Thrifty Sister Newsletter Vol 9, Issue 4 – September 4, 2016

Greetings, Thrifty Sisters! Has summer just flown by for you, too?  I’ve heard from many that they are relieved that summer is ending and cooler and less humid weather is on its way.  But I am sad that summer is dwindling away.  The leaves are changing colors, the weather is certainly beginning to shift in my neighborhood, and my gardens are showing their fall displays.  Canning season has been in full swing, which I love, but I also know that harvests will soon dwindle and the vines will begin to wither away, and fall cleanup will be upon us.

So what has summer taught me this year?  Gratitude and appreciation.  It certainly is the simple things in life that make a huge difference to everyone, whether that is showing appreciation to others, extending a helping hand, or just enjoying the comfortable conditions in one’s home. How about appreciating the fact that one CAN make those upgrades to their lives, either physically or emotionally?

As we celebrate the Labor Day holiday, consider making more summer memories and remember, these ideas don’t have to end with Labor Day – we still have plenty of summer fun left to live up! For many, Labor Day is all about food and family. As September marches along, consider hosting an end of summer potluck, picnic, or barbecue before the season is officially over. Highlight the foods of the season. Make roasted watermelon seeds (this recipe and 14 other ideas can be found here: http://www.care2.com/greenliving/15-ways-to-use-melons-slideshow.html).

Consider a garden exchange with neighbors and friends, or have a mini produce swap. Are your tomatoes, zucchini, corn and cucumbers done? Save the seeds and have a seed exchange (more info about saving seeds: http://www.care2.com/greenliving/preserving-seeds-for-next-year.html ).

While the weather is still nice, take advantage of the sunshine and take a day and go explore some local gardens or parks.

I realize today’s newsletter is short.  But, I see the sunshine is out and it is calling my name!  If only I could figure out how to can summer in a jar!!  And with that, my Thrifty Sisters, go out and enjoy each day like it’s the last day of summer.  Show appreciation and gratitude.  You never know how much a little kindness can change someone’s day.  And remember to 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 3 – July 31, 2016

Greetings, Thrifty Sisters!  I hope that you are all doing well and have had a chance to enjoy family gatherings, outings with friends, and partake in local events.  I hope that this past week provided opportunities for creative outlets for each of you.

Today I want to talk about gratitude. The simple definition, according to the Merriam Webster online Dictionary is, “a feeling of appreciation or thanks.” I have so much to be grateful for. These past weeks have been full of opportunities to reflect on reasons I can feel thankful, as well as interesting stories that I have been hearing from others on how gratitude plays in their life. Ironically, it is so much easier to see the negatives rather than the positives in various situations.

One such story that I hear over and over is how a couple is going to sell their house, but need to make improvements, in order to make their home “marketable”. Now that these individuals have made the improvements, or even minor fixes, they say that their home is “perfect”, just in time for the realtor to put the for sale sign out. This makes me so sad to hear.

Why do we choose to allow the small things pile up and be annoyances, in a place that should be our relief? Time, money, obligations to others, obligations to our careers – these are certainly only a few factors that contribute to the ease of procrastinating the annoyances. So when are you going to make the place that you plan on creating roots become your Solace Palace? Please don’t wait until you have to move to make the changes you want – the changes that could exponentially make your life better, or at least happier.

This seems like a pretty deep discussion!  Yes, changes can be made to physical structures, as well as personal walls and feelings. Is it easy? No, but neither are certain home improvements.  Time, money, you know, all of the reasons we haven’t made those changes to begin with are also part of the reason that many of us don’t allow ourselves to be fully happy.

But we can be thankful. We can show gratitude to others. By changing our outlook on gratitude, we can change a whole lot around us, and actually become happier individuals, and happier individuals become more productive individuals. If we work on our inner walls, maybe we can find that time and money to spend within our home walls, creating that Solace Palace. With no guilt.

