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Old Fashioned Homemaking by Oldfashionedhomemaking - 2M ago

Take advantage of the fresh garden harvest!  Enjoy these tried and true recipes from another time.

Braided Coffee Cake

1 pint milk
4 tablespoons butter or vegetable fat
1/2 cup sugar
2/3 teaspoon salt
1 yeast cake
1/4 cup lukewarm water
About 5 1/2 cups flour
2 eggs
1 cup seeded raisins

Scald the milk, add to it the butter or vegetable fat, the sugar and salt. Cool and when tepid add the yeast cake which has been dissolved in the water. Add also half of the flour to make a thick batter.

Let this rise until light and spongy, then beat and add the eggs, next the raisins and the remainder of the flour. Knead until smooth and elastic and set aside to rise.

When the dough has doubled its bulk, turn out onto a floured board, divide into three portions and work each with the hands into a long roll. Braid these three portions together, place in a ring mold and allow to rise until the dough has again doubled its bulk. Then brush over with melted butter, sprinkle with sugar and bake in a moderate oven – 350 degrees F. – from 30 to 45 minutes.

Bran Cookies

1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter or vegetable fat
1/2 cup molasses
2 eggs
1/4 cup milk
1 cup raisins
2 cups bran
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

Cream the sugar and butter, add the molasses, next the beaten eggs and milk, then the raisins and bran, and lastly the remaining dry ingredients which have been sifted together.

Drop by teaspoons onto a well-greased goocie sheet and bake from 12 to 15 minutes in a moderate oven – 350 degrees F.

Baked Indian Pudding

1 quart milk
Scant 1/2 cup cornmeal
1/2 cup molasses
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground ginger

Scald the milk, stir the cornmeal in very slowly and cook in a double boiler for 30 minutes. Add the molasses, salt and ginger, pour into a greased baking dish and bake 2 hours in a slow oven – 300 to 325 degrees F.

If desired, 1 1/2 cups of chopped apples may be added to the pudding just before placing it in the oven.

Savory Beef Rolls

1 1/2 pounds round steak cut very thin
1/4 cup rice
Dash of ground cloves
1 tablespoon mixed herbs or poultry dressing
1 tablespoon minced onion
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
4 tablespoons drippings
2 1/2 tablespoons flour
3 cups water
1 tablespoon minced parsley

Cut the meat into pieces about 4 inches square. Combine the rice with the seasonings and flavorings, put a spoon of this mixture on each square of the meat, roll up and tie with white thread.

When all the rolls are made, brown them in the drippings, which have been heated in a frying pan or sauce pan, after which brown the flour in the same drippings adding a little more if necessary.

Add the water and stir until boiling, and cook the meat in it until tender – from 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Serve with plain boiled potatoes, boiled rice or plain boiled macaroni.

Peach Cobbler

1 quart peaches
1 1/2 cups water
1 cup sugar
1 1/3 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 tablespoons sugar (additional)
1 egg
1/2 cup milk

Peel the peaches, remove the pits and cut the fruit into thick slices. Cook with the water and cup of sugar in a baking dish in the oven until the peaches are tender.

Meanwhile, sift the flour, salt and baking powder, add the two tablespoons of sugar, and mix to a light batter with the beaten egg and milk. Pour this over the cooked fruit and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

Nut Muffins

3 cups flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons sugar
1/3 cup chopped walnut meats
1 1/2 cups milk
1 egg, well beaten
3 tablespoons shortening, any kind

Sift together the dry ingredients, add the walnut meats and then the milk and egg well beaten, and the shortening melted. Beat well, transfer to greased muffin pans and bake from 25 to 30 minutes at 350 degrees. If desired, a few chopped raisins may be combined with the nuts. To make plain muffins omit the nuts.

Saute’d Corn with Green Peppers

6 ears corn
2/3 teaspoon salt
1/6 teaspoon pepper
2 green peppers
2 tablespoons butter or vegetable fat

Score the corn along each row and then cut from the cob with a knife. Press out all the pulp from the cobs and season with the salt and pepper. Remove the seeds and white connecting fiber from the peppers, mince them finely and cook for five minutes in the butter or vegetable fat. Add the corn and cook, stirring occasionally, for fifteen minutes.

Sally Lunn

2 eggs
1/3 cup sugar
3 tablespoons melted shortening
2 cups flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk

Beat the eggs until light, then stir in the sugar and shortening. Sift together the remaining dry ingredients and add alternately with the milk to the mixture. Transfer to a greased pan, preferably of the tube type, and bake for 40 minutes at 350 degrees.

Stewed Eggplant and Tomatoes

1 large eggplant
1 onion
2 tablespoons butter or bacon fat
1 pint canned tomatoes or 4 fresh tomatoes and 1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

Parboil the eggplant and boil about half an hour. Cool, skin and cut into half-inch squares. Mince the onion finely and brown it in the butter or bacon fat. Add the tomato, salt and pepper (also the water if fresh tomatoes are used) bring to boiling point, put in the eggplant and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Serve in a deep dish garnished with toast points.

Doughnuts

3 cups flour
1/3 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
2/3 cup sugar
1 small egg
1 cup milk
1 tablespoon melted shortening

Sift together the flour, salt, baking powder and nutmeg, add the sugar, beat the egg lightly, add to it the milk and the melted shortening and use these ingredients to form a soft, light dough when blended with the dry ingredients.

Roll out about half an inch thick on a well-floured board, cut and drop each doughnut gently into hot fat, hot enough to brown a bit of bread in a minute, turn immediately and when golden brown, lift one by one from the fat and drain on paper towels. The doughnuts should take about 3 minutes to cook. Sprinkle with powdered sugar before serving.

A good way to sugar the doughnuts is to put 3 tablespoons of powdered sugar into a strong paper bag, drop six or eight doughnuts into this sugar, shake the bag thoroughly, then lift out and repeat the precess until all have been sugared.

Coddled Apples or Pears

6 firm apples or hard pears
2 cups boiling water
1 cup sugar
3-4 cloves or an inch stick of cinnamon, or thinly-peeled rind of half a lemon

Wash the fruit, remove the stems and blossoms but do not peel or core. Place in a shallow baking dish or stew pan, add the water and sugar which have been boiled together 5 minutes with the cloves, cinnamon or lemon rind, whichever is being used, and let the fruit and syrup simmer gently until the fruit is tender, turning occasionally so that all may be cooked. The skins should not burst during the cooking. When cool, place the apples or pears in a serving dish, pour the syrup over them – it should form a jelly – and serve cold, either plain or with cream or soft custard.

