The Last Post….

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Awe…..this one is gonna sting a little. I have decided to stop blogging. I have enjoyed writing these posts the past few months. I decided to take this past weekend off from blogging…….and I enjoyed that, too.

I started this blog out of a desire to be more accountable with my frugal journey and to try to inspire others. I have learned a lot over the past few months. One thing that has bothered me….I am checking my phone more often than I should. Remember….I’m the girl with no social media accounts?

There is a flip side…when I look through the stats from my blog, I see that sometimes hundreds of you view my page in one single day☺️! I visualize you all standing beside each other in rows and rows. I try to conceptualize how many souls cared to spend time looking at my page. This leaves me humbly in awe❤️. I can see all your different faces and cultures within the rows and rows. You looked at stuff this plain, old girl from the Southern country thought might be worth writing. I also love the comments I get from some of you. I look forward to the things you have to say. I have learned things from you in return….That….that, my friends….I know I will miss😟.

Just for a little background…I have three kids..all girls. My oldest is 23. I worked as a nurse when she was growing up..sometimes 2 to 3 jobs at a time. This was a mistake that couldn’t really be helped. Bills had to be paid and I was a single mom, part of the time. I regret not being able to be home more and missing some school functions🙁.

I now have two small kids and my oldest daughter is married with her own child. I don’t want to be preoccupied with what seems like repeating old habits. I am letting a few things go to focus on important things. This blog doesn’t take up that much time by itself. Maybe I am just being selfish, but I don’t want to look at a screen much this summer. If you don’t learn anything else from me, please know that you can’t get time back. The decisions you make now, you may regret later. Of course, this is a simple life lesson that we have all been told. I’m simply saying it again in case you are like me…..and had a hard time getting it the first time around☺️.

Thankfully, I am able to very involved with all my kids and my grandson. I am proud of who my oldest daughter has become and I enjoy watching the others grow. I can’t take any credit for my oldest daughter…I think she is just naturally a loving mommy.

I still work alot at our business and I volunteer my nursing services at our local free clinic when I can. This still keeps me pretty busy, yet has enough flexibility that I can pick up the kids from school each day and attend special functions sometimes. I ate lunch at school with my kids just last week.

If you have never went to school and listened to young kids conversations while eating lunch, I highly recommend it. It’s very enlightening and I thoroughly enjoyed myself!  Also, if the kids get sick, I can stay home and cuddle them while not being afraid of getting fired or losing money…. For this and so many other things… I am blessed.

I want to thank each and every person that has viewed my blog… even just once…and those of you who have stuck with me daily like rusty nails🙂…. I really love rusty nails!!! I wanted to try this blogging thing and I am going out feeling like it was a success.

I hope I have given you all as much enjoyment as you have given me❤️.  If you need to contact me about any of my previous posts…or just want to say Hi….I would love to hear from you, so feel free to email me.

Sincerely,

Jennifer@Thefrugaldribble

 

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Frugal Doll Cake Tutorial

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I’m pretty excited about this post. I love to make cakes…well..occasionally. I don’t want to make them as a career, because that would make it stressful. I do enjoy making them for my family. They don’t require perfection. So if I color outside the lines, no one cares☺️.

Full disclosure….this cake will not be perfect. You could buy one that is much more detailed and symmetrical. I chose to use only one color of frosting to simplify things. I will tell you all of the good things about this cake, along with the bad.

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First off, I had a yard sale the same day I decorated this cake, and another cake, so I was exhausted…not.good.🙁.Plenty of time would have made this much more fun and probably a little neater. Oh well..moving on..

IMG_4995.JPGIt’s a good idea to prepare your doll a bit in advance. I washed her well, because she came from a thrift store. Then, I wrapped her tightly in cling wrap, brushed very lightly with school glue(non-toxic, even though you aren’t going to eat it), then poured glittery sprinkles all over to make it appear that she has a top on. In the past, I have painted the top beforehand to match. I have also simply used frosting to form a top. This works fine, but there is a slight fear that the frosting may not stay adhered. Mine always has, but I have to admit, less to worry about is always better☺️.

