Five Frugal Things

by Katy on December 5, 2017 · 72 comments

  1. I’d somehow not given my one and only niece anything for her 13th birthday, so I promised her that we’d do something special when I came to New York. So today the two of us walked over to the nail salon in her neighborhood and I treated her to an indulgent manicure. (The manicurist even added an extra flower detail to each forefinger, which was very generous of her.) The total was a budgetary $12, even with a $4 gratuity. (Frugal tip: I encouraged my niece to bring her own nail polish, so she’ll be able to touch up any chips from home.)

  2. We then floated over to a high end Italian restaurant where she selected an individual chocolate lava cake from the dessert menu. Although I only sipped coffee I couldn’t have enjoyed myself more, as her enjoyment of such a luxurious after school snack was contagious. The cost was $16 with tip, which brought the afternoon’s total to $28. I easily could have just bought her a thing, even a cute thing. But that thing would have ultimately been set aside to gather dust. The food will digest and the nail polish will wear off, but the memory of our fun afternoon together will linger.

  3. You may have noticed that the manicure and dessert were just for my niece. I would certainly have enjoyed my own indulgent treat, but my sons’ double college payments are mere weeks away, and having enough money to cash flow the bill is going to be tight. However, I’m more than willing to take one for the team, as the point of the afternoon was to make my niece feel special and loved. Doubling the bill would have done nothing to support that goal.

  4. My sister and I spent the afternoon working at her neighborhood library as part of our writer’s retreat/homework hell project. (She’s heading into finals week and it ain’t pretty.) I stepped away from my project to use the bathroom and was met by the prettiest midcentury chair. I snapped a picture for my Instagram account as I knew it was a special piece, and was immediately informed that it was in fact a “Knoll executive side chair, designed by Eero Saarinen.” These chairs sell for at least $400 apiece online, but sadly this one was not for sale. Simply a great classic piece for the lucky patrons of this tiny Bronx library.

  5. I didn’t buy a Lear Jet or a vulgar gold-plated apartment in the sky.

Now your turn. What frugal things have you been up to?

Katy Wolk-Stanley

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.”

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{ 72 comments… read them below or add one }

Kathy Hairston December 5, 2017 at 6:17 am

1. Sold another book on Amazon
2. Continue sales on eBay of dog club stuff..fundraisers
3. List some decor on FB indoor garage sale
4. Picked up free priority mailing boxes from Office Depot
5. Eating out of pantry while hubby is out of town


Taylor-Made Homestead December 5, 2017 at 6:24 am

Money spent on your niece’s experience gift was money well spent! My frugal 5:

1) Cooked 2 pork shoulder roasts at the same time in the slow cooker. I shredded a portion & added BBQ for our supper the first night, put aside a supper portion for the following night and all leftovers frozen for quick homemade meals later.
2) Made Carnitas tacos with some of the leftover shredded pork & cooked onions/peppers the next night. We even made our own crispy taco shells with corn tortillas.
3) Cut, split & stacked a large limb that came down. Our property was cleaned up & toasty fire is in our immediate future!
4) My niece has a baby shower this weekend for their first baby. I made the cutest diaper wreath using store-brand diapers and a few baby items such as washcloths, pacifier, hair bands and a super-cute pair of baby boots! Lots of visual bang for the buck!
5) Took advantage of the last warm day of the season & washed our flannel sheets & hung them to dry on the clothesline. Nothing better than the smell of sunshine on clean sheets!

Have a fantabulous week!

~Taylor-Made Homestead~


Cindy in the South I December 5, 2017 at 6:32 am

My Frugal five for the past week: 1. I just finished criminal jury trial week, and have not been able to do anything except work 12 to 14 hours a day. I did make meatloaf the weekend before trial, and grabbed meatloaf sandwiches all week to wolf down when we had a bathroom break (judge gave jury a lunch break but we had motion hearings outside the presence of the jury during the lunch break so no lunch for the attorneys…sigh….
2. I literally spent no money all week, which is not that unusual, because I usually shop only on weekends. My electric bill should be ok, since I was not home much…lol. 3. This weekend, after trial, I did make homemade tomato soup, and chicken spaghetti. I tossed the chicken bones in the tomato soup to give it added flavor. 4. I always lose weight during jury week, but promptly gain it back….lol. So, I guess not eating much counts as frugal? 5. I did just purchase my prepaid phone card (talk and text only ) for $25 bucks from Walmart.


Bee December 5, 2017 at 6:54 pm

I am sure you are glad to have the week behind you. I missed your posts.


