Tricking My Sweet Tooth

I had a high metabolism. I could eat anything I wanted and not gain weight. Life was good until I went to the dentist.

“Which is worse on my teeth, Mountain Dew or Hershey’s Kisses?”

“Both!”

All the fun ended when I hit that birthday beginning with a 4. The metabolism slowed down, and even worse, I had to take regular rounds of Prednisone. When you take steroids, you don’t feel hungry but starving!

I will never forget the day I went to the doctor and the nurse told me I lost 5 pounds. I replied, “It only took 10 years.”

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My mom loved to bake. We had dessert at lunch and at dinner – or is that dinner and supper. Anyway, I liked having something sweet at the end of a meal.

When I stepped down from my job and my clothes no longer fit, I had two reasons to give up Mountain Dew: 1) I couldn’t afford it, and 2) I couldn’t afford new clothes. I switched to sweet tea instead.

I took my coffee with 2 scoops of sugar and 2 creamers for years. I cut back there by using a dollop of whipping cream and 1 teaspoon of sugar. (There are natural sugars in the cream.)

Now that I had my drinking under control . . . ( No, wait, I never did acquire a taste for alcohol – just sugar) . . . I decided to curb my desserts. I switched to eating dessert at lunch and a few pips of a Hershey’s candy bar at supper. That took self-control that I didn’t really have.

I started making homemade trail mix. There are enough M & M’s in it to satisfy my sweet tooth and I measure it out, one-fourth a cup, in snack size bags for portion control.

My biggest weakness – well after chocolate – is ice cream. I loved having a big bowl at lunch, preferably on top of a banana! I started getting ice cream cones and reduced my consumption by two-thirds.

I was also buying yogurt, but it would spoil before I could get it all eaten up. I came up with a plan. I scooped one-fourth cup of Yogurt into muffin tins and froze them.

Freezing Yogurt in Muffin Tins "Tricking My Sweet Tooth" frugalfish.org

Then I removed them from the pan and placed them in a plastic ziplock bag.

Individual Frozen Yogurt "Tricking My Sweet Tooth" frugalfish.org

I put one in a bowl in the refrigerator 3 hours before lunch to partially thaw. Then I make a frozen yogurt cone! It is much cheaper freezing it myself and healthier than eating ice cream.

Homemade Frozen Yogurt Cone "Tricking My Sweet Tooth" frugalfish.org

Last night I made David some green tea. I brewed it on the stove and my son suggested I add honey to it. That could be my next step!

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Gift from the Heart

I have purchased and wrapped many wedding gifts but I only remember one. The bride was into recycling and loved retro items. She wore a 1930’s dress and used vintage handkerchiefs at her place settings. There was even vintage linen used for valances on the small windows in the hall.

I watched this bride grow up and I wanted to give her a special gift. Unfortunately, she married right after I had to step down from my job. I worked for a nonprofit which meant no unemployment. We were down to one income and there were no funds for extras.

I looked through the bridal registry and realized she liked the same pattern as I received at my wedding. I registered at the finest gift shop in town and never dreamed I would receive the mixing bowls, canisters, and cookie jar I had selected. My aunt and my favorite cousins pooled their resources and purchased them for me. (That is how to buy a wedding gift that is out of your budget.)

Years later, I saw a matching domed cheese plate at a garage sale. I knew the lady holding the sale and found out we married the same year. It was the only thing she received with that pattern. It thrilled me to get it at a fraction of its original cost.

I displayed my cookie jar and canisters but the mixing bowls had to stay in the cupboard. You have seen my small kitchen. There was no place to display the domed cheese plate. I ended up putting it in a box and only used it once.

I decided to give the cheese plate as a wedding gift. I pulled out a guest towel that was similar to the pattern and used it as wrapping paper. I had a cloth ribbon with an attached bow that I wrapped around it. The bride loved my recycled gift. I gave her a little piece of my heart.

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Saturday I attended a bridal shower for Kat. Kat was in the worship band with me for a few years. I wanted to get something special for Kat. We have another thing in common – pie.

I make pies with the flakiest crust. They practically melt in your mouth. Kat’s pies are a work of art. They are so beautiful that people do not want to cut them!

I planned on ordering pie plates, a pastry blender, pie crust protectors, and a rolling-pin. That would be boring. Instead, I went to Wal-Mart and picked up 2 pie plates. I got out the etching kit my sister, Cheryl, gave me for Christmas and planned on etching her new last name – “Smith” – on them.

