Author Archives: thriftysistersliving2013

Thrifty Sister Newsletter Vol 11, Issue 9 – January 20, 2019

Greetings, Thrifty Sisters, and Happy 2019! We are well past the midpoint of January, and I hope 2019 is trucking along well for everyone.

Recently, I bought some nice winter duck style boots on an end of the year clearance. They are cute, fuzzy and this brand/model had good reviews. While they do an amazing job at keep my feet dry, I was disappointed with their warmth factor. Apparently, the people who write these reviews do not wear them in South Dakota. Or possibly, I missed a key secret that no one chooses to share – you know, those deep, dark, quiet secrets that no one wants to talk about. I am talking about shoe insoles.

It’s time to end the silence. I openly admit, eventually all my favorite shoes, given enough miles and wear and tear get new insoles. If I have not destroyed the shoes in the first 6 months, you can almost bet that they have insoles in them. I have insoles in my Chucks, my favorite Doc boots, and this fall my dressy Dansko’s got new Dr. Scholls running insoles, which took care of the fact that the leather has stretched out. The new insoles returned them to feeling amazing again and may have added another few years of life with me. I recalled the first time I put insoles into my Chucks, it increased the warmth factor immensely. So, after our most recent snow storm, I added some insoles to bottom of the new winter boots, and WHALA! It increased the warmth factor enormously – even when my socks slid down to the end of my toes inside of my boots, my feet stayed warm.  And the fuzzy part felt nice on my warm, bare feet.

So, there you have it, I am letting you in on the secret. Insoles really do add warmth to your winter boots and Chuck Taylors. And you don’t have to spend a ton of money on insoles! The biggest challenge is finding the right height of insole to to fit into your shoe, while keeping your feet comfortable.

How are your new year’s challenges coming along? I can finally report that I completed my July minimalism challenge in early January. I am still minimalizing as I continue to go through bathroom drawers and closet spaces. It’s amazing what one can find stashed in their bathrooms. Bathrooms are the treasure trove of adding to your minimalism challenges!

How about consciously decreasing your waste? While one needs to be careful about hoarding reusable jars, do keep in mind that jars of various sizes and shapes are nice to have around. I reuse all sorts of jars. But, have you ever noticed some of them are really hard to clean? Possibly the sticker is tough to get off, or the odor lingers, or that oil just won’t wash out. Check out this link for some fabulous ideas on how to tackle the toughest odors and labels. The idea that I am most excited to try is soaking things in baking soda to remove lingering odors.

Possibly you have decided that you want to make or create more items from your kitchen this year. How about making your own bread? There is nothing more heavenly than fresh baked bread. But sometimes it just takes a lot of work, and practice! While some bread types are very labor intensive, here is a list of 17 easy breads that may make you rethink the possibility of having home made bread all the time. I am really interested in their first recipe, the gluten free cheese bread. The picture sure is enticing!

And with that my Thrifty Sisters, have a great week. Enjoy what 2019 has in store for you. Be mindful of the challenges and opportunities to grow, as well as the happy moments and the hidden delights. I’m savoring the idea of having warm winter boots. Good luck with each of your new year challenges and new habits that you are working on. Continue to be kind to yourself and others. Until next time, keep on keepin’ it thrifty and fun!

Thrifty Sister Newsletter Vol 11, Issue 8 – December 30, 2018

Greetings, Thrifty Sisters! How in the world did 2018 go so fast?! Mentally, I’m still in July of 2018, but the calendar and the weather, in my neighborhood, are certainly telling me that I have lost track of time. I guess I need to mentally reset and figure out how to embrace 2019, because it’s coming! I hope that the dust is settling after the Holiday Blitz. And blitz by, it did. As I reflect on the recent holidays, it just seemed like it was a massive whirlwind. But, so was 2018, so I guess this was par for the course!

As we begin to look towards the new year, I hope that each of you have activities and events that you are looking forward to. I also hope that each of you find time to relish each day. Mindfully appreciating each 24-hour period and find opportunities to be grateful. It’s hard to be grateful when your to-do list is killing you but take time to think of what you have. Possibly you are in a mad dash to do house cleaning. Be mindful and grateful that you have a home to clean. Piles of laundry seem daunting? Feel blessed to have clothes to get to wear. This is a good mindset to practice but practice it does take.

