Hello dear friends! Hope you had a wonderful Easter! Ours started out stormy and gray and rather gloomy, but by noon the sun came out and the birds rejoiced. I think there was an Easter message in the weather. Because there were travel advisories, we stayed home and listened to several very good sermons on the TV. So the silver lining is that I might have missed those messages if the weather would have been cooperative. At last the ice has melted from the lake. Today as I was driving along the shoreline (on the way to the dentist. Yuk!) it was the prettiest turquoise color and the gentlest of waves, and if I wasn't wearing a winter coat, it might have felt like the nicest of Spring days. Soon the Spring-y weather will be here!
In the meantime, we are amusing ourselves by Spring cleaning the house. A sparkling clean house is one of the nicest luxuries. And the only cost is for soap! We finally had a warm enough day to wash our windows. Oh my! What a difference that made to our outlook, both figuratively and literally! Taking care of our home is such a privilege, something we do cheerfully because we know how blessed we are to have a home. It is a very humble little place. Less than 1000 square feet and it is furnished in used and handmade furniture, but to us, no castle can compare. We love to find thrifty ways to make it our own. One thing we did this week is to hang an old ladder from the ceiling in our dining room and hang my collection of antique baskets.
Another free fun thing is stargazing. We watched the lunar eclipse this week.
There is always something to make you wonder in the shape of a tree, the trembling of a leaf.
On the practical side, we are trying to cut back on our utilities costs. We have managed to get our heating bill down quite a bit by using our wood stove and many other things that I wrote about here, but our electricity bill has been going up. Mainly because the cost per wattage is going up, so we are taking more steps to cut our usage. This week we bought a power strip with a switch for the TV, cable box, and stereo area. At night we turn it off. We also unplug our computers at night. We are trying to do all of our baking on one day a week (we have and electric oven) rather than heating it several times a week. We are also using candles and oil lamps in the evening. That's more for just setting a serene mood than for any actual savings. During garage sales season, I always buy candles, which you can get for 10-25 cents, remelt them and pour into pretty teacups that I also buy at the garage sales. You can buy pre-made wicks from the craft stores. These candles also make nice little extra gifts.
Ham and Egg Pie
1 1/2 C. diced ham
1 C. onions
1 small head broccoli (separated into small heads and parboiled)
1 1/2 C. cubed potatoes (parboiled or use leftover ones)
1 - 1 1/2 C. cubed cheese
1 tbsp. mustard
salt and pepper to taste
pie crust for a two crust pie
Fit the crust into the bottom of a pie pan. Combine the ham, onions, broccoli, potatoes, cheese and mustard and put into the pie shell. Make 6 small wells in the filling and crack an egg into each of the wells. Gently fit the top crust on so not to break the eggs, making sure to cut vents into it before placing on top. At this point I like to spread some soften butter on my top crust and sprinkle it with some herbs but that is optional. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.
I always make a large batch of pie crusts and freeze them. Then I just have to defrost the crust when I want to bake a pie. My recipe for large batch pie crust can be found here. With any leftover I make mini pizza pies that I keep in the freezer for son Jamie to snack on. My mother would always bake up the scraps and make little pies for me to enjoy with tea for my dolls. A little thing, but a wonderful memory!
So you see, not everything has to be a large thing. Saving a penny here, a penny there, adds up too. The main thing is to just start. Challenge yourself to see what ways you can cut costs this week.
Here's our thrift accomplishments for this week:
I made old fashioned fudge from pantry staples rather than buy Easter candy.
We trimmed our grape vines and used the trimmings to make wreaths for the doors.
Made a ham and egg pie with Easter leftovers and cheap eggs, which were the lost leaders this week.
Combined a sale, a discounted item and a coupon to buy a pair of muck boots for 1/2 the price.
Made a cupboard from some old headboards, wood scraps, and salvaged materials for our guest/storage cottage.
As usual, heated the house with wood, dried our laundry on racks, ate out of the pantry, etc.