Sunday, July 28, 2013

Saving Dollars! Hollar!

One would think that Schick was trying to give away their razors this weekend. And since I am not picky about which brand of disposable razors we use, I thought I'd give Schick a try. It also didn't hurt that I had 2 coupons for buy one, get one free (BOGO). In addition, Lowes Foods had Schick razors on sale. And on top of all that, two of the packages had a coupon that said "Save $2 on one NOW"! And since this was Lowes Foods Super Doubles Week, it meant that the $2 would double to $4.

Well, I will not keep you in suspense any longer. Here's my deal.

I purchased 4 packs of disposable razors that were marked $8.20 each.

The BOGO coupons marked them down to $4.10 each.

Then, the $2 coupons doubled to $4 and since I had 2 of them that marked the price down an additional $8.00

Here's the math:
4 x $8.20 = $32.80
Less 2 x $8.20 = $16.40
Less additional coupons - $8.00
Total Cost = $8.40 for 4 packs of razors - that's $2.10 a pack.

Then, when I got home I noticed that 3 of the 4 packs have $2.00 coupons inside the box! That's an additional $6.00 in coupons just for purchasing Schick razors. I'll be saving these coupons for the next super doubles week and hopefully catch another good deal!

If you are a couponer I'd love to hear about your most recent savings! Post a comment and share with the world!

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Blueberry Pancakes

Have you ever had blueberry pancakes and wondered, "Where the blueberries at?" Well, not at my house. I add lots of blueberries to the mix so you get a blueberry in every bite!

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Puttin' Up Corn

If you can carve out a little time to do this...

Get a big bag of corn from your local farmers market.

Find a seat in the shade and start shucking away.


Ready to wash, blanch, and freeze.
...then, at Thanksgiving and Christmas and any cold winter day when you sit down to a meal with fresh corn, you'll be glad you did!

Happy 4th!

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Thrifty Summer-Time Treats

Here's a thrifty summer-time, any-time treat. If you have children you may know that it costs a whopping $4.69 for a box of 20 popsicles. This week, they are on sale at Lowes Foods for $3.00/box. Wow! What a deal, right? Especially if you have a coupon.

But this deal is a bit sweeter, and costs a lot less.


You can get reusable homemade popsicle containers for $1.00 at Walmart and Dollar Tree. Then, stock up on your favorite flavors of Kool-Aid mix. Food Lion had Kool-Aid packs on sale last week 5/$1.00 AND I used a coupon Buy 10/Get 3 Free. So, for $1.40 I got 10 packs - that's .14 cents/pack compared to the usual .25 cents/pack. That's less than 2 cents a pop (.14 cents for the first round) compared to .24 cents for store-bought brand. It may be only pennies...but hey, those pennies add up to dollars!

Anyway, mix up a pitcher of your favorite Kool-Aid, fill the popsicle containers, pop in the freezer, and when it freezes treat your kids (and yourself) to a cool summer-time treat!  It will put a smile on everyone's face!

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Hot! Hot! Hot!

These finger-length peppers may be small, but don't be fooled. They pack a powerful punch.

Jalapeno growing in my garden

Made homemade salsa tonight, and let's just say that 1 of these peppers would've been enough. Used 2 large, vine-ripened tomatoes, 2 jalapenos, 2 small purple onions, 1 tsp sugar, 1/2 tsp salt, and 1/2 tsp cilantro. Next time I'll use fresh cilantro and only 1 jalapeno. :)

Delicious! But a little hot, hot, hot if you prefer mild.


Nachos with homemade salsa

Saturday, June 22, 2013

And We Have Peaches!

