Saving Money and Weekly Update–Sept. 23, 2017


I enjoyed this gorgeous cloudscape one evening as I was heading home from work.  The late-day rays of light were glorifying the edges of the clouds.  That’s about all the sun we saw all week!  Thankfully, we got a good week of solid, soaking rain, just what we needed to soak everything well, including the forest, where so many fires are raging.  They aren’t all out, yet, but the firefighters are making progress now.  I can’t even imagine how much money rain saves!  Even more than money, I am hopeful that lives and the forests will be saved.

Our week was filled with normal, everyday activities like school, work and church.  There was just a lot to do, as we were trying to do some extra cleaning on some evenings. We ate a lot of chicken, since I cooked a little too much last weekend.  It was nice to have meals to just warm up.  I did add in a meatloaf and one night, we just had sandwiches, as we were super busy that evening.  On another, it was chili dogs with canned chili and warmed up turkey dogs.  It is always cheaper to make my own chili, but it is always cheaper to open a can then to go out to dinner.  So, once in a while,  I do that.


The big girls enjoyed a good tickle-fest with their little friend, Danait, who was “fixing” them up with her doctor kit when we went to visit this week.  We accomplished some important errands, and had a good visit. Of course this always includes the wonderful coffee Harnet makes.  She roasts the beans on the spot, grinds them, and makes the coffee.  I am not a coffee drinker, but what she makes is so good, I always enjoy having some.  It sure perks me up, no matter how tired I am:)  We were also treated with more genuine Eritrean food–red lentils cooked with peppers and tomatoes, beef stew with vegetables and spicy peppers, yellow rice, and injera bread for the girls.  Ja’Ana really likes that injera bread.


This dresser/desk had only 2 knobs.  Harnet could not get the drawers open without a great deal of trouble.   It was so hard to open them that she was not able to use the drawers except for seldem-used items.  She thought she would have to go to Goodwill and get a new one, not knowing it was possible to simply replace the knobs.  Rob got new knobs for very little, and provided me with the proper screwdrivers and instructions on how to fasten them on.  I, with a little help from Danait, removed the 2 remaining knobs, and put the new knobs on.  Harnet is so, so happy with how it looks, and so am I.  She was absolutely delighted to not have to purchase another one, and kept saying it was just like having a new one.  I agree.  The knobs make it much prettier than it was before.


The garden perked up from the rain.  The zucchini and peppers look much better, although still not great.  I used 1 of my 5 gallon bags of carrots this week.  I targeted the smallest ones, peeled them and cut them into carrot sticks.  Some were pretty tiny so I didn’t have to cut them much.  I sauted them in a little butter, salt, pepper and a tiny bit of brown sugar.  I made carrot sticks with the rest.

I picked more lettuce, snow peas, cucumbers, zucchini, cherry and pear tomatoes, broccoli and purple beans.  I got 3 quarts of raspberries to freeze.  The garden is winding down, but I picked enough to both eat, and share this week.

Ja’Ana had a friend over to spend the night Friday night.  Patsy had an all-night party at church and Lovana was gone as well, with friends.  So, the 2 girls wanted to go roller skating,  There is a place that J’s friend knew about that is a basketball court most days, but they have skating on Friday nights for only $5.  They had a blast.

I am nearing the end of my project of re-stocking my pantry.  I recently read a post by another blogger about various ways people did pantry challenges.  Apparently, some people let their pantries go down to almost empty before they re-stock them.  I do it differently.  If I used absolutely everything up, I cannot imagine how much it would cost to replace it all, and I would no longer have a stockpile. I use up the oldest items that have been hanging around for a while, ends of packages that were opened at some point, things that are close to expiring, vegetables from the garden, freezer, etc.  I force myself to be creative with those targeted items and use them instead of new groceries, but I always re-stock things I run out of as soon as I can.  I like to buy things at the lowest prices possible, so have been doing a lot of buying on sale the last 3 weeks, going from store to store to get the best prices, and visiting specialty stores for items that can be bought no where else (such as some gluten-free items and the sunthenine-melatonin tablets Patsy takes before bed to help her sleep).  I also sent Rob to Costco, which I do every couple of months and he got the things I get there, such as Ziplock bags, t.p., and some other things.   I was able to get up to Bob’s Red Mill on Saturday, and got some things there.  Their bulk bins are reasonable for the 1-1 gluten-free flour (almost $1/lb cheaper than in a package around here), but it is quite far from my house, so I only go if I am going to be in the area for another reason.  There are still a few items left to get, such as more coffee and butter, but I’m waiting until I find some for a good price.  Then, I’ll be good to go for a while again without spending so much time and money at the store.

It has become almost comical how almost daily someone is letting me know we are out of another item.  Toilet paper, razors, deodorant, 1-1 gluten free flour, pasta, sugar, mayo, dish soap, laundry soap, and lots more are now back in stock, at least for now.  I wonder what they will tell me I need tomorrow:) Months like this make me glad I have a nice stockpile.  Without it, I would be buying all of these things PLUS our daily groceries.


I enjoyed it so much when this happy little girl’s mama dressed her up for me in her full African regalia.  She was so proud to show me, and I loved it, too!  A while back her mama had asked me to mend a small tear in the scarf, which I gladly took home to work on, and she wanted me to see how the whole outfit looked, when I returned the mended scarf this week.


18 thoughts on “Saving Money and Weekly Update–Sept. 23, 2017”

  1. Very fun to hear what you’ve been up to. I’m with you about managing the pantry. I’m not comfortable with eating it down all the way either. Lately, I’ve been using a black marker to write the Best Buy date on the container in really big print. It’s been helping me to manage things better and to easily see what’s going to expire soon. I,too, look for the best sales to restock what I’ve used. And I really try to buy on the monthly 10% off days at the two grocery stores that offer that.