The only problem is – there are a million Smiths! I decided to etch “Kat” on them instead. There is only 1 Kat!

Unfortunately, the liquid you put on the glass before you etch it was almost gone. I used every last drop. I painted it on in the garage and we had a cold spell. I put 2 coats of etching liquid on them.

They still looked clear! I brought them in the house and let them warm up. I put on 2 more layers. Then I noticed on the bottle, “Do not put on too thick.” Great!

The day before the shower, I cut out the letters I stuck to the pie plates. Some of my “etching” came up. I pressed it back down and hoped for the best. I warned Kat that the “etching” might come off the first time she washed them and she just laughed. After all, it’s the thought that counts.

Etched Pie Plate "Gift from the Heart" frugalfish.org

Sunday is Mother’s Day. I planned on taking her out to eat. I know that is not necessary and there is probably something she would like better. I guess I will have to put my thinking cap on. I want to give her a piece of my heart.

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Displaying Precious Artwork

“The clock that’s hung in our kitchen for 15 years, that our daughter crafted at kinder when she was three, has finally been taken down and relegated to the garage.

It was such an imperfect clock with childish numbers misaligned and it was never easy to tell the time. I loved it.”

outanabout.com

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I read this post from Outanabout.com, (Melbourne, Australia), and realized I had relegated my children’s artwork to the shelf on the stairway. She proudly displayed her daughter’s clock for 15 years! I received most of the clay artwork as gifts on Mother’s Day. This year, my decorating features the artwork from my children’s school years.

It started when I made my wreath. I wanted to put the nest with three eggs on the wreath and the only way I could attach it was with brown yarn. I used 2 paper flowers my daughter made when she was young to hide the yarn.

Mother's Day Wreath "Displaying Priceless Artwrok" frugalfish.org

Not all of my Mother’s Day gifts were homemade. I received this plaque last year from my daughter and displayed it in the hall with a gray whale my youngest son made.

Plaque and Clay Whale "Displaying Precious Artwork" frugalfish.org

My daughter’s softball statues found a home in the china cabinet behind two tea cups and saucers. All three of my children made clay bowls displayed here and on the tables.

Clay Art in China Cabinet "Displaying Precious Artwork" frugalfish.org

I balanced the big clay bowl with a teapot made by my oldest son and a heart made by my daughter. I used two tart pans painted with roses as the centerpiece for my tables. This one has a black bowl filled with roses. Our youngest son made the marble plaque.

Clay Bowl, Teapot, Heart, and Marble Plaque with Roses Bouquet "Displaying Precious Artwork" frugalfish.org

Upstairs in the kitchen, I used a green, glass bowl filled with pink, rose-shaped candles. This green bowl always reminded me of my mother because she had green vases, pitchers, and glasses. On each side are homemade clay bowls.

Bowl of Roses with Clay Pots "Displaying Precious Artwork" frugalfish.org

I think of my Grandmother when I look at the glass block, cat, and kittens. The cat and kittens were a gift from my grandmother on my 8th birthday. The package to the right was given to me by my daughter with instructions to never open it because it contains all her love. I filled the glass block with three ingredients found in my rose potpourri and pink, glass rocks.

Cats and Mother's Day Glass Block "Displaying Precious Artwork" frugalfish.org

I even included a reminder of something I made when I put a pin on my roses towels. Those footprints are the size of a baby’s feet at 12 weeks after conception. Yes, my greatest blessings do call me Mom.

Roses Towels with Baby Feet Pin "Displaying Precious Artwork" frugalfish.org

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Artwork Repair

I recently read of a lady who kept her Easter decorations up until “Ascension Day” 40 days later. She must not decorate with any Easter Eggs. I won’t leave mine up that long but I decided to show you something before it all goes back in the box.

Easter Vignette "Lilac Easter" frugalfish.org

At the end of the hall, I had a vignette with a picture of Christ praying in the Garden of Gethsemane in the center. I even posted a photo of it. What you don’t see is the damage. It is an antique picture mounted on a slab of wood. There are tears in a few spots and a chunk was missing.

 

 

I almost gave it away a few years ago but kept it because I liked it. I got out my package of 100 markers and found shades that closely matched the damaged areas. I just colored the exposed wood with the marker. You can see the damage in this closeup photo.

Damaged Picture, "Artwork Repair" frugalfish.org

No one noticed the repair, even when they had to look behind it for an egg in my “Easter Egg Treasure Hunt!”

Related Post – Repairing Bleach Spots

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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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