Every Day

A Little Of This And A Little Of That

I am getting low on meat so I purchased ground round on sale for $4.79 a lb. for a total of $ 30.80 at Niagara Produce. This will give us about 11 meals. Hubby told me the night before that we needed celery because he used up the last of it in turkey salad. So I picked up one while I was there only to find out later that we had a new one already in the other produce drawer. So I cut up one package into pieces and froze it for soups and stews. I also needed two reusable bags at $ .99 each. They are so much bigger than the other bags. Mine seem to disappear when the family is here. I also stopped at Top’s and got a package of their on sale chicken breasts for $ 1.99 a lb.

Today I have a doctor’s appointment so I will stop at Top’s again because they are having a 3 Day Sale with some great loss leaders to get you into the store. I will be getting either a whole or half pork loin depending on what grade it is. They are on sale for $ 1.69 a lb. If it is Select, I will not buy it. If it is Choice, I will. They also have Heluva Good block cheeses for $ 1.99. I will be getting Extra Large Cooked Shrimp for $ 7.77 a lb. too. All of these are terrific prices for us. I will buy nothing but these loss leaders.

Now that all the turkey leftovers from my son are gone, I have been doing quick meals because we have been really busy in our basement going through every storage box and bin and reorganizing things. More on that later. We have had copycat Chick Fil A sandwiches, pizza, and tonight we will have taco salads to use up the rest of the romaine lettuce. Tomorrow night will be fish fries and French fries. Then I think I will make a beef stew in the crock pot for the weekend.

Hubby and I have been really busy in the house getting rid of anything that we are not using by donating it or tossing it. As I have mentioned briefly before, our garbage pickup rules are changing on January 1, 2024. Instead of being able to put out 6 bags or cans of garbage a week, we will have to use just the 1 that we have to buy from our garbage company for $ 65. That extra charge will appear on our property tax bill in January along with the the full year’s cost( about $ 260.) of the garbage pickup. It is the one on wheels that the truck picks up and dumps the garbage. I have to wonder how many garbage people are losing their jobs the end of December because of this. We have been using a recyclable one for a few years. Because of this we are trying to get rid of anything we aren’t using this month while we can still put out 6 cans or bags. Hubby went through the entire office and pitched so many things that were not being used. Now we are working in the basement.

In the spring, this is going to become a real problem because of grass and bush clippings. Hubby has 5-6 bags of clippings per week. This along with the garbage may not all fit in the new can. Hubby has had a conversation with our Town Supervisor about how we had the cans on wheels out in Arizona that were green barrels that you put the bush and tree trimmings out and they picked them up. He informed Hubby that the garbage company did not offer that but he will look into it. Meanwhile he told Hubby that we can buy an extra barrel for another $ 65. and for an additional property tax of $ 33.75 each year of the contract. We are happy that it is an option but we really won’t need it until he starts mowing in the spring. So since we can buy the extra at any time during the year, we will wait until then. In the meantime, we will get a feel for how much this new can will hold. Maybe it will work. We’ll see.

We also learned a valuable lesson this past week. Don’t ever buy from a third party seller at Walmart! We have had two items that we have had to return. The first was flannel sheets that were dirty. The package was taped up like it had been a return and then shipped to us. The second was Cross Pen Refills that we ordered from China. After a very long delay that package came yesterday. Not only was it not even close to what we ordered but our mailman brought it to our door telling us that they had paid some of the postage but there was $ 5.25 in postage due on it. Yikes this was for a $10.99 order that was supposed to be postage paid. Of course I had to pay the postage only to find out later when I opened it that it was not what we ordered. But the worst part of all of this is that when you bring your return back to Walmart, they tell you that they will return it to the seller and the seller will credit you. That will take 15 days or more. I asked if this is a new policy and she said yes. Walmart is no longer giving you the credit when you make the return. Well this stinks! I don’t have high hopes that the China one will be credited and I will just chalk up the postage to lesson learned. I will be very careful from now on to make sure that I am only buying from Walmart or Amazon and not a 3rd party seller.

Well, it is time to get started on my day with making bacon and eggs for breakfast. You all have a great day!

Every Day

More Changes As To How We Use Power in Our Home; Part Two

We used to keep two guest bedrooms closed off in the winter time. We would shut the door and close the vents in those rooms and then put cloth snakes in front of them. However, I am not going to do that this year on the advice of my heating people. They tell me that by doing that, it makes our furnace run harder costing us more money. I am willing to test this out for the winter season to see if we use less natural gas.