Cindy in the South I December 6, 2017 at 6:46 am

Thanks Bee. Yes…lol.


Crosby December 5, 2017 at 6:37 am

– My tea brewing basket had a loose handle so I fixed it with some Sugru that I already had on hand
– I sent a birthday card to my aunt from my stash of cards, no need to purchase any!
– For lunch I have leftover mushroom apple bisque that my mom when I went to visit her on Saturday
– Last night I ignored the urge to get take out (its been a rough few weeks emotionally and mentally) and just cobbled something together from our cupboards
– My husband was busy in the kitchen: peanut butter, coco dusted almonds (to be used as a snack during my work trip this week), and zucchini bread from a zucchini that was about to go bad
– my mom asked for a bottle opener with a magnet on the back for Christmas since hers broke. I took a simple bottle opener I had and glued a strong magnet, which I also had, to the back of it. Yay for NC stocking stuffers!


Katy December 5, 2017 at 7:07 am

Hooray for Sugru!


Crosby December 5, 2017 at 7:09 am

It is seriously the best invention for nonconsumer, fixit people!!


Jill A December 5, 2017 at 6:42 am

Love the chair…they don’t make things like they used to.

1. I used one coke code to get two free movie tickets to an AMC theater on
2. I ordered a used hardcover book my husband wanted off of ebay. I checked prices on Amazon but found it $1.50 cheaper on Ebay. It would have been cheaper to get it at the library but neither of the ones we can use had it.
3. I got up early two days in a row to get a load of laundry done before the electric rate goes up. I washed in cold water with a small amount of detergent and it’s hanging to dry on my racks inside. I’ll do this every morning until the laundry is done.
4. I stayed home yesterday to get some housework and other odds and ends done. In the evening my husband and I went to my Mom’s house for dinner. My daughter the culinary student made us quail that she got for free from work when they needed to clean out the freezer. It was a delicious dinner and great company.
5. I’m working every morning on swagbucks and another survey site to earn gift cards etc.


Julia Gillam December 8, 2017 at 10:48 am

for future reference (nothing wrong with you buying hubby a book for christmas) most libraries can and will order books from another library for you. they have a system for it; ask at their desk. some stay just within their own county; probably for financial reasons. If it exists in their system they will get it for you. You can also join libraries in other counties; I have done it; had to pay a small amount, maybe 25 dollars. I did this when I lived on the edge of one county but the library in the county north of me was actually closer to me that the library in my county.


Roberta December 5, 2017 at 7:15 am

1. My refrigerator and dishwasher were both making horrible screaming noises. I called out an appliance guy I had used before — he arrived roughly a half hour later (I had to rush to shower and get out of my pjs before he arrived!). He fixed the fridge — I thought it was dead — and even fixed the part, instead of needing to buy a new one! Since he was so quick, I asked him to look at the dishwasher too — turned out it was a cheap, quick fix as well! I was planning to switch to handwashing if the dishwasher went out, but this is so much easier while the kids are still home, and I didn’t have an alternative for the refrigerator. I am so thrilled! My husband was just expecting to use the fridge until it dies, then buy a new one.
2. Nothing else as exciting. I’m hanging out laundry today — the wind should be up to 20 mph, so things will dry fast!
3. Working on Christmas presents. I’m making flavored popcorn kits for the boys, flavored peanut butter for the girls. I spent the day sorting jars so I know what I need. I could really use some spice jars from Goodwill to use a shakers, but if not, I have what I need. I’m using a cool old canning jar for black bean soup mix for my father-in-law’s girlfriend.
4. In addition to the wind, it’s really cold here. I haven’t turned on the heat, but I’m drinking tea and staying inside so far.
I think that’s it for today!


Linda December 5, 2017 at 1:51 pm

Please tell me about the flavored popcorn/flavored peanut butter kits. Sounds interesting.


Roberta December 6, 2017 at 7:31 am

The boys are getting unpopped popcorn, with instructions on what to do with it, and several different flavor shakers like nacho, Mexican chocolate, Italian, etc. The girls are getting honey peanut butter, chocolate, cinnamon raisin, a couple more. The boys are either dating or married to girls, so I split the gifts along gender lines to avoid duplication and so everyone gets some of everything. Plus, there shouldn’t be a lot of clutter left over, and kids their age (college-ish) can always use food!


