Thursday, September 30, 2010

Banana nut muffins

When Daniel’s parents came to visit us during the summer, Karen (Daniel’s mom) made wonderfully tasty banana nut muffins. Ok, she was actually going to make banana nut bread, but because I couldn’t find a bread pan for the life of me. It was probably because when my husband washed dishes he stuck the pan in one of the draws that had empty space. But at least he washed the dishes, right?

So this month I decided to make muffins using Karin’s recipe. The result? My picky husband liked it so much that I have made 3 batches of muffins in one week. I am muffined out! :)

I hope you will enjoy the recipe as much as we did.

2 bananas (very ripe/almost rotten for better flavor)
2 eggs
½ cup of oil (you can add apple sauce instead or do half and half)
1 tsp of vanilla

mix all the ingredients together


2 c of flour
1 c of sugar
pecans to taste
pinch or two of baking soda

Mix everything well and pour either in muffin tin or loaf pan

Bake at 375F for 45 minutes (you may want to start checking your muffins/bread after 35 minutes)


Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Energy Saving Tricks

Photo credit:

Every month we receive a magazine from our power company and one month the magazine had a brochure 101 Low-Cost/No-Cost Home Energy-Saving Measure. I have read through brochure in no time and kept it in my money saving binder for later use. I will split the serious in several sections and each will share the tricks from the booklet to help you save money.
• Close shades and drapes at night to keep heat in during the winter

• Make sure drapes and shares are open to catch free solar heat in the winter

• Close shades and drapes during the day to help keep heat out during summer

• Ensure attic access door closes tightly

• Insulate attic access door

• Make sure insulation in your attic does not block soffit vents

• Do not close off unused rooms that are conditioned by forced air systems

• Do not close supply air registers

• Ensure return air grilles are not blocked by furniture or bookcase

• Ensure windows and doors are properly weather-stripped

• Make sure outside soffit vents are not blocked

• Do not use roof-top power ventilators for attic exhaust as they may evacuate conditioned air from your home

And the winner is....

Thank you all so much for participating in this giveaway! It makes my heart jump for joy when I see that you have taken your time to visit my blog.

I used to select the winner and the lucky number was 2. Therefore the winner of this giveaway is suburban prep! The e-mail was sent to the winner with $35 gift card to any CSN store.

Once again thank you all for participating and I hope to offer more giveaways on my blog in the near future!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Garden Lessons

My garden is gone and I look forward to start planting seeds at home next year early…maybe February. I have learned quite a few valuable lessons thus far from gardening.

- If I can make veggies grow, then anyone can plant a garden. As I have previously shared with you all, I tend to kill any living flower by over watering it. So I was very nervous about planting a garden from seeds this summer. But when a friend from church taught a lesson about gardening, I decided to give a shot. Now I look forward to plant our little bucket garden next year.

- Even if you do not have space for garden, you can still find room to grow a few tomato and squash plants. Our home is surrounded by forest, thus the land lacks access to sunshine. So when my friend introduced the concept of bucket garden, I jumped on the band wagon. And have enjoyed the joyous ride of enjoying my own veggies. The idea is that you use a bucket, drill holes on the bottom, fill up the bucket with dirt and plant your seeds. Simple as 1, 2, 3!

- Your garden can be as expensive as you make it out to be. Let me explain! I decided to shop at Lowe’s for garden supplies and about have a heart attack when my total came to be around $70. Yes, I know…it would have been cheaper for me to buy veggies from a local farmer than to plant them myself. But along the way I learned that instead of buying expensive buckets, I could just stop by our grocery store and ask ladies at the bakery department to give me 5 gallon buckets. The buckets are used for icing and once the icing is gone, our bakery department throws the buckets away…so I stopped by a few times and accumulated a dozen of buckets for free! Also instead of purchasing mature plants, you can save money by growing plants from seeds. I had a great success with growing tomatoes, squash and green beans from seeds. Once again, if I can do it, you can do it.

- The garden is in need of your TLC (tender loving care). I was about to give up on one squash plant that looked too tiny to produce anything. Because I accidentally forgot to punch holes on the button of the bucket, I almost drowned the squash plant when we had rain. But instead of throwing it away, I decided to love on it and take care of it. To my surprise weeks later I noticed a beautiful yellow flower on the plant, which later turned into squash.

- You don’t have spent a fortune on expensive organic bug sprays. A friend of mine recommended a simple solution to get rid of small, red, aggravating bugs by mixing oil and water together. The result was the same as if I had spent $10 on a bottle of organic bug killer…the pests were gone.

