Category Archives: Saving Money

Saving Money–May 23, 2016

FullSizeRender

We did it!  We are all the way moved and out of the old house.  This is the thing, by far, that saved us the most money this week.  We now have no house payment.  By selling the house quickly, we don’t have to continue paying a house payment we cannot afford, since Rob is still not working.  By agreeing to close early, and getting out early, we saved a few more days’ worth of money.

We were so thankful.  over 30 people showed up to help in the rain, and we were settled in our little house by 6 p.m.

FullSizeRender

The garden is growing like crazy.  I picked some lettuce and boc choi and used them in meals already.FullSizeRender

Patsy got some free entertainment out of the tiny baby kittens Auntie showed her when we arrived.  Auntie is going to have Patsy help feed the cats every day for a job, and because Patsy loves animals so much.  It was nice to have something for her to look forward to.  FullSizeRender

I don’t have a menu plan, yet.  I  stuffed 2 coolers and the tiny fridge with leftover food from the old house and I’m just trying to use it up before it rots.  I have an idea for what I want to do, I’m just still figuring things out.

I have a lot of figuring out to do.  It’s going to be an adjustment going from 3200 square feet to a camper.  We had a family birthday party and a graduation party to attend after church yesterday.  Today, we had to drive Patsy to school (now over 45 minutes away) and Lovana to work, plus attend a play Patsy was in at school tonight.  It lasted only 20 minutes, but we were happy to see her play she had worked hard for, but we stayed in that area anyway and did some laundry.  I did a lot of school with Ja’Ana today.  She has a bunch to do, now that we are settled.  I can’t find things, yet, in the camper.  I’ve already removed a large pile of clothes and other things from the cupboards.  They are going into the storage unit.  I packed too much:)  I’ll get it figured out.  It may just take a little while.

So, I’m going to be patient with myself and others.  Since that task is going to be so hard, I plan to spend a little more time reading my Bible and praying.  Especially verses about patience, kindness, gentleness and love:)  Especially when they are already fighting and yelling at each other to get their “foot/hand/arm” off MY BUNK/PILLOW/ETC.  Especially when one of them pours a quantity of milk on the floor because she was watching tv instead of her cup.  There were, however, gales of laughter at other times, lots of giggles and joy, as well.  We are all going to grow and change.  I’m determined it will be for the better, as much as it is within my power.

 

Saving Money–May 15, 2016

IMG_2511

This is my water bucket.  When we go to work in the garden, or on car trips, I fill up the containers with water and ice.  We drink the uninsulated ones first, while still cold, and save the others for last.  It saves us a bunch of money because we don’t buy drinks and they don’t tip over while we travel.

IMG_2512

Rob put a few more things on the trailer and took it to the auction.  He got over $100 for the items. That was after the auction took its share and we paid a disposal fee for the items that did not sell.  Since it was going to be thrown away, we were fine with the amount.  Otherwise, we would have had to pay the dump to take it, so we actually earned more than the $100+ we got.

IMG_2514

Recently Safeway had a Monopoly game.  I did not shop very much during the game time period, but we got some tickets.  Patsy had fun sorting through them, and a lady at the store gave her a whole handful she did not want.  She was thrilled when we won something. We got our free popcorn last week.  I put it in the camper for when we move into it for the summer.

IMG_2516

I made re-fried beans one last time before the crock pot was packed.

IMG_6314

Rob and I went for a walk while waiting for the girls to finish dance recital dress rehearsal. We saw several nutria, ducks, geese, flowers and enjoyed both the pond and river.

We continued packing.  I had a lot of help on Friday and the house is coming along.  The lender for the buyer can close early.  We are going to see if we can get done on Saturday, since we were planning to get out that day anyway.  That is when all of our family and friends are coming to help us, so it just makes sense.  Since we are moving out that day, anyway, they might as well start paying the house payment as soon as they can, so we don’t have to:)  It’s going to be a crazy, busy week!

How I Built My Stockpile

IMG_2183

I was asked how I built my stockpile to this level.  I realized it was an answer for a post, not a comment, because it was a little too involved.

I love having a stockpile, and have always kept one on hand for many reasons.  The main reasons is that it saves me money and time.  I have usually lived in the country and trips to town are a project, so I like to keep a lot of things on hand.  It also comes in handy during times when money is scarce–it’s like another form of savings in my “bank.”  I also love the freedom of being able to cook almost any recipe I feel like cooking, at any time (notice I said “almost?”)

