Saturday, October 31, 2015

Happy Halloween and Samhain Blessings!

Friday, October 30, 2015

Apps, Apps, Apps!

Today's edition of Frugal Friday is just a short note to draw your attention to the new page on Jerri's Empty Nest.

The new page lists shopping apps I have found to be profitable and easy to use.  Whether grocery shopping or strolling the mall, there is an app to help save you money.  

When applicable, I have included my personal referral link.  For all others, I have included the website to the app.

If you know of any other shopping apps that have worked for you, please let me know and I will be happy to add them to the page!


Thursday, October 29, 2015

The Thursday Ten

This week's Thursday Ten is a tiny pile.  There are still ten (or more) items!

The ten items this week were pulled as a result of a slight hissy fit on my part.  I went in search of my good pizza cutter.  My kitchen gadget drawer was so stuffed, I couldn't find it.  The hissy fit then ensued.  The drawer came flying out and I was pulling items in rapid fashion.  Whether a duplicate or a promotional item, if I could not remember using went!!

Choosing your Thursday Ten does not need to be a long, involved process.  I doubt that this week took me more than five minutes!  

Choose just one of your kitchen drawers.  Spend five minutes and challenge yourself to grabbing those ten items.  It is so nice to be able to find what I need!


Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Frugality and Pride

When beginning to write today's post, I waffled on the title between "Pride" and "Vanity."  I am still not convince that vanity is not a more appropriate title but what I am trying to describe contains elements of both.

I am frequently asked for frugal tips and advice.  I offer aid whenever I can but I frequently find that those who ask are not ready or willing to give up those things that feed their vanity.

$100 hair appointments are difficult to justify when you haven't bought groceries or put gas in your car for the week.  Pretty nails, gym memberships, or tickets to a local attraction do not make a lot of sense when you cannot make the rent.  A six dollar cup of coffee at the local shop tastes bitter when a credit card bill gets paid late.

Why vanity or pride?  To live a frugal lifestyle, you are working toward a larger goal than your personal indulgence.  Whether the goal is eliminating debt, simplifying your life, or saving for a large goal, there is little to no room for selfish or self-centered actions.  The ego needs to take a back seat to the goal.

Did you need to get your nails done or could you have done them yourself?  Why pay for a gym membership when there are countless programs online (for free) teaching you to get the same results with household items or a minimum investment in personal equipment?  If you live in a large apartment complex, there is usually an equipment room available to use for free.  How many days of food could have been purchased for that salon appointment?  Now add in all the gas and car expenses used to travel to these indulgences.  The cost just keeps adding up and becomes even harder to justify.

Vanity and pride are insidious creatures.  They disguise themselves as needs, as things you have to have or do to function in daily life.  The truth is that there are frugal substitutions for all of them that do not carry the same burdens of guilt and unease.

If you are carrying debt; having trouble making ends meet; or just want to spend wisely; examine your purely selfish "needs" in the light of your larger goals.  It is a mirror which is quite enlightening.


Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Frugality and Sacrifice

It is a common misperception that living a frugal lifestyle involves painful sacrifice.  While the sacrifices made initially may be painful, once frugality becomes a habit, the pain subsides altogether. 

Probably the biggest sacrifice you will have to make is giving up the word "want."  In truth, most of the things we believe we need are nothing but wants.  

Consider something as simple as lunch.  We need to eat but that purpose is served just as well by a brown bag from home as twenty bucks dropped at a restaurant every day.  We think we "need" to go grab lunch but the fact is that the expensive lunch out is motivated either by laziness or ego as in the need to be seen as doing well by being able to afford regular lunches out.

What is the true sacrifice here?  It is not in the act of bringing lunch from home.  The true sacrifice is of peace of mind when cash is short to pay the bills because of the lunches that were "needed."  

Granted, nights out are fewer and farther between.  Personally, I have not considered that much of a sacrifice as I have little patience for dealing with drunks in a club, or a crowd at a concert.  While a sacrifice was made there, I have found a multitude of other activities to take its place.

There is one thing you will need when making such frugal choices.  The need to be at peace with yourself is paramount.  If you are not comfortable in your own skin and in your own company, a frugal lifestyle will be much more challenging.  If constant outside stimulation or attention from outside parties are an integral part of your daily life, the change to a frugal lifestyle will be a much larger adjustment.  Give it time, you will get there.

Tomorrow we look at the biggest obstacle that I have observed.

Stay tuned!


Monday, October 26, 2015

Living Frugally

This week, I am going to touch on various aspects of frugal living.  I am also going to discuss some behaviors I have observed, especially from those who talk the talk, but do not necessarily walk the walk.

