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.

©2009-2017 frugalfish.org. All rights reserved.

pamela.frugalfish@gmail.com

 Twitter – @frugalfishorg

Facebook – Frugal Fish

Pinterest.com/frugalfish/

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

©2009-2017 frugalfish.org. All rights reserved.

pamela.frugalfish@gmail.com

 Twitter – @frugalfishorg

Facebook – Frugal Fish

Pinterest.com/frugalfish/

 

Hearts, Lips, and Bears

Cookie Cutters Are Not Just For Cookies!

I have cookie cutters for every season, but only make cut out cookies at Christmas! I decorate with them and don’t limit them to the kitchen either.

I attached cookie cutters to my grapevine wreath by tying them on with brown yarn.

Valentine Wreath "Hearts, Lips, and Bears" frugalfish.org

On the windowsill, I used cookie cutters to spell out the word LOVE and put the XO cookie cutters in the two side windows.

Cookie Cutters on Windowsill "Hearts, Lips, and Bears" frugalfish.org

I hang a string of lights in a heart shape in the front window. The lights are incandescent red, pink, and white. They give a soft glow to the window.

Lighted Heart "Hearts, Lips, and Bears" frugalfish.org

I picked up a votive candle holder with “XO” and “lips” on it. I set a lip-shaped candle on one side and an XO candle on the other. I decided to put a pink candle in the votive candle holder because you couldn’t see the red or white details when I used those colors. That set my color scheme for this year: red, white, black with a touch of pink.

Valentine Candles "Hearts, Lips, and Bears" frugalfish.org

The vignette in my bedroom is the exception. It is cherubs and a music box in pink. It is below our wedding picture which has a pink mat. Our wedding colors were pink and baby blue. It was the 1980’s; pink was a trendy color!

Cherubs and Music Box "Hearts, Lips, and Bears" frugalfish.org

Related Post: “Can’t Recycle Forever”

 

The color scheme is best reflected in the guest towels in the girl’s bathroom. I pinned a large heart pin on top of the pink washcloth.

Guest Towels "Hearts, Lips, and Bears" frugalfish.org

I made a centerpiece using my “Apple Blossom” china because it has burgundy, red, and pink in it. On Valentine’s Day, all I will have to add is silverware to set the table for two. The candy heart in the center is metal and empty! I kept it because it is cute and sturdy.

Valentine China "Hearts, Lips, and Bears" frugalfish.org

Related Post: “No Sew Valentine’s Day Table Runner”

 

I moved the Cardinal mugs to the china cabinet and added a glass bird bath with two birds and a glass candy kiss.

Glass Bird Bath, Candy Kiss, and Cardinals Mug "Hearts, Lips, and Bears" frugalfish.org

Related Post: “Decoration or Preparation”

 

I didn’t use a tablecloth on the dining room table because I plan on removing the centerpiece and laying out my daughter’s tee-shirt quilt pieces. We still haven’t decided on the design. I have enough squares for 2 quilts! I wanted a circular centerpiece and had to take two pictures to show it to you.

Bears and Hearts Centerpiece "Hearts, Lips, and Bears" frugalfish.org

Bears on Flowers on Centerpiece "Hearts, Lips, and Bears" frugalfish.orgRelated Post: “Something New”

 

I hope you got an idea or two for adding a touch of Valentine’s to your home.

 

©2009-2017 frugalfish.org. All rights reserved.

pamela.frugalfish@gmail.com

 Twitter – @frugalfishorg

Facebook – Frugal Fish

Pinterest.com/frugalfish/

Rename It

Today I will do my favorite thing . . . tell on one of my kids!

I received a text from my son telling me he and his girlfriend would be there for dinner a few hours later. The only thing thawed out was one cooked chicken breast. How would that feed four people?

“Chicken à la King”

I shredded the chicken breast and made “Chicken A La King.” I have made this dish before and he didn’t like it. Once when I made it, I called it “Chicken and Gravy.” He still wouldn’t eat it.

This time, I said, “You like beef stroganoff, this is chicken stroganoff.” He had three helpings!

