Frugal Living

Frugal Friday

  1. I roasted a chicken on Saturday. I turned the bones into chicken stock and was able to get two dishes out of the chicken, which in turn became leftovers for lunch. I made chicken noodle soup and white chicken chili. I even sent some home with my son for lunch later in the week.
  2. I turned some overripe bananas into banana cake. I try to make a nice dessert on Sundays when we have family dinner night. I got the recipe from the cookbook Scandikitchen: Fika and Hygge. I know, the whole hygge thing is really gimmicky. But, I like the desserts, candles and cozy pictures. Again, we had way too much leftover cake, so my son was able to take some home.
  3. I went through the refrigerator on Saturday and threw all the vegetables that were looking funky into a crockpot and made vegetable stock. Our CSA keeps sending odd looking Asian root vegetables. I am an adventurous eater. But sometimes, you just have to accept that no matter how you try, that particular vegetable will not work in stir fry.
  4. Went to a local treasure, Holy Hill, on Saturday to hike with my daughter. The price of admission is free and view is spectacular. Free entertainment exists, you just have to look for it.
  5. We had a little plumbing issue. My husband knows how to fix just about anything and was able to replace the leaking pipes himself. When you are able DIY, it’s the way to go in order to save money.

Frugal Living

Frugal Friday

The weeks are going by so fast! Halloween is in a week. My son turns 23 in two weeks. My youngest comes home from college in 5 weeks for winter break. I can’t believe how fast it’s going.

I am already thinking about Thanksgiving. It will just be immediate family this year. I am thinking that a turkey breast will be the best route. We do not need a 20 pound turkey for four people. Not to mention, we do not have the freezer space. I do love the smell of Thanksgiving though. There is nothing else like it. I am going to spend the next few weeks putting my menu together. Knowing that my nest will be full for a few short hours. Masks will be required though.

Now on to our money saving wins for the week.

  1. We took advantage of another free library program presented on zoom. In the spirit of Halloween, the presentation was on paranormal events in the Milwaukee area. I have always heard that the Pfister Hotel has a ghost, I wanted to find out for sure. The answer is, nobody really knows.
  2. I have been taking advantage of grocery delivery. I just don’t feel comfortable going out and about again. I did for awhile. But, I live in Wisconsin and we are pretty much ground zero for this virus right now. Home and work are the only places I will go. On to the point of the grocery delivery. I use Whole Foods for delivery. I know, normally uber expensive. But, with my Prime membership, delivery is free and I buy sale and 365 brand. With the purchase of a 365 frozen pizza for $2.00, you get a $3.00 credit for a Prime video purchase. We plan on using that apply toward the Borat sequel tomorrow night. Any movie that puts Rudy Giuliani in a bad light is something I can get behind. I don’t even need a discount code. I compared Instacart and Whole Foods delivery and Whole Foods was about $10 less for the same food.
  3. I made a huge batch of apple butter in the crockpot. It made the house smell amazing. I might have eaten some of the apples before blending them into apple butter for a tasty afternoon snack.
  4. With my 21 year old daughter living at home, she has taken over some of the cooking. She is a vegetarian and choses meals that are plant based, saving us money. Honestly, she is proving to be a pretty good cook. I have been picking up vegan cookbooks for her at the library and she uses them to meal plan. We are both off of work on Thursday. On my day off, she does the cooking because it’s her day off. It allows me to catch up on other things without worrying about meal planning.
  5. We had our water pump recharged and will have our furnace checked next week. Maintaining these items by having them checked annually will save you money. We have lived in our house 20 years and the water pump is still going strong because we have it recharged every 18 months. We have our septic pumped every 6 months. It costs $165, but beats the cost of $25,000 to have it replaced without proper maintenance.

That’s it for us. What have you done this week to save money?