Linda December 6, 2017 at 12:51 pm

Oh my! What great ideas. Never heard of this before.


shelia December 5, 2017 at 7:18 am

1. We ate turkey again last night in the form of a yummy casserole. It was accompanied by sweet potatoes from aldis I got at .33 a lb. And I still have a huge amount of sweet potatoes I got from Krogers the week after Thanksgiving for .10 a lb.
2. This week I’m making pork bbq from a pork roast Krogers had for .88 a lb. I had planned on cutting it in two and freezing half but a friend just had surgery so I’ll take a batch to them and use the rest for company this weekend.
3. Our company is my husband’s lovely sister and son. We’ll have ‘Christmas’ with them while they’re here. I usually just put a Wendy’s gift card in my nephew’s card but I picked him up a nice flannel shirt with my $10 free Kohls cash on Black Friday and I’m passing on some nice thick socks I had bought on super clearance for my husband. He’ll appreciate it!
4. We helped decorate the church for Christmas last week and discovered the tree they put in the foyer was missing. My husband was off the next day so we took in a really lovely one I picked up at the thrift shop for vbs. Telling people the price is so much fun. It was priced at .09 and it was 25 % off day so the price was .07. We will use it next year for a train open house but that will give the church plenty of time to come up with one for the future.
5. I went to the thrift shop last week and got a few more .29 books for my little nephews’ Christmas gifts. They gave me a tempting coupon to use this week but I’ve resisted! It is tough to spend enough to use the coupon and I tend to buy items I don’t really need.


WilliamB December 5, 2017 at 7:25 am

Not much, since I posted a list yesterday:

1) Saved about $1.50 by noticing that the BOGO 50% didn’t register at CVS.

2) Saved my office a bit of money, by donating a string of lights I no longer needed. Not frugal for me but I’m glad to see the lights put to good use.


Bethel December 5, 2017 at 7:55 am

1. Went to Little Caesars instead of pizza hut for dinner last night-cheaper and still hit the spot.
2. Only partially filled up on gas because I was across town on empty and not near my local Kroger fueling station where I have fuel points to use. I’ll fill up again there when I get low again.
3. Brought leftovers to work today (for breakfast and lunch). Our fridge is incredibly bare now and I’ve managed to avoid food waste!
4. Was feeling a little down about my appearance yesterday, but instead of shopping for new clothes or buying a bunch of beauty things at the store, I went home and treated myself to a hot shower and an olive oil and sugar scrub “makeover” and an aloe vera juice hair mask. Stuff I have at home already and less chemicals.
5. Drinking free coffee at work today even though I really wanted to stop at Starbucks.
6. Planning a weekend trip away for this weekend and the house we’re staying at has a kitchen. Instead of waiting until we get to the small mountain town to buy groceries (in their high-end and small town-i.e. expensive store) I’m going to borrow a cooler from a neighbor, shop sales down here, and schlepp our food up there. This will allow me the budge to buy better-quality food and still spend less money (we’re going with others and we’re all sharing our food, so I want to make sure I’m not being too cheap).


janine December 5, 2017 at 8:22 am

1. Son gifted us with an enormous ham from employer for the holidays. I will cut it in half for now and later.
2. Received a $5 gift certificate from hardware store rewards program.
3. Talked to vet on behalf of dog and found out that they don’t see the need for influenza shots in this area yet. Petsmart was pushing shots. Saved $ by checking first.
4. Out of town next week so using up supplies on hand. Homemade apple sauce, cake, and freezer treasurers will fill our menus.
5. Snowstorm hit area last night. Using hats, gloves and ice scrapers from years gone by.


Dee December 5, 2017 at 9:49 am

I like the freezer treasures name.


Madeline Kasian December 5, 2017 at 8:41 am

1. Met with my galpals at the apartment clubhouse of one of them, for our bimonthly Hand and Foot game. free. Also free delicious keurig coffee available! And Christmas music on radio. Great fun/ all free.

2. Made up a week of vegan menus using what I have in the pantry. Beans,lentils,brown rice, used up leftover cabbage .

3. Making 25 greeting cards for gift giving for holidays.I have plenty of craft supplies in my studio–no purchases necessary.Having fun. Making useful gifts. No expense.

4. Enjoying several great mysteries from library– love my library!

5. Used 25% off coupon at Kohls to purchase 2 gifts for the family my church is supporting for Christmas. Got 10 dollars off a 40 dollar purchase.


Marilyn December 5, 2017 at 9:36 am

I am just returned home from a trip to San Diego where I visited with my son and his girlfriend. Had a wonderful time seeing the sights with them. We did pay admission fees to art museum and the USS Midway tour, but avoided the gift shops altogether. Spending time with my son and his girlfriend was what it was all about. The warm, sunny weather was also a plus.


