Re-Create Your World: The Power of Focus

Re~Create Your World: The Power of Focus

“You can actually recreate your world with 
The Word of the Creator in your mouth.”       
 --Mark Twain,  The Prince and the Pauper

The classic saying "energy goes to focus" is never truer than when creating a master list of tasks that will direct your thoughts and (consequently) energy in such a way that you bring about the changes you are trying to create. 

This year I aspire to create a better balanced life and accomplish more of my long term goals.  Here are a few ways I plan to do this:
Hand write a daily List.
List: A focusing device that translates thoughts, ideas and inspirations ideas into action.
Use my morning quiet time in a more focused way: 
Use the Word to quietly, positively contribute to the healing and strengthening of the weak areas of my life...our country...our world.
Write. Share. Learn
Set up the craft/guest room desk as a specific area for writing and posting online. Organize my vast library for easier reference...thus minimizing my screen time.
Polish my green(ish) thumb.
Plant a new herb garden in our new a potted dwarf lemon tree...start seeds I saved from last years' heirloom tomatoes.


Frugal Feasts : Classic Turkey Soup

"He  that  is  faithful  in  that  which  is  least 
is  faithful  also  in  much."

~The Book of Luke;postID=1234988280090705823;onPublishedMenu=posts;onClosedMenu=posts;postNum=31;src=postname

How to make classic Turkey~Noodle Soup from what's left of
the Thanksgiving Feast.

Click HERE for Recipe


BOOKS: "How Frugal is the Chariot that Carries the Human Soul"

"It is an ancient art.  Its practice has been recorded as far back as the time of the ancient Greek philosopher Socrates (about 399 B.C.).  Its nurture or neglect has influenced the rise and fall of nations and civilizations.  Abandoning it has been the ruin of fortunes.  Embracing it amplifies wealth and can dispel the state of poverty."

"What is this mysterious seemingly elusive art of which I speak?  Frugality.  A humble word, it is derived from two ancient Latin words,frugalis and frux, both meaning... "success".
You may also call it by other names such as prudence, spariness and thrift.  
Whatever your choice may be, it always means the unwillingness to squander goods or spend money unnecessarily.  It is the careful use of materials or resources."

"The quality of being frugal is one so powerful as to change lives and affect history.  Each of us possesses the ability to exercise it.  Frugality allows you to govern your destiny and produce in your life a lovely, fertile garden of material and intangible wealth.  Without it, you may be tossed upon the waves of circumstance, at the mercy of your unorganized whims."



A Frugal Reader's Dream Realized!
(An UNsponsored Post.)
My favorite online bookstore is Thrift Books.  If you're not yet familiar, Thrift Books is a used bookstore !  To quote their site...

"Innovation in processing and selling used books has allowed for Thrift Books to provide the internet’s cheapest prices without sacrificing our commitment to providing quality used books. Its entire process of selling used books was developed internally using the latest technology and supply methods.

Thrift Books has been featured in many publications including The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Seattle Times, Puget Sound Business Journal and The Software Development Times for their pioneering methods in online used book selling. 


A garden is a grand teacher.  

It teaches patience and careful watchfulness; 
it teaches industry and thrift; 
above all it teaches entire trust.
~Gertrude Jekyll

Chris associate for the Home Depot writing our guest-post today.  Chris very generously created the planter pictured below.  He wrote this post in response to my interest in learning more about Sub Irrigated Planters a.k.a. SIP's.  Mike and I currently are in the process of building our own raised bed planters...thanks to Chris's influence...and will post photos when they're planted and producing!  Thanks again to Chris and to Home of my favorite places!

Garden Liquidator: Simple Sub-Irrigated Planters
When it comes to gardening, the phrase "less is more" just doesn't apply (unless, of course, you're talking about bad things like weeds, bugs and plant diseases...).


Simple Sowing: Herbs and Greens ~ The Garden in Winter

"A garden is a lovesome thing...
The veriest school of Peace."
--Thomas Edward Brown

I've been busy planning and working on the herb garden this past month... inspired by the image of a simple yet fascinating circular herb garden I saw on Pinterest (above center left)... the viewing thereof prompted cravings for fresh mint and tangy thyme in our daily salads... not to mention that elusive lemon-y/yet not lemon-y flavor of French sorrel in our soups in lieu of spinach.  If the truth be told I began in late December after a visit to the 99-Cent store where I literally stumbled upon a group of lonely looking herbs (bottom right) while putting away the basket in front of the store... sage, chives, oregano huddled together on a small rolling cart... all in need of a nourishing, nurturing home and, of course, they were adopted by me (bottom right collage photo).

A few weeks later found me planting more green, herbal goodness that I found for a few dollars each at our local nursery, Brita's Old Town Garden.  Parsley, Purple Kale and Cabbage, along with a lovely Lavender bush found earlier that week Trader Joe's (top photo of collage) joined the...   


