more quilts in almost 11 months, maybe!
Sewing is especially thrifty if you end up with gift fabric. 

With the cold front here, I have pretty much stayed home all week.  This morning, we did a couple errands and I went to a thrift store while my husband went by the bicycle store.

The kitchen things were all 1/2 price. All this stainless steel Farberware was $16.  There is a huge covered skillet, a small skillet, a double boiler, a steamer, 3 1 quart saucepans and a 4 quart stock pot. My daughter wants new saucepans and was going to buy some today. I think I got all the saucepans she could need. I am keeping the big skillet and maybe the steamer.
I always look at the children's clothes. All of these were $6.75
This little blanket was $1. Two of my grandsons live on a farm. This farm theme fabric is so cute, I think they will like it.

My town has 5 nice thrift stores but they do price things differently. I like to shop at the one with low priced children's clothes.  I "like" them on Facebook and knew from a post this morning that their kitchen stuff was half price so when I saw the cookware, I knew it was a very good deal.