Thrifty Sister Newsletter Vol 11, Issue 11 – February 17, 2019

Greetings, Thrifty Sisters! I don’t know about you, but it seems like in my neighborhood, the snow is not stopping, the wind keeps blowing, and there are always paths to shovel. Everyday. *sigh* This too shall pass, right?

In the mean time we need to keep encouraging each other that spring is just around the corner and finding creative coping mechanisms is critical. This year I have decided to start pulling out favorite summer tank tops and add them to the daily layers. My summer tank tops make me happy. They smell like sunblock and remind me that we are one day closer to putting away the snow shovels. And when it IS summer, I am going to thoroughly enjoy the fact that I don’t need to add my wool socks and sweaters to the daily layers.

With our recent weather, we have had a few days were school has been called off, and even some area businesses closed their doors for the safety of their employees and patrons. One of these recent days is was what I called a blizzard day. So, with the new-found day off, I decided to catch up on some random house projects that had been hanging out on my to-do list.

The following account is called, “Life Lesson Learned on a Blizzard Day”.

One of the items on my to-do list for my Blizzard Day was to fill in some places on the ceiling. We had recently had the track lighting in the kitchen replaced, so there were two large holes that were going to require a couple of layers of spackle. I decided that since I had my step ladder and spackle out, that I would also do a quick tough up in the bathroom around the ceiling fan. Both items seemed like small projects and something that I could probably get done in about 10 minutes. But upon looking at the bathroom ceiling fan, it was pretty clogged up with whatever linty stuff floats around in bathrooms. So, a quick fan cleaning was going to need to take place. I decided that I should do all the fan jiggling around before adding new spackle touch ups. (At this point, I was feeling pretty good about myself, and my ability to foresee potential problems if I did this in the wrong order.) Again, a quick 10-minute project, no biggie. It’s blizzarding outside, and I am excited to be productive.

I discovered that cleaning the bathroom vent can be a simple task with a dry toothbrush. Just scrub away, get in the nooks and crannies, and then vacuum up the linty stuff that falls to the floor. If you are feeling extra spiffy, get your hose attachment out and run that across the fan casing and take care of the last of the loose linty stuff. Seriously, what is all that linty stuff that collects in bathroom fans, anyways?! So, that’s the game plan anyway.

I scrubbed the ceiling fan with no problems, but now my mind wanders. Random thoughts like, wow, I should have put on safety googles, this is a lot of lint, where does it all come from, oh my I’m getting covered in these linty chunks that are coming from the ceiling – well, no problem, it’s a blizzard day, I don’t have anywhere to be right now. Finally, it’s time to gather my vacuum. The last time I ran the vacuum, I remembered that it was not working quite right. But I was confident that the cleaning of the filters that I did last time was going to fix that little hiccup.

Here I am, vacuum in hand, attachment hose ready to go, I flip the switch and this massive poof of fine vacuum dust explodes into the air… in my bathroom. Mind you, the bathroom already has a layer of fluffy linty things all over every flat surface. I look in the mirror and see this cloud of fine powder is still floating in the air, and I am now covered from head to toe in a layer of grey ashen vacuum dust. I swipe my hands across my face and discover just how dirty I am. Oh, no. What a mess!

Time to problem solve. Filters are clean. Belt has been recently replaced. Must be the hose. I pull the hose off the vacuum body, and before I even look into the hose, there are fluffy strands of whatever vacuums pull out of the carpet, hanging out of both ends. So, like any good band kid, to remove plugs up things from a tube-like object, you just blow into it like a brass instrument, minus the buzzing lips, of course! Out from the top of the tube, comes this puff of finer vacuum dust, but the air flow is certainly not going through. So, I start digging on both ends pulling out what appears to be a mass about the size of a bunny rabbit of dust, hair and stuff that never made it to the holding tank and I discover an electrical wire that was lodged in the hose. Well, there is the culprit. After getting that out of the hose, I now head to the patio door and go outside. It’s still blizzarding, and the snow and wind is wild! With the cleaned-out hose, I do the band kid trick again, and blow out the hose. Remember that wild wind and snow? Add vacuum dust to that. I may as well have tarred and feathered myself at this point.

