Five Tiny Frugal Things

by Katy on January 17, 2024 · 65 comments

    1. My son was able to find a free Ikea Leksvik coffee table through Facebook Marketplace, which is hilariously the same one that my father and step mother own. Plus it’s the same one that my sister regrets selling four or five moves ago.

      I asked for and am receiving a free tall cat tree for “Mama’s Little Meatball” through my Buy Nothing group.

    2. I’m on day five of being mostly house bound due to snow and ice, but I keep reminding myself that could be worse as we’ve kept electricity. I’ve been cooking from our ample stores and watching a gluttonous amount of TV. Again . . . going nowhere and doing nothing is #cheapaf.

    3. I baked a pair of pumpkin loaves yesterday, which used two cups of the pumpkin purée that I froze in November when friends and neighbors gave me their uncut Jack-o-lantern pumpkins.

      Most recipes I found called for butter, but I’m not a Rockefeller, so I continued my online search until I found one that used canola oil. I then plated up thick warm slices and delivered them to both a neighbor and my friend Lise who lives just a block away.

      I’m still working my way through the six 99¢ 5-pound bags of flour that I picked up in December, which helped keep this baking session on budget. I know that baking supplies always go on sale again before Easter, so I’ll stock up then.

    4. • I made a big pot of red lentil soup to balance out multiple slices of pumpkin bread. Because let’s face it — it’s cake.
      • I was almost out of chicken Better Than Bullion, so I used the vegetarian version, leftover from when from my vegan niece last visited. It was still perfectly yummy.
      • Mama’s Little Meatball is perfectly happy to curl up on my lap and keep me nice and warm.

    5. I didn’t thrift any tiny Lear Jets.

Katy Wolk-Stanley

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

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{ 65 comments… read them below or add one }

Kara January 17, 2024 at 1:12 pm

1. I received free seeds from a friend and also dug up little viola seedlings at the community garden where I volunteer.
2. I darned a very large hole in a smart wool sock.
3. Made pinto beans in instant pot. Beans bought in bulk through Azure Standard.
4. Baked cookies and muffins at same time, even though it meant making them furiously quickly in order to get to an appointment
5. Keeping heat at 63 in the day, 65 in evening and 59 at night. I grew up in England and hate heat at night. It’s also pretty frugal


Katy January 17, 2024 at 1:19 pm

Smart Wool — Smart You!


Nancy from mass January 17, 2024 at 7:11 pm

I also love a cold bedroom at night!


Jill A January 18, 2024 at 6:55 am

Me too. I have my thermostat set at 58 at night and I sleep like a baby.


Liz B. January 17, 2024 at 7:32 pm

I love my SmartWool socks! Warm but not itchy!


Cindy in the South January 17, 2024 at 2:00 pm

Momma’s little meatball is very cute!


Jill A January 17, 2024 at 2:10 pm

Also love the meatball and also the name Momma’s little meatball.


Jill A January 17, 2024 at 2:09 pm

What a score on the coffee table. There’s nothing better than free. I am also thankful to have power. We lost ours one night for about 5 hrs but it was back on before we woke up so I’m hoping that’s it.
1. My two youngest daughters and I stopped into an estate sale and my daughter purchased a beautiful antique buffet. You just can’t beat the prices and quality of older furniture. I wish I’d been smart enough when I was their age to buy used instead of new.
2. I made a large pot of soup with the remains of a bag of sprouting potatoes. We stopped in to visit my MIL and shared some with her. I’ll also bring some to my Mom because it’s her favorite.
3. I picked up Danish Puff Pastry cookies at Costco on clearance for 97 cents a box. We brought some to my MIL which we had with tea. My BIL was also visiting. He shared funny stories of his and my husbands childhood shenanigans. It was a nice afternoon.
4. I’ve been on the lookout for a pair of snowpants for a few years. I’ve been wearing my daughter’s pair she wore for middle school ski club and I could no longer fasten them but since I’ve lost some weight this winter I can fit into them again so money saved.
5. I didn’t buy a lear jet or a brand new tractor. I was admiring all the shiny new tractors when I was at the tractor store Monday.


