Thrifty Sister Newsletter Vol 9, Issue 15 – February 19, 2017

Thrifty Sister Newsletter Vol 9, Issue 15 – February 19, 2017

Greetings, Thrifty Sisters! Guess what… I saw my first robins this week! The weather is certainly feeling like spring, the robins are chirping, I wore shorts yesterday – just to be able to say that I wore shorts in February and didn’t get frost bite! I hear Old Man Winter is coming back later this week, but man, this little reprieve is just what a person could use at this time of year!

The craving for fresh sprouting things is still in my heart and head.  This past week proved to not be the week to get to satisfy that desire, and now, I desperately want blooming tulips! I seem to appear very needy for blooming and sprouting things, don’t I?!

Have you ever forced bulbs?  I have forced paperwhites in a vase with rocks and water, I’ve done the good old Amaryllis in pots, and last year I purchased a pre-forced vase of tulips (yes, total impulse purchase, but I just had to have blooming tulips!). I stored that vase for this coming spring, and I’m curious what my options might be, at this point.  I was just doing a little research and I see that maybe I should have purchased my tulip bulbs last fall, and allowed them to “chill” for several weeks. Hmmm… this might be a great “live and learn” moment for me.

Here is a very informative article about forcing bulbs in pots, and what type of bulbs force the best: http://www.gardeners.com/how-to/growing-bulbs-indoors/5158.html

And this article has great advice about how to force them in a vase of water, and a cheater method.  Guess what I might be doing this upcoming week, as I allow my newly learned lesson to sink in: http://www.sandandsisal.com/2013/02/how-to-force-tulip-bulbs-in-water_19.html

With all this chit chat about spring, some of you might be feeling like it is time for that spring cleaning. Ugh, what a chore, right?! But what if we rethought “spring” cleaning? What if we created basic, daily habits to help our home stay clutter free?  Earth shocking, and mind blowing, right?! We all have clutter. I talk about it all the time. It’s a real struggle. The reality is, clutter forms when one procrastinates. It happens when we don’t put something away, right away. It happens when items don’t have a “home” to go to. Just like Daddy said, “don’t touch it twice” – meaning, put it away the first time, so you don’t have to stare at it on your counter (guilt!), then finally get around to putting it away.

And another reality of clutter is that you have to create a clutter free environment in order for basic maintenance to work. For many of us, that is a very daunting task. But if one were to tackle small jobs, until they are finished, then you get to do the easy, basic maintenance in that space, allowing you to move to another clutter filled area. This process is not going to happen in 24 hours like some blogs like to tout. The clutter didn’t show up in 24 hours, it’s going to take a while to get rid of it.  And guess what – that is oK!

We are all so very busy.  This is why clutter arrives on our counters and flat surfaces! But you are worth the effort of living in a clutter free space. You will feel SO much better about your space, yourself and the items that you choose to love, and create a space for.

I was just reading this article, and I think there are some super ideas that can help each of us. For me, our pile of mail on the kitchen counter is ridiculous. We certainly are not following the “don’t touch it twice” method here. But, somedays it is a miracle that the mail evens makes it into the house. We try to purge it once a week. That’s a step in the right direction. And steps forward are always a win, in my book!

I hope you enjoy the tips in this article, and possibly, they may motivate you to declutter other spaces in your home! http://www.care2.com/greenliving/these-3-easy-habits-will-help-keep-your-home-clutter-free.html

Again, be patient with yourself. Don’t be harsh on the collection of “things” that have amassed. Just do something about it now. No guilt, no worry, just move forward, and stick to the project until it is done. And no time line!  Maybe the bathroom closet takes 15 minutes or 3 weeks. Just keep at it.  You will be so happy with that space when you are done, and with yourself.

And with that my Thrifty Sisters, may you have an amazing week full of warm weather daydreaming, planning towards the future, getting your spring sprouting fix on, and being kind to yourself as you tackle the clutter in your lives – both mental and physical clutter. Until next time, keep on keepin’ it thrifty and fun!