Peaches purchased at Michelle's Produce at the NC State Farmer's Market
Well, here they are! Beautiful and delicious. I tasted the syrup pack and could only utter one (well 3) words-OMG! These peaches are going to be sooooo goooooood! Sitting here listening to the lids pop, pop, pop which means SUCCESS!
I did find a few bad peaches that I had to throw out; and some that weren't quite yet ready. They will sit on the table and ripen a bit more and will be great for snacking on later this week. As a result my yield was only 8 jars instead of the 15 that I had originally calculated. No problem. That's still a deal at $1.00/pint. I'll take it. Here's the link to the recipe I used. http://www.pickyourown.org/peachescanning.htm
It was super easy, and the whole process has taken only 2 hours of my time! What a way to spend a rainy Saturday afternoon; and my family will thank me when they are enjoying fresh peaches later in the year after peach season has passed.

Why I am Canning Peaches

Boy, do I get some funny looks when I tell people that I am canning peaches. Why on earth would you want to do that when Del Monte does it for you and sells them for $2.09 a can?! I mean, that's affordable, right? Further....How in the world do you have time?

Well, in my defense, I'd like to share why I am canning peaches.

These bad boys are tree-ripened and ready!

As I've said before, and I'll say it again. If there were no other reason in the world, this one is enough. It is why I do what I do. It is simple. For the Taste. Nothing, and I repeat Nothing tastes better than freshly harvested fruit and veggies from the vine. If you don't believe me just do a taste test. Yep. Go ahead. I dare you. Get some peaches that have been shipped from who knows where, and harvested days (maybe weeks before they were ready). Then, go to one of those pick-it-yourself farms and grab a peach, ripened and ready, straight from the tree. Taste the two. Which one is better? Oh, taste and you will see!

Anyway, the second reason I do what I do is because I am a bit Thrifty at heart. This canning cost me $8.00 in peaches! And with a yield of 15 pints, that's .53 cents a can! Let's see...Del Monte-$2.09? Or, home-canned, NC goodness-.53 cents? Which would you choose?

And what about the time? Well, many years ago a very wise person told me that we make Time to do the things that we value and consider important. Man, did that comment slap me in the face when he said it, because at that time in my life I soooo didn't want to hear it! But it has been some good advice. It comes back to me time and time again. What do you value? I bet you your bottom dollar you are making time for it! :)

Last, but not least, there is one more thing that motivates me as well. It's from Proverbs 31:27, which says, She looks well to the ways of her household, and eats not the bread of idleness. Beautiful!

Now that I've preached my sermon (3 points and a prayer) I need to get busy in the kitchen. The canner is a'calling! I will post pictures and share the recipe when I'm all done!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Lettuce

This was my first attempt at growing lettuce; and it has been a success! I owe it to a long, cool, beautiful spring. Thank you God! Here's my final harvest. The hot summer days aren't being very kind to my little plants, who have served me well this season with lots of yummy, fresh garden salads.

Let us enjoy fresh lettuce!

Highly recommended - Royal Oak Leaf Lettuce. Leaves are shaped like oak leaves. These plants were large producers. A mainstay in my future gardens!

Monday, May 27, 2013

Enjoying Spring

It's a great time of the year to save money by cutting off the central air and opening up the windows. I remember spring Saturdays when Mama would raise every window in the house, turn up her music, and clean. So much for sleeping in. And pollen allergies? Simply unheard of back then.

My house today is covered in morning and late afternoon shade. When the weather is cool at night, and warm during the day, I like to take advantage of it. That is, if we can survive the house's rising temperature in the afternoon. Just hold on! It will be cooling off as soon as the sun sets! But, there are two in my family who suffer from the pollen. They feel much better with the air on, and the windows down. :(

So, I move outside. To my deck. Listen to the birds sing. They are happy indeed. Pull weeds from the garden. Take a walk. How have you been embracing this beautiful spring weather?

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Things I Love #9

Nearing the end of my list of things I love is this. I LOVE it when my hubby gets in the mood for home improvement. He pours 100% into it and the end result is great. And I get things like pull-out baskets in my lower kitchen cabinets; and his most recent project - a bathroom reno.

He surprised me with this project. I was out all day and he installed drawers inside the lower cabinets; lined the shelves with contact paper; installed lights inside the cabinets; orgainzed the silverware drawers; and purged items that I haven't missed.