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I began by using a mixing bowl that is kinda in the shape of a skirt. Lots of metal and glass bowls are oven safe so you may have something you could use in your cabinet. A smaller bundt pan works great because it has that great hole in the middle😉. Lots of Pyrex bowls have a similar shape. Grease, then flour your pan. I needed more height, so I also made one extra round cake. Be sure to measure your doll to the height of your pans. This is kinda forgiving because you can always add a bit of frosting to add some height or cut some away, if needed😉.

 

Mix cake mix according to package directions(I used two), then bake. The cake that cooks in the dress-shaped bowl, will take longer to bake. Test with a skewer until it comes out clean.

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This cake will be a bit dense due to the longer cooking time. Thankfully, the cake on the bottom will be a little less dense😉. If this bothers you, you can cut the “dress” in half and put a simple sugar syrup solution over the layers, then add an extra frosting layer in between to moisten it a bit. I didn’t do any of this due to the fact that I wanted to go to bed at some point😀.

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I baked this cake on Friday, wrapped layers well, then froze. Frosting frozen layers is so much easier. I cut a smaller hole in the middle of the cakes. This is necessary because if you just push the doll in, it may cause your cake to crack when it thaws due to pressure.

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I made a simple buttercream frosting with butter, powdered sugar, salt, and vanilla. Then tinted it purple with food coloring. This cake takes lots of frosting, so I used two sticks of butter and a 2 pound bag of powdered sugar.

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Now for the assembly. Saw off any parts that cooked to hard or are uneven with a serated knife or if you don’t have one, like me, a steak knife works well😉.

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Put a blob of frosting on your cake plate, or regular plate(heavier plates work best)if you don’t have one, then lay your cake round on it. Frost that layer well, then apply the mixing bowl layer. Push the doll in, then apply a layer of frosting all over.

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Now this is the fun part…decorating! No special tools are needed for this. I only used sandwich bags with a small hole cut in the end. I made swirls, loops, dots….whatever..all over the cake. Practically anything is going to look good. You could simply just do frosting blobs all over and it will look intentional! Be sure to only use a few tablespoons of frosting at a time. Your hand will heat up the frosting as you work, making it melt some.

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I topped mine with glittery sprinkles because I already had them on hand, they make it look more glamorous, and they hide some imperfections☺️. Let frosting dry on cake for few minutes, then apply clear wrap, and it’s ready to transport…. or skip clear wrap and eat it now☺️.

I don’t have a price breakdown for this cake because I wanted to get it posted today as promised☺️. I estimate it to be around $8. Also, ignore my messy kitchen. I didn’t clean it up to look better in pictures. Keep in’ it real, y’all!

I hope you enjoyed this cake tutorial. If you have any questions leave them in the comments. Have you ever made a doll cake? What are your suggestions?

 

A Yardsale Furniture Redo

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I purchased this cabinet at the ‘rainy day’ yardsale last weekend. If you get a chance, scroll back to last Monday to see what else I picked up. I got this cabinet, the red puddle jumper for my grandson, a “screw-out” tool set for my husband, and the metal wall decor piece complete with candles all for…drum roll please…$10!

Now…I don’t love this little cabinet. The feet on it make me think of a flotation device or hockey pucks☺️. Also, the paint on it isn’t as flattering as I would like. So I began to brainstorm a bit. I settled on the idea of stenciling some meaningful words on top. After visiting Joann’s craft store, I was in sticker shock. The one single stencil that I liked was $7.99! I paid less then $5 for the whole cabinet!🙁

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I decided I would try to free hand these words on the cabinet myself using a single bottle of black craft paint for 99 cents. I knew that this black paint could be watered down a bit and used to further distress the wood. So it does double duty… sounded good to me☺️.

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I began to have a little bit of anxiety when I got home. What if I can’t make the letters line up correctly and it ends up looking like a child painted it?  That might be cute, but not exactly what I was going for☺️. Sometimes these things require us to have a little faith☺️! Or at least do a test patch to make sure the paint will wash off easily if it turns out to be hot mess😉. I did both!