Read the Thrifty Sisters, both new and old by visiting https://thriftysistersliving.wordpress.com/ or find our latest posts on Face Book https://www.facebook.com/ThriftySisterNewsletter .

Thrifty Sister Newsletter Vol 9, Issue 14 – February 12, 2017

Greetings, Thrifty Sisters! And Happy Early Valentine’s Day to each of you. I have to be honest, I think we must show love and appreciation to those that we adore EVERY day, not on just Feb 14th.  We don’t have to lavish our sweeties with large meals and expensive gifts to show love and appreciation. And many times, those random acts of thoughtfulness throughout the year can mean much more than the common, commercial holidays.

This year, I am happy to report that our South Dakota winter has been fairly mild on my side of the state. And with the warmer temps and melting snow I am intensely fighting off spring fever. It’s way to early, but I want nothing more than to be outside and in my garden. I’m even optimistically looking for the first robins, even though I still rationally tell myself it is just too soon.  Although, I’m pretty sure that my folks saw their first robins in late February last year, so there is hope!

If you are like me and craving the first garden greens and yearning for the garden time, this might be a good opportunity to dabble in sprouts and microgreens.  It’s certainly not full n gardening, but it is something that one can grow in a short amount of time and it will satisfy that urge to eat something from a garden, even if that garden is on your countertop.

Possibly you are curious if there is a difference between micro greens and sprouts.  Yes, there are differences! Check out this web site for a great side by side comparison of their differences: http://www.onegreenplanet.org/vegan-health/mighty-microgreens-versus-super-sprouts/

When I grow sprouts, I use the jar method.  Just make sure that you rinse the sprouts at least once and day and let them drain well.  Check out the instructions here: http://www.treehugger.com/green-food/grow-your-own-sprouts-jar.html And, growing them in large or quart mason jars are just too cute!

Interested in micro greens?  I have been wanting to try this for years – maybe this year’s spring fever will be the catalyst for starting my new counter top garden.  Check this out for instructions: http://www.rodalesorganiclife.com/garden/microgreens-the-salad-you-can-grow-inside

And with that, my Thrifty Sisters, may you have a wonderful, loving and growing week. I realize today is a short newsletter, but I have a ton of things that need attention today.  If all goes well, I’ll be sprouting stuff at some point this week.  Keep caring for each other and keep on keepin it thrifty and fun!

Thrifty Sister Newsletter Vol 9, Issue 13 – February 5, 2017

Greetings, Thrifty Sisters, and Happy New Year!  Little did I know that January was going to be so fast and furious, but it has.  It feels good to have a moment to enjoy my morning coffee with you all.

I have collected a moderately large collection of tips and tricks for you all over the past month and a half, but the biggest and probably most exciting discovery I made was realizing one needs the right tool for the job.

If you have ever been in my kitchen and we have prepared meals together, you know that my knives have always been a bit on the dull side (I feel like there are a lot of potential jokes one can have at my expense with that statement). I have tried all sorts of cheaper knife sharpeners, and they just never worked as well as that one that my folks keep around.  My Dad has this round sharpener that looks almost like a yoyo, but instead of where the string would be on a yoyo, one places the knife in the grooves and roll it back and forth. I never could find one of those.

Then last fall I was cleaning out the kitchen drawers and cabinets. Of course, I spied the dull knife collection, and the sad sharpener, and began trying to figure out how this conundrum could be solved. I mean, it’s knife sharpening, not rocket science.  How can my blades be so dull? Well, as my mind was wandering while I was sorting out container tops and bottoms (why do those never add up correctly?!) I allowed my head to go to gardening thoughts, and reminded myself that I need to begin sharpening my gardening tools in January… and here lied the solution to my problem! I went out to the garage and grabbed my sharpening stones, that I use for the garden tools, and I am proud to report that my knives have never been in better shape! All of these years the answer was in my garage!

