Too Thrifty Chicks

Think.Thrift.Create


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Food for Thought Friday: Reflections on Self-Care

Last week, Reese shared with all of you the process she went through for reclaiming her time, setting boundaries and she shared several things about the necessity of self-care. To see what she said was necessary in her self-care process read her post.

Self-care is something we value greatly at the Thrifty Palace and we don’t think people talk about it enough. Self-care is just what it sounds like. It means doing whatever it is that makes you feel loved, fulfilled and well cared for. For the Thrifty Chicks that means starting the day with some quiet time and taking more of that quiet time as needed throughout the day. When we skip that step, there is a 75 percent chance that the day is going to go off the rails.

Self-care for us also means not taking on too much — a very hard task. Reese is writing a dissertation; working a part-time job in Baltimore; one-half of this blogging operation; collaborating with partners in food justice around the country; the chief architect in the thrifty travels; and the first person on the life-line list of many of the people who love her dearly. I am an entrepreneur; freelance writer; the other half of this blogging duo and chief finance coordinator for my mother who has Alzheimer’s. We’re both also active in our church and always looking for opportunities to be active in our community. We’ve clearly got a lot on our plates. We have mile-long To-Do lists just like you.

But somewhere along the way we discovered that we can’t do it all and, in fact, we don’t want to do it all.  Sure we make lists, and then we break them into bite size portions so that they are more manageable and accomplishable. We ask ourselves, “What can be accomplished this week?” We even go so far to say, “What do I want to accomplish today?” The Huffington Post’s  12 Things Successful Women Do Differently has a really good point about the To-Do list and 11 other helpful ideas.

We live in a society that values busyness. If you don’t fill every waking second — at work or at play — with some THING, you aren’t doing this THING we call LIFE, right. You’re not productive. You’re not an asset. You’re not adding value to your life or the lives of others.

We beg to differ.

One of our favorite seasoned saints at our church, Ms. Carolyn A.,  gave some valuable words of wisdom to a young man who is headed off to conservatory this fall. Reese and I were fortunate enough to be around when she was sharing and were blessed mightily by what she had to say. I share this adaption of what she said with you in hopes that her points will bless you real good. Here is my adaptation of Ms. Carolyn’s prescription for success at conservatory (and in life):

1) Find allies for your success. It is an act of self-care to ask for help. Whether it is help with your children, your finances, your parents, your education — whatever situation, circumstance or relationship that is stressing you out and making you crazy — find some allies. Allies help you weather the storms of life. Allies give you breathing room. Allies make your life work. You need them. Stop pretending you don’t.

2) Be nice, but firm. If there is something you need don’t be dissuaded, or even talk yourself out of asking for it. Need time alone? Be nice, but firm. Need a minute to cool off? Be nice, but firm. Need to have a difficult heart-to-heart talk with someone? Be nice, but firm.  You see how this works?

3) Schedule your time. Some days 24 hours does not seem like enough time, but how many of us really think about how we spend our time? In “The Simple Living Handbook: Discover the Joy of a De-Cluttered Life,” author/blogger Lorilee Lippincott of lovingsimpleliving.com challenges readers to track how they spend their time. And if every second is jammed with stuff it is time to look for ways to simplify. Ms. Carolyn put it this way, “Schedule your time to sleep, to have fun, to study, etc.” Put you on your To-Do list and then don’t miss your appointments with yourself.

4) Know when to say “no.” This is another tough one, but it is the ultimate gateway to self-care. You are one person. The life that you are living right now is the only life you know that you have to give. If you believe in some form of reincarnation, would you want to come back to a life that is filled with demands? Do you want to come back to a life where every day you feel drained? Where you feel that everyone else’s needs come before yours? That is a recipe for resentment. Sometimes you need to say “no” to others and yourself. And if you’re a recovering “yes” addict, start by saying, “not now.” Not now to picking up the phone, when you don’t want to talk. Not now to answering email that can wait. Not now, when you are exhausted and can’t give your best.

There is one last self-care value at the Thrifty Palace and it’s pretty important: Make time to laugh and play. Silliness is a Too Thrifty Chick ministry. Seriously. We crack ourselves up constantly. Reese rollerblades even though she still can’t figure out how to stop because it makes her laugh. I dance across the kitchen floor in my socks like James Brown because I can’t help myself. We hang out with little kids because seeing life through a child’s eyes is the most fun you’ll ever have. We encourage you to make time for whatever you think is fun and makes you feel like a kid again. Laughter and fun is one of the best acts of self-care you can ever practice.

— Ricks


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Hump Day Outtakes

As you can probably imagine, we take tons of photos. Here are some of our faves that didn’t make it into weekly posts. Enjoy!

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Post-Loc Cutting. February 2013

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Umm, I don’t think the car is going to move, Reese.

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Free me from these clothes!

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Wait. It’s cold. Cover me up!

