Frugal Living

My Frugal September

So far this week jeans have been bleached in the laundry by accident and I realize that I am down to the last pair of my favorite eyeglasses. It was time to sit down and shop. I have been trying to limit spending not only for the budget sake but for the reasons of my becoming a minimalist. I am lucky that I have some favorite places that have been consistently reliable. So shopping was quick and painless. I bought only what I needed by shopping right before we  were paid. This makes me shop very frugally. If I shop on payday I tend to be more liberal with my spending because I think I have more money to spend. It makes sense in my world.

Jeans: I dislike extreme fashion trends so I buy jeans that are middle of the road classic and affordable. The ones that fit me well and meet all of that criteria are

Gloria Vanderbilt Amanda Jeans

I buy them at Costco online because they are never more than $14.99 and they carry the tall sizes as well. Sometimes they have them at my local warehouse but rarely the Tall sizes. I also want to shop as much as possible online so it worked well.  Today there was a $5.00 off coupon for each pair so final cost for two pairs jeans = $22.11 . Not bad.

I have bought my eyeglasses for years from . They have glasses starting at $6.95 a pair. If you get upgraded lenses, coatings, etc there is an additional cost. Even with add-ons ,these are much less than a local vision company. They charge one low-cost shipping fee of $4.95. I ordered three pairs of glasses at $6.95 each with no additional extras. These are prescription glasses that I use daily since I ditched the contacts. The Final cost for three pairs prescription eyeglasses = $25.80 Not bad there either. Done.

For the next 15 days:

My buying schedule for bulk items this month:
Black Turtle Beans 25 lbs = $19.00
Old Fashioned Oats 25 lbs = $15.20
I’ll buy these both on the 15th as planned.

Soy Milk 2 cases $26
Bulk Coffee 4 lbs $28
Pasta Sauce $4
Frozen Strawberries $10
Bananas $8
Carrots $4
Sweetener $8
Vegan “Meats” $50
Vegan Pizza $16
TOTAL= $154 ish

We have enough vegetables from the garden,pasta,and spices etc to make whatever dishes we dream up for the next two weeks.

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Growing Food

Growing Herbal Tea


Who knew that you could make herbal tea and other beverages from Citronella Plants?

I did some investigating and it turns out that Citronella is not only in Lemon Grass but also in a Geranium, Pelargonium citrosum.  It’s commonly called the Mosquito Plant or Mosquito Geranium. Don’t confuse it with others called the Mosquito Plant as well though.

I bought these two last spring in the hopes of keeping the little bugs away from the patio. Although it seems to deter them when I crush a leaf in my hand and rub it on my arms, the plant itself just smells good and doesn’t really seem to make a difference on the patio.

While doing some investigating herbs to grow for tea I stumbled upon the fact that I can actually use the leaves either fresh or dried in tea or other beverages. Here I was thinking I would have to purchase Lemon Grass starts to get that fresh lemon taste all winter and behold I have something I can use already.

I have already taken a few sprigs to make new starts and as all Geraniums, it’s easy to grow new plants from clippings.  I’ll make a tutorial if anyone is interested. This plant is also easy to grow in pots in the house over the winter or to pull from the dirt and hang upside down in a place like a basement or a garage to overwinter. In the spring you just trim the dead leaves, repot the plant, and water.

Here are the articles I found for reference:

Three Incredible, Edible Scented Geraniums

Organic Scented Geraniums

Edible Landscaping- Scented Geraniums

As fall grows near I will prune my plants and dry the clippings, then place in a sealed glass jar for lemon tea this winter.

This adds to my stock of Mint and Basil that I grow and use now for herbal tea. My goal is to be able to grow most of what we consume. This includes beverages. We buy beans, rice, pasta, whole grains, spices, and nuts in bulk to fill in what we can’t feasibly grow.

More later….


Simple Exercise, Uncategorized

Simple Exercise


I learned that going to the gym just doesn’t fit into my Zen Life. Gone are the days of my being a gym rat that couldn’t wait to get back to pumping iron. I lived and breathed it. Not anymore. Now I like the simplicity of hitting the local trail with the dog and sometimes with the family. Most days We walk the neighborhood or the closest trail to get in our simple exercise. It just doesn’t make sense to me anymore to pay for a gym membership, the gas to get there, special clothes to work out in, and all the digital music I need to distract me from what I am doing.

When I walk I am never bored because now even the neighborhood changes from day to day. Just watching  the dog get such pleasure out of exploring makes me smile.  I walk at a pretty good clip in order to get the cardiovascular benefits from walking and I try to challenge myself at least twice a week.  At least two other days of the week we walk at a rather leisurely pace and just enjoy the weather, the birds, the plant life, or people watching. We never go home early.

Walking is great for your back, legs, arms, and core if you choose to engage all of them by standing straight and swinging your arms. Pull in your stomach muscles and practice good posture to improve those abdominal muscles.