I had so many clothes, sheets, blankets and comforters to wash this weekend that I used cold water for all but did use my dryer. It would have been too much for me to hang. The comforter took a long time to dry. Today, I can get the two guest beds back together. But since all are done, I am ready for more guests. By doing them one load after the other, It cost less than doing them on different days. The residual heat always helps. I always do full loads.

We use our small appliances most all of the time to cook rather than use our stove top and oven. If I can cook it in the air fryer, I do. Over the winter, we use it for almost all our meats. I haven’t tried hamburgers in it but we do pork chops, lamb chops, chicken and even steaks. I love grilling steaks outside but not in the cold and snow. So Hubby tried filet mignon in the air fryer once a couple of years ago and it was perfect. We now do all of our steaks in it in the cold weather. I will try hamburgers soon. I am just worried about it making a mess on the inside of the air fryer. Do any of you do hamburgers in yours? Is it messy?

Unless, I am cooking for more than the two of us, I now scramble our eggs and cook them in the microwave in a mug. They only take 45 seconds to 1 minute. I always cook our bacon in the microwave also. So it is easy for me to have bacon and eggs for breakfast most mornings. I also use our instant pot for hard boiling eggs each week when we want to switch up how we want them. I can do up to a dozen at a time. I usually do this when I am having eggs delivered that day. I always buy the 60 count from Walmart. The old ones get hard boiled and the new ones get put in the fridge. I cut the flaps off the new box and it fits perfectly on the top shelf of the fridge. It still leaves me room to put the hard boiled ones in front of the raw ones so they get used up first. They get used for meals and snacks.

Our instant pot gets used for lots of soups, stews, one skillet dishes and taco meat. I love to cook up lots of meat for tacos at once and then freeze it into portions. It is then so easy to make taco salad for a meal.

We also use our waffle iron a few times a month. Hubby makes blueberry ones from blueberries that I freeze in August when they are in season. But his best are the apple cinnamon ones. He always makes more than for just one meal. I freeze the extras to pull out when we are in a rush to go out. I have a small waffle iron to make chaffles when I am on Keto.

All of our oatmeal gets cooked in the microwave. On an especially cold day like today, it tastes so good.

I use our bread maker now for all of our breads. I will bake muffins in the toaster oven.

What ever small appliance works, I will use instead of the big appliance.

We no longer use an electric blanket. When we got the adjustable beds and had to buy new linens, I thought about buying new ones but decided that two blankets and flannel sheets on each would work fine and use no electricity.

Our freezer I have to manually defrost. So I try to keep the ice off the walls so that it is more efficient. Three times a year, I defrost it using a blow dryer and a plastic scraper. This saves us the cost of it constantly defrosting if I had a frost free one. I also use a chest freezer rather than an upright for two reasons. It costs less to run and it holds more food per square foot.

We use a storm door on our back door to keep the drafts down. We can not find one that fits our front door but we rarely open that door in the winter.

I never let hot water just run down the sink. I have two sinks so I put a little hot water in one to wash and a little warm water in one to rinse. Anything that can go in the dishwasher does.

Since we upgraded our A/C unit to a more efficient one this year because of a freon leak, our A/C bills were lower. We also will get a tax credit on our income taxes when we do them the beginning of the year. It was a win, win situation.

We always have our furnace checked by a professional just before heating season. If we hadn’t, we would not have known that the motor was failing in the furnace. Hubby replaced it.

We always have a professional check our A/C just before summer. If we hadn’t, we would not have know about the freon leak we had.

I am discussing with Hubby insulating our hot water pipes that run through the unheated basement. We did this ourselves in one of our homes.

We also check for leaky ducts in the duct work. They can be fixed easily using duct tape.

If you have heat registers in the floor like we do, place your furniture so that it doesn’t block them.

Replace your furnace filters about once a month to keep your furnace running efficiently.

We use a programmable thermostat so that it automatically turns the heat down at night and up in the morning.

I open shades and blinds on sunny windows and close them when the sun is no longer on them.

We inspect the seal on our refrigerator once a year to make sure it is tight. We put a flashlight on inside of it. If you can see light outside of the fridge, replace the seal.

Never put hot foods in your refrigerator and open and close the door quickly.

Use cold water when operating your garbage disposal.

I hope these tips help you keep your energy bills down.

If you have any tips that you would like to share, feel free to comment.

