Monday, July 28, 2014

Why and How I Started TTG

Hi my friends!

Let me just stop right here and warn you that this is not a pretty post with fun or pretty pictures. This is a post where I just want to step back from the chaos of all the craziness of blogging and social media for a minute or so and talk with y’all.

I have many “old” friends that have been readers of my blog for many years. And then I have some new friends that weren’t with me in the beginning. So, I thought it was time to just chat for awhile.

So, grab a cuppa, turn off the sound  (you know all those little dings and beeps you get when an email, facebook comment etc.) disturbs us and sit back and pretend we are having a real live chat.

Comfy? Good!

I started blogging about 6 years ago. It wasn’t even this blog. It was just a little family and friends blog (private blog). I actually started it as a sort of journal. And I was doing the whole “Extreme Couponing” at the time. So, I would post about this shopping trip or that shopping trip and how much I saved.

That led to more people wanting to read about how I did the couponing to save that much money. So, when I started posting more about that I realized that the blog was taking a different turn and more people friends (mainly from church) wanted to know about more deals. So, I decided to start a 2nd blog about being thrifty and how to save money. In came The Thrifty Groove. A silly name that was never supposed to last!!

At the time I subscribed to and follow about 60 blogs that were all about couponing and deals. So, I started posting just tiny blips like “head over to such and such a site and download the new coupon. Then grab this coupon from the paper, stack and get ____ for 6 cents”. I would post this type of post 5-8 times a day. As soon as I read a deal, I posted it.

Now the blogging experts tell me I need to go back and clean up all those 100’s of posts that were just “Get a free magazine subscription here” type of blip posts. It has something to do with your overall blog standing. I really don’t know what all that means. Maybe I will do that some time or maybe I won’t.

I also started doing Couponing Classes for different groups. I had a pretty nice set up at the time regarding sources and what nots.

Since Lia was with us and was just a baby, I also was involved in a lot of Mommy bloggers. And that was where I started getting more into “How to find deals and redo things”. I grew up going to thrift stores and yard sales so, I have always looked for a cheaper alternative. And I applied that to turning what was just a spare room into a baby’s room. My budget was so low it was scary. But, I knew I had imagination and could think outside the box. So, I started sharing the things I was doing.

I remember 3 months after I started TTG I received an email from a company asking if I would like to try a new product and offer a giveaway on it. I was so freaking excited!

I was also writing about thrifty tips, weekly menu and any good thrifty sites I came across. I remember doing my weekly menu online starting the first week of April back in 2009. And then at the end of the month I discovered there was huge party of bloggers sharing their weekly menu and I was so thrilled to join! It is still a weekly party at Laura’s blog I’m an Organizing Junkie. She was the first big blogger I “met”.

I started finding some thrifty weekly parties and started joining them. It felt good to share with others that were of like mind.

Then late one night, after a day of being super sick, I was just laying in bed with my laptop checking out blogs. I accidently stumbled across a blog that showed at the bottom that this blogger was joining a “meme”. I had no clue what that meant. I didn’t know that meant basically a blog party. So, I clicked it.

I discovered a party called Rednesday and it was all about sharing something red. It didn’t have to be thrifty or regarding being a mommy. It was just share something. Holy cow, what a concept! I had no idea there were blogs out there that had nothing to do with freebies, deals, couponing or kids!

From Sue’s blog I discovered a whole new blogging world! I found Outdoor Wednesday and was so excited to start sharing my love of gardening by sharing pictures of my flowers and things! Then  I discovered there we people out there that also loved vintage things via Vintage Thingie Thursday! And Blue Monday, just something blue!

Discovering these parties, which of course just led into more and more blog parties, gave me the first taste of sharing just me. Things I liked or did or have. What an eye opener!

Then one day I saw a word that I had never read of….Tablescape! I followed the link and discovered Susan’s blog Between Naps on the Porch (if you click the link, you will see her first tablescape back in 2008)! I realized that I had been tablescaping for years and didn’t even know it!

I literally spent hours clicking party linkups and discovering new blogs and looking at all the amazing and gorgeous tablescapes! I think my eyes glazed over for a week! I remembering thinking that I would so love to join this party but, there was no way I could do the tablescapes I was seeing. All  of my dishes and accessories were from thrift stores, yard sales, flea markets and dollar stores. I didn't have Neiman Marcus dishes or accessories that I picked up clearance for $269.00 (just a random number) or at Estate sales (still costing over $100.00). And I honestly felt I would not be accepted into this exclusive group. I just didn’t fit. And that was my first time feeling a blogging peer pressure. Now don’t get me wrong, Susan never once said that the tablescapes need to be high end or perfectly matched or anything like that. I just felt my things were way too inferior to join.