- It takes time for you to see the fruits of your labor. For some odd reason I thought that my tomatoes would grow over night. Hmmm…what I wrong or what?! It took months and I mean months before I picked my very first red tomato. However, I learned that green beans grow and produce very quickly, while squash was growing neither too slow nor too fast. So lesson learned, I must plant my tomato plants inside before April.

I would like to hear from you…how did you garden turn out this year?

Monday, September 27, 2010

Static Hair No More

Nothing drives crazier than static hair. I am a gal that loves to wear her hair up so I seldom bothered by static hair. However, once in a while I do enjoy taking my time to fix my hair. I get up, plug in flat iron and spend the next 15 minutes battling with my frizzy hair. Then I decide that I am in the mood for brown sweater instead of green and make the swap. Well, somehow during the swap process my lovely straight hair charges up and I am reminded again why I love wearing my hair up. That’s right…because my now static hair make me look like a clown because my hair is sticking up instead of sticking down.

According to “when you hair develops positive electric charge -each strand of hair is repelling the other and is trying to get away from each other.” If you are in the same boat as me and feel a little…just a little frustrated about spending 15 minutes fixing your hair just to look in a mirror and see a frizz ball, I have a solution. You can use dryer sheets to keep your hair at bay all while making your hair smelling so fresh and so clean. Just take one dryer sheet, rub it on your hair and your hair will look beautiful again.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Lead Me to the Cross

I had one of those days… upset and tired of fighting God I felt hopeless.

“Will my parents ever come to know You, Lord? Will it take an act of Your army for my dad to stop drinking?” I asked God as I wiped away the tears. “Why is that when John next door asks you for something, you answer in a matter of minutes? And I have been praying for 10 years and you are still silent to my prayers?”

That day I felt so weary spiritually that I was certain that no one in the whole wide world understands the burden that I have for my parents. There are days that I feel the burden is so heavy, that the only comfort to my soul is when my knees hit the floor as I pour out my pain to the Lord.

I am so thankful that God continues to love me even when I question His intentions. He reminded me that He is not silent to my cry, when I glanced at my computer and noticed an e-mail from a church member. Ellen knows my burden for my parents and God spoke through her when she wrote:

Your dad has been heavily on my heart today and I want you to know that I am praying for him”.

How did she know that I needed to hear that encouragement right then? Because I serve a Mighty God who knows everything and placed my dad on Ellen’s heart. In return she was obedient to lifting my dad up in prayer and blessing me when I needed the most through a word of encouragement.

That same day, I shared a prayer request with a small group of prayer warriors and received another comforting e-mail from Paula, whom I have never met. Her encouraging words were a comfort to my hurting soul. In addition to her kind words, she blessed me with several books via mail to help me never give up praying.

By others’ generosity, I was reminded that God hears my cry and will answer in His time and according to His will. He also reminded me that He can use me to be a comfort to others. When He places someone on my mind that not only should I pray, but also take my time to send a note of encouragement to that person. A kind word goes a long way….

Philippians 1:3, “I thank my God every time I remember you”.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Tightwad's Savings

On Saturday I picked up Ingles ad for the upcoming week and was surprised to learn that the store will participate in triple coupon event. Usually Ingles triples coupons twice a year, January and June. So I came home and took out every coupons $0.50 or less for the products that I was interested buying.

On Sunday I had an opportunity to share my story about the Operation Christmas Child with a near by church so on my way home I decided to stop by Ingles and check out the prices.

Since Ingles has a funny coupon policy, where you can only triple 3 coupons for every $10 you sent, I had to become very creative in raising my total dollars spent. This means that I redeemed some of my coupons for free products.

I had coupons for free dog food and we were running low on dog food at home. So I decided it was time to stock up on dog food. I am sure Abby is happy about that.

Since we eat a lot of taco dishes I decided to stock up on Ortega taco seasoning. It was on sale and after the coupon tripled, the seasoning was free. Florida Crystal’s sugar was about $1.30, which in my opinion is a good deal. Cottonelle wipes were free after I used store coupon. And I paid about $1.50 for a carton of 18 eggs.

Apple juice was about $0.75 a bottle and my hubby has been after me for apple juice, so I made his day. The sad thing is the two bottles of apple juice were gone in 2 days. I had a coupon for free chips and yogurt. And sadly I paid full price for milk.

I do not eat cheese, but my hubby loves it…I can’t recall the price but after coupons one bag of Sargento cheese was super cheap…it was definitely a stock up price. The wet dog food was free after coupons (I received several dog food coupons in the mail from manufacturing directly).