If you are into new year resolutions, consider making some large strides in creating a new habit this year. New habits require effort, but they can make a lasting impact on you and your community. Take something simple like water bottles. According to Beverage Daily, Americans consumed 42 gallons of bottled water each in 2018. Assuming you choose 16-ounce bottles, that’s 336 plastic bottles a year or 9.5 pounds of plastic. (

Wow. That’s a lot of waste. Why not invest in a reusable water bottle? Sure, sometimes a store-bought water is unavoidable. But think about the impact one person could make with a simple switch such as refilling a water glass throughout the day or having a refillable water container. Or what about reusing that store-bought water container until it’s worn out? Simple changes can make huge benefits for one’s community and reduce the landfill stresses.

Other plastic consumer habits that one could consider changing is recycling plastic bags and wraps. Plastic wrap and film packaging are generally #2 and #4 plastic, both of which are recyclable. And many times, one can find plastic bag recycling at the large box stores or your local grocery stores, which also take clean plastic films and wraps, along with your plastic bags. Keeping the plastic bags and films out of your curbside recycling helps ensure that your local recyclers will not half to shut down their systems when a plastic bag gets caught in the machinery.

According to, here are things to do and not do. Also, check out the above link for frequently asked questions about recycling plastics and wraps.

Please DO recycle:

  • Grocery & retail bags
  • Newspaper bags
  • The outer Wrapping from Napkins, Paper Towels, Bathroom Tissue & Diapers
  • Bread bags
  • Dry cleaning bags
  • The outer wrapping from bulk beverages
  • Produce bags
  • All clean, dry bags Labeled #2 or #4

Please DO NOT recycle:

  • Food or cling wrap
  • Prepackaged food bags (including frozen food bags and pre-washed salad bags)
  • Plastic Film That has Been Painted or has Excessive Glue Residue

Thanks for indulging my obsession for recycling all that plastic! I’ll spare you my soap box rant on packaging waste, but if you could just do one of these things, each one of us, we would make a large impact.

How about some new recipe ideas? I ran across this thing called warm salads. At first, I thought this sounded disgusting. Are you envisioning a heaping bowl of slimy, cooked lettuce? I was! It turns out that I have been enjoying warm salads for a long time without realizing they were called warm salads. Not everything in your bowl must be warm. Maybe you start with a base of crisp, mixed salad greens and top them with freshly cooked beans, steamy roasted vegetables, or a warm salad dressing. You can also start with warm greens, like cooked kale. Or skip the greens entirely and go with warm grains as the base. You get the idea: mix cooked ingredients with fresh veggies, toss with a good dressing and you’re in business. See the following link for 15 yummy warm salad ideas:

And with that my Thrifty Sisters, have a great week and mindfully cheer in the new year. It’s here and I need to get on board with 2019. Continue to make each day the best. Be kind to yourself and others. Until next time, 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 7 – November 25, 2018

Greetings, Thrifty Sisters! I truly hope that each one of you had the opportunity to celebrate being thankful and surrounded by those that you love over the past week.

For those of you who have been following this newsletter for the past year, you know that I have been participating in the minimalism challenge. (to refresh your acquaintance on what I’m talking about check out the game rules here: ). My game has been a slow one. I completed the January challenge in June. I started the July challenge understanding that it would take me about 6 months. It’s late November and I’m about half way through the July 23rd day. No matter how slow my game has been, I am winning with each space that I regain and clean. I have also learned a lot about myself and my ridiculous pack-ratting skills. I have also found some treasures that I have been able to repurpose into “new” creations.

With the holiday season in full swing, consider making some really rad gifts for those on your gift giving list. Handmade and unique items are always appreciated, and it tells the recipient that you took a lot of love and time in creating a special-for-them gift. If it’s the thought that counts, then you win at gift giving with a handcrafted item, because creating something takes a LOT of thought!