Cream Puffs

1 cup boiling water
1/3 cup butter or vegetable fat
1 cup pastry flour
4 eggs

Boil the water and butter together in a saucepan. Sift and add the flour and stir until the mixture leaves the sides of the pan clean. Remove from the heat, cool, then add the eggs, unbeaten, one at a time. After each egg is added the mixture will appear rather sticky and unmanageable, but a little beating quickly incorporates the egg into it. When all of the eggs are beaten in, drop the mixture by tablespoons, three inches apart on a greased baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees. This makes about 10 cream puffs.

Cream Puff Filling

4 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons flour or cornstarch
1 cup milk
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt

Blend the sugar and flour or cornstarch in a bowl, pour the milk which has been scalded, over these, stirring constantly. Return to the saucepan, cook until thick, add the eggs slightly beaten and the salt and cook a minute longer.

When cool, add the vanilla and use as a filling for the cream puffs, making an incision in the sides of these and removing any soft portions which may be in them, before putting in the filling.

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The post September Recipes from 1922 appeared first on Old Fashioned Homemaking.

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Having a no-waste (or minimal waste) home doesn’t need to cost you a lot of money (if any).  Take control of your waste by repurposing what you already have.

The term “no waste” has been thrown around a lot lately.   Terms and phrases like “don’t use plastic” … “reusable shopping bags” … “buying in bulk” … “self sustaining” …

It’s everywhere!!!

Don’t get me wrong — it’s a great thing!   But the honest truth is that I find it all rather amusing.

*I’m going to stop here for a minute and say just a little something.  I think that we can all agree that it is our responsibility to take care of what we’ve been given.  This wonderful, beautiful and amazing earth has been given to us to take care of.  The reality is that it will look a little different for each of us … just like parenting looks a little different or a jobs looks a little different.  My hope in this article is to show some different ways to do that regardless of our circumstances (or perhaps because of our circumstances).   Hear me, please — this is NOT a post of judgement or condemnation … just a few of my ideas.*

Okay, I’m back —

Being “no waste” is not a new thing!  Our grandmothers and great-grandmothers all lived “no waste”.  They didn’t have plastic bags or containers.  They didn’t buy (or probably even have access to) prepackaged foods.  They didn’t get grocery bags at the stores.  In fact, they probably needed to go to multiple stores to get what they needed — like a bakery, then the meat market, then the produce stand and perhaps a small corner market to get everything else.  They used old burlap bags when at the store and baskets or clothe bags to do their shopping.  The whole idea of buying a meal in a box wasn’t even anything that they thought about.

Prepackaged foods is relatively new.  I found a really great blog post that explained the history of processed foods by decade beginning in 1910 to the 1950’s.  You can read the article by Modern Pioneer Woman, if you’re interested.  Basically, the real explosion of processed foods, fast foods and pretty much the conveniences that we have now began after WW1 & WW2.  Prior to that, there were items that became available (mayonnaise, hot dogs, TV dinners, etc.) but were minimal until after the war.

During both WW1 and WW2, there was a new focus to support the troops by providing foods that would survive time and the elements.  This is approximately when spam, powdered drinks like orange juice, and dehydrated foods came into play.  Soon after, these foods began showing up in stores and alas the processed foods industry was born (so to speak).

All of this convenience caused the need for preservatives to rise.  People wanted the convenience of having items on shelves … at the stores and at home.  Over the years, people began to realize the long term effects of having all of this convenience.  Hence the recent awareness of reducing waste and eating “cleaner”.   Again, this is not new.

It all may seem a little overwhelming but it doesn’t need to be!

Let me state for the record that I personally don’t think that living “no waste” is attainable so just take the pressure off of yourself.  We’ve all seen those articles or videos that show that person who has put a year’s worth of “waste” into a quart jar.  Well, even they haven’t attained “NO WASTE”.

Having said that, I do think that “reducing waste” or “minimizing waste” is totally attainable.  What those short little articles and videos don’t tell you is how have they disposed of other wastes that they did have?  How have they reused items in order to not count it as waste?  It’s this conversation that think needs to take place!

A new term should be introduced — SMART WASTE!

Let’s talk a little bit about the different areas where perhaps waste can be reduced by being smarter.

Paper towels –
  • towels and washrags:  there are probably a few towels or washrags in the back of the linen closet that you either just don’t use or are a little worn so they are only used when they have to be.  Old kitchen towels also work!  Cut them into 6-8 inch squares and use those in place of paper towels
  • t-shirts:  same as towels … cut them into squares
  • cloth diapers:  also just cut up into squares

All of these options can then be washed and reused.  I do have paper towels on hand for those really icky needs (grease, as an example) but I keep them hidden so that they aren’t the first thing we go for.

Shopping bags –
  • fabric shopping bags:  either buy or make your own shopping bags.
  • t-shirts: I love this idea!  Here is a tutorial from Delia Creates
Napkins –
  • cloth napkins:  You can purchase at most stores that carry linens of any kind.  If you’re feeling adventurous, make them yourself.
  • towels or washrags:  Napkins are a perfect use and they wash up easily.
Plastic food bags  –
  •  glass containers with lids: these can be used in the freezer too.  Since they stack easily, it makes for a nice looking, organized refrigerator or freezer.

Confession here — I do have plastic containers but my logic is that I wash and reuse until they can’t be used any more before disposing of them so still not disposing of multiple food bags. These containers are also perfect for sending leftovers with people because I don’t necessarily care if they make it back to me.  I will also use a container that isn’t good for food anymore to store something else — safety pins, buttons, hotel soap/shampoo/conditioner/lotion — you get the idea.  I do have plastic bags in a drawer but try to use them only when I don’t have any other options (or again for sending leftovers home with people).

Dry Foods in Pantry –
  • glass jars:  these can be mason jars or jars that something else came in (pickles, spaghetti sauce, etc)  Just be sure to wash jar well so that food doesn’t begin to smell or taste like whatever was in the jar first.

Perhaps try even one of these ideas and see where it leads.  Baby steps forward are still steps forward!

There are many more ways to minimize our household waste and/or reuse things in a different way.

If you have other ideas, please share so that we can all have the benefit of our shared knowledge.

Here’s to “smart waste”!!

Blessing,

Heidi

The post No Waste or Minimal Waste Home — Use What You Already Have appeared first on Old Fashioned Homemaking.

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Old Fashioned Homemaking by Oldfashionedhomemaking - 2M ago

Homemaking can be difficult when you have a disability, chronic illness or are aging.  Focus on the things that you can do rather than the things that you can’t!

Some of you have indicated that homemaking is hard because you have a disability, chronic illness or are just aging so can’t do all that you used to do.  I have been having a hard time figuring out how to help you or make suggestions but the last month has helped me get a perspective.

Before you start worrying, I’m fine.  I’m feeling as lazy and unproductive as I always do!  Life just gets in the way of my “to-do list” but that’s just life (and another post altogether).

