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Thursday, January 19, 2023

Thrifty Thursday

Hello dear friends!   I thought I better hurry up and get a Thrifty Thursday post out before I run out of Thursdays for the month! 

First a picture of the sun shining through the kitchen window, because it has been so long since the sun has shone, I want to remind myself, that it does.  It has certainly been a mild, albeit drab winter so far. 

I've been doing a lot of canning this week.  There's been some really great buys on meat.  I bought hamburger for $2.99 a pound and bacon for $2.50 a pound!  Are prices going back down or is this the calm before the storm?  Are the prices on meat going down because the farmers are culling their herds because they cannot afford to feed them?   Or because there's less demand as fewer people can afford to buy it? Or is it because things aren't as dire as many have predicted?  I have stopped trying to reason why things are the way they are, and just take advantage of the windfall. Whenever you find a bargain, be ready to take advantage of it!  Another thing I bought this week was shortening.  We use a lot of shortening for baking bread and because if I'm going to bake something, it is usually a pie, not to mention we love our pot pies and I bake a lot of biscuits and scones instead of buying store-bought bread (which is getting scary expensive). Anyhow, for the past couple of months the six-pound cannisters were priced at $24!  And that was if I could find them.  That was quite an increase from the $13 I was used to paying.  That's just crazy! Shortening was almost expensive as butter (which is another astounding price).  Then the other day, I was in my Mennonite store and they had it priced at sixteen dollars.  So, I grabbed a couple of cans up, straight away. So, most of my grocery budget went to meat, which I canned, and shortening this month. 

Oh!  A funny thing about shortening.  I been seeing a lot of YouTube videos about making cake-release for greasing your pans.  Basically, it is shortening and flour.  Oh, you mean like greasing and flouring your pans?  What a novel idea! Then it occurred to me that most of the people born after 1980 have never actually greased and floured their pans, since those cooking sprays have been around that long.  I remember when they came out, I thought they were the greatest thing since sliced bread. Ha!  You see, when I was a little girl and I asked to help with the baking, the chore that was eagerly offered to me was to grease and flour the pans.  The job that no one wanted.  That and chop the nuts in one of those spring-loaded contraptions, that never got the nuts all chopped in the same size. So much chopping and jar shaking!  It is a wonder I ever learned to like baking with those two things as my introduction to baking.  

Just as vital as carefully shopping is to use all your resources.  During the winter when our woodstove is burning all day long, we keep a tea kettle atop it and always have instant hot water for tea or cocoa.

I've also become quite adept at cooking atop the stove and even bake things like biscuits and scones. Just place the pans on top, when the bottom is baked, carefully turn them over and bake the tops.  This week I've baked beans, made a stew and some soups.  No electricity or gas needed.  At the moment there's a fruit compote bubbling away. We had some apples and oranges that were becoming wizened in the root cellar, so rather than throw them out, use them up.  I also had some cranberries left over from baking Andrea's orange-cranberry bread (which was delicious, BTW) and some dried fruits also. Here's the recipe, but it's very flexible and you can use whatever fruits you have on hand.

Warm Winter Fruit Compote

1/4 C. butter or margarine
1/2 C. confectioners' sugar
1 tsp. cornstarch
1/2 C. orange juice
2 tsp. grated orange rind
1 C. pineapple chunks, drained
1 C. mandarin oranges, drained
1 C. peach slices, drained
1 C. apples, peeled and chopped

In a large saucepan, combine butter, sugar, orange juice, cornstarch and rind.  Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until mixture is thickened.  Stir in the fruit. Simmer until warm. Serve warm with a dollop of cream atop.  

Or you can use it for a topping for your oatmeal.  Use whatever fruits you have at hand and think would make a tasty combination.  Since I was using my home-canned fruits which I can in syrup, I omit the sugar. If you think it would be too sweet, use less sugar.  If you like really sweet things add an additional 1/4 cup of sugar.  

Oh!  While speaking of oranges, kind of, here's a thrifty tip from my friend Matty.  She slices and dries her old oranges and uses them in her tea. Drying fruit is another way to use your fireplace.  Just slice them thinly, string them up and hang on the fireplace fender.

I get teased a lot about my constant rearranging of my furniture.  I even make rooms into entirely different rooms.  Sometimes our dining room becomes our sitting room, and the living room becomes our dining room to suit our needs.   You might not think of this as a money-saving thing, but the reason I do it because it keeps me from becoming bored with my surroundings.  It's a lot cheaper to stay home and rearrange the furniture than it is to go out and spend money.  I rarely have the urge to go on expensive vacations just because I need a change of view. Ha!  This week I rearranged my kitchen cupboard:

Another good thing is by putting all my collections in one place, in this example it's my redware collection, I can see that I have enough.  No need to collect any more. That is, unless I find an amazing piece, say from the 1700s, for an unbelievable price.  I have purchased all   these pieces from garage sales and thrift stores.  When I do find a better piece, I gladly donate a lesser piece to the thrift store, so that someone else can have the thrill of finding something they wanted. And it keeps my collections from becoming too much.  We simply do not have the space in our tiny home for large collections.

