Author Archives: thriftysistersliving2013

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 .

Thrifty Sister Newsletter Vol 11, Issue 4 – July 15, 2018

Thrifty Sister Newsletter Vol 11, Issue 4 – July 15, 2018

Greetings, Thrifty Sisters! I hope that each of you are taking time to enjoy the summer months. While this particular summer has provided a lot of unexpected adventures and responsibilities, I am fighting like mad to enjoy my favorite season. Twenty minutes of glorious garden time is better than no garden time, so enjoy the things you love while you can.

Recently, my hubby and I had an opportunity to take one of those “once in a life time” trips to Iceland. We knew that we were going to have to stay hydrated, but we were not sure on the regulations of bringing in your own reusable containers and international travel rules. We played it safe, and bought water at the first airport, and managed to travel with those plastic bottles all the way through Iceland. One our flight from New York to Iceland, I was pretty shocked to see the passengers in the seat across the isle from us with their own refillable containers, neatly tucked into the seat pocket in front of them.

Which has made me super curious about bringing your own reusable containers. This link is recent, although it was posted after we had already departed to our destination. says, “Did you know you can bring your empty favorite water bottles and fill them up in the gate area? They don’t need to be clear and they can be metal, plastic, etc. What to expect: You’ll need put your water bottle through the X-ray for screening. Just make sure it’s completely empty when going through the TSA checkpoint.”

While we were in Iceland, we were told not to buy the bottled water. The water from the cold faucet side was the purest water one would ever be able to drink, and it is the same water that they commercially bottle. Interestingly, we were reminded to not drink the water on the hot water side, as this hot water comes from the geothermal pools underground. The hot water in certain parts of the country certainly smells like sulphur, but one gets used to it rather quickly. Drink the cold, not the hot.

While we have all been warned about the dangers of bottled water, and how it’s not as pure or safe as one thinks it might be, and the plastic usage and waste is a problem, and it’s a drain on our wallet, one needs to remember that it also saves lives. Consider those in the US who do not have safe drinking water (Flint, Michigan, for example), or possibly those who have been in flood disasters where their drinking water has been contaminated.

While I am not running out to the store to stock up on bottled water, I realize that I am also very fortunate to live somewhere where the water from my tap is safe and tastes good. Although, I would strongly not recommend drinking water from my local streams or lakes, like they can do in Iceland (really, Icelandic tap water comes from streams! No sanitation needed!). I am very content to get to use my reusable drinking vessels here at home, and now I know that as of today, empty water bottles are allowed on international and home flights. But do check the TSA site in the future. It seems like the rules change all the time, and if you don’t want to be forced to toss your favorite water bottle in the trash at the security counter, maybe buying the bottled convenience is for you. But, please recycle and get as many miles as you can out of that purchased bottle. We put on about 4,000 miles on those plastic bottles, and have the bragging rights to say that we have drank some of the cleanest water on Earth.

Before I let you all go, here’s a recipe that I dug up out of the 2016 archives. I have been meaning to share and try it myself! With the season in full swing, this might make a delicious way to enjoy all that summer zucchini. Note that this dish will keep for 2 weeks in the fridge, or you can freeze it for a full year. Zucchini Butter:

And with that, my Thrifty Sisters, remember to stay hydrated! Take this opportunity to consider your refillable water options. Mason jars make great traveling companions, especially if you have those cute little drinking tops! One can even invest in mason jar koozies. Be kind to yourself and each other and keep on keepin’ it thrifty and fun!


Thrifty Sister Newsletter Vol 11, Issue 3 – July 1, 2018

Greetings, Thrifty Sisters, and Happy July! As I sat down to write today’s post, I am astonished that today is July 1. Where did May and June go?! How is it possible that this is the week that we will be celebrating the 4th of July?! Wow.

In our last newsletter we chatted about coffee, and I asked if anyone had any favorite iced coffee recipes. Thanks, Madonna K, for sending in this note:

“I haven’t done the “cold brew” method of making coffee that you showed but I do make my own iced coffee drinks and have been for years. I make my pot of coffee in the morning because I need a hot cup of coffee to get me going and then pour the rest into my mason jars and put it in the fridge. Then when I need my iced coffee I just add my “fufu” and a few cubes and wala I have my drink. The coffee is not as strong so hence the fewer ice cubes.

