Combine Leftovers for a New Dish

I hate hot dogs!

I feel the same about bologna. My kids try to trick me into eating hot dogs as a joke. I will buy them and serve them along with several hamburgers. They can have the hot dogs, but I will stick to the burgers.

It’s crazy how those who manufacture hot dog buns do not make the same amount as found in a package of hot dogs. Sometimes, I make mini sub sandwiches with the leftover buns. Last week I had a leftover hot dog bun and leftover taco meat. I combined them to make a taco sub sandwich.

Taco Sub "Combine Leftovers for a New Dish" frugalfish.org

When you have leftover taco meat you can make taco soup, taco salad, burritos, enchiladas, taco casserole, or taco pizza. You can make garlic bread out of leftover hot dog buns, cut them up for stuffing or reduce them to bread crumbs.

Look in your refrigerator. There are probably leftovers that you could combine to make a new dish or a new sandwich!

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Lilac Easter Dinner

My Easter Wreath "Lilac Easter Dinner" frugalfish.org

Last week I showed you my Easter decorations with purple as the accent color. This week I want to show you what you would see if you came to my home for Easter dinner. On the front door, my Easter wreath has blue eggs which remind me of robin’s eggs and a purple bow that I made myself.

 

 

Easter Baskets in Stairwell "Lilac Easter Dinner" frugalfish.org

 

Walking down the freshly painted stairs you will see my children’s Easter baskets that were gifts from their Aunt Michele. There are also stuffed rabbits for my children to color but they were never finished. Perhaps this Easter? On either side of them are wooden rabbits with colored eggs in their backpacks.

 

 

 

In my basement dining room, the table is ready for dinner. Gold is popular this year and I used my gold chargers with my white and blue plates. Everything seems to match perfectly until you look closer.

Ready for Easter Dinner "Lilac Easter Dinner" frugalfish.org

 

My purple candles do not match. I used the sparkly lilac candle for the centerpiece. The largest rabbit holding a pink egg was hand painted by my sister. (Ceramics were big when we were teenagers.) She put it in a box to give away before she moved out of the family home. I rescued it because I love holiday items! The tapestry of “The Last Supper” stays on the wall all year.

Lilac Easter Tablescape "Lilac Easter Dinner" frugalfish.org

I did not have enough gold napkin rings and alternated them with silk floral ones. I put two purple ones on the candles in the center of the table and used the blue and yellow ones on napkins. The yellow floral napkin rings bring out the yellow in the centerpiece.

Mismatched Napkin Rings "Lilac Easter Dinner" frugalfish.org

My secret this week is to use items based on color, not the holiday. My Easter table has a Christmas tablecloth! You have to look really closely to see the holly and ivy on it. (Although, my daughter-in-law noticed it the first time I used it. She has an eye for detail!) I don’t have room to store two white, two red, and two green tablecloths. I use all three of them throughout the year, even though they have a holly and ivy pattern.

Happy Easter!

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Lilac Easter

Paula: “I love your centerpiece.”

Me: “Thank you. That is the scarf I wore to church last Sunday.”

Paula: “Seriously? I thought it was a table runner!”

See, I have never been one to keep my decorating secrets to myself. I pick a color to highlight in my theme and take it from there. I wanted purple in the table runner to compliment the lavender candle. I folded the long scarf in half lengthwise and then folded it in thirds, making sure I didn’t cover up the tassels. I made this centerpiece by stuffing Easter grass around a jar candle in the center of a Trifle dish and resting white and brown eggs on the grass. Two of the brown eggs are ceramic and the rest are plastic.

Easter Centerpiece "Lilac Easter" frugalfish.org

I chose my accent color when I was layering my guest towels. I wanted a pink towel to match the pink leaf but only had a pink washcloth. Then I noticed the lettering was purple. I pulled out a plum-colored towel to match it. Using an Easter Basket pin, I covered the Shamrock, (see here), and the word “Luck” now applies to an Easter Egg Hunt. (I will show you my secret to layering towels at the end of this post.)

Towels for Easter "Lilac Easter" frugalfish.org

It was a half-price day at the Bargain Box, (the hospital auxiliary consignment store), and my daughter found a new, purple Easter flag. I also picked up a roll of purple ribbon and a vinyl Easter tablecloth $3.75. :)

Purple Easter Flag "Lilac Easter" frugalfish.org

One of the purple accents was accidental. The vignette at the end of the hall has a picture of Jesus Christ praying in the Garden of Eden, a brown rooster, 3 wooden communion cups, a ceramic cross, a jar of perfume, and a small burlap bag that would hold 30 pieces of silver. The robe Jesus was wearing is purple.

