Halloween Is Just Not My Holiday

Halloween is nearly here.  Children and adults alike will dress up and even decorate their homes. I have put the fall wreath and flag out, but no Halloween decorations.

Halloween is just not my favorite holiday.  I am completely unimpressed by the bloodied arms hanging out of auto trunks and the ghosts hanging from my neighbor’s tree.  Maybe it is my upbringing that gives me no interest in this holiday.  I tricked and treated as a kid in those plastic costumes with the hard plastic mask that always broke or your breath would steam up the inside of the mask while the rest of your body froze in the damp cold dark. I was an only child who always  went by myself.

My mom always attempted to bribe me not to go with 3 bags of my favorite candies. She disliked Halloween too. Mom looked at Halloween and trick or treat especially as begging.  When I became a preteen my church trick or treated for UNICEF. Mom had no issue with it and I didn’t have to go alone. We still dressed up and knocked on doors saying trick or treat for UNICEF.

By the time I was a teen I was very happy getting the three bags of candy and only felt left out when the other kids talked about how much candy they got. I really never got into the costume thing even as a teen.

Once I had kids we chose to send them to a Christian school. We lived in the country. There was no one close enough to let them trick or treat near us, so we chose to allow them to attend the school’s harvest party in costume.

I have no issues with the holiday per say.  I think some of the decorations are cute.  I adore seeing my grandkids in their costumes and having fun. We sent some candy to our grandson’s that are jars with  science experiments in them.  I love the song Monster Mash.  I love pumpkin, and I love the old campy monster movies.

I get it.  It’s the one holiday you can make believe you are anyone or anything for a day or night.  The last time I wanted to be someone or something other than what I am, was when I was about 10 years old. Some friends of my parents had a Halloween party for their kids and I was invited.  I dressed as a cheerleader and enjoyed it. I am so content  with who I am I just don’t understand why anyone would want to be someone else.

So, we will have candy for our nonexistent trick or treaters because we don’t live in a gated community. My  husband and I will eat pizza, drink beer, and watch old movies.   Just another day at the Drew’s.

If you are one of those who enjoys the holiday, enjoy and be safe. Please be patient with those of us who just don’t get the blood and gore side of the holiday.

Happy Birthday Dad

Steph and Justin’s wedding. Dad is on the right

Happy Birthday dad!  You would have been 82 today if you were still with us.  I wish I could say that I miss you, but my life hasn’t changed much since you passed.

Mom is doing well.  She has her house and a little bit of money to spend and do some things. Of course this is no thanks to you.  I’m sorry that this sounds mean dad, but even if you were here and I said these things to you, you would never get it.

I realize in your own way that you loved me and mom. I can’t speak for mom, but it took you nearly my whole life to be proud of me.  I wasn’t a bad kid, teen, or woman.  I think the only thing that I ever did that would have disappointed you was elope with Chris instead of a big wedding, but then the big wedding would have made you crazy.

We never heard you laugh. You cracked jokes around other people, but rarely us. You worked the same god awful job most of your life. You made barely above minimum wage at it. You hated your job and deep down you blamed us because you worked it.  But then you really only cared if you had spending money in your pocket. It never mattered to you if I had clothes to wear, it wasn’t your problem.  You only kept your $30 a week.  Of course when you brought home $210 weekly that was a huge chunk. But mom was and is a wizard at making small amounts of money work.

I learned many things from you.  In fact some of the things I love the most about me came from you.  My interest in history, sci fy, even the foods I loved all came from you.

I’m sorry that you are gone dad because deep down a child always hopes for that closeness with their parents that others  seemed to have.  I wanted a relationship with you and now there is no hope for it.

I am glad that my kids and husband had good relationships with you.  I also realize that our relationship was a two way street. I could have done something more to make it work.  I didn’t understand you anymore than you understood me.

I don’t understand how you refused to take care of yourself, how you limited your life.  You always looked back at how you were raised.  The whole time you complained that your father never took you to a Chicago Cub game, you had a daughter who would have done anything to go to a game with you.  We never did until Chris and I took you to a couple of spring training games.

