Frugal Finds Friday

I didn’t do too much couponing or normal grocery shopping this week since we’ll be mostly eating from the freezer.  I spent $10 on produce and a few other things at Cub Foods.  I also found a few good deals at CVS. 

Here’s what I found at CVS:

Canada Dry ginger ale We don’t normally buy soda, but we do buy ginger ale when we’re sick…why not buy it on sale? 🙂  Originally $1.87, on sale for $0.88.

Land O’Lakes gallons of milk:  Originally $3.49 each, on sale for $2.19 each.

Renu Sensitive contact solution:  Originally $9.99, on sale for $8.99…received $7 ECB for buying, which is like paying $1.99.

Total cash OOP:  $9.96
ECB used:  $5.00
ECB earned:  $7.00

Fall Mantle Wanna-Be

I love fireplaces, and I love decorated mantles!  But, we don’t have either right now…so, I pretend that my piano is a mantle, and I love decorating it!

Here’s my simple fall vignette:


My adorable “In everything give thanks” print:

You’ve already seen the book page “pumpkin”, errrr “apple”:

I made a “Give Thanks” banner using just my printer, scrapbook paper, and twine:

I love the fall feeling it has!

 

And just for fun, here’s a quick peak at a corner of my kitchen counter complete with a free printable:

Free Fall Printables

Myra over at My Blessed Life rounded up 12 amazing autumn themed printables!  I *love* subway art, and you just can’t go wrong with free printables.  One of these just might be what you need to spark some inspiration for fall decorating…

Roundup of Free Fall Printables.

I’ll be posting pictures of my updated fall decorating soon; in the mean time…are you working on any fall decorating?  I’d love to see pictures! 

It Feels Like…Home

What makes a house feel homey to you?  When the weather begins to turn cooler and the promise of autumn is in the air, I have the urge to make our apartment feel homey.  I absolutely love walking in the door out of the brisk fall weather and just feeling glad to be home!

Making your house inviting and homey doesn’t need to involve a big house or expensive decorations!  Anyone can make her home beautiful, no matter the size of the building or her financial limitations!  I’ve been in large, expensive, and beautiful houses that didn’t feel homey at all!  You see, it’s the people and the love that make a house home!  Expensive furnishings are only thingsthings that in the grand scheme of things really don’t matter. Instead choose to focus on what we do have and can afford!

A few simple ways that I try to keep our apartment feeling homey is by keeping it clean!  Clutter automatically makes me feel crazy, disorganized and unfocused.  By putting our things where they belong, keeping up with the dishes, and doing a quick tidying up each day…our little cottage already feels homey!

I also love keeping our cozy nest smelling good, and you can’t beat the homey smell and feeling of candles!  Right now, I am loving my pumpkin buttercream Yankee candle!  (I bought my Yankee candles at an incredible sale…2 for $25 AND I used a $10/$25 coupon, making them $7.50 each.  Watch for those sales!  Another way to get even cheaper candles is to “buy” Glade or Febreze candles with coupons, often making them free!  And of course, you can always request your favorite Yankee candle scents as Christmas and birthday gifts…***shameless hint to any family reading***  😉 )

(photo source)

Another way I like to keep our abode “homey” is by playing music throughout the day.  I usually use free internet radio: either my  Pandora stations or Christian music from Abiding Radio.  Having music playing as I go about my daily work just gives a relaxed and peaceful feeling to the home!

(photo source)

What tips do you have for making your abode inviting and homey?

Book Page Pumpkin

linking up with Works for Me Wednesday

I made a book page pumpkin.  Well, actually it kind of looks like an apple, but that’s because my cutting was a little crooked.  I almost made another one that looked more “pumpkin-ish”, but then my hubby pointed out that apples are “fall-ish” too.

Any guesses where I got the idea???  If you guessed Pinterest, you guessed right!  (love that place!)

I picked up a $0.75 paperback book at a thrift store; the rest of the supplies I already had!