Renaming a dish does not always work. David’s grandmother tried to get his sister to eat rice by calling it “Shredded Pizza.” I guess you have to choose a name that is close to what you are serving. “Shredded Pizza” would have shredded pizza crust, not rice.

Anyway, my tip for the day is to rename a dish your child refuses to eat. I don’t have a picture because I finished it off for lunch. (Sorry.) But you can see what the first step looks like above.

Chicken à la King

  • 1/2 Cup Butter
  • 1/2 Cup Flour
  • 1 Teaspoon Salt
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Pepper
  • 1-1/2 Cup Milk
  • 1-1/4 Cup Turkey or Chicken Broth
  • 1 Can Mushrooms
  • 1 Cooked Chicken Breast, Shredded
  • 6 Cooked and Mashed Potatoes

Melt butter; blend in flour, salt, and pepper. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly until mixture is bubbly; remove from heat. Stir in milk, broth, and liquid from the can of mushrooms. Heat to boiling, stirring constantly. Boil and stir 1 minute. Stir in mushrooms and chicken; heat through. Serve over mashed potatoes.

Rename it “Chicken Stroganoff!”

©2009-2017 frugalfish.org. All rights reserved.

pamela.frugalfish@gmail.com

 Twitter – @frugalfishorg

Facebook – Frugal Fish

Pinterest.com/frugalfish/

 

Ants in Winter

Proverbs 6:6-8 The Folly of Idleness

Go to the ant, you sluggard!
    Consider her ways and be wise.
Which, having no guide,
    overseer, or ruler,
provides her bread in the summer,
    and gathers her food in the harvest.

The Holy Bible, Modern English Version. Copyright © 2014 by Military Bible Association. Published and distributed by Charisma House.

Ants give us a great example in the summer, but I wondered, “What do ants do in the winter?”

  1. Seek warm places.
  2. Draw closer to their family.
  3. Seal the door.
  4. Eat less.
  5. Slow down.

terro.com/where-have-all-the-ants-gone

Ants have one of three roles 1) gather food, 2) repair or build the nest, and 3) feed and clean the young (larvae). (Those that gather food are the ones that die the quickest.)

I have a warm home and we are spending time with our family. Although, I could sew or read Facebook in the living room while the guys watch the ever present ball game. That way only one room would be lit!

As for sealing the door, it is insulated and I use a door draft stopper. I do need to eat less and slow down. (Nothing slows us down more than an ice storm like we had on Monday. Everyone wants to stay home!)

But, I got to thinking about the repair and building of the nest. I decided there are some repairs that are especially suited to winter. Take my flag pole.

October flag, "October Birthday Decorations" frugalfish.org

When David brought in the flag pole with the Christmas flag, the knob on the end fell off. I decided that flag needed some help. I glued the end back on and used wood filler to fill in the cracks.

Glue and wood filler used on flag pole "Ants in Winter" frugalfish.org

Then I painted it with exterior primer and gave it two coats of exterior paint.

Flag Pole "Ants in Winter" frugalfish.org

It looks like a new flag pole, but it is just repaired and repainted. Are there any “repairing projects” that you put off last summer? Now may be the best time to do them!

©2009-2017 frugalfish.org. All rights reserved.

pamela.frugalfish@gmail.com

 Twitter – @frugalfishorg

Facebook – Frugal Fish

Pinterest.com/frugalfish/

Whiter Than Snow

“Hey, mom, did you paint the stairwell?”

“No, I just washed the walls.”

It was my first decorating project for 2017 – revamping the stairwell walls. I showed you in October how I display the art my children made in elementary and middle school on a shelf and the walls of the stairwell. After seeing my son duck his head going down the stairs I decided it was time for an update. That was when I realized . . .

 . . . we had been robbed!

I was removing the staples from the artwork on the back and right side of the stairwell, and taking them down, when I noticed staples in the wall and no artwork! I should have taken the art down from the right side of the stairwell when Derek got his drum set. The bass drum in the hard case barely fits between the banister and the wall. Some of the artwork had been torn by it. (Later when I questioned him, he admitted he may have disposed of artwork that was torn in two.)

