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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!

Thrifty Sister Newsletter Vol 10, Issue 7 – February 25, 2018

Thrifty Sister Newsletter Vol 10, Issue 7 – February 25, 2018

Greetings, Thrifty Sisters! Boy, is it nice to see some sunshine in our neighborhood this morning! After several new inches of snow this week and some pretty gloomy days, the sun is a welcomed sight! And March begins this week!!! My Dad has always been fond of saying that Spring starts on March 1, and yes, I am ready to think Spring! I am also still on the hunt for the first Robin Sighting of 2018.

Possibly that garden urge has hit you pretty hard, and you just can’t wait to dig into the soil and create new beginnings. I’m right there with you. Some of my friends have already started growing their own seedlings. Other friends are growing indoor sprouts and microgreens. Maybe you have a desire for a terrarium? My Grandma had a beautiful terrarium, and when we would visit my grandparents in North Dakota, it was one of my favorite things. I was always amazed at how plants could grow in a closed space. I also had no idea that there are so many options of terrarium planting, and repurposing of old containers for your new indoor greenery. This site has some fun and creative ideas:

Is today laundry day for you? I have a sneaky suspicion that I undoubtedly need to make today a laundry day – my warm sock collection is getting dangerously low, and somehow a giant mountain of laundry has accumulated. How does that happen?! Even though I yearn for flip flops and sundresses, frostbite is not something that I want to deal with today. Do you happen to have a stash of lonely socks? Here’s a site that resourcefully upcycles those mate-less socks:

Recently, I have been a following a friend’s discovery of the amount of plastics in her home, and how she is creatively trying to reduce her family’s need of wasteful plastics. You go, girl, I’m super proud of you, Jess! While many of us are looking at ways of reducing our plastic footprint, this article provides 5 simple suggestions, and some common-sense approaches. One of my favorite suggestions is to think about your purchase. Instead of reaching for a new plastic tote at your favorite big box store, consider what you might already own that would do the trick just as effectively. Old wooden crates and metal baskets would be super cute in your home, and by adding a fresh coat of paint, or artistic effect, you also get to your crafty on! And of course, hello mason jars!  Oh, how I love to reuse jars throughout the home!

Since we are waiting for March to appear, one could still get away with making hearty stews and soups using winter crops. Last year, we tried our hand at adding parsnips to a soup recipe, and I really dig this root crop. Here’s 25 more ways to enjoy parsnips, before old man winter makes his final departure:

Buffalo cauliflower wings, anyone? Cauliflower is one of those super versatile veggies that gets overlooked. You can mash it, eat it raw, grill it, crisp it in the oven – so many ideas! Why not try out some of your favorite wing ideas on it?

And with that, my Thrifty Sisters, may you enjoy the last days of February. I’ll be curious if March comes in like a lion or a lamb in my neighborhood, but either way, we know spring is arriving! Enjoy daydreaming about your warm weather passions and preparing to enjoy all those glorious warm weather plans. Be kind to each other and yourself. Enjoy some new recipes. Until next time, keep on keepin’ it thrifty and fun!


Thrifty Sister Newsletter Vol 10, Issue 6 – February 11, 2018

Greetings, Thrifty Sisters, and Happy February! This coming week is going to mark the half way point through the month, which gets us much closer to spring! Yippee! This past week, my neighborhood got more snow and it’s still bitterly cold. And it made me grumpy. Although, the refreshing idea that spring is closer is a highlight at this time of year. Seed packets are arriving at the stores, and I can waltz down garden isles doing my happy dance.

Just re-reading seed starting articles makes me happier. Here’s a bit of happiness for you, and some great reminders and tips to get a jump start on your indoor garden:

I don’t want to create any extra anxiety for anyone, but did you know Valentine’s Day is Wednesday, of this week? Instead of putting oneself into large amounts of debt for overly priced items and stressing out over restaurant reservations, consider making your loved ones feel special, right in their own home. There’s always the idea of cooking something special in the kitchen or making a sweet little gift to let your loved ones know that you are thinking of them. Although, do remember that we can do these things year-round. Just because Feb 14 comes and goes, the thoughtfulness for our loved ones can not stop on that date.

Have you ever melted down crayons and made those super fun, multi colored crayon blocks? Consider making them in heart shaped silicon candy baking trays. Seriously, what a super cute idea for the kiddos in your life, and a great way to use up all those little crayon nubs!

As you know, I am a sucker for anything in a mason jar. What a special way to wrap up all your loved one’s favorite items in a reusable container:

Not sure what to do with that reusable container after the gift giving? How about a salad in a jar! A perfect solution for the lunch packer, and with the reuse of plastic containers you get to score BIG thrifty and environmental points!

And, finally, in all this talk about others, please don’t forget about yourself. This time of year seems to be crazier than it needs to be. I rolled out of bed on Saturday morning, bright and early, and my first thoughts were of all the business aspects of my week that I did not get done before Friday at 5pm. I jumped out of bed, raced to the coffee pot, turned on the morning news and impatiently waited for the weather report, hugely annoyed that it was not coming on fast enough… nor was the coffee pot fast enough. And then it hit me. Wow. It’s Saturday. My first appointment of the day was a 2pm rehearsal. All of the things that did not get done over the previous week were not hindering my enjoyment of Saturday. It was me. And I had to remind myself that giving myself a morning of “non-business-related to-dos” was ok. And before I knew it, the morning weather was on, my coffee had finished brewing, and I did not “have” to rush downstairs to the studio. I am pleased to report that although the to-dos are still there, the world did not come to a crashing halt, and the sun did actually come up today. I’m not saying that one can put off their to-dos forever, but, one can be reasonable and kind to themselves amidst the overwhelming day to day operations of life.

Please take time to read this short and inspiring article. Even if it is the only thing you do for yourself today. There are two quotes that I just love. I have surrounded myself with people who use these phrases, and I can’t tell you how much happier this previous school year has been for me. The first is, “You owe it to yourself and to those around you to be the best version of yourself, and let’s be honest; we could all use a little improvement.” The second is, “Quite simply, to become that ideal, future version of yourself, you need to practice being it this year.” Begin today, my friend. Cut yourself a little slack and start thinking big – about yourself!

And with that, my Thrifty Sisters, may you have an amazing week! Enjoy daydreaming about spring, appreciate those around you, appreciate yourself, and enjoy a little lunch from a mason jar. Until next time, keep on keepin’ it thrifty and fun!






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!