Sunday, September 19, 2021

Just for info. Wanted to share

 I actually heard this guy call in to the Clay Travis and Buck Sexton show ( they took over for Rush Limbaugh after he passed) the other day.  This is a transcript of the call.  I found it very informative and wanted to share.  

Paul in Toronto

Also on Friday they had Alex Berenson on in an interview.  He isn't right or left.  He is actually a former writer for the New York Times who has questioned things from the get go.  I've been listening to his stuff for a while.  He's also been in Joe Rogan's show.  He talks about things coming and lo and behold they come just like he predicted.  

Alex Berenson

Just sharing info.  Take it or leave it, your choice.  I'm just sharing.

Saturday, September 18, 2021

Making Groceries?

 Good morning all!

Fall is close I can feel it!  Time to clean up the garden and rethink things for next year.  It's also the time I begin to start to look inward to the house and reclaiming it from a summer of neglect.  Little by little I've been retaking rooms, and then managing to keep those rooms claimed while I reclaim another.  

While my focus has turned to homemaking, I'm still growing items in the garden.  It's a "need to" situation.  Have you seen the prices at the store lately?  I basically walked into Aldi and walked out again the other day; with very little purchased.  I was stunned!  Stunned at how much things had gone up in a short two week time period.   In addition to stunned, I was disappointed.  I'd had some things on my list to buy instead of make to give me a break a little so I could focus on other things; i.e. Etsy, cleaning, and gardening.  When I walked out, it was with the realization that we were at the point where things I can make, I need to make.  

Many years ago I submitted a post called "shopping with my  sewing machine".  It's not a barn burner, but if you want to read it, you can find it here.  Although a short post, it's what I thought of this week as I went about " grocery shopping with my stove".  In other words I set about filling our pantry by making the items I needed, and filling in some things I've been meaning to can up ( which also fills the pantry).  I'm not done yet.  I'll do some more this weekend,  but here's what I've accomplished so far:

two loaves of bread and 8 hamburger buns.  This was one recipe of bread dough made into 2 different items,

Chocolate chip Zucchini cake.  This was for dessert for a couple of nights

Pancake syrup is labeled, and the other items are raspberry jam and blackberry jam made from berries we grew this summer, and the quart jar in the back is apple jelly made from apple cores that I've saved in the freezer for just this reason,  All of this was made up and just put in the fridge,  No need to can it as they will go thru it quickly.

Whole wheat bagels.  This recipe made 18 bagels, so equal to 3 store bought packages.  

And last but not least, 8 jars ( though only 4 shown here) of beet jelly. Tastes like a fruit jelly

Left to make are crackers. chocolate syrup and dog treats.  In addition it will more than likely be time to add more bread for sandwiches.

I post all of this not to brag ( well...maybe a little), but to give an example of using skill sets.  While all of these items require something from me to produce them, many take very little time ( the chocolate syrup, Pancake Syrup, Chocolate cake), and are minimally labor intensive.   The most labor intensive item I've made is the Bagels.  Totally worth it though.  They are sooooo good!( if I do say so myself).  None of these items require special equipment.  Even the jams and jellies are made with a simple stock pot.  Since the vast majority of those weren't canned, but stored in the fridge; I could have just opted to put them in a regular storage container to refrigerate.  

Yes, making bread products is an acquired skill, but it's a skill worth learning.  Tip for that, start with regular white flour, not wheat.  Wheat flour can come after you've gotten comfortable making the bread.  Always remember, even the mistakes make great toast, and grill cheese sandwiches. 

Give it a whirl!  Nothing to lose and a lot to gain.  Recipes for just about everything here are found in my  recipe section.  The apple core jelly was a youtube video and the jams were from all recipes.  The internet is your gateway to wonderful food skills.  Have a go!


Friday, September 10, 2021

Well that was short lived

 I want to write about everyday things; of frugality, gardening, family, et.  But NO!  I have to deal with all this craziness too!  Grrrr!