Also, Austin is a big k-cup user and he informed me that some of the k-cups are now recyclable. You have to take the time to tear them apart and I am happy to report that he does!”

I have no idea what this “leftover” coffee must be, but one some days, after the second pot in my house was brewed, I made a conscious effort to save some coffee and get it in the fridge, in my lovely mason jars. It was just as dreamy as I imagined! And Madonna was right, it’s not as full strength as a cold brew coffee, but it sure tastes like a fancy iced-coffee! Just add your favorite fluff and ice cubes and enjoy. Thanks for the idea, Madonna!  AND, tell your son that he gets a Thumbs Up Stamp of Approval from the Thrifty Sisters for taking the time and effort to fully recycle his recyclable K-Cups!

With the start of July, I shall be tackling a new minimalism challenge. 31 days of stuff, here we go! I have my fingers crossed to fully complete this game by Christmas. It’s a realistic tortoise pace. Want to play along? Here are the rules: This challenge I am going to continue in the big hallway linen closet. With the task of tackling that closet comes the need to figure out why my sheets don’t fit my bed.

Has anyone else noticed that the quality of sheets has drastically declined? I’m not talking about the fact that we now have super-sized mattresses and shopping for sheets is already a challenge. Although, did you know that old mattresses were uniform at 10” deep and new mattresses can range from 7” to 24”. I have measured my mattress depth and purchased sheets accordingly. But the current quality of sheets is terrible. Depending on the fabric composition, they stretch, shrink, pill up, and my favorite, slip off the corners of the bed during the middle of the night. WHY?!?!?!? Seriously, sheet makers, get with the program! It is so disappointing to buy what appears to be nice sheets (double bonus when you get them on the clearance rack!), only to discover that they slip off the corners, stretch out or shrink, or my other favorite, get pilly. I can’t stand that pilly texture in my bed. If I wanted to accept sandy feeling things in my sheets I would just live in my tent.

Are you curious if you have the right sized sheets for your bed? Check out this video to help you correctly measure your mattress depth. I am in no way promoting this company, but their measurement video is spot on:

So, this month I am going to be testing out all the sheet sets in my closet. If they are subpar, they are gone. Why would anyone willingly choose to keep sheets that make your precious evening slumber a disappointing event? In the meantime, I would love to hear if anyone has found sheets that they love, and don’t require a loan to purchase.

Yikes, apparently, I’m more passionate about bed linens than I thought! Although, do you know that my favorite sheet sets are the ones that were either given to me, or I purchased on a super-clearance rack about 20 years ago. If the elastic is still good, I’m still using them. Apparently, I am on the search for more of the cotton Martha Stewart sheets circa 1999.

Tired of talking sheet? (haha!) Ok, bad joke, I know. But I had to toss that one in there!

With grilling season in full swing, check out this delicious and versatile sounding recipe:  This is a recipe that Marisa shared on line in 2016, and I love her small batch canning recipes! I imagine this would be amazing as a grilling sauce, or just a side sauce!

And with that, my Thrifty Sisters, may you enjoy discovering new iced and cold brew coffee ideas, contemplating the quality of your sheets, and please enjoy some grilled foods. In my neighborhood grilling season is rather limited, so take advantage of grilling time! Make a party of it and invite those friends you haven’t been able to visit because of demanding schedules. Remember to be kind to yourself and each other and keep on keepin’ it thrifty and fun! And please be careful with fireworks this week.

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

Thrifty Sister Newsletter Vol 11, Issue 2 – June 17, 2018

Greetings, Thrifty Sisters and Happy Father’s Day to all our Dad’s out there! I thought today would make a great day to discuss something that is near and dear to my heart, and something that I know a lot of you fellas out there might enjoy, coffee.

Oh, how I love a good coffee! Do you remember the cartoon, Dexter’s Laboratory? My favorite episode was the one where Dexter and Dee Dee discover their parents coffee, in “Topped Off”. I’m sure that we can all relate to that “Ping”. Here’s a brief snippet from that show where the parents get up in the morning and have their first cup, boy can I relate!

