Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Bacon Biscuits

Baking at home is a thrifty way to make your dollars stretch and have a better understanding of what is in your food. 

I've been baking for most of my life, and I learned from my mom a little tip that she learned from her mom and on farther back....  Mom was a child during the Depression and WW. 2 years.  During that time lard and animal fats weren't cheap at the corner store, and other meat ingredients were expensive as well so it had to stretch.  Grandma Pickrell  (a widow when Mom turned 8) lived in town and took in boarders to earn a living and raise her girls and son, so she didn't have space for cows and chickens and so on. 

Something simple Mom learned and passed down was to save bacon grease.  It only took once of accidentally tossing leftover grease to remember never to dump it without Mom's permission . She used it to make bacon biscuits, pancakes, and anything else that used shortening or lard.  She did this all the way up til she passed in 2003 at 69. 

Collecting, storing, and using bacon grease is easy.  Fry your bacon.  Keep a glass jar or something similar that can handle high heat on your stove top as you cook.  This will heat the glass and reduce risk of shattering later  when you've finished cooking your bacon, drain the leftover grease into the jar.  Let it cool to where you can handle it, then put on a lid, stash it in the refrigerator .  The grease will solidify in cold.  When you are ready to use it, simply use it as you would shortening  in a recipe .  You get the bacon flavor and animal fat instead of a factory processed shortening.  You also are getting every bit of use from the original piece of meat you purchased or processed yourself. 

It's a simple idea, one that has been passed down from generation  to generation . 

Give it a try!  You might like it!

Mrs. A

Saturday, November 24, 2018

Keep That Heat From Escaping!!

The cold has hit...ok maybe not today in the southern part of Kansas and other areas, but it has been rather cold most of the time.  Today it was 65.  It's been as low as 30's for highs recently, with a few cold fronts rushing through like arctic freight trains. 

We just yesterday finally got around to replacing plastic sheeting on the windows.  We purchased some heavier plastic than what you find in the "window kits", and stapled the plastic down to the frame with cardboard strips.  It made a huge difference right after putting it up.  The 7 foot old fashioned windows leaks air, which is totally normal for 100+ year old windows.  Even if you don't have century old windows, having a barrier that keeps your warm air from escaping and doesn't allow a cold draft come in is a good idea.  It's a small investment, but worth it when you pay your heating bill. 

Today I washed up the thermal curtains and we put them back up.  These we found at Walmart 5 years ago, for around $18 a panel.  They aren't the easiest to wash and dry without the backing sticking to itself, but it does block sun in the summer, and is a heavier barrier at the windows. 

I hung up thick wool felt to the front door to block a draft that comes in around the door near the bottom. 

On Pinterest, I've found some wonderful quilted curtain ideas that would be amazing to have!  They don't look hard to do, and would use up scraps and such, and do the same as the more expensive thermal curtains.  If you enjoy sewing or quilting, you might enjoy making these for your home! 

What have you tried so far to help insulate your windows and doors so far????

Mrs. A

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

The Call of Fall Part 2--Heat Tape

I left off the first installment of "Call of Fall" kind of abruptly.  That's how my brain operates--it buzzes from one subject to another and then another, like a bee going from one flower to another all day long. 

Something came to mind as a Facebook friend was showing snow on her vehicle (eeeek!!!), and that was freezing temperatures early.  I personally am not a fan of the extreme cold or extreme heat.  Just give me 75 year round with 50's for lows, and that's perfect. 

But, with those freezing temps comes frozen water pipes.  It happens every year to someone.  It stinks.  It can get costly.  It's a royal pain in the hiney. 

Something I learned the hard way after some pipes breaking, was heat tape.  If you've never heard of heat tape, it's a nice little invention that can save you lots of money, time, water, hassle, headaches, curse words, etc. 

When I learned about this, I had already had a broken water pipe on my little bitty trailer.  At the time I was a single mom with a special needs toddler, and I worked nights.  I was on my own, really didn't have a lot of technical know how for the under carriage of a mobile home.  I learned quickly after the first pipe break that maybe I should do something.  So, a trip to Lowe's and I came home with this foil looking roll of "tape".  It was kinda expensive for a working single mom, but I followed the directions and applied it onto the pipes.  I plugged it in, and lo and behold, no more frozen pipes. 

Fast forward a few years, a marriage, and a couple more kids, and we're using the tape again.  We now live in an older (turn of the century) prairie style home that has the stone foundation and so on.  We installed the tape on the pipes here, and it's been very helpful.  The pipes run under the house into a near crawlspace style basement, and it gets very cold there.  It has a lot of ventilation from little gaps and holes that have accumulated over time, which comes with old houses.  It has been bitter at times these past years, well below zero plus the wind chill, enough to freeze pipes for days.  All the pipes tended to with the electric heat tape have held up.  During the coldest of the cold, we drip faucets, and intense cold gets a stream..the drips have frozen up once or twice when it was absolutely bone chilling well below zero, but the little stream doesn't. 