I didn’t understand your surface interest in the things you were interested in. You loved WW2 history, but you limited your interest to documentaries and old movies.  You never delved into the substance of what happened.

I do want to thank you.  It is because of you that I don’t give up this battle to lose weight. It is because of you I eat healthy and rarely eat fast food. It is because of you that I look at each and every day as a new adventure to find joy and knowledge that you never had before. It is because of you that I continue to push myself and not get comfortable in life.  It is because of you that Chris and I climbed the second highest man made point in Belize.  I don’t want to look back at my life and wistfully think of what I missed out on.

It is also because of you  that I can’t stand clutter. Being a child of a hoarder wasn’t an easy thing. I never knew things could be different until I married Chris and we bought our current home. I have realized how much the stuff we own now owns us.  I couldn’t understand how you could look at a box and tell me exactly where you bought it and when.  You couldn’t ever remember that our youngest daughter’s middle name was named after your mother’s middle name.

I am also thankful that you finally gave into moving to Florida last year.  I know you resented it, but it gave me time with you to learn to accept you even though this post seems as if I didn’t.  I am thankful that we were able to spend your birthday with you and most of your grandkids were here to celebrate it.  I am thankful that when you landed in the hospital just before Thanksgiving that you were here When you breathed your last breath in that hospital, I am thankful that you were not alone.  We were there sitting by your beside.

I have put off writing any posts about you dad. The reality is hard for me to share.  I loved you and you loved me.  We just never ever understood each other.  I was told recently that lots of girls have issues with their dads.  This is probably true.  The truth is that I see you for who you were, I dream of what you could have been, and I accept you for it all.




Taking Contol Of My Own Health Issues. Today Is Just The Beginning

I have always said that one of the most frugal things you can do for your financial self is maintain your health.  Now I weigh far more than I wanted or ever dreamed I could be.  I would say that I am most certainly obese.  The sad thing is I eat healthy and attempt to exercise daily.

The last time I lost my weight was back in 1999.  I worked at a bank and was totally motivated.  I went to Dr. Creepy ( no clue his real name as this is what we called him).  He prescribed water pills and a diet pill that must have been pure speed.  I worked out 60 to 90 minutes a day and controlled my food intake with an iron fist.  I wrote a meal plan and religiously followed it.  In many ways I am ashamed of taking the diet pills, yet even now I wish I could find that magic pill to get me back to where I belong.

The reason this subject is coming up is the new 2015 rules for my husband’s employer provided health insurance.  The rule is that if the employee is overweight per the health provider’s chart than you must pay an extra $600 per year.  Sadly my husband is slightly overweight.  On the chart he is obese, but if he actually went down to the suggested weight, my husband would look completely unhealthy.  How do I know?  Because during our darkest days financially he was so devastated and depressed he lost a large amount of weight very quickly and looked gaunt and sick.  He scared our children as we thought he was wasting away.

I have known that this day was coming.  I expected it.  Thankfully they don’t used this against we spouses for now.  I have begun a thoughtful plan to take care of our health.

Instead of the usual this is just not fair, I have to figure out how to take care of me and my husband. You see I could sit here and cry that I am fat and they are discriminating against me because in a way they are.  But then again they are not.  I hate being a number or a statistic.  I also hate how complicated things are now in the age of the affordable care act

So here I sit.  I have to take control of my own health period. The way  see it is I have two major issues.  My weight and my osteoarthritis.  They are hand in hand issues.  The weight makes the inflammation worse and the inflammation makes it hard to lose my weight.  Kind of like being 16 years old and wanting a car, but you can’t get a car without a job. Of course you can’t get a job without a car.

I have been researching for the better part of two weeks and have tried a couple of things.  I feel it is beginning to work, but I have a feeling this is going to be a long term process of adding and eliminating foods, herbs, essential oils, and exercise in order to find the help I need to deal with the inflammation.

I will be updating you on everything I learn.  I have learned that whatever helps the inflammation or osteoarthritis makes the peri menopause worse.  I have to choose the lesser of two evils there. I have to choose ridding my body of inflammation over the menopausal symptoms as the inflammation causes pain and affects my physical health.

