Make, Do and Mend

The cyber-diary of what this homemaker makes, does and sometimes mends.
My motto is "if you do stuff, stuff gets done"
Showing posts with label thrift. Show all posts
Showing posts with label thrift. Show all posts

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Sewing and bananas

Life is getting back to normal. Husband's knee surgery was 3 weeks ago and he requested a light duty work release and went back to work this week.
Not sure how normal things are ever are around here though!

I've done a little sewing.
One small project to alter Elizabeth's Easter dress. Her momma ordered it from a company called Southern Tots. It was a little big so I shortened the elastic in the neck casing and added a casing with elastic at the waist to make the dress more fitted.

Grandbaby #5 is due in April and his mom requested a stack of flannel burp cloths shaped like 8s. The snuggly flannel was on sale at Joann's. I had fun picking out some prints and fun sewing them up.

Somewhere in the past, I heard a tip that keeping bananas in a bag keeps them from ripening quickly. Well, it works! At least first time I tried it.
We bought a bunch of bananas at Aldis on Friday. They were just ripe enough to eat that day. I have kept them in a sealed bag at room temperature. We've been eating one or two each day. The last 2 were eaten today and they were only slightly riper than on Friday but still  just right for eating.
Usually our 5 day old bananas are too ripe for eating and ready for banana bread.
I hope this was not a fluke. Bananas are one of my favorite fruits and it would be wonderful to keep them at our preferred ripeness longer.

Burp clothes- reversible

5 day old banana after being kept in a sealed bag

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

A few bargains

Colgate toothpaste is 3/$6 with a $3 ECB refund this week at CVS. I used 50 cent coupons on each one, made each box about 50 cents with tax.
Planters nuts were 2/$8. I used $1 coupons on each as well as a $1 scanner coupon. I got a $5 ECB refund, made them about $7 for all 4 cans. These will be great snacks to take to the hospital for husbands surgery stay.

At Walmart, I used a buy 1 Pantene shampoo and get a styler free coupon that was in a Sunday paper . Made both hair products $2.97 total.

A new grandson will join our family in April. I found this too cute shirt for him at my favorite thrift store. It is Mud Pie brand and appliqued with a puppy with floppy ears. If it fits him in the summer, I can do a quick sewing alteration and make it short sleeves. The shirt and jeans were 50 cents each.

Friday, January 4, 2013

project for the laundry room

the frame was from the thrift store- I added a fresh coat of red spray paint
the black letters were cut with Cricut,  Storybook cartridge, from black card stock
the clothes were printed from Pinterest,  I searched for paper doll clothes until I found ones that I like.  

sneak peek especially for you Tracey

linking to parties at
Common Ground
The Charm of Home-Home Sweet Home

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Tuesday's shopping

said she likes my shopping posts- it is not exactly earth shattering- but here is what I bought today

All of this was about $7,  after coupons and sales
the Grands were on sale for $1 - had a 40 cent/on 3 coupon that was doubled
this store has "banana Tuesday" and the bananas sell for 42 cents a pound on Tuesdays
celery was 50 cents a bunch- I got 3
the air fresheners were free with coupons from BzzAgent.com
milk and tomatoes were also on sale and I had a $3 store coupon.

I washed the celery and tomatoes and packed them in Tupperware FridgeSmarts
I really think they keep produce fresh longer than other storage methods

I went to 1 thrift store and spent $6
swaddle blanket for the new grandson coming in April
very soft velour one piece suit for youngest grandson

2 shirts and 3 pair of leggings for youngest grand daughter
brown skirt and red Christmas skirt for oldest grand daughter

the only big ticket item bought today
4 whole pork loins - on sale today only for $1.69 a pound
all 4 came to $50.

3 of them have been cooked tonight and
the last one will get cooked tomorrow.
I'll show you about them later.

Have you found any good deals lately?

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Tuesday's bargains

 I did a little shopping after the Thanksgiving lunch since I was in town and had no grandchildren in tow.