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Safari Time!

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Ricks doing two of her favorite things: picking up rocks and admiring the view.

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Pre-Loc cut off. Enjoying a January day in the sun

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Showing off a soft, silky blouse and a sexy, serious eye.


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Too Thrifty Cooks: Lookout for the Cookout

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There is very little that we love more than getting together with friends to eat, drink and make merry. But let’s face it, we all have lives and nailing down the schedules of a handful of our favorite friends is a beast! Lucky for us, everyone (including the thrifty chicks) was in town post Fourth of July, which weirdly fell on a Thursday this year.

We wanted to invite our friends for a casual cookout that included good eats and drinks, but what do you do when a friend is allergic to strawberries, another does not eat mushrooms, some friends are strict vegetarians, some are eating “clean” and the rest are flexitarians like the two of us?

You ask people what they want to eat, what they are willing to eat, you cook it and keep it moving! We bought the most adorable, tiny grill, some charcoal and prepped to get it in! To keep this thrifty gathering cost-effective we asked our friends ahead of the event to chip in $10. This way they didn’t have to cook a dish, or rush to the store last-minute to pick up something that everyone could eat.

If you’re sweating how to afford feeding everyone for a gathering, consider just asking everyone to chip in toward the cost, or do what you can to cover the food and ask your guests to contribute wine, spirits or some other extra thing. Most times your friends won’t come empty-handed and will want to contribute something so you might as well ask for something you need.

20130706_202444Our friend Kim makes the bomb sangria. WE MEAN THE BOMB! Instead of chipping in money we asked that she bring that. So she brought both a red and white wine sangria. We blended up our own summer fruit drinks including an adult beverage and…let’s just say a good time was had by all.

Check out our menu, which was a serious hit with our friends!

Lookout for the Cookout Delicacies

Seasoned wild-caught salmon skewers: These are previously frozen salmon filets that we cut into bite sized pieces seasoned with salt, pepper and a lemon herb blend to taste. You can certainly use fresh salmon if you can catch it on sale. We put about three pieces of salmon on each regular size skewer (four if the pieces were smaller). Let the seasoning marinate at least 30 minutes to an hour. Cook until to fish is firm and flaky.

Tandoori wild-caught salmon skewers: Same frozen salmon filets. Mix about half a packet of tandoori 20130706_202236seasoning that you can probably find in your local international market with a small container of greek yogurt. Coat the salmon in the sauce and let it marinate until you’re ready to cook. Bake until fish is firm and flaky.

Wild-caught shrimp and homemade pesto skewers: We used previously frozen shrimp of a good size to get about three shrimp to a skewer. Feel free to use fresh shrimp if you can catch it on sale. You can use store-bought pesto, but we make our own using basil, walnuts, grated parmesan cheese and olive oil. Coat the shrimp and let them marinate  for about 30 minutes to an hour. Grill until shrimp is firm and pink.

Wild-caught shrimp and barbecue sauce skewers: Same shrimp. We used a zesty store-bought barbecue sauce from Trader Joe’s and added some teriyaki stir fry sauce . We also let these marinate. Bake or grill until shrimp is firm and pink.

Baked sweet potatoes: Slice them in thin rounds and fold them in packets of foil. Add some cinnamon, nutmeg, and brown sugar if you’d like. Roast in the oven until tender. The steam inside the packet will cook the potatoes.

Fresh “Creole” corn: Take fresh sweet corn ears and cut them in half. Put a pat of butter, the amount is up to you, for each half ear in a packet of foil with as much corn as you can hold without spilling. Add creole seasoning such as Tony’s or Zatarain’s, a generous amount of garlic powder. Wrap them in foil and roast in the oven until tender.

Farm fresh squash and zucchini: Toss with olive oil, grill in a grill pan on the stove, outside if you have the space (we didn’t), or roast in the oven.

20130706_183719Reese’s baked mac ‘n cheese: You’ll need pasta and at least two kinds of shredded cheese. Use whatever kinds you like, just not pre-shredded. We used monterrey, pepper jack and gouda. You’ll need about 1/4 cup of milk  and seasonings such as garlic, onion powder, salt, black pepper, and cayenne pepper to taste. You’,ll also need butter. Cook the noodles until Al dente, stir in about half the cheese and butter. Add enough milk to make it creamy but not watery. When the cheese has melted, transfer to a baking dish. Add the leftover half of cheese and stir until it is well mixed. Top with another 1/4 cup of shredded cheese and breadcrumbs if you’d like. Bake until brown.

We broke out our folding chairs, blankets and the Too Thrifty Chicks Photo Shoot playlist on Spotify and hung out in the park until long after dark! Good Friends + Good Food = Good Memories! This whole shindig was put together for less than $100 and a good time was had by all. To us, that is the hallmark of a successful, thrifty gathering!

Until next time,

— R&R