Monthly Archives: April 2017

Thrifty Sister Newsletter Vol 9, Issue 21 – April 23, 2017

Greetings, Thrifty Sisters! I hope that everyone had a lovely Easter and Earth Day this past week. We had some great opportunities to spend time with family and friends, and I even got to go out and work/paly in the yard a couple of times this past week! We have been lucky to have a few super nice days pop up between the more typical rainy and gloomy April weather that one finds in my neighborhood.

With late April showing up on our calendars, this also means that it is time for some huge garage sale events in our area. There is one neighborhood garage sale that is almost mind boggling how big it is! And when I say neighborhood, I really mean hundreds of homes all participating in the greatest sales of the year, all at the same time.  It is becoming almost weeklong festival for garage sales, and thousands of shoppers flock to this area to catch some deals.

If this is your idea of a good time, best wishes to you, and may you have the patience of a Saint. There are certainly deals to be had at garage sales.  Particularly if you are looking for furniture items, or tools or gardening equipment.  One can also get great clothing deals and kitchen items, and home decor.  But in the heat of the shopping moment, do take time to inspect your items for damage, rips, stains and if it is in working condition. If the item is something that you have been looking for, or need, then you have hit a deal.  But, impulse buying is also a problem. Unless, of course, you are looking to stock your own garage sale later in the season.

Possibly you are thinking that having a sale is a good idea.  Go for it!  It takes work, but you can make some quick cash, especially of you are pricing things to move out your door. It is amazing how selling one hundred 25 cent items adds up. And not only do you have cash in your pocket, but you cleaned out items from your home, and someone walked away feeling really good about the deal they got, and are probably daydreaming about how great it will be at their home.

Thrift stores are another great place to go shopping.  It is amazing what gets donated to stores, and often you can score some great deals. And, don’t forget, one can make donations, as well!

Possibly you are a huge fan of shopping at dollar stores. I’m always a bit leery of them, but they do have great prices on certain items. Check out the following link about the great deals to be had, and what one might be smart to avoid purchasing from the dollar stores.

Maybe second hand sales are just not on your radar this week.  I mean, hello!? It’s spring!! And that means it is time to be outdoors in the garden! Yesterday, I had a lovely time picking my first bundles of rhubarb and making a crisp and rhubarb syrup to share with our friends that were over last night. My hubby even bought a lemon to add to the sparkling water and rhubarb syrup mix, and it was very refreshing. And with a quick Google search, one can be quite a mixologist with their spring syrups!

If you are intrigued about growing, or how to grow and care for rhubarb, check out this link:

Pickled rhubarb, anyone?  Look no further:

Well, my dear Thrifty Sisters. I need to continue with my day. It’s a busy day ahead of me, as I have a list of things I want to do and some things that I need to do, and some events to attend later today.  I hope that your “want to do” items win over the “have to do” items this week.  If you are garage sale-ing, be safe, and be patient with fellow shoppers and sale owners. Enjoy finding great deals, and consider donating items or creating your own tag sale. If you are a fan on rhubarb, now is YOUR season! Until next time, keep on keepin’ it thrifty and fun!


Thrifty Sister Newsletter Vol 9, Issue 20 – April 9, 2017

Greetings, Thrifty Sisters! I trust that everyone is having a great start to spring.  In our neighborhood, we had unseasonably warm temps (80 degrees) yesterday and there is talk of a bit of snow for tomorrow. The thought of snow is not dampening my spring fever one bit. It won’t stay and I’m sure that my yard could use the moisture.

As I was sitting down to think about things to write, I noticed that Easter and Earth Day fall in the same week this year. Opportunities to gather with family and friends are abound, and so are those lovely holiday meals that we look forward towards. Possibly you are considering signing up with your local farmers for their future CSA deliveries.  So many grand prospects await all of us in April!

As Earth Day approaches, please consider making this a non-consumer event.  We don’t have to buy gadgets to make us more earth friendly and lighten our footprint. We have the power right now to do things like fix the items that we have, or swap with others for items that we might need (there are so many sites and applications to use to consider items in your area for sale or trade), and of course, my favorite is asking if I REALLY need that item. Possibly the question of can I recycle it (or upcycle) it occurs. I’m always trying to figure out how to repurpose items, but sometimes, one just must get rid of the clutter, and if you don’t love it, allow it to move along where it can be useful to someone else.

Another way to solve some of our waste problems is to embrace the movement of “ugly” or “misfit” food items.  These are generally produce related items that are not “perfect” and do not “make the cut” to arrive in the grocery stores. Most of the time this produce is just tossed out.  How incredibly wasteful! I know that many places are teaming up with local food banks to help get this food to individuals who need a solid meal. Some local food and meal services will even take excess garden produce.

Recently, a local grocery store chain started promoting “ugly” foods and offers them in a discount bin.

Another great way to help is to buy it directly from the farmer.  Many local farmer’s markets are bringing in the “less than perfect” produce, and selling it for a discount. Just because the misfits are not showcased at the front of the stand, doesn’t make them any less tasty or healthy. Once you chop up that odd shaped pepper or tomato into a salad, no one will know it was “ugly”, but it will have that same fresh from the garden taste, and you helped stop waste. Win for everyone!