With my newly cleared hose, I now come back to the bathroom and survey the situation. Do you remember seeing pictures of what surfaces look like after volcanoes explode? The grey, ashen covered surfaces… yeap. Mount Bissell left its mark. Cleaning the bathroom was not really on the list of home repairs for that day, but I certainly could not leave that dusty and linty mess – remember the lint from project #1? I vacuumed what I could, I wiped surfaces. All I can smell is vacuum cleaner dust. At this point, almost 2 hours have passed, and I can finally return to the original plan of spackling the spots by the ceiling fan. A few minutes later, that project is complete and can be crossed off the list.

So what did I learn on my blizzard day?

  • Don’t forget to check the hose of your vacuum when it does not seem to be operating correctly. While one is also at it, check filters and the belt. Your vacuum will run like a charm when all those things are in working order.
  • Vacuum dust tastes terrible and gets EVERYWHERE!
  • The spackle that goes on pink, and dries white, does indeed do both of those things. I felt a bit sick to my stomach when I lobbed Pepto Pink stuff on my ceiling. After the afternoon I had, I just could not mentally handle anymore “extra” projects.
  • Do clean out your bathroom fans on a regular basis. A dry toothbrush works great for this.
  • Sometimes things don’t go as planned. And it’s ok. Things usually work out in the end, even when you feel like life has covered you in a thick layer of vacuum dust. We are resilient and smart people. Take a shower, put on clean clothes, and hope that the pink stuff you smeared on the ceiling dries white.

And with that, my Thrifty Sisters, enjoy your projects, especially the ones that feel like they blow up! There are things that we can learn from each blunder. There are also take-aways from each Mount Bissell experience we experience. We must clean up the mess, take a shower, put on clean clothes, and hold on to hope. That’s a good Life Lesson Learned on a Blizzard Day. Continue to be kind to yourself and to others. Until next time, keep on keepin’ it thrifty and fun!

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Thrifty Sister Newsletter Vol 11, Issue 10 – February 3, 2019

Greetings, Thrifty Sisters and Happy February! If you are in the same boat I am, you might be a bit surprised to realize that the first month of 2019 has flown by. How does time just slip away? Since February is a short month, let’s enjoy every ounce out if it, because March is looming, and my Dad says that March 1 is spring. All of the sudden I am just giddy with the idea of garden seeds and little seedling trays in my very near future!

Speaking of garden delights, how is everyone coming along with eating up all the garden goodies that they put up last fall? Last week, my hubby and I made a discovery that our pantry, fridge and freezer were chuck full of random food items. Items that may have been purchased for a side dish that never got prepared, or other oddities that are just taking up space. So, we began the Pantry Purge Challenge, in hopes of cleaning out the pantry and not wasting food.

When my hubby hit the grocery store last weekend, he only purchased a few items that we would need to help tie together these random items, and a couple of frozen foods, just in case we ran into one of those evenings that creativity was outweighed by the fact that it was well past 8pm, and we still had not eaten dinner. Last week’s grocery bill was low, and we certainly did not starve this past week. And with the left overs, there were plenty of lunch options.

In fact, it was so fun and successful, and since we still have stuff to use up, we are extending the Pantry Purge Challenge to this coming week. Need help getting those creative juices flowing on how to prep those random items in your shelves? Just Google “recipes with ingredients”, or something along those lines, and numerous web sites will pop up with options to plug in an ingredient, and their search engines do the work for you. Here are just a few links to help get that search started for you:

Possibly your pantry is in pristine shape, and you are well ahead of the Pantry Purge. I always love great ideas on how to turn meals that I have already made into something new. Here is a site that has 6 super ideas on how to revamp winter comfort foods that you may have already made:

And before I sign off for the day, I thought I would leave you with one more thought for the day. For those of you who know me, I have always claimed to be a pretty cheap gal. But, maybe cheap is not the word that I should have been using to describe myself over all of these years. Frugal might be a better and more accurate word. Apparently, there’s a difference between frugal and cheap. Frugal means you’re smart with your money. One might prioritize saving over instant gratification. One might do things like shop at second hand stores, buy off-brand food products and possibly prefer to entertain at home, rather than always going out. Living within your means is a good thing, but if you never leave a tip when you eat out and calculate your part of a group bill down to the cent, you may be taking penny pinching too far.