Dicey January 17, 2024 at 2:40 pm

Hi Katie,
I chuckled and thought of you when this dropped into my inbox from Ikea:

Ruff day? Enjoy New lower prices on dogs!

Visit the Swedish Bistro to relish these reduced prices on our delicious hot dogs ($.75) and veggie dogs ($.65). Try one or one of each – and then add toppings for only $.25.



kathy January 17, 2024 at 3:03 pm

Washed dog toys to freshen up for new puppy
No drive day
Resisted going to library for their book sale (I have several unread books)
Making dinner from pantry and freezer
Reduced prices on items I have online


K D January 17, 2024 at 3:17 pm

1. We stayed home on Monday and Tuesday due to snow and cold temperatures. We were able to walk outside, carefully, both days. No money was spent either day.

2. I made a pot of chili using what I have on hand. Instead of tomato sauce I used a big can of diced tomatoes that were purchased cheaply. I also made a pan of GF corn bread to go with it. We love leftovers.

3. I made a double batch of GF pumpkin banana muffins. I used a bit more banana and a bit less pumpkin than the recipe called for since I had an extra ripe banana and a can of pumpkin holds a bit less than 2 cups. Most went in the freezer for future breakfasts.

4. I keep reading that dishes don’t need to be rinsed before being put into a dishwasher. I am working on reprogramming my life long habit as it will save a bit of time, water, and electricity (to heat the warm/hot rinse water) to do so.

5. I finished listening to the 6th book of the Maisie Dobbs series and downloaded the 7th book from the library. I also finished reading The Last List of Mabel Beaumont. I am also listening to Resurrection Walk and reading Little Men. All are digitial borrows from the library.


Coral Clarke January 17, 2024 at 4:44 pm

Your post reminds me to reread Louisa May Alcott’s series%!


Lindsey January 17, 2024 at 4:03 pm

1. Husband is gone for another week and Pound Hound will not let me out of his sight. He has been following me even into the shower, standing in the corner of our large shower (built to accommodate my wheelchair) just out of reach of the water. Today he actually came close enough for me to give him a shower, too. This saved us $70 we would have spent at the groomer.
2. Still eating out of the cupboard and fridge. Today’s lunch was ramen noodles mixed with cottage cheese.
3. Made four pie crusts and froze them for future use. If I don’t do that, I get seduced by premade grocery store crusts, so I try to always have at least one homemade in the freezer.
4. Used cooled water leftover from boiling broccoli to water the roses sitting in our 35 degree entryway. You have to dig up roses or they won’t survive the winter here. You cut them back radically, cover what is left with brown paper bags, and water sparingly about once a month until March, when you bring them back into the warm house. Cheaper than buying a new bush every spring, to the tune of $30 or $40. I know using the water twice doesn’t save much, but it is easy so why not?
5. My friend’s partner forbids her to eat bacon (I will spare you the rant that goes through my mind when I remember this). She is coming over tomorrow and bringing tomatoes and lettuce, while I supply homemade bread and the husband’s thick sliced bacon (I don’t like bacon). Cheaper than going to a restaurant, and I don’t have to watch her watching the door for fear her partner will show up and see her eating bacon. She thinks because “all” he does is shame her, it is not abuse. After I see her, I always do a thanks to my now deceased father, who warned his girls repeatedly about men: “If they yell at you, someday they will hit you and then someday they will kill you.”


Christine January 17, 2024 at 4:17 pm

Your father’s wise words prove true again. Glad you heeded them and happy you’re passing them on.


Ava January 17, 2024 at 4:42 pm

Lindsey, it is kind of you to provide a safe haven for your friend’s bacon eating. But I am afraid of what will happen to her (and maybe you) if he should find out. What about tell tale crumbs or a balcony smell?