One grocery store had Red Gold tomatoes very cheap.  You had to buy exactly 10 and they took $5.00 off the sale prices.  Today was the third trip I've made to this store during the sale cycle so I ended up with 30 low cost containers of tomato products.  
 The 5 pounds of flour was 99 cents- limit one
 salsa was 69 cents a jar
tomatoes and green chilis - just like Rotel brand but even better in my opinion- 29 cents.  

I would of liked to get a lot more at those low prices but with the limits, 
 I am happy with what we could purchase.  

Then I stopped at my favorite thrift store. 
 Last week,  I found little baby pants for my youngest grandson,  
a Dress Barn ultrasuede skirt for me and 
some toys for the oldest grandson.  
This week,  I found  a very cute Gymboree dress and top and 2 pairs of shoes  
all for our oldest granddaughter-
 it was all $5 plus tax.  

about the shoes - I don't buy used shoes but I will buy new shoes at a thrift store. 
 Some of the shoes there do look worn already but many times, 
 there are very nice ones that have not been worn at all.  

Monday, October 8, 2012

Frugal October- Day 8

Quit a Bad Habit

I have been drinking and enjoying diet sodas for a good portion of my adult life.  
And I have given them up for another portion of my life,  mostly for finances but also because I know they were a bad habit.

At the beginning of 2012,  I was off of all sodas and doing fine.
Then,  we were thrown for a loop when our 2nd grand daughter was born premature and tiny.  
I was so nervous,  and went back to drinking Diet Dr Pepper.  Yes, I know that makes no sense because the caffeine accelerates your nervous system,  but when I was drinking them,  I thought I felt better. 
The last 7 months have been rather stressful and I just kept drinking more and more soda.

Well,  enough of that!  it is expensive to buy sodas,  inconvenient to lug them home from the store, and they were not tasting good anymore.  
So the last week of September,  I ran out and have not bought or drank anymore.  

Caffeine withdrawal,  if you really are dependent on it,  will cause some horrible headaches and lots of sluggish feelings and just plain tiredness.  I took Aleeve to help with the headaches,  they did not go all the way away but the Aleeve made them bearable.  I also went to bed earlier for about  a week and ate sweets when I wanted to fight the sweet fix I had been getting with soda.  

I must say I am really proud of myself for doing it and really am feeling better too.  

If you need to quit caffeine,  try to find a lower-stress time in your life to do it.  Because it will make you feel b - a - d until you get the craving out of your system.  

Now I am drinking water,  some unsweetened iced tea,  and a cup or two of hot lemon tea.  
Yes, tea has caffeine too but much much less they way I make it than soda does.
I've also drank a few ginger ales when I wanted something fizzy.  

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Frugal October Day 6

Church Rummage Sale- $1 a Bag!

The Christian Church in my town has a big rummage sale, held twice a year.
They have everything priced on Thursday,  
then on Friday,  it all sells for $1 a bag full and they use those big brown grocery sacks so for $1,  you can get quite a lot.
I knew the sale was coming up but not exactly when and I have not been reading my paper closely.

Late Friday morning after my grandson had story time at the library and we picked up my grand daughter at preschool,  we drove by the church and saw the Rummage Sale sign.  
I rarely do any shopping with grands but I love this rummage sale and I knew they have shopping carts.  

So,  the 3 of us did some shopping.  
We filled up 5 bags- $5
here are the highlights....

this was a homemade table with ball fringe handstitched all the way around.  It will be easy to remove and use on something else.  I guess there are 4-5 yards of ball fringe.  That alone would cost way more than $5 at a fabric store

my daughter is collecting letters to make an alphabet wall
and I think the little wood plaques will be easy to re-do

this is just some of the toys-
the best one in the FP Power Touch that works,  did not even need new batteries.  

a giant stack of kids clothes-
boy and girl
sizes ranging from 3 months up to 6X

These will be great to keep at my house for the grands when they visit.  

I wish I had read the paper and got to the sale when it opened at 8 a.m and gone by myself instead of going at 11:30 a.m. with 2 toddlers.  
But,  we can't do everything and we can't get every deal.  

But come spring, when the next sale rolls around,  I sure hope to get there on Friday at 8 a.m. with no little ones.  

