Saturday, November 29, 2014

Make Leftovers Golden

Just one of a myriad of uses for that leftover turkey!


3 cups cubed (or cut small) turkey
1 can pineapple tidbits, drained
1/2 cup apricot jam
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 can sliced water chestnuts


Combine all ingredients in a large bowl with 1/2 cup of water.  Mix well.  Butter a 2 quart casserole.  Transfer mixture to casserole dish and bake for 35 minutes at 350 degrees.  Serve over rice.


Friday, November 28, 2014

Black Friday

There is not much of a point on doing a frugal tips post on the biggest shopping day of the year.  Just a few tips for this day instead.

1.  Be safe.  Keep your money in your pocket and not in your purse.

2.  Remember, you don't have to buy everything.  Buy what speaks to your heart.

3.  Don't shop alone.  More ground can be covered with a partner.

4.  Don't shop alone.  There is safety in numbers when you leave a store.

5.  Don't carry more than the credit/debit card you will be using.  If robbed, it will limit the damage.

6.  Stay hydrated.

7.  Remember, there is no material thing worth a stampede.

With that said...have fun!!


Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Closed Today

Jerri's Empty Nest is closed today due to holiday preparations!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

A Time for Gratitude

This is the time of year everyone begins talking about those things for which they are grateful.  I want to take a bit of a different tack today.

What is Gratitude?

The soldier receiving the care package from home.

The abused woman now living in a safe home.

The mother holding her child now free from addiction.

The homeless man with a hot meal and a warm coat.

The military wife with access to Skype.

The rescue dog heading to a loving home.

The lonely woman encircled by friends.

This is Gratitude.


Monday, November 24, 2014


There has been a groundswell of support for the boycott of those stores open on Thanksgiving.  I have myself taken the pledge to not shop on Thanksgiving Day.

Retail has already reached the point where Christmas decorations are on display well before Halloween.  Everyone deserves to spend Thanksgiving with their families, and the only ones who should be working on that day are those vital to public safety.  Namely, our military, fire, and police give up their valuable family time during the holidays.  Their sacrifice for the public good should not be cheapened by a greedy retailer forcing a minimum wage employee to work a twelve hour shift that day in order to keep their job.

Please join me.  Spend Thanksgiving with your family and friends.  Time with loved ones cannot be replaced.  The stores will still be there on Friday.


Saturday, November 22, 2014

Head Start!

Here's a different variety of pie...get that head start on Thanksgiving!

Cranberry Pie


1 package strawberry gelatin mix
1 cup whole cranberry sauce
1/2 cup cranberry-strawberry juice
1 carton whipped topping
1 9-inch graham cracker crust


Dissolve gelatin in 1 cup boiling water.  Add cranberry sauce and juice.  Chill just until the gelatin begins to thicken.  Fold in the entire carton of whipped topping and chill again until the mixture mounds.  Pour into the graham cracker crust and chill several hours before serving.


Friday, November 21, 2014


On Fridays I usually give my frugal tips.  Not today.  I was taught a lesson this week by my son and I would like to share it.

This past weekend, my son and I ran some errands.  At one of the stores, I picked something up and quickly replaced it when I saw the price.  When he asked why I put it back, I responded that I didn't need it.  He quickly answered, "Mom...when is the last time you actually bought a want?"

That set me back on my heels a bit.  I will pick up things I want here and there, but they are usually small and inexpensive.  His statement reminded me that it is perfectly okay to spoil myself now and then and that everything does not have to be a "need."

My frugal tip this Friday?  Don't be frugal ALL of the time.  Splurge every now and then and spoil yourself.  You deserve it!


Thursday, November 20, 2014


As I wrote yesterday, you can be satisfied with your life while still striving for growth.  That growth can be personal, financial, educational, or a multitude of other endeavors.

Do you know anyone who has the perfect life?  Even with the facade of perfection, we never truly know what is going on behind the scenes.  That trophy wife may regret not finishing her education.  That high-powered executive may wish for more family time.  We do not know what any other person has going on inside or behind closed doors.

To be satisfied with your life does not mean you turn into a couch potato.  That is stagnation, and in a lot of cases, just plain laziness.  My latest mantra has become "So what are you going to do about it?"  I use this mantra not only on myself but I can pretty much guarantee at least my youngest son is sick to death of hearing it.  Why on myself?  Because sometimes the end goal can be overwhelming, and I need a reminder to break it down into doable steps.  

Goals are the first component of growth.  What areas of your life would you like to see grow?  Have a list?  So what are you going to do about it?