So in his infinite (ahem not )wisdom, our fearless leader has now drawn a line in the sand regarding a vaccine for a virus with a 99.5% survival rate.  He actually pointed an angry finger at unvaccinated individuals, claiming that the patience of the vaccinated is wearing thin.  He laid every case at the feet of those of US that haven't been and more than likely won't be vaccinated.  I find that very interesting coming from a group that claims to be following "The Science".  Their own golden child Anthony Fauci ( I won't dignify him with "Dr") claims that vaccinated individuals actually carry a higher viral load than those unvaccinated.  So really, all these cases can be laid at the feet of the vaccinated if one wants to be picky.  I could care less.  You want to be vaccinated, fine.  If I get Covid , I get it.  I would no more blame someone vaccinated or not with my coming down with Covid.  

Biden's speech set a dangerous precedent.  Not just because of the mandate.  That's bad enough.  But  Biden has put a target on every person chosing to not get this vaccination.  This is a target that could effect their life, job, etc.  

He.  Does.  Not.  Have.  The.  Power to mandate this.  To be honest, even if he did (which he doesn't) do you really want the brilliant mind that orchestrated the exit from Afghanistan, is protecting our border, and managing our economy to be making decisions about your body?  Cause I tell you, those decisions haven't instilled confidence.  Besides, he doesn't have to deal with the side effects long term of what that vaccine does to your body.  You do.  The drug companies are protected from liability as well, should you have an adverse reaction, and there have been adverse reactions.  Maybe if he removed the liability protection from the Pharmaceutical industry so they can be held liable.....

The party of "Science"  has created their own science it seems.  This is a science that says people who are vaccinated still have something to fear from the unvaccinated.  That doesn't hold true with vaccinations as a general rule.  That's the whole reason to be vaccinated!  So how is that?  When the vaccine first came out we were told that it was 95% effective and if you caught the virus it would weaken your symptoms to the point where you would maybe feel like you had a cold.  We were told, if you remember, that vaccinated people would only have a 5% chance of spreading the virus to others.  When the Delta variant emerged we  were told the vaccine covered the variant as well.  Sounds good doesn't it?  And can I ask, uh, isn't naturally acquired immunity a thing?

So as the Delta variant has spread and is now the most prominent variant, cases are rising; in fact there were more cases reported this labor day compared to last labor day (before the vaccine); we're told it's those nasty unvaccinated people.  We're so selfish!  What they aren't telling you is that it's both vaccinated and unvaccinated people getting Covid, being hospitalized from Covid, or even dying from Covid.  Remember what I stated in the beginning about Fauci saying the vaccinated have a higher viral load ( means they're more contagious).  Now they're calling for a third shot.  A call for a forth shot is coming.  If you go by what Israel is dealing with ( the most vaccinated country FYI), they're now calling for a forth shot.  So what the powers that be are requiring is a never ending routine of a shot every 6 months?  Can you say Hamster on a wheel?  Ummm..excuse me, does the vaccine even work?

I can wax philosophical about all things Covid, vaccine, and Biden, but it all boils down to this.  Is this still America or not?  Regardless if you're for this vaccine or not, vaccinated or not, Democrat. Republican, independent, etc; the speech Biden gave yesterday should've chilled you to the bone.  We either stand together. or that's it for the " great experiment".   We're supposed to be more than a shot, a mask, a political party.  We're Americans.  It should mean something.

I can't speak for everyone, but as it stands right now, they will have to hold me down and fight with me to force a jab into my arm, and they will need to do that every time for every shot they force me to take.  They wanna play?  I'll play.

Wednesday, September 8, 2021

A refreshing change.

 Full disclosure for those that may have just tuned in.  3 years ago this past August 27th, I had a mild heart attack ( didn't feel mild at the time).  No blockages, so that was good.  However, my cholesterol has been a concern since as far as my physicians were concerned.  It wasn't elevated and no blockages, but they wanted it even lower.  They also wanted my weight down more.  So did I.  That we agreed on.  We've just disagreed how to get there.  Funny thing was I was actually down 63 lbs from my highest weight and at the healthiest point in my entire life! 

The past three years have been stressful to say the least.  As a result My weight was up.  To be totally honest, it was up 26 pounds.  26 pounds!  YIKES.  But notice I said "was up".  It's now down 7 pounds from there.  I'm hopeful this is it and I have reclaimed things, but I'm not willing to claim that yet.  However, I will take the 7 pounds.  It's a daily journey.