What helped me get some perspective on this subject was a trip to visit my family.  I made the trip because my oldest daughter and her husband were having baby #3 (a girl so that’s 2 girls and 1 boy)!  She is beautiful and spending time with all three grandkids was amazing.

Since they live next door to my parents, I was able to spend lots of time with them, as well.  In fact, I stayed in their apartment in their garage so had privacy and a place to spend time with the kids without disturbing my folks too much.  What helped me with perspective was the time that I spent with my parents.

A little background information first –

My dad has had multiple surgeries over the years because of injuries (knee, back and fused disks).  He also has Rheumatoid Arthritis and bronchial issues (whooping cough as a kid and asthma).  His immune system seems to be compromised which makes him prone to catching every little bug that goes around so I have to wonder whether an autoimmune disease fits in here somewhere.

My mom was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease almost 2 years ago.  It’s progressing slowly and her doctor seems to think that she will pass on of old age before Parkinson’s.  That sounds well and good but it doesn’t mean that it won’t progress and things won’t get more difficult.

This trip to visit was a huge eye opener for me!

I have spent many hours in the last 4 weeks trying to come up with ideas to help my parents.  I’ve had conversations with them (together and individually) and also with my sister (who lives next door) because she’s the one who is there with them (but she works fulltime and has a 15 yr old son who needs her too).

This is the compilation of some of our discussions.  There are actually 2 perspectives — the person with the difficulty and the person who is trying to help them. This post will speak directly to the person who is having to deal with the difficulty of life.  The perspective of the person trying to help, encourage and support them is another post entirely.  Stay tuned!!!

Be Realistic

This is probably the hardest thing to do so let’s talk about this first.

None of us want to admit that we can’t do something … and we don’t want to admit it.  This is especially difficult when it’s something that we’ve done for years.  But there comes a time that we need to be realistic in our abilities .. for whatever reason.

It’s okay to admit that you can’t do something anymore!

My mom has a beautiful yard full of flowers and my dad loves to have a vegetable garden.  They can still “do” these things but it is getting more difficult and they just move slower.  The size of the vegetable garden has decreased the last couple of years so that it’s more manageable.  There has been talk about reducing the size of the flowered areas so that mom doesn’t feel overwhelmed.  Most likely that will look like pulling things out and putting down bark in those areas.  That’s okay!

It’s okay to admit that you don’t want to do something anymore!   

What?!?!  I know that seems extreme but it’s true.

My mom’s doctor told her at a recent appointment to spend her limited energy doing the things that she enjoyed and get someone to do the rest.  I thought it was great advice!  Don’t put pressure on yourself to spend your energy doing things that you don’t need/want to do OR gives you joy.

Ask for help

When you are realistic about what you can do and/or want to do.  Then it’s time to move onto asking for help with those things.

Look at these activities and ask yourself a few questions –

  1. Does this activity need to be done at all?

If it’s an activity that you just don’t need to do anymore, then don’t.  Whew — what a relief!  DON’T FEEL GUILTY!!!

One of the things on my mom’s list that falls into this category is decorating the church for Christmas.  She has spearheaded this activity for probably 30 years.  This year, she’s stepping away from that responsibility.  The hard part for her now is what if no one steps up to do it?  Honestly, that’s not her problem.  My bet is 1 year of not having a decorated church and “someone” will step up next year.  Again … not her problem and she shouldn’t feel guilty about it!

2.  Do you know someone who is good at this activity might be willing to “help you”?

My mom enjoys her yard and flowers.  She can still do so much in the yard but it just takes longer.  She has decided that she would like to continue weed, cut back and transplant but makes piles and my nephew comes and picks up her piles of things.  (Remember he lives next door)  He also does all the mowing (and anything else that Nana askes him to do … most of the time with a huff and rolled eyes but he does it).

Our family has always had what we refer to as “wood days”.  We all come and do wood and then we all have enough for the winter.  Because of the current health situations, the duties have changed but we still do it together.  My dad drives the backhoe loaded with wood from one place to another (yes, we have a backhoe).  He also helps run the splitter (gas powered).  My brother and husband run the chainsaws.  We all help load and my mom supervises the stacking (she has a very particular way she likes it done).  Even the kids can pick up a piece of wood and take it someplace else.  It’s a  family affair!!

Housecleaning a struggle?  Can you do some things but need just a little help with other?  Do you know a neighbor lady or girl who would like to help you?  Perhaps someone in the church youth group?  Yes, you may need to compensate them a little (or make a donation to the youth group) but it’s totally worth it.  My niece comes and stays for a few days and helps my mom with seasonal and deep cleaning.

3.  Can you hire someone to do it for you?

Lawn work, housecleaning, cooking, house maintenance and repairs?  Hiring someone to do these things is a blessing.

Don’t let your pride get in the way!

My mom has someone come once a week to do the basic housecleaning … bathrooms, vacuuming, dusting, etc.  If she has extra time, she’ll do some windows or perhaps some sort of deeper cleaning to fill her time.  This has been a HUGE blessing for my mom!!  She can do the daily dishes and tidying and even laundry but knowing that someone is coming to do the other things has lifted a lot of pressure for her.

Dad example – there is a wheelchair ramp off my parents porch.  My dad is wanting a cover over it for winter.  He was talking about getting the materials and doing it himself which made my eyes pop out of my head and I had trouble breathing (LOL).  We happened to know a young man who has his own construction business so contacted him and he put the project on his radar for before the snow flies.  My dad’s argument was that it would cost too much money.  First of all, it didn’t.  Second, I reminded him that if he or mom fell, it would cost a lot more than having the cover built.  Conversation finished!!!

Simplify
  • Don’t clutter your life and your home with things that you don’t use or need.

We all have those top cabinets or top shelves of the closet where things just get stuffed.  IF you haven’t used it in years, get rid of it!!!  Also put the things that you do use regularly where you can get to them easily.

The “I may need it someday” rule doesn’t apply anymore!

“I’ve always had it there” or “I just like it there”, don’t work either.  

Life is changing and sometimes making some small adjustments will help you make life a little easier.

One of the conversations that I have with my parents is that keeping them safe was the first priority.  If they want to live independently for as long as they can, they need to eliminate or minimize opportunities for an accident.

  • Keep walkways clear so that you’re not running into things or tripping over things.  One fall and a broken something (hip, arm, shoulder, etc) can change your life COMPLETELY!  Do yourself a favor the think ahead.

My mother has always had throw carpets on her floors … “it warms up a room”, she says.  it has been recommend several times by her doctor that she eliminate anything that she will trip over but she has been very resistant to picking up her carpets.