The Art of Frugality... Recent Practices

"How simple and frugal a thing is happiness."
~Nikos Kazantzakis 

As with most people, the advent of the new year has us combing the budget to patch the leaks... reassessing our spending habits... and battening down our spending in order to accommodate a tighter budget.  Because of this I've been especially inspired by all of the frugal ideas found throughout this wonderland of Bloglandia.  Sending gratitude and thanks to all who so generously share their life~enhancing frugal strategies... you are very appreciated.

Here are a few simple ways we've been practicing the art of frugality in our realm of reality recently.

One of my goals for this year is to do more planting of edibles in our little garden.   I've already planted the herbs I received for Christmas (see picture in previous post... I'll write a longer post on our garden plans soon).  

I finally tried this great idea that's been rolling around Pinterest for awhile:  Instead of throwing out the stub of our organic celery I put it in a bit of water on the window sill and use the leaves in cooking.  If all goes well....


Sorting and Appreciating Life's Most Precious Gifts

".... such golden gifts!"


Ever since the holiday season officially ended a few weeks ago, I've found myself sorting (dare I say wrestling with?) those  tangled threads of earthly phenomenon that were so graciously gifted to me (us) this past season.  Please don't misunderstand. I am a life~long lover and appreciator of receiving gifts.  I am ever so grateful for them in all forms!  In fact, I pondered on this fact the other day as I happily removed the contents of a very raggedy billfold and placed them into a brand new, lovely, Michael Kors wallet (thank you Rosie!); and again, as I prepared a small area of our tiny garden to receive newly acquired additions of herbs (and a tiny Italian Pine tree that promises even more gifts of pine nuts... in approximately fifteen years, give or take).

As I was digging through the soil, I thought of something I'd read long ago: 
Anything of value multiplies when it's given...



Heavenly Visions...and the Power of Prayer

 "A Single Prayer Moves Heaven."

~Japanese Proverb


"Dr. Eben Alexander's near death experience is the most astounding I have heard in more than four decades of studying this phenomenon... one of the crown jewels of all near death experiences... Dr. Alexander is living proof of an afterlife."  
 ~  Raymond Moody, MD, PhD



"Proof of Heaven" is a very thought provoking book.  I read it a few weeks ago and each chapter is fascinating.  Yet, I can't stop thinking about the segment where the author tells us 

How to Find the Time...Getting Things Done During the busy Holiday Season...Without Losing the Joy!

Frugal Luxuries: Newsletter Classics

Here are a few strategies for finding the time to make gifts and get things done during the busy holiday season...while keeping the joy alive.  Note: This article is an excerpt from a 1998 issue of our newsletter, Frugal LuxuriesAt the bottom of the page you'll find a scan of the original page!

  • Every evening, after dinner, I would choose an old movie to watch on video or television (I enjoy watching those with a holiday spark my enthusiasm).  I settled myself in a comfortable seat in the family room to prepare the apples [for the apple pies I planned to give as gifts]. Flanked by two large mixing bowls, I peeled and cored apples over bowl #1.  Next I cut the peeled apples into slices directly over bowl #2 (I also added a bit of lemon juice at the bottom of the bowl beforehand, to prevent the apples from browning).  This process continued until all of the apples were processed, taking about two hours.  I then seasoned the apples with cinnamon, nutmeg, sugar and cloves and set them, covered, in the refrigerator.  The following evening, while playing my favorite Christmas music, I prepared a quantity of pie crusts, and proceeded to bake the apple pies. [See HERE  for more on easy food prep.]

  • My "movie watching strategy" is also quite effective for many craft projects as well.  You may settle yourself in a comfortable chair and hand sew or craft over a deep (2 inch) lap-size tray (you may substitute cardboard boxes, or jelly roll pans if you have no trays available).  Doing this keeps your mess within a confined space (the tray) and makes clean up simple and easy.  If your project requires several days, you may set aside your tray (perhaps on a closet shelf) until you have a chance to finish.

  • Create a master craft and cooking/baking list helps you to budget your time.  Because you are able to see at a glance... click HERE to read remainder of this (much longer) post! 


Homemade Holiday: The Gift of Dinner

"I am in the habit of looking not so much to the nature of a gift as to the spirit in which it is offered."
~~Robert Louis Stevenson


I've been putting together a few Frugal Feast for the Gift Pantry to give as token gifts to neighbors, friends and hosts/hostesses.  It's pretty simple, as you can see from the photo... 


Sending Out Thoughts of Gratitude and Appreciation...A Blessed Thanksgiving to all.

Classic Turkey Noodle Soup made from the
"Remains of the [Thanksgiving] Feast".


Sending good thoughts and love to all.

The Luxury of Frugality

Delight in ordinary things.

"Every state of society is as luxurious as it can be."
--Samuel Johnson

 Many people confuse luxury with opulence.  To understand luxury you must look at the true sense of the word...   