Ava January 18, 2024 at 8:59 am

Bacony smell, not balcony


Lindsey January 18, 2024 at 1:43 pm

I suppose he could show up at my door but for some reason I have never worried about that. I think it is a leftover from years of doing a job where people threatened me all the time, and my stock answer was “get in line.” I was younger then so was in a better position to defend myself and had been on a rifle team in college, so knew my way around firearms. Now I figure I am so old that if someone kills me, I have not lost that much living time. And I feel like having her here reinforces what I have told her, that if she ever feels in danger or needs a safe place, she can come here day or night. The husband has also told her that.


Ava January 18, 2024 at 2:50 pm

It is just a shame that she needs a safe place to eat bacon. I have heard it all now.


Marie January 18, 2024 at 6:21 pm

You are a good friend


Selena January 18, 2024 at 8:24 pm

Ditto what Marie said.

Jill A January 18, 2024 at 4:48 am

Your father sounds like one of the good ones.


Lindsey January 18, 2024 at 1:46 pm

He was and, as for many women, as my father, he set the template for what I looked for in a man.


Christine January 17, 2024 at 4:57 pm

That little Meatball is so adorable! What a beautiful, shiny coat
1. I cut DH’s hair.
2. Bought two paperbacks at my friend’s indy book store’s BOGO sale for a 2024 reading challenge she’s sponsoring. The January challenge is a book you’ve already read long ago. I picked The Stone Diaries. The February challenge is a book with a color in the title. I picked Bone White. Every month there is a new challenge.
3. I’m in the early planning stage for a 40th Birthday party for DD in March. A frugal, at home party with immediate family is what I’m thinking. The main course may very well be turkey since that is usually the cheapest meat per pound I can find. Plus most everyone likes a roast turkey dinner and a homemade cake.
4. I’m volunteering at my church’s thrift shop this Saturday. Our prices are purposely kept low for the community’s benefit. We can shop between working and it seems I always find something I need or want for a very low price.
5. I found a gift card to a chain coffee shop here in the Northeast, Dunkin Donuts on the ground while out walking with DH. We’ll try it next time we’re out together and are in the mood for a coffee. Hopefully there’s some $$$ on it.


Christine January 17, 2024 at 5:00 pm

My # 2…my friend’s BOGO sale is for used books every January.


Selena January 17, 2024 at 8:09 pm

Tortie at rest but that won’t last for long.
Been a week of snow/bitter cold weather. A vet visit (annual), wellness check, and restock of wildlife food amounts to me leaving the house in almost two weeks. Wellness check/restock weren’t far apart and all three stops not far from the house.
As I pulled out my warm weather duds, most are Made in America – showing how many years I’ve had them (or in the case of one item, a relative had them). I’ll need to replace one item – warm shirt – and am looking for suggestions (manufacturer). Given some of the garments are pushing 40 years old, I’ll consider splurging for new IF quality is there. These days that is a big IF.
Between dressing to go outside, doing outside chores, then undressing, a decent work out twice a day.
Feral showed up today, I was worried about him. Don’t know where he holed up for three days but he didn’t look bad. I’ll try to get a closer look at his ears for signs of frostbite. He ate two healthy portions plus the high calorie gel I add to his food.


Marilyn January 17, 2024 at 11:05 pm

Once again, I marvel at the things which can be found for free! Very nice coffee table.
I have also been homebound for nearly a week now by the icy roads in our neighborhood. It is eerily quiet with no cars driving up or down our street and I haven’t even seen any people out walking. Normal life has been put on hold. We have enough food and we have not lost power, so not a real hardship. And it is very frugal. No driving the car, no trips to the grocery store, no money spent.


Mar January 18, 2024 at 4:18 am

After the winter storm everything was frugal because it was too cold to go out!
My only other was my fellow co-worker gave me 3 puzzles which I will bring back to work and pass on to others.