With the rise of new ways to brew coffee and all sorts of new gadgets on the market, it makes one wonder about the overall impact consumers are having. We know that many of the coffee shop “paper” cups are not easily recycled, since they are coated with a plastic resin. According to this article from June, 2017, ( Starbucks sells 4 billion paper cups worth of coffee annually. Of course, there are ways that one can get around the paper cup consumption such as purchasing reusable mugs form your favorite shop, and some shops will fill any mug that you bring in.

Well, hello Father’s Day gift idea! You know, just in case you are still trying to figure out what Dad might like for today – give him a reusable mug and a gift card to his favorite coffee stop. And, honestly 2 refillable mugs are even nicer, as one can be on the go, and the other in the dish rack.

Are you a fan of the K-Cup revolution? I know many people are, and convenience is nice. And I am not going to judge how you get your Cup of Joe, but have you ever thought about K-Cups? In 2014, enough K-Cups were sold that if placed end-to-end, they would circle the globe 10.5 times. Now that it is 2018, just imagine how many rings of K-Cups have circled the earth! Fortunately, there are companies that are thinking forward on this issue. Check out these 5 ideas on how you can make a difference:

My Mom has a reusable K-Cup basket, but she has troubles with finding the right brew. I read in a Consumer Reports article that each machine brand brews at a slightly different temp and time, so finding the right blend of coffee and the correct amount of grounds to match your machine can be a bit of a challenge. So, Mom, keep trying! You’ve got this! YOU can Save the Planet one K-Cup at a time!

So, anyone else into the cold brew coffee? I crave it during the summer. I have bought a few of the store jugs, and I am hooked. So much, that despite my best efforts on recycling, I feel like I need to learn how to brew it on my own and cut down on my waste.  There are lots of recipes and methods to be found on the internet. My next investment is going to be one of those reusable mesh filters that fits into a wide mouthed mason jar. Visions of cold brew coffee just waiting for me in my own fridge, in my own mason jars, is just too dreamy! Do you have a favorite cold brew recipe? Send it my way! In the meantime, try this recipe: , and you, too, can make cold brew into iced coffee just like Starbucks.

Before I let you all go, I have a minimalism game update – I officially finished my February Challenge! I diligently kept track of each item, and can say without a doubt that I completed, and exceeded the 28-day challenge! It was a lot of work, but I am happy with my progress. Life does not just give me time to get to simply clean out closets, but a little work here and there has paid off. I have a long way to go before I can say that I have accomplished clearing from the entire house, but the tortoise pace does work. Game on for July!

And with that, my Thrifty Sisters, may each of you enjoy celebrating with the fathers in your life. If you’re a Dad, enjoy your day. Enjoy your coffee. Don’t take it for granted. Mindfully enjoy each glorious coffee filled moment! 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 1 – June 3, 2018

Greetings, Thrifty Sisters and Happy June! I don’t know about you, but I have no idea where the entire month of May disappeared too. I am sure that May was a wonderful month. One of the highlights from this previous month was that the Thrifty Sisters was featured on a local television show. We talked about how the Thrifty Sisters originated and some of the highlights of our newsletter. It was too bad that it was such a short interview, as I had prepared all sorts of great chit chat about how to help our viewers out, but alas, time went too fast – just like the month of May!

In case anyone is still curious about how my February Minimalism Challenge has been going, I still claim that slow and steady is winning the race. My tortoise pace is gaining ground, as I can now say that I have only 13 items left to fully completed the February challenge. Not familiar with this game – check it out: On one hand, I am super stoked to be clearing clutter. On the other hand, I am stunned at what I have collected over the years, and the things (and reasons) why items are still hanging out in my closets.

It really does boil down the keeping only the things that you love, and I have not missed any of the donations that I have made. Are you looking for a bit more motivation on how to create a clutter free environment? Read this short article about this author’s 3 ways of winning the clutter war:

Although, periodically, one comes across an item that they used to love but stored it away for one reason or another. Possibly it was due to space, or maybe it needed repair. Our Big Sis has a story about this!  I called her on her birthday, and she was so excited to share with me her amazing fix-it hack, and I am so proud of her accomplishment!