Oh how I love Nuetella spread. I haven’t had a spoonful of this heavenly treat in about 3 years. The store was selling it originally for $3.99, but this week’s special was for $2.99 and I have $1 off I decided to purchase a jar for myself and 1 jar to send it to my dad in a care package. My hubby loves yogurt covered raisins and I had $1 off, but unfortunately they were not on sale. I figured we could splurge. And finally Welch’s juice concentrate was about $0.30 a can after coupons.

Before heading home I stopped by CVS and purchased 2 mascaras, which cost me only $0.79. Plus I received 5ECB back.

Total spent: $21.06

Total saved: $87.69

Friday, September 24, 2010

I want to get to know you

I feel so giddy when I check my blog and see that you have visited me. Seriously, I come home and tell my husband all about the blog world that “so and so from Canada said today this and so and so from South Carolina said that.” Never in a million years have I thought that I would meet you and start building a friendship through the world of blogging. So I want to take a moment and THANK YOU for taking your time to read my rambling and taking your time to leave a kind word through comments.

Since you take your precious time to stop by my blog, I thought that today would be a great day to get to know each other a little better. My plan is to share with you two things about me and in return I would love for you to share two things about yourself. PLEASE… I really do care about getting to know you!

The first thing you should know about me is that I am a huge Gamecocks fan, who loves the game of football. During my first college football game, I thought that people running on the field are silly. Seriously, who want to get squashed by 300 pound football player for the sake of holding a football…not me. After a few games, I started to learn slowly the rules, although I am still far away from being a pro. By junior year of college, I was in love with this sport and loved spending my Saturdays cheering for my team with the most wonderful friends in the world.

Today I rarely watch my Gamecocks play…well…because we do not have cable at home. But I faithfully read sports page of the local newspaper every Sunday after church. When I do have a chance to watch the game on TV, neither my husband nor my American family likes to be in the room with me. Wonder why?! Because I am very verbal and enjoy screaming, jumping and running next to the TV as the running back heads for the touch down. OK, enough about football.

Besides watching football, I love to draw. I find the movement of a pencil in my hand incredibly soothing and relaxing. During high school years, when I took art as elective, I fell in love with drawing hands. Why hands, you ask? Because you can express all sorts of emotions through different movement of a hand. Although, I rarely have time to indulge in hand drawing now days, I do cherish the freedom of expression through art.

Now that you have learned two facts about me, I would absolutely love to hear from you. Would you be so absolutely amazingly wonderfully great and leave a comment sharing a few facts about yourself?

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Russian Potatoes

I am a potato eater! Growing up my daddy and mama made the best pan fried potatoes with onion. When I request a dish made with potatoes, my dad would give me a knife and potatoes to peel. Needless to say by the age of 12 I could have entered and won a contest for the best potato peeler, because of my potato peeling experience. When I moved to the US, I started to make this simple dish and it was a hit with my picky eater husband. Now I make this potato side pretty frequently.

While you are peeling potatoes, turn the stove on and let you frying pan covered with a little bit of olive oil warm up.

Wash potatoes and start cutting it in small pieces.

Cover the frying pan with lid and let your potatoes cook for at least 30 minutes turning them occasionally.

In a mean time cut 1 medium/small size onion in tiny pieces and fry it in another pan until golden brown.

Uncover you potatoes and mix cooked onion in the frying pan. See if the potatoes are cooked by using a fork and trying to cut potato pieces in half. If you can easily cut potato in half, then it is done. You can serve potatoes with steaks, chicken, pork chops…the options are limitless.

Enjoy it!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Let the giveaway begin...

Hello my wonderfully great friends!

I had a privilege of trying several products from CSN store and was very pleased with the product and customer service that I received. Please know that my opinion is my own and I would only promote products that I stand behind 100%. So this time I decided to pass on the privilege of testing products sold at CSN stores to you. If you are not familiar with CSN, the company has over 200 stores and they sell anything from modern bedding to kitchen appliances to furniture.

I am giving away $35 dollar gift certificate (does not cover any shipping costs but you can use it on any product from any CSN store) to one lucky reader (US and Canada only). All you have to do is leave a comment and the first part of your e-mail address, which will help me to identify you during winner announcement if you do not have a blog (ex: tightwadintraing@). The giveaway will be open through September 28, 2010 - 5pm EST. Good Luck!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Energy Saving Tricks

Photo credit:

Every month we receive a magazine from our power company and one month the magazine had a brochure 101 Low-Cost/No-Cost Home Energy-Saving Measure. I have read through brochure in no time and kept it in my money saving binder for later use. I will split the serious in several sections and each will share the tricks from the booklet to help you save money.