A. Marie January 18, 2024 at 4:22 am

FTFT, It’s Still @#$%!! Cold! Edition:

Along with much of the rest of the US, Central NY continues in the grip of the polar vortex, so several of my things are similar to Katy’s:

(1) I too continue to bundle up, chow down, and stay home for the most part, thereby renewing my membership in the #CheapAF Club. I didn’t make pumpkin bread, but I did use a slightly softening Honeynut squash to make a squash/carrot/red lentil soup.

(2) I did have to make a fast Wegmans run today (partly just to start the car and partly for Rx pickup), but I managed to get in and out without succumbing to the lure of Danny Wegman’s football playoff “special” of $20 for 20 takeout chicken wing pieces. (That’s $1 per piece, folks–not even $1 for a whole wing.) I picked up a family pack of uncooked chicken drumsticks for 99 cents/lb. instead.

(3) Instead of a Mama’s Little Meatball, I have a Mama’s Great Big Meatloaf: My Betty weighs over 14 pounds. Betty has also decided that my recliner is where she wants to sleep this week. So I’m getting an upper-body workout by moving her regularly from the recliner to the sofa.

(4) I’m also making frequent trips up and down my numerous stairs in the course of my decluttering (see below). Hey, Sophia Loren once said that taking the stairs whenever possible has worked for her all these years.

(5) And I’m in the middle of a major decluttering. So far, I’ve gotten two boxes packed for the antiques/collectibles charity auction I donate to annually; another box and a floor lamp set aside for the Salvation Army or the Rescue Mission; three more boxes for the new local secondhand-housewares shop when it reopens in the spring; and two boxes of books for the FFL (Barbara, take note!).


Christine January 18, 2024 at 6:08 am

…renewing membership in the #CheapAF Club…hilarious!


Katy January 18, 2024 at 8:46 am

I too take the stairs in my house as someone forgot to install a elevator. And thanks for the reminder about butternut squash, it’s been years since I picked one up and I forgot how much I love them!


A. Marie January 18, 2024 at 9:39 am

What I meant about taking the stairs was “repeatedly, as a form of winter exercise.” Also, the Honeynut squash is a fairly new variation on butternut squash, developed here in Central NY–smaller than butternut, and thus an attractive option for single folks. (Of course, I do have to remember to eat them.)


Katy January 20, 2024 at 3:02 pm

I am up and down my stairs all day long, but rarely have my phone on me, which means my phone will tell me I’ve had maybe 400 “steps” in a single day.


Marybeth from NY January 18, 2024 at 4:56 am

I have tons of pumpkin puree too. So many people gave me pumpkins this year. I still have a few to cook but no room for them in the freezer.
1. Made a double batch of my favorite salad dressing.
2. Made a batch of pork rub. Refilled my small spice containers with the large spice containers stored in the basement. I don’t have room in the kitchen for all the large ones.
3. My parents came over to celebrate Christmas.(We had Covid). They insisted on paying for the pizza.
4. My daughter hasn’t been feeling great recently. Got her blood work back and her iron and Vitamin D are very low. She started supplements and has to go back for more blood work in a month. Hoping that is all it is because that would be an easy fix.
5. Had leftovers for dinner. Hubby and I watched the newest episode of Percy Jackson and started watching Echo. Making sure to use the streaming services that we pay for.


MB in MN January 18, 2024 at 7:05 am

Hopefully the doc ordered a TSH (thyroid) test for your daughter as well. My underactive thyroid was found after I mentioned “I’m not feeling great” to my doctor.


Marybeth from NY January 18, 2024 at 9:48 am

They did and it came back in the normal range.


MB in MN January 19, 2024 at 3:27 pm

So glad to hear that!


Katy January 18, 2024 at 8:43 am

I try to remember to actually use the food that I freeze, so pumpkin will definitely be on the menu this year!


Marybeth from NY January 18, 2024 at 9:49 am

The dog loves it and it is good for her so we use it all the time. I also make muffins with whatever is on hand so pumpkin muffins happen often.


