Monthly Archives: February 2017

Thrifty Sister Newsletter Vol 9, Issue 16 – February 26, 2017

Thrifty Sister Newsletter Vol 9, Issue 16 – February 26, 2017

Greetings, Thrifty Sisters! I hope your past week provided you with some opportunities to enjoy each day.  I certainly had several chances to appreciate the various weather displays that we had this past week. One day I was relishing a spring like stroll across the school campus, with no jacket, and the next day I was bundled up and shoveling. Nothing like a little weather to keep one on their toes!

I’m sure your weeks are very busy. Mine are, and I know that I can not be a cult of one. Alas, no micro greens or sprouts have been started, nor have I found tulip bulbs to force. But each day has been eventful and satisfying. And that mail pile I was talking about – it’s still there, but it is much smaller than last week. And you know what, it’s ok! Our living spaces are clean and the kitchen is in good shape – only needing the basic daily maintenance (minus that mail pile!). I would be a fool to not acknowledge this as a win.

Did you know that January is known as national soup month?  I didn’t, until I was stumbled across this little gem of a link. And remember, storing soup in a jar is a great way to stack up lunches or meals in your fridge, and just make your fridge look super cute! Glass jars in my fridge always make me smile. It’s probably because I know exactly what is in them and I know that they are not loaded with processed junk, preservatives and copious amounts of sodium. We may have missed national soup month, but it’s never too late for some new recipes!

http://masonjars.com/blogging/celebrate-national-soup-month-with-recap/?utm_source=reCAP+Customers&utm_campaign=1702347b6c-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2017_01_19&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_dc8db817d0-1702347b6c-107870733&mc_cid=1702347b6c&mc_eid=09a0c5f50e

How many of you are using your reusable bags?  Good job! Are you finding some of your heavily used bags beginning to show wear and tear or in need of a good washing? I was always curious if some of those bags could be washed, and apparently, some can stand up to a washing machine, but others need to be hand washed or spot cleaned.

Here is a nice guide on how to clean and sanitize your reusable bags, including a handy chart based on the bag material. http://www.cleaninginstitute.org/clean_living/cleaning_reusable_bags.aspx The only thing I didn’t agree with was their advice to tossing out old bags that were worn or dirty. That seems so wasteful and counterproductive to the idea of reusable bags, doesn’t it? And depending on what the bags are made from, they can’t even be sent to curbside recycling.

But after a little Google work, there is a place for the non-fixable bags to find a new home or purpose. Check out ChicoBags: https://www.chicobag.com/t-about-us Now you can round up unusable resusables and send them to ChicoBags. If you happen to have hoarded too many bags, ChicoBags will take those, too!

Here is the message from their web site about their Zero Waste Program, “We have an active repurposing and recycling program for all brands and types of reusable bags. ChicoBag doesn’t want any reusable bag to be left in a dark closet or sent to a landfill. Send us all your tired masses of reusable bags, functional or not. We will distribute them to fixed and low income families ready to start a reusable bag habit, or recycle them into new, useful products through partnerships with artists, crafters, and non-profit organizations.” Send your bags to:

ChicoBag Company

C/O Zero Waste Program

747 Fortress Street

Chico, CA 95973

And with that, my Thrifty Sisters, may you have a great week making all sorts of new memories. Check out the soup recipes, and enjoy making lots of extras for upcoming lunches and easy “crazy night” meals.  And consider the above information about reusable bags to be the catalyst to opening that space that houses those bags and begin to sort through them.  Keep the ones you love, and donate the rest to a place that will give them new life.  Until next time, keep on keepin’ it thrifty and fun!

 

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!