Saving Money–February 26, 2017


This week was a busy, productive one.  I had time to do a few more things around the house than normal, which felt good to me.  There was one day where the sun was trying to peek out between raindrops and I decided to make Rob some sun tea.  You might call it “shower tea,” but it worked despite the rain drops that fell.

I went to the shop and dug through boxes (AND unpacked and put away 3 more bins of stuff-yea!) looking for fabric.  I found several pieces and Ja’Ana immediately started sewing one of them into a skirt.  I started a sundress for Patsy.

Ja’Ana also got an opportunity to work through the “rent-a-teen” program at church.  They match teens with people who need jobs done and the money is put into an account at church and helps pay for things like camp, retreats, and the summer mission trip.  She hopes to get many more opportunities, because she has lots of events she’d like to attend! I’m delighted she can earn some money towards them.  The retreat she attended in January was over 1/2 paid for by the wood-chopping/stacking job the teens did last fall.  This job was house cleaning for 2 hours.  She felt she could do that, as she’s had plenty of practice:)

We went to a yard sale and found clothing items for $1.  I got the girls some more skirts.  I am gathering several below-the-knee skirts because of our summer plans.


The sun came out yesterday and I weeded the small winter garden I planted last fall.  It was too muddy to do much, other than pull out chickweed from around the surviving plants, but I did what I could.  There is more to do, but it was a good start.  I am hoping that the spinach will go ahead and make some leaves and the onions will start to grow into bulbs with the longer days.  Notice that red lettuce on the right hand side.  It lived through snow, ice, hail, etc.  I’m going to let it go to seed if it survives to that point.  It’s got to win some kind of prize for hardy lettuce!


I had “the boy” overnight on Friday-Saturday again.  His family was busy with his sister, Michaela, who was participating in the Special Olympics.  It was sunny and we had a great time.  We took him, Patsy and Alissa swimming at the YMCA on Friday night while Ja’Ana was in her dance class, then out and about Saturday morning while we did errands.   Then he and Patsy played in the yard while I weeded and Rob did work in the shop with the door wide open to let that fresh air in.  They even earned money for doing jobs for Rob!  I think Jake got a whole dollar for his efforts and he was very pleased!


Our taxes are done.  Yesterday, we drove over to the tax office and signed so they could be electronically filed.  We are getting a nice refund.  That is exciting!

I cooked some mystery meat from the freezer.  It turned out to be a thigh and drumstick from a turkey.  I made turkey-noodle casserole, broth and bits which I will made into soup soon, and ate some.  I used a gallon can of crushed tomatoes I was given years ago to make a mega-batch of spaghetti sauce.  I made shell pasta (like lasagna) and meatballs for the Sunday family lunch.  I have about 4 cups of sauce left for another time.  I used some of them in chili as well.  I decided not to go to the store this weekend, as I usually do, because I want to force myself to use up some of these kind of items, plus use up all of the produce before it goes bad.  Next weekend, I can replenish it, but hope to stick to my regular budget, and save this week’s grocery money for another purpose.


The train set got a good workout.  I have several classic toys I saved from when my boys were little.  I love it when they get used.


20 thoughts on “Saving Money–February 26, 2017”

  1. This is what life is all about! I mean, your life with all your children and your church activities…what a joyful life you show us! Andrea

  2. Becky. I love sun tea! You can even make it in the fridge. Just as good. Just takes longer but is already cold when you want it. I saw your green onions….I go to cash and carry for green onions. Much cheaper than the grocery store. I buy a huge bag for around 4.00. Its the equivalent to about 10 bunches. Cut them about 3 inches above the root. Plant the root pieces directly into the ground. Cut the tops into small pieces and freeze in a zip lock bag. By time I need green onions again the garden ones are ready. They also winter over well so I have onions in the garden as soon as the snow melts.

    1. That’s a great idea about the green onions. The green onions in the one row look like I will be able to pull one or two if I need them before long. The onions in the other row and Walla Wallas and I hope they ball up once spring comes. I’m experimenting here at the new house, and so far, so good.

  3. The skirt is beautiful and I love the fabric.
    SO wonderful that the girls are able and willing to work to help pay for things they want too. Such good
    lessons too.
    Have a great day.

    1. Thanks, Judy. As a sewer, you would appreciate the fact that she finished the lower edge with the serger. She stretched slightly while she serged and made a curly-edged hem. It’s really pretty. I should have taken a picture of it.

  4. What a nice program your church has for the young people. Plus they get some valuable work experience and I’m sure the elderly people appreciate it. I’d save those lettuce seeds too! As always, it looks like you all are having so much fun. Hope you have a wonderful week!


  5. I need to do sun tea! I bet it is better than the boiling water over the tea bags. Thanks for the reminder! Our train set from when our kids were growing up is the most used toy that we saved. The grandchildren go to get it out before they even say hello sometimes! That is amazing about the lettuce! What a blessing to be able to earn money and bank it for church activities.