Here’s how I grew mine:

1) I buy in bulk.  Rob really buys in bulk.  For instance, a while back, he saw a 50 pound bag of white rice for around $21.  Yes, 50 pounds!  It does not go bad quickly, so is still fine, and we are eating from it often.  I buy 25 pound bags of pinto beans, black beans, navy beans, split peas, sugar, brown sugar, and popcorn.  I repackage these items into glass gallon jars, plastic ice cream buckets, ziplocks, etc.  Things that go rancid sooner, such as brown rice, I usually buy in 5 or 10 pound sizes, although I have bought that in the 25’s once or twice.

I buy cases of things I cannot can or freeze myself, such as mandarin oranges and mushrooms, when they are on a good sale.

I even buy produce in bulk, during the winter.  For instance, a 6-pack bag of romaine at Costco or Cash and Carry is a lot less expensive than buying the heads singly at the store most of the time.

2) We grow as much as possible ourselves and store it.  Rob has raised turkeys, chickens and pigs to butcher.  We raise chickens for eggs and usually do not have to buy any for years at a time.  We don’t get a lot of them during the winter, but I think I’ve only bought 2 cartons during the last 5 years or so, except for recently.

We grow a very large garden, which includes berries, and can and freeze a lot of it, and also eat as much as we can fresh.  I can hundreds of jars of fruits and vegetables each year, and we currently have 4 freezers full of meat and produce.  I process produce early in the morning and late at night during the peak of the season.  By the time I plant, weed, water, pick and process, I have many, many hours into my end product, but it’s worth it to me.  I know what’s in it, and where it came from .  The home-canned tuna is some we bought from a fisherman at Newport, Oregon.  I also got some salmon this past year from the Indians at Cascade Locks, but we froze that.

IMG_2357

We are moving this year, so I anticipate using up the excess and going back to bulk canning and freezing next year.  I do not know if we will have property to raise meat or not, until we see what we get for our next home.  We sold the chickens for the same reason.

3) What I cannot grow, I usually scrounge from friends and family.  For example, my sister has a peach farm, and gives me all I can use.  I am willing to drop my daily plans and scurry over to someone’s house to pick the produce myself. I am willing to go whenever is convenient for them, even if it means changing my plans.  That’s a big one.  I cannot tell you how many people would love to have some of my excess garden produce, IF I deliver it to them, which usually means picking it on an already busy day and driving a distance to deliver it.  (I’m not talking about when I’ve offered to drop something by someone’s house–If I offer, I have time)  Very few are willing to come get it, but that’s why I’m an easy person for others to offer the extra produce to.

On the rare occasion that I cannot grow or scrounge something, I u-pick it or buy it at a farm stand for a low price.  The area of Oregon that we live in is very fertile, and things grow well so are quite reasonable in price when in season.  Pears and Gravestein apples are 2 things I usually buy, and I buy them by the bushel for around $20-$25 a bushel.

4)I watch the sales carefully and buy a lot of things we use frequently when they come on sale for a low price.  Cheese and butter are good examples of this.  I have purchased 8 bricks of cheese before during a week, if the price is low enough.  They store well.  I may have to go back a lot, or send Rob, but–hey, Lovana works at a store–we are there a lot picking her up.

If I can’t afford a lot of something, and it’s a great price, I buy 2.  One for the current meal, and one to store.

5) If I have extra money, I often buy a bunch of things from Grocery Outlet, Wheeler Dealer (scratch and dent store), or other places that may have high-quality products for cheap that are close to date, or they are changing the label on, etc.  I especially get items to pack lunches and organic or gluten-free items that way.

6) I go to Bob’s Red Mill and buy my gluten-free flours and whole grains, or order them on-line.  Anything from Bob’s is high quality, and lasts a long time.  Things like millet, etc. last for a long time.  They swell up when you cook them.  You get a lot of bang for your buck with whole grains.  I look for clearance items, such as some gluten free pancake mix I recently picked up at Fred Meyers.  I only got 2, since I’m not supposed to be stockpiling right now:)

Last, but not least, I use my stockpile.  I store things I use, and I use what I’ve stored.  I look at what I have before I plan menus and plan the meals around what’s in the freezer, cupboard, and garden, and go from there.  I rotate things and clean and sort and organize it every year, usually late spring so the freezers are ready for the new crop of garden veggies.