• Set thermostats to 78F in summer, 68F in winter

For every degree higher you set the thermostat, you can gain as much as 3% saving in every cost

• Run ceiling paddle fans on medium, blowing down in summer

• Run ceiling paddle fans on low, blowing up in winter

• Change heating/air conditioning filters monthly

• When installing new air filters, make sure they are facing in the correct direction

• When heating or cooling, keep windows closed

• Insulate electric wall plugs and wall switches with foam pads

• Caulk along baseboards with clear sealant

• Close fireplace dampers when not burning a fire

• Caulk around plumbing penetrations that comes through walls beneath bathroom and kitchen sinks

• Caulk electrical wire penetrations at the top of the interior walls

Do you have a money saving trick?

Monday, September 20, 2010


I have never won anything by filling out my mailing information and dropping a piece of paper in a prize giveaway bowl while shopping at the store. Yet not knowing the future of whether my name is going to be drawn keeps me wanting to fill out the same form over and over again. Now, I don’t do it for every single drawing that I pass by, because there are times that I do not have 5 extra minutes to waste.

Since we do not have internet at home, I seldom enter giveaway or sweepstakes online. If I am down the mountain browsing the net, I take a few minutes to enter my name in All You magazine giveaways. You can enter your contact information every single day (once a day) and at the end of the month the drawing takes place for some lovely prizes. The reason I chose to participate in this particular giveaway is because your name is entered automatically not just for one gift but for several gifts. I have been entering my name now for at least 6 months and still no luck.

Lucky or not I still hold on to the hope that I may win a trip to Italy by entering my name in Francesco Renaldi giveaway. Seriously, someone has to win so why not me?! You can enter your day every single day for a whole year and at the beginning of 2011 the drawing will take place for a relaxing trip. Oh how I would love to win, but I have a feeling that the whole America is participating in this giveaway so my chances are pretty slim. But at least I can hope, right?!

There are many hopefuls who participate in giveaways every single day with optimism of winning something. I have heard of people who spend hours entering giveaways because that is their real job. They use prizes as a source of income. I think I would be a little too nervous to rely on giveaways as my source of income. But hey…if someone can do, then they deserve applause.

Do you enter giveaways and sweepstakes? Have you won anything? We would love to hear from you.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Lead Me to the Cross

I was sad to tell Daniel good bye, because I knew that I would not see him for one month as he was leaving to attend a military camp. We hugged and Daniel said that he would call me as soon as his plane lands to let me know that he made it safely. Many hours later I received a bothersome phone call from Daniel letting me know that all his dry food was stolen from his bag along with a flashlight and a crumbly TSA note stuck in the bag informed Daniel that his bag was inspected.

I stayed calm for about 5 minutes processing my conversation with Daniel. About a month before Daniel had to leave for camp, I began to coupon shop for items like beef jerky and protein bars. Little by little a stash of dried food was growing and I felt better knowing that my husband would not have to surviving the next month on MRE (meals – ready to eat) only. So you can imagine what I was feeling as I was told that the food was gone. My hard work of scouting every single store for good deals was vanished as quickly as Daniel’s 1 minute call that also informed me that military will be collecting everyone’s phone in a few hours.

As soon as we hung up I told the people I was surrounded by what have happened.

“Oh boy! These people picked the wrong person to mess with. They are about to deal with Oxmeana, the one who spent days on the phone with airline customer service, when my mama was treated poorly during her winter trip. Yep, the same one who didn’t stop when electronics store told her there was nothing that they can do with malfunctioned computer that she only had for less than one month. But what bothers me the most is that the food was taken from a military bag. Common, seriously?! And a flashlight…why would some one need a flashlight?” I said with anger and disappointed as I was searching for TSA contact info online.

My anger was fueled even more when the TSA representative told me that I would have to fill out a gazillion page report and they would only then start investigation. Unhappy I was ready to do whatever it took for justice to prevail. This means that if I have to fill out multiple page report, I would. The remainder of the day I rehearsed in my mind what I would say in the letter that I was planning to write very soon.

Even before going to bed, I couldn’t stop thinking about the food situation. I began to pray.

“Lord, if the person was hungry, why didn’t he or she just leave us a note saying so? I wouldn’t be angry then. It bothers me that someone chose to still the food…out of a military bag to make the matter worst”.

Just as I was preparing to fall asleep, the Lord gently whispered Matt 5:40 in my ear.

“And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well”.

“But Lord”, I answered dissatisfied. “I worked hard for my "tunic" and "cloak". It took time to find the deals and coupons and now someone else enjoys my hard work!”

