Everyone should have a “frugal partner.” That is someone you can call when you have an overabundance of produce in your garden, or you are leaving on vacation and have food that will spoil before you return, or you bought a case of cherry tomatoes and realized there is no way you will be able to eat them all by yourself.

I have a few frugal partners, but the one who calls me the most is my mom. She made two angel food cakes from scratch and brought them to our late Christmas gathering. They were gifts for two relatives who were celebrating birthdays. She left 9 egg yolks with me.

I mixed up a huge batch of noodles, which thrilled my husband, and froze half of them. Last night we celebrated my daughter-in-law’s birthday and she picked beef and noodles as the entrée. I was glad I had a package of homemade noodles in the freezer.

My frugal partners are also willing to take extra food off of my hands when I miscalculated. Like the amount of macaroni and cheese I made for the rehearsal dinner of my son’s wedding. We had four, full pans when the meal was over. I sent them home with my frugal partners.

The batch of noodles I made from the 9 egg yolks my mom dropped off.

The batch of noodles I made from the 9 egg yolks my mom dropped off.


We just got off of a winter storm here in Iowa. There was freezing rain followed by snow. I won’t mention any names, but a member of my family was late to work because the vehicle would not make it up the hill and they had to go around another way…only to fall on their butt when they arrived…twice.

Yes, we are tired of winter here in Iowa and flying to a sunny beach is not an option. It was while I was reading in front of my large, south-facing window that I discovered another alternative.

I got out my thermostat/humidity detector and put it on the arm of the couch where I was reading. After ten minutes, it was registering 91 degrees. That was amazing since it was 68 across the room and 7 on the outside of the glass.

Light therapy is often prescribed for those suffering from eczema. The dermatologist uses a special “light box” that only emits a certain type of rays. It is also an expensive treatment. When I am suffering from an outbreak, I will lie on my couch and expose the rash to the warmth. It does help it to heal more quickly.

Some patients find relief using tanning beds, but that can lead to skin cancer. If I limit my time on the couch to ten minutes or under, I get the benefit without the risk.

It is also helpful for those who suffer from depression during the dark days of winter. Find a sunny spot and spend some time there doing an activity you enjoy.

My free tanning couch!

My free tanning couch!


We get hung up on holidays trying to come up with a dream menu. But what we really want from our Valentine is time.

If I buy expensive food and spend hours cooking, I may resent my husband when he presents me with a box of chocolates. If he takes me to an expensive restaurant, I worry about the cost instead of enjoying the meal.

I would be happier with soup and bread…if it was followed by a foot rub or body massage or singing to me or cuddling in front of a chick flick, etc.

My daughter gave me this plate. It reminds me that meals do not have to be fancy.

My daughter gave me this plate. It reminds me that meals do not have to be fancy.


I wanted to decorate my table with black, red and white linens for Valentine’s Day, but I couldn’t find the black tablecloth. (Possibly, because it is my daughters.)

The red table runner was too long for my table…but I had black, red, and white napkins.

I made a table runner out of them.

  1. Fold two corners of each napkin to meet in the center.
  2. Iron each folded napkin.
  3. Stack the napkins black, red, and white.
  4. Put the two stacks together end to end.
  5. Put another black napkin over the top of the two stacks.
  6. Adjust the stacks so the tips are all spaced the same amount apart.
  7. Wrap the center, black napkin around the stacks and tuck in under.

The center napkin holds the stacks together.

My Valentine's Day table runner.

My Valentine’s Day table runner.

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I hate to admit it, but I still have some decorations that need boxed up in the basement. I didn’t think it was wise for me to box up the children’s homemade decorations and stuffed animals that have been sitting out since Thanksgiving because I am allergic to dust.

Since I was sick most of January, my husband had to take everything down and put all the decorations away.

Today I want to talk about Christmas cards in particular. The cards you received this year can be put in a scrapbook or use my friend’s Jill and Paula’s tip. They cut up various parts of the cards and use them for Christmas tags the next year. Paula will layer two or three parts of a card to make a three-dimensional tag.

The tags my friend Jill made out of Christmas cards.

The tags my friend Jill made out of Christmas cards.

I wanted to share my tip. The glue on the envelope seems to lose its strength over time. If you have cards leftover don’t toss them because of the envelopes. You can pick up inexpensive Christmas seals. I do recommend you send the older cards out first.

My leftover Christmas cards and seals.

My leftover Christmas cards and seals.


It was Christmas Eve and my husband and I were asked to sing in the choir. My right foot fell asleep during practice, but that was the least of my worries.

We were singing “Angels from the Realms of Glory” and I learned we would not be using music. I realized I’ve played the carol many times, but I have never sung it.

Luckily, they would have the words on the projector screen…but the monitor blocked part of the screen from my view.

I fumbled through that carol, singing softly, and thought I was home free. I was wrong.

When we came back on the platform for the next two carols, I found I was having trouble walking. I was trying desperately not to limp.

Of course, when I went to find my seat for the sermon, I could not find my husband. Someone had taken our seats and he sat down in the front. I walked to the back of the sanctuary before an usher caught up with me. She led me to the row my husband was seated in.

All I wanted to do was put my foot up on the back of the seats in front of us. I put it on my knee instead.

I decided the problem was my shoes needed replaced.

I don’t have many shoes. I alternate between white and black athletic shoes during the week. I also have one pair of hiking shoes because they were on sale.

I purchase shoes in January and July. Usually, I buy one pair of white walking shoes and one pair of black walking shoes. In the summer I wear the white shoes the most and black shoes in the winter. It is easy to forget which pair is oldest.

I decided to write the date I purchased the shoe on the inside of each. I threw away the oldest pair.

Write the date you bought your shoes on the inside.

Write the date you bought your shoes on the inside.

The next service it was bitterly cold again. I pulled out my trusty snow boots and wore them to church. I was shocked when my foot fell asleep again. I pulled off the boot and looked at the size. They were a 7 1/2 wide and I need 7 extra wide or EE.

It wasn’t the shoes…it was the boots. I went online and ordered snow boots in the correct size. Since it is so late in the season, I couldn’t get black or white…I got shiny purple ones. I’ve gotten a lot of compliments on my boots; after all, you can’t miss them.

I listened to my body for the last three weeks as I fought an infection that took three antibiotics to kill. That was followed by a 4 day migraine. I rested instead of writing. I was so sick that I only got up to change my pajamas that first week. Anyone miss me?