Using a free grocery store item in your garden.

Just recently we have found these very nifty bands on our veggies. They do much less damage to the lettuce than a metal and paper twist-tie . When we took off the band we saw that it had the qualities of velcro and it was very sturdy!

We thought to try it in the garden to help stake the tomatoes and it works well! If you are like us and have to wait until your own vegetables grow and still need the fresh veggie section at the market, look out for these. Ask your non gardening friends to save them for you. Save money! Use them to wrangle flowers and perennials in a border. The green blends in nicely. These would also come in handy to hold your pant legs out of danger from the spokes on your bike…you can even leave a couple on the bike. We hope they will be reusable next year.

Hope you liked this money saving tip. How could you use these lettuce bands in your household?

You’re Gonna Meet New Friends on Old Cape Cod

Now that we are both retired, we were invited by friends to go along with them to enjoy a stay at their friends’ house on a pond at the Cape. I met one of them at an annual Lemon Tea Party and enjoyed many conversations with her. We almost always click with any friends that our one time neighbors have and this visit was no exception. All three couples loved yard sale-ing (yard sailing is their alternative humorous nautical term) Estate Sales, cooking from scratch together and then dining at leisure, with more conversation, music and laughs. I hope we will be able to get back there when the weather is warmer so I can try paddle boarding on their beautiful pond. Make new friends and keep the old – one is silver and the other gold.

A cool morning and a trip to a very nice cape cod beach near the house. The ropes behind us are to protect the plovers’ nests in the dune area during the nesting season.

And so begins our next adventure together

I wanted to see the sun rise over the ocean on my birthday which also marked the start of my retirement. I have anticipated this for a few years and took the countdown seriously. Luckily, the weather was beautiful. As soon as my other half retires in a few weeks (fingers crossed) we will have more time for friends, for enjoying each other’s company, our garden and home and to explore this great country of ours.This trip made me very happy and always true to our frugal lifestyle, it didn’t break the budget!

Enjoy Some Turnip Trivia and Tips for This St. Patrick’s Day

Much maligned but beloved by turnip and rutabaga eaters the humble root vegetable!

This humble root vegetable is great winter eating. It would have been used in a boiled dinner for generations because it is not only easy to cultivate but is also an excellent winter keeper. Late winter meals in New England, Europe and Great Britain were often some sort of preserved meat boiled with root vegetables. I LOVE turnip but my husband doesn’t like it or the “disturbance” it creates in my digestive tract. When I was employed at a living history museum as a historical interpreter, I worked in a farmhouse kitchen with one of the best cooks and good historians that I have ever known. Everyone who came into the kitchen when we cooked turnip or rutabaga would make a thinly veiled joke about the gaseous emissions they would experience after eating it. This is what I learned from her and will pass on to you. Indigestion etc. comes from trying to break down the fibers close to the skin of the turnip. Here’s how you fix that. Cut the top and bottom off the top of the turnip and look for a line that is in about 1/4″ from the skin. If you cut that well away before you cook the turnip you will not get that indigestion!  So, don’t use a vegetable peeler on this but over cut it generously to remove this offender with a knife, which will also save you time. Cook in salted water until tender and mash with butter. 

When we were kids, Mom used to mix mashed turnip with mashed potatoes and called it “root moose”, a funny name to us which we thought she made up. It is one of Sweden’s national dishes, pronounced the way we said it but written as Rotmas. I was told by a friend who lived in Sweden that you can buy this pre made in the frozen food section of any Swedish grocery store.


Enjoy your St. Patrick’s Day boiled brisket and root vegetables and make certain that you listen to some great Irish Music!


Lifestyle of the Almost Retired Frugal Couple



I love to save money and have ingredients on hand for cooking and baking.  When lemons are a really good deal I plan on using the freezer to keep them. I grate all the zest with a hasp like tool and set aside. Then I juice all the lemons and have several juicers to squeeze as much as I can out of them. I put a healthy pinch of zest into each cell of an ice cube tray and then pour the in juice and freeze.  I then pop these lemon juice cubes out and store them in a zip lock bag and place back into the freezer for lemon juice on my terms. I add zest because it heightens the lemon flavor of the juice. I’ve used these to make hummus, to enhance soups and to make a delicious lemon two crust pie (the recipe is on Vintage Unscripted). Happily saving $$ one day at a time! Whats your frugal tip for lemons?

Lifestyle of the almost retired frugal couple!

Curried squash and mushroom soup is a great way to warm you up on a chilly day.
Curried squash and mushroom soup is a great way to warm you up on a chilly day.

Alas, we did not invest in Apple stock or inherit trust funds so we will need to use our frugal smarts to get by in our upcoming retirement. One thing I have been doing now that the weather is cooler here in New England is to make soups, stews and chili for the freezer. We will pop out a smallish container of these for a great lunch or supper along with Paul’s incredible bread. (Paul is a fan of Jim Lahey’s “My Bread” Book)  If a friend isn’t feeling well, we can bring one or two containers because soup warms the heart as well as the body. I may continue with some frugal postings from time to time. In retirement saving money is as important as making money! Let me know what you think….

Aunt Hatties Staff on Walkabout

Staff Photo
Staff Photo

Went for apples and cider and then for a walk. Most of the shop staff went…the photographer, the head of security and Aunt Hattie herself. Relaxation therapist was left at the shop sleeping in a patch of sunlight. After a light snack of apple cider and a cinnamon donut, work resumed at its usual leisurely pace.

Happy National Dog’s Day

Maggie just loves winter!
Maggie just loves winter!

We got Maggie as a “rescue” from a breeder in Texas. She’s 25 pounds of miniature labradoodle. Her first winter up in New England was hysterical. Her labrador side took over and she would burrow under the snow for the sheer fun of it. She makes us laugh, she gives us love and we are glad she’s a member of the household. Louise our cat wants equal time and hope there’s a National Cat day.

The best way to honor our beloved dogs from our past is to give our love to a new one and the circle is unbroken.
The best way to honor our beloved dogs from our past is to give our love to a new one so that the circle is unbroken.

Staycations and Vintage Treasures

We just spent a few days doing day trips to pick vintage or antiques and have lunch out. We drove up to the Arundel Maine Flea Market which is open daily at this time of year to give us great outdoor access to local finds. After that we went to Five Islands Seafoods in Georgetown not far from Reed State Park and enjoyed some delicious whole fried clams on this pier with a delightfully cooling breeze off the water.  Heading home we hit our two favorite group shops and managed to find a few more treasures to take home.  Alas the car wasn’t packed full of treasures but that’s what makes the ones we did find all the more special!

Two characters who brought a smile to my face! Soon to be added to one of the shops.
Two characters who brought a smile to my face! Soon to be added to one of the shops.