After taking down the art, I filled in the holes and wiped the wall with a Mr. Clean magic eraser. That eraser works really well! I used some peel and stick letters to form the word “DUCK” on the header at the bottom of the stairs. Our basement ceiling is 7 1/2′ high. If you are over 6′, you can hit your head going down the stairs!

Artwork on a stairwell "Whiter than Snow" frugalfish.org

I wanted a fresh start for 2017 and there is nothing more clean-looking than snow. While I was at it, I set out some snowmen decor. The snowman on the towel inspired me to have hope.

Snowman towels "Whiter than Snow" frugalfish.org

I kept one New Year’s Resolution on Monday when I paid the full price for an 18″ grapevine wreath. Last year, I redecorated a wooden wreath each month, but it was so small it covered the peephole. My Christmas wreath was 18″ and I decided that was the perfect size for my door because it did not block the peephole.

Grapevine wreath on door "Whiter than Snow" frugalfish.org

I loved all the lights at Christmas and kept out one string of white lights. I ran them along the bottom of my windowsill to light up the snowmen and tree on it.

Snowmen on Windowsill "Whiter than Snow" frugalfish.org

I set out flameless candles that change colors around the room. They remind me of the “Aurora Borealis” up north.

Flameless candle "Whiter than Snow" frugalfish.org

Even though there currently isn’t snow on the ground, I placed white-tipped pine cones on the soil of my plants. It put a little “snow” in the room.

Pinecones in plants "Whiter than Snow" frugalfish.org

I used the snowflakes my kids made as coasters on a navy blue runner in my kitchen tablescape. The snowmen are filled with salt and pepper. (What should I put in the glass jar?)

Snowmen tablescape "Whiter than Snow" frugalfish.org

Of course, there are snowmen in my china cabinet and a tea-cup from China because Chinese New Year is January 28th.

Cup and Snowmen "Whiter than Snow" frugalfish.org

My tour ends with a juggling snowman hanging out between two Cardinal mugs. I love seeing Cardinals in the snow!

Mugs and Snowman "Whiter than Snow" frugalfish.org

There are no pictures from the basement because I am still sorting and packing up Christmas decorations. Oddly enough, not one has made it to the Goodwill box! My Frugalfish tip for this week is…

…Try washing your wall, before deciding to paint!

©2009-2017 frugalfish.org. All rights reserved.

pamela.frugalfish@gmail.com

 Twitter – @frugalfishorg

Facebook – Frugal Fish

Pinterest.com/frugalfish/

 

Resolved: More Weight, Food, Spending; Less Organizing, Travel, Reading

You read that title correctly. My resolution this year is to eat more food, gain weight, and spend more. I also plan on less organizing, travel, and reading.

More Weight

I can thank Jenny Kuhn for this resolution. Here is a picture of Jenny and me, with her daughter Kathryn, around 2005.

Jenny, Katie, & I "Resolved . . ." frugalfish.org

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

She moved to Arkansas and opened Jenny’s Gym. Last October, she competed in the World Powerlifting Alliance competition in Portland, OR. She is now the WPA-APA World Powerlifting record holder in the squat and the deadlift for the 45-49 age group in the 132# weight class. She also broke the previously held accumulative world record (squat+bench+deadlift), see here.

Jenny lifting in her gym "Resolved . . " frugalfish.org

 

Jenny regularly posts clips of her clients lifting. Most of the clips are of middle-aged women who are strength training. Sometimes she posts informational clips. When she explained the proper way to do a push-up, it changed my life.Jenny Kuhn "Resolved . . ." frugalfish.org

I usually tried doing push-ups from my knees, but that does not use all the muscles correctly. You need the same form as you would use to plank. Now I do them off of the kitchen counter and will move to the ottoman when my arms are stronger. If I do not keep control of my arms, I bump my forehead! I know I am using the correct form now.

Since muscle is heavier than fat, I plan on gaining weight this year. I want to gain muscle, not fat, and will concentrate on that instead of my bathroom scale!