Now, fast forward to shortly after Christmas. My cousin had dropped off some squash varieties to my folk’s house, for us to pick up and bring home.  One of these squashes were the largest butternut squash I had ever seen in my life. I had no idea that butternut squashes could be small toddler sized! With the sassy and sharp knives, we had little trouble getting these amazing delicata squashes opened and prepped, but my goodness, something seemed wrong with how tough the skins were – I was peeling some delicata squashes in the sink, and keep having to just push the peeler through, and then kept banging my knuckles on the sink bottom. It was a very unpleasant experience.

And then my hubby asked if the peeler was dull?  (Oh boy, yeap, insert more jokes at, my expense here!) My hubby is SO smart.  I wished I would have thought of that! It never dawned on me that a peeler could get dull. Again, my folks had one of those old-school metal ones, and it seems to always slice right through things.  We have what was probably the first peeler I ever purchased back in the college days – plastic handle and all. Not what one would have ever considered quality, but it usually did its job.

So, the question arose if I could sharpen the peeler. A quick google search turned up all sorts of interesting comments, such as some professional sharpening places (wow, those exist?!) do not sharpen peelers. Others said it’s just time for a new peeler (that seems wasteful), but getting into those little grooves proved to be bit of a challenge with my sharpening stones, and didn’t seem to help. Another suggestion was flipping the blade around, but my peeler was obviously not built that way.

There is this little video floating about: https://www.chowhound.com/food-news/55249/how-do-you-sharpen-a-vegetable-peeler/   I did not want to dull up any of my knives, but I did give this a short go, in hopes of not ruining my pairing knife.  It turns out that possibly, it was just time for a new peeler. So I bought 2 new ones.  One with a large blade meant for larger veggies (remember that toddle sized squash I was telling you about) and a smaller one for more reasonable sized veggies, as I had no idea how I would like the flat, larger peeler.

And, yes, having the right tool for the job certainly made life much easier!  With newly sharpened knives I could slice through that monster butternut squash with ease, and with the new big peeler, I peeled that baby in no time! I bet I would have massacred that squash with my old peeler.  But I cut up and froze 26 cups of butternut squash that day. And peeling the remaining delicata squashes are a breeze with the new and sharp tools.

So, the correct tool for the job still rings true. And having a second pair of eyes on a project is helpful.  It always seems that someone else is going to catch your errors and offer suggestions.  This is not a bad thing. Constructive comments are helpful. Suggestions from others might sting a little bit, but it’s because someone else came up with a grand solution that we were not able to see in the moment.

And with that my Thrifty Sisters, continue to practice your listening skills and deductive reasoning skills.  Research the options. And be grateful.  Had my hubby not suggested the peeler was dull I might have had a pretty gnarly fistfight with my sink trying to peel that monster squash. Until next time, keep on keepin it thrifty and fun!

Thrifty Sister Newsletter Vol 9, Issue 12 – December 18, 2016

Greetings, Thrifty Sisters! Wow – where has the month of December gone? In fact, where has 2016 gone? It’s hard to believe that the last time I wrote was the Sunday after our Thanksgiving holiday, and next Sunday will be Christmas.

Today’s first tid-bit was shared by Sue.  I really did want to get this out prior to now, as I am sure that many of us had a hunk of celery stashed away in the fridge from one holiday recipe and in hopes of getting it to the next holiday.  Or what about just putting celery in the fridge, in general?  I’m sure we have all experienced what Sue describes, but you are going to love her trick!

                Lora, I was getting mad because as one person; I’d use a couple ribs of celery. Next time I needed it, I looked at wilted yellow ribs…I can keep it almost forever if I wrap the celery tightly in aluminum foil. Now I don’t have to throw celery away in between batches of spaghetti and stir fry.

So, if you would like to run off to your fridge and wrap your celery up in tin foil, I will certainly wait so you can preserve some food. Sue also made mention that she cuts off the root end, but this is not required.

So, now you have the bottom end of a celery bunch…  seriously, don’t toss that out – or the leaves and tops!! I know that I have shared this little trick in the past, but it might be a good time to remind you, and share a new recipe for soup stock. Recently, our son has had a “special lady friend” joining us for Sunday night meals.  She is a vegetarian and I am delighted to get to cook for her – I now get to try out all those recipes without a single complaint from my son, who knows it is only polite to try to honor our guest’s food needs, and it is a sure-fire way to get him to try some new foods!  Mommy score, all around! So, the last time that I went to replenish our chicken stock supply, I decided to also make some vegetable broth.

