Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Thrifty Tuesday - Mason Jar Soap Dispensers

Anyone who knows me knows that I love mason jars!  Antiques, new, unique, I love them all.  I love using mason jars in unexpected ways.  They hold pencils and pens on my desk, toothbrushes and toothpaste on the bathroom counter, drinks at the dinner table, etc.  I have been eyeing the mason-jar-turned-soap dispensers for a while.  Etsy has premade ones if you can afford them.  Pinterest has plenty of diy versions.  I hadn't got around to making one or buying one yet.  Imagine my surprise while at Walmart the other day.  They had these soap dispensers on the clearance rack.  The jars were plastic and mason jar wannabes.  It was the lid and pump that really caught my eye.  It looked about the right size for a mason jar.  I figured I would buy the soap dispenser for less than $3.50.  Ideally it would fit on a mason jar and I could toss out the plasticy jar.  If not, I would use it up and then toss the whole thing.  I brought it home and it fit!  Perfectly on a regular mouth mason jar.  Yay!  I immediately poured the yummy smelling soap into my glass jar, screwed on the lid and voila, I have an inexpensive mason jar soap dispenser.
  I love finding something I have been wanting on clearance.  It makes my little frugal heart happy!

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas Ya'll

Merry Christmas Ya'll!  I can get away with saying that now that we are back in Texas.  I hope you have a very blessed day regardless of where you are.  We are away from family this year but enjoying our own little family.  Last night we had a low key Christmas Eve.  We ordered pizza, uncorked a bottle of cowboy wine and watched a dvd on the couch.  We lit a fire in the woodstove and just enjoyed the season.  I hope you are able to pause a minute and remember what Christmas is all about.  Its not about whats under the tree (although I do love watching Hubby open his gifts- its so fun to give!).  Its not about who spent more or got more.  We need to remember that we are celebrating Jesus's birthday.  God sent His one and only son and I can't even fathom a sacrifice like that.  I am going to cherish all He has given me and be thankful that I am so blessed.  I hope you know that you are blessed too.  Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Thrifty Tuesday- Frugal TV

My first thought when thinking about living in town, was getting to catch up on tv shows.  Living out in the country, we werent able to get cable without paying an arm and a leg.  So within the first week of moving in to our new rental house, I called the cable company and ordered internet and cable.  $140 per month?  ok sure!  Thankfully they couldn't schedule a hook up until the first of the year.  The day after calling the cable company Hubby and I sat down for a chat.  When we really started thinking about the price of cable, neither of us was comfortable about paying that much.  Not when we are clipping coupons and trying to save money.  I immediately called and canceled our order.  Later that afternoon Hubby remembered we had an antennae box (like the modern version of bunny ears for your tv).  He brought it out, hooked it up and guess what?  We get about 10 channels!  Among them are the big networks like ABC, NBC and CBS.  We also get pbs and a bunch of Spanish stations.  Now we might not be able to record our favorite shows, but free tv?  Ill take it!  We decided we would put $140 a month into a special savings account so we can see how much tv would have cost.  I felt like we were being rewarded for canceling cable.  Now if we had been really smart from the get go we would have tried the antennae before calling the cable company. 
  Do you have cable?  Bunny ears?  Any funny stories like this? I would love to hear what other people do for tv.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Monday Meals

I used to know all the good spots to get grocery deals.  I had a routine and I liked it.  Now I am trying to set up a new routine and discover new grocery stores.  In our little town we have a HEB (a grocery store of course).  While its not bad, I am not excited about it.  Yesterday while in the next town over, I stopped at their HEB and was pleasantly surprised.  I went in for some Parmesan cheese so I could make a homemade fettuccine alfredo sauce.  I was only missing the parm cheese, and its a main ingredient.  Wanting to save time and gas, I wanted to get enough food for the week.  We had a pack of 6 chicken breasts for this week that I wanted to base our meals off.  Other than the pasta I had no plans for the rest of the week.  I ended up buying
-3 red onions
-2 avocados
-2 green peppers
-2 jars pizza sauce
-2 big bags of cheese
-2 jars of pickles
-2 packages of pizza mix
-2 jars bread crumbs
-1 jar parm cheese
-1 jar maple syrup
-1 jar salsa
-1 bottle italian dressing
-3 bags of Texas shaped chips
-1 box pancake mix
-2 packages bake at home Ciabatta rolls
all for $45

We cooked up the chicken and shredded it all.  This coming week we will have taco salad with chicken.  Ill make a bbq chicken pizza or two.  We made fettuccine alfredo last night and yum oh yum!  Hubby said the only thing he didn't like was the gritty texture of the Parmesan cheese.  Next time I might try flakes instead of grated but they were way more expensive.  We have plenty left over for lunch and maybe a 3rd meal. 