I’m not making this up – gratitude can lead to good things! Just Google how gratitude could changes things – I dare you!  Here are 2 links that I thought were interesting:

http://nymag.com/scienceofus/2016/01/how-expressing-gratitude-change-your-brain.html

http://happierhuman.com/benefits-of-gratitude/

So, even though this summer has been a challenge on the pocket book, I have a long list of things to be grateful for. I am grateful that my hubby cares about me and has my back.  I am grateful that our son is healthy and happy. I am thankful for family and friends. I am thankful for our incredible neighbors. I am super appreciative that the plumbers are coming and will be replacing all the corroded, leaky faucets and taking out our dumb garage disposal (and I get that little spray nozzle that I have always wanted!). I am grateful for gardening friends who are willing to share flowers with me. I am grateful for my yard, a place that I can escape to and just dig when I need to vent out frustration.  (Have you noticed the new garden bed that is happening in the backyard… yes, I needed that opportunity this week.)

And lastly, I’m incredibly thankful that my family is healthy enough to tough out these next couple of days.  We live on the prairie, and I am just floored by the fact that we have had several “still” days and nights. Our AC unit is out of commission. I’m grateful for all of the past years of research on how to keep one’s home cool and save on energy.  We are certainly conserving energy!! Although, I am also noticing that when one only has north and south windows, it is really tough to create a cross draft! And did I mention my gratitude towards my neighbor who was able to get us into his repair schedule? One can’t shop more local than from the guy next door! If you need the name and number of a good heating and cooling company, let me know.

Be grateful. Express gratitude to others. It’s something that takes practice. Some days are just “too much”, but I am grateful that I have people in my life who can help me through those days.

And with that, my Thrifty Sisters, let’s go make lemonade!

Thrifty Sister Newsletter Vol 9, Issue 2 – July 24, 2016

Greetings, Thrifty Sisters! I hope that each of you had a delightful week! I’m not really sure where my week has disappeared to, but it was certainly eventful and we had the opportunity to make some great memories!  Who can ask for anything more?!

Are you looking for summer activities for either you, or your family?  Consider visiting a farm!  I had the chance to watch part of our local news last night, and they had this neat article about how Ag United was creating opportunities for families to visit South Dakota farms.  I feel that there is no better way to teach our youth how products arrive at our grocery stores, and to show the amount of effort it takes to make that gallon milk appear in your refrigerator than to go right to the source.  Visit http://agunited.org/ to view activities and tour options.

How many of you have a collection of Mason Jars collecting dust?  I don’t, either, but I hear that some people have this problem. Did you know that canning jars make excellent storage options? Have some leftovers from supper?  Consider putting individual sized portions in jars – they freeze and refrigerate like a dream. Possibly you have random crafting supplies that need storage options – there are many sized canning jars just waiting for your creative use!

I love keeping various the little jars that some of our groceries show up in.  I just wash the glass jar, and if the lid smells like artichoke hearts in oil, let the lid sit on your counter for an afternoon filled with vinegar.  Wash with soap and let air dry.  The smell eventually dissipates and hello cute storage jar! You can even spray paint the outside of the jar lids!

I love glass jars. And they can be used for much more than just storage! Check out the following links for recipes, salads on the go, and dressings – perfect parings for all of the garden yumminess that is coming inside at this time of year!

And last, but not least, allow me to share this uber thrifty tip that my hubby came up with last night.  About a week ago, we purchased several dips to have on hand while some friends came over for the evening, and of course, we had lots left over.  While prepping supper last night, Sean spotted the jalapenos on our counter, and decided that these dips would make great fillers for stuffed jalapenos. He stuffed those little jalapenos with the dips, rolled them up in a tin foil packet and placed them on the grill, and they were scrumptious! What a fantastically creative and yummy way to use up the left over dip!

Do you have creative ways to use up odds and ends in your fridge?  I’d love to hear about your tricks!

And with that, my Thrifty Sisters, have a grand week. Enjoy having the opportunity to explore summer options in your home state.  Sometimes one doesn’t have to go very far to find a fun family excursion. Enjoy the opportunity to reunite with your glass jar collection and being creative on how to use (or re-use) those jars, and may you be inspired to create new recipe ideas!  And remember, let’s all be kind to each other, and especially ourselves. I’m heading outside, now.  My garden is calling, and that bumper crop of thistles I was talking about last week… yeap… I’m still pulling!  Maybe I’ll have more garden play time this week!  Ha – a girl can dream, right?!