Recently after my dad had foot surgery and was in a wheelchair (yes the reason for the above mentioned wheelchair ramp), so she picked up all the carpets so that he could get around the house easily.  When he moved to crutches and/or a cane, she mentioned putting them back because the dogs were always sliding across the floor and they were going to hurt themselves.  (can you head me laughing at the logic here?)  I looked at her and sternly told her that she didn’t need to put the carpets back down — her safety was more than the dogs!  Needless to say, she hasn’t put the carpets back down … but she still mentions it.

Look around your home.  Do you just have some “stuff” that can be cleared out?  Sometimes the process of clearing “stuff” can also help with the clearing of the mind and soul.

Keep the things that you love and use!

Be Creative

Just because you’ve always used a particular table in the living room, doesn’t mean that it’s the only place it can be (or the only thing to be used in that spot).

Think about what you use and how you use it.  Having a desk for cards, stamps, pens/pencils is great BUT can all of those thing fit into a drawer of an end table instead?  In the process, you may be able to eliminate the desk entirely which will free up space so that you don’t feel cluttered.  I mean, how many pens/pencils do you really need?   If you need a place for files, can you use a small file cabinet as a side table so that it’s getting double duty.

If you are in a wheelchair, put things that you use regularly into lower cabinets.  There is no hard and fast rule that says that dishes need to be in a certain place … or pots and pans … or canned foods.  Make your home usable for YOU … it’s your home!

So think outside the box and see what you can come up with.  You may start a new trend!

Be Safe

This may be the last thing but certainly not the least thing!  This can kind of sum up the whole thing.  Your safety is the MOST important thing!  Nothing is so important to have or use that it out weighs your safety.

Rearranging a room may be needed in order for you to be able to move around it comfortably.  This may be especially true if you’re needing a wheelchair, walker, cane or just need extra room to maneuver.

Remember – your safety is the MOST important thing!

All of these things will need a level of adaptability and adjustment.  It’s hard!  Sometimes really hard!!!  It’s okay to shed some tears as you realize that you are no longer able to do a particular thing.  Or as you realize that in order to move around safely, you need to get rid of a piece of furniture that you’ve always enjoyed.

No one said that life was going to be easy!  How we respond to our circumstances is what is important.  We can feel sorrow for ourselves OR we can take the bull by the horns and make it work for us.  It truly is a choice!

All my blessings to you who struggle with lifestyle changes!  If there is some way that I can help you, please let me know.

Also if you have some ideas for others, PLEASE comment below and get all of our ideas out there.

Blessings,

Heidi

The post When Homemaking Is Difficult appeared first on Old Fashioned Homemaking.

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Do you have a specific schedule OR do you do block planning? Which actually works best? I am forever on a quest for the “perfect planner”!! Are you?

Part of this journey is determining what type of “planner” you are.

Recently as I was looking at my calendar/planner, it struck me that there are 2 distinctive ways of scheduling/planning –

Specific Scheduling and Blocking Planning (there are probably more)

Scheduling is when there are actually times associated with an activity –
  • 6:00 – 6:30: get up and exercise
  • 6:30 – 7:00: Shower and get dressed
  • 7:00 – 7:30: Get kids up, make breakfast and lunches
  • 7:30 – 8:00 – Breakfast and get kids out the door to school
Block Planning is when a list of things are done within a time frame –

6:00 – 8:00: Get up, exercise, shower, get dressed, get kids up, make breakfast and lunches, feed everyone and get them out the door by 8

OR

6:00 – 8:00: Morning Routine (because it’s the same each day)

So which do you do?

I find myself more of a block planner but there are certain things that are just scheduled out of necessity (i.e. dr appts, school conferences, etc).

A broad look at my week looks kind of like this —

Morning Routine – 6-9ish
  • Get up and get a cup of coffee
  • Do bible study
  • Shower and get dressed
  • Breakfast

Note:  On Tuesday & Friday I’m out the door by about 8 to go to my bible study training and class.

Mid-Day: 9-4
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFridaySaturdaySunday
-Bible Study Prep
-Laundry: colors & whites
-Blogging
-VA Work
-Letter writing
-8-12: Bible Study Training
-Laundry: bedding
-VA work
-dinner prep
-cleaning

-Laundry: Towels
-Lunch out with friends & Farm Stand
-Sewing/
crafting

-Blogging
-VA work
-Sewing/
Crafting
-cleaning
-8-12: Bible Study Class
-Letter writing
-anything left from “to do” for blogging and VA
We usually try to have a day when we do something fun
-Church (teach SS 2nd & 4th Sundays)
-dinner prep

Late Afternoon & Evening: After 4
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFridaySaturdaySunday
7-8: hubby has bible study (me – I watch girl movies and knit or crochet)

-4:30:  In-laws for dinner

-4:30:  In-laws for dinner

-4:30:  In-laws for dinner

Insights to my schedule:
-Monday, Thursday and Saturday are interchangeable depending on what we might want to do.  Sometimes activities are less busy during the week and since we’re retired, we can do that.  
-I do also like to spend some time at the pool several days each week so some of my blogging research and VA work can be done there (reading, etc).
-We try to keep our evenings relatively free.  Our computers go off between 4-5 so that we don’t have distractions.  Sometimes we go out with friends or just make popcorn and watch TV. We go for walks or read.  They look empty but that’s “our” time.
-We also fit in dr appts for us and my in-laws.
-My husband helps with the cleaning so that is just kind of put in when we have time.  
*overall this schedule is relatively fluid and can change drastically but this is a very general look at my week.

You may have noticed that block planning can be sorta vague … and yet specific. Let me explain.

There are several things on my general schedule that are very vague in their explanation — blogging for one. Each week (either Saturday/Sunday evenings or first thing Monday morning) I make a more details plan for the week. I’ll set my weekly goals in each of my vague areas — blogging, VA work, sewing/crafting. letter writing, etc. Then as I finish those tasks, I check them off my list.

If for some reason I don’t get something done during the week, it can just be moved to the next week. This allows me to have specifics BUT also the flexibility to do things when I’m “in the mood”.

Example, I have Wednesdays set aside for some sewing or crafting. Sometimes I am inspired over the weekend and want to sew or craft first thing on Monday. My Bible Study Prep that needs to be done that day or if I have a deadline in one of the other areas but usually I can juggle things around a little.

The reality is that if I made myself not sew or craft when I’m so inspired, I probably wouldn’t be very productive in those other areas anyway and that would make me feel completely unaccomplished and frustrated.

There is no right or wrong way to schedule your time or your day!
Your circumstance and your personality determines how you plan.

If you work outside the home (or even at home), how you schedule will be different than someone else because your obligations are different than someone else. There may be portions of your day that need to be scheduled and portions that are a little more flexible.