    I only spent $12.01 on groceries at Aldi for the next week. We really need to use up what is here, too. I did get one of the turkey breasts out of the freezer and cook it last week but then more than half went back in the freezer for another day. Hubby worked 8 hours this week and the same next week. Then we see what the Dr says about more hours. Soon we will g on 60% pay disability but we will be fine.

    Have a good week!

    1. I’m so glad he can go back to work even a little. I’m not surprised you grandkids love your train set, it’s sure popular here. And, yes, we are very thankful for the opportunity to help pay for the trip–it’s going to be a bit expensive, but worth it.

  6. I am working hard at my pantry challenge. It gives me such a good feeling to take bits and dabs and come up with a free meal. Trying hard to keep the grocery budget low. I want to add more fruit trees to the yard this year. Also learning to cook smaller batches. The chickens get whatever kitchen scraps we have and they are once again beginning to reward us with enough eggs for us to not purchase at the store and have a few to share. I baked onion hamburger buns this week using leftover French onion soup…then made black bean burgers ( prudent homemaker). They made delishes meatless meals. Kept my grocery purchases to half of the budgeted amount this month so there is a smile on my face and a bit of space in my pantry.

    1. I have read about several pantry challenges on various blogs this past month. Everyone does it different, of course. I have come to the conclusion that I enjoy reading what everyone does because it keeps my brain going in the right direction:) I plan to focus in hard this month in the same way as you are–using this and that up to save money and also (big for me) to make room for the fresh garden produce. I’m happy for you that it is going so well.

      New fruit trees will be nice. Looking at the old ones in this yard makes me wonder if I need to be thinking about new ones as well. I was noticing the other day that the pear tree looks pretty bad—thankfully, I have plenty of time to think about it.

      This year I plan to get the new garden going well, plant strawberries, and continue to get the raspberries and Marion berries going well (we moved the Marions last fall, and planted a few more raspberries from my old place that do not look good so far and have some raspberries that were here that need new wire, and pruning), and take care of the 2 blueberry bushes that are here.

  7. Just a thought about your pear tree – it might look bad because of neglect. Check out how to feed it and prune it and give it a year. Just my opinion. I’m praying you’ll be blessed with an abundant harvest.
    What a challenge to learn about your new garden space! I felt the same way the last few years as I kept adding new spaces in three different community gardens. They’re all in my city but each is a different microclimate. Can’t wait to start gardening but it’s snowing here as I type! Crazy winter that keeps going.
    Love your posts. I read blogs for the same reason – to be encouraged with this ‘frugal’ life.

    1. I will give that pear tree some time. There were pears on it (although wormy) when we moved in. I can’t even reach the branches on the old apple tree behind the shed, and there is an ancient peach tree at the back of the garden. So, we will see what stays and goes.

      It’s great you can participate in community gardens. I have seen several around here in various places, and the people seemed to be working in them a lot last summer. I even saw a large group cleaning out the raised beds a few weeks ago, in preparation for this year. It looks like it would be a great way for people to garden if they don’t have space. I was just wondering how you kept others from eating your veggies! Hopefully, people are respectful. I’m guessing that people will pick some of my flowers we planted in front by the sidewalk…..time will tell.

  8. Hi back. You nailed it about people stealing from the gardens. Unfortunately, it happens and is very frustrating. Even with signage throughout the gardens asking people to leave the plants alone, it happens.

    I knew my newest garden was at risk. A friend had had space there before and warned me. So, I planted accordingly – mostly root crops and a dry bean that was not edible as a green bean. My root crops did fine. I lost some of the beans but not the whole crop. Others around me weren’t so lucky. It is really sad to put the time and money and effort in and not get the results. That’s probably why I’m in three locations. And given that I’m now in an apartment with no land, the community garden spaces are my only option. And, I do get a lot produce, but I do lose some.

    One plot is on private land and behind a fence. So that’s where I plant my most high risk veggies like tomatoes, cucumber and the like. Unfortunately, this summer is the last since the ownership for the land is changing.

    I try to have a good attitude but it’s hard. I also am fortunate in that I’m in the gardens almost every day so can get to my produce ahead of others.

    1. Those are good strategies. It would be very hard for me to spend all the time and effort and have someone take my tomatoes, for instance. Here’s hoping you find another great place to garden to add to your list once the land ownership of the one changes!

  9. I love your winter garden! It looks great! How I managed to miss this post until now is beyond me, I am glad I happened to check back further. So forgive me for just now catching up. Everything has really survived well considering how wild this winter has been, for everyone here in the USA. It pleases me to see it is so successful.

    This coming weekend it is going to be back down in the upper teens. It is the freeze I felt would probably hit and ruin all the fruit trees. Everything has budded out early and this weekend will do quite a bit of damage. Oh well, there is nothing I can do about the weather other than complain.


    1. We are having a more mild, but extremely rainy few days, after an extremely rare 4″ of snow on Monday. I was like “Wait? What?” It’s March! The schools closed and everything!

      Anyway, it’s too soggy to do anything in the garden, but looking out the window, I did notice that the small bunch of Swiss chard has taken another growth spurt. Hopefully, the onions and spinach will, too. I’m glad I got a little weeding done when I did.

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