Easter Vignette "Lilac Easter" frugalfish.org

After placing hen baskets and rabbit mugs on both sides of a small nest of white eggs, I added lavender votive candles in wine glasses. The wine glasses add a height to the arrangement and the candles provided the purple accent.

Hen Baskets and Bunny Mugs in China Cabinet "Lilac Easter" frugalfish.org

My Easter glass block contains 3 long nails, a wooden communion cup, another burlap bag with “silver” and a miniature stone tomb that friends brought back from Israel. I left the lid off to show the tomb is empty. (The wooden communion cups came from Israel, also.) I wrapped the copper lights around the glass block to form a cross and placed a ceramic cross next to it.

Easter Glass Block "Lilac Easter" frugalfish.org

My towel secret is to lay them on the bed to layer them. It is easier to line up the decorated parts on the bed than it is on the towel rack. You have to pay attention to the center of the longest towel. Each towel has to overlap the center by an inch or two. As you can see, I folded a washcloth and used it in place of a small hand towel. Sometimes, I pin the washcloth to the back of the other towels to secure it, see here.

Lay towels on bed to layer "Lilac Easter" fruglafish.org

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After

My Facebook feed, after last week’s post, proved my point. The first few comments were from those looking through a camera lens.Then everyone tried guessing what was different.

That’s when the magnifying glasses came out. None of the guesses were correct! (Not even my family members who live here guessed correctly!) One even decided she needed new glasses!

The problem was everyone was studying the “after” picture, not the “before” picture! I included a link to the “before” picture, but that didn’t help.

Here is my kitchen “before.”

New Kitchen "New Kitchen for Five Bucks" frugalfish.org

Do you see anything that could be improved? Here is my kitchen “after.”

My kitchen "The big Picture" frugalfish.org

Since I made you wait a week, I will tell you. I touched up the paint on the back of the stove. It was a glaring flaw to me but not to anyone else!

We see the flaws, our friends see the kitchen. If you are using your house as a reason not to entertain, forget it. Your friends will never see the flaws that you see. But if something bugs you, fix it!

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The Big Picture

How do you view your home?

  1. Through rose-colored glasses?
  2. Through a camera lens?
  3. Through a magnifying glass?
  4. Through a microscope?

When I took the photo of my kitchen cabinets after their cosmetic makeover, one thing was glaring at me. It was horrible, I was sure everyone would see it and comment.

No one noticed.

Not one.

Obviously, everyone was looking at the picture differently than I did. Those who use rose-colored glasses see everything as perfect. They overlook flaws and clutter. We do the same thing when we walk by the pile of papers on our desk and ignore it.

Those who look through a camera lens are seeing the big picture. The flaws are there, but they don’t mention them. That is how most people look at our homes. They see the pile of paper but overlook it.

We tend to look at our homes through a magnifying glass. We enlarge the flaws until those are the only things we are looking at. Through a magnifying glass, the pile of paper is spilling over the desk onto the floor. We make it a bigger deal than it is.

A microscope enlarges bacteria, and other things, that are not clear to the naked eye. One who looks at your home through a microscope will see the paper as a pile full of allergens. They look for dirt and expect to find pathogens lurking there.

To see your rooms the way most see it, take a picture of it. Study the photo. If there is anything that looks like it could use a little TLC, fix it!

That is what I did. It didn’t take any money, or elbow grease, and I only spent 5 minutes fixing it. I wonder if anyone will even notice the difference?

My kitchen "The big Picture" frugalfish.org

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Secret to Reading Boring Materials

I am currently reading “The Bond Fund of America Annual Report.” I intend to read the booklets on all the funds in which my husband has invested.

I finished reading the booklet from my health insurance company. I was unhappy with my company when it said online that my “rescue inhaler” was no longer covered.

Seriously?

After reading the booklet, I found I could get refills on my rescue inhaler if I ordered them through their mail order division. I admit it was not exciting reading, but it is information I need to know!

Every year, I intended to read my health insurance booklet, but it ended up in the pile on my desk of things I should do. I finally learned a secret to reading boring materials – a paragraph or page each time you use the bathroom.

