Friday, February 20, 2015

MAKE DO for one more day!

I have a tale to tell of a 'not so pretty' bedspread. This bedspread covers a queen size bed in our
office/guest room/sewing room /cat room.  The bedspread was given to me about 8 years ago. It was missing the pillow shams so I turn it sideways to cover the sleeping pillows. It's an older print and certainly doesn't look like the comforters I see in the stores. It adds no spark to the room whatsoever.

Strawberry tower and BB girl!

I often think about buying a new bedspread but then I check the prices and decide that I can make do for one more month. I've asked myself 'why' I think I need a new bedspread since there are no holes in it and it's not falling apart. There is still a lot of life left in that old bedspread. I'm not sure but I imagine it's because it doesn't fit the image of the bedrooms I see on TV. It would be nice to have a beautiful room when company comes to visit.   But, once I think about other needs... real needs... I decide to be content a while longer. Trying to gain the approval of others can be costly in more ways than one.

"Our identity in Christ, knowing that we belong to him, serves to remind us that material luxuries, status symbols, and clothing, houses, and cars are meant to be enjoyed but were never give to stamp a sense of identity on our lives. Our gracious Lord has already done that.:    Jeff Manion

The garlic is doing great!

One 'need' is a dental and eye care fund. I use the 'envelope' method to save for upcoming expenses so we're not caught off guard. I have 'envelopes' for car repair, savings, vet bills, hair cuts/weave, DMV registration, birthday gifts, alms and a general household savings for appliance repair or replacement.  But, I do not have an envelope for dental or eye wear. We have a new dental procedure that costs $95 a couple times a year. I need to prepare for that ahead of time. My sweetheart will be needing glasses sometime soon.  So, I moved things around in my budget and I will be taking out a little money each month to put in a dental/eye wear envelope.

Wealth gained hastily will dwindle, but whoever gathers little by little will increase it. Proverbs 13:11   ESV

 If I put money into 'fluffing' my nest then I won't have money for future dental and eye wear expenses.  It's more important to care for our health needs than impress someone with a fancy spare bedroom. (The cats really don't mind the bedspread at all! *wink*)

My camellia bush  is full of flowers this year.

So for TODAY, I am learning the wisdom in lessons of contentment and making peace with my old bedspread for ONE MORE DAY and thanking God that I HAVE a spare room with a comfy bed to put that old bedspread on. I'm working on changing the way I think about this bedspread. I'm finding ways to enjoy it. I'm practicing thankfulness by God's grace. His grace really is sufficient. 

 * Now there is GREAT GAIN in godliness WITH contentment, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. 1 Timothy 6:6 ESV

 * Keep your life FREE from the LOVE of money, and be CONTENT with what you HAVE, for he has said, I will never leave you nor forsake you. Hebrews 13:5 ESV

  *My emphasis


A Typical Frugal Day

Here are a few things I've been working on this past month:

1. I made a new batch of spot remover for the laundry. This time I didn't add baking soda to the recipe as I have in the past because I thought it was rough on the clothes. I keep it in a quart canning jar above my washing machine with a tooth brush.

 Spot Remover
2/3 cup Dawn detergent (original blue formula)
2/3 cup ammonia
2 cups warm water

'Hen and Chicks' are blooming.California weather has been so warm that the plants think it's Spring.
2. I love trying new recipes. It keeps it fun in the kitchen. This salad dressing was from Barefoot Contessa's website on Food Network. The salad was wonderful but a little pricey with the Feta cheese and the Kalamata olives. I'll watch for the olives at my discount canned food stores and sales on on the Feta cheese since it freezes well. It would be a lovely salad to take to a potluck (blessing).

Greek Salad
* Put in this order in the bowl. 
1 large head Romaine Lettuce, chopped.
2-3 whole ripe tomatoes, cut in wedges
1 whole cucumber, peeled, cut in fourths, diced large chunks
1/2 whole red onion, sliced very thin
30 (or 1 cup) whole pitted Kalamata olives, cut in half (used less)
Fresh parsley, chopped roughly
Salt and pepper
Toss with tongs

Toss above ingredients with tongs. Just before serving add 4 oz. Feta cheese and squeeze with a little fresh lemon juice. Squeeze fresh lemon over the top.