Overall this helped and helps keep costly pipe bursts from happening.  This may be an idea for you to look into for your winterizing. 

~~~Mrs. A

Monday, September 24, 2018

Frugal General Purpose Cleaner

Here very recently I renewed my desire for making homemade cleaners.  I need to be more thrifty with our income, so this is an area I can easily cut.

I started making homemade laundry soap a few years ago.  This wasn't hard at all, and a little goes a long way, even with our family and the amount of laundry we do.

Now I've started on all-purpose/general cleaners.  This is a new adventure in my world.  I started looking through Pinterest for some ideas.  If you look at my boards under Sunny Patch, you'll see I found a few.  Feel free to check out my finds!

The first one I tried is a mix of vinegar, water, dish soap, and essential oil.

This actually turned out well.  I went through an entire spray bottle in 2 days.  The only thing different I'm doing now is the essential oil.  I at first used cedar wood, as I like the smell of cedar.  It doesn't smell so great with vinegar.  The second time, I made the vinegar/soap/water mix with apple scented soap and left out the essential oil.  It works great, smells good, and it's a keeper.

I am figuring this will save me quite a bit in cleaners.  No real need for a special cleaner for the bathroom, kitchen, floors, and so on...this one has so far worked on everything from stove to shower to some pretty nasty floors.

If you do frugal cleaners, let me know what you use!  I'm all ears and open for ideas to try!!

~~Mrs. A

Joyfully shared with:
A Pinch of Joy

Saturday, September 22, 2018

The Call of Fall

It is absolutely gorgeous this morning in SE Kansas!  It's been a blistering 90's or so most of the past week, and we've so wanted fall to come, especially since we had no spring and have had summer for more months than we can count.  We woke up to 50's for lows, and it was so nice!

Moving into the fall season brings areas we can work on for saving money and using frugal measures.  We generally use this season as a prep time for winter, which is a costly season.  But, this prep time can save us on resources and finances if we think about what we do.

Right now, those of us in cooler weather can cut the AC off.  Folks farther north are probably using heat, especially where they've already had snow.  Remind me not to move there!  Anyway, opening your windows to let in fresh air and cooler temps will dramatically save on your electric bill.  It also saves wear and tear on whatever unit you use to cool your home.  We run fans to help circulate the air in our house and get that sweet smelling fresh air as far in as possible.  If you have ceiling fans, those work very well in circulating, have your blades set to pull air up for now, and when winter comes and you use your heat, set the blades to push air down.

For those who do not open windows, this is a good time to start working on weatherizing those windows.  They are a good source of heat leakage in the winter, which raises your energy cost.  Here at our house, we use heavy clear plastic and attach it to the outside of the windows on the downstairs and the inside of the windows upstairs.  It makes a big difference and you don't feel a bitter draft in the middle of winter when the wind is howling.  Plastic is easy to find at your local hardware store, Home depot/Lowe's, Walmart, and possibly other discount stores.  We use double sided tape inside the house, cardboard strips and staples on the outside.  On the outside we roll the plastic up in spring so we can have the windows open, and return it back to the window and staple down in November.

This season is the time when we start pulling out our blankets, quilts, warmer clothes, and pumpkin spice everything.  We decorate our houses and yards to show the harvest colors.  This can be costly, but it doesn't have to be.

If you're decorating your house, use what is naturally around you.  Colored leaves in vibrant hues of reds and golds will soon be everywhere.  Gather some, and gently spray them with clear coat paint to keep them from degenerating any farther and keep that color a while.  I remember my mom doing this and calling it shellacking.  She also did this with pine cones.  Take the clear painted leaves and adhere them to a wreath or whatever decor you prefer to use, do the same with the pinecones.  Pumpkins are perfect to work with as well.  If you don't grow them, you can purchase them at decent prices.  If you DON'T carve them, they will last much longer.  When carving them out, you open the gourd and allow bacteria, oxygen, fungus, and bugs to get in and the inner flesh will deteriorate quickly.  Leaving the gourd whole will allow it to last much longer outside, especially on a dry area.  You can then use these later in the season for pumpkin pie and other goodies.  Roast the seeds for a great treat (I personally prefer brown sugar and butter on mine).  You can use butternut squash and other squash/gourds for decor, and then turn around and eat them later.  This makes a good double duty decoration!

If you know farmers or do your own gardening, save your corn stalks after harvest and use them for decor.  Tie a few together in a bundle and you have instant decoration without the added cost.  If you have dried grass/hay bales/dried wheat grass (straw)/oat grass/etc, you can use it for decor, bundled or used as bales for stacking, or in the sleeves of a scare crow.  Save some field corn or Indian corn to dry out and use it for pops of color.  Mums are a traditional fall decor item, they're great for color, and when you plant them, they return year after year after year after year.  My father-in-law has a yard full of mums that started off of one mum that has been used for cuttings for years.  It's pretty to see in the fall!  Marigolds are often bright and very beautiful this time of year as well.  They are annuals but reseed themselves very well.  It is almost like cooler weather brings out their colors better.

Now is a good time to check your warm clothes supply, while garage sales are still going.  People are clearing closets and preparing for the winter Christmas clothing haul,  Some pieces might need a little mending, but if you are handy with a needle and thread, you can do it easily and save lots of money.

This is by no means an exhaustive list of ideas.  This is just a very beginning...considering this is the first day or spring. :)

What are your frugal ideas for fall???  I'd love to hear them!