Once you figure out which kind of planner you are, it may be easier to plan your day/week/month.

So what kind of planner are you? Schedule or Block? Comment and let me know!

Blessings,

Heidi

The post Scheduling vs Block Planning– Which Works Best For You? appeared first on Old Fashioned Homemaking.

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Have you ever felt like this?  You look at this person that you thought you knew everything about and they have just thrown you a curve ball.  SMACK!!!  Sometimes these surprises are good ones (even really great ones) and sometimes they’re not.  I think we can all look at our spouses and realize that because of maturity and life experiences, they aren’t a person that you married.  Sometimes that’s a good thing!

These changes can come for a variety of reasons.  My favorite is that transformation that God makes each and every person through.  Now that’s change!!  It could be a life changing event that causes you to rethink your priorities or change your goals.  They can also come about when you are entering a new “chapter” in your life.

When we were first empty nesters, we had to adjust to that.  Because we both had kids when we got married, we didn’t get the “honeymoon” stage of marriage.  You remember that, don’t you?  It was just the two of you and you could do whatever you wanted, whenever you wanted.  I know many couples who easily go back to that time but we don’t have that time to fall back on.  It caused some interesting realizations about each other.

At some point, I may let my darling husband tell you what he’s learned about me but now it’s my turn. 

Here are a few of things that have just kinda surprised me about my beloved during the time of adjusting to being empty nesters.

  • He asked for a collection of romance movies for Christmas.  Really?  It was a collection of 20 movies by a specific company that dated back to the 1940’s.  We’ve enjoyed them but just never thought he’d ask for them.
  • He’s indicated that he would like to go to a jazz bar and listen to live music.  Now this is the guy who didn’t want the kids music to be loud enough for him to hear it when they were in their rooms.  He endures concerts because I like them.  So where did the desire for jazz music come from.
  • He can come home from work before 6:00 PM.  Sometimes he’s even called me at 3:30 in the afternoon to say he’s on his way home (he starts 6:30-7 so he’s not cutting his day short).  Then he comes home and just relaxes!  I didn’t think he knew how to really relax.
  • He’s talking about opening a business.  The conversation about retirement has come up lately and he just doesn’t see himself retire.  What he does see is that he would like to do something different…perhaps something we can do together.  WOW!

Just when we were really starting to settle into being “empty nesters”, our oldest daughter came home with kids so that she could go to nursing school. We had always told all of the kids that they could live at home while they went to college and we would carry those living expenses. Her coming home was actually my husband’s idea!! She was 23ish when he made the offer again. So we lost some of our independence BUT we got to have the grandkids with us every day. What a blessing and it is truly a time that we both treasure!

SO what did I learn about him during this time of our life? Well …

  • We can both relax and enjoy the relationships with our grandkids. Even though they lived with us, I think we were more patient, took things in stride a little more, cherished the moments, and recognized that the behaviors were normal rather than stressing that they would turn out to be adults that no one liked (admit it — you’ve worried about that with your children!).
  • He was willing to sacrifice a little quiet and time with me for the bigger picture! This was for a finite period of time.

Fast forward 4 years … she has graduated from nursing school, has a good job and has remarried.

Us — we made the decision to move to be closer to hubby’s elderly parents. When your husband looks at you and says that only the way that he knows to “honor his father and mother” is to be near them, you follow … even if that means selling your home and relocating across the country. Yes, across the country!! We moved from Washington State to Florida (can’t move much further and still be in the continental U.S.). His parents do not have the same faith base that we do so this is truly our ministry. No one can show them Jesus like we can! They need to be ministered to and loved on. and we’re just the people to do it.

Has it been easy? Not at all! But we’re taking it a day at a time and trying to live life to the fullest.

It’s been a year and we’re still adjusting. We have totally changed our climate, living situation, family situation, church and community. Starting over is hard BUT I can’t argue with the motivation or my hubby’s heart.

So what have I learned about my husband through this thing we call life —

Try it, you might like it! –  I have never thought of myself as a “jazz” person but I’m certainly willing to try it.  If it means that I can get dressed in something other than jeans and a t-shirt or sweatshirt and go in public, then I’m all for it!  Besides, doesn’t a little corner table, just you and your sweetie, a drink or two and listening to live music sound divine?

I’m also living in a completely different part of the country. Nothing is the same … except that my husband is by my side. Together we’re trying some new things, seeing new things and enjoying new things (and not enjoying a few things). We’re eating new things too! (I do enjoy that part)

Go through life together!!

Adjust your routines and be flexible – Coming home from work a little early shouldn’t frustrate me.  He wants to spend time with me!  Adjusting my normal schedule and routines can be easily done (most of the time), in order to get “reacquainted” with the love of my life.

When you have kids in the house, flexibility is crucial! Now that I have “old people” in my life daily, the same flexibility is needed. Don’t get so caught up in “what needs to be done today” that you aren’t flexible enough to be available.

Be willing to take chances – Within reason, take a chance!  Opening a business won’t ruin us.  My husband would never allow that to happen!  He always has a plan … a thorough and detailed plan … so implementing it should be considered teamwork and bonding.

Some chapters of our lives, feel like one big “chance”. Embrace it! You will grow and be a better you.

Make a memory – As you’re trying all of these new things and taking in all the new things about your husband, you’re also making memories.  Some of these things you may decide you don’t enjoy, but you’ve still made a memory.  You may find the perfect activity for the two of you to do together so that you can make tons more memories.  Go for it!

Think outside your own box – What have you always wanted to try?  Where have you thought you might like to go?  Everything from international travel to taking a local cooking class to being a tourist in your own town.  Use your imagination!  Now is the time to perhaps bring up the subject.  He might surprise you and try them with you.  Remember he’s still getting to know you too!

Sacrifices are sometimes needed for the big picture – though we need to find joy in the moment, life is about the eternal. This life is not about us… it’s about showing the love of Christ and glorifying Him in all we do.

Respect and love your husband for who he is – His hearts desires are just as important as yours. God has put things on the heart of your husband and we need to be willing to follow his dreams and desires too. Watching my husband with his parents is amazing(and, yes, sometimes frustrating). He is so calm and compassionate. I want to be bossy and just tell them what to do! So we usually meet somewhere in the middle and things work out fine. We’ve always joked that I’m his balance and he’s mine. I see it now more than ever.

So you’re right — he’s not the man you married.  He’s better!  And so are you! Be refreshed by what you continue to learn about each other.  Be excited, happy, glad, and even silly as you discover things.  Don’t be scared to take a chance and try something that you’ve never tried before.

Blessings,

Heidi

The post HELP! He’s not the man I married! appeared first on Old Fashioned Homemaking.

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Everyone has answered this question at one time or another. It’s about knowing your gifts, making a goal, walking towards that picture in your head and finding your “why”!