Do you suffer from any health issues? What do you do to deal with pain or the symptoms.  Better yet do you have a physician you trust or have they seemed to let you down?  I would love to hear from you!!!


My Daily SkinCare Routine Taken Straight From The Cupboard

Once we made the decision to begin a frugal lifestyle it soon became apparent that my habit of spending loads of money at Sephora on facial treatments was over.  It was sad because I adored Sephora and Ulta, but then again it wasn’t that sad because most of the products worked for a short time and then didn’t seem to give me the same results over time.  Of course the ones that did work were now to expensive for me.

It came to reason that if the cleaning supplies I have used over time could be replaced with all natural ingredients than why couldn’t I find solutions for my facial products? This began a search for replacements. I tried numerous recipes, tried all natural products, including African Black Soap and even wrote a post on it. I loved the black soap, but it is messy and dries my face when I use it twice a day.

The face wash I settled on was from the Homestead Hippy. It intrigued me that washing your face with oils could be good for your skin and cleansing at the same time.

So step one is cleansing


  • oil, sunflower, olive, grape seed, coconut, etc
  • castor oil
  • essential oil

This recipe has ratios rather than amounts.  The ratios are as follows:

  1. oily skin     30% castor oil to 70% oil
  2. normal skin 20% castor oil to 80% oil
  3. dry skin      10% castor oil to 90% oil
  4. a few drops of essential oil

With my dry skin I still use the oily skin ratio.  This is still very greasy.  I have been adding tea tree oil and am currently searching for a few other essential oils to help cleanse my skin.  I usually use grape seed oil or sunflower oil; This does not come off by just splashing water onto my face. You need a warm wet washcloth to gently remove the oils.

Step 2 is toning.  This step is one that I did back as a teen and really haven’t needed to do since I have stopped having acne.  This step is necessary when using this face wash.  The oil does not come completely off with the washcloth and has occasionally caused pimples to appear. I use witch hazel as my toner.  It removes the excess oil and tightens the skin.  My skin feels refreshed when this step is done as if it is a clean slate, ready for the next step.

Step 3 is moisturizing. Your skin needs moisturized even it is oily.  I didn’t believe this when I was younger.  I so wish I had listened to this advice, but the biggest issue I had back then was my acne.  I just couldn’t get rid of it. In my 30’s and 40’s I battled acne and wrinkles. I just couldn’t win.

I have found that the best answer for moisturizing my face has been oil.  Yes oil. I use three different kinds of oil.  They consist of argan oil, coconut oil, and castor oil.  I have tried olive oil, sunflower oil, almond oil, and a few other kinds that have left my skin greasy, but these three work amazingly well for me.  My skin is soft and clear skinned.

  1. Argan oil     The oil comes from the kernal of the argan tree. It grows in Morroco and is widely used in cooking in Morroco. It is a heart healthy oil. It can be used from head to toe as can the other two oils. It can be used in your hair, body, and face.The best thing about Argan oil is that our skin loves it. It absorbs into skin amazingly. There is no greasy feel. It is awesome! Read about Argan oil here. My issue is cost.  I primarily use Argan oil as an under eye moisturizer. Normal price at Amazon is $39.95. As of this writing it is on sale at $15.95.  This is for 1 ounce organic, high quality oil.
  2. Coconut oil   This oil is from the coconut as the name would suggest. It has anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial and antioxidant properties. This is also a great make up remover.  It hydrates dry skin and does not leave my skin greasy. I would suggest you read more about coconut oil at ehow.  This is a decently informative article. I use coconut oil as my daytime moisturizer. I don’t recommend this to anyone with oily skin as it is a heavy oil. The cost of coconut oil is quite a bit lower than Argan oil.  At Amazon.com 32 ounces of extra virgin coconut oil is $17.95 with free shipping. So you can see how cost effective it is
  3. Castor oil   This vegetable oil is from the castor bean. It is not the first oil I would ever dream of using. In fact I would never ever have used it prior to my research.  It has the sound of cod liver oil from my father’s day. It has many uses and you can find these uses here.  I learned that when it comes to wrinkles, acne, and skin rashes this stuff is the bomb. It is very heavy and greasy feeling for me so I use this as my night cream. The castor oil plumps your skin as you sleep. Please only use this product once a day. The wrinkle diminishing properties will actually reverse and the skin will slacken with to much use. That is not what I am after! Amazon has castor oil for $11.40 for 16 ounces.

