Grandma Susan’s Almanac Calendar is an informal monthly journal that encourages homemakers to do more things for themselves - crafts, handiwork, “from-scratch” cooking, gardening, and other domestic arts. Grandma's motto is: "Let's work together to improve our lives by simple living, self-reliance, maintaining our religious faith, and sharing the blessings of life with others."

Saying of the month  - "The thinnest yellow light of November is more warming & exhilarating than any wine they tell of. The mite which November contributes becomes equal in value to the bounty of July."
                              -   Henry David Thoreau

November, 2010

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
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New Moon    First Qtr    Full Moon   Last Qtr
11/5/22:52  11/13/10:39  11/21/11:27 11/28/14:36 

U.S. Central Standard Time

Some Bible verses for November

"Faith is the reason we remember great people who lived in the past. It is by faith we understand that the whole world was made by God's command so what we see was made by something that cannot be seen." (Hebrews11: 2-3)

 Recommended reading

Walden, Henry David Thoreau

 PAGE CONTENTS

Some Bible verses      
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Saying of the month
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Recommended reading       
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Find home storage space   
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Save on food costs    
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Recycle your extra yarn 
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Recipe of the month - Pasta, eggplant & tomatoes

FIND MORE STORAGE SPACE IN YOUR HOME

Many of us live in smaller homes, and we like them just fine. The only problem that we face is how to find storage space for all our things. In an earlier blog, I emphasized that the first step to organization in the house is to get rid of nonessential items. Maybe you, like me, have already done a fairly good job of doing that. Nevertheless, depending on how small your house is, you probably have looked around longingly for additional storage space.

The good news is that all homes, even small ones, have lots of potential storage space. With a little creativity and faith in self-reliance, you can find that extra storage in surprising places. I've been able to use all of the following storage ideas in my small house. They work well and are easy to create (the fact that I have a husband who is handy with carpentry is a great benefit).

First of all, look for things for your home that do can do double-duty. Don't settle for just one use for big furniture, look for at least 2 ways to use them – first, hopefully, as they are intended to be used and second as storage units.

Recycle cans and plastic "disposables" as container for miscellaneous small items.

Keep all kinds of small things in hanging shoe bags behind bedroom doors.

Fit more into your closet with storage that reaches to the ceiling and add hooks for hanging items such as belts and ties. 

Use shelf organizers and dividers to keep things neat and easy to find.

Install double-hanging rods in your closets for hanging up shirts and pants.

Store seldom used clothing and linens inside your suitcases.

Place stacking platforms in taller shelf spaces to save room.

Hang pots on  racks or  hooks on the kitchen wall.

Use canisters or crocks to hold utensils, such as knives, spatulas and spoons, right out on the counter or shelf where you can reach them easily. 

Place small jars like spices in inexpensive clear plastic boxes, so they'll be visible and at easy reach. Mount lid racks on cabinet doors.

Use baskets, cans, or canisters in the bathroom to organize cotton balls, makeup, and other everyday grooming articles.

Mount storage shelves on the wall over the toilet seat. Put hooks over the tops of your bathroom and bedroom doors to hold robes, clothes or bags. 

Buy or make a table or desk that folds out from the wall for your office or crafts needs.

Hide boxes of things under furniture, including tables, desks or beds. Just be sure to put a tablecloth or skirt on the furniture that reaches the floor --to avoid unsightly clutter.

Mount your TV and the DVD player on the wall.

Free up floor space anywhere in the house with shelving units that hang on the wall and use wall hooks or pegs to hang up miscellaneous items.

There is almost always some space high up on the wall, even over the windows if necessary, where a long shelf can be hung – books and collectibles can be displayed there.

  SAVE ON FOOD COSTS

Most of us have a limited household budget, and food is a big part of that budget. That doesn’t mean that we are scrimping on food. It just means that we must be penny-wise. So, we need to be sure that we come home from the stores with the food we need, but nothing more. Here I want to share with you some of the ways that we save on food costs. If you follow these suggestions, you’ll save, too.

Always have the next week’s meal plan and a grocery list

The frugal homemaker always has thought about the meals to be eaten during the week before going shopping. By planning ahead, you can be sure you are getting  the  food that you need for your meals. With menu planning and home-cooked meals, you’ll be sure that your family eats a healthier diet. (I recommend that you prepare very simple, wholesome meals. When unforeseen situations cut short your time in the kitchen, you are much more likely to be able to prepare simple meal rather than complicated ones.)

