Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Mandarin Orange Cream Pie (aka Jello Pie)

·         1 package (3 ounces) orange or sparkling mandarin orange gelatin
·         1/2 cup boiling water
·         1-1/4 cups cold club soda
·         1 graham cracker crust (9 inches)
·         1/2 cup whipped topping
·         1 can (11 ounces) mandarin oranges, well drained
1.      In a bowl, dissolve gelatin in boiling water. Stir in soda. Set aside 1/2 cup at room temperature. Refrigerate remaining gelatin mixture for 20 minutes or until slightly thickened; pour into crust. Refrigerate for 30 minutes or until set.
2.      Whisk whipped topping into reserved gelatin mixture. Slowly pour into crust. Arrange orange segments over the top and press down lightly. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours or until firm. Yield: 6-8 servings.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

My Frugal 5 – The Entertainment Addition

1. I went on a book buying ban 3 yrs. ago and haven’t needed to buy a book yet. I read the books on my bookshelf that I already own. I had bought all the books at yard sales and thrift stores for $1 or less over the years.  I donated tons of books that were no long of my interest to a local thrift store charity that gives everything away for free. I donate the books after I finish reading them to someone who enjoys the same genre as I do.

2. I listen to music on YouTube instead of paying for music services or buying CD’s. My favorite music is praise and worship. I’ve listened to music from my birth year of 1972 recently for fun. I’ve listened to 80’s music too.  I watch interesting videos on many topics. I’ve heard a few inspiring TED Talks lately. We’ve used YouTube to find how-to video’s to do repairs or projects around our home including sanding floors, renovating a camper, and repairing our cars. 

3. I listen to free podcast’s on topics of my interest such as finances, homemaking, and organizing.  I’ve been listening to a lot of Organize 365 over the last month. My favorites are episodes 144, 145, 147 (3 stages of organization) and a few from the productivity series (110, 112, 114, 116, 118, 120, 124). I did the Back to School Blitz week that was featured on the facebook page last month too. It was focused on preparing for fall whether you have kids in school or not.

4. I don’t watch much TV, maybe a movie once or twice a month. I like to spend a Saturday watching Hallmark Channel movies on cable every couple months.  I've recently watched Summer in the Vineyard and Eat, Play, Love. I’ve watched a couple series/movies on Netflix recently like the Grace and Frankie series and the movie series Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life.  I must have gotten bored with my normal routine. LOL 

5. I like to craft and I try to do a project 1-2 times a month.  I went on a craft supply buying freeze 7 yrs. ago. I had bought most of my supplies at thrift stores, yard sales, and occasionally Wal-Mart. I use what I have instead of purchasing more. It takes some thought and creativity. I find project ideas for free using library books or on-line. I painted and redid my little craft/office 2 yrs. ago. I donated all the supplies, crafts, and project that I no longer want to do. I donated all the kid science and craft kits since my children are young adults. Our 3 yrs. and 5 yrs.  grandkids love to craft and it’s the first place they head to upon entering our home. 

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

August 2017 Reading List

8 Weddings and a Miracle Romance Collection
Move a Mountain by Lena Dooley
Wall of Stone by Nancy J. Farrier
Blown Away by Love by Paula Griffin
Wrong Church, Wrong Wedding
Stormy Weather by Tracie Peterson
The Bouquet by Gail Sattler
Flowers by Felicity by Janet Lee Barton
Petals of Promise by Diann Hunt
Roses in Bloom by Sandra Petit
Flowers for a Friend by Gail Sattler

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Hershey’s "PERFECTLY CHOCOLATE" Chocolate Cake

2 cups sugar

1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 cup Cocoa

1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

2 eggs

1 cup milk

1/2 cup vegetable oil

 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 cup boiling water


1. Heat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour two 9-inch round baking pans. 

2. Stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in large bowl. Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla; beat on medium speed of mixer 2 minutes. Stir in boiling water (batter will be thin). Pour batter into prepared pans.

3. Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks. Cool completely. Frost with "PERFECTLY CHOCOLATE" CHOCOLATE FROSTING. Makes 12 servings.

  • ONE-PAN CAKE: Grease and flour 13x9x2-inch baking pan. Heat oven to 350° F. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake 35 to 40 minutes. Cool completely. Frost.
  • THREE LAYER CAKE: Grease and flour three 8-inch round baking pans. Heat oven to 350°F. Pour batter into prepared pans. Bake 30 to 35 minutes. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks. Cool completely. Frost.
  • BUNDT CAKE: Grease and flour 12-cup fluted tube pan. Heat oven to 350°F. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake 50 to 55 minutes. Cool 15 minutes; remove from pan to wire rack. Cool completely. Frost.
  • CUPCAKES: Line muffin cups (2-1/2 inches in diameter) with paper bake cups. Heat oven to 350°F. Fill cups 2/3 full with batter. Bake 22 to 25 minutes. Cool completely. Frost. About 30 cupcakes.