    I’ve started putting my gardens to bed for winter. I still have chard and kale growing and some tomatoes are hanging on. Also pac choi and carrots are my two fall crops.

    Take good care.

    1. That’s a great idea to write the date with a black marker. It would be easier to see!

      I’m hoping to get a few more old vines pulled this week, as the weather is nice, again.

    1. That child is FULL of life, that’s for sure! And, so cute. She reminds me so much of Ja’Ana when she was little–always busy, strong-willed, and oh, so cute!! She was just bursting with pride with that outfit–layered over all her clothes she was already wearing:) So, she’s a little rounder than usual!

    1. Me, too. Which is why it was so comical that so many of those things ran out all at once. If you saw my stockpile, you would agree with me that I couldn’t possibly be out of anything:) But, I was! Again, and again and again!! So, it’s fixed for a while, again, which is a nice feeling.

  2. I manage my pantry like you do. I also do the black marker dates and it is so helpful. Those k cups really add up. I was so glad when we found the Jura at the thrift store because it makes single cups and uses whole bean coffee. It grinds the beans and brews each cup. Our son figured a brand new machine would pay for itself in a year over using k cups for them considering how many cups they drink each day. His rich in laws gave him one for Christmas. Anyway, I have seen used ones on ebay and would recommend it without reservation.

    1. I’ve never heard of a Jura. I should look into it. The girls got him that Kuerig a couple of Christmases ago because he was the only one who drank coffee and there were often 1/2 pots of coffee that were wasted. I have purchased him the pods ever since, and he usually drinks one per day, an occasional second one, some days none, and a few for guests on occasion. So, we used to use very few and a box lasted a long time. Since then, Lovana has decided to drink the pods–several some days, while Rob sticks with his minimal amount each morning. So, we are going through so many more than we ever did before since she moved home full time after her job ended. I’m trying to be nice about it, but I’m not sure how long I can keep up this expensive habit:) Rob has been very good about accepting a a certain kind of coffee from Grocery Outlet that is much, much cheaper, but one of the things about that store is that things come and go, and right now–that coffee is gone:) So, I’m thinking about what I plan to do. I like to pay around 33c per pod or lower. I’m just not finding that right now. Or $2 butter. But, I’m being patient–not completely out of either yet:)

      1. We tried the refillable cups and had no success but we did have a huge mess and horrible coffee. Mean as it sounds I always put the Keurig away before holidays and such when the adult kids were home because they made cups of coffee and set them down and let them get cold and poured them out and made another. Grrrr…… No one wastes the coffee from the Jura because it is so crazy good. Our best friends have been in Uganda all summer working with orphan refugee children and I can’t tell you how many texts they have sent telling us they miss our coffee.

        1. It must be good. My husband had good coffee in Uganda when he went there a few years ago. And the coffee from my friend from Eritrea… good! So, your coffee is being complimented to the max:)

  3. I keep a full pantry (six months worth) of very basic items like dried pinto beans, rice, pasta, vegetable oil, and canned tuna, carrots, green peas, green beans, tomato paste, corn. I also keep the little freezer above my fridge full of free frozen mulberries, and figs from my trees. I do not keep frozen meat except what I will eat in a week or two because our power seems to go out too frequently for my comfort level. I have eaten a lot of my other food, so it is time to restock. I am low on tuna, tomato paste, parm. cheese, eggs, etc.

  4. Could you do a detailed post someday on how Harnet makes coffee? Lots of pictures! I would love to learn how to roast coffee. I have never seen anyone do it and tell where she gets her coffee. I am a big coffee drinker and would love to try it.
    If you have already covered it in a post, could you tell me where it is?
    Jeannie @

    1. I have never really gone into it, except to show a few pictures and rave about the coffee. I will try to take better pictures another time.

      She has a little burner/hot plate that she sets up on a fireproof mat on her carpet. She sits on a stool and shakes the beans in a pan over the burner until they are roasted. Then, she cools them in a basket. Part of the whole ceremony is passing the roasted beans in front of everyone’s face so we can all smell the freshly roasted beans. They smell amazing. Then, she grinds them in a coffee grinder (electric) and pours them into a little jug with a spout–and makes the coffee–grounds and all–on her burner, which is in the living room so we all converse while she makes it.. She stuffs the spout of the little jug with a filter to keep the grounds from coming out (she uses the mesh from a bag onions came in). Then, she warms milk up, and puts some of this super strong coffee in a tiny cup with a ton of sugar and warmed milk, and serves.

      I will try to take really good pictures next time. I’m sure I will have lots of opportunities. Her hospitality is amazing, and she has been explaining to me that it is customary that we do this whole coffee thing 3 times during the day, and in her country, it is blessing the person you are making the coffee for when you drink it together 3 times during your day together.

      And, it doesn’t count if you drink 3 little cups one right after the other–you are supposed to make coffee 3 times. I’m getting with the program, but she’s also being gracious if we are pressed for time and don’t quite meet up to that standard:) In fact, the other day, we did not have coffee at all, due to the nature of the errands we were running–we simply ran out of time. But mostly, we have at least one batch of coffee.

      My sister, Rosalie, has taken her to buy the coffee, so I’ll ask her where they came from. I think it’s some kind of ethnic grocery store.

      1. Thank you for all the details and I look forward to your post. I am not sure about drinking coffee three times a day. I would never get to sleep that night!
        Jeannie @

        1. They are teeny, tiny cups and I get really, really tired…..especially since I took myself off of Diet Dr. Pepper again–none since mid August. Let me tell you, that caffeine was a bonus:)

  5. I have been reading your posts during breaks at the office, but not commenting, as I don’t like to do so at the office. But that little girl in her native dress is adorable and your cloudscape is lovely.

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