Friday, November 29, 2013

Winter Work in the Home!

Now that the cold weather is officially here I am spending time on indoor projects. The summer garden kept me hopping between weed pulling and preserving our harvest. There is a fall crop in but it won't entail preserving for quite a few months. So, now is the time to work on projects inside my house.

I first have to complete a few sewing projects for Christmas. Once those are finished I hope to finish two quilt tops. I have everything I need except possibly some batting for one. I've been dragging these tops around for quite a few years. My home is small and they are taking up space not to mention the fact that they are hanging over my head! I need these monkey's off my back! :-)

I also hope to go through several drawers full of pants that need to be taken in. They need to be tried on and then tailored to fit. If I don't get them altered this winter then they will be given away. I have a new potholder pattern I've also been wanting to try for several years. If I happen to finish these projects (one can always hope) then I'd LOVE to go through my closets and throw out what I haven't used this past year.

I've never lived in a home this small before except when my husband became disabled and we lived in a studio cottage as caregivers and a studio barn. Both were less than 300 sq. ft. We kept most of our belongings in storage. Our little cottage is 745 sq. ft. and everything I own is stored within it's walls and the garage. There is no room for excess.

I find clutter bothers me the older I get. I really enjoy tidiness but I rarely reach the goal that my heart hungers for! Yet, I keep trying! It's almost like the clutter is a living entity that would love to take over my house if it's not tamed!

It was kind of a slow week here on the frugal home front. Lots of  life going on and as a result there is not always time for my part time job of saving money.  Here are a few things I did write down:

1.  We had our family Thanksgiving on Sunday since my children and their families were going out of town. I saved the turkey carcass bones. The next morning I threw them in a huge stock pot and simmered them for 4 hours.  I took out the bones and then added thyme, salt and pepper along with celery, onion, and very few potatoes since we're low carbing. I normally would have added some chicken bouillon cubes but the flavor was just right.

2. Hubby made a comment about being tired of chicken and hamburger.  So, I've been keeping my eyes out for some good deals. I found pork loin roast on sale for $1.69 a pound. I checked the marked down section of the meat department and this time I hit the jackpot. They had New York steaks marked down. I bought 2 small steak for $3 each. This is over my meat budget for each meal with is $2 or less. But, I like to make my husband happy so it was worth it. I'll cut back somewhere else.

3. A dear friend brought me some sweet Pink Lady apples. I hope to peel and slice them for a low carb apple pie (if I don't eat them first!). Thanks Pam! :-)

4. My husband loves bacon but BOY is it expensive! So, what I do is cut the package into 1/4's  and use just a small portion per breakfast. I put the remainder in the freezer. This way we can have a little treat of bacon once a week. I do the same thing with maple sausage that I find at the dollar store except I divide it in half. Sometimes I'll crumble it and use it in an omelet.

5.  The same friend who brought me apples also brought me a bag of clothes she no longer wanted. I found quite a few blouses for next summer and passed the rest onto someone else in need.

6.  I tried a new salad dressing (Balsamic Orange Vinaigrette) to use with the swiss chard in my garden. I also picked a few strawberries to add! (can you believe I still have strawberries growing?). I don't want to break a copyright for the recipe I used but if you do a search you'll find a large selection of this recipe. Store bought dressings are so expensive. I always have oil and vinegar in my pantry to make homemade dressings.

Enjoying some time with my grandson!

7. I have quite a few food allergies that cause joint pain. Dairy is one of them. I heard that some people can tolerate Ghee even if they can't tolerate butter. It's very expensive to buy. I tried making some  this week and it turned out so yummy! I put 4 stick of butter in a crockpot on low until it formed a crust on the top. I scraped off the crust and the yumminess below was saved in a small 1/2 pint jar. Hopefully it won't cause joint pain. I saved the butter crust  for my husband to use.

8.  I started my winter soup container again. I let this practice go during the summer but now I'm trying to keep a pot of soup in the fridge for winter lunches. I'm placing bits of leftover veggies and meat in the container to use for leftover soup.

9.  What I didn't throw away this week:
  • Bread wrapper (re-use as a baggie)
  • Bread roll wrapper from Thanksgiving dinner (re-use as a baggie)
  • Aluminum cans from green beans (recycle for money)
  • Rinse water from washing machine (Holding it in the garbage can to use later on flowers when the ground dries out.)
  • Appointment reminder that was blank on the back side. Cut in 1/4's and used for scrap paper. 
  • Rubber bands from radishes
10.  I'm paying closer attention to serving sizes on recipes and packages. This practice helps stretch my grocery budget and not my pants. :-) I also bought radishes and celery  for snacking in between meals. They fill me up and are inexpensive.

What is going on in your home this week? I've learned so much from you ladies!