Michele January 18, 2024 at 6:39 am

1. Stayed home for my Bday dinner- husband made shrimp tacos and homemade hummus. He knows the way to my heart. And he used what we had at home. Another way he knows the way to my heart.
2. Cold for us in Fl, so bundling up indoors and have heat click on at 69.
3. Trying to use up all the food in pantry and freezer. When my husband asked what we were having for dinner I told him, “Leftovers!”.
4. Family Bday at my Mom’s on Sunday. We all bring an appetizer and my Mom bakes a cake. We decided a long time ago that this is what we all enjoy the most! Also, we tend to celebrate the whole month! 🙂
5. Still doing all the normal stuff – packing work breakfasts and lunches, thrifting clothes for work, avoiding impulse buying, and generally thinking about purchases before I make them.


Katy January 18, 2024 at 8:42 am

Shrimp tacos? That sounds amazing and likely better than most restaurant meals!


Selena January 18, 2024 at 8:28 pm

Shrimp is reasonably priced (cooked or uncooked) if you can buy it frozen at a local butcher shop. We indulge in shrimp cocktail as a pound bag of frozen cooked shrimp does not cost much more than six shrimp in-a-cocktail at a restaurant.


Katy January 20, 2024 at 2:58 pm

I kind of forget about shrimp as an option, even though we all love it.


Michele January 19, 2024 at 4:54 am

It was and last night I made a shrimp quesadilla with the leftovers!


Mary Ann January 18, 2024 at 8:02 am

1. I was teaching my freshman in World Geography that 50% of clothes were previously made in the USA. Now, 2%. I am teaching the negative effects of Globalization especially the price of fast fashion. I also teach the positive effects of globalization which is working as a world to save water and reduce global warming. Anyway, I was thinking now that my wardrobe is really nearly complete except for replacement ( through local business, small batch and PoshmarK) I might only buy American made or global fair trade. I like the sound of that.

2. Non frugal: restoring my inherited century home is really coming along. To be California code we need to order 50 windows. Yes, no typo – 50 windows. Good news is they will be very energy efficient. We will also install 9 new energy efficient fans. We will reuse brass fixtures and a few tiffany- style lamps where ever possible. Local cabinet makers are contracted. All the old wood is being restored another support for local craftsmen. Better for the environment is not necessarily frugal or free.

3. I picked fabulous easy peel tangerines from our new inherited trees.

4. I wanted to watch Overboard last night. I signed up for a free 7 day trial of AMC and then canceled it immediately to save $4.00.

5. I live constantly in a world of securing tiny savings and then huge splurges like 9 Ceiling fans. I am ok with this because Hubby and I focus on quality in our minimalism plus we work really hard most days. Hubby work 6 days a week on the farm. I am a fully employed high teacher. Somehow I think if you work hard with intention no matter if it is service work or paid, you can be a good steward of resources. Don’t know if I am articulate enough of this but it is the truth what I feel.


Katy January 18, 2024 at 8:40 am

You are fully “articulate enough!”

Restoring a house is both overwhelming and expensive however much you try to make smart choices. It was true for our modest 1914 craftsman house, so it must be exponentially more so for your “century home.”


MB in MN January 18, 2024 at 8:02 am

1. Taking advantage of my seasonal membership to the indoor walking track by going there five times per week.

2. Went to a matinee movie to receive the 25% discount.

3. Making simple meals, mostly soups, using ingredients on hand.

4. Instead of meeting a friend for lunch, we went to a coffee shop and then walked inside the mall.

5. Had another friend over for a simple soup-bread-cookies lunch. Still cheaper than meeting at a restaurant!


Katy January 18, 2024 at 8:37 am

Five times per week? That’s truly impressive!


Ruby January 18, 2024 at 10:07 am

That kitten is the cutest little lapful of love. My tiny holy terror of new rescue pup has the same coat. They could be sisters from very different misters!