The following link has some great advice for those of us who want to be frugal with their dollars, but still want to live a full life. Some of these are things that I feel each of us already do. But it is nice to have some fresh ideas, or validation that what we are doing is making a positive difference in our lives and pocketbook. It’s also nice to know that you are not a cult of one.

And with that, my Thrifty Sisters, Happy February! Enjoy the creative possibilities that purging your pantry may offer and relish the creative leftover creation opportunities. Continue to be kind to yourself and to others. Until next time, keep on keepin’ it thrifty and fun!

Read the Thrifty Sisters, both new and old by visiting or find our latest posts on Face Book .

Thrifty Sister Newsletter Vol 11, Issue 9 – January 20, 2019

Greetings, Thrifty Sisters, and Happy 2019! We are well past the midpoint of January, and I hope 2019 is trucking along well for everyone.

Recently, I bought some nice winter duck style boots on an end of the year clearance. They are cute, fuzzy and this brand/model had good reviews. While they do an amazing job at keep my feet dry, I was disappointed with their warmth factor. Apparently, the people who write these reviews do not wear them in South Dakota. Or possibly, I missed a key secret that no one chooses to share – you know, those deep, dark, quiet secrets that no one wants to talk about. I am talking about shoe insoles.

It’s time to end the silence. I openly admit, eventually all my favorite shoes, given enough miles and wear and tear get new insoles. If I have not destroyed the shoes in the first 6 months, you can almost bet that they have insoles in them. I have insoles in my Chucks, my favorite Doc boots, and this fall my dressy Dansko’s got new Dr. Scholls running insoles, which took care of the fact that the leather has stretched out. The new insoles returned them to feeling amazing again and may have added another few years of life with me. I recalled the first time I put insoles into my Chucks, it increased the warmth factor immensely. So, after our most recent snow storm, I added some insoles to bottom of the new winter boots, and WHALA! It increased the warmth factor enormously – even when my socks slid down to the end of my toes inside of my boots, my feet stayed warm.  And the fuzzy part felt nice on my warm, bare feet.

So, there you have it, I am letting you in on the secret. Insoles really do add warmth to your winter boots and Chuck Taylors. And you don’t have to spend a ton of money on insoles! The biggest challenge is finding the right height of insole to to fit into your shoe, while keeping your feet comfortable.

How are your new year’s challenges coming along? I can finally report that I completed my July minimalism challenge in early January. I am still minimalizing as I continue to go through bathroom drawers and closet spaces. It’s amazing what one can find stashed in their bathrooms. Bathrooms are the treasure trove of adding to your minimalism challenges!

How about consciously decreasing your waste? While one needs to be careful about hoarding reusable jars, do keep in mind that jars of various sizes and shapes are nice to have around. I reuse all sorts of jars. But, have you ever noticed some of them are really hard to clean? Possibly the sticker is tough to get off, or the odor lingers, or that oil just won’t wash out. Check out this link for some fabulous ideas on how to tackle the toughest odors and labels. The idea that I am most excited to try is soaking things in baking soda to remove lingering odors.

Possibly you have decided that you want to make or create more items from your kitchen this year. How about making your own bread? There is nothing more heavenly than fresh baked bread. But sometimes it just takes a lot of work, and practice! While some bread types are very labor intensive, here is a list of 17 easy breads that may make you rethink the possibility of having home made bread all the time. I am really interested in their first recipe, the gluten free cheese bread. The picture sure is enticing!

And with that my Thrifty Sisters, have a great week. Enjoy what 2019 has in store for you. Be mindful of the challenges and opportunities to grow, as well as the happy moments and the hidden delights. I’m savoring the idea of having warm winter boots. Good luck with each of your new year challenges and new habits that you are working on. Continue to be kind to yourself and others. Until next time, keep on keepin’ it thrifty and fun!