Greek Salad Dressing

 2 cloves of garlic, minced
1-2  tsp. oregano
1/2 tsp. Dijon mustard
1 tsp. dried basil
1/4 c. good red wine vinegar
1 tsp. Kosher salt (I used sea salt)
1/2 t. freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup good olive oil (I used grape seed oil)
(I added about 1 tsp. Erythritol to sweeten)

I made the dressing in a canning jar and kept it in the fridge for 24 hours. Shake regularly (the jar! *smile*)   This is my new favorite salad dressing. (I made a double batch to keep in the fridge for lunch salads)

I love this picture of the 'grands' being silly for Grammy. They were so young then.

3. This is the second year that we had our taxes prepared free through our local library. We waited 2 hours  but it saves us a lot of money.

4. I finally used up the floor cleaner that we found in the garage when we moved here.  It's so expensive to purchase cleaning products so I did a search and found a recipe to make my own. It works great. As always, please check any cleaning recipe on an 'out of the way' spot to make sure it works well on your floors.

1/3 cup water
1/3 cup rubbing alcohol
1/3 cup vinegar
2-3 drops of dish washing soap

I put the lettuce pots on an outside table to deter the snails.
5. A new law passed in California that the egg laying companies have to give chickens room enough to move around in their cages. As a result, our egg prices have double. I had no idea about the law being passed until I went to buy eggs and saw that a box of eggs had literally DOUBLED. Gasp! So, I started adding water to our scrambled eggs. Normally, for 1 serving I'll use 1 egg and 2 egg whites but now I cut back one egg white and fill half of the egg shell with water and add it to the scrambled eggs. It makes the eggs fluffy.  I've also cut way back on low carb baking which uses a lot of egg whites. I stretched our eggs to last an extra week.

6. I went to taste some sugar free cranberries I was making on the stove and the syrup scalded my lip. It was bad. I should know better. I remembered my daughter in love had given me an aloe plant. I used it often throughout the day. The burning stopped and it healed quickly.

7.  I have a small ironing board for quilting that a friend made years ago. The cover has been stained for years and I've always wanted to make a new one. My daughter in love, a few friends and I are planning on sewing together once a month, so this was just the encouragement I needed to replace it. I used the old cover as a pattern. The material was free from a friend. It turned out great.

8. I stretched my hair appointment for an extra month. I put $20 in my envelope fund each month to pay for hair needs. Normally I go to the hair dresser on the 3rd payday but I always have to dip into the budget to pay the balance of the bill. So by stretching my hair appointment for an extra month, it freed up that extra money to use somewhere else.  A friend said that my gray 'roots' just look like a lighter blonde. Such a nice friend. *smile*

9. My sewing machine turn wheel froze up and wouldn't not turn. I read the manual and oiled it but it still wouldn't move. I looked on You Tube for a video on repairing sewing machines and found one that showed how to take it apart.  I took the sewing machine apart and had my husband oil it where he thought it needed oil. Now, it works good as new and I saved a repair bill.

Onions and garlic in a raised bed I added last year.

10.  I found whole milk on sale for $2.99 for my sweetheart. It's normally a dollar more. The expiration date would come sooner so I froze half of the gallon. It doesn't end up being watered down since it's whole milk and has a higher fat content.

I have more things on my list that I did this past month but I'll save them for another time. Groceries continue to rise and our electric has gone up.. yet the Lord continues to teach me how to be content with all He has given. We really are a blessed nation! I thank Him for His goodness throughout the day as I go about my work. He has been so good to us!

Saved, Re-purposed and Re-used:
~ Rubber band from radishes (washed and reused)
~chicken bones, cooked (chicken broth)
~ Salsa jar (to discard grease)
~ Gizzard from whole chicken (I freeze them until I have enough to make a meal
~ Chicken liver from whole chicken (fishing bait)
~ plastic bags (LC tortilla bags, vegetable bags,etc. washed and reused)
~ Small sturdy box (drawer organizer)

Well, these are just a few things I've done this month to stretch our income. How about you ladies? How are you doing with your grocery budgets now that prices continue to rise? I love to learn from you!

Blessed to be home!