The Thrifty Jewell

"Just Do It Yourself…Thrifty Money Saving Tips

We have had so much rain and our lake water is so high! We got a new dock and I was looking at the old dock and suggested to my hubby that we make a boardwalk over the beach area that is covered with water out of the old dock. It turned out great! Here are some pictures.

These first pictures show how high the water is. It is up to the second step and there is a sandy beach under there as well! You couldn’t step on the dock without wading through water first.

He started by putting the first section down, which was fairly easy, the second section was more challenging. He pulled up the third step and laid the dock down and used the blocks to support the dock.

It took some time to level it.

We left the steps under the water to step up on the dock.

My Saphira had fun fishing while he worked.

All finished. Now we have a boardwalk to step on if we don’t want to get wet while using the dock for fishing. We also have another nice shady area to relax.

Admiring his hard work.

We had one more piece of dock left. He put if up a little higher. I thought it might be nice to put a hammock stand on with a little path to walk down to. Maybe next project..


I smoked a whole chicken today. This is a great way to feed a big family a delicious meal on a small budget. I roasted one chicken. You could do more then one depending on the size of your family and the size of your smoker.

I have an electric smoker. You could use whatever kind of smoker you have with the same recipe. Here’s how I make it.


  • Whole Chicken
  • 1/4 C Brown Sugar
  • 2 T Chili Powder
  • 1 T Garlic Powder
  • 1 T Onion Powder
  • 1 T Paprika
  • 1 T Oregano
  • 1/2 t Salt

Spilt chicken breast bone in half, open and lay flat, breast side down on a cookie sheet.

This helps the chicken to cook faster and evenly.

Mix all dry ingredients in a bowl

Rub thoroughly onto Chicken.

Cover with plastic wrap and let sit in fridge for a few hours.

In the meantime, prepare your smoker. I put Apple juice and Liquid Smoke in a pan to place under chicken. I cover the pan with foil for easy cleanup. You can use water or another kind of liquid.

My smoker has a tray for wood chips. If yours doesn’t, you can wrap them in foil and poke holes in the foil to release the flavored smoke. I prefer to soak my wood chips first. I used mesquite flavor.

I have a Bluetooth thermometer that I can check an app on my phone to monitor the temperature or I can just look out the window. I can also set alarms to alert me to certain temperatures. It’s pretty cool.

I place the chicken right on the rack so the smoke can flow through. I place the temperature probe into the thickest part of the meat. When it reaches 165 degrees it’s done.

After the chicken reached 165 degrees, between 2-1/2 to 4 hours depending on the size of the chicken, remove it from the smoker. Let it rest for 10 minutes. You will have the juiciest chicken if you don’t skip this step! Slice and serve.

I’m on vacation right now and I love taking pictures. I’ve been practicing taking pictures of hummingbirds and boy is it challenging! I have a canon 6D and I still have a lot to learn, but it sure is fun!

Here are a few pictures of hummingbirds I caught. I have spent hours and only got a few that care out really good. I love hummingbirds and these are getting used to me standing around, it’s pretty cool!

I used a shutter speed of 1/4000. I used a flash on some and no flash on others.

These aren’t perfect but for a beginner, I’m pretty happy. I’ll keep practicing.

If anyone has any tips on camera settings for hummers, leave me a comment.

This is the first time I have painted fabric furniture. I bought this ottom at a thrift store for $5 and I love it! It’s a cute style and it’s very sturdy. The gold color didn’t go to well with my decor and it had some stains on it but still! I decided to paint it. I figured if it didn’t work out, I could always reupholster it.

This was before I did anything to it.

My supplies:

  • Chalk paint
  • Chalk paint brushes
  • Spray bottle with water
  • Fine grit sandpaper

I started by spraying the fabric with water, one section at a time, saturating it.

Then with the round chalk paint brush, I applied the paint to the wet area in a circular pattern. When the chalk paint mixes with the water, it acts like a dye. I really worked it in. I used Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in Graphite and white for the legs.

I covered the whole fabric area with one coat and let it dry, then I went around with a second coat.

I painted the legs white. It’s a bit of a contrast here but I applied dark wax over the two coats of white paint.

After the fabric dried, I took a fine grit sanding block and rubbed it lightly over the surface of the paint. This is what softens the fabric back up. I also scuffed the legs. I love a shabby chic look.

Here’s the final piece. It’s so adorable!