Click HERE to read full post.



Cookery: A Useful Accomplishment...Or How to Eat a Giant Zucchini

" ' Lounging and larking don't pay,' observed Jo, shaking her head. 
 'I'm tired  of it and mean to go to work at something right off.' 
 'Suppose you learn plain cooking; that's a useful accomplishment, 
which no [one] should be without,' said Mrs. March."
--Louisa Mae Alcott, Little Women
 I was practicing the art of cookery today and wanted to share the results of making use of just one of those super~sized zucchini I had  mentioned HERE (bought from the farm stand, 3 for $1).   
Click HERE for the rest of the post.



"Potential Accomplishments" and the Natural Magic of List-Making: Creating a Master~List

"All things on earth point home in old October....--Thomas Wolfe

As you probably already have guessed, I am a list~maker and leave very little to memoryIn fact, the only thing I really leave to memory is where I put my lists! I've found that lists are an invaluable tool for staying focused. My memory is on overload most of the time so I especially love the idea of a Master List of Potential Accomplishments and have long used this tactic to unburden myself mentally.

I firmly believe there is a kind of a natural magic in list~making. The very act of writing out your potential accomplishments sends a message to your central nervous system and consequently you find yourself doing the very things you want to get done! CLICK HERE TO READ FULL POST.


Home-Baked Coconut Flour Muffins (Gluten and Sugar Free)

As promised, here is the basic recipe for the gluten/sugar free muffins I wrote about!
Click HERE for the recipe and the rest of the post!


(Exercising) The Art of Frugality.

"Beware of little expenses; a small leak will sink a great ship." 
 -Benjamin Franklin

How are you practicing the art of frugality lately?
Here are some of the ways I've recently exercised the art...plugging the small leaks in my ship.   

Click HERE to read the full post


Homespun Alchemy™ ... In the Kitchen
Lacto-fermented carrots and garlic after about eight days of fermentation

"You are an alchemist; make gold of it."
-- William Shakespeare

Several years ago after reading about...and being intrigued by...a somewhat mysterious food-alchemy called "fermentation" ....

Click HERE to make the jump and read more.


"Discovering... the Forgotten Wealth of Nature"

"It is the thrifty who prepare today for the wants of tomorrow."
~ Aesop (circa 550 BC)

"It was the children who spied them first. Our bare ankles and sandal~ed feet scraped scraped against the cactus~like needles as we stepped gingerly over the vines sprawled across the landscape. They had buried themselves inside a mysterious, shadowy tangle of Pepper and Avocado trees like long forgotten treasure. A colossal patch of blackberries lie before us, not unlike an ethereal gift, the type of gift that night~fairies might leave to mere mortals. The dark glistening berries seemed to blink at the sun's brightness as we gently lifted the brand of an ancient Pepper tree to examine our cache'. Click HERE to continue reading.

Potential Accomplishments and Creating My Day

Potential Accomplishments

Since Mike returned to work a few weeks ago I have been trying to de~clutter my closets and office. This morning I came across several of my old newsletters from the 199o's and early 2000's. (Frugal Times: Making~Do With Dignity which evolved into our Frugal Luxuries newsletters and book series). I confess to spending far too much time reading through them. Happily it wasn't a total waste of time as I rediscovered this little insert in one of the newsletters from 1999 titled "Today's Potential Accomplishments" and decided to put it to use getting my life in order in 2012!
Originally, I had included this sheet... CLICK HERE TO FINISH READING


Homespun Alchemy ™: Creative Re~Use and Garden Magic...Sort of.

We're sprouting new ideas all the time...."
-Richard Cook


Frugal Luxuries for the Freezer and...I'll be on a Radio Show Today (Saturday)...Call Me!

OH!!! I almost forgot to tell you, tomorrow, Friday (12/30/11) and Saturday (12/31/11) I'll be a guest on Positive Living Radio show(s)!!! I would just love it if you could call in and talk with us! Here's the exact information about the shows that I stole from Patricia's website.

Listen to Tracey McBride on Patricia Raskin Positive Living on Saturday December 31st 3:30-4:00PM ET on 630WPRO AM & 99.7 FM. Listeners can call in to the show at (401) 438-W-P-R-O (401-438-9776) or toll free at 1 (800) 321-W-P-R-O (1-800-321-9776) and listen live on

Join nationally recognized multi-media radio talk show host and award winning producer Patricia Raskin, as she interviews Tracey McBride, author of Frugal Luxuries: Simple Pleasures to Enhance Your Life and Comfort Your Soul and Frugal Luxuries by the Seasons: Celebrate the Holidays with Elegance and Simplicity--on Any Income. Chicago Tribune wrote "Think of Tracey McBride as the Martha Stewart of the cheapskate set". She had delighted thousands by elevating the skill of living frugally to an art form. Tracey will discuss cost-effective ways to bring in the new year with beauty and joy.