I still watched each week all the beautiful tablescapes being created. And I have to confess, I watched with serious envy. Everything was stunningly matched and coordinated. Just gorgeous!

Then Thanksgiving of 2009 came around and I was setting our table just for the two of us. I always loved to set a pretty holiday table. Troy had commented on how nice the table looked. I told him about the tablescaping party and showed him all the beautiful tablescapes people were posting. He told me I should take pictures and join the party. He also said I should show how I “built” the table. I told him I couldn’t because I would be too embarrassed at my whole used mix and match thrift finds. He basically told me I was crazy to think like that and there were probably other people who felt the same way I did. And also just showing how the tablescape was set up from start to finish might interest people.

So, I did just that. I figured I might as well go all in and tell where I bought each piece and how much I paid for them. I knew that no one was every going to mistake my thrifted treasures for brand new expensive stuff!

You can see that first Thanksgiving tablescape by clicking here. 

Guess what? people left comments and liked it! They actually liked seeing all the bargains and deals put together! I was so shocked and excited! I really was nervous when I did the post. I just knew that everyone would think I was just some poor schmuck and I really should keep my so called thrifted treasures to myself.

To this day, I still only do thrifted tablescapes. All of my stuff is either bought second hand or major store clearance. I still don’t have a full brand spanking new complete expensive set of dishes! I probably never will. LOL

So, there you have it, how The Thrifty Groove started and why. Well, the Readers Digest version anyway.

It has taken everything I have not to add pictures to this post! But, I kind of miss just writing. Blogging has changed big time over the past years. And there is a lot of good and a lot of bad that came with those changes. My blog is continually changing to reflect what is going on in my life at that moment. But, the one thing that has never changed is the fact that I am thrifty and I lead a thrifty life.

I have a lot more to say on the topic of blogging and will probably write more posts about it in the future. And I see my blog going through more changes in the future as well.

Why did you start your blog? Has it changed direction since the beginning? Do you experience the whole “Blog Peer Pressure” or the stinking thinking of not being good enough or have the prefect this or that to share on a blog? Do you still get those feeling from time to time? I know I still do! I have to stop myself and realize that I am me. I don’t have a “perfect” life.

Thanks for listening to me ramble. I hope you all are having a wonderful day!

P.S. Uh Oh, this post will probably bring down those blog ratings that I hear about all the time and have no clue what they are or mean. After all, this is just a talking post. no amazing redo’s, repurposed things, exciting How-to, awesome recipe or anything earth shattering! oh well, life will go on Smile

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Just Checking In

Hi everyone!

This is has been one crazy busy summer so far! I don’t know if I am coming or going or where I was! LOL

I have posted so little here and I miss it!

These days I am constantly feeling behind. No matter what I do, it feels like I need to be doing 3 other things at the same time. And I shouldn’t whine about it, I am very blessed to be doing something I love and feel passionate about.

Do you feel that way? Being pulled in so many directions at once? It can get so overwhelming!

I am slowing accepting the fact that some things need to be put on the back burner. Even thought I am not very good at doing that! LOL I’m trying though.


One of the areas that has totally been neglected is any kind of home decorating. I love changing up things around the house but, reality dictates that just isn’t a top priority at this point. When farming is your business and livelihood, it demands all of your attention throughout this time of the year. And let’s face it, decorating my home is just not that important right now.

So, things are just staying the same. No fun new additions here and there.


If I am being honest, just keeping the house relatively cleaned or picked up on a daily basis is a struggle! Troy and I have both said that sometimes we wish we just had out travel trailer at the farm and lived there throughout the season. LOL


And it isn’t going to let up any time soon. I am hoping to have time to do some fun Halloween décor in October but, I‘m not holding my breath! LOL

I feel bad not visiting with all of you or posting more here at TTG. I miss my online friends! I miss not seeing what’s new in your lives or the fun things you are doing.


I have to admit, I would probably be dealing with that oh so nasty green eyed monster if I visited more blogs. Seeing all the pretty decor redos or crafty things you all are doing or wonderfully organized clean homes.

