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Showing posts from January, 2014

Slow Cooker Applesauce: Eating, Canning, and Freezing Instructions

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Slow Cooker Applesauce is probably one of the easiest recipes I have in my recipe book to make. I love that I can sweeten it to taste (or keep it unsweetened), add spices if I want to, and make enough to can. 

Slow Cooker Applesauce also has the benefit of saving me money by using the slow cooker and not the stove. I also like this recipe because there is no babysitting the applesauce! I have better things to do with my time. 

Per pint, Slow Cooker Applesauce is also cheaper than purchasing it in the store. I know what is in my applesauce versus the store-bought applesauce which can have high fructose corn syrup and other preservatives that are not necessary!



During the fall, apples are cheap! If you don't have a tree or two to pick from, you can pick up 10-20 pounds inexpensively at the store. I know our local stores usually advertise $.69 - .89 a pound for apples during this fall. When you do the price break down, you can make your own cheaper than the store. During the rest of th…

Monday Frugal Update

This week has been quieter and I have been lazier. The kids have not had a lot of school or been to school on time so, for some reason, that messes me up. All I have wanted to do is cozy up in my recliner, write, and plan. Paige had a couple of basketball games last week so that contributed to getting not a whole lot done. I have higher hopes for this week.

I made two loaves of bread in the bread maker and a pan of granola bars. I also made a bunch of MYO Oatmeal packets using oat flour that I had on hand instead of powdering oats in the food processor. We ate dinner at home every night except one when we were taken out for pizza!

Grocery shopping was heavier than usual this week due to some really good stock-up sales. I will be going back today for 10 pounds of boneless, skinless chicken breasts for 1.68 a pound and two cases of water for 1.99 each.

I have a clothing allowance at work that I needed to get used up by the end of this week. So I placed an order on Old Navy's site u…

When A Winter Storm Approaches

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(One of the things I will be doing in the next few weeks is sharing our family preparedness and emergency plans with you. One of my goals for last year and this year is to get this done, typed, and put into a binder for everyone to see and use.)


When a winter storm approaches and looks like it will be a bad one, I use this list as a plan of action. In Iowa the weather can get nasty fairly quickly. With the great technology we have, I can implement my plan quickly because I know when the winter storms are approaching. I do use this list with the mindset that the worst is going to happen to us: losing power, not being able to use outside cooking sources due to wind, and that this could be several days or just a few hours.

Since my water is from a well, the well pump is electrically powered. My list is directed towards if we lose power, we lose water. I always make sure I have plenty of water on hand. I also do everything that may take water a priority on my list. I do not want to melt s…

Christmas 2013 Gifts

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Christmas 2013 (left to right) Shali, Paige, Dane, and Jordan
Today I thought I would share with you what I did for Christmas for the kids. I try really hard to follow the four present rule: one gift to wear, one gift of need, one gift of want, and one gift to read. I also give a stuffed full stocking.

The following is a list of what the kids got and how well or not so well I followed the four present rule:

Shali: A new winter coat (need)
         2 pairs of pajama pants (wear)
         cosmetic travel bag (want)
         Barnes and Noble $25 gift card (read)

Jordan: A new robe (wear)
            hair straightener (need in her mind)
            cosmetic travel bag (want)
            Amazon Kindle $25 gift card (read)

Paige: 2 pairs of pajama pants (wear)
          large utility tote (need)
          handmade snow globe (made by me!) (want)
          3 new books (read)

Dane: A new shirt and pants (wear)
          Mindcraft Lego set (want)
          Star Wars snap together model kit (wa…

Frozen Berry Sauce

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Last Saturday morning we decided to have breakfast for lunch. The kids wanted pancakes and Rob wanted French toast. Everyone wanted bacon. I had made a loaf of Golden Egg Bread in the bread maker which is absolutely delightful as French toast. I had some frozen bananas which I turned into Whole Wheat Banana Pancakes. I had some homemade Pancake Syrup already made up.

Rob really wanted some kind of berry syrup/sauce for the French toast. I couldn't find any at our local convenience store (I didn't expect they would have it). So I was determined to make something for him. I had some frozen strawberries, but no blueberries. However, I got started.

I started with a bag of  frozen whole unsweetened strawberries in a saucepan with two tablespoons of sugar. I let them thaw and soften over medium heat. In the meantime, I was still looking for frozen blueberries because I could have swore I had some! I didn't find any, but I found some blueberry freezer jam that I had not liked by …

Monday Frugal Update

This week was busy on the work front as well as the home front. The kids had things going on, I had things going on, and a busy weekend. Life is good though!

The weather warmed up here over the week and through the weekend. I actually heard the furnace shut off which was great! However, we are getting colder as I type and have a wind chill advisory tonight and tomorrow. The kids already have a two hour late start.

I have been experimenting more with food in the kitchen using what I have on hand and trying to make recipes healthier. I slipped off the less sugar wagon and so desperately need to get back on to it. I try to substitute honey, succanat, and fruit for sugar with a lot of success. Tomorrow I will share a recipe with what we did Saturday morning. We tried, with a lot of success, to make a berry syrup to go over pancakes and French toast.