So knowing my weight is up, and with now a history of heart disease; I headed to two doctor visits ( one day apart).  I'll tell you I was loaded forbear.  I was ready for a fight.  I was totally ready to deal with a vaccine push by my doctors; an Endocrinologist, and a Cardiologist!  

Know what?  Aside from a questionnaire about general health information that included a question of "  have you been vaccinated for Covid 19"( to which I answered "No"); nothing was mentioned.  Nothing.  Both visits were completely normal ( aside from having to wear a mask ((eye roll)). 

I have to say it was quite a nice change.  I still had bodily autonomy at my doctors office.  I really did appreciate it.  There are now at least two physicians I know that still respect the "Patient Bill of Rights".  Yes that is actually a thing.   To read the full version, you're welcome to click here

Here's a couple from the list I thought to highlight:

1)  The right to Refuse care

2)  The right to agree or refuse to take part in medical research studies without it affecting patient's care.

3) The right to give informed consent prior to the administration of any non emergent care by receiving  information on the benefits, risks, alternatives to a particular treatment, as well as benefits and risks of those alternatives.  

4) The right to have respect shown for the your( and my) values, beliefs and wishes.

It was nice to see that still in action in my neck of the woods.  If it isn't in your's, then fight for it!  You have rights as a patient.  Don't let them tell you otherwise.  

I will leave with this one little bit of new info I've discovered.  I was shocked to see that my cholesterol, which is usually really good, had shot up to 238!  It has never been over the 180's, even when I was very overweight and eating junk.  Guess what?  According to WebMD, stress over a long period of time can release large amounts of cortisol and can increase cholesterol levels!  That's news!  

It's not like we've all been under excessive amounts of stress lately have we?  NAH!

Needless to say I'm working to get those levels back where they need to be.  I'm moving, and getting my weight down.  It's a daily journey.  

 I'll update when I can. 

Saturday, September 4, 2021

Use your Skill Sets

 Skill sets!  What skill sets?  

Look, you don't have to have acres of land to put up things for a rainy day.  When you're watching sales and stocking up on the good buys, don't over look things like meat and fresh vegetables on sale.  

But I don't have a second freezer!  You don't have to have a second freezer?  Packaged  well, you can store quite a bit in a refrigerator freezer.  

Option #1- Store ground meats in quart size freezer bags.  Press flat, freeze and stack.

Option #2- Cook the ground meat first, then package, and freeze  

Option #3- Cook whole chickens, and turkeys, debone, package, press flat, freeze and stack

Option #4- Milk can be frozen, did you know?  If you have the space to store gallons of milk, great, but if you have limited space, you can always do like the ground meat and pour it into freezer bags,  freeze flat and stack

I know, it doesn't take a great amount of skill to put something in a bag, but what skills come in handy when you are out of space in your freezer and need to store something?

Enter Canning!  

If you have the ability to can, you aren't limited to just what would come out of your garden.  You can buy vegetables in season and can them up for winter.  

Now you need to figure if it's going to be more cost effective to can them yourself or just buy them canned ( buying them on sale of course).  This past year I've canned up store bought fresh carrots and applesauce from fresh apples.  My calculations told me this was the most cost effective way.  Both items were in season, on a great sale, and once I did the calculations; a money saver.

I will say something I've discovered is canned tomato sauce, paste, diced tomatoes, or crushed tomatoes are actually a good buy; especially if you can find a good sale.  When you factor in the pounds of tomatoes it takes to make these, unless you grow them yourself, just buy them canned.  I've never seen a sale on fresh tomatoes, so good as to be less expensive than just buying the items canned at the store.  Even growing my own is a mild competitor.  I lose a lot to pests, both buggy and animal.  I do love a fresh tomato though.  Another thing to consider is, unless you're getting in season fresh tomatoes from a local farmer, the store bought canned ones might be your better choice.  Instead of picking them under ripe to ship fresh, canned tomatoes are picked ripe and canned immediately.  

Water Bath Canning-  All you need is canning jars, lids, rings, and a deep stock pot.  Jams and jellies, tomatoes, and pickles can all be made in this boiling water method.  