So there you have it.  These are the steps for my daily skin care. They seem to be working as I get asked pretty regularly as to where are your wrinkles if you are over 50?  Let’s face it, I am not a doctor, nor do I play one on tv. These are just things I have tried for a long time and seems to work for me.  I can not guarantee how they will work for you!

Pumpkin Muffins That Beat Dunkin’s!

I have been obsessed with Dunkin Donuts Pumpkin Muffins since I had my first one years ago.  They are just the perfect muffin or close to it, add a cup of hazelnut coffee and I am in heaven!

Back when we still had cable I began to watch the TV show Good Eats with Alton Brown I slowly lost my fears of experimenting with recipes.  Now I am the first to admit that there have been loads of failures and a few recipes of pure awesomeness.  The first recipe I decided to create was a Pumpkin Muffins  I wanted a pumpkin filled muffin that tasted a lot like Dunkin’s! I wanted a muffin with the perfect blend of spices that was totally irresistible.

I began my experiment about three years ago. The first batch was filled with so many more ingredients and a lot less pumpkin.  Each batch was enjoyed by all.  My family kept telling how each batch was perfect, but in my head it was missing something. I tweaked and pinched ingredients. I took notes each time and made corrections on the amounts of ingredients and came up with this recipe.  I made 6 huge muffins and 6 regular sized muffins so I would say this recipe would make 18 normal sized muffins.  I made these on Friday night and by Monday morning there were none left over. We had no company! My husband couldn’t get enough of them.

All the ingredients assembled
All the ingredients assembled

The first step was getting all the ingredients ready to go!

IMG_0295Whisking all of the flour, baking powder and soda, salt, and spices.

IMG_0296The butter and sugar creamed.

IMG_0297Added each egg one at a time. Added the rest of the ingredients, except the flour mixture.


The flour mixture being added to the wet mixture. Just don’t over mix. Mix together until combined with no flour showing.


  •  1 1/2 Cup All Purpose Flour
  • 1 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1/2 tsp Nutmeg
  • 1 TBSP Cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp Ginger
  • 1/4 Salt
  • 1 Stick of Butter
  • 1 Cup Sugar
  • 2 Eggs
  • 2 TBSP Vegetable Oil
  • 1/2 TBSP Sour Cream
  • 2/3 Cup Buttermilk
  • 1 15oz Canned Pumpkin
  • 1 tsp Vanilla
  1.      In a large bowl whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, spices, and salt.  Whisk until completely combined and there are no clumps.
  2.      In another large mixing bowl cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy,
  3.      Add eggs, one at a time until combined, add oil, sour cream, buttermilk, pumpkin and vanilla until well combined.
  4.      Add flour mixture and stir until mixed and the flour is combined without over mixing.
  5.      Pour into lined muffin tins, sprinkle struesel topping onto the top of the muffins. Recipe to follow
  6.      Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 30 to 35 minutes or until a toothpick pushed in the middle comes out clean.

IMG_0299Struesel mixture completed.  Yum!

Struesel Topping

  • 3/4 Cup Brown Sugar
  • 3/4 Cup Flour
  • 3 TBSP Butter
  • 2 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1/2 Cup nuts*

Pulse in a food processor. Sprinkle on top of the muffins. Just remember that more is not always better.  Use about 1 tablespoon or so for each muffin.

IMG_0305The finished product!!!! They were awesome. PLEASE try these and let me know what you think!

It Feels Like I Am Pulling Myself Out Of Quicksand

Today’s post in not originally what I wanted to write about.  I was going to write about my pumpkin muffin recipe, but I just can’t write an upbeat post today.

Sunday was the beginning of an episode of peri menopause that is frustrating me beyond belief. If you have read this blog for long you have read about my journey with peri menopause. I have been feeling hot flashes consistently since September. I can sit down on the couch and begin writing my blog. I feel this overwhelming flash of heat come over me. The sweat beads onto my forehead and neck.  It becomes so wet that the sweat drips down my face and I need a small towel to wipe it off.

