Happy New Year 2018, Weekly Update and Saving Money


We had the most beautiful sunset for New Year’s Eve.  I had to run out and take a picture, it was such a gorgeous sight!  Even the power lines didn’t ruin it for me, and that’s saying something. We saved money by staying home tonight and enjoying this sunset, playing games, and watching movies.  Since I had a full house, which included my niece, Michaela, our movie choice was “CARS,” a favorite of hers.  And, the game of choice was Yahtzee, which was no surprise.  What was really fun was watching her help teach our friend how to play it and giving advice for those times when there were multiple choices.  We all had a good time.  Everyone went to bed a little later than usual, but we did not choose to stay up until midnight.  However, you could say the fireworks that went off in our neighborhood gave us little choice in the matter!

We had a week of healthier eating, which is always nice during the holidays.  I found all those tomatoes on the mark-down rack at Fred Meyers for only $2 total.  I got a bag of organic sweet potatoes and an orange squash in a mark-down bag for $2 total at Natural Grocers.  I made sweet potato fries, baked squash and froze 2 bags of cubes for another day, and we’ve used almost all of the tomatoes already.

I was able to use several coupons for free or greatly reduced items.  There was a coupon on my phone for a free package of fruit strips, but our Fred Meyers did not carry them, so they kindly substituted another organic gummy snack for them for a whopping $5.19 for free!  Wow!  I got marked-down milk for 89c/1/2 gallon, some marked down bread for 79c/loaf for the good kind, and big boxes of 20-24 cans soda for $3.99.  There were several other good deals, too, so I stocked up on those items.  I thought I was all set for groceries for a long while, but we did eat up a bunch of it already, so I’ll probable get a few things in the next couple of days.  I shouldn’t need much, though.


We had another big family gathering.  This time it was at our normal Family Sunday Dinner time, with additional friends and family added in.  We were jointly celebrating the birthdays of Alissa, Jake and Rob, as we usually do around the new year, as they all have January birthdays.  Alissa and Caitlyn had some unfrosted cupcakes and Danait helped them frost and decorate them.  I made a gluten-free chocolate layer cake–so yummy.  Even with the gluten-free ingredients, which are more expensive, I’m sure my cost was $10 or so for the cake.  To buy one around here is at least $25-$35, minimum.  My mom brought ice cream, and of course my Aunt Janet brought chips.  She and the children have a long-standing agreement:) Harnet cooked Eritrean food on Saturday (Coalwa, which is a beef dish, and lentils with beri-beri spice), while I watched and cooked rice, and Gail made some chicken.  There was salad, too.

After 10-12 unexpected guests dropped in on her on Friday for lunch, with only 1-1/2 hour’s notice, I was glad it was my turn to cook the bulk of the meal Sunday:) I’m also glad I got her one of those 20-pack Diet Cokes.  She’s going to need it if she keeps up the pace!  She said she made chicken, cut in tiny pieces, so it would cook fast and go farther. She mashed potatoes.  Lots of potatoes.   She had plenty of other food in the house, and cooked it up.  They have gone through over 100 lbs of potatoes and 100 lbs of various meat/proteins this month, with all the entertaining they ended up doing!  She hosted several parties for teens (at least 3), an out-of-town guest, guests who wanted to visit the guest, friends and family multiple times, and her business party (her employees and families).  I should have bought her 2 boxes of Diet Coke!



Gifts were purchased when I did my Christmas shopping, and one of Alissa’s gifts was a cookbook I got from the library used book store (the book looks brand new) for only $2, which left me plenty in my budget to spend on the rest of her gift!


There were light saber wars!


The toaster Hot Wheel car was a hit!  The toast even pops up and down.  It was another of the toys that Fred Meyers had a high value coupon for over the Christmas season, so I paid very little for it.

Now that all the fun commotion is drawing to an end, and it’s back to work and school tomorrow, I hope to spend a little time today getting organized for the week ahead.  It’s a miracle, but the house is actually quite clean and the laundry is under control (go Rob!)  I want to cook a little bit of food–muffins, for one, and make out a menu plan for the week.  I have a few house guests to take home sometime today, and I’ll check the ads to see if peanut butter is on sale anywhere.  It is absolutely unbelievable to me that I’m out of peanut butter!  I bought so much (like 10) not that long ago.  But, I am.  I have some correcting to do for homeschool that’s I’ve been chipping away at and I’d like to do a little more today.  It’s been a wonderful holiday season, but it’s time to get back down to daily living, and that’s nice, too.  In January, we always eat a little healthier, spend less money, and clean more–all good things.  This January will be no exception–at least that’s the plan:)

So, to you and yours from all of us….Happy New Year!







22 thoughts on “Happy New Year 2018, Weekly Update and Saving Money”

  1. That is a beautiful sunset! (I’m the same way you are about power lines…).

    I can’t quite imagine 10-12 people dropping in for lunch! Wow!

    Looks like more fun at your house! I love the Christmas season so much but I also enjoy when the regular routine returns.

    Good for you for eating healthy this past week. We didn’t do a terrible job…but let’s just say we can do better.

    I’m doing a(n almost) no spend January. That always feels cleansing.

    I’m planning to put a link to your blog on my sidebar if that is okay? I’ll take it down if you prefer.

  2. Looks like lots of frugal fun at your house yet again! My older two grandsons got some of those light sabers for Christmas also and they love them!

