Best. Anniversary. Gift. Ever!

Today is our 32nd Wedding Anniversary and my husband gave me the best gift…

…he let me sleep in!

We tend to judge gifts by the amount of money spent; but there is no dollar value I could put on that extra 2 hours of sleep. It was priceless!

We are not eating out tonight; I am planning on making a romantic dinner…but the menu has not been set! I will choose from the items in my refrigerator, freezer, and pantry.

To give you an idea how this works, I will show you a breakfast I made for him a few weeks ago. I took the recipe for Quiche Lorraine and modified it based on the items he liked and the items I had on hand.


12 Slices of Bacon, 1 Sausage Patty, broken into pieces

1 c. Shredded Swiss Cheese, 1 c. Shredded Sharp Cheddar Cheese

1/3 c. Finely Chopped Onion, 1 T. Dry Chopped Onion

4 Eggs

2 c. Half and Half, 1 c. Cottage Cheese

3/4 t. Salt

1/4 t. Pepper

1/8 t. Cayenne Red Pepper, 1/8 t. Paprika

9′ Pie Crust (

Prepare pastry. Sprinkle meat, cheese, and onion in pastry-lined pie plate. Beat eggs slightly; beat in remaining ingredients. Pour egg mixture into pie plate. Cook uncovered in 425º oven for 15 minutes.

Reduce oven temperature to 300º. Cook uncovered until knife inserted halfway between center and edge come out clean, about 30 minutes longer. Let stand 10 minutes before cutting.

He ate the whole thing…over the course of a few days!

Quiche Frugalfish made with sausage, not bacon.

Quiche Frugalfish made with sausage, not bacon.

Cash…and 2 Forks

We went away for the weekend to: visit a cousin who had open heart surgery, attend a family reunion, and celebrate our 32nd Wedding Anniversary.

After eating the ‘4 Meat Dinner for Two’ at “Jethro’s BBQ” and the breakfast buffet at “The Machine Shed,” Mr. Frugalfish said we needed to slow down on the amount of food and the cost.

Then he took me to “Joe’s Crab Shack” and ordered the lobster/crab bucket and a piece of 6 layer chocolate cake!

How was that slowing down?


There is a difference between being cheap and being frugal.

  • Cheap is eating at McDonald’s on your vacation.
  • Frugal is paying cash…and 2 forks!
'4 Meat Dinner for 2' at Jethro's BBQ, Altoona, IA.

‘4 Meat Dinner for 2’ at Jethro’s BBQ, Altoona, IA.

Baby Yourself

I am a firm believer in babying myself:

  1. Eat every 3 hours: 6 mini meals instead of 3 regular meals to maintain weight and reduce acid reflux.
  2. Take naps: Yes, that is plural! A round of Prednisone will allow 4 hours of sleep at night. Adding a sleep aid caused hallucinations. (Yikes!) I sleep whenever my eyes close and my mind slows down. A nap may vary from 10 minutes to 1/2 an hour and then the medication wakes me up again.
  3. Use baby products: I wash my face using only water, just like a newborn’s face.
    • Baby Shampoodiluted with water will remove mucus from eyelashes when they are stuck together.
    • Vapor Bath – will open up sinuses and allow them to drain when nothing else works.
    • Bedtime Bath – When the Prednisone says, “You’re not tired. Go organize your sewing basket.” The lavender lulls your mind allowing your body to relax.
    • Baby Powder – absorbs sweat. Eczema breaks out in areas that tend to sweat: inside elbows, behind knees. No sweat = no rash. That is why you will never see me sweat…and I loathed P.E. I exercise with 3 fans, that are routinely taken apart and cleaned, blowing allergen free air on me.
    • Vaporizer the moist air helps keep sinuses, bronchial tubes, and lungs open when I am sick.
  4. Carry a change of clothes: I leave a pair of sweats and an extra tee-shirt, (in Ziplock bags), in the van at all times because getting wet and staying in wet clothes will lead to rashes and sinus infections.
  5. Carry a sippy cup!

I’ve used the stainless steel water bottles for years. They are double insulated and the ice you put in it in the morning will be smaller, but still intact in the evening. They work just as well for hot drinks.

FlyLady Stainless Water Bottle.

The problem is, they do not have an 8 ounce size that will fit in my purse.

I bought a stainless steel “Sippy” cup; but my granddaughter thought is was for her…and it clashed with my red purse!

I colored it, just like a kid would, with permanent marker!

