Thriving in My Thrifty Week–July 15, 2018


I canned 2 pineapples.  They are going to be great for pizza, fried rice and more.  They were on sale for 99c each, and they got really ripe, really fast.  I got 8 1/2 pint jars for $2.

I made peach-blueberry jam with frozen peaches and blueberries from my bushes.

I picked and froze Marion berries, blueberries, raspberries and a handful of strawberries.  There is another bunch of green strawberries coming on now that Rob has fixed the sprinklers so that they are getting enough water.


I made stir-fry, enchilada casserole, chicken soup, hot dogs, scrambled eggs, tacos, sandwiches, blueberry muffins, many salads,  tuna melts and defrosted bean soup for lunch one day.  I’m using garden produce as much as possible, but already cannot keep up with the zucchini.

I wasn’t going to shop this weekend, but the store “got” me.  There was ice cream for 99c a carton, and I bought the 5 allowed.  I got 2 bags of Ore-Ida French fries for free, using the Ibotta app.  I have no idea why it was one offer at Fred Meyers and one at Safeway, both for a different amount, but in each case the fries were free, and I even made a few cents at Safeway.  I got a few other things, and I got more milk, as we were running out more quickly than I thought we would.  Hopefully, I won’t need much this week.


The garden is looking good, for the most part.  The tomatoes are giving me some worries, as the leaves are curling and they don’t look so good.  On the other hand, I’m getting a few tomatoes from the earliest variety, and there are lots of green ones on the Wilamettes.  The San Marzano Gigante Romas only have 1 or 2 tomatoes set on the entire row.  Hmmmm.  Lots of blooms, though.  It’s been awfully hot and that experimental red mulch may not be letting them get the water they need. I hope that’s all that is the matter.  Besides the zucchini, we are eating lots and lots of lettuce.  There are a few snow peas every couple of days and all the green onions I care to harvest.  I’ve been giving away excess lettuce and zucchini.  The lettuce is bound to bolt in this heat, and so I want it used up.  If we go a week or so without lettuce, no problem.  There’s new plantings growing and lots of other veggies to eat.

My new planting of lettuce came up, as did the handful of snow peas and green beans I planted.  The new, fall crop, of zucchini is up, too.

My husband spent quite a bit of time on the phone.  During his many, often lengthy, conversations he managed to 1)lower a phone bill by a significant amount each month by lowing our data plan and putting it on auto-pay.  Auto-pay alone saved $10/month. 2)get the pharmacy and doctor on the same page about my meds and our new insurance–they have to line everything up just right so it will pay, and now that’s done for now.  I picked up my first batch of meds today, so things are working well at last.

He and his mechanic friend fixed the air conditioner in our van.  Soooo nice now:). His friend didn’t charge him, just supervised and helped as needed.  My husband is not a mechanic and he knows it, but can do simple fixes just fine, especially with a helping hand.  My car is still in the shop, but there is a plan in place of what needs to be done, and now we are waiting for our turn in line behind 3 motors that need replacing.

We worked with the kids 4 days this week.  On Friday, the library had a free (as all their programs are) sing-along movie.  It was The Lion King, my niece’s favorite.  She can quote it pretty much.  We took only her, and she sat between us holding her stuffed Lion King stuffed animal, wearing her Lion King shirt and sang her heart out–so cute!  She had so much fun.  On other days, we did chores, took them swimming, read books,  Rob took our niece to her Thursday volunteering for Meals on Wheels, went to the library and more.  There was a comedian (for children) at the library on Wednesday so we took Jake to that.  We also took him to 7-11 on 7/11 between 11 and 7, to get the free Slurpee.  (We have only him on Wednesdays, her daddy takes Michaela to her horse grooming volunteer activity at the special needs horse ranch, where she also gets to ride–it takes hours–glad he does it for her!). It takes a team for these kids!!


