Saturday, November 9, 2013

Heating an Old Home

We've lived in our little 745 sq. ft. cottage for over a year so I'm still learning the quirks of this house. It's heated by a small wall furnace in the living room. The heat does not keep the other rooms warm.  Last year I tried to keep the heat in the living room so I would shut all the doors and put up curtain partitions for the other rooms.  I did the same thing at night in the bedroom.  The temperature dropped so low that it caused condensation on the windows and we started to get mold. NOT a good thing!

So, this year I'm trying something new. I keep the gas wall furnace set at 60 degrees at night. I leave the office door cracked (so that the cats can't get out) just enough so that the heat can flow into that room. I leave the bathroom door cracked, too. I keep a small electrical heater with a thermostat set at 64 degrees in our bedroom. Sometimes I'll shut our bedroom door later at night if I hear the heater clicking on too many times. I no longer see the condensation on the windows.

I tried not using a small heater in our bedroom but it got too cold and was affecting my husband's health condition. His health and comfort are more important than a low utility bill. I'll find another place to cut back if I need to. We still sleep with gloves and multiple layers of clothes and I sleep with a stocking hat.  I remember the old movie pictures where people wore stocking caps to bed. Now I know why!  I think we'd scare off any burglars by the way we look! (*smile*)

We keep sweaters handy during the day. If we get cold we can just throw a sweater on instead of raising the heat. I crocheted a small throw blanket that I keep in the living room. If my husband gets chilled he can throw it over his legs while watching TV. I also crocheted a round throw rug to put next to my husband's bed so his feet will stay warm.

I LOVE to make soup in the winter time. It's economical, yummy and also heats up the house. I like making it after breakfast so the heat will warm up the kitchen.

I have written how I keep my curtains closed on the east side of the house in the summertime until it's close to noon. It helped to keep the house cooler. This time of year I open the curtains first thing in the morning so the heat will COME IN and warm the rooms. 

We signed up for HEAP (Home energy assistance program) quite a few months ago. We were approved which means that our utility bill will be granted $190.  What a huge blessing!

And of course, there are my little furry friends who are my babies. I can't stand to see anything cold and suffering so they have warm little beds to sleep in, too. I use flannel sheets and small blankets I've collected at thrift stores and garage sales. They sleep indoors at night. I always feel so bad for animals who sleep outside and have no covering or warm bed. Poor babies!

And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.
 Php. 4:19 ESV


Here are a few things I did to stretch our pennies this week:

1. I made another batch of dog food. I've been saving chicken bones,skin and gristle along with carrot peelings for a month or longer. I added noodles and chicken broth, too. I'm almost out of canned dog food so this will help to stretch it.

2. I cut my husband's hair this week. I learned how to cut hair years ago when my oldest son was a toddler. I found a book at the library that was very helpful. Now you can find tutorials on You Tube. Cutting my families hair has saved thousands of dollars over the years.
Cabbage and sweet peas

3. I found a nice pair of pants at the thrift store. They were having a 25% off sale. I ended up paying a little over $3 for the pants.

4. There is an air vent directly above my stove. I can feel the cold air rushing from the attic through the vent. I found an 8 x 11 magnetic sheet and a roll of magnetic tape which holds it to the vent. I keep a step stool between the oven and the fridge so I can easily place the magnetic sheet on the vent after I'm finished cooking.

5. I haven't had full loads of wash each week so I'm delaying my wash cycles until I can fill the tub. The only thing I run short on is my whites so I wash those more often. I hope to buy more socks and underwear to solve that problem. 

6. I've started soaking my clothes overnight if they are real dirty. I don't use the full wash cycle. I turn the knob to the rinse cycle, fill the tub with water and then turn off the machine.  I let the clothes soak in the water overnight. The soaking helps to loosen any of the dirt. The next morning I finish the short wash cycle and then start a new cycle using the shortest wash cycle. My whites look whiter.
Broccoli, swiss chard, garlic and celery

7. I wanted to make a birthday cake for a friend. I didn't have all the ingredients on hand so I found a similar recipe that had a few different ingredients which I did have on hand. I saved myself a trip to the store and the cake turned out very good
8. I had some old greeting cards that were not in good shape. I cut them in half and used the blank sides for scrap paper. I keep a small container of scrap paper next to the phone.

9.   What I saved this week:
  • Dog food can (fertilizer)
  • Green bean can (recycle for money)
  • Chicken bones and skin (for dog food)
  • Cake mix wrapper (washed and used as instead of a sandwich baggie).
  • Erythritol bag 
10.  I read years ago that if you wet a dirty counter and let it soak for 5 minutes then it's easier to clean. I've tried this with many things like washing my hair. I suds my hair and let it sit while I'm showering and then wash it out at the end. I only have to wash my hair with shampoo once by doing this.

How are you and what did you do this week?

Blessed beyond measure!

Monday, November 4, 2013

Monday Menu

I have two and half more weeks until payday with $45 dollars left in my grocery account. I definitely need a new plan! Next month I'm going to TRY and divide my grocery money between 3 weeks while spending 2 weeks worth in the beginning of the pay period.  Meanwhile, I keep praying and looking for ways to stretch the money I have left. My plan will be no stocking up on sales but only using the money I have left for necessities like meat and vegetables.

So here is the menu I pulled together from what I have on hand.  

Breakfast: Low carb pancakes
Lunch: Beef stew and half bologna sandwich (husband), no bread for me
Dinner: Low carb chili and coleslaw

Breakfast: Scrambled eggs and bacon
Lunch: Beef soup and half turkey breast sandwich (husband), no bread for me
Dinner: Barbecued chicken, sweet potatoes, green beans in garlic

Breakfast: Low carb bluberry muffins and smoothie
Lunch: Sauteed hot dogs with onion and celery in butter
Dinner: Low carb chili

Breakfast: Low carb pancakes
Lunch: Beef stew and half egg salad sandwich, no bread for me
Dinner: Barbecued chicken, red potatoes and green beans in garlic

Breakfast: Eggs, small bits of potato, onion, garlic and kale (cheese added for husband's part)
Lunch: Vegetable soup and half turkey breast sandwich, (no bread for me)
Dinner: Spaghetti squash and homemade spaghetti sauce

Breakfast: Omelet
Lunch: Mexican soup and half bologna sandwich, (no bread for me)
Dinner: Fried fish, fried okra and sweet potatoes

Breakfast: Low carb orange pecan muffins with low carb smoothie
Lunch: Mexican soup and half turkey breast sandwich, (no bread for me)
Dinner: Spaghetti squash and homemade spaghetti sauce

Snacks: boiled eggs, Low carb fruit tarts, sunflower seeds, almonds (for husband),