  1. Taped the areas I did not want “colored.”
  2. Dyed the pink areas with an extra-large permanent marker and used Sharpie markers on the details.
  3. Ididnotdye any areas that would touch the liquid.

    I didn't dye the parts touching liquids.

    I didn’t dye the parts touching liquids.

  4. Let dry overnight.

    Taped and "Dyed" sippy cup.

    Taped and “Dyed” sippy cup.

  5. Wrap in newspaper and set in container with wadded up newspaper around it for 24 hours to absorb the marker odors.

    Newspaper absorbs magic marker odors.

    Newspaper absorbs magic marker odors.

  6. Run through dishwasher to set marker, and remove any excess.

It is not double walled like Flylady’s, but it will keep drinks cold for hours.

My purse-size water bottle.

My purse-size water bottle.



Raspberry Syrup

I was making a simple, sugar syrup when I had a brainstorm. I mixed 1 cup of sugar with 1 cup of water and heated it in the microwave two minutes or until the sugar was dissolved.

I set it aside to cool, and on a whim, dropped a raspberry tea bag in it. I let it steep until it was cool. I ended up with raspberry syrup, similar to the peach syrup sold at Olive Garden.

Making Raspberry syrup.

Making Raspberry syrup.

I had raspberry tea and raspberry coffee using this homemade syrup. But the best drink was the “Raspberry Sprite” I made yesterday. It reminded me of the Cherry /Lemon/Lime slush I used to order at the Diner in Batavia, IA when I was a teenager.

I made a "Raspberry Sprite."

I made a “Raspberry Sprite.”

I can’t wait to make syrup out of the other tea bags!

One Size Doesn’t Fit All

After breakfast, I spent ten minutes basting my new belt. It is an elastic, “one-size-fits-all” belt that kept sliding down to my hips. I’ll wear it today and decide if I took it in enough, or if I should let it out a bit, and then I will make the permanent alteration.

I was under the impression that “one-size-fits-all” applied to blogs, also. I read on Pinterest to publish your post between 1:00 and 4:00 pm to increase your traffic.

Chris Snider, who teaches multimedia journalism at Drake University in Des Moines, recommended 9:00 pm in his article, “Get Facebook to show brand’s content” in the Des Moines Sunday Register on August 3rd.

I dutifully published Tuesday’s post at 9:00 pm. I felt bad because I saw people checking the blog throughout the day. I normally publish at 10:00 am. One size did not fit all, and I was unable to be on Facebook at that time to respond to comments there.

I am on Facebook at different times, my favorite being between 4:00 and 6:00 am. There are not many people on at that time. I try to touch base when I eat lunch and the 10:00 am publishing time works best for me.

We need to remember…it’s our belt…and we are the ones who are going to be wearing it.

I cleaned out the glove compartment in the van and found my old phone. We left it in there because I could dial 911 on it in an emergency. In the meantime, my husband upgraded his phone and put his old one in the van.

I sent my old phone to I still had a few mailing bags in my filing cabinet. If you have a cell phone to recycle, you can get a prepaid printed label at this site.

Every financial decision you make should be as personalized as choosing your cell phone.

Donating my old cell phone.

Donating my old cell phone.

Have More Outfits by Buying Less Clothes

“Laura, what do you think about this jacket?”

“The sleeves are too short.” (They were rolled up.)

“I can’t decide; I don’t think your dad likes it.”

“I guess you don’t have to worry about him borrowing it!”

The headline for the August 3rd Des Moines Sunday Register was, “Jordan Creek Mall Seeks Fresh Feel.” The article talked about the changes in shopping since the mall was opened. People are shopping online more, leading to awkward conversations like the one above.

I was not excited when they opened, because I shop from the clearance racks. I knew it would be several months before they started to clearance things out.

At the time, I looked forward to receiving catalogs from Coldwater Creek. I used them to help me make outfits with the clothes I already owned.

But the magazines stopped coming, and when I went online, each item was pictured separately. I did not enjoy the shopping experience as much.  (Coldwater Creek is currently selling off its inventory and going out of business.)

I signed up for the day before they closed. I was really frustrated as I can only wear 100% cotton and finding items made of that material is daunting. I can go through an entire seasonal line and not find anything to buy. let you mark items you wanted to purchase and they sent you an email when it went on sale. Alas, they closed shop.

I moved over to “,” a similar service. They send an email every time the item you desire is reduced in price. You purchase it when the cost is low enough to be worth it to you.

Shopping online is frustrating as the color is not always accurate and it is difficult to see tiny details or the description is too vague.