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 1 – July 17, 2016

Greetings Thrifty Sisters! Was my last post really on May Day?  Obviously, I have been out living the dream, as all of May and June and July seem like a giant blur. Hopefully everyone has had an opportunity to enjoy the first half of summer, in some sort of capacity!

The last time I wrote, I was worried about spring showers drowning out freshly planted potatoes.  Now that the spring showers have come and gone, days have warmed up and dried up, and I have some pretty crunchy grass in my yard.  For me, the trick is to conserve water, but not let my grass die.  That happened one year.  I conserved a ton of water, but areas in my backyard burned up so bad that I had to reseed the following spring.  Lesson learned, I guess!

I feel that one can not have too many reminders and suggestions on how to save on our water usage.  Check out this link that gives us 14 ideas (or reminders) on how to efficiently water or garden spaces.   It’s never too late to start conserving water! http://www.care2.com/greenliving/14-smart-efficient-ways-to-water-your-garden.html

Hopefully when you are not tending to your garden, you have been able to go out and enjoy the Great Outdoors.  Don’t forget to apply the “leave no trace” philosophy to your outings – day trips, camping trips, or road trips, these are all good prompts of how to pack in and pack out, and how to be courteous to others while enjoying nature. https://lnt.org/learn/7-principles

Are you using your summer days to clean and organize your home? I’m trying to get some projects done over the summer, but time and activities seem to not be on my side some days. But, the goal is to plug away.  Patience is being learned, on my part.  I have come to accept that some projects just have to be worked into our life style, and planning ahead is crucial. You know, like shampooing your carpet, then having company over before it’s dry.  That would be poor planning.  But, why not have fun with some of your organizational projects!  Check out this link with 10 very clever and creative ways to accommodate household dilemmas: http://www.goodhousekeeping.com/home/organizing/g3710/funny-organizing-ideas-household-dilemmas/

Speaking of clever ideas – visit this web site that has 39 ideas for your backyard!  Ideas on how to keep your pots from drying out, to backyard scrabble games, to fairy garden ideas!  This collection of ideas might add more to your to-do list, but some of these ideas are just so cool!  http://www.livingino.com/39-brilliant-and-inexpensive-diys-for-your-backyard/

I realize that today’s newsletter is short, but I can hear my garden calling, and I certainly do not want to miss being outside! Besides, it appears that I have a bumper crop of thistles that have shown up on one side of my garden, and I really need to take care of them before they get out of control.  So, before closing, I am going to put a little BBQ recipe here, for your enjoyment:  http://foodinjars.com/2016/07/sweet-cherry-barbecue-sauce/

May each of you have a superb week!  Enjoy your outdoor activities, but remember to only leave footprints, conserve water, have fun doing the daily activities, continue to find humor in all aspects of your day, and be kind to each other, and yourself. Keep on keeping it thrifty and fun, folks!

 

 

Thrifty Sister Newsletter Vol 8, Issue 13 – May 1, 2016

Happy May Day to my Thrifty Sisters! I hope that you each had a grand exit to April and are eagerly looking forward to what May has to offer.  May can be a very exciting month – schools are gearing up for summer vacations, there are graduations to celebrate, vacations are being planned, and all of those April showers are going to give us many garden surprises this month.

Last Sunday I went out and got the potatoes tucked neatly into their potato bags, and then it has rained and rained all week long. I’m pleasantly surprised to not see my little potatoes floating in their bags! With the copious amounts of rain, and unseasonably cool days, it has been very difficult to follow my Dad’s instructions on getting various bulbs into the ground before May 1. But, the weather looks more cooperative this coming week, and if life offers a moment, I am heading out to the garden with bulbs in tow! So, if my Daddy asks about the bulbs, please tell him that I fully intend to get them in the garden this week.

