Monthly Archives: January 2018

Thrifty Sister Newsletter Vol 10, Issue 5 – January 28, 2018

Greetings, Thrifty Sisters! How is it possible that the end of January is looming so near? I swear we just celebrated New Year’s Eve! Although, I have noticed that the days are getting longer, and that is a happy thing! If February and March fly by as fast as January, I will be happily playing in my garden before I know it.

In the meantime, I am going to keep playing the minimalism game. Now that I am on day 28, I have successfully cleaned and cleared my way through my dresser, cleared all the clutter along the one wall (that space that the bed conveniently hides from the rest of the world, where I stashed all the projects and crap from the visible parts of the house), and started tackling the shelf next to my bed. My craft area is also looking a lot better! I worked my way through one storage shelf, my computer desk and my work space table. Those spaces are clean, dusted and are organized.

Yes, I have a lot more spaces to work through, and have discovered certain closet and cupboard spaces that are going to need some serious attention. But a small amount of effort each day has really made this challenge manageable. You know, Feb 1 is almost here – you, too, could start your own challenge! Remember, you don’t just have to toss everything – keep the things that add value to your life, or your favorite things. Sort of like that song from “The Sound of Music”, “My Favorite Things”.

Now, on with the rest of today’s newsletter. I have some great little tips and tricks for you all! Some of these tips have been dug out of ancient email archives. (Looks like my email folders could use some spring cleaning!)

Have you seen this life hack where you can turn open ended plastic bags into resealable bags with the addition of a plastic bottle top and cap? Thanks to Britt for sharing this great idea:

Britt also shared this link to making your own reusable cleaning wipes. When I was a kid, Dad used to moisten a rag, and place it in a bread bag. This bag went under the front car seat before long trips. The idea was that there was a wet rag in case of sticky fingers, wiping up vomit, etc. Don’t judge – we were 3 pretty car sick prone kids! Dad was certainly ahead of his time, because now I bet he would be pretty hip in his environmental choices. To make your own reusable cleaning rags, check out this link:

Ever wonder what to do with the rest of that lemon that you only needed the juice from, or needed just a little bit of zest? Check out this great way to dry and save lemon peels, and some nifty ways to use them!

Speaking of not wasting food, here are 5 more tricks to help reduce the waste:

Need more water in your daily routine? I find that winter is a tough time to consume the full amount of water that I need daily. Ironically, I was actually curious about straws and water consumption this week. I have reusable straws that use in my large carry container, and I have large, lidded glasses that my reusable straws fit into. I don’t know why, but it seems like I consume more water by using the straws than with a regular glass. I always thought that this was in my head, but apparently there is some truth that adding a straw to a container does help one with more consumption. Also, be warry that this would work with any beverage that you are consuming through a straw. So, if your goal is to cut soda from your life, don’t drink it through a straw.

Whew – that’s a lot of into for one newsletter! But what about a recipe? Ever find that you have amassed a collection of partially used frozen veggie bags, and are just not quite sure what to do with them? I love making stew and soups from these left overs. One can clean out their freezer and fridge and toss them in a crock pot and come up with a pretty awesome stew or soup. Let’s not waste that food, gang – use it up! Fire up that crock pot, or dump it into your large pot, and create away! Visit these links for some “soupper” ideas:

Maybe the idea of using your crockpot has your all fired up for some great eats this week? How about a visit to for a collection of recipes that are divided out by meals, ingredients, regional cuisine and flavor options.

And with that, my Thrifty Sisters, enjoy the new month that is approaching. Good luck in clearing your clutter, trying out some of these nifty ideas, and drinking more water! May I suggest a reusable straw? And let’s create more with the leftovers in your kitchen! Until next time, keep on keepin’ it thrifty and fun!


Thrifty Sister Newsletter Vol 10, Issue 4 – January 14, 2018

Greetings, Thrifty Sisters! I trust that everyone has survived the holidays and are enjoying the arrival of the new year. Just in case anyone is wondering, the garden dirt that I wrote about in November is still firmly ground into my carpets, but that did not stop the festivities! I was also able to spend my studio break finishing a 2-year-old painting project that had been put on hold. Man, does it feel good to be able to accomplish that task! I love how my kitchen looks, that I hardly notice how dreadful the carpet looks!  Ha!

Last December, I wanted to bake some banana bread. We had dutifully frozen some very ripe bananas – remember the promise about not wasting food?! Although, I did overlook the need to take out the bananas from the freezer the night before I impulsively decided I wanted to make the banana bread. Guess what – it all worked out just fine! I followed the new to me method for thawing the bananas and life was good! This link has great information on how to freeze, defrost and various uses for your overripe bananas.

In the previous newsletter, I shared some chili recipes, and our friend Eli shared another delicious sounding recipe! Eli was aiming for a green chicken chili, but she decided this turned out more like a green enchilada soup – thanks for sharing your recipe, Eli!

Green Enchilada Soup

4 cups chicken stock
1/2 jar salsa verse
1can cream of chicken herb soup
I small jar green chilies
1 can white chili beans
1can garbanzo beans
1lb chicken that I browned and then diced
Throw it all in a pot, let simmer a little, adjust spiciness with the salsa verde

In December, my hubby started the Minimalism Challenge. If you are not familiar with the rules, you basically start by getting rid of one item on the first day of the month. By day 14, you are getting rid of 14 items, all the way to day 30 or 31, when you are getting rid of 30 or 31 items. I must admit that I was jealous of the fact that he was finding time to do the challenge, and I was barely keeping my head above water at the end of the semester, and trying to pack in all the knowledge needed into my student’s heads before Christmas break. Oh, and I was taking a class. Poorly timed endeavor on my end, but I can say that even though the class took longer than I wanted, I turned in my final this past week!

My hubby was diligent until about Dec 15, then the holi-daze was in full swing around our home, and all hands were on deck to get ready for the rest of the month. Then he announced that he was starting the challenge again in January. I thought angels were singing when I realized that I, too, could play!

For me, I started on my dresser. I took time to open each and every little box and go through the catch all piles. It’s day 14, and I have gotten across the top of my dresser, and one top drawer. Most days I accomplish my daily total. Some days I acquire bonus points. But for me, the goal has been to literally touch and clean each item that is on/in my dresser. I have rediscovered some cherished treasures. I have unearthed some odd finds. I found things that I had completely forgotten about. The drawer proved to be an almost overwhelming endeavor, until I remembered to start small. Pick out one little storage box, and start there. Storage boxes were apparently the creation of someone who is an evil pack rat! Out of sight, out of mind has come to my mind several times over the past 14 days!

In fact, I am having such a grand time with the slow but methodical process, I am also playing the game in my craft area! In case you didn’t know, Sioux Falls supports a recycled art store called Jam. If you are not in my neighborhood, check around and see if your area has such shops that would either take donated art items, or know where you could donate. I know that some schools take these supplies, as budgets are tight these days!

As I was preparing to write about the Minimalism Challenge, I ran across this funny, but very fitting article about someone who “failed” at the challenge. I wouldn’t say that she didn’t fail, as she certainly made progress, but I think she used too much math.

And with that, my Thrifty Sisters, may you have a wonderful opening to 2018. Good luck to each of you who practice resolutions. Remember to be kind to yourself and others. We’re all in this together. May you enjoy some home baked banana yumminess, a new Enchilada Soup recipe and remember it’s never too late to start diving into the pile of stuff that is cluttering either your physical space or mental space. Until next time, keep on keepin’ it thrifty and fun!