Thrifty Sister Newsletter Vol 11, Issue 8 – December 30, 2018

Greetings, Thrifty Sisters! How in the world did 2018 go so fast?! Mentally, I’m still in July of 2018, but the calendar and the weather, in my neighborhood, are certainly telling me that I have lost track of time. I guess I need to mentally reset and figure out how to embrace 2019, because it’s coming! I hope that the dust is settling after the Holiday Blitz. And blitz by, it did. As I reflect on the recent holidays, it just seemed like it was a massive whirlwind. But, so was 2018, so I guess this was par for the course!

As we begin to look towards the new year, I hope that each of you have activities and events that you are looking forward to. I also hope that each of you find time to relish each day. Mindfully appreciating each 24-hour period and find opportunities to be grateful. It’s hard to be grateful when your to-do list is killing you but take time to think of what you have. Possibly you are in a mad dash to do house cleaning. Be mindful and grateful that you have a home to clean. Piles of laundry seem daunting? Feel blessed to have clothes to get to wear. This is a good mindset to practice but practice it does take.

If you are into new year resolutions, consider making some large strides in creating a new habit this year. New habits require effort, but they can make a lasting impact on you and your community. Take something simple like water bottles. According to Beverage Daily, Americans consumed 42 gallons of bottled water each in 2018. Assuming you choose 16-ounce bottles, that’s 336 plastic bottles a year or 9.5 pounds of plastic. (

Wow. That’s a lot of waste. Why not invest in a reusable water bottle? Sure, sometimes a store-bought water is unavoidable. But think about the impact one person could make with a simple switch such as refilling a water glass throughout the day or having a refillable water container. Or what about reusing that store-bought water container until it’s worn out? Simple changes can make huge benefits for one’s community and reduce the landfill stresses.

Other plastic consumer habits that one could consider changing is recycling plastic bags and wraps. Plastic wrap and film packaging are generally #2 and #4 plastic, both of which are recyclable. And many times, one can find plastic bag recycling at the large box stores or your local grocery stores, which also take clean plastic films and wraps, along with your plastic bags. Keeping the plastic bags and films out of your curbside recycling helps ensure that your local recyclers will not half to shut down their systems when a plastic bag gets caught in the machinery.

According to, here are things to do and not do. Also, check out the above link for frequently asked questions about recycling plastics and wraps.

Please DO recycle:

  • Grocery & retail bags
  • Newspaper bags
  • The outer Wrapping from Napkins, Paper Towels, Bathroom Tissue & Diapers
  • Bread bags
  • Dry cleaning bags
  • The outer wrapping from bulk beverages
  • Produce bags
  • All clean, dry bags Labeled #2 or #4

Please DO NOT recycle:

  • Food or cling wrap
  • Prepackaged food bags (including frozen food bags and pre-washed salad bags)
  • Plastic Film That has Been Painted or has Excessive Glue Residue

Thanks for indulging my obsession for recycling all that plastic! I’ll spare you my soap box rant on packaging waste, but if you could just do one of these things, each one of us, we would make a large impact.

How about some new recipe ideas? I ran across this thing called warm salads. At first, I thought this sounded disgusting. Are you envisioning a heaping bowl of slimy, cooked lettuce? I was! It turns out that I have been enjoying warm salads for a long time without realizing they were called warm salads. Not everything in your bowl must be warm. Maybe you start with a base of crisp, mixed salad greens and top them with freshly cooked beans, steamy roasted vegetables, or a warm salad dressing. You can also start with warm greens, like cooked kale. Or skip the greens entirely and go with warm grains as the base. You get the idea: mix cooked ingredients with fresh veggies, toss with a good dressing and you’re in business. See the following link for 15 yummy warm salad ideas:

And with that my Thrifty Sisters, have a great week and mindfully cheer in the new year. It’s here and I need to get on board with 2019. Continue to make each day the best. Be kind to yourself and others. Until next time, keep on keepin’ it thrifty and fun!

Read the Thrifty Sisters, both new and old by visiting or find our latest posts on Face Book .

Thrifty Sister Newsletter Vol 11, Issue 7 – November 25, 2018

Greetings, Thrifty Sisters! I truly hope that each one of you had the opportunity to celebrate being thankful and surrounded by those that you love over the past week.