The first little trick in either broth recipe is to save all the little ends and parts of veggies that you would normally throw away. I toss these into a large zip lock freezer bag, labeled, “for stock”. Please note that things like broccoli, cauliflower and other cruciferous veggies cannot be used for soup stock.  They will leave your broth bitter. So, leave those out of the stock stash! The recipe below has great instructions, and they make their broth on the stove.

http://ohmyveggies.com/how-to-make-vegetable-broth-with-kitchen-scraps/

My little trick is that I wrap all the veggies in a piece of cheese cloth and tie it together with string, then pop it into a crockpot full of water and set it on low for about 8 to 10 hours. After all that time, you just pull the cheese cloth bag out of the broth (feel free to add this to the compost pile!), and start ladeling up some pretty amazing veggie broth.  I freeze this in 2 cup portions, and of course label and date your broth!  I would not want to get the veggie and chicken broth mixed up! To make this as a chicken stock, I just add the frozen chicken carcass to the veggie pieces and parts (in a new piece of cheese cloth that gets tied together with string), and let it simmer on low for 8 to 10 hours in the crock pot.

Notice that some recipes suggest to cook some of the aromatics together in oil, then add it to the crock pot.  I am sure that this is a great way to add complex flavors, but for me, I just don’t have time for that extra step. I just chuck my scraps in a bag and let it simmer away in the crock pot.  It is so easy, its almost like cheating, AND you get to use pieces and parts that you would normally just toss out. SUPER SCORE!

It appears that I have gone on and on about my over-excitement of food scraps. But, seriously, how cool is it that you can make such wonderful broth from stuff you were going to just throw away.  And did I mention that I do not add any salt to my broth?  Now it’s pretty darn close to sodium free. And no weird canning junk that some companies add to their cans. Yeap, pretty much a perfect recipe, as far as I’m concerned.

With Christmas just days away, now, here are some really neat ideas that you can try.  They might even be gift worthy, or possibly a great activity to eat up some of the kids’ free time over a long and cold Christmas break.

This first one was sent to me by Britt.  I just LOVE the idea of jiggly soaps! And the recipe looks pretty easy – it might be a fun craft to do with your family. Seriously, jiggly soap… just the image makes me smile! Who couldn’t love jiggly soap?! https://www.buzzfeed.com/hitomiaihara/these-soap-jellies-are-way-more-fun-than-a-regular-bar-of-so?utm_term=.pxKjPaqbR#.co9lJEnWY Thank you, Britt, for sharing!

Does anyone remember making peanut butter play dough, as a kid?  This would be the holiday (and not edible) version on a classic homemade toy. And you can store it in a mason jar – could this project get any cuter?!   http://masonjars.com/blogging/diy-gingerbread-playdough-in-a-mason-jar/

I hope that you have had many opportunities to celebrate with family and friends over the past few weeks.  Tis the season to enjoy these gatherings, try new recipes or bring out classics, and to reconnect with those near and dear through holiday cards, gift giving, and all the craziness that we seem to put ourselves through. But, truly, during all of this, please remember to take time and enjoy the magic of the season.  Take in a children’s Christmas program (one really can’t have negative feeling after such a cute program!).  Enjoy the excitement of the season. Go out and view the light displays throughout the neighborhoods and downtowns.  Turn on some Christmas music, or possibly enjoy a family sing a long or play along! The main factor is to enjoy SOMETHING this season. Whatever the magic that brightens your heart may be, please stop the craziness, even for just a moment, and enjoy the magic happening around you.

And with that, my Thrifty Sisters, may you enjoy your holidays. Enjoy your celebrations, respect others, keep on keepin’ it thrifty and fun, but most of all, find the magic and enjoy it. Merry Christmas.