I am at the point of my cycle that my period should start soon.  I started feeling the exhaustion coming on last week, but the deep crippling exhaustion began on Sunday. I woke up Sunday morning and worked on the garden.  I was so exhausted when I finished, I barely vacuumed my house and made dinner. It took all my strength to get my laundry at least into the dryer.  Today is Tuesday and my laundry is still in the dryer.

I sleep the sleep of the dead at this time of the month. It is not the kind of sleep that restores energy. It makes me even more tired.  Monday I went to work. I only work 2 days a week, 4 hours a day.  By the time I left I was so exhausted that I wanted to pull over on the drive home to fall asleep. It is only a 20 minuted drive!  My feet hurt so bad from work.  My body aches in the joints and muscles.

I get so irritable and depressed at this time.  I can’t focus on any tasks, reading, or even writing. I cry at the drop of a hat.

I have been desperate over the years. I have researched so many things that are supposed to help. I have spoken to all three doctors that I have seen in three years.  I may as well have spit in the wind.  Everyone looks at my weight and that is all they see. I have tried black cohash and progesterone cream. I received some easing of the symptoms with the use of both and each one individually.  Eventually the symptoms receded and I felt better.

I made several changes that seemed to help. The first is walking 4 or more days a week or about an hour per day. Unfortunately the Florida heat became way to much for me and I had to stop from August until October.  It doesn’t help that my feet are so bad that after walking 2 days in a row I am nearly in tears as I walk.

I stopped drinking more than one cup of coffee a day and most soda. I replaced these with a combination of half green tea and half passionflower tea.  I had lost some weight and that helped, but gained it back when I stopped walking. I didn’t over eat. I actually ate normally and still gained. I have a hard time drinking my tea as I babysit my granddaughter as she wants to drink my tea too. The only issue with this is she wants the cup I am drinking out of and gets quite upset when she can’t have it.

This brings me to one other issue. Babysitting and not falling asleep while I watch a nearly two year old. This just makes me crazy!

Anyway, I have no one to blame for the recurrence of the worst of my symptoms. I stopped exercising, drinking the tea mix, am drinking up to two sodas a day, and I have increased my coffee intake on the days I watch my granddaughter. Oh and gaining weight sure didn’t help. Somehow I have to get back on the road that gave me relief.  To do this is like pulling myself out of quicksand.  I know not to struggle, but I can’t help it.  I have to get free somehow. The worse thing about this is it is like a snowball rolling down hill. I stopped walking because of the heat, I gained weight, I drank soda and coffee to get energy.  This all leads to the exhaustion and lack of energy that needs to more caffeine and sugar.  It just gets harder and harder.

By next week at this time I will be nearly be back to normal, but until then I just want to give up and crawl into a ball and cry. I can’t seem to get my doctors to understand how debilitating this is.  I can’t lose weight if I can’t exercise and can’t focus.  I can’t move forward with my health if I can barely get the energy it takes to get out of bed at this time of the month.  Nor do I get more endurance if every time I get stronger I stop for 7 days until I can scrape up the energy to move. I stop walking for a couple of days and it is as if I am at day one starting all over again.

Anyway.  I don’t like writing negative posts, but this blog is about this road I am walking.  Money and health are both parts of this road.

My Garden Pictures

Yes, today is Monday and I don’t usually write on Monday’s, but I decided that I wanted to update you on our garden.  It is very early in our gardening season.  I took pictures and decided that they needed to be shared!  This is the best garden we have planted.

We lost the battle with the cantaloupes.  We need to attempt those again next year.  They don’t like getting water on them constantly. We replaced the cantaloupes with zucchini squash.  Not sure if they will make it or not.

We have loads of tomatoes and they look awesome!!!  The beans are doing really well and the peppers are growing leaves again.  My lettuce isn’t doing all that well at the moment, but I haven’t started the containers for the lettuce.  I have a wonderful looking Rosemary plant, and a few basil plants that have grown well with the old seeds I had.  We planted broccoli and the snails love it.