Deb December 5, 2017 at 9:45 am

1. Just finished another Master’s class that my company pays for. What a great company – a $14,000 Masters degree for zero dollars.
2. Returned the book I rented for my course to Amazon. It cost me $18 to rent it and would have cost $65.00 to purchase.
3. I get a free lunch every Monday at work. This week I brought a plastic food container to put half of it in. I ate it for lunch again on Tuesday. Two free lunches in a week!
4. I am trying to use up as much food as I can to eliminate waste. I have a small container of buttermilk that will become buttermilk drop biscuits with dinner tonight. A half of a container of half and half will become a quiche along with some of the 49 cent a dozen eggs I got on Saturday.
5. I have a long list of coupons I save and will use some for holiday gifts.


Edie December 5, 2017 at 10:29 am

Deb, this is WONDERFUL and I am so proud of you. Expanding your education and skills set is wonderful- and being able to do it while working AND zero dollars makes you a genius!


Deb December 7, 2017 at 10:35 am

Thank you Edie. 🙂


Bethany M December 5, 2017 at 9:56 am

1. Used some of our turkey broth to make a rich broccoli and cheese soup, and heated up some freezer rolls to go with. I was the only one in the family to really enjoy it, but they all agreed it was better than the cauliflower soup, and they did their part.

2. Filled up my tank gas at Costco. Bought Christmas presents, food, toilet paper, and a vacuum. I have had such terrible luck with vacuums, so I decided to get it at Costco which will allow me to return if this one too turns out to be junk.

3. Been going back and forth with my insurance for a $109 claim. The dentist office billed incorrectly and it has caused a headache. Glad I caught it though.

4. I’ve been charging my phone and laptop during the sunshine hours so our solar can produce the electricity needed instead of purchasing off hours from the electric company at a higher rate.

5. Been wanting to take the kids to LEGOLAND for sometime now, and our charter school put it up as a workshop/fieldtrip day. I set my alarm the morning that the sign up began, and we got it. Can’t wait to take the kids!!


avl December 5, 2017 at 10:15 am

What a fun birthday afternoon for your niece!
Here are my recent five:

1) I just sold a pair of designer suede boots on eBay. These were an impulse purchase on sale last year (for fantasy me, not real me) that sat in my closet unworn. If I didn’t like or need them enough to wear them yet, out they go!

2) Speaking of poor impulse purchases, I recently went to TJ Maxx to buy a comfy dog bed for my elderly poodle. I left the store with a nice well-priced bed, but also with a cute purse. Forced myself to go back the next day and return the purse.

3) Went to Aldi to stock up on organic apples, pears, avocados, bananas and spinach. I also picked up more of my newly discovered favorite cheese – Farmhouse Cheddar. So good.

4) Ate a freezer-sourced meal of black bean burgers – they’d been hanging around taking up space for too long. Doctored them up with ketchup and marinated jalepeno slices (a recent find from the Dollar Tree) – they were actually pretty tasty.

5) I mentioned my efforts at electricity-use reduction in comments previously. My November bill showed 60% less usage than the same period last year. The changes I made were relatively painless, and mostly required a different mindset and a little advanced planning.


Tracy December 5, 2017 at 10:35 am

Avl I can so relate to making apparel purchases for “fantasy me” and not real me!


Bettypants December 5, 2017 at 10:45 am

Fantasy me likes to buy dresses to wear to work, because it’s so easy to throw one on! Real me prefers not freezing her ass off, and wears pants every day.


tonya December 5, 2017 at 4:11 pm



Bettypants December 5, 2017 at 10:33 am

1. Ebay offered a promotion of 50% off selling fees for listings created during 3 days only. I used that as incentive to get a bunch of items listed that I wanted up before Christmas. The promotion applies to up to ten sales, and I’ve had five so far.
2. My office gave out nice baskets filled with upscale snacks/food. We set a few things aside to give to my parents as Christmas gifts, and are enjoying the rest. The base is a nice wooden basket, which I will be selling.
3. Sold three books on the FB boards, which I had bought at library book sales.
4. Helped my friend move. Good free exercise and she was appreciative, but I was quite sore the next day.
5. Not really frugal, but the annoying neighbors next door are moving and it makes me so happy! It is a rental house, so fingers crossed I don’t end up with someone worse.