Thrifty Sister Newsletter Vol 9, Issue 11 – November 27, 2016

Greetings, Thrifty Sisters!  I hope that you all had an amazing week!  If you live in the US, you perhaps celebrated Thanksgiving.  I am happy to report that we had a lovely meal with my husband’s family, and it was so yummy! I do have to admit that the days prior to Thanksgiving were not “exactly” what I had planned on, but we pulled together and made it all work out. In the end, we all arrived at the table with many things to be thankful for, and I am grateful for the help and kindness that others could offer us this past week.

So, what have I learned recently that I feel like I need to share with everyone? I learned how to save and extend the life of both kale and spinach. The week before Thanksgiving, it was obvious that we needed to clean out the fridge, consolidate left-overs from big containers to little containers, find room to house a farm fresh turkey, and roll up the sweater sleeves and do a little scrubbing in our fridge. It is times like this that I make some of the grandest kitchen discoveries!

We happened to have some kale and spinach (in very large containers), and they were both approaching that “not so fresh” point. Did you know that you can freeze your own kale and spinach? Hmmm, sounds rather silly when I write it out like that, but the answer is yeap, you can! And in the process of learning how to do both, we tried out a new recipe, which was another keeper – even our son enjoyed this soup recipe. I will undoubtedly plan on bringing this recipe back to the table.

I do have to admit, I went ahead and just chopped and froze the spinach, then did the research.  Apparently, one should blanch their spinach first, unless you plan on using it within a few weeks.  Whew, dodged the bullet on that one! And, I am happy to report that the spinach that we used in the soup recipe seemed fine, even though I did not blanch it.  Here is a link on how to freeze your own spinach: http://www.simplycanning.com/freezing-spinach.html

Fortunately, kale is one of those items that you can blanch, or not blanch, depending on what you would like to use it for, and how long you think it might be in cold storage. Check out the instructions here: http://www.hgtv.com/outdoors/gardens/garden-to-table/can-you-freeze-kale And this link has several other how-to-freeze links listed at the bottom. I bookmarked this page, as I can see that I am going to be referencing a lot of these tips.

Speaking of freezing, did you know that you can freeze up squash, as well?  Oh, the joys of squash keep amazing me!  I had a huge garden fresh squash from my cousin’s farm, and it was much more than I could use in 2 baking dishes (yes, it was massive!), so I froze the other half for later.  I followed the fresh freezing method in this link and can’t wait to bake these little gems up. http://www.thekitchn.com/two-ways-to-freeze-winter-squash-178166

My sister in law, brought a delicious squash dish to the holiday table this past week, and I think that my frozen squash would turn out great in the recipe that she shared with me:  http://allrecipes.com/recipe/116200/garlicky-baked-butternut-squash/?lnkid=usspnt

And here is the link to the soup recipe (that uses frozen spinach) that I have been raving about: http://www.cookstr.com/recipes/cherylrsquos-tortellini-and-spinach-soup

As you can see, it has been a busy couple of weeks learning how to save and preserve food and trying out new recipes. Of course, each time one can preserve in their own home, they are not only creating a positive impact on their own health, but one is also cutting down on their overall assortment of items to the landfill. Especially when one reuses simple items like zip lock baggies. Wash, dry and reuse!

Another item that we can consider removing from the landfill is paper towels.  Yes, I have them.  I very rarely use them, but they are great when one has a wicked mess that you do not want to put through your laundry machine. So, consider ditching paper towels and use dish or microfiber towels in your kitchen and household cleaning routines. They are washable and reusable, and will save you cash. Paper towels are pretty pricey for how long they last.

With the South Dakota air chilling up and drying out, I know that my skin is crying for some relief! Consider making this Clementine Hand Scrub, and if you love it, consider making this as a hand-crafted holiday gift. Wouldn’t this be adorable in little mason jars?! I must give this recipe a whirl and see how it works, but don’t clementines just sound heavenly?! http://www.sheknows.com/food-and-recipes/articles/1002093/diy-clementine-hand-scrub

And with that, my Thrifty Sisters, may you have a delightful week!  Enjoy preserving your greens, please enjoy a hearty soup or squash recipe this week.  If you have a dish that you are in love with, please share it with me! And I hope you love the clementine hand scrub!  Until next time, keep on keepin’ it thrifty and fun!