Lynn writes, “Drinking espresso tonight after a few years off. This is the model of my ancient beast (“Krups Novo”), that got me through my doctorate, logistics support engineering career, and last half of my USArmy Reserve tour (Gulf War). I gave up on it, thinking I would never be strong enough again to close it into the lock position. It was always said that closing this takes strength, even when new, and it just got impossible. No close, no proper shot. This is SO simple a device, however. I just couldn’t believe I had to give up on it. Are you already ahead of me? Yup. I took some olive oil and greased the bare metal contact points where the handle twists into place to lock the grounds. Done. Works better than new. Easy. Argh! Why did I wait so long to find this trick? [I used to hang out on coffee chat rooms and bulletin boards in the early days of internet and I NEVER read anyone saying to try this! I hope to not have to replace the espresso machine for a long time yet.”

Yippee for olive oil saving the day! Maybe this is starting to turn those creative wheels for the rest of us that have kitchen items that are just too “stuck” to turn correctly? Because who wants to use WD-40 on your food prep items?

Speaking of gadgets that plug in, it is that time of year to start reminding ourselves how to save on electrical “waste”. With summer heat looming, we need to be careful about the amount of “pull” we are taking. Don’t forget that even when your electronic devices are turned off, they are still drawing small amounts of power if they are plugged into an outlet. Not only is this wasted energy, but you’re also paying for it. Stop wasting money and resources by plugging your devices into a power strip and clicking the strip off when you’re not using them. Or, if you want to keep it simple, just unplug electronics from the outlet when they’re not in use.

It’s that time of the newsletter to share some yummy recipes! Even though apple season is not exactly upon us, it is summer, and that means all sorts of scrumptious apple desserts are waiting for us. Check out this link for 8 recipe ideas to use with your apple peels, including jam, tea, apple twigs, wine and smoothie ideas:

And with that, my Thrifty Sisters, may you each have a wonderful start to June and enjoy each day that our summer season offers. Enjoy the opportunities that you provide to yourself to make your living space more enjoyable, feel free to try out the olive oil hack, and start using those apple peels! Be good to yourself and each other and keep on keepin’ it thrifty and fun!

Thrifty Sister Newsletter Vol 10, Issue 9 – April 22, 2018

Greetings, Thrifty Sisters, and Happy Earth Day!

I don’t know about you, but I feel like someone forgot to tell the month of April that they don’t need to be a drama queen about their weather. In my neighborhood, March roared around like a lion, and April followed in the same manner. My Mom sent an email to us girls with the question, “If April showers bring May flowers what do April blizzards bring?” Fortunately, for Mom, she has creative daughters who were able to amuse ourselves with clever comments and entertaining pictures of the recent April blizzard. For those sisters who were not in the immediate blizzard risk, they sent “inspiring” words of how their weather was warm and even some daffodil photos (that were saved from a freezing rain storm), while the other sister sent her view of mountains of Rocky Mountain snow, complete with fox tracks by her front door.

I’m still waiting for some snow piles to melt, but with 60 degree days in our forecast, I do believe it is time to survey the gardens and start where I can! While I realize it might be a bit early to talk about bug spray, it is only a matter of time before the warmer weather and collections of standing water will be breeding clouds of mosquitoes. Consider making your own bug spray. Natural oils can be a wonderful deterrent for those pesky bitters, and it’s safe for the family, including your fur-babies:

Looking for ways to bring tradition to Earth Day? We all know that every day is Earth Day but being good stewards of our land is an important mindset that needs to be instilled in our families and younger generations. Why not start a family tradition for Earth Day (April 22) where your family begins, or continues a caring way of living, that can continue throughout the year? There are oodles of events in every city and state that promote Earth Day activities. State Parks often host events. One can decide to make their own home or yard more lovely and eco-friendly, or one can even decide to plan something simple that celebrates locally grown and in season foods with a celebratory family meal. For more ideas, visit