We’ve been in the polar deep freeze in the southeastern US, with Round 2 due to start this afternoon. It is definitely frugal to stay home and cook from the freezer and pantry: I inventoried the freezer, cooked and packaged two month’s worth of protein-grain-veggies kibble topper for my dogs and froze it (on a dedicated shelf on the freezer), and deep cleaned the fridge. Hooray for Barkeeper’s Friend for getting weird stains out of the white plastic door bins in the fridge.


Bee January 18, 2024 at 3:19 pm

BarKeeper’s Friend is truly amazing. I use it all the time. I used it last week to polish the brass casters on an antique table and then used it to clean my white porcelain Sink.


Katy January 20, 2024 at 3:01 pm

She really is. The snuggliest cat we’ve ever had. And that reminds me, I need to pick up a new canister of BKF.


Bee January 18, 2024 at 8:05 pm

I am extremely happy that this week is coming to a close. It been difficult, but I was frugal. It’s become second nature over the years. My FFT
1. The bargain priced dress that I purchased online for the funeral that I needed to attend today did not ship on time. On Tuesday in a panic, I realized that I was not going to have anything to wear. I went out shopping in the pouring rain and the wind and the cold to look for a dress. After spending 5 hours at various stores, I came up empty handed. The stores are stocked for spring, and it is definitely NOT spring weather even in Florida. Fortunately I remembered that I had put a sleeveless sweater dress with a matching duster sweater in my give-away basket. It was worn out — more gray than black. After finding it, I ran to the local big box store and bought a $3 bottle of Rit dye. With this and a sweater shaver, I was able to revived the dress set. I suppose I will return the new dress that I ordered to the store when it finally arrives.
2. I used a Target $10 promotional gift card that I had to buy a pair of black tights to wear with my newly-dyed black sweater dress set. They were nearly free.
3. I took a container of leftover white chicken chili out of the freezer this morning. I knew that I would not want to cook when I returned home this evening.
4. My health insurance will not cover the cost of my new medication, because there is not a generic available. With the help of my doctor, I found a substitute at a reasonable price. Unfortunately, the pharmacy that carries it is on the other side of the city, but this 45-minute trip to pickup my prescription will save me approximately $350 a month.
5. It’s cold here by Florida standards. I’ve brought in many of my plants to protect them from the cold. I’ve dragged out the little space heater to warm the bathroom when I shower. I turn down the heat a bit at night. I have chipped up the ice in my bird baths, for the cardinals still partake in their midday baths. I wear my favorite, ratty gray wool sweater over my PJs. I am taking my Vitamin D to offset the depression that is setting in from the lack of sunlight. It’s been a really gray winter.
Wishing everyone peace, good health and prosperity!


Selena January 18, 2024 at 8:32 pm

DO NOT send that dress back. Depressing as it is to say, you’ll likely have the need for it in the future. If it fits and looks good, keep it. Save you scrambling (rain or no rain) in the future.


Bee January 19, 2024 at 5:13 am

You are right. I should keep the bargain black dress if it fits well. It is better to have it on hand when such an eventuality occurs than to have the added stress when someone you love passes. Thank you for your sound advice.


Selena January 19, 2024 at 8:30 pm

I – thankfully- have two such dresses that I have had for 20+ years. And a pair of appropriate pants if Midwest cold graveside services. I’ll replace any/all if need be. And I believe another acceptable attire now that I think of it. Bought a nice outfit 25 years ago for my MIL’s funeral.


Jill A January 19, 2024 at 6:07 am

Good save on your dress. I agree, I would keep the sale dress too.


Katy January 20, 2024 at 3:00 pm

If you’re needing vitamin D in Florida, I can only guess that the rest of us do as well!