Family Life

2020 Goals Update

  1. My number one goal is to get my pressure back to normal.  Several of my goals have been set to help bring it down with the help of medication.
    • I continue to be on the high end of normal. 
  2. Lose 20 pounds.
    • Slowly losing
  3. Continue to get 10,000 steps a day in.
    • I have been a rockstar at this one.
  4. Go to the gym 3 days per week.
    • My membership at my gym remains frozen.
  5.  Eat more fruits and vegetables.  I eat a lot as it is, but it’s time to add more, especially potassium rich produce.
    • I am crushing this goal.  I make every meal at home right now so I am able to achieve this every day.
  6. Try to start trying to meditate at least 2 or 3 days per week.
    • My fitbit app now has meditate as a weekly goal. I am sticking to it.
  7. Get back into the yoga habit.
    • Nope
  8. Cut down on the alcohol.
    • Accomplished
  9.  Pay off the house.  We had every intention of paying it off December 31.  A couple of unexpected expenses put that on hold.
    • DONE!
  10. Read 110 books in 2020.
    • Two more to go and done
  11. Read 3 classic books this year.
    • My number of classics stays at two.
  12. More dates with my husband.
    • Since we don’t go anywhere, we have designated Friday night, movie night.
  13. We have a membership to the Milwaukee Art Museum that I plan on utilizing a lot more this year.
    • There’s always next year or the year after.
  14. Spend more time outdoors.
    • This has been easy to do.
  15. Throw away 20 items per day.
    • Done
  16. More no spend days.
    • This is easy.  I have been trying to purchase from local businesses right now to help them out.
  17. Spend more time with my friends.
    • I have been doing Zoom chats on a regular basis.
  18. Finish a knitting project I started in November and start and finish another.
    • Done
  19. Learn how to can!
    • Boy did I learn how to can. I canned nearly 200 jars of food this year.
  20. Go on 2 weekend getaways with my husband.
    • Maybe we can do this in 2022.

Frugal Living

Frugal Friday

Time to go through our list of savings this week. Number one is something we have been working towards for literally decades. Here we go:

  1. We paid off the house! As of Thursday, October 15, 2020, we are no longer slaves to our mortgage. I got up early, drove to the bank to get that required cashiers check for final payment. The banker waived our fee and sent it overnight UPS for free. I honestly cannot describe the feeling of actually being able to say “the house is paid off”, but it’s remarkable.
  2. I keep saying, use your library. Our library has started offering “Make Its” to do at home. The cost is free and they provide the supplies to make a craft at home. Last night we made cute Halloween candle holders. All I needed to supply was 2 glass jars and a paint brush. Instruction was done via Zoom. It’s not the same as in person, but beggars can’t be choosers and I need to start participating in life again.
  3. The bees produced honey! Not enough for us to sell, but enough for us for the year. Fingers are crossed that next year will produce enough to sell to more than a few people who have asked.
  4. I took advantage of Amazon Prime Days. I bought a hydroponic garden to grow lettuce and tomatoes this winter. I am not a fan of winter tomatoes, shipped here from South America. My hope is to be able to have fresh tomatoes to at the very least put on salad. It was on sale for $85. I had $10 in prime dollars from Whole Foods and $10 from the purchase of a $40 gift card. So, the total for me was close to $30.
  5. I love those corny fall signs that everyone is selling, but I believe they are overpriced. My husband made one for me with the CNC machine in the basement. I love it.

The holidays are quickly approaching and I am trying to figure out how we are going to do that with social distancing still being the safest way to go. I hate the idea of missing out on these special occasions without family. I am thinking maybe doing it via zoom. That might be our only choice.

I am beyond worried about the election. No matter who wins, I predict that there will be social unrest in the US. Every time I think we can’t go any lower, we do. I am going to take advantage of early voting in my state next week so that I can avoid the lines and people on election day. Please vote if you are in the US. This is the single most important election in my lifetime. The world will be watching. We can decide if we want to preserve our democracy.

What did you do this week to save some pennies?

Not pretty, but so much fun to make
Fresh Honey
Frugal Living

Frugal Friday

Here is a list of things we have been doing to save money the last few weeks.