Gave new life to this worn out vanity. Stripped the white paint and stained ebony with a marble countertop and new sink and hardware.

Walls had been covered in flowers and striped wallpaper from the 80s. Stripped and refreshed with a coat of subtle gray. New towel rod and shelf.

A peek into the tub area. He regrouted all the tile and it looks brand new! Who knew!

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Things I Love #8

Continuing with my list of 10 things I love - here's my number 8. Actually, it's a tie between 2 because both of these provoke strong sentiment.

First, it is the laughter of children at play. 'Tis one of the most beautiful sounds in the world...a sound of innocence, and energy, and excitement, and freedom.

Second, I love to hear a newborn baby cry. So precious. And helpless. To watch the new mother care for her baby with gentleness, and patience, and love is simply divine!

From the Garden

This is my third harvest of lettuce. It doubles each time. Today's pick yielded 2 gallon bags full of fresh buttercrunch, red leaf, and oak leaf lettuce. It should stay fresh in the fridge for 5 days or so, if it lasts that long.



Friday, April 19, 2013

Things I Love #7

Love #7 is gardening. I'm a fairly young gardener and find it very therapeutic. Relieving stress. Digging in the dirt like a child. Planting the seeds and waiting. And praying. You know, gardening strengthens one's faith. Watching as the tiny plants burst from the ground. Enjoying the bounty.

Fresh lettuce - tender and tasty!

Lettuce and snow peas in this raised bed.
 

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

What I Love #6

Well, it's about time for another post. Tax season has been a kicker. Thankfully, I have Upward Soccer. Yep, you guessed it. Upward Soccer is #6 on my list of things I love. Love watching the kids play. Love the wonderful people I've met through this program. Love the spiritual side of it. Love that Jennifer loves it and has developed quite a game! Just can't say enough about Upward Soccer. Love it!

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Things I Love #5

I have a new addiction. I admit it. I tried it once, and I can't stop. It's the rage, and if you're not doing it you are missing out. What in the world! It's couponing. Love it! I am enjoying an average savings of 45% a month in groceries, household supplies, and personal care products. And I've got my daughter hooked too!Yeah...our biggest rush was when she got 2 great big bottles of her favorite shampoo and 2 great big bottles of conditioner absolutely FREE! There is no turning back. Couponing. Love No. 5.

Monday, February 25, 2013

10 Things I Love #4

Coffee. My favorite - Port City Java. It is my get-up-and-go beverage of choice on a cold winter morning. This weekend I read online at webmd.com that coffee is filled with antioxidants, and has been linked to a decreased chance of adult-onset diabetes. Even more reason for me to love it!

Saturday, February 23, 2013

10 Things I Love #3

Love, love, love the Proverbs. It is a book in the Bible filled with word pictures that provide sound advice for living. I call the Proverbs "God's Book of Common Sense". Here's one of my personal favorites; and if you know me, no doubt you have heard me speak these words out loud.

"A child left to himself brings his mother to shame." Proverbs 29:15b

Thursday, February 21, 2013

10 Things I Love #2

My post continues of 10 Things I Love. I was discussing my blog with a friend at the office who was quick to say. "Oh, one thing you definitely love is Christmas songs." I guess I don't even realize how often I hum and sing "Hark the Herald Angels Sing" at the office. So, number 2 on my list of things I love is Christmas carols. Can't we celebrate a little bit of Christmas every day?

Sunday, February 17, 2013

10 Things I Love #1

These are in no particular order, just a few of my favorite things in life.

First, southern-style fried chicken. I thank God that my mother showed me how cook this family favorite.



Monday, January 7, 2013

Why Fresh?

I believe in eating fresh, locally-grown seasonal produce. My philosophy is fresh is best; frozen (or home-canned) is next; and grocery store cans as a last resort. Why? Well, as promised, I am going to share Reason 1 of 3.

But first, let me preface by saying that if there were no other reasons in the world, this is reason enough for me choose fresh.