  • Warm up your joints and muscles before you begin.
  • Start with short distances if you haven’t been active.
  • Add on more distance and/or increase your pace each week.
  • Take a walking buddy to keep you company.
  • Make it a joyous time by smiling as you go.
  • Walk in the light of day in a safe place.
  • Enjoy the scenery of a local park or trail.
  • Change your route to keep it fresh.
  • Have fun.

Sometimes I add in more steps each day by parking farther away from my destination, chasing the dog  or the kids in the backyard,  taking the stairs instead of the elevator, and using my treadmill desk when I write instead of sitting at a desk. Simple walking will help us live a longer, better life.  It doesn’t have to be complicated. Namaste’



Rituals, Uncategorized

Meaningful Rituals


Meaningful rituals are a great part of my life. As I grow older I learn to recognize and appreciate them ever more. It helps that I have learned to slow down and not fill my life or my time with garbage. When I use the term garbage I mean those things that have little or no meaning that people do just because society deems it so or because they think it will impress other people. Thankfully I have outgrown my insecurities and now simply appreciate my time and the evidence of peace in my life. Here are my rituals:

1) Rise Early
I rise nearly every morning at 5 o’clock. This is the time of the day that is
quiet and allows me to reflect. I tried more traditional methods such as
meditation and prayer but the mere act of rising early and sitting is just that.

2) Coffee and Nothing Else
Upon arising early in the morning I find myself studiously making a fine cup of
coffee. I dress it up with cream and something sweet even though I shouldn’t.
This goes well with staring out at the finishing full moon of the night or with
the slow rocking of the chair while seated in my velvet pants and warm sweater.

3) Walking
I’ve taken to walking the dog just as the sun finds itself over the eastern
mountains. His happiness and getting out and exploring is contagious even if we
have engaged the route many times before. Somehow it always seems new. This joy
first thing in the day is such positive and natural exercise that I hardly know
I am actually doing something that’s good for me. It’s a simple joy.

4) Writing
Writing is a Fall and Winter Ritual. I find the change of the seasons to change
me from the gardener to the reflective recluse as I huddle in front of the
computer and find a tale to put down in black and white. Whatever seems to suit
my mood at the moment. I have numerous blogs that I write with each in it’s own
true unique category. One or two are private to keep me on track.

5) Gardening
Gardening is the Spring and Summer Ritual that replaces writing in the warm
months. I do plan it all year long and then go full swing as soon as the
weather allows it. The change of the seasons still enthralls me and I love to
make things grow seemingly from nothing. Even pulling weeds and tending soil
is captivating and wondrous. It brings me in touch with the earth.

6) Tea Time
Tea Time is always at 3 o’clock in the afternoon. I always stop what I am
doing and make a cup of tea. I have this along with something sweet such as
a square of dark chocolate. This makes me stop and take a breath during my day
and say a silent thanks of gratitude for my wonderful life that I lead.

7) Reading Together
At the end of every day our family reads together. We turn everything else off
and lock the door then each with our own book on digital device we take time
out of our day to challenge our brains and absorb true knowledge or enjoy a
work of fiction lost in time and place.

Meaningful rituals will vary with each person and each lifestyle. Creating your own rituals gives a sense of comfort and consistency to a life that is full of unknowns. They take away the chaos if only for a few moments and establish wonder and gratitude where there was doubt and misconception. Traditionally rituals involved religious ceremony and prayer. Some still remain to this day and are quite beautiful. Whatever the reason that you choose to establish rituals in your life consider basing them on finding peace within.


Simple Whole Wheat Crackers


Preheat oven to 375°F

Measure 1 cup Whole wheat flour


1 teaspoon salt


1 teaspoon baking powder and wisk together


Add 2 tablespoons olive oil


Mix until crumbly with fork


Add up to 1/3 cup water as needed until dough comes together and forms a ball.



Turn onto floured surface.


Cover with bowl upside down for 15 minutes.


Roll out to about 1/8 inch thick.


Cut into small squares and place onto greased (olive oil) cookie sheet.


Sprinkle with water and salt. Place in oven and immediately turn oven down to 275°F. Crackers are done when dry through the middle.


Add seeds, herbs, or Seasoning as you wish for variation but they are very good as is.



Sourdough Starter

Today we began our experiment into making sourdough bread and pancakes.

Items needed:

Glass deep dish
Whole wheat flour
Cotton towel or other cotton cover


Mix one cup rye or whole wheat flour with 1/2 cup cool water. Make sure there is no dry floor left anywhere.




Cover with a light cotton towel and let it set 24 hours at about 70 degrees. I put it in my oven with it turned off to protect it from the spring cool mornings.


This recipe came from King Arthur Flour.

Watch for future updates as we experiment with sourdoughs and make our own bread.