For all my garden enthusiasts, I hope that your garden planning is going smoothly and that your little indoor plant babies are growing well.  Some of you are pros on the square foot garden method, and others of you are in the young stages of wanting to create your first gardens.  I’m very intrigued at the concept of the square foot gardening method, but I always chicken out at the last minute.  Last year I made my own square foot marker.  Just a simple wooden square, measuring one square foot, and I used it as a template in the garden.  The first square foot was fine.  I found instructions on the web that suggested 4 peppers per square foot.  To me that seemed really tight, but in went the first 4 within the square boundary.  Then square number 2 came along, and “common sense” took over and I began spreading out the peppers, like I have always done it.  Wow, 4 plants in one square foot seems ok, but when you start stacking groups of 4 that close next to each other, it just seemed so wrong!

And so began my internal battle of wanting to experiment, vs the tried and true ways that I have “always” done it. Sigh.  Ironically, all pepper plants – both planted square foot style or spaced out were not a giant success last summer.  But, I am still on a mission to learn how this elusive square foot gardening method will work for me and my needs. And, once again, I am eager to get my experimental mind to the garden before my common sense kicks in.

Hobbies are always a good way to spend one’s time.  There is a sense of accomplishment, and ownership in the hard work one puts forth.  And it is never too late to pick up a new trick!  Studies have shown that staying active is beneficial to a happy mind. If you are a knitter, you are going to especially appreciate this article.  But consider your hobbies and activities.  All things that we do with our hands makes us happier and we engage so many of our senses, without even realizing it.  Read more about the science of knitting (or hobbies, in general) here: http://www.care2.com/greenliving/knitting-can-make-you-happier-and-healthier.html

Maybe you don’t have the patience for a knitting project, but I bet you ladies have some old tights sitting around that are well past their prime.  Consider this cute upcycling project that our friend Johnny shared:  https://thriftysistersliving.files.wordpress.com/2016/05/be8de-trim2bwaste2b3.jpg  Old tights into new hair bands is a smashing idea!  Or, if the length is too wide and you don’t want a lump of hair tie at the base of your pony tail, consider cutting it down to size, and tying a knot in the material, just like the cute little hair bands that you can buy in the store.

Possibly you like to make your own bathroom indulgences.  With the heightened awareness of mosquitoes this coming season, consider making your own bugless solid lotion. NPR just re-shared a past article about which mosquito repellants work the best, and there is an option to the DEET sprays – Lemon Eucalyptus.  (NPR Link: http://www.mymoneyblog.com/best-mosquito-repellent-study-non-deet.html ) Make your own Lotion Bar Recipe: http://www.sustaincreateandflow.com/make-your-own-bugless-bar-solid-lotion/

And to wrap up today’s Thrifty Sister, allow me to encourage your chef-ly creative juices with some vegetable grilling marinade recipes.  http://www.care2.com/greenliving/5-marinades-for-grilled-vegetables.html

And with that my Thrifty Sisters, Happy May Day.  May you continue to be creative, crafty, thrifty and always have a good time doing it!  Keep on keeping it thrifty and fun.  Oh, and don’t forget, Mother’s Day is next Sunday.  I challenge you to show all the Mama’s in your life some appreciation!

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 8, Issue 12 – April 24, 2016

Greetings, Thrifty Sisters!  I hope that your past month and a half has been an exciting and wonderful adventure!  I can hardly believe that my last post was in early March.  Since the last writing, spring is truly in the air here in my neighborhood, and that has got to make one feel good!  Too bad our spring planners seem to be so full one can hardly enjoy the change of seasons! Ha!

Did you know that April is National Gardening Month? I just learned this!!  I’m so happy that I can spend part of this month in my gardens!  Of course, in my mind, I think that every day that one can be outside is National Gardening Day – why wouldn’t it be?!?! Late last week, I was finally able to get the mower, some time, and a dry day all at one stretch, and I mowed.  It was more like bailing hay in the backyard, but now it looks so nice!  I forgot how much I love the smell of freshly cut grass. And yesterday, I was able to make some progress cleaning up garden debris.  Today, I am hoping to repot some of my growing seedlings into larger pots, and possibly get my potatoes in, and keep cleaning up the debris. I feel like I am well on my way to celebrating National Gardening Month, even if it took me a little longer than I would have liked to get to the celebrating.