I was thinking this morning about why I do what I do. Why I care about my home? Why I want to cook healthy meals for my family? Why I want a place to call “home” that is cozy and comfortable for all who enter?

It boils down to that I’ve always wanted this!

I was about 2 or 3, when my mom walked into where I was playing and I had all my dolls there and I was taking care of them … feeding them, singing to them, etc.

She knew then that I had found my calling in life!

There is a time in Jr. high or high school (or even earlier) when people begin thinking about “what they want to be when they grow up”. I struggled with that question for a couple of reasons.

First reason, because I knew what I wanted to do. I wanted to be a wife and mother. I wanted to have a home, garden and kids running around everywhere. I wanted to bake bread and cookies, preserve what I grew in the garden, have dinner ready when my husband got home from work and sew my kids clothes. The picture was very clear in my head!!

Second reason, this isn’t the “career” that the guidance counselors were wanting to hear. I grew up in a time when women were heading out into the work force and competing with men. My thought was, “okay, let them”. Women were being told (perhaps for the first time), you can do and be whatever you want. Now don’t get me wrong — they can!!! They are!!! They will continue to be whatever they want to be!!!

What these counselors didn’t understand is that this is what I wanted to be. If choosing your path, is truly about what we “want” to do, then why wasn’t this okay. Why wasn’t it okay to want to be a wife and mother? (Not “just” a wife and mother) Why wasn’t it okay to want to have a home and be there? Why was I made to feel inferior because I made this choice?

Now I did go onto college and got a 2 yr secretarial degree. In my mind, this would support me until I got married and could stay home…and it did. Fast forward about 5 years. At this point, I’m a single mom with 2 kids. This 2 yr degree served me very well because it supported us for the 10 years before I married my husband. I was blessed to have something to fall back but still my heart was at home.

After my husband and I got married, I worked another 2 years … 1 yr full-time and 1 yr part-time. At that point, it became obvious that our 4 children (2 mine and 2 his from our previous marriages) needed the stability of having a solid routine. We made the decision to take the plunge and go from 2 incomes to 1 so that regardless as to which home the kids were “at” that day, I picked them up from school, took them to practices, helped with homework and fulfilled those “after school” things that mom’s do.

Let me tell you, this was SO hard (especially for my husband) because on paper it just didn’t work … at all! But we knew that by being obedient in what we felt certain that the Lord wanted us to do that He would make it work and He did.

So I went from earning money to saving money! Went from having someone schedule my time to having to schedule my time better in order to do all that I needed to do and that my family needed.

Needless to say, it was an adjustment!!

I had to change how I shopped, cooked, cleaned, etc. Thinking “outside the box” became the norm for me. Our entire budget changed so I had to be creative. I love a challenge!!!

My childhood had been spent watching my mom and my grandmothers (and grandfathers) do whatever they could to be frugal and efficient. Now it was time to put all the things I had seen into practice.

I started gardening … I mean seriously gardening; I began baking bread (many failures before I got really good at it); cooked from scratch and pinched pennies whenever I could. At one point, I was feeding our family of 6 (2 of them were only there part time) for about $300 a month … that included nonfood items (laundry detergent, paper products, etc.) too and dog food for 3 big dogs (2 golden retrievers and a black lab).

This whole experience led me to where I am today … “Living Old Fashioned In A Modern World”. I love what I do!! I love that I have a home that I enjoy being in and so do other people!! Is it perfect? Hahaha … nope! Is it always immaculate? Again, nope!! (hardly ever just ask my husband) Is it homey? I hope so! Is it comfortable and cozy? Certainly hope so! Can people kick their shoes off, pull up a chair, have a cup of tea (or whatever) and visit? YES!!!

MY DREAM COME TRUE!!!

I’m right where I want to be … doing what I want to do … being who I want to be.

Are you? Whether you’re a SAHM or work outside the home, are you doing what you want to do?

Perhaps you can’t change your circumstances but here’s a little something for you.

I heard a quote recently –

“It’s not the circumstances that create the joy, it’s you!” 

Read it again … it’s you! So take hold and go for it. Find something to be grateful for … something that gives you joy … something that makes you laugh … something that makes it all worth while.

Find your inspiration and focus on that. Keep that picture in front of you. That picture will keep you motivated and moving forward. On a hard day, it will give you back the joy.

So what do you want to be when you grow up?

Blessing to you, my friends!

Heidi

The post What Do You Want To Be When You Grow Up? appeared first on Old Fashioned Homemaking.

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Do daily routines really work?  Do they help you stay focused or just add pressure and stress?

Many of us have heard our mothers, grandmothers, aunts or great grandmothers talk about “wash day”, “ironing day”, “baking day”, or “cleaning day”.

As a child, I often thought “it doesn’t take all day to do laundry”.  Well, back then it did!  They had to heat the water (quite often on a wood stove), wash items by hand, ring them by hand and hang them on the line to dry.  They didn’t have a modern convenience of putting the dirty clothes in a washer or clean clothes in the dryer and press start.

Our foremothers usually had to travel to town to shop.  Depending on their mode of transportation, it did involve being gone from home all day or part of the day.  They didn’t have the ability to just go to the corner market or grocery store.

We do have many modern conveniences that can help us do some of our homemaking duties quicker.  These conveniences allow us to “multi task” and get many things completed in one day.  We’re also busier than ever!

Does that mean that routines don’t apply anymore?

They apply more than over!!!

When you think about the things on our “to-do list” each day, it can feel overwhelming.  Homemakers (whether you are stay at home or working outside the home) still have cleaning, cooking, shopping and laundry to do.  Even if you have a spouse that helps, it still needs to be done.  Then add a full time or part time job, kids activities, perhaps caring for elderly parents and the list goes on.  No wonder we get to the end of the day and feel exhausted and overwhelmed.

When my children were small, we had a favorite movie that we watched regularly called “The Cutting Edge”.  It’s about an injured hockey player who can’t play professionally any longer (but wanted to continue to skate) and a spoiled figure skater who doesn’t have a partner because no one will skate with her.  They are paired up and comedy ensures … along with frustration and, yes, a little romance.  When they perform, they skate to the middle of the ice, look at each other and in unison say one word to each other “routine”.  From that point, they go on autopilot.  Their performance is practiced so many times that muscle memory takes over and they “just do it”.

That’s how our household routines should be … what they should feel like.  

So how do we do about getting to the point that we do certain things on “autopilot”?  It’s all about the routine, baby!

These routines are done almost without thinking and they keep the wheels of your household moving.

Let’s start by thinking about the 2 routines that I think are the most important — morning and evening. 

These are the times that bookend the day!

