Tennesseetransitions


Frugal Friday- May 15, 2015
May 15, 2015, 4:46 PM
Filed under: Frugality | Tags: , , , , , , ,

Getting back to basics has reinforced long-ago lessons that slowing down, eating well, watching my spending and getting plenty of sleep and exercise enables me to lead a life that focuses on the positive and good things in my little world, while also giving me the energy and time to focus on some of those things in the world that perhaps need a bit of extra attention. Invariably, living a simpler life saves me money…and I’m saving up for a bucket list goal now, so there’s even more incentive to keep things simple.

Monday: I told you last week about my earth-friendly ant killer, and because I really do want to have a healthy life and a healthy home I mixed up some non-toxic glass cleaner and finally began the task of washing my windows today. But I am NOT using the damn paper towels, and  am using newsprint in place of them,  to do the job. I’ve learned over the years that if I clean the windows when they are in the shade, or when the day is overcast, they actually clean a lot easier than when it’s sunny. It seems that when the sun is shining on the glass, it dries so quickly that it streaks rather than cleans. My goal is to clean one room per day, so I should have them done by next week. I’m on a roll, just not a paper towel roll 😉  And if you’re interested, here’s my tried and true recipe for a ‘green’ window cleaner: Combine 2 cups of water, 1/4 cup of white distilled vinegar, and up to 1/2 teaspoon of liquid soap or detergent in a spray bottle. That’s all there is to it.

Tuesday: My ‘back to basics’ mindset finds me outside more often: in the garden in the morning, washing windows in the afternoon, and strumming my ukelele in the backyard as the sun goes down and the moon comes up. All that outdoorsy-ness can lead to bug bites. Michael is especially susceptible to them, even though they rarely bother me. He says that’s because I’m so mean they won’t mess with me. Whatever. But here’s the recipe for my very own “Bug Potion #9” that we keep in the bathrooms, the kitchen and on the porch to wipe our skin with as soon as a bug has made it’s presence known. It really doesn’t help much as a repellent per se, but seems to completely take the sting out and prevents swelling. I also save all the cotton plugs that are packed in pill bottles and keep them in a ziplock with the bottles and use them to apply the soothing potion. Here’s the recipe..try to use a quality peppermint oil.

Bug Potion #9

1 cup witch hazel
1 cup rubbing alcohol
8-10 drops peppermint oil

Shake well, then store in a tightly capped container so that the alcohol doesn’t evaporate

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Wednesday: Picked my first ripe tomato and strawberries of the season! This is like Mardi Gras at my house!  They’re both organically grown and delicious with lots more to come. Ya’ll already know how absolutely important I feel it is to grow some of your own food, or at least to know where and how it’s grown, so I won’t get on my soapbox about it yet again. I enjoyed making several jars of freezer jam with some of the berries but it is a little ‘too’ good, if you know what I mean. How will I ever keep any of it around for Christmas gifting?

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Thursday:   I wanted you to see what I found in the alley behind my house…it was literally in pieces, but I was able to find all but 2 little connectors, which I easily solved by clipping on a couple of black PVC clips that hold plastic onto my little hoop houses in the winter. I put them on the bottom and you don’t even notice them. This is going in our little tool shed out back to hold cans of paint and other stuff. It’s really sturdy and the price was perfect.  I think repairing and repurposing should be followed closely by rehoming before something is tossed out. There’s an adage that I firmly believe in: “There is no away, as in, throw it away.”

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 Friday: This has been a week of walking my errands, hanging clothes on the line to dry, and buying absolutely nothing. It’s also been a week of using what I have on hand and can harvest from the garden. In my efforts to avoid food waste I save and freeze the stems from mushrooms and when I have a cup or two, I use them to make a pot of cream of mushroom soup, which will give us another meal, made from what many might consider food waste. Homemade mushroom soup is my one concession to cream and the stems are what Mr. Campbell makes his mushroom soup from, only he doesn’t add real cream. Just sayin’…

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Last month we spent $176 on food. I’m trying to lower that to $150 this month, and since the garden is offering up lots of lettuce and kale right now, we’re eating a lot of salads from the garden, paired with a grill cheese or tuna sandwich or a cup of soup. The salads are almost a meal in themselves, with hard-boiled eggs or cooked beets thrown in, even some leftover beans, pasta or nuts. Making big dinner salads like that really avoids food waste because I can add the tiniest amount of something to them rather than adding it to the compost pile, and no two are ever alike. Michael enjoys making his vinaigrette dressing to put on it, and now we have fresh herbs to add to that, which really pumps up the volume!

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Now, about that bucket list: I want very much to go to Cuba and hope to make that dream come true before the year is over. Dreams like that take big money. The very essence of being frugal is that by saving money on the small things, it allows me to spend money on the bigger things that really matter; for years, that meant simply being able to make the mortgage payments or buying shoes, glasses and braces for the kids. Now it’s more about musical instruments or traveling or doing fun stuff with my grandkids, and I’ll happily eat beans and kale in order to enjoy those things.

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7 Comments so far
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Knowing you, you’ll save enough and make that trip by the time you set up for as a goal. But, why Cuba?

Comment by sarasinart

Nancy, Cuba’s PEOPLE have always fascinated me, ever since I became close to my 6th grade Spanish teacher that had literally escaped from there, with nothing but the clothes on her back. She was a wonderful person and my only experience at the time with someone other than ‘white bread Selma’. I love the fact that during the time they were learning to feed themselves, (and starving) after USSR fell, that they called it ‘the special period’. Here in the US we call it “DEPRESSION”. Anyway, there’s a group focusing on organic agriculture and cooperatives that is going in Nov. I hope to get to go. We shall see.

Comment by simpleintn

That’s wonderful; and knowing you, you’re going!

Comment by sarasinart

Oh pack me in your suitcase! I want to go check out their organic ag coops…..please?:)

What a worthy goal you’ve set for yourself. Please go. Please take pictures. Please share!

Comment by Sara

Sara I’m hoping to go with a group focused on ‘Organic Agriculture and Cooperatives in Cuba’. I think we could learn a thing or two from them. I’ve long been fascinated with Cuba, ever since 6th grade when I had a Spanish teacher that had ‘escaped’ from there. I’m afraid when a new president gets elected he/she may close the newly opened lines between us so I’m thinking I better go if I’m going. Any advice or help you can offer on travel like that will always be appreciated.

Comment by simpleintn

My window cleaner recipe…from Mary Ellen’s Best of Helpful Hints Calendar from 1981…is 1/2 cup ammonia, I/2 cup white vinegar, and 2 Tablespoons cornstarch in a bucket of warm water, Mary Ellen also suggested shining by using newspapers instead of paper towels.

Comment by Deanna

Deanna, I still have 3 windows in this old house to clean…I’m gonna try your recipe! Thanks so much for sharing.

Comment by simpleintn




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