I made rhubarb crisp with rhubarb I chopped up and froze from last spring. This was my first time using frozen rhubarb for anything. I was a …

Is It Better To Live Within Your Means or Work More To Afford More?

Is it better to learn to live with your means? I think the answer is yes for many reasons. Many people struggle with this though for many reasons.

We think we are entitled to things. We deserve things because we work hard. We should have a fancy new house, a new car, expensive vacations every year (or multiple times a year), name brand clothes, newest gadgets, expensive cell phone plans, satellite/cable television, etc. We work hard and deserve the best in life. Even if we cannot afford it.

Saving money and working towards wanted things was a concept that was extremely common until the late 1940s and early 1950s. To be in debt to someone was considered to be a temporary thing, not a lifestyle. Debts were paid off quickly so not to have a bad reputation. People rarely bought anything on credit because it was rarely an option. Paying cash and bartering for goods was the common practice of acquiring goods. Producing your own goods and using what you have was considered the best practice.

Corn Chowder

One of my very favorite soups has to be corn chowder. I have tried many versions before I created one on my own that had plenty of flavor and could easily become a comfort food. I wanted a corn chowder that could easily be made with ingredients I had on hand and were naturally good for us. I also wanted a corn chowder that I could add a protein to it because I need a lot of protein to curb my sugar cravings and keep my energy up.

This corn chowder is so easy! You can easily add more ingredients to it to make it your own. I have added a small can of green chilies, some diced carrots, and some bell pepper (not at the same time!). I have experimented with different meats using bacon, ham, and chicken.

Corn Chowder

3 potatoes, diced (peeled or unpeeled)
1 stalk of celery, diced
1/2 or 1 onion, diced (Onion can be to your liking. One whole onion is too much for my kids.)
1 quart of chicken or turkey stock
2 cups corn, fresh or frozen
2 Tbsp. butter
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup milk
2-3 T…

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Erica

Monday Frugal Update

Wow, again, time flies. I should just make this a monthly update, but that is asking a lot of my memory. I had to write down what I have done this last month and I know I am forgetting things we have done!

This has been a pretty good month all in all. We have been trying really hard to keep the budget on track and expenses way down. I also have been trying to be much more creative with what I have and making more from scratch. We had some miracles occur in the way of extra money for Christmas shopping along with the Christmas bonus I received from work. I am thrilled with the fact that we did not go into any debt for Christmas shopping this year!
So without any further ado, let's get onto the list of things we did...
I made two Christmas presents/stocking stuffers. I will post more about them this week.
I made homemade shampoo. I am still getting used to it and may have to make an adjustment or two.
I picked up some post-Christmas items at Kmart. I spent $6, saved $18 with a combi…

Weekend Links

It's the weekend! Time to conquer and divide! But be sure to relax too!

This weekend has been about decluttering, reorganizing, and getting the little indoor projects done. In case you think I declutter all the time, I have four kids and some decluttering is always happening. In the case of this weekend and week, I really feel a need to get stuff out of the house. And if I am feeling the need, then I must take advantage of that!

I am also doing a lot of laundry including winter gear, blankets, and bedding. We have a cold running around the house and I want it to stop! Time to wash everything! 

I am also hashing out my goals for this year. I will post them soon, but I am going through a goal process/system right now from Jon Acuff. He is really helping me to define what I want, what is stopping me, and how to achieve what I set out to do. Loving it!

So....I have a lot of interests and I read about a lot of different things. I always want to share that information with you and I couldn&…

Frugal Friday: Clean Up Email Time!

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Being frugal is not just for money. A lesson I have learned over the last year is that being frugal applies to all areas of life except for family and friends. The time you spend with them is priceless and cannot be overspent!

However, there is an area that has really come to my attention. My email. I was not being very frugal in the area of my email. The realization of how many emails I received in a day was staggering. I would open my email and have 60-80 unread emails. I would delete 20-30 emails right away. I would read through a few emails 'just because' and be disgusted I wasted my time reading them.


I would get emails for sales, for freebies, for places I like to shop at, four coupons, for products I like to use, and for things that perhaps I might be able to get something free from. Honestly, what a time waster! To be truly frugal, how I spend my time needs to be evaluated too.

A lot of those emails I got did not feed my mind, feed my soul, encourage me, or had the pot…

Top 10 Posts of 2013

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Ever year I like to share with you what maybe drew you to this blog of mine or a post that you might have missed that was wildly popular. These, as do all of my posts, mean a lot to me and I am so happy to share what I have learned with you in 2013.

1. Dehydrating Blueberries


2. Homemade Laundry Detergent Revisited

3. Nourishing Foods For Your Food Storage
4. Frugal Tip Friday
5. Monday Frugal Update and Whatnot
6. Are You Struggling Financially This Christmas?
7. 10 Totally Free Prepping Things To Do
8. No Spend September - Will You Join Me?
9. Monday Frugal and No Spend Update

10. What Do You Carry In Your Vehicle?

Thanks for reading this blog and giving me the opportunity for doing this post! Have a great 2014!

Thanks,
Erica