I gave myself a little pep talk and began to measure off where I wanted the letters to go and about what size they needed to be. Then I painted….and painted… and painted. It took forever just to get these simple words painted! The distressing of the wood only took a few minutes and was a nice break from the tedious lettering. For that, I simply used some of the black craft paint mixed with a bit of water and applied it with a paintbrush. I focused on the corners and crevices to hopefully achieve a few highlighted areas. Sometimes I would get a little too much paint in one area. I would just rub it off with a rag and start over.

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The next day, I went to Lowe’s and found these knobs that matched the hardware on the doors almost perfectly. They were $1.87 per knob, which wasn’t too bad. My husband and I attached them, then we removed those odd looking,hockey puck, feet from the bottom.

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I think it looks pretty good. Not perfect, but good enough. My oldest daughter needed something to go on a wall in her home so I think this will work well with the metal wall hanging. This cabinet has lots of storage space underneath for toys, cleaning supplies, or whatever. I estimated that I paid about $8 for this cabinet after the upgrades. I think this will be a nice surprise☺️.

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What do you think of this little furniture redo?

Easy Crockpot Spaghetti Meal

 

 

IMG_5430.JPGWe have made a commitment, as a family, to try to attend church more regularly. Honestly, we haven’t been attending regularly for a long time…like years! Even if you don’t attend church, surely I’m not the only one that struggles with sticking to a routine. It seems when I add something extra,  I seem to fall short in another area…home cooked meals, for example.

I am struggling to get meals on the table, especially without eating out. Especially, on Wednesday night😬. By the time we get off work, it’s time to go to church. Then when we get home, get showers, eat, do homework, etc… it’s time for bed. It feels similar to a whirlwind in my home, sometimes. I am returning to my old tried and true favorite to help me through this…drum roll, please….The Amazing Crockpot!☺️

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Ingredients:

One package spaghetti noodles(I used only half the box pictured so I used approximately 1pound)

One pound of pre-cooked frozen ground beef or prepackaged frozen meatballs.

One jar of spaghetti sauce

1 cup of water

1/2 cup of shredded mozzarella cheese

 

Spray the crock with cooking spray or coat with oil/butter lightly(I used coconut oil here). Break up noodles and place in the bottom of the crock, pour 1 cup of water over noodles, place frozen cooked ground beef over top, pour spaghetti sauce over all, then top with mozzerella.  Do not stir! Cook on low for 3 hours, then serve.

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Frugal Dribs: Use whatever noodles you have. I have used bowtie and macaroni noodles and they worked great. Also, use whatever melting cheese you have on hand. You could also leave off the cheese or just sprinkle Parmesan  cheese over top. Then give yourself a pat on the back because you have provided your family another home cooked meal with minimal fuss ☺️.

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My husband and I run a business, so I am putting these ingredients in my crockpot before I leave home in the morning to take to work with me. I will turn it on about 3 hours before I pick up my kids from school.

A few things:

I have made this type of meal several times but this is the first time I used  plain spaghetti noodles and they worked great☺️!

I recommended coating the crockpot with a bit of oil or cooking spray or sometimes the noodles become kinda adhered to the sides, which can cause them to be crunchy instead of soft🙁.

It’s also a good idea to make sure that any noodles that will be up against the sides of the crock have some water poured over them, before adding the other layers….rather than just pouring it in the middle.

When the spaghetti sauce is added, then topped with a cheese layer, it sorta seals the moisture from the water in…so your noodles get cooked well.

I should also mention that you don’t have to break up the noodles. My husband does not like long noodles,  so this is just a preference in my home☺️. If you are Italian, I’m sure you are scoffing at me right now…but you are probably scoffing at the idea that I actually call this spaghetti, too.  This is a very short-cut Americanized…is that a word???…version of a spaghetti-like meal…..better? ☺️

This turns out kinda like a baked spaghetti. It’s not going to be the same as spaghetti made on the stove top, but I think you will agree it’s a good alternative for a meal that can be prepared ahead of time. Now…I know basic spaghetti cooked the regular way is pretty quick to prepare. I needed a meal ready to eat when I get back from picking up the kids up and running a few errands so, like everything else, this meal has it’s place. I hope you will give it a try sometime☺️.