Check out this web site for garden inspiration and tips, and you can be on your way to celebrating your gardens: http://www.nationalgardenmonth.org/

Sooooo… Mother’s Day is coming up.  Don’t let it sneak up on you! Are you looking for creative ways to celebrate your Mom?  This article shares some very clever ways to let your Ma know how much you love her.  Show your mommy your crazy upcycling skills, possibly highlight some new recipes and cooking skills, share your passion for plants or give her the gift of pampering herself.  All these ideas, with links, can be found here: http://www.care2.com/greenliving/12-diy-mothers-day-gift-ideas.html

And finally, let me leave you with some recipe ideas for the week.  I don’t know why I am so fascinated with cooking things in the waffle iron, but I am.  Enjoy these 23 intriguing ideas: http://www.listotic.com/23-things-you-can-cook-in-a-waffle-iron/

And with that, my Thrifty Sisters, I hope that the rest of your April allows you to be creative and happy.  Enjoy time outside, in whatever capacity that you enjoy. Be nice to yourself and others.  And keep on keeping it thrifty and fun!

 

Thrifty Sister Newsletter Vol 8, Issue 11 – March 6, 2016

Greetings, Thrifty Sisters! We have made it to March, and let the Spring Goodness shine into our lives! Last week, I was trying to decide if March was going to come in like a lamb or march in like a lion. We had a snowy start, but my neighborhood is warming up nicely, and the Robins are back. All solid signs that Spring has arrived.

Perhaps you are a firm believer in spring cleaning, or possibly you are ready to take that plunge into sorting and cleaning certain areas that may have gotten a “bit” cluttered during our winter months. Whatever the reason, consider making and using some tried and true homemade cleaners to tackle some of your cleaning needs. Need some new cleaning solution ideas? Find recipes on how to clean with vinegar, baking soda, wood cleaners, and laundry room needs, and more by visiting this web site: http://www.motherearthliving.com/healthy-home/natural-cleaning/spic-span-easy-homemade-cleaners-zmfz13mjzmel.aspx

Are you more interested in Garden daydreaming? It’s always fun to plan ahead to a summer bounty! Instead of stocking up on that pricey Liquid Fence, take time to read Survivor Jane’s blog about homemade bunny and deer repellent. I have made a similar recipe, and it works. Just don’t let the plastic jug freeze in the garage like I did a few years ago. I was certain something had died in our garage that winter, until I went to lean across my garage workbench, and put my hand in some cold, unbelievably stinky mess on my work bench. Yeap, this stuff works – and it retains its stink all year long, even when it’s cold!

Make your own Liquid Fence: http://www.survivorjane.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=148:now-you-see-it-now-you-dont-making-a-liquid-fence&catid=47:sustainable-living&Itemid=64

Maybe you are enjoying your indoor time and want to find something different to do rather than cleaning or making smelly messes. Have you considered making your own mead? With the craft brew explosion happening in our country, this would be a fun way to try our own hand at local brewing. http://www.greydragon.org/brewing/mead.html

This web site has some great methods to make the food that we purchase last a bit longer, and honestly, who couldn’t use help keeping their groceries fresher for longer? This link shares 40 ways to help lengthen the life of your groceries, and there are some very clever ideas in this link! (I learned a lot this morning!) http://www.diyncrafts.com/3363/lifehacks/40-diy-tricks-make-groceries-last-long-possible

And as a final share for the day, allow me to share this delicious sounding recipe. I love a good stuffed pepper, and I am sure that we all have some favorite recipes in our recipe books, but it is nice to occasionally shake things up a bit. And if you happen to have left overs, don’t forget that our friend, Madonna, has shared that stuffed peppers can be frozen individually, which makes for a fast, easy and healthy lunch, snack or fast supper option!  http://www.care2.com/greenliving/southwestern-stuffed-peppers.html

And with that, my Thrifty Sisters, may you have a grand week! Enjoy rediscovering the joys of vinegar and homemade cleaners, day dreaming of time in your gardens, learning new tricks to extend the life of your groceries, or possibly trying new mead or stuffed pepper recipes. Whatever and however your week is spent, keep it fun and thrifty, and remember to stay kind to yourself. Until next time, keep on keeping 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 .