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Monday, April 18, 2022

A Ten-Year Anniversary

I don't expect anyone here to know why today is a special day for this blog. But, today is the 10-year anniversary of when I began blogging (April 18, 2012). I haven't mentioned anniversaries in past years. However, I do think 10 years is remarkable for me (maybe not other bloggers), as I didn't really know how long I'd blog, or where I'd take this website. I just started one afternoon. Though I have to say, this anniversary belongs to you, as well. You've contributed content, links, recipes, directions, inspiration, and encouragement, not only for my benefit, but for all of us. Thank you.

Since what I really wanted to celebrate about this anniversary is you, here are some insightful, helpful, and informative comments from you for each of these past 10 years:

May 2012 -- in talking about making tastier rhubarb sauce

"Mmm, love rhubarb, too! We just can't seem to grow enough, but I have experimented and discovered that replacing half the rhubarb amount with blueberries makes a super yummy sauce that I have to fight my kids for! (we live near many blueberry fields so we have a plethora of blueberries in our freezer)."

This comment got me thinking about other flavors I could add to rhubarb sauce. I've since made raspberry-rhubarb sauce, blueberry-rhubarb sauce, and my family's favorite blackberry-rhubarb sauce.

August 2013 -- how to make microwave scrambled eggs with easier clean-up

"I like to put a slice of ham or Canadian bacon in the bottom of the bowl I'm cooking in and put the egg on top of it. None of the egg sticks making clean up easier. Cooking takes about a minute this way in my microwave. Sometimes there is a little raw egg that has to be moved to the edges to cook a bit more and sometimes there isn't."

August 2014 -- using meat fat in cooking later, a great salad dressing recipe

"We don't have bacon very often now, but when we do, we save the drippings in a container. My favourite way to use it is for a very yummy salad dressing. The recipe calls for cooked slices of bacon, but it is just as good using a couple of spoonfuls of the bacon drippings in a frying pan, add about three tablespoons of brown sugar and three tablespoons of vinegar. When dissolved in the frying pan, pour over a mixture of leaf lettuce, red pepper strips and sliced fresh mushrooms. serve immediately."

February 2016 -- about gift-giving dilemmas

"This is one of those tricky questions. I love giving gifts much more than I like receiving gifts. I have found a lot of times the gift presentation is worth as much as the gift itself. Several years ago we were facing a very difficult financial time and it was right at the time my friends kids began to marry. I made a few "go-to" gifts that were well received and years later I still get an occasional call about what I put in them. It seems presentation can make the difference between a simple gift and something spectacular.


One gift was a cast iron medium skillet. ($7-8 bucks) I put a wooden spoon, cornbread mix, homemade potholder and trivet (tile square with glued on felt bottom) inside the pan. I wrapped a red check dish towel (Dollar Tree) around the pan part, gathered the remainder at the handle and tied a big red bow around it. It was very well received.  

Another go-to I used was an inexpensive metal colander filled with an inexpensive cruet, salad tongs,vegetable brush, a bag of croutons, a shaker (dollar store) of spices , homemade lettuce storage bag (made from an ikea dish towel, 
$.59) I had a ton of muslin on hand so I sort of encased these in the muslin and pulled it up over the colander creating a Pebbles Flinstone "pony tail" I tied it off with kitchen twine and attached a couple of nylon scrubbers as the bow. 

The 3rd go-to was a variation on the colander theme but was filled with spaghetti noodles, and items for a spaghetti meal
All of these idea has very little cost but all the brides really did love them, they looked cute and I didn't exceed my limited budget. Plus they remember the gift rather than just being another dinner plate or goblet."

August 2016 -- getting labels off of containers

"with all those jugs you are re-using we have to revisit removing the sticky labels. We discussed this a while ago but I found the answer. Ready? Spread a layer of peanut butter over the sticky stuff and wait an hour or so. It comes off like magic! Plastic or jars."

May 2017 -- on stretching butter

"If you watched the second episode of Victorian slum house you can use milk to stretch that butter. The grocer said it took him two hours though so maybe just limit the butter. When you do watch it, let us know what you think."

July 2018 -- repurposing glass jars

"I have too many jars and my husband thinks so too. The problem is that they are very pretty and very useful. The big carafe-like glass jars that had a special juice in them are now re-purposed as water jugs and milk jugs when I want to freeze a gallon by first pouring some off. Marinara sauce sometimes has the measurements on the jar which makes it useful for a careful liquid measurement. All other jars hold pasta, rice, beans, flour and make great drinking glasses."

So, this past weekend I was cooking up a storm and needed a clean liquid measuring cup immediately. All were dirty. I fished through the jar cupboard and came across a pasta sauce jar that had the liquid measurements on the side. canning jar -> measuring cup

May 2019 -- two separate comments on preserving onions for cooking to take advantage of seasonal low prices

"Do you freeze onions? I diced them all up and flash freeze on a cookie sheets. When frozen, I package them up in zipper bags for use for many months. We love getting lots of onions and freezing them diced. A handful here and a handful there and I don't have to dice them."

"I’ve mentioned before I chop and sauté over a weekend at the end of summer a 50 pound bag of onions when they get to the rock bottom, buy in bulk price. I use an ancient roll of aluminum foil and put the onions in packets. Future me when cooking way in the winter thanks present me for having done the onions:)"

October 2019 -- on changing my perspective 

"When I taught high school in Eastern Europe, I saw plenty of cheerful teens who rotated, at most, 2 sets of clothing. They didn't own any mobile devices. Their large families often lived in one-bedroom apartments. In spite of that, those kids were well-adjusted, happy and unspoiled. It was a real eye opener for me and really put things in perspective. Most of us here live with much, much more than I ever saw over there."

