Thrifty Thursday

Ah, the almighty coupon.

Nope, I don’t buy hundreds of newspapers a week. Yes, we get the Sunday paper and the coupons that come with that. Nope, I don’t dumpster dive, I do purchase a few coupons from e-bay. Usually, I pay 10 cents for a $2.00 off coupon for coffee that we buy. I never buy anything on line without first checking two or three sites for a coupon for free shipping or a percentage off.

Many coupons out there are good on boxed cereal (we don’t usually buy those), laundry soap (nope, make my own), toothpaste (we buy non fluoride, organic, no coupons), and since we do not buy boxed products, we loose out on using those. We make our own dog food and treats so we don’t…..wait we do use those. We buy the products and donate them to the animal shelter. Any time we want to buy junk food like potato chips, we make sure we use a coupon. I use coupons for personal products and we fill our college and military care packages with those.

I keep a zippered plastic pencil holder pouch in the glove box of our car. It holds coupons for stores that I drive to. Joann Fabrics, Bed, Bath & Beyond, Jiffy Lube, local grocery stores, coffee shop, you get the idea. By keeping them in the car, we never forget them at home, once at a place of business.

I spend about 15 minutes a week on “couponing”. Yes, I have watched the Ultimate Supreme Couponers on television. No, I do not spend 8 hours a day clipping coupons. Sure I send an e-mail now and then to a company with a product that we love or use often. Sometimes, they send out a coupon or two.

2011 I only couponed 11 months out of the year. I took the month of August off for surgery. We continue to refine our diet and eat healthier and make better choices so our couponing is not quite as easy. I jot down the coupons each shopping trip on the calendar. End of the month, I just add up, circle and then move on. I add them at the end of the year. Keeps me motivated to continue another year.

I keep my coupons in a three ring binder. Otherwise, I think it would make me crazy to dig around in a paper bag and just pull out a coupon here or there. I go through
the baseball card sleeve pages about once a month and check expiraton dates. Easy and quick.

So here are some totals for my 15 minutes a week “work”.

2009 saved a total of $1,394.94
2010 saved a total of $1,794.67
2011 saved a total of $1, 442.82

A grand total for three years equals $4,632.43. The very next time someone tells you that you can’t really save any money using coupons, refer them to this blog post. I bed to differ.

I have a friend who says don’t say “thrifty” say THRIVING. So here you go,
Thriving on Thursday.

choose happy

I love the comment on another blog today…….she said, “isn’t it funny what makes us happy on the inside?”

She drives by a farm in rural South Carolina on the way to work each day.

The farm is called “Hissy Fit Farm”.

Made me smile.

ps. I love the book called Hissy Fit, too.

manners come in a uniform too

Yesterday, on my way to do a couple errands a huge SUV was tail gating me. I could not even see the license plate they were that close.

I am too wise (read that as too old) to play that game. I just put on my blinker and pulled over on the side of the road to let them pass.

RED AND BLUE FLASHING LIGHTS………….right behind me!

Officer comes to the window and asks if there is a problem.

I said, first I had no idea you were a Sheriff. Second, I do not appreciate being tailgated so closely that I could not even see your license plate. Obviously, you were in a bigger hurry than I was. I am not interested in having someone follow so closely on my fanny. It is dangerous and rude.

He said I am sorry. He took a deep breath and said, “Maam, I apoligize for my rude driving.”

I said thank you.

He said have a nice day. I said you, too.

Having and using good manners do fix some problems.

The hottest Spaghetti Sauce I have ever eaten

Yesterday, my mother in law passed away. I will share her recipe for sauce.
Seems like the right thing to do.

My first home cooked dinner date (1981) with Mr. Right he made his mother’s Spaghetti Sauce. I was so impressed that he cooked and it all looked so nice with the table set and ready.

I took one bite and my eyes watered. Yep, I kept on eating. It was so spicy hot I thought my head would explode. I was never so happy to see a sweet chocolate pie brought out for dessert in my life. Ah, cool, sweetness for my tongue.

It is not my favorite. Everyone in the family has the recipe. It is suppose to be secret. I really detest when people say recipes should be kept secret and not shared. I love the idea of being remembered by a special recipe or treat. I love the idea of taking some one’s recipe and tweaking it just a bit to make it work for your family. I love the idea of sharing recipes.