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Lofty Knitting Goals

I mistakenly thought that in Texas I would have less of a reason to knit.  Once again I was proven wrong.  I went to the local knit group (by local I mean 20 miles away) and to my surprise everyone was wearing short sleeve sweaters.  Short sleeve sweaters!  I am an all or nothing girl, and I thought that since Texas is hot, there is no need for sweaters.  Oh, silly me.  I didn't even consider short sleeves.  Or non-wool sweaters.  One lady was wearing a gorgeous pink silk sweater.  Instead of thinking that I will be knitting less in Texas, I just have to shift my thinking.  I will be knitting differently.  Not so many wool mittens, but instead shawls and cowls.  The first week I got here Austin got an ice storm.  The highs didn't make it above freezing. Too bad all my knitted items were packed with the movers.  I am looking forward to knitting this year.  I still have a huge amount of yarn in my "stash" as knitters call their hoards of yarn.  I picked out some yarn for upcoming projects.  From now until the end of January I will be working on these projects. 
The green yarn and white yarn will be for two different sweaters.  The orange multi colored yarn will be for a hat for Hubby.  The red will be for some lace project.  The yellowish grey will be for socks.  That ought to keep me busy for a while, don't ya think?

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Update on Life

Wow guys!  Its been a while.  I am sure you all thought I quit blogging, with good reason too.  I didn't!  I only just now got my computer set back up and have access to the internet.  In the past month, hubby and I have moved to Texas.  Why? you ask?  Well Hubby is getting out of the military in Feb. He had enough leave saved up that he could be done working mid Dec and on vacation until the end of Feb.  We debated for a long time if we wanted to stay in Maryland, or move elsewhere.  We realized that without the military pay, we wouldn't be able to keep our mortgage even with both of us working.  And if we couldn't stay on the farm, we knew we didn't want to rent an apartment in town.  While we love Maryland, what was keeping us there other than the military, was the freedom to have the farm. Take that away and we didn't want to stay.  It was incredibly hard saying goodbye to all our friends and "adopted" family there.  Moving to Texas allows us to be a short drive to Hubby's family.  I have extended family in Texas and close relatives in Arkansas.  Its also a shorter plane ride to California! 
  Once we decided to move and told the Army, we figured we would have a month before they came to pack.  Since Hubby is getting out, they will move us to our final destination (as long as its not farther than Houston where he enlisted).  Apparently December is not a popular moving month, so the packers were completely open.  They came less than a week after we got our official orders.  For two weeks after the movers came we were still staying in the house with only an air mattress and our clothes.  I don't recommend that as a long term solution.  Since Hubby and I have two cars, we had to drive separately.  I left early so I could spend some time with my family in Arkansas.  Once in Texas, we found the cutest rental (Ill post pictures once all our boxes are unpacked).  The house was built in 1929 and has been lovingly restored.  Swoon!
  So now I am in the midst of unpacking, decorating, cooking (so thankful to have our pots and pans back!) and taking lots of knitting breaks.  I am not sure of the direction this blog will take.  Since we are renting, we can't tear up the yard to plant a big garden.  We will still be living much the same as before (just with no farm animals for now).  The kitchen is so tiny in this new house that there is no room for a microwave.  So we will be learning to live without one.  One of the biggest money eaters in our budget is going out to eat.  I have barely any willpower and am the first to suggest grabbing a pizza.  This year one of my goals is to cook from scratch at least 5 nights a week.  Ill write a post on my reasoning's for that later.  All that is to say that the blog will be featuring more cooking, frugal living, knitting, living simply and whatever else might come up.  For the time being you wont be seeing chickens or goats although chickens are allowed in our town (just need to work on our landlord...).  I appreciate any one who is still reading.  Thank you for understanding that life happens and not always (or most times) how we plan it!