Category Archives: Saving Money

Thriving In My Thrifty Week–December 9, 2018

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Patsy went to a Christmas party at church last night.  There was an ugly sweater contest.  Rob went down to a thrift shop and got this sweater and then to the Dollar Tree to get things for her to decorate it with.  We told her there was no way she was going to win–it turned out too cute!   She had a lot of fun decorating it, that’s for sure!

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Alissa’s was pretty awful by the time she got done decorating. She did not win, either.  I guess a girl in a sweater that had shoulder pads, and was just like it was made–not embellished, but very ugly with no help at all,  was the winner.  The girls had a lot of fun with it.

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She even did the back of hers because it was so front-heavy that it needed a counterbalance!

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Jake and Michaela spent the weekend, in fact will be with us until Tuesday.  On Saturday morning, it was chore time, and I said they had to help.  Jake thought the funnest chore he could think of was cleaning the toilet.  I wasn’t about to turn down that offer!  So, he and Patsy cleaned the bathroom while Michaela and I put a bunch of things away.  We made the chores fun, they didn’t last long, and a couple of things got done.  Win-win-win!

I have read until I am hoarse.  I read the first Boxcar Children book to Jake.  We read part of “Eddie and Gardenia” which is by Carolyn Haywood, his current favorite author.  Then, our library hold copy of “Here’s a Penny” which is also by Carolyn Haywood came in, and we had to go down there and pick it up and start to read that.  We are about 1/2 way through.  Rob played Plant Bingo (a botany learning game) with him because he loves it, not to teach him anything.  That he is learning while doing it is a nice bonus.  Rob took Michaela to her Horses of Hope arena where she volunteers and rides, but there was no work to do yesterday–it was done by other volunteers, so she just rode.  That worked, too. It was cold.

Then, Rob set Michaela, Jake and Patsy to wrapping presents.  All in all, they got quite a bit done, and had fun doing it.

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I’ve been sewing all week.  Those blue shorts are the sleeping shorts I sewed and gave Rob to wear.  The camo fabric is a pair of long pants that are slightly fuzzy inside–good for cold evenings and the dinosaur fabric is another pair of sleeping shorts.  He will get the long pair and the short gray pair for Christmas.  I used Simplicity 4889, a pattern I’ve had for quite a few years.

I put it all away because the kids were coming, but I do have a couple more things I want to make after they go home and I can get it all out again.

We cooked lots of meals, as normal.  I made potato soup with ham in it, roast beef with carrots, sandwiches, toasted bagels and English muffins for the kids, tuna salad, and more.

I went and got a few marvelous deals at the grocery store.  99c peanut butter, 99c milk (1/2 gallons), and a few other things.  I also got some salad stuff and veggies on the reduced produce rack.  A really tasty honeydew melon was my favorite buy–it only had 1 small soft spot, which I cut out.  I’m so often disappointed with honeydew, but figured it was worth a dollar to take a chance on this one, and it was very good!  Every thing on that rack is $1.  I happened in at the right time–the produce man had just put out 2 huge boxes of things that needed to be sold right away.  At that store, they put them in little mesh bags, and whatever’s in the bag costs a dollar, but it all has a little problem, which I trim off.  I’m feeding my healthy hubby lots of sliced tomatoes due to those little bags:). I’m not sure why some of those tomatoes were in there.  They were perfectly good–not even a bad spot.

I hope your week went well. I plan to keep working slowly towards Christmas, but I’m feeling pretty good about getting ready with a minimum of stress.  How about you?

 

Thriving in My Thrifty Week–December 3, 2018

 

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I spent some time cutting up and roasting some of the acorn squash from last summer’s garden.  I roasted one tray and cooked 4 more in halves.  The squash meat was scooped out and mashed into a bowl.  This squash was exceptionally sweet and tasty this year and we really are enjoying eating it.  It’s not a long-keeper, though, so I’m trying to use it up.

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The green tomatoes we picked in October are still slowly ripening up.  We are about done with them now, but they lasted a long time.  We did the worst job EVER with storing them–picked them into a cardboard box and left them on the covered porch, dug through them picking out the red ones, throwing out the rotten ones, and leaving them alone.  It’s a miracle any of them survived, but, they did and we’ve been eating them as fast as they turn red.

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We took Jake to the library Sunday afternoon after lunch.  The Discovery Room had a very cool display of many, many activities and toys relating to dinosaurs.  Jake especially liked this toy as he used a battery-operated drill to build (after unbuilding) dinosaurs.  He got books and a couple of movies.

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Patsy put up the tree, decorated it, put the boxes away and….it’s Christmas:)

We went to a performance of the Portland Singing Christmas Tree.  This is an event we have enjoyed 2 or 3 times in the past.  Last summer when they were running a sale on tickets, we got some, and got to go Saturday night.  We enjoyed ourselves more than we ever have before.  It was so wonderful.