  1. The garden is closed. I spent weeks upon weeks either blanching, chopping, freezing, canning or dehydrating this year’s bounty. I have heard a lot of people say that they did not have good luck gardening this year. I honestly think this was our best year yet. I currently have about 170 jars of preserved food and a freezer full. I am grateful to the soil and sunshine that made this year such a success.
  2. Last week, one of our chickens disappeared. I was concerned, as we have just a few coyotes around and once I actually found a fox sleeping under a tree in our yard. My husband on the other hand refused to believe the worst. A couple days went by and Frog (that’s her name) reappeared for a meal only to disappear again. This went on for a couple more days. Finally, Eric decided to really give the yard a thorough look over. What would you know, Frog had built herself a nest under the electric meter and she had 21 eggs! She was brooding, hoping that she could mother some little chicks of her own. Since we don’t have a rooster, that was never going to happen. With the predator wildlife all around us, she needed to go back to her coop. She was either the luckiest chicken ever or she was definitely living on borrowed time. So, with some ingenuity and courage, Eric moved that girl back to the coop and brought the eggs inside. She is pissed to say the least and has been ranting and raving for a couple days. The other chickens, who have spent the last 2 years tormenting her, are a little scared and huddled together in a corner, just letting her do her thing. Moral of the story, we got nearly 2 dozen, organic eggs.
Fresh eggs

3. I signed up for the 2021 season for Sitka Salmon Shares and saved $50 by committing early. In the grand scheme of things, it’s not a huge savings, but it is money saved for something I was going to do anyway.

4. I got my flu shot. Flu shots are free with most insurance and worth the effort. I know some people don’t believe in them. I on the other hand am a firm believer. I opted out of the flu shot once in 2003. I spent Christmas Eve to New Year’s Eve that year on my deathbed vowing never again. I get that shot like clockwork, every single year.

5. I cashed in some credit card points as statement credits. It’s amazing how fast those points add up and how much money they can become.

Frugal Living

Frugal Friday

It’s been a while, that doesn’t mean I fell of the frugal wagon. Just super busy, even with nothing being open. My youngest is in the dorms at her college. It was such a bittersweet day. She had been waiting so long to go to college and it isn’t the experience her siblings had. I should be grateful that as a rule follower she won’t go to parties and will leave her mask on. BUT, I sure loved those college parties. I hope that she will be able to do that next year. Otherwise, fall is in the air. My autumn candles are out and on Sunday, the autumn decor will come out as well. On to savings:

  1. I know I have mentioned that I enter every single social media contest I can, for free stuff. I won again a few weeks ago. A $53 gift certificate to Milwaukee Pretzel Company. To say their pretzels are sublime would be an understatement. I am planning an Oktoberfest feast with the family, the pretzels will be the masterpiece.
  2. I have been canning and freezing as much as I can from the garden and CSA. I counted the jars yesterday. 134 jars of salsa, pasta sauce, tomatoes, relishes, jams, pizza sauce, pickles and fruits preserved. The freezer is packed solid with corn, peppers, carrots and peas. I probably sound crazy, but I am not confident in our food supply right now. Especially if Trumpkin wins again.
  3. My sister in law works at the farm that we get our CSA from. We did a little trade last weekend. We got a box full of red peppers and box full of corn on the cob.
  4. I used a coupon from Walgreens for 60% off a canvas print. I had a picture of my kids and parents developed on canvas and framed. I will treasure it always.
  5. We paid the final college tuition payment for our oldest. I am very proud to say that he will graduate in December, debt free. With the help of a 529 plan, generous grandparents and his consistent contribution every semester, he did it.

What did you do recently to save some pennies?


A Morning Rant

I think I can speak for a lot of people when I say that I have had it with this virus. When I was sent home from work on March 17th to start the safer at home orders enacted by the governor of my state, I never imagined that six months later little would have changed. In fact, from my point of view, things are worse. Far, far worse.

My family has been vigilant about following the guidelines. We wear our masks everywhere. In fact, my sister in law makes masks that are supposedly as effective as an N95 mask. If we are out in public, they are on. Restaurants. What is a restaurant? March 8 my family and I ate breakfast in a hotel restaurant after my parent’s anniversary party the night before. September 4 I ate lunch with a friend at a restaurant, we ate outside. On an incredibly windy day. I didn’t even consider eating indoors. We have not socialized, visited with family in a large group, gone to a theatre or museum. I know, we are all in the same boat. We follow the rules because we want things to return to normal.

I work in the public, so I see the people who don’t want things to go back to normal. I assume they don’t want a strong economy and a return to normal living because they refuse to comply with the scientific based guidelines that tell us this is what we need to do. Those people who claim that their personal rights are being infringed upon because they are asked to wear a mask in a public space. They claim a medical condition prevents them from such a safeguard. Seriously? If you have a medical condition that prevents wearing a mask, why are you exposing yourself to a virus that would make that condition worse? They demand college sports return. Newsflash, I have 3 kids in college. Covid numbers are surging on those campuses. I expect that my daughter who is away, in the dorms, will be home soon. Why would anyone demand the return of these sports when the virus can’t even be contained on a small, Midwestern college campus? Don’t even get me started on bars. I live in Wisconsin, the drunk capital of the US. People were acting like children when they couldn’t go to their local bar. It wasn’t until the virus shut everything down that I truly realized how incredibly selfish the human race is.