Saving Money–April 30, 2016

IMG_2480

The walls of water did their job so well that they were crushing the tomatoes that were trying to grow up and out of them.  We let a little water out of the walls a couple of times.  This morning, I emptied them about 1/2 way and folded the tops down.  I will remove them entirely next Saturday and re-use them for peppers.  It’s just been unusually warm this spring.  Normally, we would probably leave them on longer.

IMG_2473

Patsy planted a few marigold seeds in the dirt.  You may see one little sprout we think may be one that came up.  The rest didn’t.  I put a bunch more seeds in the ground, but Rosalie (my sister) had these 3 extra marigold plants.  Last week, we planted them in the same place Patsy had planted her seeds.  Today, it was so cute and funny when she saw our surprise.  At first, she thought her marigolds grew 🙂 but soon realized that it was not possible for them to be so big so soon–it was fun to see her face at first, though!

IMG_2474

I had planted a few leeks last summer and they over-wintered.  I used 3 of them in a potato leek soup.

IMG_2483

I made gluten-free pumpkin muffins from frozen Sweetmeat squash.  We ate some and I froze some for later.

We hauled several more loads away from this place.  Outdoor items such as gas cans, tools, firewood, chain saws, etc. went  to my brother-in-law and sister’s house.  We have the firewood finished, I think, and the heavy shop tools are now all over there; we took the ATV and a huge load this morning.  The people who were given permission to cut firewood here have almost finished the huge pile of logs and have taken the wood away.

We dismantled 2 huge tables I use for sewing and Rob and Patsy hauled them down to the storage unit with a load of boxes.  They were reassembled and one was stacked on the other.  Lots of stuff can be stored, using that as an extra strength supporter so our boxes won’t collapse, at least not there!

I had an emotional week.  It was the last week I am going to teach piano for a while.  I taught Monday and Wednesday and we had a recital Friday night.  It went very well.   It is really hard for me to say good-bye to the kids, some of which I’ve taught for 6-8 years or so.  However, I am excited to have the extra time to really tear into this house on Monday.  I received many nice cards and gifts, and there were many hugs and tears.  The frugal part of all that is the excellent price I got on the church I rented for the recital.  It was nice of them to set the price so low.

I did some clothes shopping.  Patsy is going to need all new things over the next little while.  She can hardly cram into her clothes right now, and everything is super-short.  It makes sense.  She has been in the same size since she moved in, actually she has lost weight and shot up, so it made the clothes last a long time.  Ja’Ana and I went, as I was tacking it onto an appointment J had.  I got several things for Patsy.  My favorite bargain was the nice pair of jeans for $7.57 (ish) at Macy’s.  I was able to afford 1 pair of shorts, a sweater, a couple of tops and a couple of pairs of leggings, under-shorts (knit) to make her current skirts last a little longer. She does not fit into the kids section anymore.  We had to move up to juniors and I have to watch that the necklines because she is still not very tall.   I got J and Patsy dresses for $10.97 each at Forever 21.   I rarely shop there, so hope they hold up.  I hope to find some shorts at a yard sale or a thrift shop, but don’t know when I will have the time to do that.  I am also hoping to sew a couple pairs of plain shorts and a skirt or 2 once I get into the camper.  I am hoping this gets us though for now until after the move.

Rob sold a few more items left over from the sale.

I watched library movies and read some books from there..

Use-It-Up-April 30, 2016

IMG_2472

I pulled 2 bags marked “wings” out of the freezer and thawed them.  They were marked 2014 so I was hoping they were still good.  They were quite frosty and I was hoping that they were not freezer burned.  They weren’t, but imagine my surprise when I poured them into the crockpot and some were chicken wings and some were turkey wings!

IMG_2471

I made a sauce with the 2 little cans of orange juice I found on the shelf, soy sauce, green onions, and the last of the honey from the bear.  I then let it cook all day in the crock pot.  It turned out great.  We ate it for dinner that night, some on salads a couple of times, and today I made chicken and dumplings from the rest of the meat.

IMG_2481

I got some cream cheese that has been lingering in the refrigerator drawer and had expired last November.  It was perfectly fine.  I made a cheesecake with 3 packages of it for tomorrow’s family Sunday dinner.  I also thickened up some peaches with cornstarch and a little sugar for a sauce.