Every Day

Frugal Things We Did This Past Week

  • I cooked a pound of bacon in the microwave three times this week instead of using my gas stove top.
  • For a breakfast I toasted an English muffin in the toaster oven. I used some of the above bacon on it. Then I cooked my egg(45 seconds) and melted my slice of cheese in the microwave. No gas stove top was needed to make this.
  • I washed 3 full loads of wash using cold water and the ECO cycle. I had a lot of sheets and all the bedding from the dogs sleeping with my son. I was really busy after my son left yesterday vacuuming all the furniture, carpeting, and the hardwood and tile floors. Those dogs shed like crazy. But I love my son and the dogs coming to see us.
  • Showers this week were short 3 minute ones.
  • We made tacos from scratch for Sunday night’s dinner. Lots of toppings: lettuce, tomatoes, onions, black olives, cheese, and sour cream.
  • We ate all of our leftovers or froze them.
  • Stocked some of the Thanksgiving deals while the prices were rock bottom.
  • Received a $17.24 rebate in the mail
  • Hubby made fried rice from leftover chicken, celery, carrots, rice, an egg, sesame oil, and soy sauce to go with pot stickers for a fabulous Chinese meal while my son was here. We ate the leftovers last night and froze some fried rice that was left. We will start on the turkey leftovers tonight.
  • Hubby made a huge pot of party mix for the holidays. This has been a family tradition for all of our marriage and for Hubby when he was a kid. The cereals and pretzel sticks were all purchased on sale at Top’s. The nuts were purchased at the warehouse club using an e-coupon. We brought some to my grandson on Thanksgiving. My son and DIL are Keto so they won’t eat it. My other son received some to snack on if he got hungry on the ride home.
  • I returned an expensive item I ordered from Walmart to the store for a refund. It wasn’t what I expected I was getting and it was dirty like it had been a return.
  • All of my Christmas gifts are purchased and wrapped. I purchased a gift card for one gift using a reward point from Top’s. I paid $ 40. for a $50. one.
  • I plan on using the 2 fresh yams that we brought home from our son’s for a sheet pan meal next week.
  • I baked two loaves of pumpkin bread in the toaster oven, one for breakfasts this coming week and one is in the freezer for Christmas.
  • We will be eating leftovers and from our freezer this coming week.
  • I spent some time making a menu plan for 2024. Yes, I am planning out the entire year.

That’s it for the week. What did you do frugally?

Every Day

A Wonderful Day

Hubby, our son, and I traveled to the Rochester area to enjoy Thanksgiving with my other son, his wife, my grandson, West, and my DIL’s parents. We had such a wonderful time. It had been many years since my immediate family had been together for this holiday. We enjoyed every minute of it. Alexa was the only one who couldn’t be with us. She spent the holiday with her Mom and her Aunt’s family. But we were so fortunate to have spent time with her for 9 days just recently.

On the trip, I was thinking how much I love going there for some holidays but I miss having the Thanksgiving leftovers. My DIL’s mother cooked the entire dinner and when it was over she packed us this feast to take home.

We have enough turkey, mashed potatoes, glazed sweet potatoes, and gravy( forgot to put it in the picture), Keto pumpkin pie, Keto chocolate pie, and Keto chocolate peanut butter pie to last us at least 2 meals. They also purchased too many yams, so I was the lucky recipient of those too. I will add some Stove Top stuffing and broccoli and we will have some nice dinners this weekend.

Besides what you see, she made 2 different stuffings. One was your traditional stuffing and one was a Canadian meat(pork and ground beef) stuffing, turnips, mashed cauliflower, corn, cranberry sauce and many appetizers: deviled eggs, stuffed jalapenos, nuts, etc. Everything was delicious and we were all stuffed and enjoyed every minute of it.

While we were gone, my son’s 2 dogs, a Belgian Shepherd and a Black Lab were guarding our home. I was a little nervous that they would tear the house apart. But they were very good and we think that they just slept while we were away. They are welcome to come visit anytime. They are all going to travel home today.

I hope you all had as good a time as we did!

I have two posts for you this weekend. Another one on saving money on your utility bills and my weekly frugal one. So stay tuned.

Every Day

Happy Thanksgiving

fork and knife in paper cover with inscription
Photo by Monstera Production on

My family wishes you all a wonderful Thanksgiving Day. If you are cooking a turkey or chicken, enjoying your day with family, or at home alone, I am thinking of you all.

For the past 16 years, I have been grateful that I can share with you. I hope that over this time you have learned something from my blog and that this knowledge has helped you in some small way. As long as I am able, I will impart the wisdom that I have learned over the years and continue to learn. I also want to thank all of you who have shared your knowledge. I have learned many things from all of you too.