    I’m with you with the frugal and healthier eating in January. My poor body needs a bread from all the sugar and heavier foods that we have over the holidays. It has been nice to be able to stay home, get organized and get the back guest bedroom ready for some sleepovers with the oldest 2 grandboys. 🙂

    Be blessed and Happy New Year!

    1. Well, I won’t be staying home, it’s back to work tomorrow, but part time is very do-able:). I am glad you will have some sleepovers! Since my niece stayed over last night, my nephew is very put out and is on the list for this coming weekend:)

  3. Happy New Year!

    It sounds like you all had a wonderful time. You’re price on a GF cake wasn’t bad at all. I cannot even find a store made one here at all. LOL.

    We are going to work on using up some things on hand in January. We’ve made plans to inventory the freezer next weekend and make up a few weeks’ worth of menus using what we have. Should prove to be interesting.

    1. That is such a “January” thing to do! I love doing that during January–it just makes me feel so virtuous after eating our way through December:)

      There are bakeries here that will make the gluten-free cakes. There is one in Newport, Oregon, about 2 hours away that sold me a piece of pound cake around 4″ x 2″ x 3″ (like a tiny loaf) for $6! I happily paid it while on vacation last year, but can’t afford those prices very often:)

  4. Lovely pictures of the sunset, cakes and the river! We are in a very rare cold spell here in the deep South. We are not used to it, and several of my friends have frozen pipes!

    1. Frozen pipes are awful. I well remember years ago, when we were first married, when it froze up so hard that even our bathtub and toilet were frozen. Then, because the house was not well built, my very young husband had to crawl under it to try to fix the pipes and kept getting shocked!!! Boy, are we older and wiser now, but then…..he just toughed it out:)

  5. I have enjoyed celebrating with you and your family! We spent New Year’s Eve exchanging our presents. It was the first time since Thanksgiving all of us were together. No one wanted to celebrate unless we were all here. We had so much fun and laughed so much sharing our stories.

    My unroasted Eritrean coffee arrived from Amazon. We have had fun trying to learn how to roast it but have not gotten it right yet. I love it. Bill wants to go back to his standard French Vanilla from Aldi. He likes what he likes. When I finally (hopefully) get it right, I will do a post for you! But it will be a while since I am not drinking much of the coffee because it has so much caffeine. One cup a day is enough for me! It really is delicious and I think it tastes better than regular store bought.

    Jeannie @ GetMeToTheCountry

    1. I’m glad you are enjoying the coffee! Harnet did some on the stove this holiday season. She put it in her little long-handled pan and put it on the burner and shook the pan a bit, as if you were making popcorn. It started to make crackling/popping sounds when it started to dry-roast. She shook it around a bit more, until the beans turned brown, then removed from heat and poured into her little round, flat basket. Then, after it cooled, she ground it. I hope that helps:)

      You would appreciate this little story: When I went up there on Monday, she immediately pulled out the coffee. She also put on a pot of popcorn, as it was a special day, she explained. Then, after it popped, she grabbed a handful and tossed it in the air. She explained that that’s what they did on special occasions and New Year’s Day was special. It seems to convey a blessing, I think she said. I said if she was throwing popcorn, I wanted to throw popcorn, too, so I threw some around. Luckily, the kids were in the other room, and didn’t see. When I returned home, it was funny to see all the popcorn on the kitchen floor, and she assured me that she was going to clean that up, I should go ahead and go. He house is always spotless, so I’ll bet she did clean up the minute I got into the car.

      1. I tried heating the coffee beans it in a pot on the stove but it left black marks on my non-stick pans. It was hard to scrub off. I have a glass top stove and the instructions said to never use iron skillets. Don’t know why. The next thing I tried was putting the beans into my toaster oven and that seemed to work the best. The last batch was just not dark enough. I did take them out of the hot oven up to the boys’ room upstairs so they could smell them. They thought I was crazy when I walked in and made each one sniff the pan. I told them it was the custom and shared Harnett’s story.

        If I decide to share with them about throwing popcorn, I will say it must be done outside so it can convey a blessing to the hungry birds. How about that for creative storytelling!

        Jeannie @ GetMeToTheCountry.blogspot.com

        1. I have a glass topped stove that was here when I moved in, obviously very used over time. So, I had no instruction book:). I have stainless steel pans and non-stick pans, and plan to use my cast iron….maybe not, now:)

          Yes. Definitely throw it to the birds. I have to say, I felt more than a little naughty leaving her house with popcorn strewn all over the kitchen floor:)

  6. Sounds like you had a lovely New Year’s celebration! January is going to be a bit of a pantry challenge-type month for me, I think. I want to see what I have in the freezer and try to eat some of it! I think I can manage to go through the month with only bread, milk, and fresh produce.

  7. It sounds like you had a very busy and fun week! I can’t imagine 10-12 people arriving on short notice for lunch! Yikes! Loved all the photos.

    1. This time it happened to my sister, but I well remember a time when it happened to me. I was out in the woods, camping, and our friends were there, too. One of the girls invited a friend to come up and join us on the Sunday afternoon of the trip. When she came, her entire, large family came along. We had the best time–all of us–our friends, and the family, who are also close friends of ours. I think there were between 16-20 people in all, and we were camping! So, we pulled out everything we could think of from the corners of our camper cupboards (both of us) and had more than enough:). It was a fun memory. We roasted things–all the odds and ends–put out all leftovers we had, opened cans, etc. and it was all good:)

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