IMG_2477

For the last 2 years, the OSU Extension booth at the county fair has been giving away free lettuce seeds.  I got some both years, and also got a huge handful of the packets after the fair was over as they were not saving them for the next year.  I have been using them up as they are old seed, but am planting them thickly in case some don’t sprout.  As you can see, I am still getting a lot of them to come up.  This year, I have bought only a very few seeds.  My sister and I are both using up our old ones.  We will plant more things this coming weekend.

Honestly, it seems like the more I use from the shelves and freezers, the more shows up!  Kind of like my belongings–they keep multiplying, too:)  I will keep plugging away at it for the next few weeks before we move and hopefully won’t have as much to pack as I do right now, but there will still be a bunch left over.  That will come in handy when we get to our new place.  I am deliberately using the oldest items, and the odd ones, so what I pack will be good and desirable when it comes out of the storage unit.  That’s the plan, anyway.

Saving Money–April 23, 2016

IMG_2458

We had quite a bit of wood stacked up that we didn’t use this winter to heat our home.  We’ve been working all week to move that wood over to my sister’s house.  If our new house has a wood stove, we will use it.  If not, she and my brother-in-law will.  All of the wood we have was cut by us, split and stacked in places where we got a free permit, so it cost us labor and fuel to get.  It saved us a lot of money to heat with wood, so we are hoping we can do the same in our new home.  Time will tell, but at least we have some wood to use if we can.

IMG_2457

We just threw it on the trailer and unloaded it into a pile over there.  We have a lot of wood to cut on our property from the logging we did last fall, but won’t be able to get it cut before we move.  So, we have been letting friends cut, chop and split it, saving them money.

IMG_2463

We worked in the garden at my sister’s.  We got 4 large tomatoes for $2.50 each at a local garden store.  We took Walls of Water that we’ve had for years, and Rob and Ja’Ana cocooned them so they hopefully will survive.  I hoed, weeded and sprinkled slug bait around the plants that are growing and the baby lettuce, spinach, etc. that are coming up.

IMG_2464

Every time we went over there, we did at least 2 things.  We moved a load of wood or other items, worked in the garden, Rob had an electrician look at where we are going to park the camper and made arrangements for the correct wiring so we will have enough power, and a few more things.

IMG_2460

I’ve been slowly emptying the right hand compost bin into buckets and taking those buckets over to my sister’s.  We put scoops under the tomatoes we planted, under all the cabbage and broccoli and around the onion starts.  Any extra was put around raspberry plants or just dumped into the general garden to be tilled in.  I don’t know how much I’ll be able to carry over that way, but I love using the compost I’ve worked so hard to make.

Rob had filled several feed sacks with barn cleanings from the chickens.  We took them over and sprinkled them where we will plant winter squash to improve the soil.  I had 3 bags of old coffee grounds for gardeners from Starbucks that I sprinkled on the carrot row.  Coffee grounds are  said to help prevent wireworms and I did see improvements when we used the grounds here.  There were a few carrots coming up, so I crumbled the grounds carefully on the row because I know more will come up and I don’t want to make it hard for the tiny plants to pop through.IMG_2459

I had a friend from out of town visit.  We went to Costco together–fun!  I got my new glasses.  I’m delighted so far.  I can see great for 1/2 the price I paid last time.  I shopped for my sister, too, saving her gas.

I got some boneless skinless chicken.  We have been eating out too much, because things are so topsy-turvy here.  I hope it will help make fast lunches so we can eat at home more.  We ate all meals here today, which felt like a triumph.  Rob barbecued chicken and we have food prepared for tomorrow’s Sunday family dinner.  I still have a few gift cards to use when things get down to the wire with moving, but want to save them until near the end now.  Rob did bring a picnic one night when we were working in the garden, so that helped.  I made a roast in the crock pot one day and we will have the rest of that in the next couple of days.

Both younger girls had orthodontist appointments.  We were able to change things so they were both on the same day to save gas.  (It’s an hour away, one way)  They had an extra dance practice because a recital is coming up.  We were able to share a ride with a friend and save gas.They both had eye appointments this week, too.  They will both be getting new glasses.  Their glasses are covered by their medical cards.  Our children who we have adopted from the foster care system have always been given medical cards until they are 18 as part of the adoption assistance program.  We have supplemented that with personal insurance so they have been double covered in the past (except Patsy since she isn’t adopted yet, so only has medical card).  So, we don’t have to worry when our insurance ends, they will still be covered.  Lovana has insurance through her work, so no worries there, which is a relief.  Now, just us……but we’ll work it out.