Wednesday, November 19, 2014


Contentment is defined as:  "the state of being happy and satisfied".  Notice that happy is a component of contentment.  You can be happy, but that does not necessarily mean that you are also content.

The second component of contentment is listed as satisfied.  Are you satisfied with where you are right now?  Let me clarify a bit.  Remember, this is just my two cents worth!  Just because you are satisfied does not mean that you don't strive for better.  I believe it means that in this moment in time, you are satisfied in life.  To work for better or to improve does not indicate dissatisfaction.  Actually, I believe the lack of such progress equates to stagnation while giving the appearance of satisfaction.

I am satisfied with my life.  That does not, however, mean I sit on my butt in front of the television and do nothing to improve my life.  I am constantly growing and learning.  That in itself adds to my sense of satisfaction.

I am happy.  I am satisfied.  I am content.  Join me!!


Tuesday, November 18, 2014


Have you found yours?  I haven't!  I try...but life gets in the way.  I am one of those people who have trouble turning off my brain just to sleep.

I see the memes on Facebook about letting go, slowing down, and being happy.  I wonder sometimes if it is truly as easy as just believing it and it comes true.  I have also seen people who use that same principle of "letting go" as their own personal out for not taking resonsibility for or being accountable for any of their actions.  I do firmly believe that if you do not deal with your past, it will repeat itself.  There is a big difference between forgiveness (letting go) and forgetting.  Forgetting makes you vulnerable to the same abuse and mistreatment that occurred before. 

I am working diligently on the slowing down portion.  I am usually running through my life at full speed until I have completely exhausted myself.  I am well aware that this is one area where I need the most work.  I do not have to do everything, be everything to everyone, and I am not responsible for it all.

Being happy?  I believe that is an emotion that ebbs and flows as any other emotion.  I believe the true state is one of contentment.  I can say I am content.  It's a pretty fabulous thing to be.  Part of that contentment is an incredible sense of gratitude.  I am deeply cognizant of the blessings in my life.  That is a large, if not the largest component of my contentment.

I know...a lot to think about and it is only Tuesday!!  Just something to ponder...


Monday, November 17, 2014

A Blessed Benefit

Last week I wrote about the benefit of social media for introverts.  That message was brought home again on Saturday when I was blessed to reconnect with a dear friend from over thirty years ago.  Let me rephrase, from a different lifetime!

This country of ours is huge.  Without the benefit of technology and social media, the task of finding one person out of millions becomes near impossible.  With a tool such as Facebook, reconnecting with those we love becomes so much easier.

Later in the same day, I also spent a half hour chatting with another friend from that same lifetime.  He always raises my spirits, and we never end a conversation without telling each other "I love you!"
It was through social media that we reconnected and we use it religiously to stay close.

For all the downfalls, the bullying, the drama, and yes...even the hate that is spewed on social media on a daily media can and does play a vital role in maintaining relationships.  I, for one, would not give up the benefits no matter the downside.


Saturday, November 15, 2014

Baby, It's Cold Outside!!

A quick and easy stew to throw together on a freezing day!!


2 lbs stew meat
2 cans new potatoes, drained (15 oz)
1 can mixed vegetables, drained (15 oz)
1 can French onion soup (10 oz)


In large pot, cook stew meat with 2 cups water for one hour.  Add canned goods and stir thoroughly.  Heat to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 30 minutes.


Friday, November 14, 2014

Black Every Day!

I's not Black Friday yet!  But well in advance of the actual day, both WalMart and Amazon are already running daily Black Friday deals.

Be warned!  You will have to check WalMart's page bright and early.  From what I've been seeing, they are selling out of the best deals fast!  You may wish to sign up for the emails notifying you of special sales.

On Amazon, make sure to check the page at regular intervals throughout the day.  Some deals run all day or all weekend, but others only run for a couple of hours.  New ones start on a regular basis.

Black Friday deals already just need to look!

Happy Shopping!


Thursday, November 13, 2014

Some Days

Some days, there just isn't enough:







in the world.  I hope you have plenty of all of the above in yours!


Wednesday, November 12, 2014

The Perfect Medium

In real life, I am an introvert.  I am perfectly happy at home alone with my dog and a good book.  I rarely feel the need to be out in social situations and tend to avoid large crowds as much as possible.  I probably border on agoraphobic but for the fact I still have to get out and go to work every day.

That is why social media such as Facebook is the perfect medium for introverts.  It allows us to socialize, keep in touch with friends and family, and be a part of the larger world.

It also allows us the luxury of doing so in our sweats or yoga pants, make-up free, with a death grip on our coffee mug.  When the outside world gets too overwhelming, all we have to do is close the laptop, silence the phone, and the outside world disappears.