It's all about TASTE. Fresh just tastes better. It's as simple as that. Eating blueberries straight from the bush is like eating candy from God. Reminds me of the Proverb, Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good! He provides candy every season - blueberries, peaches, strawberries, grapes (nothing quite like Southern muscadines), watermelon (one of my favorites), raspberries, and SO MUCH MORE!

If you don't believe me when I say fresh tastes better, then I challenge you to a taste test. I have done this many times, but one that stands out in my mind is one I did with my oldest daughter when she was about 8 or 9 years old. We bought fresh peaches one hot summer day from the Farmers Market. While at the grocery store later that day, we bought a couple of peaches that had been picked before their prime and shipped across the country with the intentions of doing a taste test. Well, needless to say, the Farmers Market peaches won, hands down! They were softer, juicier and, well, let's just say she was giggling as she ate them! :)

It may be a little bit of extra effort to grow your own, or to spend an hour or two each week shopping at the Market, but in the end it is worth it. That is, if taste is important to you.

Tomorrow, I'll share Reason 2.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

It's a Choice

My grandmothers didn't have a choice. If they wanted their family to eat, they had to have gardens, and livestock, too. They would process, preserve, can, and freeze their bounties. It was a means of survival. "Waste not; want not" was how they lived. And they passed it onto my parents' generation. Who in turn passed it onto me.

But with the advent of large scale, conventional farming in the 70s, and an abundant supply of pre-packaged processed foods in grocery stores on every corner today, the hard work of growing and preserving one's own food has almost become extinct. Notice I said almost.

Today we have a choice; and I am glad to see a resurgence of small family farms, urban gardening, home canning, and a renewed appreciation for this way of life. I choose to continue on with my grandmother's ways. Only tweaked a bit to make it work with my suburban lifestyle. There are basically 3 reasons why I made this choice. Tomorrow, I'll share Reason No. 1.

What about you? What do you choose?

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Pesticide-Free

The hunt is on! My email box has been inundated with requests for pesticide-free produce. Well, I don't know how he does it, but my brother, the farmer, can crank out the pesticide-free!

Here's what's available now, along with spinach and red radishes, all produced with no pesticides.

Mustard Greens

Daikon Radishes

 

Butternut Squash

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Where Does Your Food Grow?

The following is a true story.

Once there was little girl who was visiting her friend's house one hot summer afternoon. The friend's mother offered the little girl some watermelon. The little girl tasted the melon. "Mmmmm! This is the best watermelon ever!" she said, with a great big smile and watermelon juice dripping from her chin. "My dad grew it on his farm," the mother said. "Oh?" the little girl paused. "I thought watermelons came from the grocery store."

We must not lose sight of where our food grows! I am so thankful for the many times my dad would pick a watermelon from the vine, late in the day, just before the summer sun set. It was a treat after working and playing outside all day. These melons were bursting with flavor and freshness. We couldn't wait to taste! In minutes we were covered with watermelon juices, dripping from our faces and hands. Mama would hose us down before we went inside. Nothing much sweeter than that! Trust me...you can't buy that at the grocery store!


Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Another New Year

There's something exhilarating about throwing out the old calendar, especially if it was a bad year, and replacing it with a spanking brand new one. It's a blank canvas, an array of new opportunities, a chance to begin again. What will it be? Lose weight? Exercise more? Get organized? Quit a bad habit? Go back to school? Work more? Or, work smarter? Fix a broken relationship? Make more money? Have more fun? The list goes on and on.

As I think through the many things I want to accomplish in 2013 I realize that I can only achieve them if I persevere and finish what I start. Having said that I want to share that my main reason for starting this blog has evolved. LivingWise is so much more than eating healthy, and supporting local farmers. LivingWise is actually composed of 7 Principles that affect body, mind, and soul, and how the working together of these Principles can help us with our own personal resolutions. Resolutions for strong bodies; financial security; a closer walk with God; healthy relationships; satisfying careers; sanity; and so much more.

My goal for 2013 is to introduce my readers to these 7 Principles. Slowly. Methodically. Hope you enjoy! And, as always, I welcome your comments. Happy New Year!