We are fortunate to have my son and his two large dogs here to stay for a few days and that we will be sharing Thanksgiving with him and my other son’s family. We are truly blessed!

Every Day

Best Deal of My Day

We do use this cream of chicken soup in many casseroles over the winter. Aldi’s had it on sale as part of their Thanksgiving reduction for $ .49 a can. It is the best deal that I have gotten in a long time and these don’t expire until the end of 2025.

There was no sign in front of it so I didn’t know that the deal was limited to 12 cans. When I got to the register, the cashier called a manager and she said to just do 2 transactions. I was thankful that I didn’t have to go in and out of the store twice because it was very crowded.

I was going to get another turkey there because they reduced them to $.99 a lb. but they were all between 23-24 lbs. Too big for us. So this year I am settling for just the one turkey that I got free at B.J.’s. However, if Aldi’s or Walmart reduce their prices after Thanksgiving, I might rethink that.

Every Day

More Changes to How We Use Power in Our Home

The PSC who regulates our electric and gas company has passed this 3 year rate plan through just in time for the height of the heating season. The media is saying the average residential customer’s bill will go up by $200. this winter. We are a regular residential customer. There is no time of use here. However we are not an average customer. We always are above average no matter how hard I try to conserve.

Notice the increase in therm prices which is our natural gas. If you use under 50 therms, the increase will be 2.298 cents per therm. However if you use over that, those therms will increase by 3.754 cents per therm. They are even increasing our gas and electric meter charges( which is a set charge just for having their meter on your house) by $ 2.00 a month for each. With the winters here, no one will be under 50 therms. I read my meters yesterday and submitted them for our November bill and we are over the 50 therms already and it hasn’t even been that cold.

The company says they needed the rate increases because of their increases and to recover revenue shortfalls for the period May 1, 2023 to November 1, 2023. Is that company mismanagement or just the fact that people cut the amount of power they used from May to November? It seems like we can’t win but I will continue to try.

An average electric customer will have their bill go up by $9.94 per month. Again we are not average no matter how hard we try.

So we need to make some drastic changes starting with not using our gas stove unless we cook a large turkey or a number of turkey breasts at once. I will only bake bread in my bread maker. When I do roast turkeys, the entire oven will be used to do other things with them. I will not use the gas cook top if I can use a small electric appliance like my air fryer, crock pot, instant pot, electric fry pan, toaster oven, or microwave, etc.

I am trying to change my sleep patterns. I usually go to bed by 8 PM unless we have a night football game or we are out somewhere. Most of the time, I get up at 4AM. That has to stop so that I can only be up during daylight hours. I would have to use a light in the kitchen until sunrise which would be about 3 hours after I get up. Last night I went to bed at 10 PM and slept until 7AM this morning. I will continue to use this sleep pattern. It was still a little dark when I got up but I only turned on the light on the stove which was enough to get my coffee until it turned light outside. Then I opened the curtains on the sunny side of the house. Hubby does not go to bed until 11PM and sleeps to 9 or 10AM so he is always getting up in the daylight.

My other idea is to use our emergency lantern in the kitchen if it is still dark for a little bit. It will light the entire room and uses rechargeable batteries that I already have. We also have a lot of regular batteries in case of a power outage.

At night we only keep one LED light on in the room we are in. We do keep outside lights on for security reasons but they are all LED’s.

We have to decide to only use one outside door all winter. Since the garage stays warmer than the outside, I think we will use that door that comes into the house. Our garage door opener uses electricity but that is minimal compared to the cost of heat. The front door lets all the cold and wind in. We will only use that if company comes. We will try to keep our going out to a minimum over this winter. The front door and breakfast room door will have cloth snakes in front of the bottoms to keep drafts out.

We keep our heat at 70 during the daytime because Hubby is always cold. I am going to talk to him about pushing it down a degree or two. Our heat is set to go down at 9PM each night to 64. At 7AM, it comes back up to 68 and at 9AM, it goes to 70. Perhaps he would be willing to go down to 69 and then 68 to see if his body adjusts to it. But even with the heat at 70, he is wearing a jacket so I don’t know if that would work for him. We are warm enough at night because we have flannel sheets and two blankets on our beds.

I want to be more conscious about how much hot water we use also. We do have a tankless hot water heater but it is run by natural gas. So if I can use cold water instead of hot, I will. We already use cold to wash clothes and for cleaning. But there must be more things I can do that would use cold. Any ideas?

I need another cup of coffee so I will end this here. I plan on talking more on this topic this week so stay tuned.