My Dad is a fan of purchasing, what he calls, “garage sale priced meat”.  This is the meat that is approaching the best-by date, but if you freeze it right away, you can enjoy quality cuts of meat for a fraction of the price of its fresher counterparts, and you help stop the waste.  Otherwise, grocery stores are forced to toss this out.

Are you all fired up to save the world?  If you are crafty with needle and thread, check out these 70 ways to upcycle your denim. With spring fashions approaching my neck of the woods, consider getting crafty and creating some fresh new looks for yourself with some of the old pieces in your closet.

Finally, allow me to leave this delicious sounding, and ever so tempting dessert for you.  With family and friends arriving in the next few weeks, this might be a fun treat to have on hand.

And with that, my Thrifty Sisters, may you have a fabulous week. Happy Easter to those who will be celebrating. Happy Earth Day to all of us. Enjoy searching out the misfits – not only in your produce isle, but in all the people that you meet. We all have some oddities, but that does not discount any of us. And with that, keep on keepin’ it thrifty and fun!


Thrifty Sister Newsletter Vol 9, Issue 19 – April 2, 2017

Greetings, Thrifty Sisters, and Happy April! I hope everyone survived April Fool’s Day without any major calamities. As a teacher, April Fool’s Day is a dreaded day for me, so I am incredibly thankful that it occurred on a Saturday this year.

In past issues, I have touted the benefits of those magic eraser cleaning blocks. If you do not have them, they are these foam rectangles, about the size of a sponge, and use only water and their “magic little powers” to get things like crayon marks and scuffs off walls, stains off my counters, and a whole host of other uses. But I have always wondered what they were made of. Apparently, that is a trade secret, which makes my little head just whirl with questions. I use those suckers until they literally crumble away, so I have very little eraser to toss out by its life end. And then this week, I stumbled across the following article.

Apparently, the melamine foam that magic erasers are made with are nontoxic (good news!), but they can leave behind bits of their plastic remnants on surfaces.  That explains the gritty feeling after scrubbing something.  I follow up with a wipe from a damp towel, or soapy water and wash rag if it is kitchen related, so I’m hoping that is enough to wash the remaining particles away. Either way, I am not planning on tossing out the magic erasers, but I will continue to wipe or wash the areas that I clean. To read more about magic erasers, visit this link:

Now that the burning question of “what are those made of” is somewhat answered, let’s address paper towels.  How is everyone doing with the challenge of reducing our usage? Like I have mentioned in the past, I keep a roll around.  They get to clean up those messes that I really do not want visiting my laundry machines, like car oil. I really do not want that mingling in my laundry. Or vomit.  That is a no-can-do for me, so the quicker I can get that mess out of the area and out to the trash bin, the better it is for everyone. But the one thing that I do use them for is to help keep the moisture from my greens in the fridge.  Although, I have often wondered if I can use something else. And, the answer… yes. Yes, there is another option!

Read this short article about thrifty ways of finding reusable towels, and her recommendation of using tea towels in your fridge. I happen to have some cloth napkins that would fit this need very nicely, especially since some of our favorites are beginning to look a little over loved. What a perfect way to repurpose these cloth napkins!

If you happen to have discovered new ways of cutting down your paper towel waste, please feel free to share!

This past week, our new picnic on the road recipe was a modified version of chicken avocado salad roll ups. Instead of using the shredded chicken, I used sandwich meat, to reduce the bulk of the rollups, and I am pleased to report that most of the filling stayed inside their little roll ups.  I did make the mistake of trying to divide all the filling into 2 tortilla shells, rather than spreading it out into 4 to 6 shells.  But, that was my own fault. I thought there were more shells in the fridge than there were.  Either way, these made a delicious addition to our car picnics, and helped break up the sandwich routine a little bit. These would make great lunch options, or appetizers for any gathering.

And last, but not least, I know that I have told many people about this clever little trick, but I am not sure if I have shared this with you. Many years ago, my friend Tanya shared with me a clever way to peel one’s garlic by pressing the clove under a knife blade to break open the little shell. That has been my go-to garlic method for years.  Then I ran across this video last summer. I tried it a few times with a regular canning jar and a standard metal canning lid. It worked like a charm, but I really dented the lid up!  It’s amazing what a clove of garlic and some vigor can do to a metal canning lid!! Then, last Christmas, I got a set of the ReCap canning jar lids.  I love them.  I use them all the time. And now I can continue to shake my way to freshly cleaned garlic without obliterating my metal lids, and this is a marvelous way of cleaning several cloves of garlic at one time. Scroll down a bit on this link for the video on how to shake your way to cleaned garlic.

And with that, my Thrifty Sisters, may you have a wonderful first week of April. Happy spring cleaning. Keep your imaginations open to new ways of making your routines more efficient, and zero waste friendly. Enjoy the roll up sandwich recipe, and happy garlic shaking! Until next time, keep on keepin’ it thrifty and fun!