Eat More

For the past few years, I would weigh myself on Monday and plan my meals based on that number. It didn’t work! I would gain a pound and then try to cut way back on my food. Of course, that pound stubbornly stayed.

This year I am going to work my body and feed it what it needs. I will eat bigger servings of salad, vegetables, and more meat. I never have been a big bread eater, but my sweet tooth is my downfall. That is where I will cut back.

More Spending

I am a saver and try to buy everything on sale. That is not always possible. This year, I want to buy things when I need them and not do without. I have lived under the poverty level during childhood and as a mother. I have no problem telling the difference between a need, a want, and a desire.

In my wallet now are 2 months worth of allowance! I also have a note of a few things I need to order. (Hello, sports bra!) I have watched the sales for over a year and have the money. I just need to get online and order it!

Less Organizing

Marla Cilley, aka The FlyLady, says over and over, “You can’t organize clutter.” But I can, and that is the problem! I organize things that I should send to Goodwill or pass on to family members.

There is a box with “Graduation” written on it in my pantry. My youngest graduated in 2015. I am hanging on to it for my sister-in-law, Melinda. I need to just give it to her, even though Brayden doesn’t graduate for another year.

Less Travel

I will no longer feel guilty for staying at home. There are many opportunities to go places and do things, but if I have to take a round of Prednisone to go, it is just not worth it! (Or worse, go without Prednisone and then fight a flare for two weeks.) I don’t care that I only go out 3 times a week for four hours. I have so much I love to do right here at home.

I know my Facebook page is boring, but I refuse to compare myself to others. I will travel vicariously with my friends. (Sorry, Jill, I have no desire to go clear up to the Arctic Circle. Enjoy your trip!)

I really enjoy the posts from Australia on the travel blog, outan’about.com. It was interesting reading about celebrating Christmas during their summer!

Less Reading

I can speed read. It is a blessing and a curse. I would normally go to the library and fill a large bag with 18 books every other month. (No, that is not a typo; it is eighteen books.) We have a great library that is always getting new books and the community buys books in memory of loved ones.

Obviously, I don’t watch TV at night, in fact, I will only watch a movie once. My family will put in a movie, and if I have already seen it, I go to bed and pick up a book. I can read a 300-page book in 2 or 3 days. The problem is, I get close to the renewal date and I speed read through my stash. That is not as enjoyable as slowly reading, savoring, and even taking quotes from books.

This year, I will only check out 8 books at a time and will make sure one of those books is nonfiction. I am on chapter 2 of the book, “Smarter Faster Better” by Charles Duhigg. There are many things I would like to do, but I get bogged down in laundry and cooking. I want to make those tasks more efficient to allow time for fun stuff!

Smarter Faster Better book "Resolved . . ." frugalfish.org

“If you will live like no one else, later you can live like no one else.” Dave Ramsey

©2009-2017 frugalfish.org. All rights reserved.

pamela.frugalfish@gmail.com

 Twitter – @frugalfishorg

Facebook – Frugal Fish

Pinterest.com/frugalfish/

Goodbye 2016

We said goodbye to a lot of things this year.

  1. In January, we said goodbye to dollars when our health insurance increased 50%.
  2. Our farewell in February was to our furnace.
  3. March came in like a lion when I had emergency gall bladder surgery.
  4. We bid adieu to our central air in April.
  5. May was not mild as we watched our washer die.
  6. Fireworks came early when a lighting strike killed our computer in June.

I thought we finished saying goodbye as the second half of the year passed uneventfully. But we were just getting ready for the hardest goodbye of all when my father-in-law died. You can prepare for some goodbyes with an emergency fund, but death always comes unexpectedly and too soon.

It reminded me of what is truly important – family. You can’t pick your family, and we may drive each other nuts, but during the hard times, that is who we lean on.

I also don’t know what we would have done without our friends and our church. The meals they brought over were wonderful and filling. Who can resist lasagna?