January 2021 -- a recipe for homemade laundry soap that doesn't leave a funky smell after laundering

"Another success is homemade laundry powder and after researching before making it, I have used a box of gain detergent as part of the mix so that I wouldn't get funky smell some talk about when making homemade detergent. So its a success.

1 box borax, 1 box arm and hammer washing soda, 3 bars pink zote soap (shredded)

1 box of gain (or your choice of powdered detergent), 1 container of laundry crystals.

I put all of this in my food processor to make it more powdery. We like it and it doesn't smell funky after several washes like I have heard some say."

July 2021 -- several comments on developing a waste not, want not attitude and eating those leftovers eventually

"Both our parents lived during a time when food was scarce so they wasted nothing and that's how we grew up. I still do the same now as well as when the children were young. I told my kids "you'll eat it one way or another"! Something not eaten was always transformed into a more desirable offering."


"We (hubs and I) are notorious leftover eaters. That is how I raised our five kids as well. . . they know that we will eat anything left so we are the recipients of quite a few meals - both purchased and home cooked."

"I worked most of the weekend and we had potlucks to make it more fun. My coworkers kept leaving baked products uncovered and I was making jokes about being the mom and covering them back up. I wonder how much food goes to waste simply because people don't take simple steps to keep the food safe and fresh."

"Add me to the crowd of eating everything on your plate - however not at once if you're not that hungry, so as not to encourage overeating. That's the way my mother did it and the way I did it with my kids, and we continue that today."

Thank you for so freely offering your thoughts, advice, suggestions, instructions, and recipes.


  1. Merci pour ce que vous faites.
    Vous lire nous encourage et nous stimule dans nos efforts. Vous nous aidez à améliorer notre vie et à prendre soin de notre famille.
    Bon anniversaire de blog.

  2. Happy Anniversary! I don't know exactly how long I've read your blog...but a long time! I consider you a blessing in my life!! I have not only received good and useful ideas from you and others, I have received support and encouragement. Thank you and all so much!

    1. Thank you, Linda. I do know you've been part of this community for a long time!

  3. Congratulations, Lili! Ten years is a long time, much longer than most blogs out there. I started a year before you and most of the blog friends I had in the beginning are long gone.
    I'm glad you stuck around because sharing your organized, thoughtful approach to frugal living has helped many people.

    And thanks for sharing the previous comments. I was reminded of some good things to try.

    1. Hi Live and Learn,
      Thank you. Ten years is a long time. Will there be another ten? We'll just have to see.

  4. 10 Years! Too bad we can't get together for a party. That would be fun, wouldn't it?

    There has been so much gentle wisdom on your blog, Lili, from you and as you mentioned today, from so many people writing in. Speaking of which, I was looking up the Pasta Tina recipe yesterday. How much pasta did your girls add? The recipe seems somewhat vague. I read somewhere that someone added 3 cups of macaroni noodles but that seemed like a lot to me.

    1. Hi Kris,
      Thank you. A party would be so much fun.
      For the Pasta Tina -- my daughters served the bean sauce over the cooked pasta. So how ever much cooked pasta your family would eat in one meal. (I think they probably used 2 cups of dry macaroni, cooked.) They used two 14.5 oz cans of beans and it made a lot of sauce, which was very thick. This was a very hearty and filling meal. I couldn't eat my whole serving, but saved some for the next day. If you make it, I hope you enjoy it as much as we did. This was a very tasty way to incorporate the fiber and nutrients of beans.

  5. Congratulations Lili! Although I don't comment on a regular basis, I always read and glean so much from this community. It is such an uplifting and positive place to spend a few minutes and learn something, too! I'm curious about how far apart everyone is - I wouldn't want to invade privacy, but could we share the states we live in? I think it is interesting how people of like interests can connect and share commonalities.

    1. Thank you, Ruthie. This group has been such an encouragement to me, too.

  6. Thank you for giving your time to write informative articles and reply so thoughtfully to all our comments, over a decade. I can't remember when I found your blog, but I recalled thinking yours was special, more personal and real. You also take frugality to a different level, calculated and hairsplitting yet doable (thankfully you've helped us with the math, and shown your logic), cost sparing yet elegant. Especially in these times of high inflation, your creativity and voice is much appreciated.

    Have a wonderful 10th Anniversary day!!


    Ruthie, I'm in Hawaii. I've always been curious about this too.

    1. Hi Laura,
      Thank you for your kind words. I appreciate them.

  7. Happy 10th Anniversary LiLi. The 10th is symbolized by tin or aluminum, both materials representing durability and flexibility. Or it would if this was a marriage anniversary��
    Not sure when I started but it’s been so enjoyable to see the notice popup in my inbox that a new post has arrived.
    I have always admired how organized and imaginative you have been covering so much diverse material. I’ve especially applauded the work in all the calculations.

    I’m in the central part of Canada. We have a short hot summer and a longer, colder winter than you do in the PNW. I am always amazed at what greenery and growth you have during the winter.

    Best wishes on your anniversary. If you mention it to your family maybe they will get you some aluminum foil or tin plates:)

    1. Every year for our we'd anniversary, my husband gets me a joke gift based on the number of years we've been married. I got tin foil for #10. And flowers. Our 21st is this week so I'm waiting to see what he comes up with!

    2. Hi Teresa,
      Thank you. You know, I'd be thrilled if someone gave me a box of aluminum foil, especially if it was the heavy duty stuff. Maybe I should drop a hint to my family. I'm easy to please.

  8. Kris,
    happy wedding anniversary!

  9. Happy 10th Anniversary, Lili! I had a blog a few years ago, which is when I found you, and appreciate the time and effort that goes into it. I love the sense of community I find here. I live in Indiana.


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