Read the Thrifty Sisters, both new and old by visiting https://thriftysistersliving.wordpress.com/ or find our latest posts on Face Book https://www.facebook.com/ThriftySisterNewsletter .

Thrifty Sister Newsletter Vol 9, Issue 10 – November 20, 2016

Greetings, Thrifty Sisters! My goodness, how a week can change things here in my neighborhood!  Last weekend I was writing about having the opportunity to take my mower out for one last whirl around the yard (which was glorious, by the way!), and on Friday week we have several inches of snow on the ground and the lowest temps of this fall over the weekend.  Although the outdoor gardening season has come to an end at my home, it will give me time to work on indoor projects. Ha!  Lots and lots of indoor time between now and next spring…

One of the most important projects I do over the long winter months is tackle the copious amounts of “stuff” that accumulates over the months I would rather be outdoors. When I was growing up, my Dad would always tell us girls to just put things away, and not touch it twice.  The concept was why put something down “just for now”, when you could take that extra 2 seconds and just put it away – done, end of story for that item.  I hear his voice in my head EVERY TIME I lay something down and think, I will just put this here, for now.  And most of the time I pick up that little item, and put it in its place. If I don’t, guess what I have by the end of the week – a giant pile of clutter that takes way more than just a couple of minutes to put away. Most of my clutter items that I have are projects that need to be finished, or started. I figure that is what winter is for – lots of indoor project time.

I fully realize that for many of us, it is holiday time and we may be running through the house with a laundry basket picking up the random clutter and shoving it into some arbitrary closet moments before our family arrives at the holiday table.  I have been guilty of that, too. But, consider making a life style change – don’t touch it twice!  If you got your hammer out, just put it away when you are done with it.  Do yourself a favor and don’t let it hang out on the kitchen counter all week.  That just puts a guilty reminder that you must do it later, and who needs more guilt tucked into the back of your mind? We don’t need to purposefully keep putting ourselves through that misery! Just put the hammer away, seriously! You will feel so much better about it, and yourself!

For an uplifting, guilt free read about keeping the clutter at bay, feel free to read this short article.  And may you be inspired to begin the holiday decluttering. http://www.care2.com/greenliving/ill-just-put-it-there-for-now.html

For the past couple of weeks, I have been writing about how we can limit the loads that are sent out to the landfill. If there is one change you should adopt today, it’s bringing your own reusable bags.  I fully realize that this is a no brainer, and many of you may already be doing this.  And we all slip, and forget to put the bags back in the car, or even just remember to bring them from the car into the store, but if we all could bring in one reusable bag, at least once this year, we could save millions of plastic bags from the landfills each year.

And this week, with Thanksgiving looming in the future, keep the plastic containers and lids, and send home left overs with your loved ones.  You reuse, and there is no guilt about having to return the nice Tupperware containers back to their respective homes!  I am embarrassed that I epically fail at returning these items in a timely manner, and they do clutter my counter, sometimes for a ridiculous amount of time. But if you were to send leftovers home with me, a reused container would be perfect, and I would applaud your re-usefulness, and your kindness!

Are you thinking that this might be the week to try some new holiday recipes? Some people love the thrill of new recipes at the holidays, while others like to stick to the tried and true traditions.  If you are looking for some new ideas, or want to try these out prior to the next family gathering, here are 15 different recipes that would be great at a family gathering or something new to try out. http://www.care2.com/greenliving/15-uniquely-festive-thanksgiving-recipes.html

Oh, and speaking of recipes – did you try out the cauliflower soup from last week’s newsletter?  We made it earlier this week, and we call this recipe a keeper!  It can also be used as a base for many other flavorful combinations.  It was easy, quick, warm and hearty, and heats up amazing for lunches the following days!  In case you missed it, here is that link again: http://www.recipetineats.com/creamy-dreamy-cauliflower-soup/

Recently, I had to close my very first email account.  In there, I found a treasure trove of little tidbits that I had been tucking away to share with the Thrifty Sister. This little gem comes from Britt. It was in a forwarded email that was floating around in 2012, but I feel like a lot of these tips still ring true today.  With the upcoming holidays quickly approaching, we do need to use some common sense.  Our neighborhood has seen a rash of thefts and its always a good reminder to lock our homes and car doors when we are gone, but here are some other common sense ways to keep you safe.