For those of you who have been following this newsletter for the past year, you know that I have been participating in the minimalism challenge. (to refresh your acquaintance on what I’m talking about check out the game rules here: ). My game has been a slow one. I completed the January challenge in June. I started the July challenge understanding that it would take me about 6 months. It’s late November and I’m about half way through the July 23rd day. No matter how slow my game has been, I am winning with each space that I regain and clean. I have also learned a lot about myself and my ridiculous pack-ratting skills. I have also found some treasures that I have been able to repurpose into “new” creations.

With the holiday season in full swing, consider making some really rad gifts for those on your gift giving list. Handmade and unique items are always appreciated, and it tells the recipient that you took a lot of love and time in creating a special-for-them gift. If it’s the thought that counts, then you win at gift giving with a handcrafted item, because creating something takes a LOT of thought!

So, let’s talk about altered books. That’s an actual label for creative reposed books projects. Feel free to Google that, or get lost down the Pinterest rabbit hole. So much creativity! Here are some of my favorites:

15 furniture ideas using books:

Printed Vintage Dictionary Artwork:

The Classic Book Safe:

A Collection of book crafts and ideas:

Now that I have your creative juices flowing, why not think about inventive food choices? I was trying to find some neat-o holiday left over ideas, and randomly found these two recipes. Both captured my curiosity, although I was not at all familiar with zoodles. Zoodles are noodles made from zucchini, although if one invests in a spiralizer, one can make noodles out of most veggies.

My mind is blown just a little right now. Kitchen gadgets have never been my thing, but this spiralizer does seem interesting. Maybe you already own one, and just need a bit of inspiration? Here are 33 Zoodle recipes:

No spiralizer, no problem. How about some Cauliflower Tacos?

And with that my Thrifty Sisters, have a great week. December is quickly approaching, which means the Christmas Crazies are looming down on us. Take each day and make it the best. Be kind to yourself and others. Do what you can with the 24 hours available to you, but make sure that you take time to sleep and eat well. Until next time, keep on keepin’ it thrifty and fun!

Thrifty Sister Newsletter Vol 11, Issue 6 – November 11, 2018

Thrifty Sister Newsletter Vol 11, Issue 6 – November 11, 2018

Greetings, Thrifty Sisters! The last newsletter touted the delights of spending the last few weeks of September living up summer, and then I blinked. And here we are, ready to talk about the holidays. 2018 is just flying by, in my home. Marching band is over, school is in full swing with the holiday concerts looming, and with the unseasonably cool weather, I’ve been forced to put the sun dresses and flip flops away and rediscover my winter layers.

With November comes many reasons to rejoice. Today we get to celebrate our Veterans. We need to take time to recognize and remember all of those who have served, are serving, and for those who have paid the ultimate price for our freedoms. For all the veterans who are reading this, I will never forget, and thank you for your service.

For those Veterans, don’t forget that many local and national businesses offer discounts or free items, in recognition of your services. If you are curious what is available, there are many websites that are posting the deals of the day. Here is one:

And later this week, we have America Recycles Day on Nov 15. I had no idea that this was even a national day! In the following link ( it states, “America Recycles Day was started in 1997 by the National Recycling Coalition and is declared each year by Presidential Proclamation, encouraging Americans to commit to recycling.” And I thought Recycling Day was every day! Feel free to reduce, reuse and recycle on Thursday, and enjoy the national movement to get involved.

And in just about a week and a half, it’s Thanksgiving! (OMG, did your tummy just twist like mine did when I looked at the calendar and figured this out?!) Yikes, and wow. If you are in the same boat as I am, please feel free to visit this site for 10 smart tips to help you prepare for Thanksgiving. They offer some stellar planning ahead for meal prep, and even provide links to to-do lists, as well as info about unthawing one’s bird.

Maybe you would rather craft your way to a lovely Thanksgiving? Here are 9 great ways to celebrate America Recycles Day AND create a festive mood:

And before I signoff, allow me to leave you this recipe for Cheesy Baked Spaghetti Squash. Spaghetti squash is such an amazing squash! In the last posting, I declared that Delicata Squash was probably my favorite squash, but I was mistaken. Spaghetti Squash is my favorite. Anything that you would make with pasta, you can make with this squash! And the mild flavor does not make you think you are eating squash at all. Mother Nature, you have once again blown my mind!!!!

