Saving Money and Weekly Update–October 21, 2017


We finally made it to the apple orchard to u-pick some apples.  My sister and I and niece, Caitlyn, took Michaela and Jake out to a nearby farm.  The trees were loaded with apples, so everyone picked to their heart’s content.  Michaela especially likes Red Delicious, so she stuck to that row to pick her apples.  They got some apples for a youth group event and themselves, and I got a bucket for us.  They were very reasonable–$12 for the large bucket-full, around 50c/lb.


Ja’Ana and Alissa each made an apple galette from some of the apples.  I’m having several recipes tested by them, or myself, in anticipation of Thanksgiving.  I’m trying to figure out a good gluten-free pie crust recipe, and the second one was much flakier and tastier than the first one, so I think we are close to perfection:)


There is a business in town that puts scraps out in tote bins for people to take for free.  When we checked this morning, the bins were full.  We grabbed as many as we could stack up in the very back of the van, choosing the larger ones because they are easier to handle than the itty bitty pieces and Rob can cut them down if they are too long for our stove.  A couple of other people were also collecting—one man for fire wood like we were, and a lady for pieces for her son to make bird houses out of.   This is the second time we have collected wood from there, and it works very well when first building a fire in the morning.  Also, some of the pieces are large enough to burn for a while, extending our firewood supply.  All 3 groups of wood-gathers were really friendly and cheerful to each other, which was so nice.


Even with the extremely windy and rainy conditions this morning, we found one garage sale.  I got these little pumpkin decorations for $1.


We found this skirt for Patsy for $2.  We also got games for $1 each and a few other items for just a few dollars.  I think the people were wanting to sell things quickly–as the man stated, “We didn’t WANT to have a garage sale today, but we are moving next weekend.”  Yikes!  No pressure there:)  Glad it wasn’t me.

On Friday, my sister, Rosalie, Ja’Ana and I went to see our friend, Harnet.  She made some of her wonderful coffee for us, as well as yummy Eritrean food.  I took lots of pictures this time, so will be posting the coffee-making process soon. She is such a good hostess, and always makes us feel so welcome.  When you enter her house, there is a smell from the beri-beri spice she uses.  After I went home, the scent lingered on me, and I felt warm and comforted every time I smelled it.  It is hard to explain how much she makes me fell welcomed, and loved, and it’s interesting how I’m beginning to associate that smell with comfort and warmth.    She had gone to great trouble to make me gluten-free injera bread–she used sorghum and teff flour, which was served with the lentils she always makes, along with a chicken/beri-beri/egg dish and a beef chunk dish.  She had cooked extra because she knew it was Rosalie’s birthday and wanted to surprise her with a little party.  I was asked to bring cake and balloons, and to keep it a surprise, which I did.   We had a fun, relaxing day, with lots of good conversation.  She and I had a good chuckle about the other night when she called me up for homework help, and it took me a little while to understand what she wanted from me.  (I was getting mixed up thinking the sample problems she was reading to me were true, and not examples, but I finally got it–and I was so proud of myself–it was pretty funny!)  Rosalie and I made a few phone calls for her, gathering information she needed, and we studied citizenship questions because she is working hard towards that goal.  Oh boy!!! Some of those questions are hard, and there were a couple that I was super happy to see had answers on the back, because I didn’t know the answers!  Thankfully, I knew most of them, and tried to explain the historical facts as we studied.  We plugged along, and I can see she has been studying.  There is another lady who helps with that project, but she is eager to get in all the practice she could, so Rosalie and I quizzed her for quite a while.


Of course, we had a blast with the little princess:)


Lovana and Patsy made a lot of caramel corn for our family to eat, and for the 4H bake sale.  We were not able to help at the sale this year, as we usually do, so we just dropped our contributions off.  It tastes so good.  We make it almost every year, and it sells well.  It has become a fall tradition for our family, as well.

So….we went through a LOT of butter between the caramel corn and the 2 batches of Double Chocolate Loaf Cake and pie crust we made this week.  Luckily, the local store had it on sale for 2/$5.  Rob and I each bought 2, the limit, so we are back into business with butter…at least for now.  I still want to find it for $2/lb, but $2.50 wasn’t too bad.  They also had Bandon cheese (owned by and just like Tillamook Cheese) for $4.99/2 lb. loaf.  So, we got those, too.

