Saturday, September 10, 2011

Corn Cob Jelly

12 large corn cobs
4 cups water
1 packet powdered fruit pectin (of 4 tsp of dry if you bought in bulk like I did)
4 cups sugar
4-6 drops yellow food coloring

Cut the corn off of the cob.  In stock pot place broken corn cobs with water.  Bring to boil.  Boil for 10-15 minutes.  Discard cobs, strain liquid through cheese cloth.  Liquid should measure 3 cups.  Add water if necessary.

Return to kettle, stir in pectin.  Bring to full rolling boil then add sugar.  Bring back to a boil.  Skim foam and add a few drops of food coloring.  Pour in hot jars leaving 1/4 inch head space. Process in boiling water canner for 10 minutes.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Stocking Up

Necessity never made a good bargain. ~ Ben Franklin

Frugality is much easier and less stressful if one is able to plan ahead.  One may not have a ton of money to start a storehouse, but something that we found very effective is stocking up little by little.  We have a basic list we go to the store with each week, in that list we include things like toilet paper, shampoo, toothpaste, dish soap, etc.  We buy the same amount every week regardless of what's left from the previous week.  For instance, as a  large family we through quite a bit of toilet paper so we buy a 12 pack every week.  The next time we shop we still buy a 12 pack, however at the end of the week we typically have anywhere between 2-4 rolls left at which time we place them in our storage closet. We found that the storage closet filled much quicker than we thought that it would.

Another thing that we started doing is signing up for freebies and using coupons.  Anything that we're able to get for free or very cheap we put in storage also. .

Here are some great websites that show how to coupon and that also offer freebie alerts.

All You

Money Saving Mom

Thrifty Common Cents

Freebies For Friends

Be sure to follow these on Facebook.  Many times they give daily alerts on bargains.  Often I've gotten coupons through manufacturers like Pantene, Aussie, etc offering a free bottle of shampoo via these Facebook pages.

Do you have any favorite freebie website?  Feel free to post them under the comments.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Little by little, inch by inch,
by the yard it's hard,
by the inch what a cinch!
Never stare up the stairs,
just step up the steps.
Little by little inch by inch.
~Patch the Pirate~

Wednesday, August 17, 2011


The new school year is soon upon us.  Have you been considering homeschooling or maybe already have been but are not wanting to invest all the $$$$ in school books this year?

Here are a few ideas for you~

Looking for a classic education.  Find it all here for free.

These out of print books have no copyright on them so one is able to copy them for no charge.  If you already own an E-reader many of them can be "bought" for no charge to download through Amazon.  Don't stress if you don't own an E-reader~ You may also download the Amazon Kindle application on your home computer or simply read them on line.

Here are some websites with some free worksheets.

Here are nearly free ideas to teach a preschooler:

Teach them to count by counting Cheerios.  Cheerios are also a wonderful way to teach simple addition and subtraction.

Teach them how to tie shoes.  No fancy dolls needed, just get Dad's big shoes out and have fun!

Teach them how to draw letters with their fingers by using homemade finger paints.

  • tablespoons sugar

  • 1/3 cup cornstarch

  • cups cold water

  • 1/4 cup clear liquid dish soap

  • food coloring or food coloring paste

  • Mix sugar and cornstarch in a small pan then slowly add in cold water. Cook over low heat and stir until the mixture becomes smooth, almost a clear gel. When it's done add in the clear dish soap. Scoop equal amounts into different containers then stir in food coloring.  If you'd like brighter colors add food coloring paste instead.

  • Another resource to use for your frugal home school is the library.  DON'T FORGET THE LIBRARY!!!!! This is a wonderful resource for free books, many educational DVDs for science and history,  It's much fun to pick things such as a new country  to learn about or subject such as simple sign language or maybe even learning more about rocks and stones.

  • Make it a family event, have fun!  These are the things memories are made of.

  • Sunday, August 14, 2011

    Forced Frugality

    Frugal living, or frugality, when chosen as an on-purpose lifestyle, is often a blast, however, when frugal living is forced upon us out of necessity or trial, it quickly ceases to be fun.  Frugality as a choice can be compared to going to the lake for a leisurely swim, while forced frugality compares to swimming frantically to prevent drowning.

