One of the silly things I did this week was to make maple chips.
link on how to make some. I didn't microwave mine, but used an old-fashioned double boiler. And next time I won't waste my time piping them onto wax paper, but instead just spread the melted chocolate on some wax paper and break that up into little bits. You can always buy white chocolate after the holidays when those little bunny, Santas, and hearts go on sale for half price. Anyway, this had me thinking of all the different flavors I could make. I think I will try coconut next. And maybe strawberry would be good in a chocolate cookie?
THE VALUE OF MONEY
I was reading an article on-line about one of the most important steps young adults can do to prosper is to learn the value of money. Today with electronic transactions, people often don't even think of money as money. Just pull out the old debit or credit card. That's why one of the ways people can learn to budget is to get actual cash, place it in an envelope for each expenditure, and when the money runs out, you're through spending for the month. Nothing like a dwindling stack of cash to make you realize how little money you really have and how quickly it can slip from your fingers. I don't do that, but I check my checking account balance daily, and I keep lists of everything I spend money upon, even that fifty cent bottle of water when out shopping. I make my own accounts book out of notebooks that I buy during the "back-to-school" sales. On one page I keep my ledger and on the other page I keep columns for food, medical, utilities, clothing, etc. And I keep track of every penny. This way, I can see where I need to do better. Some things you just can't fight, I've discovered. I was trying to keep my groceries at $75 for the month, but we eat almost that much in fresh fruits and vegetables in the winter. We try to eat green leafies every day. I realized I really need to double that for a realistic budget. Still $150 a month for three adults isn't bad. That extra $75 dollars had to come out of one of the other categories, in our case entertainment , gasoline and clothing.
One of the ways to help yourself from spending too much is to think of how long you have to work for each item. Believe me, if you think that you have to work three hours (calculated on a wage of $20/hour minus the taxes) for that cute $45 sweater, the "cuteness'" sort of wanes! Especially when you discover that you can buy ten just-as-cute sweaters from the thrift store for the same price. A steak might sound tasty, but when you discover you have to work an hour to have enough for you and your spouse, is it any better than a ten pound bag of dry beans? Enough beans for ten meals and ten sweaters or steak for one meal and one sweater? It's a different way of looking at wealth, but you can be wealthy by wisely spending your money.
Not that I don't spend money foolishly from time to time! This week we spotted a new to us thrift store on our drive home from the bulk food store (had to stock up on flour, canning lids, and vegetable oil). I found five skirts from the Sundance catalog at $1.50 each. I figured I could sell them on Ebay if I didn't like them, but I do, so I'm keeping them. I know that I have too many clothes! I also bought two pieces of fabric, the plaid one is 3 1/2 yards that I plan to make an old-fashioned apron from and the cute one with the cherries is slated to be made into either tote bags, potholders, or aprons for Christmas presents.
ANOTHER WAY OF LOOKING AT WEALTH
I'm sure you know people that seem to have everything, but never seem happy. Conversely, I've seen some seriously poor people that delight in mundane things that most of us take for granted. Little children in third world countries that are given a simple rubber ball that most American children would turn up their noses at, furnishes them with many more hours of enjoyment than those expensive video games we buy or children. Every year we select a child from a charity, some of the things they ask for, truly humbles us; a warm shirt, mittens, a shaving kit, warm pajamas.We have so much in comparison. True wealth is being content and finding joy in what you do have, not in wanting what you don't or can't have.
PRETTY GREAT MEALS FROM THE PANTRY AND ROOT CELLAR
We've been spending most of of our grocery money on stocking up on bulk items so we've been using a lot of home-canned goods and things we have dried or are in the root cellar. This week we had:
Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole (home canned ham and chicken, dried mushrooms, onions from the root cellar, and Swiss cheese from the freezer)
Vegetable Lasagna (cheese from the freezer, home dried peppers and mushrooms, home canned spaghetti sauce and eggplant)
Beef Stroganoff (home canned sirloin and beef broth, served on potatoes from the root cellar)
A ham, green onion and cream cheese spread on homemade crackers with a salad (home canned ham)
A big pot of pinto beans cooked with a smoked ham hock on cornbread. (home dried beans, celery and peppers, onions from the root cellar)
Home made pizza (cheese from the freezer, home canned spaghetti sauce, home dried mushrooms and peppers, onions from the root cellar)
We serve most of our meals with a big green salad, which is where most of our grocery money goes. Can't wait for Spring, when we'll have our own lettuce once again! In the mean time we are stretching our lettuce by adding our sprouts to the salad. Our main meal of the day is lunch. We eat the leftovers for dinner or I have home-canned soups in the pantry that we can heat up.
Which just goes to show you, being thrifty doesn't mean you have to live poorly!
For this month's charity knitting I couldn't resist making a pair of pink mitts in honor of Valentine's Day. I had to take a photo before I was finished because I was losing the light, but they will be finished today.
THRIFTY THING WE DID THIS WEEK
Found some more flagstones for our walk in the vacant lot.
Knitted a pair of mittens from my yarn stash.
Bought five Sundance catalog skirts for a grand total of $7.50.
Bought bulk canning lids at 12 cents a lid (a lot less than a box of 12)
Bought fabric at the thrift store, five yards was cheaper than one at the fabric store.
Sewed a doll for a Christmas present from fabric scraps.
Foraged for pine bark to make a tincture. (It's still in the process, I'll show you next week)
Snagged a free pallet for firewood.
Made banana pudding from milk and bananas that needed using up.
Made some pretty great meals from the pantry.
So that's it for this week at the old Zempel boarding house! Hope you have a wonderful week and hope to see you here again the next!