Thriving in My Thrifty Week–August 13, 2018


Can you say “mouse hotel?”  This is what the funny smell and awful sound from my air conditioner fan came from.  Thank goodness for our good mechanic friend who fixed it on the same day Rob mentioned the problem.  It is so nice to have my car back, and even nicer that this is not longer in side of it!  My car is fixed, drives great, and God provided the means to get it fixed from all its major, awful problems (I now have a new-to-me motor, new brakes all around, my air conditioner is newly serviced, and of course, no mouse hotel to boot!).


I was able to make these pillowcases for my friend, Harnet’s, birthday. I added some lotion I had in my gift bin I keep in the shop.  She loved them, and I was glad to have actually been able to find the fabric in my stash out in the shop.  That is an organizing project waiting to happen, for sure.


I had fun playing with Danait.  She used toys that Rosalie, my sister, has had for years.  They were all new to Danait!


Even though it was Mama’s birthday, she was glad to eat the cupcakes we brought.  We had a simple taco meal with watermelon and Harnet loved the entire celebration.  We ate outside by my sister’s garden.  During the afternoon, we took turns down at the u-pick peach stand, because they were open for business that day.


It was simple, and pleasant, and meant a lot to Harnet.


I have used so much garden produce that I only needed to spend $30 on groceries for the past 2 weeks.  To do this, I concentrated on using what I had, and garden veggies.  Of course, this is not sustainable over a long period of time, but it sure has been nice to have so much produce to work with in our meals.  I’m just saving the other grocery money for the day that will inevitably come when I need to restock those ice cream buckets, gallon ziplocks, and other containers that I’m emptying out.

I have now used most of the potatoes I have grown. I only had a few short rows.  The big ones were used for mashing, salad, roasting and baking, and the tiny ones I just roasted with salt, pepper and olive oil.

I made an enormous amount of potato salad for Sunday, some for dinner and some for the teen gathering my sister was hosting after their regular teen Bible Study on Sunday night.  She asked my husband to BBQ, and she provided chicken, steak and hamburgers for him to cook.  We spent most of the day over there after church, eating in addition to helping out.  Those kids can pack it away.  She made 2 –9 x 13 fruit crisps and they ate them both.  That was after the family ate the 3rd one for lunch.  Good thing my sister likes to cook! We did bring Jake home in the middle for a couple of hours so they could clean and it would stay that way.


Today, I did something unusual.  Since I have been involved with 4H food preservation project for years, I received an unexpected phone call on Friday.  The county where we used to live was desperate for a judge to judge the 4H Food preservation today.  I have no idea why the real judges could not do it, or if they just absolutely could not find one.  So they asked me if I would do it.  I said I sure would, as long as they understood that it was my first time, and I was not trained in any way except for all the years of experience in teaching 4H and my personal canning.  I had a fun day.  It went very well.  And, they even paid me something for my time, including some money for mileage since I live a distance away now.

I love kids and had a great time explaining to each one why they were getting the ribbon they were getting, and ate so much jam that I’m sure I will be very sweet tomorrow:). There were some unique items kids made, beyond the jam and canned peaches.  One girl made chili starter– meat and seasonings that you were to add beans to when you ate it.  Another girl made chicken noodle soup starter–just add noodles when you cook it for a super fast supper.   There was a home-canned cranberry sauce, some dilled green beans from a young man, and pie fillings.  My personal favorite was a girl who painstakingly hand-cut, with a knife, all the ingredients for relish.  The pieces were insanely even, but I can’t even imagine how long it must have taken!

At the end of the day, I got to choose who would receive champion ribbons and cash prizes.  The crew was well-organized and efficient, and we were done by 5:30.

I saved money by not stopping on the way home, even for a drink, as Rob had texted me that he had cooked me dinner.  Boy was it good!  My lunch was provided, but the sandwiches were pre-made, so I had to skip them (gluten).  I did get some of the potato salad they bought, which was delicious.  It wasn’t a stellar lunch for my diabetic dietary needs–potato salad, chips, fruit, and of course, all that jam I was eating all day, but I gave myself a little extra insulin, tried to limit my portions, and powered through.  Another time, should that occasion arise, I will tuck some protein into my bag and be better prepared.  I simply did not know what to expect when they said they would provide lunch–I’ve always seen cold cuts at those occasions before, and thought that’s what I would be having.

Tomorrow, it’s back to my normal life.  I’m almost afraid to look at the garden, especially the zucchini!  Maybe Jake would like to make zucchini muffins.  We’ll see!


12 thoughts on “Thriving in My Thrifty Week–August 13, 2018”

  1. Very nice pillow cases! A great idea for gifts and a way to create something pretty and practical from a fabric stash. Many thanks for sharing.

    1. Thank you! I was wracking my brains for a gift I could make from my stash that was useful and practical, and that’s what I came up with. I added some lotion I got the day after Christmas. She loved them both.

  2. Oh my, that mouse hotel in the fan, what a relief to have that out of there. Glad to hear you have a car again. I loved the fabric. I enjoy reading of how you make a great home life for your family. I hope your husband has had some good job prospects and his health improves. I continue to pray for you all.

    1. Thank you so much.

      The plan for Rob’s job is for him to continue working with Jake and Michaela in the fall. Michaela ended up with more hours than ever before because her program is over since she turned 21. There will be lots of daytime hours that need to be covered, and he can do that, taking turns with me. Of course, all Jake work will be weekends, holidays, sick days and after school times.

      It will be financially tight, but we can make it. We have decided that he needs to get his hip fixed. He is getting worse and worse, and can barely walk at times. So, our road will be tough for about a year, and hopefully, after a year, his options will be more open

      We always appreciate prayers!.

  3. Ugh! It is amazing how mice can wreak things. We had them destroy the engine in our riding mower one winter by weaving bits of a rug all through the engine. Another time I took the van for an oil change and there was a mouse nest in our cabin air filter. No wonder we had been sneezing in the car! And UCK! Do you have trouble with mice getting in the RV?

    I absolutely love the pillowcases! What a lovely gift! And how fun to judge the 4-H competition.

    1. We had some trouble with mice in one of our old Rv’s, but none in this one so far, thank goodness!

      I did have fun judging. I was nervous before I did it, since it was my first time, but it was really fun.

      Thank you for the compliment about the pillowcases. I like that fabric, as well, and had fun making them.

  4. Eek! A mouse hotel in your a/c fan! They were cool mice, I guess! Sorry! 😀 Glad you got that taken care of!

    The pillowcases from your stash was a great idea! Lovely fabric, too.

    Glad you enjoyed all the jam tasting and the judging! Would you do it again, if they ask you?

  5. I’m with you on the squash, except ours is tromboncino instead of zucchini. The pillows are beautiful. I was in 4H as a kid, though I never did any food preservation. Perhaps because I was living on Long Island, NY? I think it’s wonderful to encourage the young ones to do this, and a lovely bonus to be paid to be a part of it.

    1. I actually love tronboncino squash. It is so nice and firm when cooked up–like zucchini, but firmer, at least mine was. I haven’t grown it for a few years, but would love to grow it again. It’s so pretty and unusual. However, enough of any good thing is enough:).

      Because I was pretty busy this week, a bunch more zucchini got away from me, and I just threw them into the compost heap. They were really getting big! I still got lots of little ones, too. I’m sure I’m over 100 by now after this week. That being said, I can see that they are slowing down a bit. Whew! I don’t pull the bushes because I still want a few now and then.

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