Another Perfect Gift

David and I had a misunderstanding. He wasn’t ready to talk about it but I was! What do you do when frustrated? You call the only one who understands – his sister.

She dropped everything and went shopping with me. We went to the Farmer’s Market for fruit and I came home with a Huckleberry pie . . . and a cinnamon roll. Even after loading up on Amish baked goods, we went through the Women’s Club’s Cookie Walk.

She went with me to 3 consignment stores! She is the first one I call. When I ended up in the ER before emergency surgery, she was the one who took me there. She understands when I am irritated at David because she lived with him, too!

The Women’s Club had a plant sale along with their cookie walk. Melinda mentioned she was looking for a Snake Plant. Her birthday was Monday and I gave her the perfect gift – a snake plant.

I have a huge one and I dug one of the plants out of it. (I broke two of my “houseplant tools” in the process.) I had an extra pot, potting soil, and aquarium gravel on hand. I use aquarium gravel on top of the soil of my houseplants because it keeps mold from developing.

I like to fill a need when I give a gift. Sometimes, the perfect gift is already in your home.

Snake plant "Another Perfect Gift" frugalfish.org

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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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