But the Lord continued to impress upon my heart to forgive and forget. It was never mine to begin with. He will take care of the rest. And I followed His instructions of forgiving and forgetting.

Note: As I share with you my life lessons, I want you to know that I am far from being perfect. I am a sinner who falls short of God's glory and He continues to teach me daily to be more like Him.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Tightwad's Savings

Jet lag has not been my friend this week. I have been feeling so tired that I cared nothing about grocery shopping and coupons. On Sunday after church, I picked up a few items that I either wanted or we needed from Ingles.

I picked up fish, ready to eat cole slaw, BBQ sauce and deli meat just to name a few.

Since I haven’t cooked fish in ages, I thought it would be a great break from eating chicken and ground turkey. Tilapia is my favorite. Deli meat was for my hubby to sandwiches for lunches. And BBQ was for us to make pulled pork…yummy! Oh, yeah…forgot the cole slaw. I have been craving this side dish for a month now and still have not been able to make it. Do you have a good recipe?

CVS trip was nothing to brag about. I picked up two items that were free after ECB. I am planning to put corn candy in one of the shoe boxes that we are putting together.

Total spent: $29.19

Total saved: $14.23

Friday, September 17, 2010

Energy Saving Tricks

Every month we receive a magazine from our power company and one month the magazine had a brochure 101 Low-Cost/No-Cost Home Energy-Saving Measure. I have read through brochure in no time and kept it in my money saving binder for later use. I will split the serious in several sections and each will share the tricks from the booklet to help you save money.


1. Use your refrigerator’s anti-sweat feature only if necessary
2. Switch your refrigerator’s power saver to “ON.” If available
3. Set the refrigerator temperature to 34F – 37F and freezer to 0F -5F
4. Ensure gaskets around door seal tightly
5. Unplug unused refrigerators or freezers
6. Use microwave for cooking when possible
7. When cooking on the range, use pot lids to help food cook faster
8. If you are heating water, use hot tap water instead of cold
9. Remember to use the kitchen exhaust fan when cooking and turn it off after cooking
10. Let hot food cool before storing it in the fridge
11. Rinse dirty dishes with cold water before putting them into the dishwasher
12. Use cold water for garbage disposal
13. Only run dishwasher when fully loaded
14. Use air dry cycle instead of heat dry cycle to dry dishes

How do you conserve energy in your kitchen?

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Yummy Hash Browns

Growing up my mom cooked a lot of dishes with potatoes because the dishes came out to be inexpensive and filling. My favorite potato dish growing up was draniki, but when I came to the US I fell in love with hash browns. So now I make yummy dish fairly often, especially since cooked potatoes (before frying them in the pan) freeze very well.

Peel a few potatoes and wash them well.

Stick potato with the fork to avoid explosion in the oven (I am not kidding...they will explode).

Place potatoes in a baking dish with a lid on and cook them for 1.5 hours at 350F.

Let potatoes cool and then grade them.

At this point you can either freeze hash browns for later use and fry hash browns right ways.

The end result is yummy!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Where is my missing sock?

Our washing machine and a dryer are known for eating our socks and I am not kidding about it. There have been many times that I go to fold clothes and socks are missing…well…actually one stock is missing. I would then pair the lonely sock with another lonely sock creating a miss matched pair. Although my husband doesn’t seem to mind miss matched socks (as long as they are the same color), the MIA socks drive me crazy. Some days when I do laundry I just pile all socks together in a basket and wait for the day when I am so thrilled to match all hundred and one sock that I just can’t contain myself.

These “oh happy socks” days are few and far in between because I found an amazing method of keeping our socks from going missing on laundry days. I came across this trick some time ago and it has been working wonders. Ok…you are probably dying to know what it is…so here you go. Before I do laundry I clip a pair of matching socks with a safety pin and throw them in the washing machine. After the socks dry, in a matter of a few minutes I unpin them and fold together. Our socks our no longer MIA and I enjoy stress free “I don’t have to look for this sock ever again” laundry days!

Do you have time saving laundry tip?

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Learning how to make bread from scratch

About 6 months ago, when I attended a healthy eating class at church, I decided to make homemade bread from scratch. I wanted the bread to be preservative free and healthy, which my mama also reminded me of when she came to visit. My mama was shocked to see a whole wheat bread stay so soft with no mold for 3 weeks.

I contemplated for several weeks before deciding to make whole wheat bread from scratch and couldn’t wait for Daniel to try it. Well, the first loaf that I baked in the bread machine turned out ok, but not as soft as I have hoped. The second loaf I cooked in the pan in the oven also did not turn out as good as the bread we buy in the grocery store. Just when you think “third time is a charm”, I was very disappointed when my bread did not cook all the way. Perhaps it was because I pulled it out of the oven before it had time to bake all the way. So I gave up.

