Chocolate Raspberry Breakfast

The Christmas countdown has started with the showing of Christmas movies. They are also advertising holiday food. One of my favorites combines the flavors of chocolate and raspberries.

This week, as I was scooping up some Chocolate Malto Meal, I had an idea. Why not cool it down a bit with frozen raspberries! They are so small that they thaw quickly and I got that wonderful chocolate/raspberry flavor in every bite.

Here are two more ideas for Malto Meal.

  1. Banana Split for Breakfast,
  2. Have a Hankering for Rocky Road Ice Cream?
Chocolate Malto Meal cooled with frozen raspberries.

Chocolate Malto Meal cooled with frozen raspberries.

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Substitute Guitar Picks

Guitar #7 just entered the frugalfish household. Two moved out with my oldest son and one was donated to a mission in Africa. Why would we need another guitar? This one is electric.

When you live with guitar players you will find picks all over. It is not unusual wash them quite regularly.

When my youngest could not find a pick one day, he cut up an old ID card from college into squares. It worked great as a substitute pick.

A substitute guitar pick.

A substitute guitar pick.

Best Magazine Storage

As you can see by the first magazine, the October issue of Better Homes and Gardens, I am a little behind on my reading. I have been fighting an infection for weeks and I am a little behind on everything!

I keep my magazines in a rack in the bathroom. When new ones arrive I put them in the back of the magazine rack. Over the last year I realized I didn’t have time to read all of them each month. I am letting two subscriptions expire.

I am saving money by only ordering the ones I have time to read and I am storing none of them. The best magazine storage is to pass them on.

I made a deal with my mom because we were buying the same magazines and sharing them when we finished. I am paying the subscription for one of the duplicates and she is paying for the second.

After we both have read them, I donate them to a local nursing home. I have also donated to my favorite beauty shop and a preschool. (Call first to see if they need donations.)

I save money by purchasing only the magazines I have time to read and sharing them with my mom.

My only magazine storage.

My only magazine storage.

Proof Conditioner Cleans

The first time I washed my hair with conditioner was an accident and I was surprised that my hair did suds up.

Conditioner has some detergent in it, but it is gentle. A few weeks ago, I was having trouble rinsing some hair product out of my hair. Instead of letting the water run over it for a long time, I decided to plug the sink.

I was amazed how quickly my hair rinsed out. I started plugging the sink every time I washed my hair. The running water rinses the back and the sides while the standing water rinses the top and the ends, using less water. Saving water, saves money.

It also let me see the suds rinsed out of my hair, giving me proof that washing my hair with conditioner does clean my hair without stripping it.

The sudsy water left in my sink after I washed my hair with conditioner.

The sudsy water left in my sink after I washed my hair with conditioner.


No Wasted Cream

It all started when I noticed butter forming on the lip of the carton of cream. At the same time, I noticed what looked like drops of melted butter in my coffee cup. The cream was starting to separate.

There was a half a carton left and it was not near the expiration date. I got online and googled how to make butter. There were several sites with instructions.

I ended up making butter, using a clean knee-high panty hose to strain it. Later I picked up cheesecloth to use.

Homemade butter, ready to freeze.

Homemade butter, ready to freeze.












I didn’t want to toss the buttermilk that was left over. I got a recipe from to make homemade buttermilk ranch dressing.

Homemade Buttermilk Ranch Dressing.

Homemade Buttermilk Ranch Dressing.












I stored the extra dry ingredients for buttermilk ranch dressing in the freezer.

Dry ingredients for Buttermilk Ranch Dressing.

Dry ingredients for Buttermilk Ranch Dressing.












That butter was so good, I wanted to eat it with a spoon!

Keep Planning Ahead

I had the best of intentions. I meant to decorate with apples in September and I had an elaborate October scheme based on the colors cobalt blue, pumpkin and cranberry.

I didn’t plan on spending two weeks fighting a bacterial infection and I missed October. Halloween is tomorrow!

I am not daunted because I came up with a brainstorm for my Thanksgiving decorating.

Remember that old song, “Over the River and Through the Woods?” It is actually a song about Thanksgiving. Instead of waiting for Christmas to put out my “Christmas Village,” I am going to set it out for Thanksgiving. I will not put out the figures carrying presents. The rest of it is just a winter landscape. (If it weren’t for the dust, I would leave it up until Valentine’s Day. lol)

We need to look at our finances in the same way I plan ahead for my decorating. We may miss an opportunity, but we shouldn’t stop because of it. We need to just keep plugging away and planning ahead for our next goal.

And yes…I have chosen my theme for my Christmas decorating this year! And I will have a head start on my decorating!

