Saturday, October 11, 2008

Penny Pinching Memories

Today I was thinking that some of my penny-pinching stories might be of some value in the days to come. Then, this afternoon we watched part of the University of Illinois football game and I was transported back to three very lean years there while my husband went to graduate school. The campus looked beautiful this time of year--my favorite time there with all the color, pumpkins, fall festivals, etc. In an effort to make use of any free foods available I made applesauce from the Jonathan apples in our yard and canned it for future use. I also cooked up the rhubarb that grew wild along our back fence for pies. Yum! After Halloween I asked neighbors for their Halloween pumpkins before they pitched them into the trash and cooked them up to make pumpkin bread, cookies, pudding, pies. Yum! Yum! Good memories of using what was available naturally.

One of my neighbors was from a farm near Kankakee and she often brought back bushels of corn, green beans, and peaches from home. She shared her goodies with me and taught me to can these things for our winter eating. What a savings that was for our family of four living on a small fellowship each month.

As the weather turned cool (cold! Brrrrr!) and we stayed in more, I began making Christmas gifts for family members. I remember painting an oil painting for my brother, making bread boards shaped like a piece of bread out of some scrap lumber I found by a trash can, and knitting and crocheting hats, bags, and scarves for the adults. I also crocheted and lined book bags for students and my husband sold them on campus.

I am not sure how I did all that with two toddlers running around, but I managed somehow. Good memories!


  1. Pat, sometimes the most precious memories are the ones of hard work and lean times.

    I remember a time when my husband and I were first married. We searched the house for all the change we could find so that we could buy a loaf of bread and a can of pork and beans. Now that memory makes us smile. It also taught us what hard times really feel like.

  2. it's not cold yet here... this weekend was mid-80s! apparently texas followed me up here.

    i wish i had time to bake things to satisfy my sweet tooth. i remember trying to make pumpkin pie from scratch in hs (starting with pumpkins) but finally decided canned pumpkin was the way to go.

  3. I often think of our small house in Pampa and living in close quarters with two active little ones. I remember many days just wishing for a house that was bigger and not over fifty years old. But then I think of all the little creaks and moans of the floorboards, the wild cherries in the backyard, and the fact you were never more than a whisper away from your kids as they roamed the house. Sometimes I miss those simple days:)

  4. Kara,
    Ah yes, we often don’t know how wonderful those times were until we are away from them. And we do tend to forget the more negative things, too.