I just thought I would check in and let you all know I am still here!

Thank you for stopping by and I hope you are having a wonderful day!!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Bacon and Tomato Melt

Hi everyone!

It’s getting to be tomato season around here! Woohoo! Without a doubt, fresh sun ripened straight from your garden tomatoes are one of my top 10 favorite things!

Tomatoes are generally incorporated into every dinner during the season. One of my favorite thrifty meals is a Bacon and Tomato Melt.

The Thrifty Groove Recipe


Crusty bread

Fresh tomatoes

Cooked bacon

Sour Cream


cheese (your choice)

Salt & Pepper

Sliced onions (optional)

The Thrifty Groove Recipe

I refer to this meal as thrifty because for me it is. I try to stock up on bacon when I see a very good sale or when I find it in the reduced area at the grocery store (when I get lucky enough to find it reduced, I try to take the time to fry it up and then freeze in smaller batches). The very best bread for melts is the day old markdown loaves. I usually buy several of the different markdown crusty breads like Italian or a French bread and through them in the freezer. Then pull them out when I want to make melts for dinner. I also stock up on cheese when it is on sale. I am a cheese freak. I haven’t met a cheese I didn’t like!

I make melts according to what I have on hand and at this time of the year, I have the blessing of lots of fresh produce! Whether it be grown by me or grown by a local farmer that we trade with, I always have an abundance of fresh veggies.

Oh, how I love this time of the year!!

The Thrifty Groove Recipe

Nothing fancy. This is a quick meal so, it really is a favorite of ours throughout our busy season.

So, let’s make a Bacon and Tomato Melt!

Heat your oven to 375 degrees.

Grab a cookie sheet and some aluminum foil or parchment paper and cover the cookie sheet.

Slice your bread and place on cookie sheet

In a small bowl combine equal parts sour cream and mayo. I can’t give you exact measurements because I just kind of eyeball how much I think it will take to spread on all of the bread. this combination, once cooked, almost has a rich farmer’s cheese taste to it. So good!

And then do just that, spread on the bread.

Place cooked bacon strips down (as much as you like)

Layer with thin sliced onions (optional)

And then place tomato slices on top.

Add sliced or shredded cheese of your choice on top of tomatoes.

I sprinkle our herbed salt on top (which, honestly, is my absolute favorite seasoning anymore. I keep a large container at my stove at all times. And I would be buying this even if it wasn’t one of our DTL Herb products! It’s just that perfect!) If you don’t have our herbed salt, use pepper and salt and if you want a few shakes of your favorite herbs.

Place cookie sheet with melts into the oven.

Give it about 20 minutes. Ovens vary so, check after about 15 minutes.

Once the cheese has melted and you have a bit of brown toasty goodness happening to the bread, they are ready!

Bacon and Tomato Melts

Thank you for stopping by! I hope you are having a wonderful day!!

Monday, July 7, 2014

My Talented Mom

Hi everyone!

Yup, I am bragging today! It’s all about the amazing and gifted woman I have the pleasure of calling Mom!

With out a doubt, my mom has always been the influence for my creativity. She is and has always been the most creative and talented woman I have ever known.

My mom has always been an artist. From an early age you could find her with her sketch book and drawing some wildlife scene. that has never changed.

Her wildlife paintings have been in galleries and she has sold many of them. She could have been a full time artist for a well known magazine had she not decided to be a wife and a mother first.

Besides creating amazing wildlife paintings, she has always liked to “play” in almost every medium of art that I can think of.

When I was a little girl, she would just decide one day that I should be living in a magical garden. So, my bedroom would be transformed. She would go in and freehand murals on my walls.  I also had the world of Disney painting on my walls at one time. You just never knew what or where she would get inspired.

I called her a couple of weeks ago and asked what she was doing and her response was, “Painting bricks”. Okay, of course you are. Well, I dropped last week and saw what she was talking about.

She had went to Home Depot and picked up some patio pavers.


And she decided to turn them into baskets of flowers for the yard.

painted patio pavers 2

unnamed (5)

unnamed (6)

How cute!!

page brick

unnamed (11)

Needless to say, I put a request in for about 25 of these to be painted for next Spring to sell at the Farmer’s Markets. LOL

painted patio pavers

I’m joining:

Inspire Me Tuesday

You’re Gonna Love it Tuesday

Home and Garden Thursday

Home Sweet Home

Be Inspired Friday

Sunday, June 29, 2014

The Best Caprese Salad Recipe!