Since my kitchen looks like a small farmer’s market has set up shop, I need to get to work on baking up some of these yummy gourds. One of my preferred things is to bake one of a Sunday and eat it for lunches during the work week. Since I have not been home on Sundays, it’s been difficult to squeeze it into my work week, but I have a feeling today is the day. And this recipe sounds amazing!

And with that, my Thrifty Sisters, celebrate every day. Celebrate and thank our Veterans, celebrate recycling opportunities, celebrate all the small and beautiful things that life offers to you every day. Celebrate that we still have a week and a half to prepare for Thanksgiving. I’m going to celebrate garden goodness by putting a spaghetti squash in my oven and be thankful that I have the time and resources to be able to do that today. Remember to be kind to yourself and each other and keep on keepin’ it thrifty and fun!

Read the Thrifty Sisters, both new and old by visiting or find our latest posts on Face Book .

Thrifty Sister Newsletter Vol 11, Issue 5 – September 9, 2018

Greetings, Thrifty Sisters! What is happening to 2018?! It is disappearing right in front of my very eyes!! I feel like it was just July, but now my calendar says it is almost mid-September! I guess time flies, when you’re having fun/getting older. Your choice on how you want to end that last sentence. (ha!)

I sincerely hope that each of you found opportunities to enjoy the summer months and are possibly looking forward to the upcoming change of season. Summer is my favorite season. I enjoy the heat and humidity, and the start of marching band camps, and garden bounties and garden displays and sundresses and flip flops. I struggle each year to welcome the autumn season. I hang on to summer for as long as I can. Some years autumn can surprise us with a burst of beautiful color, cool evenings and warm days. And some years… well, I guess white could be considered a sudden burst of color, too.

But, before I get too emotional, my calendar says that I have 2 more weeks of Summer-Time and I’m going to try to live it up!

While the calendar says one thing, it is obvious by the CSA deliveries that fall is just around the corner. Our first sweet potatoes arrived, along with a Delicata squash. Delicata squash are probably my favorite squash – so there is that to look forward to this coming season! Beets are growing like crazy on my cousin’s farm, and I have been happily sharing and preserving their generous gift. My own garden did not appreciate the copious amounts of rain that my neighborhood received this summer, but my tomatoes and cucumbers are finaly arriving and they were certainly worth the wait!

Here is a site with 50 Fall Harvest recipes: There are some very tasty looking recipes in this list, and I can’t wait to try my hand at the beet and sweet potato fries!

Speaking of beets, did you know that you can freeze beets? I remember a few years ago that my neighbor and I discussed if one could or could not freeze beets. I was skeptical if beets could be frozen, but apparently, I was super wrong! (Sorry, Erin!) I really enjoy pickled beets, so I normally just pickle away. But this year, I have roasted them (WOW!), and I have also learned that you can freeze them. In prepping beets for freezing, you can either boil or roast them, your choice. Here is the recipe that I used to freeze beets, after I boiled my first freezing batch :

And here are some great ideas on what to do with those frozen beets:

Along with the change of seasons, it seems like unwanted visitors seem to show up in the kitchen. Do you notice an increase of fruit flies at this time of year, too? There are all sorts of products that one can stare at in the bug removal section of a hardware store. But you can also make some good and ecofriendly and cheaper versions at home. Check out the link below for 7 ways to get rid of those pesky fruit flies. Also, consider swapping out the vinegar or wine with a little bit of beer in a jar or bowl. Fruit flies love most beers! And the beer smell dissipates, so have no fear – your kitchen won’t smell like a kegger.

And with that, my Thrifty Sisters, enjoy the waning days of summer. Look forward to a fresh new season bursting with all sorts of harvest bounty and new recipes just waiting to be discovered! Good luck with the fruit flies. I’m heading out to the garden. Remember to be kind to yourself and each other and keep on keepin’ it thrifty and fun!

Read the Thrifty Sisters, both new and old by visiting or find our latest posts on Face Book .