Tracy December 5, 2017 at 10:40 am

1. Confirmed with Aunt and Uncle that we will be able to stay with them President’s day Weekend when DD has a volleyball tourney near their house. DD will stay in hotel with team, but we would much rather stay with and spend time with Aunt and Uncle and it will save us two nights hotel plus restaurant meals (we will contribute to the food eating at their home).
2. Ate cereal for dinner last night because didn’t want to cook or spend $ on takeout.
3. Trimmed own bangs to go a little longer between hair appts.
4. Continuing to search sales for good prices on food stuffs I will need for various holiday events/celebrations.
5. Want a manicure for holidays but continuing to defer, will get the week before Christmas so it will last me through until New Year’s (very special treat, don’t usually get manicures)


Edie December 5, 2017 at 10:47 am

Hello all!

1) Had surgery and was quoted the bill- which will just about fit the deductible! Yikes! But I have an HSA- and the amount will pay about 2/3 of it, so it is less of an ouch!

2) Am reusing Christmas decor bought on sale last year! I also picked up some pine branches to make a wreath centerpiece for NOTHING from the Christmas tree lot.

3) Successfully replicated and improved upon a favorite dish in Portland called Khao Man Gai. I made a gallon of beautifully scented and flavored chicken broth, poached chicken and perfect rice- all easily frozen in their separate components and used later. The broth was used in a shitake/greens soup, the rice made a great base for a veggie bowl, and the poached chicken turned into a salad filling for a large avocado. The improvement was making the broth with chicken backs wing tips and breast bone instead of using whole chicken, adding turmeric root and fennel and then adding lemon at the end. I have the makings for several more meals and the cost was the same as buying one set plate at Nong’s (she is marvelous btw)
Here is a link if you are curious- and slide through if you are in PDX!

4) Related to #3, am doing my best to remember to bring lunches to work, and bringing my own tea/coffee.

5) I bought Danish butter cookies instead of making my own. I did a cost comparison and given the cost of sugar, butter and such, it was actually more affordable to buy the butter cookies . They are very tasty and go great with homemade hot chocolate, brandy or tea.


Bee December 5, 2017 at 7:12 pm

The chicken broth sounds lovely And fragrant. I will have to break out of my rut and try this.


Edie December 6, 2017 at 2:41 pm

Please do try this! Ginger, garlic, a little tumeric, pandan leaf (if not in your area, some basil will do fine) and fennel. Gave a me a golden and fragrant that is really delicious and versatile.


Teresa December 5, 2017 at 10:53 am

When I was a girl I had an Aunt like you, Katy. She sent me a grown-up type baby-doll nighty for a birthday gift. Another time she took me to the beauty parlor and we both got our hair done. I’m 61 and those memories still stick in my head because she treated me as a person instead of like a kid. What a great experience for both of you. Your niece will never forget it.


Katy December 5, 2017 at 11:07 am

Umm . . . “grown up baby-doll nighty?”


Jennifer December 5, 2017 at 12:02 pm

Is this the same kind that say a husband would purchase for a sexy gift for his wife or am I overthinking this?


A. Marie December 5, 2017 at 12:43 pm

Hey, I had an aunt (my mother’s 18 years younger half-sister) who once accepted my dare to go into a sex toys shop in Coconut Grove, Miami. RIP in loving memory, Aunt Barbara.


Jennifer December 5, 2017 at 5:55 pm

I’m suddenly feeling like my family is kinda boring!


Katy in Africa December 5, 2017 at 11:46 am

Great gift for your neice!

1. I used the same tea bag after my daughter used it this morning, still made a strong enough tea.
2. Dumped the laundry rinse water on our plants… It’s dry season and my plants appreciate the drink!
3. I had posted a link to a star craft I wanted to do as Christmas cards, but after trying it I decided to just use some cards I already have. The kids really liked the stars though.
4. My daughter burned her pinky on hot water, but we were able to pick some aloe from the yard to put on it.
5. Took a cold shower instead of a hot one.


Jennifer December 6, 2017 at 5:26 am

5. Cold showers are where I draw the line. I admire your ability to endure the cold water. I only take hot showers, sometimes a little too long. I save in other areas so I can enjoy this muscle relaxing splurge.


K D December 5, 2017 at 12:17 pm

1. I walked up to the grocery store and put my husband’s spare coins in the Coin Star machine (fear not, I redeemed for a gift card, which incurs no fee). I found a quarter on the way, picked up a free quart of yogurt, bought a few items, and grabbed a couple pieces of Hershey’s Miniatures that they now hove by the customer service desk. I also put about 3,500 steps on my pedometer.

2. I’ve been listening to Lois Lowry audio books in my car and at home. Thank you public library (and our tax dollars at work).