Morning

What is involved with getting everyone ready for the day?  Make a list (don’t forget to include yourself).  You need to be ready for the day in order to help everyone else be ready.

  • Get yourself up and ready
  • Get kids up and dressed
  • Breakfast
  • Lunches made
  • Out the door

When I was getting kids off to school, my morning looked something like this –

Get up and start coffee

Shower and get dressed

(this is when my husband left)

Enjoy coffee while doing bible study (by this time, the older kids that set alarms for themselves were getting up)

Wake the younger kids

Fix breakfast

While kids were eating, I made lunches

OUT THE DOOR!!!

Note:  If you homeschool, this routine still works (with slight tweaking).  It gets everyone up and ready for the day!

Now you’re ready to conquer the day!

Evening

Dinner is on the table (or almost) and now it’s time to switch gears a little.  I hope that you eat as a family when you have the opportunity.  It is SO important!!!

Dishes and kitchen tidying

Homework – when homework is finished, all items go back into backpack and staged in the same place each day so that it’s easy to find in the morning.

House walk-through – this is when everyone walks through the common areas of the home and pick up their things and puts them away (or at least into their own area).

Bath/shower for kids who don’t do that in the morning

Lay out clothes for tomorrow

Brush teeth, stories, prayers … nighty night to kids

Time with spouse and/or yourself (both very important)

I’ve made a form to help you with these lists.  You’ll find it here.  I’ve also included spaces for Mid-day and Afterschool Routine lists.  So fill them out and try to make these activities part of your daily routine.

Remember – these are NOT set in stone!  Tweak them, change them, start over.  The point is to find something that works for you.  Take ownership and make them yours

Blessings,

Heidi

The post Daily Routines – Do They Really Work? appeared first on Old Fashioned Homemaking.

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Old Fashioned Homemaking by Oldfashionedhomemaking - 2M ago

With autumn here, we may start craving apples which are plentiful at this time of year. They are delicious and nutritious, and can be prepared in countless ways. Here are four tasty apple recipes for you to try.

Apple, Marshmallow and Yams
Serves about 6

Ingredients

2 cups mini marshmallows
2 x 17oz cans yams, drained
½ cup brown sugar
½ cup raisins
2 Granny Smith apples, peeled and sliced
1/3 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
¼ cup margarine
½ tsp cinnamon

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350° Fahrenheit. Lightly grease a 1 1/2 quart casserole dish.

In a small bowl, combine sugar, cinnamon, raisins, apples and nuts. Alternate layers of apples/nuts with layers of yams. Dot with margarine. Cover with foil and bake in the oven for about 40 minutes. Top with the mini marshmallows and continue baking until the marshmallows are gooey and brown.

Baked Apple with Raisins
Serves 4

Ingredients

4 cooking apples, washed
2 tbsp soft brown sugar
1 tbsp pecan nuts, chopped
¼ cup raisins
Dash of cinnamon and nutmeg
Honey (optional)

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Core the apples, but make sure that you don’t cut all the way through. Score the apples at the centre with the tip of a sharp knife.

Mix together the sugar, spices, pecan nuts and raisins. Stuff the apples with the mixture and drizzle with a bit of honey. Place the apples in an oven-proof dish, with a bit of water around them. Bake in the oven for about 20-30 minutes or until the apples are soft.

Serve immediately with a scoop of vanilla ice-cream.

After School Warm Apple Toast

Ingredients

2 slices wholemeal bread
1 apple, cored and thinly sliced
1 tbsp peanut butter
Sprinkle of nutmeg and cinnamon

Instructions

Spread the peanut butter on the bread and arrange apple slices on top. Sprinkle with nutmeg and cinnamon. Place under the grill until the apples are beginning to soften.

This makes a lovely after school snack.

Apple and Apricot Surprise

Ingredients

1 lb dried apricots, pre-soaked in water
1 ½ oz brown sugar
4 oz ground almonds
4 oz sugar
6 medium apples, peeled and sliced
4 oz butter, room temperature
2 large eggs

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350° Fahrenheit.

In a small saucepan, cook dried apricots in some water until soft.

Place sliced apples and cooked apricots into a shallow ovenproof dish and sprinkle with brown sugar. Mix well.

Meanwhile, in a medium-size bowl, mix the sugar and butter until light and fluffy. Add the eggs and beat until well combined, then fold in the ground almonds. Spread this mixture over the fruit and bake in the oven for about 45minutes to 1hour.

Eat hot with vanilla ice-cream.

Note from Heidi:  I made this recently for a Sunday family dinner.  It was a hit! Two suggestions –

  1.  My family suggested the topping that I use on a fruit crisp.  Here is that recipe:

3/4 C brown sugar

3/4 C oatmeal

3/4 C flour

1/2 C butter

1/4 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp baking powder

Mix ingredients with a fork.  This will be crumbly.  Sprinkle on top and bake as instructed.

2.  I have home canned apricots so I would use those instead of dehydrating apricots and cooking them down.

Other than that, this was an easy and delicious dessert!

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The post Four Apple Recipes appeared first on Old Fashioned Homemaking.

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Keeping to a budget is sometimes a challenge!  Here are a few money saving tips to help your budget work for you.

It seems as though food prices are continually increasing while my budget is not.   Utilities seem to be going up faster than I can keep up.  Clothes prices also seem to be going up and the sales just aren’t as good as they used to be.  With all of this happening, it’s difficult to find the money for the essentials much less anything fun.

In fact, it’s become increasingly more difficult in the last 6 months because my husband retired so that we could move in order to care for his parents (91 & 92 yrs old).  As we’re adjusting to many things, the cost of living is one of them.

While we had 4 kids at home, we made the decision for me to quit my job to be home with kids so we became a one income family.  I had to learn very quickly how to cut corners and make our budget work.  What is amazing to me is that on paper it didn’t work BUT we always had enough.

Here are some money saving tips that I’ve used over the years (and still use) and some I’ve discovered more recently that may help your budget work for you.  I’ve tried to put them into categories to help you out a little.

Around the house –
  1.  Hang your clothes to dry — If you have the space to put up an outdoor clothes line, I hope that you’ll consider putting one up!  If you don’t, then invest in a drying rack.  They are relatively small and fold up when not in use.

Until we moved recently, I had been blessed to have an outdoor clothes line.  In the spring, summer and fall, this allowed me to hang my clothes outside to dry and not use my dryer.  My husband did the math and we were saving about $15 a month doing (that’s $180 a year!!).  During the winter months, I used a drying rack so was still able to save those funds.

When using a drying rack, I do a load of laundry each morning.  I hang the clothes on the rack and they dry all day and over night so that I can fold them the next morning when I do another load.  It may seem like it takes too much time but the reality is that it’s going on in the background.