Friday, October 5, 2012

Frugal October - Day 5

 homemade spray starch
I mixed up a new batch of spray starch- just 2 parts water and  1 part liquid starch
I like this so much better than aerosol starch,  it is cheaper and has no scent.   
Frugal toddler fun 

little ones love to do crafts and art.  
The big sheets of paper were saved from something I bought that was wrapped up in them for cushion.  
Grand daughter is using rubber stamps I have had for years and some kid paint bought awhile back.  
I do prefer the kid paint as it is washable.  But a few tubes will last a long time.  

the fancy premade kits are nice but it just as fun and cheaper to create with the  supplies you already have.  

Product Review
For supper,  I used this can of Progresso Starters cooking sauce that I got as a freebie.  
Did you get one too?
Mostly I cook from scratch and we rarely eat out but I do use ready made foods every once in a while.
I made this recipe for Creamy Lemon Chicken 
It was easy,  looked just like the picture,  and used just a few ingredients.  My husband really liked it,  he said it reminded him of a restaurant meal.  
I have some 50 cent coupons on it that were in the Sunday paper a few weeks ago,  if I find a sale,  I will be adding some cans of this to my pantry.  It would be good for busy days.  
legal stuff- I did not get any payment from Progresso to say this,  they did send me a can of soup and this is my honest opinion of it.  

we liked the one bowl oatmeal cookies from last so much that I baked another batch today.
Some went in the can for eating now and some went in baggies in the freezer for lunchboxes.  
Making your own pre-packed treats is a big cost-cutter.  

In the jar is a batch of homemade easy caramel sauce to serve with apple slices.  
Wendi and her daughter made another type of caramel sauce,  theirs looked so good,  I have been wanting  apples and caramel ever since I read her blog post.  

Are these bracelets dangerous?  
I know these rubber bracelets have been around for years.
We got some on Friday at a bank picnic  and my grandchildren had a lot of fun with them.  
But my 2 year old grand daughter somehow put one on her ankle and then she pushed it up on her calf where it was very tight.  I did not see it there until after her 2 hour nap when I changed her diaper.
It was too tight and left a big indention.  
I think if it had been on longer,  it might of caused some serious damage.  

Anyway,  I think I have found and thrown away all 6 bracelets we brought home from that picnic.
I don't recall ever hearing any warnings about these bracelets.
Was this just  a fluke for my grand daughter or have other people had the same problem?  

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Frugal October Day 4

The new weekly grocery ads for the 2 grocery stores in my town come out on Wednesday.
I always check them online to see if anything on sale is what we need.
We did not need much but I was happy to get
2 bags of potatoes - 10 pounds for $1.50 - we will be eating potatoes often 
big red grapes- 99 cents a pound - got about 4.5 pounds
2 pounds bananas

Ulta opened in my town this summer.
I don't wear a lot of makeup but  at their grand opening,  I got  a  tube of  their light moisturizing foundation and powder.
They are on sale again this month 2 for $10
and I got a $5 coupon in the mail.
So I got all 4 today for about $16.

they did not ring up right but the manager sweetly fixed it to the right price.  

and a quick stop at the thrift store in my town that has the best prices on childrens  clothing
My grandchildren don't lack for much but I like to keep clothes here at our house for when they  come at the spur of the moment or their parents forget to bring everything.

I found 2 shirts for our youngest grandson
a black velvet hoodie, 2 legging pants and a top for our youngest granddaughter

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Frugal October -Day 3

Three grands ( ages 2 1/2 months, 2 years and 3 years)  
were here today and while they were here,  
I did no homekeeping  except for 2 things 
-to serve us food and keep the dishes put into the dishwasher as we used them   


 -to put some potatoes for supper into to bake in the crockpot at 2 p.m. for our supper.  

baked potatoes are a family favorite and so easy to do in the crockpot.  Just wash the potatoes and wrap in foil.  
My crockpot cooks them done after 4 hours on high or 6-7 hours on low.  