~~~Mrs. A

Gratefully shared with:

Darling Downs Diaries

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Just Give Me A Call

Jeremiah 33:3--"Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and show thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not." (KJV)

Through my years as a mom in the special needs world, I've had to call on God more times than I can count.  Each time He has been there, He has provided an answer to whatever the issue was I brought to Him.  Sometimes it's been "yes", sometimes "no",  sometimes "slow down sister, you ain't ready".

Back in the days of Jeremiah, God promised He'd answer, all the Israelites had to do was call out to Him.  He has not stopped listening and answering!  God does not go back on His Word!

As a believer with a few years under my belt, I've seen God answer even the most trivial of questions.  He's been there every time I've called out to Him. I may not have liked His answers at times, but God knows the beginning to the end, so He knows what's best.  It at times takes me a bit to get that one through my pea brain.

When was the last time YOU cried out and asked the Lord for help?  When was the listed time you called upon Him for wisdom in a certain situation?

As I've gotten older, my own prayer has often been asking for guidance in situations.  I've been in many through my journey that looked as if there was no answer, but God had the answer.  All I had to do was ask.

If you are a believer young in the faith, you may have yet to understand that Jeremiah's words are absolutely true.  There's no long formula to recite to get God's attention, just talk to Him.  As a dad wants his children to ask of him, our Father desires that we seek Him for our needs.

If you are a more seasoned saint, you've seen how God works in the big and small.  Nothing has been to minute for Him, nothing too large.  You've seen time and again how God has answered you in times of trial, rejoicing, and even the more mundane.

Wouldn't it be amazing if we who have been walking with Jesus a while took the time to tell others how He's answered when we've called out to Him?  Us seasoned saints, we should be more deliberate in doing so.  Our testimony of God's goodness, mercy, grace, provision, can impact the lives of those around us.  It doesn't matter what denomination you call yourself, if you know Jesus as your Lord and Savior according to Scripture, you have a testimony!

God loves you, He wants you to call on Him, ask Him to show you what He wants you to do/see/react/etc.

Take a moment today and share your testimony with someone!

~~Mrs. A

Gratefully shared with:

Darling Downs Diaries

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

God's Love Letter

In my morning bible and devotional reading, I was in 2 Timothy 3:16.

"All scripture is given by the inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness."

The question posed in the devotional caught my attention, "Are there portions of Scripture you find yourself reading most often to the neglect of other parts of the Word?"

Sadly I'm guilty of this.  I have my favorite passages and even books I'd be more than happy to camp in for long periods of time.  I am more than happy to glance over the long " begats" in the Old Testament, the ceremonial laws as dictated to the temple priests, and a few places besides those that take a lot more study and understanding to fully grasp the context.  I could camp out in Psalms, Proverbs, 1/2/3 John, Ruth, etc.  Those draw my attention, I love reading them.

The verse says ALL Scripture, not just my favorites, is given by inspiration of God.  I'm bad about that.  It was even worse on my part in reading when the kids were much younger and needing me all hours of the day and night.  I neglected reading my Bible. 

As time has passed and our lives moved into different phases, I've been able to adjust my own reading.  I learned to read before and after a verse to get the context, read the chapter, or even the whole book if needed to get what the author is trying to get across.  I once heard a saying, that the Bible is God's love letter to us.  If you stop and think about it, you wouldn't just read one line of a love letter, you'd read it start to finish, devour every word your loved one says.  You'd cherish the words and keep them close to your heart. 

Shouldn't you and I do that with our Bible?

In the harried days of young motherhood it is absolutely super easy to get caught up in the rush of taking care of everyone else's needs.  All of us who have ever raised at least one baby, whether natural born, step, adopted, or foster, can relate.  It's just part of motherhood.  It's in these harried moments reading one passage or verse may be all you can get in while feeding, changing diapers, keeping slightly older children from swinging on the ceiling fans, chasing lightning fast toddlers, etc. 

Believe me all of us moms have been there. 

When you do have time to sit down, just keep trying to read your bible.  Find your focus verse, read before and after so you get the context, and see where you can apply it. 

If you can't get in much reading in during this season, don't beat yourself up.  Young mom, you are living out the ministry God has given you.  So what if you don't read the Bible in a year? Read what you can, get the context, and go quality over quantity.  Your growth isn't in how many words you read per day, but in what you learn and grasp from what you read.  In time your day will slow down and you'll have opportunity to read more. 

Keep on going mom, you've got this!