My idea of saving money and baking healthy bread was thrown out of the window, until I came a cross this link I ordered my books online and when I return home from Spain, I will try to make artisan bread. Based on the book review and comments that I found online, the bread suppose to be super easy to make and it will taste just as good as any bread in the bakery department. I am drooling right about now…nice fluffy bread with crusty cust. Trust me I have read plenty of bread baking blogs and watched plenty youtube videos to hope that this time around my bread will turn out delicious. I can’t wait to share my journey with you all.

Have you tried to make homemade bread? Do you have any tips?

Monday, September 13, 2010

Laundry days...

I have been trying to learn how to love laundry days, but thus far my attempts have been unsuccessful. To be honest with you, I hate doing laundry! I don’t mind throwing clothes in the washing machine or dryer, it is the folding, ironing and putting away part that I do not like. I would much rather clean the bathroom than do laundry!

After doing laundry, folding clean bed sheets and storing them in our closet is an easy task until the day that I have to pull the sheets out. I then spend extra 5 minutes trying to retrieve every component that goes into changing the bed sheets.

Recently I came across a neat time saving tip that I would love to share today with you. Once you fold your clean sheets, stack them all together and store them inside of a pillow case. Easy as 1, 2, 3! Now I do not have to search for a matching pillow case or lost bed sheets, because now all the components of bed making are together in one place.

What is your time saving tip?

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Lead Me to the Cross

It was 10:30 pm and I was driving back home from school. I was tired and ready to go to bed, yet scared to walk in to the house alone since Daniel was out of town. Although we live in the middle of nowhere, in the mountains, uneasiness of parking my car and running to the door left me asking God for help. I began to pray, “Lord, you know I am a chicken when it comes to walking alone in the dark. Please send your angels to guard me!” As I began to gain confidence that I will be just fine unlocking the door without supervision, I noticed a car that appeared from nowhere behind me.

Most of the nights, I am one of the few people on the road that late going up the mountain. It felt strange that this car appeared all of a sudden behind me. One minute I look and there is no one behind me, and five minutes later I look and there is a car following me. I decided to stay calm and see if the car will turn to the right, where almost all cars make a turn. Unfortunately for me the car did not veer to the right and I began to wonder who would be driving up the mountain so late besides me. I also began to wonder if God heard my cry 10 minutes ago for protection.

At this point my prayer for protection became very loud as I time and time again asked God to keep me safe. Finally I was almost home and the car was still following me. As I turned in to our driveway, I stopped and looked back. Laughter filled the car as I realized that my God was answering my prayer all along my drive up the mountain. The car that has been following me for the last 10 minutes turned out to be a police car!!! And let me just share something with you, I rarely see policemen patrolling the mountain and I have never seen a policeman near our house so late at night.

That night the Lord has revealed to me that He is very attentive to my prayer requests. He also revealed to me that no request is too little or insignificant to Him. He is omnipotent and omnipresent Lord who says in Isaiah 65:24 “Before they call I will answer; while they are still speaking I will hear.” God heard my cry and used a police car that appeared from nowhere to escort me all the way home. That night the Lord has also showed me that I need to trust in Him and have faith that He will answer my prayer request. Proverbs 3:5,6 says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight”.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Tightwad's Savings

This week I had fun grocery shopping in Spain. My co-worker and I decided to buy breakfast items instead of going out to eat breakfast every day. That way we would save money for our employer and save time for us.

I slowly browsed every grocery isle and picked out several items that I was familiar with and several items that I have never tried before. The prices were very reasonable and in some cases were cheaper than in the US. As far as I know Spain does not have coupons.

On Saturday we stopped by the farmer's market and I felt like a kid in a candy store. The place was huge!!! The variety of fish, meat and fruit was unreal. The best part is that everything was fresh and fruit was very cheap.

Total spent: around Euro 20 ($25.68)

Friday, September 10, 2010

Energy Saving Tricks

Every month we receive a magazine from our power company and one month the magazine had a brochure 101 Low-Cost/No-Cost Home Energy-Saving Measure. I have read through brochure in no time and kept it in my money saving binder for later use. I will split the serious in several sections and each will share the tricks from the booklet to help you save money.