The best money I have ever spent was $30.00 when I became a member at She sends a weekly post teaching about one area of fashion: “What jacket should you buy,” “How to dress nicely and stay cool,” “What is your perfect skirt length,” etc.

I know my numbers and can tell at a glance whether the dress will be the most flattering length for me or not. The models used are very tall and you can’t always judge a dress by where it hits their knee.

We must remember we are buying clothes for the size we are right now and our bodies are unique. What looks good on you may not look good on me. has you pick your body type, or she will help you choose the correct one, and she will do your seasonal colors for a few dollars more. She tells you what to look for and what to avoid.

Each week she shops at one store and puts suggestions on your page for your body type. She shows which items she would put together out of the ones on the page.

When shopping for clothes it is best to be specific. Right now, I am looking for a white blazer and a denim blazer. I don’t look through all of the clothes offered on a website. I type blazer in the search box and I have an answer rather quickly.

We don’t need more clothes; we need flattering clothes that fit our bodies correctly. can help.

I used the zigzag stitch to lengthen my little black dress.

I used the zigzag stitch to lengthen my little black dress.



20 Lessons from Aunt Mert

As the anniversary of Mert’s passing nears, I realize that the lessons she taught us is the legacy she left with us. Reading through them again, I realized there are some I still have not been doing, i.e. time for play, trips, time with siblings. I think it is time for another girl’s night with my sisters!

My aunt Mert was featured in a “Forever Young” article in the Ottumwa Courier, a local paper. The article, written by Helen Hanna, covered many amazing things about her.

There was the good…

  • Volunteer
  • Self-taught Pianist
  • Self-taught Organist
  • Sunday School Teacher
  • VBS Teacher
  • H & R Block worker, 33 years
  • Income Tax School Teacher
  • Attends school & scout activities
  • Five adult children and spouses
  • 10 Grandchildren
  • 6 siblings who live nearby

…the bad…

  • Widow for 11 years

…and the ugly.

  • Cancer in 2004
  • Cancer returned in 2006

As I read the article I thought it was full of life lessons:

  1. Accept responsibility because someone needs to do it.
  2. Plan on serving for a long time.
  3. Invest in kids; be a teacher.
  4. Don’t let your lack of experience keep you from accepting a challenge.
  5. No formal training? Practice diligently and your skills and confidence will improve.
  6. Fill in when you are needed.
  7. Be willing to learn new things.
  8. Find a job doing work you enjoy.
  9. Stay involved in your children and grandchildren’s activities.
  10. In your chosen career, be willing to teach others.
  11. Play: sports, games, cards, etc.
  12. Make your home welcoming to children.
  13. Have hobbies: watching sports, crocheting, and reading.
  14. Take trips…even short ones.
  15. Cancer, or other illness, does not have to stop you.
  16. Don’t let physical changes (like losing her hair 6 times) bother you.
  17. Appreciate people.
  18. Find inspiration.
  19. Depend on your siblings and let them depend on you.
  20. Keep your faith strong and your sense of humor intact.

The title of the article summed it all up.

“You just do what you have to do!”

Article on Aunt Mert

It’s Not Where You Go That Matters; It’s Who You Take

Mom called today and said, “Do you want to hear the ocean?”


She was sitting on the beach because she is spending a few days with my brother and his family.

My sisters and I take turns driving her to Virginia. I sat on that same beach in 2012.

A new tradition was started this year when my sister took, not only her daughter, but also her granddaughter. (My nephew is currently deployed.)

What a memory for that little girl. She has traveled across the country with four generations. I cannot imagine the stories that were shared.

My sister spent yesterday doing a familiar Iowa tradition as she helped my brother can green beans for the first time. It reminded me of going to Grandma’s and helping her can.

After the phone call, my sister posted a video on my personal timeline; and I decided I want to take my granddaughter, and her family, the next time it is our turn to drive. I want to watch her frolic in the ocean!

But I am not going to wait until then to make memories with her. I want to take her, my mom, and my son on a “farm crawl.” I want to drive by the farms that were at one time occupied by me, mom, both sets of grandparents and great-grandparents.

I want Mom to tell her the stories she told me when I was the child on the car ride.

Our favorite family vacation was not the most expensive one or the week we spent at a cabin in Minnesota. It was the one when we visited two family friends in two cities in Missouri.

Remember, it’s who you take and who is there at the end of the road.

Virginia Beach in 2012. Seeing the ocean was the number one item on my bucket list.

Virginia Beach in 2012. Seeing the ocean was the number one item on my bucket list.