I spent my grocery money for the week and a little more.  I’m a bit baffled at the eating habits of the kids right now.  Everyone is hungrier than normal.  Everyone is eating things they don’t usually want to eat.  They are NOT eating the things they normally want to eat.  Hmmmm.  So, I’ve had to buy extra of certain things, and other things I bought are just sitting there… of life’s mysteries:)  I would say chili (like the whole batch was gone in a flash this time–it was even going down the hatch at breakfast time), tacos (that one is normal), tortillas, tons of milk, caramel corn, tuna fish, sandwiches, butter and cheese are right at the top of the list of desired items right now, so…how nice dairy products were on sale.


I was able to arrange several pictures we found when cleaning the shop last weekend.  I want to put new photos in the lowest frame, but that will be done in time.  Rob and I have some other ideas to make the living room more functional, and are working on implementing them soon.  It was nice to be able to use some things I already had to make the living room look better.  I was also happy to pass on the 80’s pictures of the little goose girl, and several others that were not longer my taste.  So, they went off to Goodwill, along with a bunch of other items.  It’s nice to have what I want out of those boxes and have the rest go away!

Rob worked on the bath-tub drain today.  It gets clogged with the girls’ hair.  It is better now.  He also replaced the caulking behind the kitchen sink.  Whatever the previous owner used was not the right caulking.  It has become increasingly moldy, both under, and beside it and recently started to crack.  It looks SO good tonight–all dry, nice and white, and NOT moldy!  He has also been hanging pictures up for me whenever I find one I want to hang.  All of these home repairs save us money, as well as make things nicer for us here in our home.

All in all, it was a pretty satisfying week.  How did your week go?



16 thoughts on “Saving Money and Weekly Update–October 21, 2017”

  1. We packed up and went to the lake house yesterday. I am still thankful for this place after 17 years of it being our getaway place. It costs us $480 a year in fees and that is it since we paid cash for our share all those years ago. We are blessed.

    I never figured out our kids eating habits either! Sometimes it felt like they waited for me to stock up on one of their favorites before declaring that they did not like it anymore!

    We had a big savings week on groceries. $125 worth bought at Publix for $35. Hubby did the shopping from my list and coupons and was quite proud of how much he saved! We are getting very well stocked and I really just need a deal on Green beans to be done for awhile. I canned some in the spring but never found another good deal to do more so we are going to have to buy canned ones. I also added 9 meals to the freezer. We also got apples for 50 cents a pound but at Aldi. You pick here is a tourist attraction thing and apples are very expensive to pick. I hope you find a butter deal soon!

    1. What a great shopping trip!!! Those kind are so gratifying. Now, I am out of milk again, but grabbed some 79c eggs while I was in the store getting my sister some items for lunch today (as in we were all eating the food, but she tossed me a $20 because she was out of a few things and we had the time) Kids…. Jake took it in his head that he wanted Rice Krispie treats, and thankfully, I had 1/2 bag of cereal, and 1 last bag of marshmallows, so I will replace those quickly. “We” made them this afternoon (he helped for 5 minutes and ran off–having fun!) Then, he ate an enormous amount of them. (He usually eats only a small amount of anything–so even JAKE is eating me out of house and home) It’s my favorite problem to have–so gratifying–I love feeding people.

      It is nice that we are in an area with lots of farmers who are just wanting to sell their produce. There are some “touristy” type farms, but this one was reasonable and had so many apples that it was amazing. I thought the price was amazing, but was informed by my brother-in-law that the price had gone up this year. I was happy to pay it. Much less and how would the farmer survive for another year?

  2. That apple creation looks delicious. Although I don’t usually cook cobblers myself, they are my most favorite dessert. Hmmm. Wonder if I could talk my daughter into trying it out if I made the grocery run. Also, love the idea of sharing those bits and pieces. Wonderful way not to waste and help others at the same time. I’m kind of surprised Rob hasn’t started a project with some of the pieces. He seems to come up with a way of reusing this so often. LOL.

    1. He loves to make cutting boards, so was delighted to find a few pieces of maple hiding away in the middle of the bin. He snatched them for sure. Our motivation was to get fire-starting pieces–it’s just so much easier to get the fire going with some smaller boards than it is with the larger logs. The other gentleman who was gathering called it “second wood” and that’s what we use it for as well. We start the fire with little kindling Rob has chopped, then this slightly larger stuff, than add logs. The maple was a bonus.