My frugal lifestyle began early as I was raised that way.  My father was a government employee, and in the sixties and seventies, that was barely a middle-class income.  Frugality was a way of life for me then and I am voluntarily returning to that lifestyle now.

Allow me to explain the "voluntarily" part.  Having just began a new career, having student loans to pay, and aging have necessitated the "voluntary" return to frugality.  I do, however, enjoy the creative methods used to life a frugal life and still be able to enjoy said life.

This weekend was a perfect example.  I suffer from hip and knee pain that is exacerbated by an approaching storm.  As a result, I spent most of the weekend being unable to walk without a great deal of pain.  My frugal lifestyle covers just such a situation.  I was equipped with plenty of books (obtained for free) and multiple craft projects (obtained at a great discount) to keep me occupied. Such a lifestyle lends itself to the ability to entertain oneself.

Tomorrow, I will focus on the widely-held belief that a frugal lifestyle requires incredible sacrifice. Join me then!


Saturday, October 24, 2015


As the weather cools down, here's a simple recipe for salsa to heat things up!


1 1/2 lbs. tomatoes (about 7 large)
1 small onion
2 jalapeno peppers
2 Tbsp lime juice
2 Tbsp minced cilantro
1 tsp salt


Seed and dice tomatoes.  Place in a medium size bowl and grate the onion on top.  Wearing gloves, peel, seed, and mince the peppers.  Add to the bowl.  Add lime juice, cilantro, and salt.  Mix well. Cover bowl and let set in the fridge overnight.


Friday, October 23, 2015

Flu Shots for Veterans

If you are a veteran who receives his/her medical care through the VA, flu shots can be obtained this year, at no cost, at your local Walgreens.

Per the VA website:

Flu season is here, and getting your flu shot has never been easier. Remember that getting vaccinated is the single best way to protect yourself, as well as your loved ones, against the flu virus.
This year, enrolled Veterans of the VA health care system have several options to get a seasonal flu shot. VA offers more options, easy access, and seamless records – the choice is yours.

So what are your options?

You may opt to get a free flu shot at your local VA health care facility.
Or you may choose to go to your neighborhood Walgreens.
As an enrolled VA patient, you can get a no-cost flu shot at Walgreens from August 1, 2015 – March 31, 2016.

VA health care facilities

You may receive a no-cost flu shot during any scheduled appointment, if you are admitted to one of our VA health care facilities, or at one of the convenient walk-in flu stations.
For more information on locations and hours contact your local VA health care facility.

Walgreens nationwide

If you are a Veteran patient in the VA system, you may choose to get a no-cost flu shot at a local Walgreens between now and March 31, 2016.
No appointment is required; simply go to any Walgreens, tell the pharmacist you receive care at a VA facility and show your Veterans Identification Card and another form of photo ID. Use Group Code # 5933XBAYV.
Your immunization record will be updated electronically in your local VA electronic health record.

If you are one of these veterans, take advantage of these no-cost shots!


Thursday, October 22, 2015

The Thursday 10

This week's Thursday 10 is more like 50!!  I did a major purge on my bookcase and came up with multiple bags of books.  The used bookstore near my house only takes 10 per week which means I will be making a trip every weekend for about the next month!  Luckily, I had 10 signed books so those went on consignment in addition to the 10 I traded in for store credit.

Now that the bookcase has been slimmed down, I plan on covering the back board with fabric and re-attaching it.  That's not just a pipe dream...I actually already have the fabric, the spray adhesive, and the back of the bookcase has cooperated by already starting to come off all by itself!  

As I posted last week, the purpose is not to fill a landfill.  With only an hour spent sorting books, I have ten books on consignment where I will make 60% of sale price, and an additional $40 in store credit with more to come!  

Take a good look at your bookcase...I'm pretty sure you will be able to do the same!

Slowly but surely, I am simplifying!  Stay tuned for next week's Thursday 10!


Wednesday, October 21, 2015


Building on yesterday's post, let's talk a bit about self-esteem.  In the last generation, a belief has been built that self-esteem is something that can be bestowed upon a child.  Again, when did we forget? When did we forget that self-esteem is built by accomplishment?  When did we begin to believe that empty praise builds self-esteem?

Recently there was a news story about NFL player James Harrison returning his children's participation trophies.  He believes that a trophy should be earned.  Good for him!  He is teaching his children that trophies don't come from trying or even just showing up.  Sometimes, doing your best is not good.  That should be incentive to do better, not rewarded with the empty platitude of a "participation" trophy.