Ecoteri January 18, 2024 at 8:42 pm

After we had an early snowfall (October!?) I thought all my potted bulbs would not make it, and I was busy so I let it go. However, we then had only a lot of rain (standard Winter weather, in other words). On a rare sunny day i was puttering/pottering and decided to address the 7 amaryllis bulbs that I had planted in a huge pot to over-summer outside. They had, natch, died back in the cold/wet but the bulbs had heft and felt solid, so I pulled all the slimy off and planted each in a gallon pot (they had grown rather large during the summer). I was dubious but put them downstairs and low-and-behold, three of them are sending up solid green shoots. Gallon pots are awkward for displaying so currently those are resting in the big square yogurt containers on my windowsills. It ain’t pretty, but I will focus on the promise of more flowers!
The broken bread machine has been disassembled (thank you YouTube) by yours truly. Bit of a fiddle and low-and-behold, wouldn’t ya know it, the drive belt has completely disintegrated! All that remains are some small sad crumbles of grey plastic and a handful of strings. I have a new belt on order from that infamous online location, the continuing snow means it will be delayed. But I will fix it and save it from the landfill!
I finally finished my assembly and baking of “lentil/blackbean/rice/millet/quinoa/pumpkin/pecan/carrot/onion/celery/spices and a bunch-of-eggs patties”. I had the grains and beans cooked and thrown together but was short on spoons for a couple of days so just stuffed them into the fridge. However, the patties have now been baked (got about 36 or more) and many have been frozen (divided by squares of parchment. #2 son was eating them with some of the buns made with hand-kneaded, bread machine proofed dough – they are a favourite around here, even if ‘they’ never taste the same twice. Everything was from my pantry or my chickens. Pantry challenge here we continue!
Not frugal but something for which i have huge gratitude. Last Christmas I gave my mom a year of “Storyworth”, which sent her prompts every week to write stories about her life. As you are aware, she is beginning to forget and to repeat herself, but she wasn’t when I gifted her this project – and she has completed 53 stories! My sister in New Brunswick (eastern Canada) and I are now editing and tidying up and sorting etc – got my sister to do some of the final detail edits while my daughter has worked on some titling and I have been gathering and uploading photos. It is all taking much more time than I had anticipated yet my gratitude is extreme regarding our timing – if I had given Storyworth to her this Christmas, it would have been too much for her. The stories are wonderful, and those of us who have been following along have really loved the process. Now, gritting my teeth to stick with it and get the book published (well, 8 copies printed). With my sister’s help we should be there in a week.
The Climate-change polar vortex is hitting us hard, on temperate Vancouver Island. We are getting slammed with another 10-20 cm (up to almost a foot) on top of the 10-20 we got on Tuesday night/Wed morning. It has been below freezing for over a week, cold enough the hummingbird feeders have to come in overnight and sometimes during the say. The vehicles have been stuck but the wind has blown much off the driveway and my farmer neighbour plowed the snowplow heap (2 1/2 feet high) away as well as some of the driveway. Tonight #2 son cleaned off the vehicles and has moved them both up nearer the road. He has missed 3 days of work in the last two weeks – and he started less than 2 weeks ago – but the boss is great and anyway we are being asked not to drive due to a lack of infrastructure for dealing with so much snow. Meanwhile, I have been cooking and baking out of the cupboard, drinking coffee, reading library books in person and online, and cancelling multiple appointments. Missing a high school show tonight but there has been 3 inches of snow in the last 2 hours and I ain’t going nowhere.


Lindsey January 19, 2024 at 1:27 pm

I am TOTALLY impressed with your success with the bread machine. And I wish I had done a project like you have with your mother, only with my grandmother. She was an astonishing woman, but I could not find a way to get very many stories out of her. She was still of sound mind when she died at 99 and 11 months, but it made me sad to think of the tales that died with her.


Gina in NY January 19, 2024 at 4:28 pm

I’m impressed too! I have a thrifted bread machine that has been a bit funky and you have inspired me to look into dismantling and saving it too.


Katy January 20, 2024 at 2:58 pm

What an amazing gift for your mother and now your family!


Bee January 19, 2024 at 5:48 am

As always, you have such an interesting list. Amaryllis are among my favorite. I have several different types that rescued from my MIL’s garden after she passed away. They make my husband happy every spring when they bloom. I imagine on cold dark days that these bright red blooms are a welcome sight for you too.