I've been baking potatoes like this a long time.
Years ago when I was employed and had 4 school age children,  I would assign one of them to prepare the potatoes and fill up the crock pot in the evening.  Then when we left in the morning,  we would turn on the crockpot to low.  
My children liked to have a baked potato for an after school snack and as a side dish with supper.  

I think this years potato crop must of been bountiful as I have been seeing potatoes for $1 for 5 pounds at multiple stores.  

My 2 older grands love to do crafts,  especially if they involve glue sticks.  
Today,  I found some scrapbook paper dolls in my craft stash that they could glue together.
One was a pilgrim boy and the other was a girl with basket of leaves.  
They enjoyed it very much and it used up some of my craft supply abundance.  

After the grands went home,
I looked online a little at what some of the deals experts blogged about to day.  
 Only one appealed to me  but it was a good one,
I  signed up and got a $5 Amazon MP3 credit

it was fast and easy and I could of printed some coupons there too but I am really stocked on paper goods right now.

You all left some very sweet comments yesterday,
thank you!  

hope you all have had a nice day that was as frugal as you need it to be.  

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Frugal October, Day 2

Frugal Cookies
another good quick cookie recipe
mine are made with this recipe from Cookie Madness with a few changes

I used regular flour and sugar
coconut oil instead of grapeseed oil- but any veg oil would be fine
sour cream instead of yogurt
and no raisins.

They stir up fast,  no mixer needed,
and if your baking supplies are organized,  you can have these mixed up and on the cookie sheets ready to bake before the oven preheats.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Frugal October - day 1

Seed Harvesting
zinnias in my yard- grown from seed saved from 2011 zinnias
Black Eye Susans and another wild flower that is red and yellow
These are growing in a flower bed at the library in my town.
Can you see all the dried brown ones mixed in with the still blooming ones?

Well,  I saw them,  and when I tugged on a dead head,  it came right up.
So I pulled up a few of them and decided to save them for their seeds.

I should add that I live in a friendly green town and knew I would not get in trouble for pulling off a few dead flowers from a city lot.
This bed is in some need of tending to anyway.  
the library flowers,  in a shopping bag hanging in the garage to make sure they good and dry.
I had previously saved a few zinnias from my yard to harvest the seeds from them too.  
so today,  I was more than sure all my seed heads were dry.
I put them over sheets of waxed paper and harvested the seeds.  

Then I bagged them and labeled them and put them in with my other seed collection in a bigger bag, sealed them up tight, and put them in the freezer until next spring.

Much cheaper than buying those tiny seed packets.  

 In the Kitchen 
 I really want to lower my grocery spending but I also want to keep my kitchen as stocked as possible- I am not sure exactly how it will work out but I think I can.  
My goal in October is to spend $400 or less on groceries,  I've been spending a lot more so this will be a stretch but I am going to keep track and will post how I do.  

I did a little shopping today,  mostly for salad ingredients and for some pork that was on sale.
I got 3 large pork loins on sale for $1.69 a pound.  Each loin was about $14.  Total was just about $50.  
When my husband got home, he helped me deal with them.  He got out his knives and cut them.  He also fired up his electric smoker and cooked part of them  

the yield was ......

4 big roasts that I plan to cook for big family meals
3 meals worth of chops- we had 4 chops for our supper tonight
1 package of trimmings with plenty of meat on them that I will cook for our dog
6 meals of smoked loin, sliced

I think 13 big meals from $50 of meat worked out pretty well.  

The meat that went in the freezer was double wrapped- first in freezer paper and then in zipper freezer bags. It may be stored in the freezer for a while.  If meat prices go up like experts are predicting,  we will eat the meat stockpiled in my freezer slowly and enjoy even more lower meat or meatless meals.  But I am trying to stock up on as much lower cost meat right now as possible.  

I finally bought more milk today too.  There were 2 cups of milk still  in the fridge that were not spoiled but just getting to that turn point.  So I got out my Betty Crocker cookbook and made one batch of chocolate pudding with that milk.  It was delicious and very low cost- just used 1/2 c sugar, 1/3 c cocoa, 2 T cornstarch, 2 egg yolks and a little bit of butter and vanilla.  