All I did was tear the cover off the book, trace a pumpkin outline on the book, and start cutting it apart.  After the pumpkin (errr…apple?) was cut out, I hot glued it into the shape of the pumpkin(?) and used binder clips to clamp it together until the glue held itself.  Then, I stuck a stick down the center and topped it off with a bow.  And…here’s what it looked like…

And there it sits on top of a few books next to my Pumpkin Buttercream Yankee candle…

And, here’s the whole fall vignette on my piano.  It makes me smile!  🙂

Have you made any fall DIY projects yet?  I’d love to hear about them!

Reader Question: Freezer Cooking

Question from a reader:
“I’ve thought about freezer cooking, but it seems like the first time would take longer trying to plan out meals and then shop for the things you don’t have… … …I don’t usually have much more than an hour at a time (nap time!!) to get things done…What are your very favorite freezer meals?”

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When I first started freezer cooking, I was surprised to discover that most recipes are freezer friendly.  While I haven’t been freezer cooking for a terribly long time, I can safely say that I’ve never noticed any change in food consistency or taste as a result of freezing.

I won’t take the time to go through lists of “all things freezable” when others have done a great job at compiling those lists for us already.  Here is one of the best lists of that nature that I’ve found.  Prepare to be amazed at what can be frozen!

In regard to not having a lot of time to freezer cook; I think you can do some aspects of freezer cooking in even tiny snippets of time!  As another reader suggested, you can always make double or triple your dinner meal on any given night and freeze the extras.  That shouldn’t take much longer than your normal dinner prep time.  When you grocery shop for the week, just buy extra of your ingredients…enough to make and freeze some extra meals!

A few simple freezer tips that I’ve learned:

One of my favorite things to freeze is pizza dough (*recipe coming soon*).  I make several batches of pizza dough, let it rise, punch it down, and freeze in gallon size freezer bags.  When I’m ready to make the pizza, I thaw out the dough the night before (in the fridge) or the morning of (on the counter) and make my pizza as normal.  I love how much time this saves!

Another very simple time saver is how I freeze my chicken!  I often buy chicken in large quantities when it goes on sale.

~A few pieces of chicken, I throw in a Ziploc bag and freeze as is.

~I boil a few chicken breasts, shred them, and freeze them for later use in a casserole, chicken salad, etc.

~Other pieces of chicken I will marinate.  I prick the chicken with a fork in several places, plop it in a freezer bag, and pour the marinade over the chicken.  Probably the easiest marinade is Italian salad dressing (or whatever your favorite flavor may be).  A marinade recipe we enjoy is  Zesty Chicken Marinade.  There are countless marinade recipes all over the internet, so go find one that will tickle your taste-buds.  When you’re ready to eat the chicken, you can bake it in the oven or crock pot!

I also freeze ground beef (well, actually ground turkey).  Obviously you can freeze it uncooked (which I do…check out this nifty tip), but I also cook up several pounds with onion, garlic, and green pepper and freeze it for use in tacos, casseroles, etc.  That little step really does save a lot of time!

I freeze casseroles quite often.  A few we enjoy are lasagna casserole, taco twist casserole (*recipe coming soon!*), hearty hamburger casserole, green rice casserole, etc.  Honestly though, you can freeze just about any casserole you want!

I freeze burritos, chicken wraps, etc. for quick lunches.  Just pull them out of the freezer, pop them in the microwave, and you have a hot lunch waiting for you!

I also freeze pancakes, cinnamon rolls, muffins, egg cups, and breakfast burritos for breakfasts on the go!  Having breakfast food ready made in the freezer helps Jared and I to actually eat breakfast, rather than skip it all together!  (shame-shame!)

Now, I’d love to know…what are your favorite freezer recipes?

1,000 Gifts

 

 

21.  free eggs, tomatoes, and apples from friends
22.  a new prospective piano student
23.  breakfast date at Panera
24.  14th months of marriage
25.  saving 81% on shirts from Lands End
26.  fall weather
27.  answers to prayer in unexpected ways
28.  big blessings at hubby’s work
29.  cinnamon roll pancakes for supper
30.  a week of rest from seminary

 

What gifts are you thankful for today?