I got a medical test done while I’m still covered.  I’ve almost got everything done that will catch me up and give me a breather until we figure the insurance thing out.

My visiting friend wanted to try some Chinese 5-spice, so instead of her buying a bottle, I gave her a bit from mine.  I’ve only used it one time in the recipe I bought it for, so I’m more than glad to share.  I also shared some fish sauce I had. Once again, she has a recipe to try.

 

How We Earned So Much Money At Our Barn Sale

IMG_2456

Recently, we had a huge barn/yard/tool sale.  We made a lot of money.  I wrote about all of the things we were able to buy with the money, and what a blessing it was to us here.

A reader asked me if I would write up some tips that helped us do so well.  So, I picked Rob’s brain, since he is actually the one who knows all of the tricks and tips for a successful sale and did most of the work for this, and most, sales we have.

  1.  Gather your items:  The more stuff you have, the more money you will make.  This seems obvious, but it’s common sense.  So, gather items from anyone–friends, family, from the side of the road–anywhere you can to get a good amount.  We have found that people often don’t want to have a yard sale of their own, but are very gracious to donate to ours, especially when it’s a sale to benefit 4H or another organization.  Sometimes they just want it out of their house and are glad to donate it for any reason, just to make it go away.  Clean out your cupboards, drawers, and outbuildings.   Rob and I spent a great deal of time doing this for the past several months, but most of what we sold this time came from outbuildings and his shop.  We had everything from the ends of rolls of wire, to fence posts, to chicken fencing for a pasture, to rabbit cages, to chicken waterers, a few large tools like a table saw, and many assorted nuts, bolts, screws, and other such things found in barns and shops.  Although those items were the main items, I did not hesitate to put out several boxes of household items I had weeded out, plus several boxes of homeschool books I no longer needed.IMG_2453
  2. Location:  Rob chose to have this sale at our house, in his shop.  There were too many things to move to another place, and people will drive a ways to a barn/shop sale because they want the useful items associated with that.  When we have had sales with mostly household items, we have usually taken it into town and held the sale at his mom’s house or a friend’s house so we can get more traffic.
  3. Timing:  We chose payday weekend, mid-month.  People have more money to spend at the beginning of the month, and mid-month then at the end of the month. We chose spring because we are moving soon, but that is a good time for a sale because it is not too hot, as long as it is not super cold or rainy.  It is also good because people are starting to get outside and do their farm work and may need supplies for new baby chickens, etc.  We had gorgeous, sunny days both Friday and Saturday.  That was a blessing from God- we could not control that, obviously:)  We have had sales in the past for ourselves and to benefit 4H where we did not do well because it was too cold or rainy, or too hot.
  4. Pricing:  We price everything.  People need a starting point.  Then, we bargain.  Rob’s advice is to ask yourself if you really want to get rid of the item.  If you don’t, take it back into the house.  If you do, price to sell.  It’s not worth as much as you think it is, with the exception of items that have great value for some reason.  Those might best be sold individually on Craig’s List, or E-bay.  Rob had a few things he put out that had prices he would not go below, but most of it he wanted gone, and he priced it accordingly.
  5. Cash box:   Of course, have plenty of change on hand.  People give you $100 bills and you need to be able to break them.  Take extra money into the house and put it away when your cash box gets loaded.  A cardboard box works fine, as long as you have a way to find your change.  Decide ahead of time if you are going to take checks or not.  If you do, cash them as soon as possible.  Have an adult man the cash register, not a child.  It’s too easy for them to get confused under pressure.  When you are very busy, people don’t want to wait for a child to have a money -counting lesson, as us homeschoolers are apt to give at times like this.
  6. Presentation:  The items should be laid out in a manner that the people can get a good look at them.  The floor should be swept and clutter free, as much as possible.  Things under the tables should not be sticking out because people might trip on them.  Rob put up lots of tables and we arranged things on the tops and underneath.  He had his men friends and our nephew help him bring things up from the barn to the shop and a lot of things were arranged outside the shop so they were very visible right away. Piles of fence posts were stacked where they could be easily loaded onto trailers.   People expect barn items to be somewhat dirty, but household items should be as clean as possible.  I washed a lot of dirt off of a lid of a container full of Duplo blocks, and we figure that act earned us $5-$10, since we sold the container full for $25.  If it had stayed dirty, people would have either walked away, or offered us much less.  During the sale, as places on the tables got emptied, one of us would re-arrange things so the gaps were filled in.  On Friday, we sold double what we sold on Saturday.  So, there were huge gaps to fill as time went on.  Rob and Steven (nephew) even went down to the barn and cleaned some more very early Saturday morning and found quite a few more items that could be sold.  That helped fill in the spaces nicely and gained us more money, and now we have less stuff left over to deal with.IMG_2449