Pressure Canning-  Needs a bit more, but it isn't scary I promise!  You just need to pay attention to the gauge.  I use my grandmother's pressure canner that was made in 1946!  My dad was 7.  

Pressure canners are an investment unless you inherit one like I did, but you can can pretty much anything in it, so worth more than a passing thought.

But, Frugal maven, I've filled my small freezer, I don't have the ability to can, and don't have a lot of space!

Answer: Invest in a dehydrator!  

We bought ours back in March and I have used it!  It was about $40 and well worth the price.  I've dried herbs, tomatoes, kale, spinach, onions, squash, etc on this thing.  It's taken large amounts of produce and shrunk them down to fit in a mason jar!  4 gallon size bags of kale down to 1 quart jar.  That works!   Best of all, it doesn't take a large amount of skill to slice things and lay them in a single layer on a tray.  You would be amazed at how much you can store with these tings.  To rehydrate it for eating you simply pour boiling water over it and wait 15 minutes.  

Don't want to buy a dehydrator?  You can do the same thing by taking your items and placing them in a single layer on a cookie sheet and leaving them in there with only the oven light on (Or pilot light if you have a gas stove).  It will take longer, but still works.  Eh not sure I would make jerky this way, but maybe?  Someone whose made jerky this way before, chime in !  Let me know!  I have no experience making jerky. 

Skill sets that are more wide spread would be cooking and baking.  As I've mentioned before, buying sugar and flour when they go on sale will go much further than buying boxes of cake or cookie mixes.  The same can be said for meals.  FYI, canned soup is not a good buy.  I don't care what the sale.  You would do better to make your own, even when buying the ingredients when they are NOT on sale.  If you like the convenience of premade mixes, Make your own!  The internet is filled with recipes for making up mixes.  I actually found a book on mixes at a thrift store.  For us, the only mixes I use are seasoning mixes like taco seasoning, spaghetti sauce mix, and season salt.  Mix them up, store them and enjoy.  Just get your ingredients on sale.

These are just a few of the skill sets you can use, but my main goal is to show you that there are ways around growing a garden or raising chickens to help you save money and store up good food.  My point also is to think outside the box when it comes to what you buy, how you buy, and how you use it.  

If a garden is possible, then by all means go for it.  Especially if you can save seeds or grow perennials that come back every year.  But, like I said, not everyone can.  This post is for them!

Friday, August 27, 2021

We Interrupt this Program to Vent!

 I'm sorry, but GOOD GRIEF!

I've spent the past 8 months following current events while shaking my head, but now I'm MAD!  13 service men killed along with a good number of Afghan citizens who were mostly women and children.  I have no problem with pulling out of Afghanistan, but you don't pull out the military first leaving American citizens along with Afghan citizen who helped us behind.  You don't allow the Taliban to be in charge.  You don't give up Bagram Airbase in the dead of night with no notice and leave all of our equipment!  

I don't fault any Democrat that voted for our current President.  He was your parties nominee and so you hold your nose to vote.  I've done it in the General election.  I understand.  That fact that your party seemed to contort and twist this guy into the nominee much like they did Hilary is irrelevant ( Sorry Bernie).  It's all cool, you do you.

I don't fault independents that voted for our current President.  I don't think there were many of you, but those that did, I'm sure you had your reasons; probably not as well thought out as you like to think, but there ya go.

No, my problem lies with those Never Trumpers.  My problem is with the republicans who didn't like President Trump because he....tweeted too much or he didn't act like they wanted to him to act or speak like they wanted him to speak.  They didn't like the fact that he held grudges or fought back.  The man is from Queens for petes sake!  I get the feeling they don't go down without a fight.  

I remember the day after the inauguration, Senator Clyburn of South Carolina reflected, in an interview, on a conversation between Himself and former President George W Bush on Inauguration day.  He stated that President Bush relayed to him how he, Senator Clyburn, was the savior of America.  Why was he the savior?  Well because his endorsement of ole Joe put him over the top.  