1. Wash clothes in cold water. Use hot water only for very dirty loads
2. Do only full laundry loads
3. If you must do smaller loads, adjust the water level in the washing machine to match the load size, especially when using hot water
4. Always use cold water rinse
5. Use bath towels at least twice before washing them
6. Clean your dryer’s lint trap before each load
7. Make sure that the outdoor dryer exhaust door closes when dryer is off
8. Verify dryer vent hose is tightly connected to inside wall fitting
9. Check that the dryer vent hose is tightly connected to dryer
10. Make sure dryer vent hose is not kinked or clogged
11. Minimize clothes drying time; use moisture sensor on dryer if available
12. Dry consecutive loads to harvest heat remaining in dyer from last load
13. Consider suing a “solar-powered” clothes dryer, an old fashioned clothes line.

I have tried the tip #13 for several month, but gave up when I noticed many legged friends, aka spiders, were staring at me when I folded clothes.

Have you implemented any of these tricks in your home? Do you have money saving tips on laundry?

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Frugal Reads

When I have a free moment (which doesn’t happen too often) I enjoy reading. At night I read the Bible and was beyond blessed when God spoke to me through the book of Job (I will share with you about my experience in weeks to come). In between studying for classes, I like to read books and articles about living frugal. I know you must be shocked?!  So this is what I have on my to read list as soon as I am done with school in October.

- The Complete Tightwad Gazette. I started to read this book two years ago and am determined to finish it by Dec. 31st.

- Back to Basics: Traditional Kitchen Wisdom

- Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day and Healthy Bread in 5 Minutes a Day. I have ordered these books through Wal-Mart, which had the best deal, and can’t wait to read them upon my return from Spain. I will try making homemade crusty bread and share my journey with you. Thus far my attempt of making homemade bread has been unsuccessful.

- The Farm to Table Cookbook

- Green Home Improvement

- Country Wisdom & Know-How

- Thriving During Challenging Times

- The Encyclopedia of Country Living

- One Day at a Time in Al-Anon, The Twelve Steps for Christians and Let Go and Let God. A precious friend of mine, whom I have never met face to face, has sent me these books to help me understand my daddy’s battle with drinking.

I am also fascinated with Amish communities and if I could, I would love to live with Amish family for 1 month and learn new cooking and homesteading techniques. It would be a dream come true to follow their daily schedule of farming and cooking. I realize it is hard work, but I believe I would find it very fulfilling. Note to myself…find books about Amish living. In a mean time since I can not stop working for 1 month for fulfill my dream, plus I do not think my husband would like the idea of living without me that long, I must find something else to do. In fact, an older couple from church owns a dairy farm and I have asked them if I can come one day after I am done with school to help them with their cows. With a big smile and a facial expression, “You have no idea what you are signing up for”, they graciously agreed for me to help them feed baby cows in the fall. I will make sure to document my farming experience.

In a mean time I would love to hear from you. What books are you currently reading? If you have any suggestions on how to acquire the books for very little out of pocket cost, I would be forever grateful.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Garden in September

GUEST POST by Jennifer Iseli

“Though it is the smallest of all your seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and perch in its branches.” Matthew 13:32

• Stop most heavy pruning and fertilizing; however, you will want to lightly fertilize any perennial mums or fall blooming flowers and shrubs.

• Apply a time release fertilizer to Hellebores for a better flower display in late winter.

• Fertilize any stressed plants with a low nitrogen fertilizer.

• Apply lime (if needed)

• Prune hedges.

• Plant cool season veggies such as kale, kohlrabi, leaf lettuce, onions, mustard, and radishes at the beginning of the month

• Before you move any houseplants back inside, repot those that have overgrown their pots and check carefully for insects and their eggs.

• Start fall clean-up in the flower beds, cutting back anything that has finished blooming or is diseased

• Separate, divide and move perennials such as lily of the valley or perennial phlox

• Harvest remaining summer vegetables, including green tomatoes. (Ripen by wrapping each in a sheet of newspaper and storing in a cool (55 - 60 degrees F.) dark spot

• If there are fruit trees in your yard, clean up fallen fruit. They can harbor diseases and mold spores

• It’s time to plant peonies! And also Trees and shrubs. Keep well watered, if there isn’t sufficient rain.

• Dispose of any diseased or infested plant debris that you may find, to avoid over wintering the problem (but do not compost this stuff)

Did you know?
Complete Fertilizers contain 3 main nutrients:
• Nitrogen (N) which helps developing leaves
• Phosphorus (P) which aids in root and flower development
• Potassium (K) which aids in fruit development
You will always find them in this order too (N_P_K)
It’s called a “Guaranteed Analysis” which guarantees that the nutrients are found in this exact per portion.
• A “balanced” fertilizer contains equal amounts of each element. For example: 10-10-10 is a balanced fertilizer.
• When you are told to apply a fertilizer that is specific for one element it means that you need to look for a fertilizer where that number is much higher than the others. For example, a 20-5-5 fertilizer would be called a Nitrogen fertilizer.