Frugal Shopping 
I wish I could just shop at one store in my town and get the best deals and quality at one store but I can't.
Thankfully my town is small so I don't drive all that much to visit multiple stores. 
If you are trying to find the lowest prices,  you really just have to check out the stores you can shop it,  shopping is different everywhere.  

For me,  I found some great and low priced onions, bananas, frozen peas,sour cream and milk at IGA.
I got very fresh looking romaine and leaf lettuce at Crepe Myrtle,  a small Asian market.
At Walmart,  I found cereal on sale and got 10 bags as it is my husbands favorite and was just $1 a bag,  2 packs of Johnsonsville Italian sausage with $2 internet coupons and some hot dogs for our dog.  

Yes,  I know our dog does not eat like other dogs.  
He does eat dog food but he is old and has kidney disease and he prefers meat to anything else.  
He is not frugal but we love him.  

The Nester  is a very big-time blogger and she is hosting a series about 
31 days on whatever topic.  There are already over 900 bloggers linked up to her on a huge array of topics, everything from meal planning,  toddler activities, gardening, arts- the list goes on and on.  
If you have a topic you are wanting to explore,  you might check out her list for some inspiration.  

For me,  I'll be talking about frugal things all month 
as well as homemaking and taking care of my family.  

hope I don't bore you all......

Saturday, September 15, 2012

My method for monthly shopping

Here is the method that works best for keeping my kitchen stocked and family feed.  I have different stores available to me than you do and I am sure we have different budgets and food preferences.  So some of this might interest you but it might not carry over at all to your home.  

I don't much like the grocery stores in my town and prefer the stores in Oklahoma City- about an hours drive.  I like to shop at Crest Foods, where the cheese came from, mostly for sales and good deals.
I really like Sprouts for very fresh produce at low prices.  They have nice meat and some good bulk items too- I pretty much only buy from their weekly sale list though as their regular prices are high.  
Aldis is also on the list- I like their baking items,  husband loves their chips, and sometimes they have good deals on produce.  
Last is Sams, a big warehouse store where everything is good and comes in huge amounts.  

Once we get to Oklahoma City,  these 4 stores are all pretty close together.  
My husband is not perfect but he is really good sport about driving me around, loading the groceries and will even backtrack if I decide to need to re-visit a store.  He knows I am spending his paychecks just as wisely as possible.  

The one thing everyone asks about, when they hear someone shops once a month,  is what about fresh produce?   Well,  I do like to do the bulk of my shopping once a month and I think we probably eat more produce than average.  

First,  I buy the very freshest produce I can find.  From past experience,  I know the produce from Sprouts and Sams is fresher and lasts longer than produce I buy in my town.  

Second,  we eat things in order.  I know the bananas and grapes won't last all month so we eat those first and have apples and oranges later in the month.  

Third,  I pack the produce as air tight as possible before I put it in the fridge. 

that 6 pack of romaine heads from Sams gets put in zipper bags and sealed up with as much air as possible squeezed out.
These will keep for up to 3 weeks like this,

the bulk organic greens bought at Sprouts for $1.99 /pound are sealed up in a plastic container
I know these have a shorter shelf life than the romaine so  these will get eaten first.
We had half of them in last nights salad.  

I am also a big fan of Tupperware Fridgesmart containers.
I have about 6 of them and keep most all the salad veggies in them.
This one holds celery and green onions.
I also stored the tomatoes, bell peppers, mushrooms and some of the grapes in them this trip.

Tupperware is expensive,  I got some of mine on Ebay in a lot that was not too high.  I even found one at a thrift store.

When I don't have the right size Fridgesmart container,  I use any plastic container or bag that will hold the produce.
I really think sealing produce up from air prolongs the shelf life.  

Eggs- can you tell their are brown, blue and white ones in that dish?  They don't come from the store but from friends who have a few chickens.  $2 a dozen!

Milk - one store in my town puts half gallons on sale about once a month.  I buy 6 or 8 and freeze them,  after I open each one and pour about an inch into a pitcher.  The milk needs a little room to expand when froze.  

