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!”

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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!

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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!

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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

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