3. I’ve been making a lot of legume and vegetable soups. We’ve been drinking a lot of tea. Not quite as cheap as water but almost.

4. I went to SAM’S Club to buy a few things. I found a couple of items marked down that will be good consumable gifts to have this month.

5. I stopped by the house of someone I met on “Freecycle”. I am near her house about once a week and it’s easier for her if I just drop off items that she’d like to have. Good bye to clutter.


Linda December 5, 2017 at 12:34 pm

Love those experience gifts. I give these gifts every birthday & Christmas for my great nephews, husband, & dad.
Thanks for reminder (#3), taking one for the team to meet a payment or bill!


KJD509 December 5, 2017 at 12:38 pm

Had a sleepless night Sunday because the dog was upset all night long. Discovered in the morning that someone had been in the yard, rearranged the furniture, and perhaps slept there. For years we kept our doors unlocked, and all the kids’ friends knew we were a safe place to come, day or night. But . . . the kids are all grown and gone, the dog and I are home alone, and I’m, um, feeling less generous with my space. So:
1) combined needs and made only one stop for a few safety and repair items plus dog food, even though it meant going to my least-favorite store in the universe.
2) The couple in line in front of me had a terrible time checking out, and by the time the 3rd manager had arrived to clear it up, everyone within earshot knew exactly how much they’d spent in cash, in benefits, and with the tail end of a gift card. My order rang up wrong too, and it cost me nothing to catch them in the parking lot and say, “Just wanted you to know it wasn’t you – it was the terminal. So sorry you had to go through that.” She had been mortified, and while I didn’t fix the experience, I hope it helped a bit.
3) Succumbed to drive-through . . . and got my karmic comeuppance because one of the kids who’s too often on the receiving end of motherly, um, suggestions about how to stretch a buck happened to call just as I was ordering. There is nothing on earth like the sound of a drive-through order, so no denying it. I am firmly recommitted to cooking from scratch . . . Kid was terrifically amused.
4) Split the dinner and brought half for lunch today.
5) Fixed a couple of locks, so the dog and I both slept soundly.


Christine Joiner December 5, 2017 at 6:34 pm

That was nice of you to catch up with them in the parking lot and let them know the mix-up at the register wasn’t their fault. Sometimes just a little word at the right time can make someone feel much better about a stressful situation.


Mand01 December 5, 2017 at 12:47 pm

That chair is beautiful.

1. Working from home two days and avoiding pre-Christmas and major sporting event traffic and saving petrol.
2. Decided with my friends to skip gifts this year. We are getting together for dinner instead.
3. Hanging washing in this unseasonably cool summer weather.
4. Made chilli jam using the chillies I grew last year and the garlic I grew this year. It’s delicious. I have two jars for gifts and one for us. I have so many chillies I will need to make more.
5. Put holiday reading material on hold at the library.


A. Marie December 5, 2017 at 1:01 pm

FFT, Accepting Our Limitations Edition:

(1) We have had two friends over a couple of times in the last week to go through DH’s large stock of gas-powered machines/tools/toys and see what works and what doesn’t. I now have a much better sense of our inventory–as well as a much better sense of what DH can do with it, which is a lot less than he used to be able to. It is what it is. And heaven bless our friends.

(2) I cooked a half-ham Saturday from our annual half-pig. We’ve been eating from this for a few days now, and I’m currently making a split pea soup with the ham juice and bones.

(3) The pure white ham fat that rose to the top of the ham juice jar in the fridge is being saved for various expat-Southerner cooking purposes. (I’ve been reading a book called “The Alzheimer’s Antidote” that recommends a high-fat, low-carb diet for cognitive problems. DH won’t have any problem with the high-fat part, but the low-carb part is going to be a much harder sell.)

(4) We attended our local lefty peace group’s annual craft fair on Sunday and enjoyed ourselves very much. I also won a raffle prize of my choice (an East Indian-style handbag with an elephant design, which I will give to elephant-loving Ms. Bestest Neighbor for Christmas).

(5) And I’m about to phone my congressman’s office and give his staff a fresh earful about the tax bill. DH and I are also attending a fundraiser for a potential candidate for his seat on Thursday evening (just around the corner and hosted by a good friend). If you don’t like what you got, and there’s something you can do, you gotta do it.



tonya December 5, 2017 at 4:22 pm

A high fat, low carb diet sounds like the opposite of what we need for brain and vascular health. But I know thinking about cognitive decline is scary and can probably make us try stuff we wouldn’t normally try. Any idea what the author is proposing as the theory behind this dietary pattern? I’m curious.