We have dealt with bugs and mold so far this season, but snails are truly the bane of my existence.  The bugs and mold we have found neem oil as a deterrent. We don’t seem to have bugs and it has done a great job and getting rid of the mold. Maybe the zucchini plants will make it if I got the neem oil on them in time.

But back to the evil snails.  They are in everything!  They have even attached themselves to my outdoor furniture.  I have tried beer traps and Demetrius earth or DE to stop the snails. The DE works for the first wave, but then the nasty things crawl over the dead ones!  The beer traps just were completely ineffective.  I have been removing the little buggers from the dirt and plants by hand.  I then place them into a disposable cup and poured diet pepsi onto them.  Well that is one way to get rid of them.  It is kind of ironic that my husband’s favorite drink kills garden pests.

Anyway, here are the pictures!

mint on the left and starter tomato plants and broccoli plants
zucchini plants and some peppers with a few beans on the right
Lyra and Courtney. She decided that since I was taking pictures I needed to take one of her.
Basil, green onions, and misc veggies
My Lemon tree!!!!

IMG_0288 IMG_0291

There you have it.  Hopefully I will be able to continue sharing the good news! Oh and by the way, I got a lemon tree!!!


Pumpkin Pancakes

Fall means pumpkin and pumpkin is in every coffee house in the country.  Today I am going to rerun my favorite pumpkin pancakes. I love these and plan on making them loads this fall. Next week I will share my very own copy cat recipe of Dunkin Donuts pumpkin muffins.  For now try these and enjoy.  Let me know if you made them and how they worked out for you!!!

Pumpkin pancakes 

What made me pretty happy is this is the first time I have ever made up any part of a recipe by myself.  They were pretty easy and very moist. (Isn’t that a funny word?)

The above photo is of the pancakes once they were done.  The recipe made quite a few pancakes.  I think you could add toasted pecans or walnuts to the recipe and it would taste great.  I think I will try that the next time I make this.  You can serve this with whipped cream, maple syrup, pancake syrup, or with pecan syrup!  You can bet which one I did!  It was pretty good!

So here is the finished product and no,I did not eat all of those!  I learned quite a while ago that when it comes to food in my house no one eats at the same time.  Once your kids get a car they are out of here.  So I make what I want and then put the rest in the fridge.  When my husband gets home tonight he has his pick of pasta and mussels or this.


1 Cup Flour
1 tsp Baking Powder
1 tsp Baking Soda
1/4 tsp Salt
1/8 tsp Nutmeg
1/8 tsp ground Cloves
1 tsp Cinnamon
3 Tbsp Sugar
1 lg Egg
1 1/2 Buttermilk
2 Tbsp melted Butter
1 Cup canned pumpkin1.  Preheat  griddle to 375 degrees
2.  Mix eggs, buttermilk, melted butter, and pumpkin in medium bowl.
3.  Whisk Flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, nutmeg, ground cloves, cinnamon and sugar.
4.  Slowly add egg mixture to flour mixture.  Mix until lumpy. but no flour showing.
5. Use a small amount of butter to coat griddle and pour 1/4 cup of batter and cook.  This seemed to take a while, but I forgot to time it.  I’d say until you can see bubbles around the edges and it looks set.Enjoy!

How To Save Money On Your Electric Bill

I never realized how competitive I was until I started playing Facebook games.  Competition on there is a waste of time, but Chris and I have a competition with our electric company every month.  This kind of competition saves us money and energy for the country.

As with most of the country our electric company has gone digital.  All of the meters are digital and can give us an idea of when we used electric during the day, the week, and the month. The online page also gives us a projected bill for the month.

Last month our projected bill was $140.  We hadn’t planned on using quite that much electricity in the first few days.  The temperature seemed hotter than normal.  We were both unhappy with that projection. It was more than what we had used the previous year for the same period. I was determined determined to make it lower. I was determined to get it under $120 for the month.