THINGS YOUR BURGLAR WON’T TELL YOU.

1. Of course I look familiar. I was here just last week cleaning your carpets, painting your shutters, or delivering your new refrigerator.

2. Hey, thanks for letting me use the bathroom when I was working in your yard last week. While I was in there, I unlatched the back window to make my return a little easier.

3. Love those flowers. That tells me you have taste… and taste means there are nice things inside. Those yard toys your kids leave out always make me wonder what type of gaming system they have.

4.Yes, I really do look for newspapers piled up on the driveway. And I might leave a pizza flyer in your front door to see how long it takes you to remove it.

5. If it snows while you’re out of town, get a neighbor to create car and foot tracks into the house. Virgin drifts in the driveway are a dead giveaway.

6. If decorative glass is part of your front entrance, don’t let your alarm company install the control pad where I can see if it’s set. That makes it too easy.

7. A good security company alarms the window over the sink. And the windows on the second floor, which often access the master bedroom – and your jewelry. It’s not a bad idea to put motion detectors up there too.

8. It’s raining, you’re fumbling with your umbrella, and you forget to lock your door – understandable. But understand this: I don’t take a day off because of bad weather.

9. I always knock first. If you answer, I’ll ask for directions somewhere or offer to clean your gutters. (Don’t take me up on it.)   10. Do you really think I won’t look in your sock drawer? I always check dresser drawers, the bedside table, and the medicine cabinet.

11. Here’s a helpful hint: I almost never go into kids’ rooms.

12. You’re right: I won’t have enough time to break into that safe where you keep your valuables. But if it’s not bolted down, I’ll take it with me.

13. A loud TV or radio can be a better deterrent than the best alarm system. If you’re reluctant to leave your TV on while you’re out of town, you can buy a $35 device that works on a timer and simulates the flickering glow of a real television. (Find itathttp://www.faketv/.com/)    14. Sometimes, I carry a clipboard. Sometimes, I dress like a lawn guy and carry a rake. I do my best to never, ever look like a crook.

15. The two things I hate most: loud dogs and nosy neighbors.

16. I’ll break a window to get in, even if it makes a little noise. If your neighbor hears one loud sound, he’ll stop what he’s doing and wait to hear it again. If he doesn’t hear it again, he’ll just go back to what he was doing. It’s human nature.

17. I’m not complaining, but why would you pay all that money for a fancy alarm system and leave your house without setting it?

18. I love looking in your windows. I’m looking for signs that you’re home, and for flat screen TVs or gaming systems I’d like. I’ll drive or walk through your neighborhood at night, before you close the blinds, just to pick my targets.

19. Avoid announcing your vacation on your Facebook page. It’s easier than you think to look up your address. Parents: caution your kids about this. You see this every day.   20. To you, leaving that window open just a crack during the day is a way to let in a little fresh air. To me, it’s an invitation.

21. If you don’t answer when I knock, I try the door. Occasionally, I hit the jackpot and walk right in.

And there you have it, my Thrifty Sisters! Good luck tackling that clutter this week, please remember to use your reusable bags this week, save those reusable tubs and lids to send home leftovers sealed with love, enjoy the holiday meal prep – both traditional and new recipes, and most importantly, please remember to be smart and keep your family and home safe. Happy Thanksgiving to everyone, from my home to yours!  And keep on keepin’ it thrifty and fun!

And remember to create real holidays instead of a holidaze. Remember the spirit of the times and keep these helpful tips in mind if you feel yourself getting sucked in: Nothing has to be perfect. Focus on what is right and good. Ask for help and accept that your way isn’t the only way. The simplest choice is the best choice. Find joy in whatever you do and wherever you are.