And regarding your number 5, good job! What a travesty that bill passing is.


Bee December 5, 2017 at 7:27 pm

Dr Mark Hyman wrote a book on the benefits of adding natural, healthy fats to our diets.


Elizabeth December 6, 2017 at 4:01 am

I know it sounds weird but the ketogenic diet(very low carb) has been found successful in treating seizures, some cancers, and slowing down Alzheimer’s/dementia. Of course they are doing studies on it to prove its effectiveness, so we won’t know how effective it is for a few years, but the preliminary data is exciting:) **I read a cool article about how the sugar industry has been concealing data on the correlation between sugar and heart disease for years.


Jo December 5, 2017 at 5:48 pm

A. Marie, thanks for sharing your graceful and honest descriptions of your days with your DH. As a daughter and daughter in law of parents with major health challenges (all now deceased) I salute your humor, fortitude, and grace. You go, Girl!


KJD509 December 6, 2017 at 7:55 am

I second Jo’s salute, A. Marie. Memory problems are an issue in hubs’s family, but their approach is to deny any change. It would be so much easier to know in advance things like, “These days she does better with fewer car trips,” so we can make plans that work for everyone rather than cause distress. Your practical, graceful approach gives me hope for when, more than likely, it’s hubs’ turn.

And maybe we’ll just shift to that high fat / low carb approach sooner rather than later. Hmmm. . .


A. Marie December 6, 2017 at 11:12 am

Thanks to all for the responses and support.

Re: the diet, see Elizabeth’s comment. The science is kinda complicated and I can’t boil it all down into a sentence, but basically, the brain needs fats to function properly.

Re: life with DH, yes, we do have our bad times. But humor, honesty, and love = the only ways to go with this, IMO. I’m also fortunate that he’s such a sweet guy to begin with; his good nature and willingness to cooperate are making a huge difference.


Mand01 December 6, 2017 at 11:25 am

The ketogenic diet was developed for some types of uncontrolled epilepsy.

tonya December 5, 2017 at 4:28 pm

1) I was over on my work hours from last week so I stayed home today. I didn’t leave the house except for a brisk walk.
2) I ate leftover bean burrito bowl for lunch. We have enjoyed this idea for a quick dinner and enjoy the leftovers as well! I think I got the idea from this community of lovely people.
3) I made chili from scratch today. A big, hot pot of warm dinner that will probably last for at least two nights.
4) I watched a holiday movie on Netflix and snuggled with the cats. It was a great thing to relax on a weekday and destress for hardly any money.
5) I am wearing thrifted clothes, reading library books, and paying bills online and on time, as usual.


Ava December 5, 2017 at 6:29 pm

1. Mended my husband’s heavy wood carrying glove after a bad dog ate a lot of the lining out of it. I was able to replace the missing fabric with a piece of flannel from a scarf I had been using for craft purposes.
2. Treated grown kids and grandkids to 2 nights in a city half way between the families. It was in no way frugal for us as we paid for hotel, food and some activities but everyone enjoyed it and it was a present to ourselves to see all the grandkids together. I hope they will have good memories of those times and maintain their relationships with their cousins as adults. The kids got early Christmas presents. The trip was the present for the adults.
3. Mourning the loss of our beloved kitten who was not able to overcome his illness. We brought him home to bury rather than making other arrangements.
4. Put up the same artificial Christmas tree for the 3rd or 4th year. Prior to this one, I had a major frugal fail with a pre-lit tree. I thought it would be just what I wanted, but the first year I had it, a cat severed most of the wires underneath, causing a great darkness. My son spliced them back together. (It was his cat that did the severing.) That worked for a year. The next year, another large area failed to light and I had to add lights. And the tree was so heavy from the weight of the lights it came with, I could hardly put it together by myself. After only a few years, I sent it to live at Goodwill and replaced it with the current one. This one should last for many more years.
5. Just the usual : cooking at home, using the decorations we already have, reading books I already have, staying out of stores. Almost all Christmas shopping this year has been done on line, purchasing just the items I am looking for and no more.


Bee December 5, 2017 at 7:41 pm

I am sorry to hear about the loss of your kitty. Wishing you the best


Ava December 6, 2017 at 4:27 am

Thank you. We miss him very much.


Mand01 December 6, 2017 at 2:51 am

Your number 4 read like a great myth or fantasy novel: “causing a great darkness.” Love it.