So, for 2017 I am going to try harder to spend more time with family and friends. (But first, I’m going to give myself time to grieve.) A wise man told me, “People are more important than things!”

Invest in people, not things, in 2017!

December calendar "Goodbye 2016" frugalfish.org

©2009-2016 frugalfish.org. All rights reserved.

pamela.frugalfish@gmail.com

 Twitter – @frugalfishorg

Facebook – Frugal Fish

Pinterest.com/frugalfish/

 

 

Christmas Theme 2016

“It came upon the midnight clear . . . Clear Stars and Black Ribbon "Can You Guess My Christmas Theme" frugalfish.org

. . . that glorious song of old . . . Scroll of Christmas Carol "Can You Guess My Christmas Theme" frugalfish.org

. . . from angels bending near the earth 

to touch their harps of gold. Angel Playing Harp "Can You Guess My Christmas Theme" frugalfish.org

‘Peace on the earth goodwill to men . . . Christmas Dove "Can You Guess My Christmas Theme" frugalfish.org

. . . from heaven’s all gracious King!’ King's Crown Ornament "Can You Guess My Christmas Theme" frugalfish.org

The world in solemn stillness lay . . . Homemade Earth Ornament "Can You Guess My Christmas Theme" frugalfish.org

. . . to hear the angels sing!” Gold Angel Tree Topper "Can You Guess My Christmas Theme" frugalfish.org

The clue in the wreath gave it away! Hint on Christmas Wreath "It Came Upon a Midnight Clear" frugalfish.org

“Merry Christmas!”

©2009-2016 frugalfish.org. All rights reserved.

pamela.frugalfish@gmail.com

 Twitter – @frugalfishorg

Facebook – Frugal Fish

Pinterest.com/frugalfish/

 

De-Stress Christmas

My family has tried to guess my Christmas theme for a few weeks now. Only one has been able to guess it! It is so tricky, that none of my friends have figured it out!

Who has time for riddles?

I know. It is such a busy time of year, who has time for riddles? We want to enjoy the holiday season and there never is enough time. Here is a secret to releasing some of the stress you are feeling.

Put it away!

I had my daughter’s quilt squares spread out on the dining room table for weeks. It is like a jigsaw puzzle that we have been unable to complete. I folded them up and put them in the closetQuilt Squares "De-Stress Christmas" frugalfish.org

I planned to finish painting these figurines last Christmas. I left them out thinking I would work on them when I had a free evening. The problem is, I am doing Christmas related activities during the evenings! I put them in a box and slid it under a deskUnfinished Figurines "De-Stress Christmas" frugalfish.org

This book was due back at the library and I spent a couple of hours trying to finish it before its due date. I didn’t get it done. Instead, I wrote the name of the book, the author, and the last page I had read on a note. I put the note in a drawer by my bed and returned the book. I will check it out in January when I have plenty of cold evenings to spend reading and drinking hot chocolate. Open Book "De-stress Christmas" frugalfish.org

This is a pillow cover I planned to finish by this Christmas. I spent years working on this. First I embroidered the picture and made a pillow out of it. The pillow was too small. I took it apart and put a larger pillow in it. Then the lace laid flat. I wanted more lace! I ripped the lace and ribbon off and added more. The lace is ready to baste down and then I will sew the back of the pillow to it. But it will go in the closet with my other mending projects that will wait until after Christmas. Unfinished Christmas Pillow "De-Stress Christmas" frugalfish.org

The last box is full of donations for Goodwill. I plan on dropping it off. I have presents hidden in closets and drawers. I could use the space this box is taking up for my wrapping paper box that is full of gift bags, gift boxes, tissue paper, and bows! Goodwill Donations "De-Stress Christmas" frugalfish.org

Take some of the stress out of Christmas. Hide those projects!!!! Then if you find you have a few minutes, sit and admire your Christmas tree. Or try to guess my Christmas theme! Good Luck!

©2009-2016 frugalfish.org. All rights reserved.

pamela.frugalfish@gmail.com

 Twitter – @frugalfishorg

Facebook – Frugal Fish

Pinterest.com/frugalfish/