1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine

2/3 cup Cocoa

3 cups powdered sugar

1/3 cup milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Melt butter. Stir in cocoa. Alternately add powdered sugar and milk, beating to spreading consistency. Add small amount additional milk, if needed. Stir in vanilla. About 2 cups frosting.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Clutter Busting Challenge August 2017

I'm purging 22 items. I've noticed that I'm purging about 30 items each month things this year. It may not seems like a lot but after being on this journey for 6 yrs. 8 months I'm thankful that I've maintained the habit of discarded unneeded items. I know that I will never have to deal with such a monster task of discarding so much again. At the height of my decluttering I was donating over 2,000 items per month for a couple years. I no longer need to go searching for thing to discard. I run across stuff randomly and add them to a bag to donate. At one time I'd spend an hour a day collecting things to discard. I don't spend anytime at all on it now. I'm happy that I never have to deal with a backlog of stuff. My home is always clutterfree.

My purge pile:

Thursday, August 24, 2017

My Frugal 5 – Camping with the Grandchildren Addition

My husband and I are taking the grandkids camping for a weekend. They are 3 yrs. and 5 yrs. which means we'll need to keep them busy.
1. We picked a State Park at $27 per night. We plan to do all the free stuff around the State Park during our weekend. They have a playground, beach, hiking trails, fossil hunting, a nature center, a wildlife rescue habitat, along with other activities. They have planned activities too like crafts, movies, and nature programs. Everything is free to park visitors.

2. I collected a few fun/crafty activities for the grandkids to do that I had in my stash of supplies. They’ll enjoy doing activities at the picnic table in the evening after dinner. I have bubbles and sidewalk chalk packed to use. I have beach toys too. We have a couple cartoon movies to watch in the evening before bedtime. I didn’t have to spend any money on any of these items, because I already own them.

3. I picked up a few clearance snacks that they will enjoy like Teddy Grahams and a trail mix. They'll have fun making a Jell-O Creations Dessert Kit S'Mores Cups on Saturday afternoon after lunch.  I have cocoa and the makings for S’mores over the campfire too.

4. We’ll keep the meals simple, cheap, and kid friendly. I’ll prepare a few things at home to take with us with food we already have like muffins for breakfast. I’ll make a fruit salad and 2 meals worth of macaroni and cheese. I could cook all the food while camping but preparing a few things will save us time. An example dinner will be grilled chicken breast, macaroni and cheese, and fruit salad. On Saturday night we’ll do a foil meal with hamburger, corn on the cob, and roasted potatoes over the campfire too. I’ll keep the food budget low by using as much as I can from home.

5. I researched things to do in the community near the campground if we need more options. I found a sculpture park $8 per adult, wet parks $3.50 per child, indoor parks $2.50 per child, and traditional parks are free. We may or may not end up using any of these options but at least we have ideas.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

My Frugal 5 – Food Addition

1. On Sunday I made Crockpot Zucchini Soup for this week’s lunches with a huge zucchini I bought for $1 at a roadside stand.  I had enough zucchini leftover that I decide to add it to my stuffing recipe for dinner too.


2.  I was craving chocolate instead of going to the store I baked a homemade Chocolate Cake. I hadn’t made a homemade cake since April for my oldest daughter birthday. I’ve been making boxed cake mixes but didn’t have any.  I saved money using what I have instead of running to the store.



3. I didn’t take care of my garden very well this summer due to going on a 3 week 25th anniversary trip. The weeds overtook my garden and a groundhog ate most of my plants. I’m thankful I got 2 cucumbers and 8 tomatoes. Free food!


4.  I love iced coffee in the summer. I brew my own coffee at home using a traditional coffee maker. I don’t usually use or buy creamer. My husband brought home a little creamer tub from work. I added about 1/3 of the creamer to a glass of ice with cold coffee. I’m having an iced coffee 3 days this week for no extra cost. It tastes so light and refreshing compared to the syrupy mess bought at coffee shops. 


5.  I bought 3 loaves of bread at Aldi on sale for 35 cents each. I used up 1 1/2 loaves by making an egg bake and Panini’s. But then our youngest son told my husband we were out of bread and he ended up buying 3 more. Our son hadn’t realized we had bought any and my husband forgot. So now we have 4 ½ loaves of bread to use up. I might be eating peanut butter and jelly for breakfast for awhile. I’ll probably make French toast this week for dinner and anything else I can think up.