  7. Be flexible:  One man came in and asked if the cupboard on the wall was for sale.  Rob said it could be.  The man offered $100 and Rob said for my nephew to get the screw gun and they emptied the cupboard and took it down.  If we were not moving, we would have kept the cupboard, but the point is to think outside the box as to what could be sold.  He sold piles of old wood that he had sitting around.  He sold tubs and waterers that were quite used, but still useful.  For the entire 2 days, he only got to sit down for a few minutes at a time, he was so busy wheeling and dealing with the hoard of people that came to the sale.  We are still selling things to people who decided to come back and see if “it” was still available.  We’ve earned another $20-30 at least, so far, plus an additional $350 for items that were pre-sold and just now delivered and paid for.
  8. Advertisement:  Rob made wonderful signs, which I wrote on.  He went out early the morning of the sale and put them around in strategic locations where people would be led to our sale.  He build sandwich boards to set up at intersections.  He advertised on Craig’s List both mornings.  He put it on his Facebook.  He took detailed pictures of the items for sale, and listed them out on his Craig’s List ads.  People did take notice and came for those items specifically.  He also listed contact information and people called or texted for more info, when they desired it.
  9. Adequate help:  We had lots of help lined up, both before the sale for set-up, and during the sale.  One day, my aunt ran the “cash register” for the morning, and a friend did it the other morning. After they went home, we took turns.  It was quieter in the afternoons.  My nephew helped load boxes, ladders, posts, wood, tools, and other items into people’s vehicles both days.  Rob’s mom and Lovana helped serve them lunch the day I was gone, and I did it the other day. I helped him price items for a couple of days ahead, and he worked on it for hours for several days.  Without all of this help, he never would have been able to set out as much stuff, and he IMG_2454needed the help with the amount of people that came.  As it was, he hardly got a bathroom break or lunch, both days.
  10. Clean up:  I will bundle the rest of the books into boxes and take them to a used homeschool bookstore to see what I can get for them.  The rest I will donate.  We are under a time crunch because we are moving.There is a horse rescue organization that is coming for the rest of the items so they can sell them for their fund raiser.  Rob had thought about taking the remaining shop items to an auction, but has decided to donate it all to the horse rescue place.  There are one or two things that he will try to sell on E-bay or Craig’s List, as they are collectible or valuable in some way.  He just thought he’d try to sell them here first, as it is easier than listing and shipping something.  Consider having another sale.  Last time we had a sale, we did it in town at Rob’s mom’s house.  We sold a few hundred dollars worth (you earn much less for household items than shop/barn items) but had some leftover.  I decided to put on a very short (1 Saturday morning only) yard sale at our house with the leftovers.  I actually earned around $70 just for that morning’s time.  Everything was already priced, the cash box was loaded, etc.  My oldest daughter came out, and we visited while we sold things.  Then I donated the rest.
  11. This sale was more lucrative than most, mainly because we had so much stuff to get rid of since we are downsizing so drastically. We have had good sales before, though.  We have also had disappointing, discouraging sales.   Some things you can’t control, such as the weather or amount of people that show up.  But, a lot of things are in your control.  Hopefully, these tips will get you on track for a productive sale soon.  We know we are thrilled with the results of ours.

Saving Money–April 16, 2016

IMG_2450

Rob had a huge barn/tool/shop sale yesterday and today.  He had this many and more cars both days, all day.  It was a big success.  We sold pile after pile, box after box, item after item.  It was a huge blessing to us in several ways.  First, we got a lot of money that covered some things we had to pay for.  Second, we do not have to move that stuff or find a place to store it. Third, several people took the opportunity to stop by that we have not seen for quite a while and we got to visit in-between customers.  The most exciting visitor we had was a childhood friend of Rob’s who he has not seen for years.