Everywhere we went, we packed food and drinks for those who might get hungry or thirsty, especially in this heat. We were sorely tempted to stop and get dinner one night when it was so hot, but we powered through and came home and made tuna melts.  Boy were they good!  We used some of the tuna we purchased off the docks last summer and canned.  It won’t be long until we go searching for some good tuna again.  It’s almost time:)


33 thoughts on “Thriving in My Thrifty Week–July 15, 2018”

  1. The library is probably one of the best frugal weapons against summer boredom in my opinion:) You always impress me with how much food you put up. I know it’s a great feeling to have a stocked pantry at all times, not to mention beautiful with all of those shiny jams!

    1. Thank you. I really like to preserve food. There’s just something about all those jars gleaming in a row…… It’s a good thing I enjoy it, since it is something I put a lot of time into!

  2. I questioned the same thing with Ibotta. I did one at Stop & Shop and one at Shoprite for the fries. One was a bigger bag. Hubby loves fries so they will get eaten no problem. They were free so I was happy to do it. I also got $5 in Bonuses so that was nice. I will get over $15 back from $40 in shopping I call that a win.

    Glad you are having the problem of too much lettuce and zucchini. I shred and freeze lots of zucchini when I have an over abundance. I use it all winter long in zucchini pies, zucchini bread and to add to pasta sauce.

    Glad Rob is able to lower your bills some. It does take time but ends up being worth it in the long run. Every penny counts. Glad your AC got fixed. Isn’t it nice to have a handy hubby.

    Hubby and I have been eating single servings of soup that I had frozen. Dinner was that and a salad (lettuce from my garden) last night. He was working on the truck all day and I was doing housework and the garden. Much cheaper then takeout. Good for you for pushing through and eating at home.

    Have a great week.

    1. Thank you! I didn’t get the extra $2 bonus, because I didn’t buy enough items. I sure wanted to buy more just to get it, but restrained myself:). If I had had a little bit more time, I might have figured out an item that made it come out like I was getting it for free, but ran out of brain energy, so I let it go, especially since I was really, really at the bottom of my allotted grocery budget. I do love a good bargain, so I have to be strict with myself sometimes:).

      It sounds like you had a very productive day yesterday. Awesome!

  3. I’m being swamped by zucchini and yellow sqash as well. I too freeze it shredded to use in the winter. My favorite go to recipe is from the More with Less cookbook “zucchini foo yong” served with soy sauce.
    I can just picture the Lion King singalong. How fun!! I’m using the library a lot myself. Mostly dvds but a few books and cookbooks. Our library lets me put holds on anything for free. They only charge if the item is Not picked up, kind of a nice system. I also found a drop box literally across the street at the community center. I go by there almost every day walking the dog so returns are very easy.

    So you’re covered by medical insurance. Woot-woot. Either I missed a post or you just quietly put that out there. Care to share what you ended up with? In any case, I am so happy for you, what a relief. Yea God for providing.

    1. I have that cookbook. I’ll have to look at the recipe:). Cause, I think I picked 10 yesterday morning, between the yellow and the green ones!!! Yikes:)

      We qualified for the Oregon Health Plan, by the skin of our teeth. Because I work part time, and Rob is also working part time this summer, we almost did not, meaning we are right on the verge of being low-income enough this summer. I am very thankful. There are a lot of hoops to jump through concerning certain medicines that are covered, and others that are not, and I’m sure I will need to change doctors, even though I’ve been at the same one for 30 years, but we will have the meds we need, and Rob can continue down the path of getting his hip taken care of. Our pharmacist worked so hard to get everything right, so I could have my meds yesterday. I’m very grateful to him.

      If we have to change insurances yet again, later on, which is likely after a while, it will be an inconvenience to change everything yet again, but for now, we are insured. And, I’m so thankful. We went to every doctor and dentist we could before our other insurance ran out, so I doubt we will need a ton of health care for a while, but it is so comforting to know that if something drastic happened, we would have insurance, and that I can get my diabetic meds.

      1. I am so happy for you. There was a time in my life in my mid20s when I didn’t have health insurance and had to have knee surgery. Very scary. Fortunately I was living in a county in CA where I qualified for free ‘major’ medical. But I was on the hook for the physio needed post surgery. Needless to say, health insurance has always been a priority since. Sounds like your pharmacist is a treasure.