I miss my family. I miss my parents, I want to hug them and spend time with them. I miss my friends, so much. While I have seen my parents, outdoors, I have not really socialized. I know that soon, my visits with my parents will end due to weather. I miss live theatre. One of my favorite things to do is to go to the Milwaukee Rep to see plays. We get season tickets and enjoy 6 shows per year. That first show in the fall is something I look forward to. I often go with my mom and we meet for brunch before hand. I miss going to my church. There are no plans to reopen in the near future. The minister tries with Facebook live, but it’s not the same. I stopped watching several weeks ago, along with a lot of other people. Everything being on zoom and Facebook is just not the same.

I know I sound as selfish as the people I criticize for not following the rules, I admit that. However, I believe in science and the science has told us what to do to get back to normal. So, I am frustrated by those who turn a blind eye to science and reason. Things need to change or we are going to be dealing with this a lot longer.

Frugal Living

Frugal Friday

Ugh, we are hemorrhaging money this week.  Between college tuitions, medical bills and the general day to day expenses of living, things feel tight.  We did have a few wins though that helped.

  1. I have a friend who is in marketing.  She asked me to do a phone interview regarding COVID.  Super simple and I scored an Amazon gift card.
  2. I used the gift card to buy a Brita water filtration pitcher.  By doing this, I can cancel our water cooler.  We are currently paying $125/month for drinking water.  I have had enough of that.
  3. I took my daughter and son off of our auto insurance, effective 8/15.  Our auto insurance didn’t go down much, but our Umbrella policy was cut in half!
  4. We needed new smoke detectors.  My husband used the birthday coupons he received from our local hardware store to offset the cost.  Two detectors for $8/each.
  5. I canceled the print edition of our local newspaper. We rarely ever read it. Waste of money.  Waste of resources.

What did you do this week to save some money?

money pink coins pig
Photo by Skitterphoto on


Family Life

Meal Plan July 27-August 2

This week’s plan is going to incorporate as many vegetables as possible from our garden and our CSA box.  This is my favorite time of year for food.  The fresh vegetables that are available are such a treat.  We have reached that “I am overwhelmed” by zucchini stage, so that is nice.  However, based on what happening in the garden, we will be feeling that soon.  Below is our week ahead for meals.

Monday July 27 – Coconut Lime Chicken

Tuesday July 28 – Chicken Salad and Buttermilk Dressing

Wednesday July 29 – Pesto Pasta Salad with Green Beans and Corn

Thursday July 30 – Ratatouille and fish

Friday July 31 – Vegetable Quiche (I will use whatever garden fresh veggies we have)

Saturday August 1 – Pork chops, corn, tomato and cucumber salad

Sunday August 2 – Husband’s birthday celebration! Steak, tomato and cucumber salad, potato salad, corn, cake and ice cream

two people holding cake with lit candles
Photo by Ami Suhzu on



Meal Plan July 20-July 26

I need to get back into the habit of planning our daily dinners.  I don’t bother with breakfast or lunch because we tend to fend for ourselves for those meals.  My husband makes a batch of chili every two weeks and eats that for lunch.  I tend to eat leftovers and my daughters are old enough to figure it out.

Monday July 20 – Pesto tortellini with shrimp, kale salad

Tuesday July 21 – Halibut, cucumber tomato salad and roasted potatoes

Wednesday July 22 – Zucchini quiche and salad with whatever is ripe in the garden

Thursday July 23 – Marinated Chicken, vegetables and probably more vegetables

Friday July 24 – Grilled pork chops, vegetables, couscous

Saturday July 25 – Cheese, crackers, olives, fruit, veggies and hummus (it’s supposed to be hot!)

Sunday July 26 – Hamburgers, brats, coleslaw and potato salad


What is on your menu this week?


selective focus photography of hamburger with patty and lettuce on plate
Photo by Engin Akyurt on