I have seen numerous articles, ezines, and talking heads emphatically stating that social media causes disconnect.  I respectfully disagree.  For an introvert, it is the perfect medium.  Introverts can interact to their comfort level and withdraw when that level is exceeded.  It is not that easy to physically withdraw from social gatherings in the real world!!

And yes...I'm in my yoga pants!


Monday, November 10, 2014

To Ponder

Something to think about as we approach Veterans' Day tomorrow:

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Cozy Casserole

Perfect for a cold evening!


1 lb ground breakfast sausage
2 packages saffron yellow rice (5oz)
1 envelope onion soup mix.


Brown sausage and drain.  In a 2 quart casserole, combine rice, onion soup, and 3 cups water.  Stir until completely blended.  Add sausage but do not stir.  Bake at 350 degrees for one hour.


Friday, November 7, 2014

Frugal Hobbies

Back in the olden days...and I mean before MY olden days, women had a variety of crafts to occupy long winter nights.  At the time, it was because of the inability to be out and about during the winter months.

Today, we have the capacity to head out the door, get in our cars and go wherever we wish.  But there is something to be said for those old traditions.

Making crafts at home not only is a frugal activity, you actually have something beautiful to show for your efforts.  Whether given as gifts or used around your own home, there is a tangible result.

Some crafts do require more of an initial outlay of cash while others can be started with little or no money.  One great place to start for ideas if you're new to the crafting game is Pinterest.  It abounds with ideas, particularly for re purposed and recycled items.

This winter, find a craft that fulfills you.  Staying home will save gas, wear and tear on the car, and will keep you out of that mall!


Thursday, November 6, 2014

A Needed Reminder

This week I received a reminder from the universe of just how lucky I am.

I am blessed with a wonderful home near the beach, a job I absolutely adore, incredible co-workers, a son who watches out for me every day.  I am blessed with the greatest group of girlfriends and an incredible support system.  I have a man in my life who treats me like a queen.  I have my rescue dog and the unconditional love that comes with her.

Sometimes it takes time and distance to realize just how bad something was and enables you to realize just how blessed you are now.  I had that reminder this week and I am thankful.

For those in their darkness, I promise you there is light.  It may seem like you will never see it but the old adage is is darkest right before the dawn.  The light is coming.


Wednesday, November 5, 2014

I Did, Did You?

Did you vote yesterday?  I hope so...our country is built on that foundation!!  It is not only our right to vote, but our priviledge and our duty.

Also, I'm a big believer in "don't vote...don't bitch" for if you willingly abdicate that role, you have also abdicated the right to complain about the outcome!

I hope all of you voted!!  And the best part?  All those ads will finally go away!


Tuesday, November 4, 2014

No Matter The Age

Yesterday morning as I left work, my son was actually awake.  Mondays are his day off and he is usually sound asleep when I leave.

As I was preparing to leave, he said, "No, Mom...stay with me today!"  That is when I realized that it does not matter if your child is a grown man or a toddler...when they ask you to stay with them, it is a gut punch.  

If I could have, I would have stayed home.  My son wanted me with him, and even though he is 24, he needed me and I wanted to stay.  

You never stop being a mother.  He could be seventy years old, say the same thing, and I would have the same reaction.  What greater blessing is there?


Monday, November 3, 2014

Too Little Weekend

Even though we "gained" an hour this weekend, I still came up short!  My to-do list is always longer than my "time available" list!

Not sure how to fix this particular situation.  I could drop one of the part-time jobs I do for extra money...but I need the extra money.  I could let the chores go...but no, I can't go to work naked!  What to do?  I keep thinking I will get to the point where I am caught up and I will have a weekend to myself.  I have been telling myself that for quite a while!

My next attempt to rein in my life is going to come in scheduling.  I am hoping if I set a limited amount of time for each task (and stick to it), I may be able to reclaim some time.

How about you?  What tools do you use to get a handle on that to-do list?



Saturday, November 1, 2014

Crockpot Barbeque

I know it's gotten too cold in some parts of the country to head outside to the let's bring it inside!


3lb boneless beef roast
1 cup strawberry jam
1 small onion, chopped
1 green bellpepper, chopped
2 Tbs mustard
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 cup of your favorite barbeque sauce


Spray crockpot with non-stick spray.  Mix all ingredients thoroughly in a bowl.  Place roast in the crockpot and cover with mixture.  Cook on low for 6-8 hours.  Remove roast and slice thinly.  If your roast falls apart, pull the rest apart and make into shredded beef!  Place meat back into the crockpot for 20 minutes to absorb the sauce.  Serve on buns!



Jerri's Empty Nest