I am not pushing multitasking. I am saying we spend more time on the throne than we realize. I put the booklets in with my regular magazines and catalogs. I read a page, leave a book marker in it, (usually a subscription postcard) and put it in the back of the magazine organizer I keep in the bathroom. That way, I alternate reading something fun, with something boring.

“Make it fun and it will get done.” flylady.net

Magazine organizer "Secret to Reading Boring Material" frugalfish.org

 

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St. Patrick’s Day 2017

The glass block is now “wearing the green!” I filled it with pale green, glass stones and propped 2 cookie cutters inside. I used some quilting material as a background. This time, I wrapped the copper lights around the outside of the glass block. I love the way the light filters through the glass stones!

St. Patrick's Day Glass Block, "St. Patrick's Day 2017" frugalfish.org

Irish Snowman "St. Patrick's Day 2017" frugalfish.orgThough tired of the snow decorations, but I displayed my Irish Snowman. He is standing guard at the end of my hallway. (There is also snow on the welcome mat, but it has Cardinals on it and my husband is an avid St. Louis Cardinal’s fan. That Christmas mat will probably stay there until Easter!)

 

 

Irish Towels "St. Patrick's Day 2017" frugalfish.orgThe spring towels alternate with green towels. I couldn’t resist pinning on the mouse hiding behind a Shamrock!

 

 

 

 

 

 

St. Patrick's Day Tablescape "St. patrick's Day 2017" frugalfish.org

A touch of yellow is in most of my St. Patrick’s Day vignettes. There is yellow in the material in the runner on the kitchen table. I added a yellow ribbon to the black candlestick to bring out that color. The Irish sleeve garter fits snugly around my flameless candle.

 

Lighted Shamrock Wreath "St. Patrick's Day 2017" frugalfish.org

Of course, we need lights! I wrapped the cord around the lighted Shamrock to attach it to my new wreath. The green and white lights would only go around one window, but they light up the wreath.

 

On the front door is the wooden wreath I made last year. It changed every month after that! My tip for the week is to look through your fabrics and ribbons when you are decorating. You can use fabric as a runner or as a background.

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New Kitchen for Five Bucks

It started with chipped paint in between the bottom cabinet doors. That chip peeled and eventually became a hole. I only intended to fill the hole and touch up the paint.

Our cabinets are original to the house, 1971. When we moved the refrigerator to the corner, it left a 12″ space. There was an oak cabinet at the lumberyard that someone ordered and then changed their mind. We bought it and I painted all the cabinets white. The original cabinets were “pecan.”

The door fronts were similar enough that you didn’t notice it was a different cabinet – until you looked down. The toe kick was an inch higher than the “pecan” cabinets. It had bugged me for years and I decided to do something about it.

I found a piece of scrap trim downstairs. (I always keep scrap wood.) It wasn’t long enough or deep enough, but I nailed it to the cabinet anyway. I used a paint stirrer taped to the cabinet with duct tape to line up the outside edge.

Nailed on trim "New Kitchen for Five Bucks" frugalfish.org

 

 

 

 

 

Then I glued the trim to the bottom of the cabinet. I used scraps of wood and broke a paint stirrer in half, to support the trim while the glue dried. (I keep wood glue and wood filler on hand.) It took three coats of wood filler to completely fill in the seam.

Glued on trim "New Kitchen for Five Bucks" frugalfish.org

 

 

 

 

Wood filler in cracks "New Kitchen for Five Bucks" frugalfish.org

 

 

 

 

 

 

David asked if I wanted him to remove the handles and hinges. I said “Yes!”

We put these new handles on in the 90’s when I painted the cabinets white. They were black with just a touch of copper showing through. At the time, I was collecting copper to “warm” up the decor in the kitchen. But I am over that copper phase, it looked “country.”

Kitchen cabinet with copper hardware "New Kitchen for Five Bucks" frugalfish.org

We talked about replacing the hardware, but I liked the traditional style. I just wished they were black to look like wrought iron. He took them off on Saturday, and I spent the day scraping white paint off of them with a metal nail file and steel wool. I used craft paint that I had on hand to paint them.

 

David brought home a $5.00 can of Acrylic spray paint because he didn’t want the paint to come off from the metal hardware. I finished scraping and painting the hardware on Saturday night. We let the paint cure on Sunday and he sprayed them with acrylic on Monday night.

Tuesday, I finished touching up the paint on the doors and the seam of the trim I added. We put the doors back up and installed the handles.

When our son got home, I asked him to turn on the light and check out the cabinets. He said,

“Wow, it looks like a new kitchen!”