Hi everyone!

Let’s sit down and have something to eat and drink.

In fresh Caprese cuisine, the past and present live together, in proper proportions. To honor a culinary culture that has made simplicity its forte with that "simplicity that is hard to get", of course. Source

What better treat than an Insalata Caprese



A Caprese Salad is one of the most simple salads with wonderful clean flavors. When making one of these beautiful salads, using gorgeous heirloom tomatoes makes it all the more stunning. I was blessed with these fabulous heirloom tomatoes. And I am thrilled to say, we have these growing at the farm right now! YUM!  

Making a Caprese Salad is very simple.

  1. Slice tomatoes and mozzarella cheese and layer between the two.
  2. Add fresh leaves of Basil
  3. Drizzle with olive oil
  4. Sprinkle with salt and pepper
  5. Drizzle with vinegar (optional)

Most people seem to like balsamic vinegar, I do too. But, we just finished a batch of Basil vinegar and I used that. Oh you would not believe the amazing smell of Basil in our kitchen when I made this salad! Divine!


Limoncello (Italian pronunciation: [limonˈtʃɛllo]) is an Italian lemon liqueur mainly produced in Southern Italy, especially in the region around the Gulf of Naples, the Sorrentine Peninsula and the coast of Amalfi and islands of Procida, Ischia and Capri. It is also produced in Sicily, Sardinia, Menton in France, and the Maltese island of Gozo. Though there is debate about the exact origin of the drink, it is at least one hundred years old. Source


Add some simple grapes and you have the perfect light lunch.




I just picked up this basket for .95 cents at a thrift store. I love it!


After our lunch we can sit and enjoy some Espresso.





I thought these were the perfect dishes to use for our lunch. They have a wonderful regional  feel to them.


I’m so glad you stopped by and I hope you enjoyed a little Italian getaway with me!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Red, White and Blue Painted Planters

Hi everyone!

Want to add a fun patriotic flare to your yard? How about some terra cotta pots.

Red,White Blue Terra Cotta Pots

Over at the farm where we lease land there is a shed filled with old terra cotta pots. the owner of the land said I was welcome to use as many as I wanted. How blessed am I!


I grabbed a couple of crates of different size pots to take home. I washed them then set them out in the sun to dry before I started painting.


I base coated all the pots in white acrylic craft paint.


Since I had plenty of pots to play with, I did just that…played!


I liked the star stickers but, they were a pain to peel off neatly.



I tried stripes. Once again, I liked it but, it still wasn’t exactly the look I was going for.


Next I grabbed a pencil and more painted……..


Polka Dots! The pencil eraser is the perfect size to dip into the paint and make polka dots! I loved them! So, I continued with the polka dot design.


I sprayed them with a non-yellowing clear coat and planted herbs in them to be sold at the markets.

I ended up making some for my patio. They are so fun and happy!

red white blue painted pots

Thank you for stopping by and have a wonderful day!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Thrifty Container Gardening

Hi everyone!

It can get quite expensive buying different planters and containers for your flowers, veggies or herbs. I decided to check out the Dollar Tree and see what I could come up with!

container garden1

What I found were these wonderful trash cans in vivid fun colors! They even have handles for easy moving!


I was going to buy all red ones but, I came up two short on my first trip to a Dollar Tree store. As a matter of fact, I bought that store out on these trash cans.


Flip the can over and drill a few holes for drainage (thank you hubby!). Be careful and take your time doing this because these are plastic and will crack.


Fill with soil and plant your plants in them.


I wanted mine to be Italian planters (to sell). I used a Roma tomato plant, a sweet basil and a purple basil.


I made up 15 of them back in March and they sold quickly by the second week of May! So, I have since made up 35 more Italian planters and 15 salad planters.

container garden 2

Each time I made a new set of them, I would tell Troy that when we get down to just one, I want to keep it for myself. So, far that has not happened. LOL

contianer garden 3

Instead, I just keep making more!

container garden

Next time you think about potting a plant in some sort of container, check out the dollar store!

container garden1

Thank you for stopping by and have a wonderful day!

I’m joining:

Kathe for "Your gonna love it Tuesday!"

and Susan for MM