Elizabeth December 6, 2017 at 3:53 am

*I found some leftover Black Friday deals while shopping at Walmart(I do not do Black Friday shopping and was surprised they still had some items out that were the deal prices)–it was a huge collection of Star Wars stories for kids for just $5. They usually retail for $15 so I was pleased to add it to my son’s “something to read” present.
*I also remembered that I froze leftover spaghetti sauce last week, so that saved me from running to the store for pizza sauce.
*I have been downloading all the free items that Kroger has been offering as part of their 25 days of Christmas deals
*Fed the Guinea pig our veggie scraps
*Cut my husband’s hair with clippers I got for $5 with a coupon 6 years ago at Kohl’s(paid for itself after the first hair cut!)


Joyce December 6, 2017 at 6:24 am

1. Cut my husband’s hair. I first started giving him haircuts 30 years ago. At the time, he was paying a professional $20.00! Ouch!
2. Made yummy turkey veg soup from frozen broth and two chicken sausages and a bag of veg. Made the whole house smell great.
3 ordered dogs’ flea and tick repellent on line. Saved a ton.
4. Saved 40% ordering husband’s Christmas presents on line . also saved an hour in the car and 70 miles. ( we live out in the country)
5. Made “ draft dodgers” from washed, empty plastic dog food bags, cut into strips and stuffed with cheap cat litter.


nancy from mass December 6, 2017 at 7:47 am

1. my son wanted a bunch of books from thriftbooks for Christmas, so i told him to choose up to a particular $ amount and they are on their way to us. (free shipping too – which is good because he chose 12 books!)
2.pulled a micro pack of spanish rice from the cupboard, made a small quesadilla and had half for lunch yesterday, the remainder is for todays lunch.
3. going out to dinner tonight with work to celebrate the holidays. being picked up instead of having to drive the 30 miles each way.
4. volunteering tomorrow with work to put together toys for tots donations at their warehouse. lunch before and ‘happy hour’ snacks after for free.
5. was able to visit my mom on monday afternoon after a financial/medicaid meeting at the nursing home. i only stayed with her for about 20 mins. she was tired and wanted to lay back down (we just found out she has advanced cancer – liver and colon – and since she is turning 90 next month, we are only doing care and comfort for her. she doesn’t know her diagnosis but she’s also not in any pain, just tired.) She’s lived a very good, very exciting life. Including soloing the Ave Maria twice for Pope John Paul II at the Vatican!


KJD509 December 6, 2017 at 8:18 am

Nancy, I was thinking about your “buy good underwear” comment while folding my laundry last night – helped to laugh at the holes and stains and decide each one meant a contribution to the mortgage and tuition payments. But it also made me think of all the loss you’ve shared here, and now this news about your mom – I’m so sorry.


nancy from mass December 6, 2017 at 9:03 am

Thank you. I always think of my sister when i have ratty old underwear!

the hardest thing about my mom is the guilt of not telling her but when i told my cousin what was going on, she said “I absolve you of your guilt” and I said “OOOO! I have a guilt fairy!” (someone on this site mentioned that term and I loved it!) typically dementia/alzheimers patients lifespan diminishes when they know they have cancer and it’s all about quality of life rather than quantity.


Cindy in the South I December 6, 2017 at 8:56 am

I am sorry about your mom. She must have a beautiful singing voice.


nancy from mass December 6, 2017 at 9:04 am

she did! she didn’t hand it down to any of her kids though! we all sound horrible when we sing!


A. Marie December 6, 2017 at 1:15 pm

Nancy, count me in on good wishes for you and your mom. I wish her as little pain as possible and a peaceful passage…and my thoughts are with you.


karen December 6, 2017 at 4:15 pm

Wow what a memory for you about your Mom. Did the whole family go to the Vatican? Did you make a tape? This is so special.

I too am sorry about all your recent sadness and hope for your Mom a pain free gentle passing.


Susie's Daughter December 6, 2017 at 5:48 pm

Nancy – as you already know too well, family caregiving is the hardest job ever. I applaud your strength, your honesty and your decision to protect your mother’s quality of life. Sending warm thoughts from chilly VT.


Nancy from mass December 7, 2017 at 5:55 pm

She toured Europe with the Choral Society and with her local Church. We did not go. (My dad went the first time but had passed before the second trip). She also had an album that was made with the choral group back in the 70’s, but I couldn’t find it when we emptied her apartment last year. Actually we couldn’t find a lot of things but we do have the two pictures of her meeting Him with the group.


Nancy from mass December 7, 2017 at 5:59 pm

And thank you for the kind words everyone. I just don’t want her to suffer.


Vickey December 14, 2017 at 11:59 am

You and your mom are in my thoughts, Nancy. {{{}}}


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