New Kitchen "New Kitchen for Five Bucks" frugalfish.org

I got a new kitchen for $5.00! In maintaining our homes, we forget the two most important items to use: time and elbow grease! I worked on the cabinets a little every weekday for 10 days. I spent 9 hours scraping and painting the hardware on Saturday. I believe that was time well spent.

You may find a project in your house that only needs things you already have on hand, time, and a little elbow grease.

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Leftover Candy

I grumbled to myself when I saw the Valentine heart-shaped box on the kitchen table. “When will my son ever learn to take his stuff to his room?” When he came home for lunch, he came back to the office and said, “Here, Mom, this is for you!” #eatingcrow

His father brought home an even larger Valentine heart and white roses. (I baked him his favorite – my famous cherry pie.) While he spoiled me by making pork chops, cheesy potatoes (in a muffin tin), and mixed vegetables, I pondered what to do with all that chocolate! I decided to share a few ways to use up leftover candy.

Valentine's Day Candy

Serve It

My daughter gave me a box of Russell Stover’s chocolates on my birthday at the end of October. I put it in the freezer and served it with the other desserts at Thanksgiving.

Bake It

Those “Hershey’s Chocolate Hugs and Kisses” would be great on top of peanut butter cookies or thumbprint cookies. Cut the “Russell Stover’s Candy” up and use in place of chocolate chips or to decorate a chocolate dessert.

Craft It

Two weeks ago, I showed you some Valentine pins my friend Whitney crafted out of Conversation Hearts. Those are a few years old!

Conversation Hearts Pin

Split It

When I got down to the last handful of “Mike and Ike’s,” I split them into single servings. I placed them in a muffin paper and left it in the cup holder of my husband’s recliner. It was an early Valentine!

Candy in a Cup Holder

Accent It

Last week, I wrapped my niece’s birthday gift in wrapping paper covered with desserts and candy. I taped “Mike and Ike’s” over the jelly beans in coordinating colors. I taped “Lifesavers” over the “lifesavers” on the paper. When she got the present she started eating the candy right away. My package was a hit!

Birthday Gift

Candy Taped to Package

Hide It

The last thing you want to do is eat the candy all by yourself. I have a large bag of lifesavers in the ottoman in the living room with the quilts. My hope is that others will eat one or two each time they get out a quilt. If I leave them on the counter, I will eat them all – one at a time. Right now both of my Valentines are sitting on the bottom shelf of the refrigerator. Chocolate freezes well, too.

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Lighted Valentine Glass Block

Last year I decorated the same wooden wreath for each holiday and season. I will be doing the same thing this year with a lighted, glass block. I received it from my friend, Paula, who said, “You will love this because you can open it up and change the inside!”

She knows I like to put decorative items on the windowsill between my kitchen and living room to disguise the back of the microwave. This glass block fits that area perfectly. It had two pine trees, snow, and lighted copper wires that reminded me of “Aurora Borealis” in it. I didn’t show it in my snowmen post because the picture was not clear.

Winter scene Glass Block "Lighted Valentine Glass Block" frugalfish.org

I tried adding a Valentine decoration to the winter scene, but the snow covered most of it up. After removed the trees, snow, and lights, I decided to flip the block because it was difficult to fill from the bottom.

 

Glass Block "Lighted Valentine Glass Block" frugalfish.org

 

A “Valentine Candy” theme, the red, heart-shaped, glass stones reminded me of hard candy. The other pieces of candy are actually pins! (Thanks, Whitney, for the conversation heart pins.)

Side of Glass Block "Lighted Valentine Glass Block" frugalfish.org

 

I tried putting the copper lights back in but they looked funny or just sank to the bottom. I ended up wrapping them around the outside of the glass block.

 

 

 

 

 

To get a Valentine background, I slipped a gift bag under the lights in the back. It is just a little bigger than the glass block. I rested the bottom of it on the window sill trim to line the top of it up with the top of the glass block.

Back of Glass Block "Lighted Valentine Glass Block" frugalfish.org

 

 

 

 

 

On one side of the glass block is a counted cross-stitch Valentine greeting in a roses frame. A “Jelly Bean” pomegranate candle completed my candy-themed windowsill vignette. It adds a soft glow to the area in the evenings. Remember, your decorating and crafts do not have to be permanent.

Glass Block with LIghts "Lighted Valentine Glass Block" frugalfish.org

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