IMG_2449

We came to an agreement with the county and forestry department regarding the replanting of our hillside.  You can see the big piles in the picture.  There are 15 of them.  One of them is finally burned.  The other 14 are not.  We have put in probably 100 man hours or more to try to burn them.  They won’t burn.  They are too wet.  We have used several hundred dollars of diesel and every relative and friend who shows any interest in helping, and they still won’t burn.  So, the buyer wanted the hillside replanted to keep the forest tax deferral.  After talking to many people on the phone, and being told he HAD to burn them or else, he finally got to the right person. The “or else” was that we would have to pay the back taxes to get it out of forestry deferral.  That would be at least $5,000.   The agreement reached was:  Plant around the piles.  Plant 1,600 trees on the 4 acres.  We could plant 200 extra in an adjoining area to over-compensate so it would not lose the deferral for sure.  If they want the piles burned, they can do it later when they are dry, or leave them to compost in the new forest and be homes for animals, and enrich the soil.

Then, it was a job to find any trees because it is late in the season.  Rob found them, and a willing tree planting service.  They were planted yesterday.  For $1,300.  We are doing a happy dance.  This could have been a deal-breaker, and now it’s not.  It could have cost $5,000 and it didn’t.  We thought it would be $2,000 to re-plant and it wasn’t.  Praise the Lord.

I haven’t had new glasses or an eye exam for several years.  All of my doctors wanted me to have one, and have been “encouraging” (nagging) me to get it done.  I did yesterday.  I went to Costco.  It is about 1/2 the price I paid the last time I got it done.  Now, I’m hoping the glasses hold up as well.

IMG_2434

Our 4H club gave us beautiful flowers and other lovely gifts I mentioned last week in this post.  I just wanted to show how nicely the flowers are holding up, and how gorgeous they still look.

We checked out movies and books from the library.  I cooked a lot of meals at home.  I fed several extra people this week that came to help us with the sale.  I guess even one of the people who came to the sale ate here yesterday while I was gone:) (according to Patsy).  I’m guessing it was one of our friends:)  I’m working through a cardboard box of food items my sister and I picked out while cleaning that needed to be targeted for quick use.  We have one in the freezer and a basket so I know to grab and use those things up.

I combined errands and did 2 appointments yesterday, and we were able to get enough people to help Rob while I was gone.  We had double the business yesterday than we did today, as often happens at yard sales.

The transmission in the Rav4 is almost fixed.  There is one more switch that is bad.  Our mechanic friend did not charge us for labor, which was greatly appreciated, but the parts were costly.

We earned enough at the sale to pay for the car parts, my glasses, and the tree planting, and had $5 to spare.  We feel very blessed.

 

 

Use Up Some More!

IMG_2436

I am getting more aggressive about using things up.  It seems that the more I use, the more I find.  In the past few days, I have been able to make some progress on this project.  I dug in the cupboard and found a bunch of assorted cupcake wrappers.  I made zucchini muffins with mini chocolate chips in them.  I didn’t use them all, but did use a bunch.  Some of those muffins are in the freezer for this weekend.

Another thing I made was a large crock pot of soup.  I used every vegetable I could lay my hands on, frozen broth, and some frozen turkey meat.  I even used a can of potatoes someone had given me maybe 8-10 years ago.  It was fine.  We had the soup for dinner one night, and will have it for lunch tomorrow.  I probably emptied 7-10 cartons from the freezer during this process and for dinner that night.

I also made pizza, using up several odds and ends of gluten-free flours for the crust. I used jars and cans up for toppings and sauce.

IMG_2427

Ja’Ana made home-made play dough for Jake when he was with us for a couple of days, recovering from a bad cold.  She used up a bunch of salt, and some regular white flour that has been around for several years, since I’ve cooked gluten-free for a while now.

IMG_2429

While cleaning, we found some Kool Aid.  I’ve had it for years.  I cannot remember the last time we made any.  Ja’Ana used it to color the play dough, and then has made up 2 packages during the last couple of days.