Every Day

The Last Couple of Days

We had a wonderful day yesterday with Alexa. It was just a quiet peaceful day at home chatting with her and doing some You Tube Quizzes. Last night we had an easy dinner of fried chicken sandwiches and shells and cheese. Alexa got packed to go home today and then we watched women’s college volleyball.

This morning, we had a quick granola breakfast and then headed to Syracuse at 9am to meet Alexa’s mother. They left to go to the Capital Region and we headed back to Buffalo. We were running out of gasoline so we stopped at the Flying J truck stop and filled up the car. We paid $3.599 per gallon. That is the cheapest price in our area.

We were starving and I considered stopping for fast food for just 1 minute. But I held fast to cooking at home and made us grilled cheese sandwiches when we got home about 1:10pm.

After throwing a load of sheets in the washer, I was exhausted. We have been busy and on the go since November 9th. I decided to take a quick nap that turned into a 3 and 1/2 hour one.

When I got up, Hubby was about to finish his chicken salad that he made for lunch yesterday. I just grabbed a small chicken pot pie from the freezer.

After canceling two tests scheduled for this Wednesday because of snow coming , here I am writing to you. I will sleep well tonight hopefully. Tomorrow will be a a catch up and football day. Then I have a busy week getting ready for my son and his two large dogs to arrive for Thanksgiving.

The house will get dusted and vacuumed and be given a lick and a promise. Those dogs shed a lot so no heavy cleaning till after they go home.

I am hoping to get all of the Christmas gifts ready to go back with my son when he leaves so that I don’t have to ship anything.

I will be back with another post this week. I hope you are all doing well with your plans for Thanksgiving.

Every Day

A Great Deal, Etc.

Yesterday, Alexa and I went to Aldi’s to get some of the on sale butter for $ 2.49 each. Aldi’s always has the best price around Thanksgiving. I still had quite a bit in my freezer. So we each got the limit of 6 which gave me 12 lbs. to add to what I had for a total of 27 for this next year. That should be enough. Since we were there we each picked up 6 turkey and brown gravy packets for $ .29 each.

Other than shopping, we spent the rest of the day at home. We played some quizzes from many years back on You Tube again. It is lots of fun and would make great party games.

Dinner again was KFC chicken that we reheated in the air fryer. Last night we watched a women’s volley ball game.

Today when Alexa gets up, Hubby is going to make homemade apple cinnamon waffles. He is going to teach Alexa how to do it and put them in the waffle maker. If she likes them, we will send her a waffle maker after she goes home. Other than that the only thing on our agenda today is making hamburgers and French fries for dinner. It is supposed to be a warm day so we may take a walk.

I hope you all have a great day!

Every Day

A Little of This and a Little of That

On Monday, my granddaughter and I went and picked up my free Butterball turkey. You could get a free one up to $25. But of course they did not have one that big. All of their turkeys were between 16 and 17 lbs. We got the largest one we could find which was 16.90 lbs. I was happy with that. It is now in the freezer to cook sometime this winter.

We also picked up a box of their pumpkin muffins which my granddaughter loves and some Indiana Popcorn with the chocolate drizzle(oh so good) that we shared for the Buffalo Bills game last night. I used some reward points that I had so I paid only $ 3.32 for all.

Then we went to the bank so that my granddaughter could make a deposit. It was the first time she did it alone and she did it without a hitch even after all of the questions they threw at her.

We came home and had a delicious bowl of chicken tortellini soup for lunch per her request. Then we spent the afternoon just enjoying her company. For dinner I made two meals worth of homemade meatballs. I froze one meal’s worth for the future. She loves spaghetti and meatballs so she was very happy!

Then we watched the Bills game which we lost in the last few seconds of the game due to a penalty. We had 12 men on the field instead of 11. Really, really dumb! Today the offensive coach got fired! He should have been let go a long time ago!

Today, Alexa helped me do some organizing in my pantry. There were heavy things that needed to be moved and she was happy to do it for me. She also marked many items with the expiration date where I could see it. All in all we spent about 2 hours doing this but now it is finally done. I am very thankful for her help.

As a treat for dinner, we got KFC chicken to bring home. I think we have enough for 2 more meals. I used a coupon that let us get a 16 piece meal for $ 34.99. Yes, I always spoil my grandchildren.

We have been enjoying ” Guess That Song” on You Tube for the past hour and a half. They are playing it while I finish this to get it posted. Hubby knows so many of them but Alexa knows so many more. She is even really good with the songs from the 1960’s and 1970’s!

That’s it for today!