At this moment, I could literally thrash every republican that voted for the man we currently have, rather than the man who prior to Covid had managed to:

Make us energy independent, lowered over all unemployment to 3.5 percent the lowest in 50 years, lowered black unemployment to the lowest ever recorded, unemployment for women lowest in 70 years, pulled 7 million off food stamps, negotiated the Abraham Accords, brought manufacturing back to the US, increased family incomes, etc.  The list in entirely too long, but we all felt his work.  

We knew!  We knew, and yet in some weird way, even though President Trump actually received, I think 11 million MORE votes than when he won in 2016; he somehow lost to Joe Biden.  

So who here really thinks Biden won more votes than ever in US history; even beating our first Black president Barak Obama?  Hmmm? 

So to all of the Never Trumpers out there that voted this guy into office I have a question:

How's that workin out for you?  

As far as I'm concerned, every Never Trumper, every person that played politics with the future of our country can just keep their mouth shut regarding the havoc Jo Biden has created, because you are just as culpable in my book; if not more so.   

I just hope we have time to right this ship, but I doubt it, and I know exactly who I blame.  

Tuesday, August 24, 2021

Can't garden, but can you shop?!

 I get it.  Not everyone has the time, space, or even knack for having a garden.  In addition, even with all of the above, it's rare to have the where with all to grow everything needed for an entire year.  

Even our best laid plans, here on the homestead, have set backs.  We just recently lost 5 chickens being raised for food in one way or another; one hen and 4 roosters.  The hen would've supplied eggs, and the roosters would've supplied meat.  Despite all the care they received, and the fact they were on fresh grass; an opportunistic infection, found in the ground took them out.  This infection works very fast.  We lost 4 in 24 hours.  It also tends to attack younger birds.  These were 8 weeks old.  We'd figured out what was wrong and started them on the medicine to treat.  We thought the 5th one, a rooster, would make it.  He lasted longer, but finally gave in.  The medicine was in their water, and we think he hung back to give the two hens access.  Either that or he was just too far gone.  Well, or both for that matter.  The two hens did make it and are growing fine.    

There's always disease, fungus, or other parasites lurking around a garden, fruit trees, and animals.  Thanks Adam and Eve.  God did say " by the sweat of your brow you shall eat bread" (Gen 3:19), and he wasn't kidding.  It's work to get a harvest, and so we're always grateful for anything we're able to put up.  

With all that being said, and with all we are able to put away, we still have to go to a grocery store to buy things.  There are things we can avoid entirely; things we need a little of, and things we buy regularly.  It is what it is.  It's HOW you shop that becomes the important thing at that point.  Know your prices, know your seasons, use your skill sets, buy in bulk, mark downs are your friend, store for a rainy day, and stretch what you buy.  

1) Know your prices - Now there are a variety of ways to do this.  Find one that works for you.  For example; Keeping a price book is an option, but I don't have time for that.  Some do.  What works for one, may or may not work for someone else.  Find a way that works for you to keep track of how much things cost.  This means paying attention to prices, price per ounce, and sales.  What works for me is having a "Ball park" price.  For instance I know boneless skinless chicken breast is "ball park" $1.99 per pound in my area.  That's the average run of the mill price.  I rarely will pay more than that, but I also know that anything below that is a decent sale.  Anything really below that is an awesome sale and I stock up.  Price comparison is part of this as well.  This week there's a store in my area with 80% lean ground beef for $1.99 lb.  They're also offering a coupon for $1 off every $10 spent on ground beef.  This makes the ground beef around $1.82 lb.  Lately I've been buying ground turkey for $1.89 lb. because it was my cheapest option.  Now it isn't.  The ground beef is my cheapest option now.  Definite win because my family actually prefers beef.  We just can't afford it all the time.  Will I stock up on this?  You betcha!

Also, remember, just because it's a bigger package, doesn't mean it's a better deal.  Bulk doesn't always go with budget.  This is where Price per Ounce is important.  For instance, that same store, this week, has the store brand of the dental pics (flossers) on sale plus a coupon.  I found that I can get these 90 count bags for cheaper than buying the 150 count at a competitor store.  This is more of a "Price per each", but the same theory applies.  Pay close attention to the price per ounce; even with items on sale.  Check the other sizes and brands of the same product to make sure the sale price is the best price.  It isn't always.  Stores want to lure you in and get you to spend.  That's their side of the battle.  Our part of the battle is keeping them from taking too much of our money.  There've been times I've seen an item on sale and, knowing my prices, know at a glance it's cheaper elsewhere.