IMG_2431

Jake loved it!  He would not stop pounding it with that little rolling pin long enough for me to take this picture.  We have a few toys we kept when we were sorting.  He just got out some of those and used them for his play dough.

I have thawed out some chicken burger and some pinto beans that I cooked a while back and will made a small chili-type soup tomorrow or Saturday.  We have a few people helping us on those days, as we are having a big sale, so I want a little extra food prepared. I used up 2 brownie mixes I found on the shelves.  They were both very expired and tasted absolutely fine.

I threw out some frozen zucchini from 2011.  It’s not worth moving.  No matter where I live, zucchini from 2011 is not worth keeping.  There will be lots of fresher zucchini that people will be begging me to take.  Trust me.  People leave it on church and house doorsteps all summer around here:)  (Clearly, I am preaching to myself.  I hate throwing food away, but I have too much of some things)

I felt like I made a lot of progress in just a few days.  My next step is to empty the small freezer under the kitchen refrigerator in to the big freezers I have left, and that’s going to take some more freezer space……..That fridge is broken and won’t come with us to my new house.  Because the freezer below it is on it’s own motor, the freezer works fine, but the fridge doesn’t.

 

 

Menu Plans–Use It Up Project-April 12,2016

IMG_2392

I am going to combine the use-it-up post and the menu plan post, for the sake of time today.  Clearly, I am a bit behind in the game anyway.  Yesterday, we ate leftovers, and I packed a lunch for work.  The ones who were home, ate here for lunch.

Since we accepted the offer for the house on Saturday, and if all goes well we will be moving in about 6 weeks,  I am now feeling more urgency than ever to use up things off the stockpile shelf and freezers.  Rob had invited several men over on Saturday to help get ready for a sale he is having this weekend.  I was able to use macaroni, hamburger, a can of beans off the shelf, 2 small jars of tomato juice/drink that had been around forever and made chili mac.  I also made mac and cheese (homemade) while I was cooking for dinner and the week.  I used up several jars of home-canned goods in the last few days as well.  I took burger items, including home-made pickles to my sister’s on Sunday.  I’ve been using the bread from the freezers, as well as corn and a bunch of popsicles I found.  Of course, we continue to use frozen fruit in smoothies–my kids eat countless smoothies.

We ended up bringing Jake home with us on Sunday, as he has a bad cold and his mom and sister had important doctor appointments and his dad had to work.  So, his menu plan has been Cinnamon Toast Crunch (he’s eaten 1/2 of a box so far), bacon (his favorite), apple juice and a Happy Meal on Sunday night.  Pretty easy!  Our menu plan has been leftovers so far:)  I need a menu plan even more when I am so busy, so here goes!

IMG_2424

IMG_2423

He’s feeling much better now, after being catered to for 2 days by everyone in this house, because we all adore him!

Tuesday:  Tacos, green beans (I will be driving Jake home, and picking up Lovana from work—not at all near each other–so will be gone for several hours around dinner time–so will cook it earlier and leave it for everyone or have some of them eat early)

Wednesday:  Crock pot  pork roast cooked with carrots and potatoes (working until 5:15-30 and then leaving for church immediately–Rob and I decided to do a 10 week Bible class together–loving that!)

Thursday:  Lovana has to work a lot of extra hours this week, so I don’t think she will cook.    We are gone until 6:30 doing dance with the  2 other girls, so I’m guessing leftovers again if we didn’t eat them for lunch.  Otherwise, sandwiches.

Friday:  Rob is having a sale and there are going to be lots of extra people helping.  I also have 2 appointments that I still need to take people to.  So–Chili in the crockpot.  Needs to be cooked Thursday, and just keep warm in there so people can dip out what then need at any time.  I also have some frozen cornbread from last week that I will thaw.  I want to make a large veggie tray and will do a large fruit crisp for both days.  We have a birth-mom visit for Patsy at a restaurant that evening, so we will eat there.

Saturday:  I will do sandwiches.  I bought a large package of lunchmeat at Cash and Carry and have frozen bread.  I will also do veggie tray and the leftover crisp.  Other than driving Lovana back and forth (total of 2 hours of driving), I will stay home and help Rob.  There will also be some extras that day, helping.  For dinner, we will do leftovers.

Sunday:  Family meal—we haven’t figured it out yet.  I will communicate with my sister via email and we will figure it out soon.

IMG_2425

I sure appreciate my right-hand helper during these busy times!