In addition to the empty praise, such rewards also increase a child's sense of entitlement.  That is not doing a child any favors.  While just showing up may be rewarded in childhood, just showing up will get you fired in adulthood.  I have seen, numerous times, a younger employee who believes that their paycheck depends only on them "showing up" and that such a blessing should be enough.  There are numerous article written about such inflated self-esteem and the corresponding lack of work ethic.

Self-esteem comes from accomplishment.  Even a child reaches the age where they realize that praise without accomplishment is empty.  Most will still accept that praise as it is usually accompanied by a monetary or other type of physical reward.  Unfortunately, that empty praise leads not to self-esteem, but to spoiled entitlement.

There is nothing wrong with having expectations, whether from a child or an adult.  If those expectations are met and/or exceeded, praise is due.  If the expectation is not met, it is not.  When did we forget that basic principle?  Perhaps a refresher is in order.


Tuesday, October 20, 2015

When Did We Forget?

Watch any reality show or read any pop news article, and you hear an enormous amount of blather regarding "respect" and "disrespect."  

When did we forget that respect is earned...not given?  Respect is earned by words followed by action.  Talking about someone is not's gossip.  If someone does not acknowledge your presence, it's not's rude.  What is so often mistaken for respect is actually civility.  

Civility is polite actions and words.  This is how one decent human being treats another.  When your words and actions accomplish something worthy of respect, then that respect is earned.  Until that point, basic civility and manners should be the norm.

When did we forget that respect is not an entitlement?  Like so many things, respect seems to be something people assume is due to them.  Nope.  If you want my respect, earn it.  Until then, I will treat you in a civil manner, and as an adult, I will use my manners.  My respect is reserved for those who have earned it.


Monday, October 19, 2015

Because I Can

This past weekend, I participated in the American Cancer Society's Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk.  I was extremely fortunate and exceeded my fundraising goal!!

I am frequently asked why I participate.  Simple answer?  Because I can.  Because my best friend lost her life to this disease.  Because another dear friend just finished chemo after a double mastectomy. Because I have the strength to walk for them.

When I returned home from the walk on Saturday, I packaged up my survivor sash and got it in the mail to my friend who just completed chemo.  The sad part is that next year, it is extremely likely that there will be another friend waiting for that sash.  This disease has touched too many of the women I love and until we find that cure, it will continue to touch more.

Why do I raise money?  Because I love them.  Why do I walk?  Because I love them.  Why?  Because I do not want to lose one more woman to this evil disease.  Why?  Because I must.


Saturday, October 17, 2015

By Request -- Enchilada Casserole

A tried and true favorite around the homestead!


2 lbs. hamburger (If you like spicier, 1 lb of hot breakfast sausage may be substituted for 1 lb of the hamburger)
1 can cheddar cheese soup
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 can medium enchilada soup
12 flour tortillas
Shredded cheese (I use Mexican blend, but cheddar or Velveeta work just as well)


Brown hamburger, drain and set aside.  In a large pot, combine all three soups and the enchilada sauce.  Using a whisk, mix well and heat thoroughly.  Add the drained hamburger.

In a 9x13 pan, use 6 tortillas to line the bottom of the pan (they will overlap).  Using a ladle, cover the tortillas with half of the soup/hamburger mixture.  Using the other 6 tortillas, create another layer on top of the soup/hamburger mixture.  Top with the remaining soup/hamburger mixture and completely cover with shredded cheese.  Place in a 350 degree oven until cheese has thoroughly melted.  Remove from the oven and allow to set for 5-10 minutes.


Friday, October 16, 2015

Frugal Friday Success!

If you look at the top of the page, you'll see a tab labeled "Moneymakers."  These are sites I personally use to earn extra spending money each month.  I have these particular sites listed as I can vouch for the fact that they do pay out!

Last month, between just Swagbucks and Crowdtap, I earned $85 in Amazon gift cards.  Not enough to live on, but it is definitely enough to have a little fun.  Here's how it got spent:

1.  New Kindle Fire

2. 32 gig sd card for the Fire

3.  Beads needed to complete Christmas gifts

4.  Spacer beads needed to complete Christmas gifts

5.  Bobble head of The Dude for my son.

None of these items are a true "need."  However, I consider the amount made on the Moneymaker sites as my personal "mad money" to be spent on things I otherwise could not afford or would have to wait to obtain.  Make sure to check out the sites!