  1. The very first step was to make sure the water heater was turned off when not in use. We turned it off at the fuse in the fuse box. I turned the fuse back on about 20 minutes before use. Then turned it off before I went to work or was done using the water heater.
  2. We use two window air conditioners so that the central air unit doesn’t work so hard. This has saved us money as the window units cost far less to run.
  3. We keep the central air at 82 and the window air conditioners at 80 during the day if I am working.  The central air goes down to 78 and the window air conditioners at 76 during the day when I am home. Since we are am empty nest family we are able to turn off the window unit in the kitchen, turn the central air to 83, and the unit in our bedroom down to 76 at night.
  4. I made as much as I could in the toaster oven rather than the regular oven.
  5. If I needed to use the dryer, I used it at night when everything is turned off.
  6. I used the dishwasher early in the morning or when I went to bed.

This is stuff we normally do on a daily basis, but some days you forget what it costs when you use electricity because we are busy and forget to follow the steps.

The good news is we dropped our electric bill down to $113.  We even lowered our usage by 204 kilowatts and $17 from last year!

This can be done very easily with timers for the water heater and a programmable thermostat.  We have to correct some issues with the solar panels in the back. I think we need some really strong batteries to fix this. I also need to correct the green switch on the computer equipment.  This will help keep the electric bill down and under control.

The normal things are important too. Make sure you turn lights off when not in use. We are in the process of changing from CFL to LED bulbs. We replace each bulb as the CFL ones burn out. The cost savings is not as great as when we replaced the incandescent bulbs with CFL, but the length of time the LED lasts makes them worth the cost.  Just make sure you purchase at the LED at stores like WalMart or Home Depot. They are getting less expensive. Try not to spend more than $15 per bulb. In fact we usually spend no more than $9 each.

Fix all faucets and toilets from leaking.  This will keep the pump from running if you have a well and it will keep your water bill lower if you have city water.

Fall is here and our electric bill will be going down due to the temperature will be going down. You just can never lower it enough. I hope the day comes we can completely go off the grid with solar and wind power.

Our projected bill is for $98.53 this month. I, personally am not amused by this. Our bill for last year was $93.51. Let’s just see how low we can go!

Share your ideas if you can!  I love hearing what you do to save money!


Fall Gardening in Central Florida

October is a transition month for weather and for gardening. While everyone up north is harvesting and gearing up for the cold and snow, we Floridians are planning our gardens. Well at least I am. I have found that vegetable gardening here in Central Florida is challenging to say the least.

We had gardens most of our married lives in Michigan. We grew so much food gardening that I canned and froze the excess. This has never happened here in Florida. The soil is sandy. It takes quite a bit of work to bring the soil up to par. Once we get the soil looking good we battle heat, bugs, fungi, and snails.  Then comes the freezes. Right now, we are battling way to much rain and snails.

I prefer to use raised beds to garden and Chris prefers adding top soil and cow manure. We work together to find a balance. He plans the garden in the ground and we work it together. I use planters for lettuce, basil, and hopefully some strawberries or whatever I choose in my planters.

We started some tomato plants, some basil plants and a planter of salad greens. Chris has planted some cantaloupe, broccoli, tomatoes, and  zucchini squash. I’ve been warned not to plant certain things early because the heat will kill them, but we have had frost kill them all before. I’m talking even covered with cloth, frost killed all of my plants.

We are working on improving the soil and weed control now. I found an amazing bug killer mixture that works. I even saw bugs fly off of the plants when I sprayed them with this mixture. Pepper plants that had no leaves left on them are now getting leaves. We do have a fungus on the cantaloupe plants. Neem oil will be purchased as everything I am reading says it works to kill all fungi. It is supposed to kill insects too.

It has been a week since I started this post. Now the cantaloupe is pretty much gone and snails are the ban of my existence. Most home remedies for getting rid of them will not work as they will draw fire ants. This weekend I will begin removing the snails by hand. We have some Diatomaceous earth and I have begun saving my coffee grounds to get rid of the nasty creatures. It has been raining consistently since we planted the garden. If the rain ever ends I plan on setting some beer baits out to get rid of them.

Every year we plant or garden and every year I am so embarrassed and disappointed in it. Hopefully this year I will have some awesome pictures of a garden I can be proud of.

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