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Tuesday, March 29, 2022

Little Things Really Do Add Up

If you put aside $5 a week, at the end of a year you have $260 saved. If you save all of your scraps of bread products (those ends, stale muffins, lone squares of cornbread, etc) in the freezer, before you know it you'll have enough for a strata or bread pudding. If you drink a half cup of water every hour, at the end of a 14-hour day you've consumed 56 ounces of water.

You may remember that last fall I harvested a total of 12 winter squash and small pumpkins. These weren't jumbo piece of produce, just small garden ones. Of the 12, 10 matured enough to contain mature seeds (the kind that you'd want to eat). When I'd cut into a squash or pumpkin, I'd clean out the seeds, wash them,  set aside a few for planting, then freeze the rest in a small ziplock bag (stored in the freezer). Well, by the end of the fall (after using all of the squash/pumpkins), I had 2 baggies full of edible seeds! This was enough to roast pumpkin seeds on two occasions last week, yielding enough delicious seeds for our family's snacking over a couple of days each time.

I'm used to the small size of the pumpkins that I can grow in my not-always-sunny garden. And when I open one up, I'm happy to find some seeds inside, but I never have more than a handful or two in any one pumpkin or squash. If I were to consider washing and roasting just a handful of seeds, I might not bother and compost them instead. By saving seeds over the course of using all of the pumpkins/squashes, there really was enough to "bother" with.

It was really satisfying to use all of the edible portions of each pumpkin or squash. And as a bonus, my family was super happy with the healthy and tasty snack.


  1. What a good idea! My kids loved roasted pumpkin seeds but since kids are grown and on their own, we no longer do that (Husband's intestinal issues prevent eating them). This year I saved seeds from a delicious squash someone gave me and I have two varieties ready to plant somewhere on my very shady property. I'm also going to have all my pots and planters scattered through the property this year and fill them with all kinds of things we like to eat. No flowers just edibles. And my vertical planter will be filled with herbs and anything else that is not too heavy.

    1. My husband has been growing more and more things in pots, in addition to our garden, and many of them have done better than the ones in the garden. We aren't sure if it's easier to protect them from bugs, or the lighting is better, or maybe a combination of both.

    2. Hi Alice,
      Good luck with your gardening plans. I have seen squash grown in large pots. Just an idea if you have a pot large enough to sit in a sunny location. I grew peppers in pots last year and they did well. Also, salad greens do very well in pots. Our hanging baskets had all of our lettuce last year and I was very happy with how that turned out. Like Kris said, sometimes veggies do better in pots than in the ground. Good luck!

  2. That's a great idea! My husband is the one who roasts the seeds. We have found that we like the taste of the smaller squash seeds better than the larger pumpkin seeds.

    I love your thought that little things add up over time. That is true in so many aspects of life. I sometimes wonder if we have been saturated with the "go big or go home" mindset that is out there today and we don't feel like the little things are making a dent, and so it's easy to forego doing them. It's easier to quantify saving small amounts of money--several years ago I had an "epiphany" that if I could cut $20 per week out of my budget, I'd have $1000 more at the end of a year's time. I like how you gave examples of non-financial gains.

    1. Hi Kris,
      Oh wow, yes, just $20 a week would really add up. I once calculated how much we saved by my husband always taking his lunch to work all of these years. It was enough to completely pay for our kitchen remodel several years ago. It's the little money-saving things that are available for most of us to do. And if we do them consistently, over time, they do add up.

  3. This philosophy is similar to one that I think about quite often, "Slow and steady wins the race." Both ideas require patience which is hard sometimes, but usually worth it.

    1. Hi Live and Learn,
      I was thinking about that saying/philosophy, too. That's been my motto for my entire life. Others may be able to sprint to the finish line, but I'm a slow and steady person. And it has worked for us.

  4. Ditto what others have said, and you figured a better strategy that made the process efficient, which ultimately became the "trigger". I tell myself there is nothing shameful about being frugal; it is smart, it is using my thinking skills, like analyzing and problem solving. However, it can be an obsession too where I find myself going overboard spending ridiculous amount of time recycling.

    Have a nice day!!

    1. Hi Laura,
      When my kids were young, they'd ask if we were poor and was that why we made the choices we did. I always told them we weren't poor, but we were smart. Then I'd point out the "luxuries" they got to have that other kids didn't, all because we were so careful with our money. I think they got it.
      I totally understand your comment about spending ridiculous amounts of time recycling. I've done the very same thing with trying to repurpose clothes that are too worn out to wear and nobody would want them. Oh well, if that's the worst thing we're doing, I think we're okay.
      Have a lovely evening, Laura.

    2. LOL, Lili, thank you for saying that, it's made me feel less crazy.

      Have a nice evening too!!

  5. Hi Lily and friends it's been a while since I posted. I have been using the same philosophy in many areas not just food. For instance I have been using up yarn given to me to make baby doll afghans and pillows for gifts and selling at a bazaar mom and I do in our area. Also using up cotton yarn to make soap savers to sell. Last year we sold out of our soap savers. The yarn colors were smaller amounts that would not have been useful for dishcloths but worked great for these. I have a lot of dried fruit that is slices, orange peel and slices, lemon peel and slices, along with spices that were given to me by friends that were moving. I'm turning these into packages of simmering pot potpourri that I am going to sell as well. Using up bits of things and make them into useful things is my challenge this year lol. Thank you for all the inspiration ♡ Gaila in the NW

    1. Hi Gaila,
      I love your uses for the small amounts of yarns and dried fruits. Good job! And thanks for sharing. I get so many great ideas from you and others who comment.


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