        1. He is. We drive 45 minutes to get our meds, because over the years, he has proven time after time that he will figure things out for us.

          After about the 3rd round with me calling my doctor, Rob calling the pharmacy, us being told, “yes, things are right,” “actually, no, they aren’t,” “this may take weeks,” and so on, he told Rob, just tell Becky to call the doctor’s office again and (said very gently) “Do Exactly What I Tell Them to Do, I have this figured out now and can get her meds.” I did. They did. He did. I have my meds.

  4. The $.99 ice cream got me too – I could not resist. I also filled my cart up with the $.77 split bone-in breast. It was too good to avoid. Some will be frozen in smaller packages, the rest will be canned. I slice off the large piece of solid meat, shove them in the jars, then throw the bones in a pot to boil. Tomorrow the broth will be canned. My freezer is almost full so I must can the meat.

    It has been a good cost saving week. I went to my Mom’s house and finished cleaning it up. It is ready to show to a realtor when she is ready to sell. I took the last of the things from her deep freezer and put in mine. It was quite a bit of food that needs to be cooked. Many things will be expiring soon (and I DO NOT throw away food that is expired unless it is bad), so I need to be cooking it. Instead, here I sit reading your blog when I should be in the kitchen canning!!!


    1. At least you are not out back making moonshine:) :). Reading my blog is a much better option.

      I don’t throw away expired food, either, unless it is clearly rotten. Usually, a lot of it can be saved.

      I have never canned chicken before, but I’m sure it’s like tuna–a long time in the pressure cooker. I have done broth before, and was thinking I need to do some more again one of these days.

      It must be so nice to have finished such a big project as cleaning out your mother’s house. Whew. What a relief.

      1. I have never canned fish before but I assume it is the same. I purchase bone-in chicken breast because it is easy to slice off the large piece of meat. Some of the boneless pieces will be frozen for nuggets. The canned chicken is used to make chicken salad (something quick and easy Bill and the boys can do when I am not here) plus it is great in casseroles.

        As for the “moonshine still”, I searched for it (on our just purchased property) because I wanted to set it up in my flowerbed. Wouldn’t that we a hoot? Alas, it had been smashed to pieces by the revenuers and was left in the middle of truckloads of empty plastic jugs of molasses. Farmers can purchase large amounts of molasses for their livestock but truckloads of sugar raises red flags. Either can be used in the process. It was a mess which explained why the sellers were required by law to declare it. Whenever we walked the property we would take trash bags with us and drag out some of the litter. Most of it is still there to be handed off to the next owner.


        1. That is so interesting. I’m sorry you had a big mess to clean up. I agree it would have looked interesting in the flowerbed!

          At our old place, we found a huge pile of empty liquor bottles that previous owners had just emptied, and threw out the barn window into the woods….each to his/her own, I guess:)

  5. I wonder if your red mulch is changing the pH of your soil? I have three rose bushes that almost die if I mulch them with anything at all so I finally decided that they can just be bare. My tomatoes are just getting worse and worse with the wilt. They are loaded with green tomatoes but they are not even trying to ripen. We have not bought a decent tomato this summer either in spite of going to local produce stands. Maybe it is just not a tomato year.

    I will be without health insurance from age 60 to 65 and we don’t see any way around it. I have an inheritance coming so we plan to talk to our friend who is a financial planner and put it in an account where it can earn money but is accessible so that there is money to pay medical bills for me if it comes to that. That seems to be our best solution.

    1. I have no idea what the matter is with those wilty leaves! So far, I am getting a few tomatoes every few days. They are the Glacier ultra early ones, so I don’t expect them to be large, they never are. I really hope I can get a bunch to can, but my sister is going to have tomatoes to share, so that’s not the real concern. The real issue would be is it’s some kind of disease….I don’t want that in my garden AT ALL! So, I wait:)

      Here, inOregon, we have to have insurance. If we don’t, there is a tax penalty. Every year, we get a letter to include with our taxes, so we can prove we had some. It must work different where you live, or your savings account is enough to meet the criteria.

