Sewing, Cooking, Dollar Stretching and Reflecting on life

Welcome to Creative Frugality! Today, Home Economics is not taught as a standard course in high school, so I want to bring it to you. Depending on your age, you might not even know what Home Economics is so here is an actual definition:

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The five areas of Home Economics

I am really excited to share some tips with you about Home Economics in a fun and creative way! The name Creative Frugality…You may wonder what frugal even means – it can bring up different impressions! Frugal is not depriving you or your family of good things but being wise with the resources that we each have; our time, money and energy. Welcome to this place!

How to make a great Home Date Night meal…let your slow cooker help!

Date Night!!! You know it is so important but there are different seasons of your life where you need/want/prefer to have those date nights at home rather than going out for your date. You might need to scale back financially in order to meet goals, childcare might be an issue, you may have food allergy issues, the list could go on and on. Before I continue, let me say that going out to eat is amazing and such a treat BUT it costs!! It can be expensive (going out to eat is at least 5 times more expensive than eating at home) and take up more time than eating a great meal at home! My husband and I have more home dates than out dates for sure, so when we do go out it is such a treat and sometimes we splurge. We save for it ahead of time so it is not a strain on our budget.

Anyway, you can create a very nice atmosphere at home by making a nice meal (or even just a snack and tea or coffee) for you and your date – this could be a spouse, child, friend, or family member. Whoever you are trying to spend intentional time with will enjoy this! At this point in my life I have a toddler so meeting a friend for coffee is not really practical but having that friend over to have coffee with me is!

Here is a meal idea that I wanted to share for a home date night….you can use your slow cooker and prep the side dishes ahead of time to make clean up even faster!

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Smoked Onion and Mushroom Ham with side dishes

Recipe:

  • 1 1/2 lb sliced ham – I had frozen ham in the freezer that I put in the slow cooker frozen
  • 1/3 c broth or 1 can of cream of mushroom soup
  • 1 pkg of mushrooms
  • 2 onions, sliced
  • salt, pepper, garlic and 1 tsp of smoked paprika

Place all ingredients in the slow cooker in the order listed. Cook on low for 6 hours. (it is smelling amazing in my kitchen right now!!)

Side dishes – roasted vegetables and greens salad. Cut up your vegetables for roasting early in the day. Place in roasting pan. Add olive oil and seasoning and stir. Cover with foil or lid and keep in the fridge until you are ready to roast. Add salad to round out the meal. You can serve fruit as a dessert or make something else that you love…like brownies or cake!!

Enjoy this meal and be proud of yourself for saving so much money and a lot of time yet still enjoying the person or people that you are with – get creative and save money! You can do this! I would love to hear what date night ideas you have. This is just one…there are so many more.

Check out my YouTube channel for some videos on making broth in your slow cooker!

Here is a link to Dave Ramsey’s money saving ideas on dates, I just had to share because I thought they were pretty good and gave some actual dollar amounts for the money you would save. https://www.daveramsey.com/blog/cheap-date-night-ideas

THE best bean soup!

I first started making my own broth and stock in my slow cooker in 2008 . I am not sure why I remember the year exactly but I do. Veggie, chicken and beef stock have all come from my kitchen and saved a lot of money from leaving my wallet. Last week I made ham bone broth for the first time and it was amazing. Here is my recipe : ( and a YouTube video )

  • ham bone from cooking a ham
  • water 8-12 cups depending on the size of your cooker
  • veggie scraps ( I keep veggie scraps as I cut veggies and put them in a freezer bag to use for stock and broth later)

Take those ingredients and add to slow cooker. Cook on low for 24 hours. Strain and allow to cool. I like to then put in a container in the fridge and remove the fat that comes to the top – I was very surprised that with the ham broth there was very little fat. Then store as you would like. I left some in the fridge to make THE best bean soup ever and I put the rest in the freezer.

We love bean soup and find it so filling and not to mention economical! Last week I even had a coupon for a 4 lb bag of beans so I estimated that each serving of this great soup cost about 40-50 cents per 1 cup serving. Here is the recipe – it is so absolutely delicious so that I why I am calling it THE best bean soup!

So delicious….

THE best bean soup!

  • 7 cup ham bone broth
  • 2 cups cut up ham
  • 4 large carrots, scrubbed and cut up
  • 1 onion
  • 2 potatoes chopped with skin on
  • 2 T minced garlic
  • 3 cups of water
  • 1 1/2 T italian seasoning
  • 1/2 t pepper
  • 4 cup of dry northern beans

Pre soak or quick cook the beans and add to the slow cooker. Add all other ingredients and cook on high for 7-8 hours. (do you notice what is NOT in the bone broth or soup? SALT!!! There is no salt but the flavor is amazing!) This recipe makes enough to eat, freeze and give some away.