    We learned very quickly that there is a natural difference in attitude when being frugal in order to see the savings account grow vs. being frugal in order to maintain food on the table and pay the utility bills.  Maintaining a right attitude, a positive outlook, is all determined by a choice that the frugal minded person must make.

    Being happy and frugal is a choice.  One can be most miserable in times of feast while others choose to be happy in times of famine.  What, you may ask, makes the difference?

    One of the  differences  in attitude is determined by the gratefulness one has in their heart toward God for the things that they already possess whether it be little or much.  Often when going through times of lean it becomes very easy to focus on everything that we used to have and not being grateful for the things that God has presently provided.

    When we realize that the things that we have are gifted to us by God then when can see the world through a different perspective.

    Another reason for a poor attitude with frugality is often due to being centrally focused on ones own problems and self.  While we were going through our time of famine we were reminded by someone that when God gives us something it's intended to channel right through us, like a rope passing through our hands.  When someone decided to hold on to the rope that was intended to flow through their hands they can get very hurt by it.  Often times one chooses in times of famine to hang on more tightly to the rope of what little they have instead of still passing the excess on through and in turn being a blessing to others.

    May it be a small challenge to all of us frugal wannabe's- frugal for what ever reason- that we remain thankful for the blessings that God has bestowed upon us and actively seek to be a blessing to others through our frugality.

    Here's a few ideas of how to be a blessing to others at little or no cost:
    1. Visit a nursing home.  One might be able to take the time to read the Bible and/or pray with one of the people there or maybe just a simple visit will do.  Many in the nursing homes have no company.

    2. Actively pray for people and when you do drop them postcard telling them so.  According to the USPS website the cost for mailing a postcard first class is 29 cents.  You  may decide to simply email them instead which can be done at a library for no cost.

    3. Offer to help clean your church.  Express to them that your looking for a way to be a blessing and would like to assist in helping out at your church.

    4. Volunteer at a local hospital.

    5. Invite a neighbor over for dinner.  One is going to eat dinner anyway and the cost of adding 1 or 2 more people at the dinner table isn't very  much.  Remember it doesn't have to be fancy, a friendly and hospitable attitude speaks many more volumes than what does the food.

    6. Find someone else that has needs and try to help them out.

    Many a stressful times have become depressing and caused a multitudes of health crisis's due to focusing too much on ones own problems and not noticing that others also have problems, some of them being so much worse than our own.  Likewise some beautiful friendships have also been formed during times of famine just due to others being empathetic toward others circumstances.

    Remember the Swedish proverb "A sorrow shared is a half a sorrow."

    Saturday, August 13, 2011

    Beans, Beans, Musical Fruit....

    Often one has to eat in order to stay nourished and not worry about the loving food part.  Often this is how it is with me and beans.

    Beans equals cheap eats so hence I've learned to love them.  We could go into all the nutritional aspects of it but who really cares?  We're just trying to eat cheap.

    So what do you do with beans?  Soak them, boil them and  eat them.  Adding some meat to them is nice, however it adds to the expense of the meal.  We've found that broth, soup base or a ham bone can be added to give the flavor that will make it palatable.

    The additives and side one chooses can really make a difference.

    Options for sides that taste great with beans~

    Slice of Raw Onion
    Hot Peppers
    Pepper and Vinegar Sauce

    My favorite side for a bowl of beans is Hoe Cakes.  Once again, very few ingredients and inexpensive to make.  Here's the recipe~

    2 cups cornmeal
    1 tsp salt
    2 cups boiling water
    oil/shortening/butter for frying

    Combine cornmeal and salt in a large bowl and make a well in it.  Pour in the boiling water and stir. Heat oil in a pan and pour 1/4 cup batter in the hot oil.  Fry until crispy and brown.  This recipe makes about 12 hoe cakes.

    When you have to resort to foods that aren't served at the finest restaurants just remember to thank God that He provided you with nourishment for that meal.  It could be worse!