  3. Sounds like a wonderful week. I love when you share stories about getting together with Harnet. So interesting, and her little girl is just adorable. It’s obvious both the adults and the children get along famously. <3

    Got to make an investment in a Sun Oven this weekend, which I've wanted to get for years. It feels like it was "free", as we used money that had already been spent once on some classes; they were cancelled, so we are using the credit for the Sun Oven instead! Woohoo!

    Hair in the drain – we have different drains in our shower than I've had before, and the hair catches at the top. Good, because we don't have clogs that require snaking or chemicals, but jussssst far enough down that it's not a good feeling to try to squeeze my finger past the plug to get hair out (and my daughter has bigger hands and can't do it). A crochet hook will slide right in and hook the hair though! We clear them at least weekly and have had no issues….. and rolling a rubber band onto the flat end of the hook gives a way to hold on so I don't drop the HOOK down the drain. Which I was waiting to end up doing….. hahaha

    1. You know, the hair issue is ongoing around here. With 2 daughters with African-American hair and another with long red hair, we generate a lot of hair. The crochet hook idea is a good one. The drain is very odd in this bathtub, but we do all right. It just takes a lot of watching. It’s one of my least favorite jobs:)

      Is a Sun Oven a solar oven? I will look forward to seeing what you make in there. I’m not sure there’s enough sun here to make it work at this time of year–but this past summer….plenty!

      Speaking of Harnet….I just got off the phone with her (some more homework help) and listened as little Danait sang “Let It Go, Let It Go” in the background at the top of her lungs:) Her English is so good, at age 3, and her mama is doing better and better each time I see her!

  4. I am eagerly anticipating the pictures about coffee making and look forward to a post about the uses of the spice beri-beri (hint, hint). How does Harnet use it?

    Jeannie @ at

    1. Harnet uses beri-beri in just about everything she makes. There is a sauce that she makes and puts on chicken. Hard boiled eggs are added to that dish at the end.

      When she makes her red lentils, she adds it, too. And, there is the beef with the vegetables–I’m guessing there is some in there, too, I’d have to ask. But the other 2–for sure. She gave me a bunch of it–but she cooks for us every time, so I’ve never needed to use mine:) (Cause she sends home a bunch of food every time! By the time it’s gone, she has made me some more!) Once in a while, we take her out for lunch, just for a chance to do our share!

      I figure I’ll have the coffee pictures loaded this week:) I was thinking of your interest, and asked Harnet if I could take lots of pictures so I could show someone who wanted to know how to make it, and she was all into making sure I got shots of every single step. When I get it done, I’m hoping to show her the finished post–I’m wanting her to see how it came out.

  5. Apple picking is so fun during the fall.. Know the kids enjoyed it. And how wonderful to have the big bucket for eating and cooking..

    kids………… who can explain their eating It changes so much..

    Proud you had a good visit with your friend.

  6. What fun to go apple picking and such a great outing for everyone. 🙂 You found some great things at the garage sale…those pumpkins are beyond cute! Your relationship with Harnet and her precious daughter is so touching. I can see that as much as you have been a blessing to them, that they have also been a blessing to you also. Isn’t it funny how kids of all ages go through changes in their eating habits? Okay, so I am doing the same thing so that still makes me a kid too right? Be blessed my friend!

    1. I’m so glad I was able to convey that–Harnet and her daughter have been such a blessing to me and my daughter. It’s really hard to put into words because it sounds so trite….that when you bless someone, you end up blessed yourself…but it’s so, so true. We sometimes underestimate the value of receiving back….but when she blesses me, I’m guessing it blesses her, too. My personality is to rush in, and help someone, and fix everything for them, but in reality, sometimes I’m the one who needs fixing and someone else needs to be doing the giving at that moment. I’m learning that more and more as I get older.

  7. I remember going apple picking when I was in Wisconsin; it was so much fun! Nice looking galette and I was drooling over the caramel corn!

    1. Having grown up on a u-pick peach and cherry farm, it’s in my blood to pick my own, so I was delighted to find these apples that we could pick for such a reasonable price! The caramel corn is long gone…..maybe one of the girls will get a bee in her bonnet and make more:)

  8. Homemade caramel corn is so good. I haven’t made it in….probably a decade. Now you have me thinking about it… good…. I also have to say that Patsy looks so genuinely happy in this photo. I love it!

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