Happy New Year!

Nephrostomy tube friendly clothing …for a toddler!!?!!

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Toddlers are very busy people…they are everywhere and they are everywhere all of the time. Well, let me rewind a bit here…

My littlest was born with kidney issues and spent time in the NicU (a whole new world I never knew existed full of amazing doctors and nurses!!) and came home with a nephrostomy tube. In case you are not sure what that is, it is basically a tube that comes out of your back that comes directly from the kidney and to drain urine into a bag because there is blockage and the urine cannot drain as it should. When a nephrostomy tube is in a newborn it can be very challenging because they cannot “help” hold themselves so you are basically trying to hold and change them all while NOT pulling out a tube! The benefit of having this as a newborn is that the baby does not roll over, pull up, cruise, climb, or walk!!! I would suggest using the Halo Sleep Sacks if you have a newborn who needs a nephrostomy tube – those were a huge help just keeping it altogher so you can hold your baby without worrying!

Our urologist called after a recent scan and told me that our 14 month old needed a nephrostomy tube and it needed to stay in for 5 weeks until his next surgery! My heart dropped and my thought was “how in the world is this going to work?”! Then, my mind went to work and I credit God with giving me the wisdom on what I needed to do!

If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God who

gives generously to all…” James 1:5

I needed to make accommodations to his clothing where he could not see, touch, or feel that tube, spin lock, or drainage bag and where it would basically be against his leg. So I got to work!

I wanted to share with you the best design that I came up with and I feel that this could be used up to any age where the little person will be wearing any sort of one piece outfit. Usually a waistband of any sort will hit right where the tube is coming out of the kidney so that is out. I used zip up pajamas and it worked out so well. To know the end of the story, we THRIVED (not JUST survived) during the five weeks of toddler nephrostomy tube and made it to the surgery!

We have an abundance of clothing for our little guy but if you don’t, just purchase several zip up jammies or romper (shop at Goodwill, consignment shop, facebook marketplace, etc to save money). I made 6 outfits and that worked out really well. Here are the steps that I used to make our nephrostomy tube friendly clothing!

  1. Cut a slit in the pajama/romper about 4 inches long about 10 inches from the bottom of the leg.
  2. Cut out a rectangle shape from another jammie in coordinating fabric – mixing and matching is really fun. You want to cut it to where the zipper is down the middle. At this point you can turn under the raw edges and stitch or use a serger/overlock stitch.
  3. Place that recangle over the slit and stitch down all sides. Repeat if you have bilateral nephews tubes placed (we had that in the NicU)
  4. Dress your child as usual but place the bag and tube through the slit and zip closed and you are all set ! No worrying about them pulling it out, catching on anything, etc. It was a LIFE-SAVER.
  5. **If you do not have extra clothes, but have extra fabric and zippers, you can make it that way as well. I did that at first but then had the other idea that I just shared and I thought it looked great!

Creative Frugality…yes that TOTALLY sums of this project I made. Don’t let a challenge stand in your way of what must be done. Get creative, use your resources wisely (time, money and energy) and you will feel great about the outcome! When we were in the hospital and doctor appointments all of the nurses were thrilled about these outfits – I hope this is of help to you. If you have any questions, please contact me! I will post a video to my YouTube Channel soon on actually making these. I will also post the link here. If you don’t know how to sew and you need some of these outfits for your little one, let me know.

A simple Christmas

Our family has a 14 month old so in order to keep him safe and keep our sanity, we decided to only set up a small Christmas tree this year. At first the other kids were upset that we would not have all of the ornaments out and things would not be “normal” like “other years”, but we pressed forward and I am glad that we did.

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Changing to this small tree and making just the small area of decorating much more simple, caused me to really think about the first Christmas – the one where Christ was born. He came to earth in a simple way. In a manger. Wrapped in strips of cloth. No fancy ornaments, decorations, perfect outfit, coordinated family photo, banquet or other “must haves” of Christmas in today’s world. Scaling back caused me to think about this in a new way. If that first Christmas was so simple, why does this Christmas have to be so complicated, detailed, planned, etc.

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I have been called to simplicity at a certain time in my life – right before I turned 40. I had this “moment” where I realized when I am doing something (such as planning a party or event or even a family outing or meal) I need to make my plan, scale it back and scale that back one more time. That process has been a huge help to me during the past few years.

So this Christmas what can you eliminate from the “must haves” so that you can reflect on what is really important? Is it extra gifts, events, deadlines, or self imposed accomplishments? Try to take time to enjoy your family and friends, connect with your loved ones and with Christ. He is the best gift of all and He simply wants to connect with you.

Merry Christmas!!

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