2)  Know your seasons-  Seasons aren't just winter, spring, summer, and fall; although they do have some bearing on this discussion.  Seasons can also mean Holidays or even sale cycles.  Holidays are self explanatory.  Sale cycles are the number of weeks between an item being on a good sale at a particular store.  There are certain items that are cheaper depending on the season of the year and/or cycle of a store.

Winter-  Anything Christmas (Baking, Candy, Hams), New Year( weight loss items lol), Valentines day( Candy, Roses, Steaks), cool weather crops ( of fruits and veggies).  Oranges, Grapefruit or other citus. 

Spring-  St Patrick's day (corn beef, potatoes, cabbage), Easter( Eggs, Ham, Candies, celery, Baking items).  Strawberries, Grapes, Cool Weather Veggies are cheap thru May

Summer-  Memorial Day, 4th of July, Labor day( hotdogs, condiments, chips, Pretty much anything grilling).  Fresh Corn, Squashes, Pepper, Tomatoes, pretty much warm weather crops are your friend).  Blueberries are big around this time.  Peaches are cheap right now.  

Fall- Halloween, Thanksgiving( Candy, Baking needs, Turkeys, Sweet Potatoes, celery, Potatoes, Broth, Stuffing, Canned pumpkin, Evaporated Milk, Butter, Nuts, Coffee, Apples.)

These things aren't a good buy just because of the holidays.  When it comes to produce, it's because this is the time of year these items are being harvested and are in large supply.  They will be the freshest, ripest compared to any other time of year.  This means they are the most nutritious and tasty. When these seasons come around would be the time to stock up on the great prices you find.  This year our blueberry bushes got zapped by a late late freeze.  Like a 3rd week in April freeze.  That doesn't happen around here.  It did this year.  We got maybe a cup of blueberries, total.  However, while they were in season, a store in our area had Blueberries for 1.32 a lb.!  I bought many and froze them, just like I would have with our very own berries.  In season strawberries were .99 lb. recently and I put up about 12 lbs. of those.  Our strawberries didn't do much either this year.  Buying these things at the lowest price and freezing, drying or even canning them for later use is a great way to stretch your grocery dollar and give your family in season produce at a much cheaper cost.  This coming Thanksgiving season I'll buy celery at a good price and dehydrate it for use during the year.  Celery can also be frozen very easily.  

As for sale cycles, they're usually every 6 weeks.  In addition, you will find the best sales happen the second and forth week of a month.  Majority of folks get paid on the 1st and 15th of the month.  They will go shopping then anyway.  So if the 1st or 15th falls into a sale flyer week, it's usually not a great ad.  The best sales ads fall in the weeks between those 1st and 15th weeks, and are the ones where the store is enticing people in.  Exceptions to this rule I guess would be around a holiday.  

***As an aside, Remember this term- Loss Leader.  Loss leaders are usually found on the front page of a grocery ad.  These are items the store is taking a loss on in the hopes you will come in for the loss leaders, and stay to get the rest of your groceries.  The task for the shopper is to come in for the loss leaders and find the rest of your groceries where you can get the best buy.

Empowered with the knowledge of when sales hit, you can now know how much of an item to buy.  When a particular item of interest goes on sale, buy enough to cover that 6 week time frame.  Rare sales are the ones where an item is priced lower than a normal sale.  Something not seen very often. If it goes on a rare sale, as in crazy cheap, buy what you can afford, even if it covers more than 6 weeks.  Rare sales happen during the year, but many fall during the Thanksgiving/Christmas holiday season.  Many stores are competing for that holiday feast dollar.  That's when items like canned vegetables, butter, sugar, flour, turkeys, spices, etc go on really good sales that won't be found other times of year.  Budget now to be able to invest as much as possible during that time.  

This is becoming a long post, and I know you guys have a life.  So I'll just end this here and address the other ways to shop in my next few posts.  That way I can go into more detail.