On the subject of money, I want to throw out a quick reminder about this blog.  This blog also provides an additional source of income for my household.  How does it make money?  See those ads on the page?  I earn a couple of cents (yes...a couple of cents!) every time someone clicks on one of the ads.  You are under no obligation whatsoever to purchase anything!!  The clicks count!  If you happen to find a post you absolutely love, or if a post helped you in some significant way, there is also a "Donate" button located at the top left of the page which goes securely through Paypal. Okay, enough with the business end of things!

Stay tuned for next week...working on a new tab for saving every time you shop!


Thursday, October 15, 2015

The Thursday 10

During the 30-day blogging challenge, I wrote of my fascination with tiny houses.  I also admitted that I have entirely too much crap for it to be feasible right now...or any time soon.

It has given me the impetus to start simplifying my life and my surroundings.  To begin, I am going to remove 10 things each week.  Welcome to the first week!  Here are the 10 things I'm removing this week.  

My 10 items this week consist of 5 books and 5 needlework projects.  It makes up a care package for a dear friend.  She has just escaped an extremely abusive relationship and is learning to be alone again.  Part of that process is having things to do when you are sitting in silence so that the trauma does not rise up and overwhelm you.  Speaking from experience, it helps to have your hands and you mind occupied.  Included are a couple of needlework projects that will make perfect gifts for her granddaughters!

My 10 items this week are serving multiple purposes.  I have more projects than I will ever finish and I plead the fifth on the size of my library!!  It brings me joy to share these items with her and I know they will bring joy to her.

That's 10 items gone this week!  If you want to join me on the down-sizing and simplifying journey, here are my basic rules:

1.  10 items per exceptions!

2.  Unless irretrievably broken, all items must be recycled, upcycled, sold, or donated.

3.  No throwing 10 items straight in the trash.  We are trying to reduce...not add to the landfill!

4.  Use your reducing to help others if possible.

5.  If selling items, use that money to pay down your debt.  Let's reduce that, too!

Join me on the journey!!


Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Kiss and Make It Better

When our children are young, all it takes to make things better is a kiss, a snuggle, and a promise from Mom that everything will be okay.  When our children are adults, it is no longer the magic potion to cure all ills.

This is particularly difficult when your child is seriously ill.  Regardless of age, it is a mother's natural instinct to try to make it better.  The frustration of feeling helpless and the agony of watching your child suffer are almost impossible to bear.

I frequently take surveys as a means of earning extra money.  Quite frequently, the surveys give an age range of the children in your home.  The options usually stop at age 17 with the last choice being "Not a parent."  I have news for these companies.  You do not stop being a mother when your child turns 18.

Watching an adult child suffer through a significant illness teaches one to be patient.  You must wait while they make their own appointments, fill their prescriptions, and try to get through a day's shift without having to come home.  Standing by brings a feeling of helplessness unlike anything I have ever felt before.

I wish every morning when I wake that I could kiss and make it better.  Perhaps there are some magical tricks from childhood that should never disappear.


Tuesday, October 13, 2015

I missed it!!

I completely missed it!!  I planned on this huge blog post for my 1000th post.  Yeah...that was about
eighty or so posts ago.  Sigh...I not only missed it, I missed it by almost two months!  Let's celebrate

Wahoo!!  1,000 blog posts! (better late than never)

Thank you to all my readers--whether you joined at Post 1 or Post 999...I appreciate each and every one of you!!!


Monday, October 12, 2015

Viewers Choice

I choose not to get into the debate about today's holiday so I leave it to you, my clever readers, to select your own holiday for today!


Your choice, your holiday, your observance.


Sunday, October 11, 2015

Saturday, October 10, 2015

A Dessert Staple

Pound cake is a staple at my house...I use it alone, with fruit topping, with ice cream, you name it. Here is an easy recipe for this delicious, versatile dessert.


1 cup softened butter
2 cups sugar
5 eggs
2 cups flour
1 Tbsp almond flavoring


Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Combine all ingredients and beat at medium speed for 10 minutes. Pour batter into a greased and floured tube pan.  Warning...the batter will be very thick!  Bake for one hour, using the toothpick test for doneness.

Top with your favorite toppings and enjoy!


Friday, October 9, 2015


The 30-day blogging challenge is over!  I hope you all enjoyed the mini-glimpses into my head and life.  

This challenge was just that...a challenge.  The various tasks made me think, reflect, and examine portions of my life and past.  Luckily, there were a few light days thrown in there for levity!

Next week, Jerri's Empty Nest returns to normal!  Okay, as normal as I get.  Frugal Friday will return and the rest of the week will be filled with whatever crosses my mind.