I am going to take the weekend off from blogging because I want to spend some quality time with my family. We are celebrating birthdays and Mother’s Day. Don’t forget about me, though!….Mark your calendars because I already have some posts in the works for next week that I hope you will enjoy as much as I do.☺️

One will be a doll cake tutorial.You know…the ones that have an actual doll stuck down in the middle?  I have made a few of these in the past. I’m no cake expert, but I have learned a few frugal tricks along the way so I hope you will take a peek. The other is an upcycle project I have been working on that I can’t wait to show you, so stay tuned☺️!

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Lastly, yet most important…..I hope all of you out there that are Moms or know a Mother that you love, will take time to celebrate those relationships this weekend. Have a great one and I hope to see you again on Monday☺️!

Thursday’s Thrifty Three

“Money is only a tool. It will take you wherever you wish, but it will not replace you as the driver.”

-Ayn Rand

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Number One: Try to not be brand specific or picky

Admittedly, I have mentioned this one before😉. I think it’s so important to the frugal journey, so I keep bringing it up. I download Free Friday Download coupons to my Kroger card weekly. They don’t always have an item I prefer or can even use. I usually download the coupon and pass the item on to someone who can. My family likes Doritos so this week was a no-brainer, but last week… it was a type of kettle chips. We don’t like kettle chips as much because they are a kind of hard chip. My family prefers a softer chip. I got them anyway because I knew we would still eat them.

We actually still enjoyed them! Surprisingly, they turned out to not be as hard as some of the kettle chips I had purchased in the past. Getting these for free allows us to try new things that we may have not otherwise tried. It’s also one less snack I had to buy this week☺️.

Sticking to only one brand locks us in to paying a more certain price. We usually have all kinds of different name brands and generics at my house, according to what is on sale. This grooms us to not have preferences. In other words, constantly exposing my family to a different brands of the same product, lessons the chances of them deciding they just “have to have name brand_______”.   Insert whatever it is here. Like my friend who “has to have Tide pods”..No one has to have the Pods…rant over..moving on

There are a few exceptions. For instance, my kids will use any shampoo or conditioner that I place in the shower. They have never even verbalized an opinion on it. The only thing they don’t love is certain flavors of toothpaste. They will use whatever I buy, but they prefer a kid flavor. Since I can usually find good prices on kid toothpaste, I usually buy it😉. Frugality is like life, it’s a delicate balance.

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Number Two: Learn a few things about ingredients to make informed decisions about purchases to save money.

Here is two jars of coconut oil. The one on the left is $4.00 for 30oz. of refined and the one on the right is $5.00 for only 15oz of unrefined.

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For me, it makes sense to buy the refined on the left for $4.00.

Here are my reasons:

1. My kids have lots of allergies, so avoiding the coconut meat that is in the unrefined version, lessons the chances of belly pain.

2. I don’t want our savory food to taste like coconut so being flavorless is a plus at my house.

3. I use coconut mostly for my face and skin. I love cookies but I don’t really want to smell like one. Although, that does sound kinda good.. I could just be hungry 😉.

4. It’s less money for twice the product!

Some people will look at the price and the smaller container and think the one on the left is an inferior product. I don’t consider it inferior…just simply different.Also, the extra virgin on the right is cold-pressed instead of the processing that the one on the left goes through. If I was making candy with it, or something similar, I may choose the one on the right. For my purposes, the one on the left makes more sense. Taking the time to learn about products that you use regularly that are processed different ways, can save you money☺️.

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Number Three: Be patient and start flowers with seeds or bum a starter from a friend.

Frugaldribble, did you just encourage me to be a bum??….Well, I guess I did, but I will explain later…..moving on. It’s so easy to go buy a potted plant that’s already beautiful. I get it…I love those, too☺️. If you can just be patient, there is so much joy in starting flowers from seeds then watching them grow. It’s also a great learning experience for kids. If you just can’t wait,  try visiting the clearance section of your home and garden store. Often you can find plants/flowers that can be divided up into several smaller plants for not much money. There are often discounted pots or planters in this section, too.

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The prices of seeds can vary from store to store. These seed packets were $1(it says on the packet $1.59 but they were actually just$1😉) I had just looked at some at Lowe’s that were $4 for the exact same size/type packets😳.