Thrifty Tips
• Over-winter ferns (and other tropicals) inside your house. They may start to look “ratty” towards the end of the winter, but as long as they are still alive (you can lightly scratch the stem to see), it won’t take long for them to flush out in the spring.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Be content with what you have

It was 100 degrees outside, but it sure felt like 300 degrees as I was riding in my car with the windows down, because my AC was not working. Daniel and I had to run an errand in a near by town and riding in my car was our only option that day. Ill from feeling overheated and sweaty I looked at my left arm and shook my head. Seriously, I looked like half cooked lobster. One arm that enjoyed the sunshine because of the rolled down window was completely red and burned, while my other arm was as white as a ghost. My husband was also feeling the weather, because he had to deal with not so friendly me.

Before heading home Daniel proposed for us to stop by the mall so he can see if the shoes that he has been wanting are on sale. I reminded him that I needed a button up shirt to go with a skirt that I was planning to take on a business trip. After we enjoyed a small discount of purchasing Daniel’s shoes, I started to look for a shirt that I wanted. We stopped by one store and they didn’t have exactly what I wanted. The cheapest button up shirt was $29 dollars. We moved on to the next store where I spotted “the one”, the beautiful pink button up shirt with no bright discounted sale stickers on it. I put it back on the rack only to be question by my husband if something was wrong with the shirt. The price was just not right ($39 dollars), but he nicely told me to get it. But I just couldn’t see myself paying $39 dollars for one shirt. The $39 dollars could feed my family for a whole week and the shirt…well…it would probably be hanging in my closet after the trip.

Since my trip was 3 weeks away, I figured that I would look through my closet as soon as I come home and see if I can find something to go with the skirt. When I opened the closet door, I was ashamed at how much clothes I have yet I complained hours earlier that I didn’t have anything to go with the skirt. In a matter of a few minutes I found a beautiful off white shirt that would look great with my brown skirt that I was planning to take on my business trip. This episode of wanting a new shirt made me realize that I should be content with what I have, because I have been blessed beyond my imagination.

When my mama visited us this summer from a small country of Belarus she also reminded me that I have been blessed by simply asking me if she could take several toothbrushes with her home. Of course I didn’t mind at all and asked if she was taking the toothbrushes home for her family. She looked at me and smile. My mama was bringing toothbrushes as a gift for others! Several people have requested for her to bring a good American toothbrush. I stood quite and humbled by the fact that someone in a foreign country wanted a toothbrush that cost several dollars for a gift instead of a fancy dust collector. When was the last time I stopped and thanked God for letting me have access to great dental care through easy access to toothbrush and toothpaste? Hmmm….I can’t recall it!

How about you, my friend, do you have a humbling moment when you realized that you should be content with what you have? We would love to hear!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Visiting Spain

I have been blessed with an opportunity to travel to Spain for 10 days on a business trip. Today I would like to share with you some of the pictures that I have taken thus far.

As soon as we (my co-worker and I) arrived to the hotel, I couldn’t wait to go check out a grocery store that was located within walking distance. I am happy to report that the prices are very reasonable and in some cases are much cheaper than in the US. Unfortunately I didn’t see any signs that gave explanation of coupon policy, thus I am guessing no coupons in Spain…but I also can’t speak or read Spanish…so maybe I missed the sign.

Next I couldn’t wait to try Spanish cuisine. We ate a lot of tapas. According to wikipedia, “tapas is the name of a wide variety of appetizers, or snacks, in Spanish cuisine. They may be cold (such as mixed olives and cheese) or warm (such as fried squid)”. I must say desserts are just so-so for the exception of homemade ice cream…I can so eat it every day.

Sight seeing was enjoyable. I noticed that almost every single building was covered with graffiti, which in Spain represents the creativity on an artist. My favorite part of sight seeing was visiting local farmer’s market. It was the biggest farmer’s market that I have ever seen. Each shop is filled with fresh produce, meat or fish. The prices for fruit were unbelievably cheap and you guessed it… I bought some yummy fresh fruit. I made a mistake of picking up a strange looking fruit to smell, only to be told later to be careful because it has thorns…well…it was too late… my fingers were full of them and needless to say I did not purchase the funky thorn filled fruit.

We also had an opportunity to stop by the beach and wet our feet in the
Mediterranean Sea.

The rest of the week will be spent at the trade show speaking to new and existing customers…woot…woot…