Your menu will tell you what items you need to have on hand. First, check the refrigerator and freezer to see what’s already there. Then complete the grocery list. Make your list based on wholesome, natural foods and refuse  over prepackaged, processed foods that usually  aren’t as good for you and cost more.  Now, leave the house with your grocery list and keep it in your hand as you shop. It’s your main weapon in the battle to spend less at the store.

Buy only what's on your shopping list

Your list, based on your week’s meal plan, will help you get what you need and remind you not to buy extra items on an impulse.  If you go to the store without a list, you are sure to forget a number of foods that are necessary. When you forget items, you have to go back to a store after just a few days.

The store you stop at for missing items will probably be a “convenience” store, and you’ll leave there with smaller quantities, and paying higher prices than you would have at a regular store. It’s also easy to fall “victim” to impulse buying on these extra shopping trips. You are usually on your way home, from work or elsewhere, and already hungry. Being hungry makes you more impulsive and likely as not, you’ll forget your pledge to buy wholesome food and end up purchasing some junk food (and eating it, immediately).

Forget brands, look for bargains, and buy only what you need.

If you want to save money at the store, you have to forget about choosing the usual or most-advertised brands. Instead, try out new items when the price is right. Generic and store-label products are often as good as the brand name items and almost always cost less.

You’ve got your list and know what you need. Buying what you need in bulk and in larger packages will often saves you money, but it makes sense only if you’ll use it in a reasonable time. Don’t overbuy. If you need one can of peas, don’t buy three cans just because they are a good price.

Cook and eat the meals you planned.

If you’ve bought everything on your grocery list, you’ll have all the items you need. Be sure to cook all the meals you planned. Don’t be led, in a weak moment, to eat in a restaurant or food court, or buy fully prepared foods.  With menu planning and home cooking, you’ll have the benefits of saving money and preparing more nutritious meals.

RECYCLE YOUR EXTRA YARN 

When you knit or crochet an item, there is almost always a little yarn leftover. There is usually too little of it to make anything else. So, it sits around, filling-up bags, boxes or drawers. Most of it gets unraveled and tangled up – a real mess. After a while, we get tired of looking at it and consider it useless. When this happens, it is very likely that, over time, it will be thrown or given away.

But wait. You don’t have to discard extra yarn. It can be nicely organized and stored for future use.

There are many things that you can do with extra yarn. I use my scraps of yarn for making round crocheted rugs, knitted afghans or scarves. For these projects I don't need a pattern. I just do whatever stitch or stitches I decide on - usually very simple ones. I just knit or crochet the scraps until they're used up (or until I decide to change colors.

There are also many small craft projects that can be made with scraps of yarn - pot holders, borders for wash cloths and towels, finger and hand puppets, doll clothes, etc. 

Just be sure to ball up the leftover yarn just as soon as you finish the project (if it wasn’t balled earlier)- that way, it takes up a lot less space. Even an almost full skein can be balled in about 10 minutes. If you put it in a clear plastic bag with other balls, it won’t get unraveled and be available for some future use.

You can even use leftover yarn as a display piece, if you put the colored yarn balls in a large clear glass container (like those that are used for big candles). That way you can proudly display your extra yarn on your worktable or shelf. It will look pretty there and help to remind you fondly of old projects. The yarn will also be visible when you plan a new craft item or finish off a new knitted or crocheted project with a contrasting color.

 

"FROM-SCRATCH" RECIPE FOR NOVEMBER

Pasta with stewed eggplant and tomatoes

Cook a half-pound of any type of macaroni-style pasta and set aside. Then, make the stewed eggplant and tomatoes. Heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a heavy skillet. Add a diced eggplant – about 3 cups --, along with 2 minced cloves of garlic, ¼ cup chopped onions, along with ½ teaspoon of dried Italian seasonings, and salt and pepper to taste. Cook eggplant and onions until tender, about 7 minutes. Add 2 large chopped tomatoes (or a can of stewed tomatoes) to the mixture and cook for another 5 minutes. Serve pasta and stewed eggplant and tomatoes warm in soup bowls. Parmesan cheese, chopped black olives, or toasted pine nuts may be sprinkled on top.

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