Thrifty Sister Newsletter Vol 9, Issue 9 – November 13, 2016

Greetings, Thrifty Sisters! We are well into the season of Thanksgiving and gratitude and I certainly hope that you have been able to give yourself a break and give gratitude to yourself, for all of your daily hard work and improvements that you are making in this world.

Sometimes it is hard to find things to be grateful about.  Maybe you are under financial stress, or have loved ones who are terribly ill, or you are struggling to find a moment to just, well, “take a moment”. There are billion reasons we are incredibly tough on ourselves, and it feels like the world around us is not helping. And then, there are those hurt feelings. And even worse, the hurt feelings that one may have caused to others.

In our current society, we have experienced a lot of divisiveness that goes well past the political arena and spills into our daily lives.  Sometimes it is from random people – snippy or negligent clerks at stores, inconsiderate drivers, rude people in lines, etc.  And sometimes, we cause that pain.  And you know what, it is totally cool to apologize for your unkind behavior.  It is not a sign of weakness, but a sign of strength. In fact, I make mistakes every day that I need to backtrack and apologize for. And I am SO thankful that I have the courage to do so. It’s hard to swallow that pill, but I can promise you that once you start showing a little compassion, it is contagious, and it will spread.

I’m including a short article about how to apologize, and it’s worth the read, but I am also listing the 5 highlighted points for your consideration. http://www.care2.com/greenliving/how-to-apologize-like-an-adult.html By no means is this an extensive list, but it sure is a good starting point. And if you are truly not sorry, then say you are not sorry.  At least you are being honest.

  1. Actually say the words “I’m sorry”
  2. Empathize with the other person
  3. Learn the apology languages
  4. Don’t undo your apology with passive aggression
  5. Don’t apologize when it’s not necessary

Last week I shared a tip about how to stop the madness in unnecessary waste heading from our home to the landfill.  Another item to consider either reducing, or eliminating all together, would be processed foods. Gasp!  What?!?!  I hear you, because, I too, fall in the convenience black hole of certain pre-made food items.  There are only 24 hours in a day and some days one just has enough time to make a minute’s worth of pizza rolls and call that lunch as you run out to the car with your plate in hand.  Talk about fast food! Unfortunately, most things that are heavily packaged are processed. Not only is the packaging wasteful, but processed foods are less healthy than their plastic-free counterparts. Consider filling your grocery cart with wholesome foods like fruits, veggies, bulk items, and supplement with a few of your favorite treats, and try to recycle as much of the packaging as you can.

Possibly you are ready to branch out and try making your own condiments – and they would look so cute stored in a mason jar in your fridge! Besides, that pernickety ketchup bottle is always more trouble than it’s worth!  There are tons of great recipes out there on homemade condiments, just Google it! But here’s one site for your convenience.  You are welcome! http://www.chowhound.com/pictures/22-recipes-for-homemade-condiments

Maybe making your own condiments is not on your to-do list for this week.  How about some cute, crafty ideas on fall decorations that would be fun for you and the kids to do? Seriously, there are some super cute ideas, and it may even spark some creative handmade Christmas gift ideas! http://www.goodhousekeeping.com/home/craft-ideas/how-to/g2257/creative-fall-craft-ideas/

And here is the “let’s try it” recipe of the week: http://www.recipetineats.com/creamy-dreamy-cauliflower-soup/

Well, my Thrifty Sisters, it is time to close on another post.  The sun is out, the wind is light, and I need to take advantage of the GORGEOUS fall weather!  The forecast for my neighborhood has some cooler, wetter weather by next weekend, and I am going to whirl my mower around for possibly the last round this year, and finish some of the garden clean-up that I have procrastinated on. May you find opportunities to express gratitude and heart felt apologies this week. Good luck cracking down on your load to the landfill, and enjoy some new recipes or crafty projects this week. And, as always, keep on keepin’ it thrifty and fun!