    1. You are very welcome. I have canned fresh pineapple, and also once re-canned a huge can of pineapple that my husband got for about $2.50 because it was dented. It is only worth it when the pineapple is very inexpensive, otherwise, it’s cheaper (and easier) to buy cans. We don’t use a lot, because it’s not something we can grow ourselves or get for free, but do enjoy it when we can get it!

      1. thank you so much for the explanation. canning is something i grew up doing, but being ill it takes a lot of effort…….but, i love it so much it is on my to do list for next month. do you have a favorite salsa recipe for canning?
        thank you so much for all of your good ideas, i so enjoy your blog!

        1. That’s nice for you to say:)

          I will try to look up the salsa recipe soon. It’s in a publication from the Oregon State Extension office.

          I know that when you don’t feel good, it’s hard to do big projects. (As I get older, I also just get tired just from life) One nice thing about just doing one batch of jam, or 2 pineapples, is that the job is done quickly. Then, a nice batch of jam or whatever is done, it can cool, and I put it away the next day. I’m always tempted to get a lot of something to preserve and do 28 jars or whatever, but sometimes a small batch is better because at least I got something done on a super busy day, or a day when I don’t have a lot of energy. When I do have a lot to do, I often spread it over a couple of days if I can. It all adds up. I hope you can find the energy to get some done–it’s so satisfying:)

          1. Yes, you are so correct Becky… is so satisfying! and I appreciate your encouragement that a few is better than none!

  6. Your pharmacist sounds amazing. The description of your niece at the library is absolutely adorable! I can just picture it. We used to go to a lot more library events at other places, but schedules didn’t quite allow it here the past few months. My daughter went to teen anime movie night for a little while, but it was forgotten when she fell out of love with anime. 😉 I did spot some lectures/classes coming up there the next couple of weeks that we are excited to go to, one of which is sponsored by an agency that helps caregivers with various assessments or ways to help their family members/clients with various things in life. Since my daughter is looking to become a CNA, this should be good for her; she’ll learn the skills and it will show good effort to her future school and potential employers when she applies. So grateful they are working with our library on that one!

    1. I struggle to even get to the library to exchange books, at time, so I hear you! It’s nice when there is a program or something that I can do while I work–then I can get some books, too.

  7. Reading this post made my heart smile. I can just imagine the look on your beautiful neice’s face as she joyfully sang along with the movie. How very sweet! That deal you got on pineapple was phenomenal…good for you for canning it up. 🙂

        1. I still have a case of pineapple in the shop, purchased at Costco a while back. If it hadn’t been there, I might have bought 20!!! I love having it, but knew I didn’t need it, exactly:)

  8. I saw your post on Brandy’s blog and came here to comment about your extra zucchini. I’ve had great success in substituting shredded zucchini for cucumber in relish recipes to can. And no one has ever noticed the missing cucumber. Just thought you might like another idea on how to use your abundance. Cheers.

    1. Thank you. I checked a book out of the library yesterday that had some zucchini pickle recipes in it, and I needed something called pickle crisp for them. I remembered seeing it on the Fred Meyers Whoo-Hoo rack, but had not purchased it as I had no need at the time. I went back and there was one left! So, I am going to try some kind of zucchini pickles or relish. I’ve done relish before, and it was good, but I still have some from last year, so will try another kind.

      Thanks for the tip!

      1. Please let me know how they work as pickles. I’ve only used them shredded in place of shredded cucumber in relish. I’m swimming in zucchini right now as well. So far I’ve just been shredding them and putting them in the freezer. Cheers.

        1. I hope to get some done tomorrow, since I picked 9 more today:). I can’t get things like that done while I’m watching the kids (that’s why they call it work!) but have a day off tomorrow, so we will see how it goes. I also have about 20 other things to do, so…….time will tell. I’m intrigued, as well.

  9. Loved the fact that you canned the pineapples! I like to make pineapple jam, although I haven’t made any in awhile (haven’t made any jam in awhile, to be quite honest! Not since my diagnosis and treatments!)

    1. Maybe jam is something you can get back into making, now that you will have more time and hopefully more energy. I have peaches sitting on the table that will be jam before the day ends. It’s one of our favorite kinds.

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