Here is her recipe. May she rest in Peace.

Elane Percival Hunter Wilson’s Spaghetti Sauce

(Stanstead, Quebec, Canada)

4 Tablespoon (in which you fry 2 small chopped onions)
1 pound ground pork
1 pound ground beef
Add to onions and salt & pepper to taste. Cook for 15 minutes until color

In another pan combine:
4 Tablespoons oil
2 small chopped onions
1 10 ounce can tomato paste
1 10 ounce can tomato juice

Heat just to boiling and add:
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 Tablespoon white sugar
4 cloves chopped garlic
8 cloves
5 dried red peppers
3 bay leaves
1 cup water

When this is hot add the meat and onion mixture and cook slowly for 3.5 hours.

Sometimes this sauce is very hot and other times it is just right. You can freeze the sauce, however, you may want to remove some or all of the peppers.

Say grace and dig in!

December 26th

All is calm.

With the exception of not being able to sleep.
I guess too keyed up? Visions of planning a cookie/
dessert party for next December is dancing in my head.
Crazy, I know.

All is good.

ps. Santa brought me a whole spool of red and white kitchen string.
Hip, hip, hooray! Oh yes, and oodles and oodles of other sweet things.

Apparently, the “being nice” thing paid off. 🙂

a first for me

Currently, I am reading “A Homemade Life” by Molly Wizenberg. It is a wonderful book to fall into. Filled with lovely writings and heavenly sounding recipes. It inspires me want to cook and bake and renew my spirit in the kitchen.

Lately, I have been reading hundreds of blogs on cooking and baking. I get three magazines monthly, in the mail about cooking. I pour over my own cook books and stacks of em from the library.

With the exception of yesterday, I have had the oven going every single day this month.

I have lists of things I am going to be baking and cooking next.

Is it any wonder, for the first time in my entire life, I could not sleep, got up and stole three cookies to eat at one in the morning? I have never had a bit of food of any kind in the middle of the night, not ever. So do I re-brush my teeth?
Do I jump foolishly back into our warm bed and fall asleep with a bit of sugar and a smile on my lips? This is new territory for me. It is delightful.

Some girls have visions of sugar plums dancing in the heads, I had my favorite Christmas cookie. My sinful twist on the Jewish Ruglach, is to dip them in a thin sugar glaze right after they are done baking and let them cool & harden.

When you take a bite into the soft dough, your teeth break through the ever so slight film of sugar glaze. Once you pass by the sweet tender dough, the cinnamon and ground walnuts play a little jig for you on your tongue.

Oh my, who knew it would be the simple cookie that would have me tumble from grace?

What a delicious and lovely way to go.

Say grace and dig in!

I found it.

Today, while walking through our neighborhood, I found it. Right smack dab across the street from our home. Our neighbor guy is friendly, has a great laugh, wears a hat and has a beard. There he was, sitting down & working with a huge smile on his face. I think perhaps the dog and I stumbled upon Santa’s workshop! No reindeer, however, they do have two, friendly black labs. His hat is usually a baseball hat, not a red velvet one with white trim and his beard is more pepper than salt. Yet there he was smiling and building and full of good cheer. He was putting together one of those little cars children can drive themselves, this one was HOT PINK, yikes.
This particular “Santa” had boys. Now, he has a little grand girlie. Apparently, a little grand girlie who will be driving in our neighborhood in a couple days! As we passed by, his voice sort of echoed in the garage when he shouted out with a wave, Merry Christmas!

After our walk, we came home. One of us took a nap, the other fired up the sewing machine and got to work. I had a little, tiny doll dress to make for an eleven inch doll. Once her new dress and headband were finished, I put her down in her new doll bed. I covered her up ever so gently with her brand new hand made doll quilt. It had some of the same colors as the freshly painted lime green bed with pink and orange stripes and swirls.

Eureka, maybe there is a secret sewing room, garage, “workshop” in every house we pass? That makes me smile. Santa has quite a few helpers.

Helpers don’t have to wear pointy shoes and green outfits and goofy hats. Some helpers wear jeans and a warm black sweater topped off with a jaunty foam green scarf.

Oh, and that doll dress? Yep, it has a jingle bell sewn in the seam. Might help keep Christmas in someones heart all year long.