I am interested in “Storyworth.” This is such a fantastic way to preserve your mother’s personal history and I’m happy for you that she was still able to work on this project last year. Such a great gift for your mother and your entire family.

This reminds of the NPR project “Storycore” that recorded the stories of listeners. It is one of my favorite segments. Ordinary people often lead extraordinary lives and their stories can enhance our lives and knowledge. They awaken our understanding of others and our compassion. Just look what we learn from each other in a simple blog post.


Gina in NY January 19, 2024 at 5:12 pm

Winter is marching along. I remember when this time of year seemed so long and grey and now, I blink, and we are beyond halfway point of January.

1. We’ve finally received snow and cold in eastern NY state and I stay in and haven’t been shopping since Monday (when I took my son to get his hair cut. It didn’t turn out like he wanted, and I felt bad for him and so we went shopping at the thrift store and I bought him a couple of shirts and then out for some fast food he likes. I went home and ate leftovers). I have to say, here in NY, state workers are amazing snow removal pros and, at least in the more urban/suburban areas, roads are cleared quickly. This weekend we will see single digits, so I’ll stay in and work on some house stuff.
2. Tonight, I used the bread machine to make some dough for sandwich rolls for the weekend and I plan to make vegan “philly cheesesteak”-type sandwiches using the seitan I also make in the bread machine. I make a cheese sauce in the blender with cashews and red peppers. I already have peppers and onions in the larder to use as well. I will not grocery shop until all the veggies are used in the refrigerator.
3. I also cleaned out the freezer of all my bags of veggie scraps and made some veggie broth. I pressure canned it and ended up with 8 quarts. I use it for many different dishes.
4. For meals, we’ve been using up what we have. We also eat all the leftovers before I make something new. We are a family of three, but my SO travels for work, so it is usually just my 16 yo and me. I have no idea how people plan meal plans with something new every day. Maybe I need to work on the serving sizes, but the things I make like chili, curry, etc taste so great after a day, so I don’t mind a leftover.
5. I am trying to think of a non-food entry, lol. Hmm. I am listening to a new audio book called Remarkable Bright Creatures: A Novel. I’m about halfway through it and hope to finish it this weekend. Then, House in the Pines: A Novel is up next (Spotify which includes Hulu is pretty cheap and reading is frugal!) I am late to the world of audio books. I am a more visual person and just love the feel of a book in my hands. I also had a hard time with distractions while trying to listen to a book, but I invested in some wireless ear buds and now I find it great to listen while doing chores or whatnot.


Katy January 20, 2024 at 2:54 pm

Oh yes, day is so much better when it comes or soups and such!


Blue Gate Farmgirl January 19, 2024 at 5:14 pm

Sweet Little Meatball! Currently there are 4 cats lounging on the back of the sofa, looking at the snow & ice in disbelief. The crazy pup is loving the winter storm.
The flocks of varied thrushes, western bluebirds, juncos, chickadees and robins have finished off the remaining winter apples on the trees. We still have 3″ of snow, the ice melted today, driveway is still covered, the road is slushy and no trees are down. I am so ready for 50F weather!
Turned a child’s 6T polar fleece jacket into a winter coat for
my 8 mo pup.

Made baby moccasin slippers into dog shoes for pup. They lasted for 3 days when we had 1 1/4″ of ice, then she didn’t want to wear them.

Attempted to make homemade ice melt safe for pets and followed the
recipe, applied it to the patio, sidewalks and concrete ramp.
It immediately flash froze to a slick mess.
Poured cooled wood ash on the slick spots and put
extra rugs out to catch the wood ash mess in the mud room.
I’ve collected enough buckets of water from the melt off that I scrubbed the patio, ramps and sidewalks today. Celebrated by steam cleaning the floors.

Katy, you’ll find those smaller honeynut squashes around PDX, my friend grows them on Sauvie Island. A treat that’s good to eat!


Katy January 20, 2024 at 2:53 pm

Wow, you’ve been busy! but I suppose you always are.


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