I have a use for empty pop cans or empty water bottles work great too! We just have an excessive amount of carbonated water cans right now due to covid-19 and the inability to return cans right now.

I bought these giant planter pots for the deck and I don’t like filling them all the way up with dirt. Number one, they are too heavy to move around and number two, you don’t need all that dirt for flowers.

Fill the pot half way up with cans or bottles and then top off with soil, then plant your flowers!

It’s very green…recycling, it’s a money saver and a back saver!

I’ve been doing this lately when I bring my Chicken in from the store. It’s really easy and makes dinner quick. It also makes the juiciest grilled chicken.

I start with fresh chicken. I like my chicken breast thin. It cooks up so evenly and fast. I start by butterflying the chicken breast.

Place it between parchment paper and pound it flat with a meat tenderizer. Use the smooth side.

Pound until you get the desired thickness.

This oil and vinegar dressing is from Aldi. It makes a great base marinade. It has seasoning in it and is very light tasting. I like marinading before freezing because it’s a time saver.

I put the chicken in a freezer bag and pour in some of the seasoning. Squeeze the air out and seal. Mark it, then freeze. I lay them flat in the freezer and I freeze one breast per bag, that way I can pull out just what I need. It thaws quickly because it’s thin. I usually add some other dry seasoning, whatever I’m in the mood for and throw it on the grill. It cooks fast and it is so delicious. The other night I basted bbq Sauce on it while it was grilling…it was amazing!

This is a recipe that serves 3-4 people. I like to make lasagna in the summertime but do not like heating up the house to bake it. This is great for that or even camping or if you don’t have an oven to bake it. It’s also great if you just want a small pan of lasagna.


  • No boil Lasagna Noodles
  • 1.5 lbs ground beef
  • 1 Jar Your Favorite Pasta Sauce
  • 1 Pint Ricotta Cheese
  • Mozzarella Cheese
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Chopped onions
  • Minced Garlic

Start by cooking the ground beef in the instant pot on sauté. Add salt and pepper. You can add onions and garlic at this time if you wish.

Spray a pan that is made to fit inside the Instant Pot. I bought this one off of Amazon. You can also use a spring form pan.

Break up lasagna noodles and arrange them in the pan.

Layer beef, sauce, ricotta and mozzarella.

Keep going…I did three layers.

Layer foil like this then wrap up pan, leaving space between foil and cheese. you have to put water in the Instant pot to bring to pressure and you don’t want water getting into your lasagna.

A rack with handles is needed because the pan fits tightly in the pan and the handles are needed to lift the pan out. I use this silicone one.

Pour 1-1/2 Cup water in pot and place pan down inside.

Close lid and set to sealing. set manual time to 26 minutes. After time is up, let it naturally release for 15 min or until ready to serve, it will stay warm. Remove from pot and let sit for 5-10 minutes to firm up.

I like to place the lasagna under the broiler for just a couple of minutes to brown the cheese but this step is not necessary, you can also use a hand torch.

Cut into pie shapes and serve.

July 4th is one of my favorite summer holiday’s. We like to spend it up at the lake. We usually have family up and we like to snack! I like to have lots of different finger foods that are easy to serve up. This is one I plan on making this year. It’s easy and for the most part, healthy and it’s patriotic. I will make a bigger one for the fourth, this is just a sample one. Just rinse the fruit and form them in the shape of a flag on a tray. This will look so good on the table this year!

Here’s a thrifty Craft tip. Don’t pass up canvas art from thrift stores and garage sales.

I bought these large canvas art pictures at a thrift store for .75! I’m going to do something different with each one.

I took this one and painted it with chalk paint.

I brushed these three colors on in layers.

After this dried, I stenciled the words with acrylic craft paint in black.

It’s not perfect, but I feel like farmhouse decor needs some imperfections sometimes. Now, what to make with the other two??

Need a really fast, delicious green bean recipe? Here it is.


  • Frozen Green Beans
  • Olive Oil for stir frying
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1/3 C Slivered Almonds
  • 2 Minced Garlic Cloves
  • 2 Slices Chopped Bacon

Start by stir frying the beans in olive oil for about 3 minutes. Add the rest of the ingredients.

Keep stirring until beans are cooked through. This takes about 8-10 minutes total. You can absolutely use fresh green beans but you will need a longer cook time.

These beans are so full of flavor and a great addition to summer bbq’s.

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