Another thing I do to keep from climbing the walls during the winter is to have lots of projects going. This week I made a small quilted piece and knitted this tam;

We've been watching the Road to Avonlea series in the evenings, and I always admired those floppy big tams the children wear, so I knitted this one up from two skeins of thrifted wool and mohair yarn.  Total cost, one dollar.  

How to Knit a Victorian-Style Tam

With size 7 16-inch circular needles cast on 80 stitches.  Work K1, P1 ribbing for 10 rounds. 
Next round increase stitches by: * knitting three stitches, then knitting into the front and back of the next stitch, repeat from *until the end. 100 stitches.
Knit 32 rounds plain.
Crown: K 18, K 2 together. repeat to end. 
Knit next round.
K 17, K2 together. repeat to the end.
Knit next round.
Continue in this pattern, decreasing 1 stitch between the K2 togethers, until you have 10 stitches remaining, changing to double-point needles when the stitches can no longer be worked on circular needles. 
K 2 together, repeat to end.
Break off yarn and thread the remaining five needles through the needle.  Pull tight and tie off.
Block your tam over a dinner plate to give it that classic tam shape.

Thrift stores are an amazing source for crafting items.  When Ran and I make our big day out, we always stop at a few. Here's my thrift haul for this month:

Sorry about the lighting.  As I wrote earlier, it has been dark, dark, dark here lately.  I spent a total of just a little over $15 and here's what I got:

A woolen scarf made on Wales.
Over 1 yard of a pretty plum corduroy fabric, that it will be enough for a simple skirt.
2 skirts for summer.  Always be thinking ahead.
A Kim Diehl quilting book (sells for $24 in the quilt shop)
A gray t-shirt for Ran
2 stacks of vintage Workbasket magazines for ten-cents each.
Several cross stitch leaflets, including a nice one that is just alphabets for making up my own samplers.
A package of elastic. 10 cents.
An antique tracing wheel
2 earthenware plates
A purple wool blazer for using the wool for crafts
A little vintage device that guarantees making buttonholes "as easy as sewing on a button" (the instructions are twenty pages long, I think not)
2 pairs of silver earrings for 75cents each.  Must have more than 75-cents of silver in them.
A little woolwork pillow for Spring
And this pretty vintage wool tartan blanket made in Scotland:

Blackie loves it.

So that has been the past couple of weeks in thrift.  Always look for sales and ways to reuse and use less. Rejoice in the little things.  And find ways to creatively make your dreams come true.  It's not the things you have or don't have it's the ways you use and enjoy what you do have!



Tuesday, January 10, 2023

The Keeper of the Home

 Hello dear friends!  The other day I had the opportunity to spend some time with a more worldly gentleman.  Since most of the people I associate with are humble, salt-of-the-earth types, it was interesting to see how the rest of the world see us. Indeed, to the world we keepers of the home seem like dull, uninteresting people.  So, I wanted to write what the lowly homemaker's life is like.

The keeper of the home:

Arises early and firstly thanks the Lord for seeing them through the night, then humbly asks for His guidance throughout the day, that His will shall be done, the Holy Spirit will speak through her and that she will be a good example of Christian love.

Dresses herself in a humble modest attire that enables her to do the tasks before her.

Keeps her home in a neat and tidy manner, so that her family can find serenity and refuge in it.

Prepare meals that are nourishing and wholesome.  And asks for God's blessing over the food and is thankful for it.

Works diligently and cheerful at the work before her but is never too busy to stop and comfort a child or ease the worries of her husband.

Is never too busy to put a pot of tea or coffee on and listen to a troubled friend or a lonely elderly neighbor.

Is kind and sincere to strangers. 

When she goes out, acts in a way that is a reflection of the Father's love for her.  Notices the troubled and tries to help.  Whether it's playing peek-a-boo with the crying toddler in the grocery store so that the harried mother can have a small break or noticing a troubled person and sending up a prayer for them.

Studies the Bible daily and spends time in prayer.

Works quietly at creative endeavors, because it is in the quiet times, she hears the voice of God.

If she works at charity, she does it for the glory of God and not for her own glorification.

And at the end of the day, repents of her sins and is thankful for her blessings.

So, you see dear friends, you may not have the most exciting life to those that seek the things of this world, but you are a very important chink in the foundation of God's kingdom. As the saying goes from one of my favorite movies, It's a Wonderful Life, "you never know how you have touched other's lives" just by some simple gesture.  So be proud to be a keeper of the home!