So, let’s talk about altered books. That’s an actual label for creative reposed books projects. Feel free to Google that, or get lost down the Pinterest rabbit hole. So much creativity! Here are some of my favorites:

15 furniture ideas using books:

Printed Vintage Dictionary Artwork:

The Classic Book Safe:

A Collection of book crafts and ideas:

Now that I have your creative juices flowing, why not think about inventive food choices? I was trying to find some neat-o holiday left over ideas, and randomly found these two recipes. Both captured my curiosity, although I was not at all familiar with zoodles. Zoodles are noodles made from zucchini, although if one invests in a spiralizer, one can make noodles out of most veggies.

My mind is blown just a little right now. Kitchen gadgets have never been my thing, but this spiralizer does seem interesting. Maybe you already own one, and just need a bit of inspiration? Here are 33 Zoodle recipes:

No spiralizer, no problem. How about some Cauliflower Tacos?

And with that my Thrifty Sisters, have a great week. December is quickly approaching, which means the Christmas Crazies are looming down on us. Take each day and make it the best. Be kind to yourself and others. Do what you can with the 24 hours available to you, but make sure that you take time to sleep and eat well. Until next time, keep on keepin’ it thrifty and fun!

Thrifty Sister Newsletter Vol 11, Issue 6 – November 11, 2018

Thrifty Sister Newsletter Vol 11, Issue 6 – November 11, 2018

Greetings, Thrifty Sisters! The last newsletter touted the delights of spending the last few weeks of September living up summer, and then I blinked. And here we are, ready to talk about the holidays. 2018 is just flying by, in my home. Marching band is over, school is in full swing with the holiday concerts looming, and with the unseasonably cool weather, I’ve been forced to put the sun dresses and flip flops away and rediscover my winter layers.

With November comes many reasons to rejoice. Today we get to celebrate our Veterans. We need to take time to recognize and remember all of those who have served, are serving, and for those who have paid the ultimate price for our freedoms. For all the veterans who are reading this, I will never forget, and thank you for your service.

For those Veterans, don’t forget that many local and national businesses offer discounts or free items, in recognition of your services. If you are curious what is available, there are many websites that are posting the deals of the day. Here is one:

And later this week, we have America Recycles Day on Nov 15. I had no idea that this was even a national day! In the following link ( it states, “America Recycles Day was started in 1997 by the National Recycling Coalition and is declared each year by Presidential Proclamation, encouraging Americans to commit to recycling.” And I thought Recycling Day was every day! Feel free to reduce, reuse and recycle on Thursday, and enjoy the national movement to get involved.

And in just about a week and a half, it’s Thanksgiving! (OMG, did your tummy just twist like mine did when I looked at the calendar and figured this out?!) Yikes, and wow. If you are in the same boat as I am, please feel free to visit this site for 10 smart tips to help you prepare for Thanksgiving. They offer some stellar planning ahead for meal prep, and even provide links to to-do lists, as well as info about unthawing one’s bird.

Maybe you would rather craft your way to a lovely Thanksgiving? Here are 9 great ways to celebrate America Recycles Day AND create a festive mood:

And before I signoff, allow me to leave you this recipe for Cheesy Baked Spaghetti Squash. Spaghetti squash is such an amazing squash! In the last posting, I declared that Delicata Squash was probably my favorite squash, but I was mistaken. Spaghetti Squash is my favorite. Anything that you would make with pasta, you can make with this squash! And the mild flavor does not make you think you are eating squash at all. Mother Nature, you have once again blown my mind!!!!

Since my kitchen looks like a small farmer’s market has set up shop, I need to get to work on baking up some of these yummy gourds. One of my preferred things is to bake one of a Sunday and eat it for lunches during the work week. Since I have not been home on Sundays, it’s been difficult to squeeze it into my work week, but I have a feeling today is the day. And this recipe sounds amazing!

And with that, my Thrifty Sisters, celebrate every day. Celebrate and thank our Veterans, celebrate recycling opportunities, celebrate all the small and beautiful things that life offers to you every day. Celebrate that we still have a week and a half to prepare for Thanksgiving. I’m going to celebrate garden goodness by putting a spaghetti squash in my oven and be thankful that I have the time and resources to be able to do that today. 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 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 .