Baked goods - I make most of those from scratch at home.  

I have a smallish chest freezer.  It is currently packed though it is not always this full.  
I did not buy any meat this trip because I have found some great sales locally on chicken and ground beef, roasts and sausage.  

I buy big bags of frozen veggies and sometimes fruit to supplement the fresh produce.  
I read the local sales ads when the come out each week.  If their are really good deals or things we need,  I buy them locally.  

I do stop at Walmart and Walgreens to use coupons maybe twice a month.  

With the big shopping trip,  I don't have to shop again for a month if I can't.
 Normally I do supplement fresh and sale items if convenient.  

If you are wondering how many people I feed - well,  a lot!
Just my husband and I live here but I have grandchildren here about 3 days a week. 
Their parents join us for meals  often as does our single son.
My parents visit us an average of 1 week every month or so.
And when my parents are here visiting,  my brothers usually come for a short time and our children visit more frequently so they can see their grandparents and uncles. 

How much do I spend?  It really varies.  
In a very good month  - maybe $400-$500 for the month.
It is usually quite a bit higher though.  $700.  
For all that we bought this week,  I spent about $250 but that did not include any meat, milk or the eggs.  

We have a pretty big stockpile and could probably live on just what we have for 3-4 months without much difficulty, maybe longer.  

So,  that is how we do it!  

is it anything like how you plan and shop?  

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Beans, Skirts and Baking

More projects from Monday

I made a huge batch of crockpot refried beans.

I soaked 6 cups of pinto beans overnight,  then put them in a 6 quart crockpot and covered them with water.  
You can cook 1 cup of beans for each quart capacity of your crockpot.  

Seasoned them with 
2 T chili powder
2 t cumin
1/2 t garlic powder
about a dozen jalapeno slices
and about 1 cup chopped onion.
Let them cook high - about 5 hours or so- until tender.
Then add salt to pepper to taste
Get out the food processor and process the beans in batches, adding 6 T of butter for the whole batch and enough bean juice to keep them smooth and with a soft consistency.
You can leave out the butter but they won't be creamy like we like them.  

These are so much tastier than canned refried beans!  
cheaper and less salty too.  

Refried beans freeze beautifully too!  We ate some for supper last night and then I froze the rest in meal size containers.

Sewing project

My daughter had both this striped maxi skirt that she likes and a strapless dress she did not like.  
She asked if I could make the dress into a skirt.
No problem!
I used the striped skirt as a guide and cut off the top the dress.
Then I used part of that to make a  new waistband and inserted some elastic.  

The striped skirt has a wider fold-over waistband but I could not copy it as the purple fabric is softer and stretchier and would not have the same support. 

Now daughter have 2 maxi skirts!

My husband put on this shirt to wear to church on Sunday but it had a bad grease stain down the front. I rewashed it but it did not come clean.
It was really faded and worn in spots so it needed discarded anyway.

Before I threw it out,  I cut off all the buttons.
I sew blouses for my self and this is enough buttons for 2 blouses.

I have a drawer full of buttons but finding matching buttons for a blouse is a trick sometimes.
So put all these on a safety pin
now they are ready when I make some fall blouses.  


 I made some small yeast buns, filled them with sausage patties and froze for future breakfasts.
A store in my town had sausage on sale last week,  I stocked up- got 28 pounds at $1.99 a pound for Potters whichs is a very good brand.

And I baked 3 small loaves of bread.  
I used a bread machine to mix and knead both batches.  

I don't always do quite this many things in one day but I had lots of accomplish Monday as I expected to have 3 of my grandchildren here today.  
But plans changed and just one is here.
She is watching some TV and I am catching on some blogs.  
We will do some crafts and cooking later. 

what are you doing today?  -I would love to know

1 Peter 1  

22 Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for each other, love one another deeply, from the heart. 23 For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God. 24 For,
“All people are like grass,

    and all their glory is like the flowers of the field;

the grass withers and the flowers fall,

    but the word of the Lord endures forever.”

And this is the word that was preached to you.