Over the River and Through the Woods

Over the river and thru the wood,

To grandfather’s house we go;

The horse knows the way

To carry the sleigh,

Thru the white and drifted snow, oh!

Over the river and thru the wood,

Oh, how the wind does blow!

It stings the toes,

And bites the nose,

As over the ground we go.

Over the river and thru the wood,

To have a first-rate play;

Oh, hear the bell ring,


Hurrah for Thanksgiving Day-ay!

Over the river and thru the wood,

Trot fast my dappled gray!

Spring over the ground,

Like a hunting hound!

For this is Thanksgiving Day.

Apple Centerpiece.

Apple Centerpiece.


“No Poo?” Not For This Poodle!

2014 Birthday Card

2014 Birthday Card


Yesterday was my birthday and this was my favorite card!

Sometimes, with my naturally curly hair, I do feel like a poodle!

I also decided that old dogs could be taught new tricks and I tried the new “No Poo” method of washing my hair. You use 1 T. of baking soda dissolved in a cup of water to wash your hair and rinse it with apple cider vinegar.

I was less than thrilled with the results. My curly hair is dry and I decided I needed to stick with my current method of washing with conditioner, see “Once a Year ‘Wash and Wear’ Haircut”  @

I don’t mind curls, but I hate frizz.

Try the Short Train Trip

Taking a train trip has been on my “Bucket List” for a long time. I thought we would ride to California to visit relatives, but Mr. Frugalfish came up with a better plan!

We were in Boone IA at the deployment ceremony of our nephew when he saw information about the “Boone Scenic Valley Railroad,” see

He purchased tickets for my birthday/vacation. We rode the “City of San Francisco” car that was built in 1950, modified in 1985, and donated to the Iowa Railroad Historical Society.

When we arrived at the station we saw a hummer limo and the occupants really thought they were hot stuff…until it was time to board and we were one of the first ones because he paid extra for a private compartment.

There was a table set for two and the compartment looked the same as it did in 1950. I could just imagine Cary Grant riding in the car.


Caesar Salad, Shrimp Cocktail and Multi-Grain mini loaves.

Caesar Salad, Shrimp Cocktail and Multi-Grain mini loaves.










We were just finishing this course when we crossed the “Bass Point Creek High Bridge.” It is 156 feet tall and 784 feet long. I tried to concentrate on snapping pictures because I am not a fan of heights. It didn’t help that the train seemed to slow down to 5 mph as we crawled over the bridge. They had a great lookout on the caboose, but I stuck to my compartment!


View from the Bass Point Creek High Bridge.

View from the Bass Point Creek High Bridge.










Our main course was served as we passed through “Don Williams Park.”


Prime Rib, Baked Potato, & Mixed Veggies

Prime Rib, Baked Potato, & Mixed Veggies










It was in “Don Williams Park” that we passed over the only privately owned area on the Des Moines River. It was called “Tillie’s Pond,” and of course the train slowed way down as we crossed that bridge.


Tillie's Pond a privately owned area on the Des Moines River.

Tillie’s Pond a privately owned area on the Des Moines River.










After the sun set, they brought our dessert…Cheesecake!”













The train was up to speed by then and that made picture taking more difficult. On the ride back they slowed down over the “Bass Point Creek High Bridge.” In the dark, the lights under the train reflected on the top of the trees, and along with the rocking from side to side, it was enough to make me cling to my husband’s arm!

He didn’t mind.

Another One Off of My Bucket List

Last weekend I crossed another item off of my bucket list. We have set aside money each week for these items, and one by one, I was able to cross them off of my list.

Frugalfish Bucket List

  1. Pay off medical bills/credit cards. April, 2009
  2. Pay off Van & Truck. April, 2009
  3. Pay off Mortgage. December, 2011
  4. Swim in an ocean, (Iowa Girl). August, 2012
  5. Buy a van with cash. November, 2013
  6. Go on a scenic train ride. October 17, 2014

We paid more than the minimum payment on our credit cards. Unfortunately, we ended up putting medical expenses on one of the cards. It was a huge mistake that I will not repeat!

We paid $15.00 extra on our mortgage payment for over a decade and rounded up on our vehicle payments, putting the extra directly on principle.

Every tax refund was applied to debt until we were able to adjust our withholding to end up owing nothing.

We saved for our vacation to swim in the ocean for six years and have not taken a vacation every year. We take small trips or just stay home and relax!

We took our new van for a test drive on July 3, 2013 and told the dealer we didn’t have the money yet. He fixed the broken air conditioner, and a few other things, and it was still on his lot in November.

“What God intended for you, no one can take away. And what’s not intended for you, you don’t need.” Rabbi Meir Fund

My first train trip was in this car.

My first train trip was in this car.