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And then a few hours later, I found these seed packets pictured below for 4/$1 at Dollar General. So yeah, prices vary wildly☺️.

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Frugal Drib- Do you know a friend or family member that has a yard full of beautiful flowers? Most of them will be more than happy to give you a few starter pieces with good healthy roots to get your own started, if you just ask. People with good knowledge of flowers and plants usually love to talk about them, so they will give you free advice on how to care for them, too.

Thanks again for visiting this Thursday’s Thrifty Three post..one of my personal favorites☺️.

Do you give your family some of your plants? Have you ever tried Doritos Blaze chips? Do you use coconut oil?

This Morning I am…

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…..Wondering if I can turn this into something. I found this visor in the middle of the road on the way to work. It has a Sonic logo on it. I like Sonic, but I don’t really want to be a walking advertisement for them. I could use an extra visor for hot, sunny days. Maybe I will figure it out. In the meantime, I am storing it in a sealed plastic bag for two weeks to kill any critters just in case😉….then I will wash it.

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…Being glad I got these freebies from Kroger since taco seasoning was on my list of things to take on an upcoming trip. We always have a taco night on vacation☺️. The Doritos were a nice bonus!

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…..Appreciating that a business a few doors down gifted me this sleeve of plastic cups.  While I do not love plastic, these will work great for camping trips this summer and they are easy to wash out and reuse.

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…Kinda wishing I would have bought this dollhouse at a yardsale this weekend. It’s so cute, is actually made well, and has some nice furniture with it. My kids have similar things so I had to let it go😬. Sometimes I think about buying stuff for resale,  but I’m afraid I will get stuck with it.

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…..Thinking if I did decide to try to buy something sell, these would have sold well. These are huge dog carriers, hard to tell from the picture,  I know….and he only wanted $5 per carrier. I don’t have room to store them but they were so nice☺️. Um.., I also have no dogs so if I didn’t sell them, they would really be in the way. Also, you see those canning jars at the bottom left of the picture above? I struggled with buying those as well😬..I have to keep telling myself not to buy things. The struggle is real😀!

What do you think about buying items for resale? Do you do it and is it worth the hassle?

Please check back in tomorrow for the Thursday’s Thrifty Three…☺️

 

Rainy Day Yardsale

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My family and I were planning to have a yardsale this past weekend. Unfortunately, the forecast showed a 60% chance of having rain, so we cancelled. We were having it in an open area, so it wasn’t possible. In my area, we have to buy a permit from the city to have a yardsale. If the yardsale doesn’t happen, that money is lost if it is rained out.

All was not lost,  there were a few sales advertised in my paper that said ‘rain or shine’ so I thought I would see what I could find. An upside to going to yardsales in the rain…others decided to sleep in. That means the selection can be great. The downsides are staying wet most of the day, difficulty seeing yardsale signs due to rain, and lots of people will cancel assuming no one will come….because they are sleeping in, of course☺️.

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I found this puddle jumper for my grandson for $2. These are the best floaties I have found for my kids. I was going to give him my youngest daughter’s but it is a little girly looking. This one looks more like it belongs to a boy and I will keep the girly looking one for him to use in a pinch at my house.

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I also found this #6 candle for my daughter’s birthday this week for 25 cents. **I hope you come back to see my upcoming doll cake post, so fun!!**These candles can be bought at the Dollar Store for about a $1. I saw this one below today while browsing.

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I got a nice metal, wall decor piece. I paid more for that than I really wanted to😬. I paid $15 for it, but I have been looking for something like this for awhile. They are much more expensive than this in stores and it’s really big!…I do love it☺️!

 

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Lastly, I got two pool toys that we can bring on an upcoming trip. I don’t know if any of you have ever bought these, but they can be very expensive. Especially if purchased at the beach. I got both of them for a $1. I’m happy with this purchase because they can be used for several years. My kids always beg for them…and I always say no😀.

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I have a couple other purchases that I am planning to post later this week. They are part of a gift, so I can’t post them yet. Just in case the receiver looks at this blog post. I’m excited to post them so stay tuned😉.