Even if you can’t go outside and enjoy a new tradition, one can start indoors and create a renewed sense of mindfulness. Recycling is a great way to be mindful, but upcycling can be even more fun, and thrifty! As you, know, I love glass jars, and some of my favorite jars are ones that I reclaimed after emptying the original contents. Need some ideas to get those imaginative thoughts flowing? Try these 15 ideas for reusing jars:

Recently, my hubby and son had a chance to meet up with one of my sisters and her hubby. The good-natured ribbing of not using too many paper napkins and wondering if I was at the point of carrying around my own cloth napkins was discussed. And while it is humorous, and everyone had a good laugh, I feel like I get to count this as a win. At least others were being mindful of their resources and talking about options! In case you are looking for reusable lunch packing and dining options, follow this link:

And with that, my Thrifty Sisters, I am going to sign off. I just can not sit at the computer any longer. My yard is calling my name and I NEED to be outside! Enjoy the opportunities that each day brings. Consider making your own bug spray, repurposing glass jars, creating a waste free packed lunch, or creating a new tradition encompassing the idea of Earth Day. Every day is Earth Day, but today’s a great day to start with a renewed sense of mindfulness. Be good 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 10, Issue 8 – March 4, 2018

Thrifty Sister Newsletter Vol 10, Issue 8 – March 4, 2018

Greetings, Thrifty Sisters! March has arrived, and I don’t know about you, but I have spring fever! The first Spring Robin was sighted in my neighborhood yesterday and this morning they were serenading our neighborhood. March came in like a lamb, but it appears that the March Lion is going to roar his way through this week, as a hefty winter storm is approaching the Dakota prairie. It’s ok though, it’s spring – all the right signs are in place, and I’m going to pretend that the weather forecasters are mistaken about the storm. Nothing like spring fever and denial to get a girl through her day!

One of my friends recently asked me how my Minimalism Challenge was going. (Not familiar with this game – check it out: ). We had some great laughs as I shared my trials. There were a lot of things that I learned about myself during the month of January and February. It took all of January to physically touch everything that was “mine” in my bed room. I learned that I used my dresser drawers as storage for more than clothes, and at times it was easier to just close the drawer than to deal with what I had allowed to accumulate. I really needed the time to mentally process what was in there and rev up enough gumption to tackle the problem. January was not perfect, as there were days that I did not acquire the right numbers, but then there were days that I was an over achiever, so I figured it all evened out. In the end, my bed room is more tidy, clean and organized.

As February began, I was still working through my bed room, but this time I was going to strive to hit the correct numbers, each day. Although I am technically still stuck on Feb 17, my cleaning did move along to a hallway closet. I wish I would have taken before and after pictures! Time wise, it took me 2 weeks to go through 5 little linen closet shelves. It came down to the fact that there are only 24 hours in a day, and obviously not all 24 hours can be dedicated to shelf cleaning. I am still playing the game, and I’m curious how long it will take me to complete the February challenge. Next up, the large hallway linen closet. March is always a very busy month for our household, but I figure that if I am still trying, I am winning.

Does your spring fever have you itching for some spring cleaning? I enjoyed this article about why mess causes stress, and their suggestions on how to get the ball rolling on your own decluttering obstacles.

Maybe your spring fever does not include cleaning. That is perfectly fine. Are you itching for that garden soil therapy? Me, too. Why not try growling year-round strawberries? You could start plants now for this year!

Possibly this is the year that you start a compost pile? This article is humorous and contains some solid advice about food waste. At least scroll down to her 3 tips – they are common sense approaches that we can all benefit from.

And speaking of food waste, if your leftovers have not over stayed their welcome in your fridge, you can certainly recreate some new meals!  I love these weekly ideas on how to cook a couple of large meals and how to rework the leftovers into the meal plan later in the week.

Still trying to figure out what to do with those bananas that are just too ripe? How about a lovely peanut butter banana granola?

Green bean fries, anyone?

Whew – that’s a lot of into to toss at you all this week! Cleaning, decluttering, gardening, composting, left over delights, and some new recipes. That will probably keep us busy until the next newsletter. I’d love to hear from you on tricks that you’re using to help with your every day hustle. And with that, my Thrifty Sisters, have a great week! Be kind to yourself and others, and keep on keepin’ it thrifty and fun!