2.  Close your windows and/or keep your blinds and curtains closed – keeping your blinds or curtains closed in the summer can keep the direct sun from shining in so will help with keeping the house cooler.  If the house is cooler, then the air conditioner won’t turn on as often.  If the evenings cool off nicely, open the windows to get a breeze coming through the house and that will help cool it off as well.  In the morning when it warms up, close everything up again.

The same is true during the winter, closed blinds or curtains keeps the house warmer so the furnace doesn’t come on as often.

3.  Wear layers – it’s easier and more cost effective to put clothes on when you’re cooler and take them off when you’re warmer.   Adjusting the thermostat actually costs more and makes your furnace work harder than leaving it on the same temperature and shedding or adding clothes (my dad used to work for the utilities company and this was DRILLED into my head – lol).

In the kitchen –
  1.  Have a menu plan – I know that you’ve probably heard this before but it is so true!  When you have a plan, your grocery list is more specific; therefore, you are more likely to buy only what you need and not a bunch of things that you don’t.

Having a menu also lets you shop the food ads.  If there is a specific kind of meat on sale, look for recipes that use those kinds of meat.  Be creative!  You don’t have to have meals that all have the same sorts of flavors.  Recently I roasted 2 chickens (just with garlic cloves, salt and pepper) and got several very different meals – chicken Caesar salad, Thai chicken salad, and shredded chicken tacos.  After those meals, I boiled the chicken bones, took the last of the meat off and made chicken gravy (you can also make this into soup).

If your family doesn’t eat meat, this idea still applies. Buy what’s on sale and in season.  Again, be creative!  Experiment with flavors using dried or fresh herbs and spices.

2.  Use leftovers –  Oh the world of leftovers!  Believe it or not, some people don’t like leftovers.  Luckily, there are ways to use leftovers and have them not look like leftovers.

Soup is a creature of its own and is an amazing way to save money and use your leftovers.  This idea kind of goes with the meal planning idea.  My grandmother used to have a container in the freezer where she put any leftover veggies from dinner (those few bites that are left in the serving dish).  When the container was full or it was a “soup day” (rainy and cool), she’d pull it out and make soup.  The disadvantage to this method is that no 2 batches of soup tasted the same!

Casseroles are another great way to use leftovers.  Mix a few things together, add a few new things and there you have it.  Add a salad or other side and it’s a whole new meal!!

3.  Buy in bulk — buying things in bulk saves on a bunch of packaging that you don’t need to be paying for.  Some stores have a bulk section that allows you to scoop items into plastic bags and pay by the pound or ounce.  If you’re trying to reuse bags, etc. take your own bags and use those.  Even reusing ziplocs several times will save in the cost.  There are also cloth bags that you can buy or make that are just for this purpose.  Jars work well too (just be sure to weigh the jar first so that you don’t pay for that weight — ask your grocer how that works best for them).

Things like pasta, rice, dry beans, nuts, dried fruit, flour, sugar, cereal can often be bought in bulk.

Warehouse shopping also gives you “large package” options that can save you money.  For instance, you can get flour and sugar in 25 lb. and 50 lb. bags.  Pasta comes in large bags (quite often 3-5 lbs.).  I also buy cheese in large 5 lb. bricks, shred or slice it, and then freeze it for casseroles, pizza, etc.

If you’re saying “my family would never eat that much food”, then perhaps find a friend or neighbor that you can buy this food with and both will benefit from the cost savings.

4.  Compare food prices and shop sales – (touched on this in idea #1) comparing the food ads each week (if your area store provides this) can be crucial in saving money.  You can build your menu around items that are on sale.  If you are able, pick up a little extra (i.e. if beans are on sale, pick up an extra can or package to have on hand).  By having a few extras in your pantry, it allows you to eat from your pantry (if you have to) and/or not have to buy that item until it’s on sale again.

Speaking of eating out of your pantry, occasionally it’s cost effective to do just that.  Take an inventory of your freezer, refrigerator and pantry and see what meals you can make without going shopping (or with minimal shopping).  This way you’re saving some money and also rotating your pantry items.  If you would like my inventory and menu forms, check this out.

In the Yard/Garden –
  1.  Compost your food scraps — this is a GREAT way to utilize those food scraps!  You’ll be adding nutrients to your soil while not wasting things in the kitchen.  Please remember this is organic materials only … not protein (fat, bones, etc).  Protein on a compost pile will attract animals to your yard that you don’t necessarily want.
  2. Grow herbs — even if you don’t have a garden, you can grow herbs.  I live in a condo and I have herbs either in the kitchen or on my lanai (depending on the season).
  3. Have a garden — having a garden plot and growing your own things can definitely save you some money in the food budget.  IF you don’t have a garden plot there are still some options.

First option, container gardening.  If you have a patio, balcony, lanai (whatever you call it in your region), you can grow things.  Tomatoes and peppers are some of my favorites because I love to make salsa.  Other options are strawberries, peas and bush beans.  Lettuce, radishes and carrots are simple too.

Second option, rent a neighborhood garden plot or get involved in a community garden.  Usually the fees on these options are minimal.  A plot in our town is about $25 a season.  I can easily save that with what I grow so it’s totally worth the money.  Community gardens usually ask that you volunteer a certain number of hours in addition to your fee.  Not a bad trade given the fresh delights that you’ll be eating at your table.

In the clothes closet –
  1.  Hit the seasonal clearance — you can save TONS of money doing this.  You kind of have to plan ahead regarding sizes and styles but it can be done.  When school clothes come out, buy clearance summer clothes for the next summer.  After the first of the year, many stores have inventory clearance type of sales.  In the spring when summer clothes are hitting the shelves, you already have those (since you bought them last fall) so buy winter clothes that are on clearance.
  2. Clothes swap — arrange a clothing swap with other mothers with children.  Everyone brings gently used items in sizes that their kids are growing out of and trades them for other sizes.  Anything that’s left at the end of the day, can either go home with the person who brought them OR be donated to a local charity.
  3. Utilize used clothing stores — buying used clothes isn’t for everyone, I get that.  But if you’re willing, it’s a great way to find clothes for a fraction of the price.  Sometimes items have the original tags on them or it’s obvious that they’ve only been worn once or twice.  Be selective but take the time to look … the deals are there.

I shop used clothes quite a bit.  I don’t always find things but I certainly look.  One of my common purchases is denim — jeans, shorts, skirts, jackets, etc.  Denim items can be SO expensive new so I just look for gently used things.

Even little things that you can do will help your budget in the long run.

“A penny saved is a penny earned”!!!

If you have other money saving tips, PLEASE SHARE!!!

Blessings,

Heidi

The post Squeezing The Most From Your Budget appeared first on Old Fashioned Homemaking.

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