Stay tuned...lots of great stuff in store!


Thursday, October 8, 2015

30-day Blogging Challenge: Day 30

Day 30:  List your goals for the next 30 days.

My goals for the next 30!  I'm lucky if I plan a week in advance!  I'm going to cheat on this one and use my long-term to-do list!

  1. Work on outline for new book.
  2. Finish crochet project.
  3. Read Go Set a Watchman.
  4. Walk the Biloxi Bay Bridge.
  5. Finish Udemy courses.
  6. Begin downsizing possessions.
  7. Make Christmas presents.
  8. Clean off bookshelves.
  9. Sort winter clothes.
  10. Lose weight!

I know I will not complete this list.  By putting it out there, I am counting on y'all to hold me accountable!!


Wednesday, October 7, 2015

30-day Blogging Challenge: Day 29

Day 29:  List 10 people, living or dead, you would invite to dinner.  Include the dinner menu.

My 10 people:

  1. My Grandpa.  I miss him terribly.
  2. My best friend, Judy.  Breast cancer stole her from me way too soon.
  3. Edgar Allen Poe
  4. Mark Twain
  5. Einstein
  6. Benjamin Franklin
  7. Freddie Mercury
  8. My friend, Forrest.  Another taken by cancer too soon.
  9. J.R.R. Tolkien
  10. Douglas Adams
The menu:

Meat Loaf
Mashed Potatoes
Sweet Peas
Dinner Rolls
Strawberry Cheesecake

I love my authors and I love my comfort food!


Tuesday, October 6, 2015

30-day Blogging Challenge: Day 28

Day 28:  What is something/someone you miss?

I am at the time of life when losing people seems to be a weekly occurrence.  I have already lost all of my grandparents, my mother, my stepfather, cousins, aunts, uncles, and numerous friends.

I miss all of them but I probably miss my paternal grandfather the most.  Grandpa was my biggest cheerleader, my staunchest supporter, and the man who raised me for the first six years of my life. Don't get me wrong...being my cheerleader didn't mean he let me get away with anything!  He was also the first to call me on something...but he never stopped loving me.  No matter what, I knew I could count on his love.

My wish for everyone is to have someone like my Grandpa in their life at least once.  I am so lucky to have had him in mine.


Monday, October 5, 2015

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Chili Pie Casserole

It is getting cooler in the northern realms and we are down below 80 degrees in the morning here on the Gulf Coast.  In anticipation of cooler weather, here is a classic fair food translated for a full family meal!


2 20oz cans of chili (with or without beans, your preference)
1 16 oz package corn chips (I get the store brand for this recipe)
1 chopped medium onion
1 package shredded cheddar cheese 


Heat the chili in a saucepan on the stovetop.  In a 9x13 pan, layer the corn chips, chili, onion, and cheese using one third of each at a time.  Repeat the layer twice more ending with cheese on top. Bake at 325 degrees for 20 minutes.


Friday, October 2, 2015

30-day Blogging Challenge: Day 27

Day 27:  Discuss a problem you have or had in the past.

Well, this one doesn't offer much guidance.  I believe I will just pick one out of a hat and go for it!

I would say my biggest ongoing problem is dealing with my ADHD.  Even at age 53, focus is still a struggle and I am easily distracted.

Within that, housekeeping is hell.  I will pick up an item in one room, go to put it away in another room, and find myself in the second room an hour later; having been completely distracted from what I was originally attempting to accomplish!  I have created work-arounds, such as setting a timer, giving myself rewards, etc. but it is still a struggle.

Also, my youngest son taught me how to use sticky notes on my additional monitor.  That enables me to check off tasks as I complete them in addition to giving me the option of adding tasks I would otherwise forget.  There is a definite sense of satisfaction when I delete one of those notes!

Do you have an issue you struggle with on a daily basis?  What are your tricks and hints?


Thursday, October 1, 2015

30-day Blogging Challenge: Day 26

Day 26:  If you had $1,000,000 to spend, how would you spend it?

  1. College funds for all my grandchildren.
  2. Pay off all bills for myself and my children.
  3. Buy a home and pay cash.
  4. Set up a retirement account.
  5. Buy a new SUV.

I know...the most boring list ever!!  The truth is that the only thing I would or could use any money I have or would receive would be used to provide security for myself and my family.  Security is a huge issue for me, as it is for anyone who has lost the roof over their head will attest.  Even with the non-existent budget I am currently working under, security is the first and foremost priority.

Now it is your turn!  If you had a million dollars, how would YOU spend it?

Let me know!



Jerri's Empty Nest