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I got a couple of hours of yard work done on Saturday morning.  The other day (at my request), Rob took a chainsaw to the large ivy clump that was taking over the lamp-post.  On Saturday, I clipped the rest of the lower part with my clippers, as he didn’t care to run his saw into the dirt. It will grow again in the spring, but hopefully not be taking over as much.  Ivy is not my friend, although I do like the look when it’s not taking over things.   Between the ivy clippings and the dead weeds and debris I pulled, the yard debris bin is overflowing.  I’m glad, as I have a goal to fill it weekly and don’t always meet the goal.     I grabbed some more fancy daffodils and crocus bulbs from a clearance rack and let Patsy plant them.  She now has a few more fancy kinds of flowers that are mixed in with the plain yellow (but still beautiful and cheerful) daffodils.  There aren’t that many fancy ones, but they will multiply and there will be more each year.  The first year we were here, she planted way over 100 yellow daffodil bulbs that came from my sister’s yard and they were magnificent last spring.  I expect an even better showing this year as they continue to fill out.

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This week was a good week to use up things from the holiday week.  I boiled ham bones and froze, shared, and cooked with the resulting broth.  Ham and beans were the first thing I made.  Then, I used some of the white beans to make Chili Mac.  I usually use kidney or pinto beans, but it was very easy to just fish out some beans when the ham and beans got done in the crock pot and use them instead.  We used up the leftovers from the holiday, had turkey rice soup, and then made lettuce-wrapped hamburgers to change things up.

I purchased one item for groceries last week–a gallon of milk.  I was able to wait until today to grocery shop.  The milk was entirely gone or I wouldn’t have had to shop today, either.  I had everything I needed.  Finally.  At last.  Until I walked in from work today and was informed that the Lowrie’s Seasoning Salt was gone!  It’s getting pretty funny for each family member to try to see what they can find that we are out of:).

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I set my niece Alissa a homeschool math problem today that I though was fun enough to share.  I had a $10 off $50 coupon loaded on my phone for Safeway.  When you read the fine print you can see that liquid dairy is not included in the $50.  I needed a few groceries–produce, milk, the 89c eggs (could buy only 2), the 99c sour cream, some yogurt, 99c bread (4), and so on.  I told her she had to spend more than $50 to use the coupon, but under $60.  (The extra was for milk and 1/2 and 1/2 and any small overages).  She needed to get the items on the list first, then use the rest of the money for a few “if we have extra money” items.  She did great!  She added up the amount we were spending in her head, agonized over which poultry seasoning to get for the best price, kept track of what the liquid dairy cost, searched for the correct items that matched the sales and deals I had downloaded, and with the $10 off $50 coupon…..spent…..wait for it…..$48 and some change.

We then went home, uploaded the few Ibotta rebates we had bought the items for, put it all away and will write it up tomorrow.  I ended up redeeming $4 worth of rebates, and am building that account up again to use later as I wiped it out before Thanksgiving for the sales.  I am trying to stay under $50 per week this month, as I really stocked up last month.  I have a little slush fund in case I see any stellar stock-up sales or need to do a small Costco run. Also, I noticed produce was outrageous yesterday, but I still got salad stuff because Rob is using a lot of that is his weight-loss journey, so I will spend what it takes to get him what he needs, regardless of price.  (For those inquiring minds….he’s down another 3 or 4 pounds, depending on which scale you pay attention to–he got weighed on 2 different ones last Friday).

I feel I’m off to a good start to the month. How’s your week going?

 

Thriving In My Thrifty Week–Nov. 25, 2018

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I was given a beautiful bouquet on Thanksgiving.  They made such a nice addition to the holiday atmosphere.  They were special to me because they were a very thoughtful gift from Allison.  She is the love of my autistic son, Anthony’s life.  Rob was able to pick them both up on Thursday so they could join us.  Although they live in different homes, they are very committed to each other and are very sweet.

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This is a picture from a few weeks ago–they are such a cute couple!

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Jake was happy to show Anthony and Allison how to play Wii, after the meal.  (As if they didn’t know how, but they were good sports!)

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My oldest daughter, Abbie, was stressed after a long work week, so baked and baked and baked until midnight.  Boy did we eat good.  When you added all these tasty desserts to the lemon meringue pie my nephew made, the apple one I made, and the cookies Patsy made…..boy, oh, boy!  And, the best part (or the worst), was it was all gluten free.  Some was dairy free as well, for those who needed it.  I ate WAY too much, but Rob, the determined did not.  We got all the extra food out of here–sent home with our guests, except the part of the feast we felt was best to keep.

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Of course, we had coffee, made by queen of coffee herself:). It is so good.  There’s nothing quite like it.  Needless to say, the other coffee remained neglected on Thursday.

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When I went to Fred Meyers on Saturday, I was surprised with several freebies.  I knew the gum was the Friday freebie, but was not expecting condiment cups, a can opener, and a little candle.  I was doing a little grocery shopping, because that’s all I seem to do lately:), and got the bulk curry powder and cloves I was after from there, along with several items such as 99c pasta sauce (5), 99c gluten-free crackers (3), and $1.99/lb butter (5).  I was not able to get bulk poultry seasoning there.  They were out.  I guess the “secret” of buying bulk spices to save lots of money has gotten out.  Ibotta has been doing a rebate at Safeway only (it’s not offered at other stores I shop at) of red lentil pasta.  The first time I bought it, it cost $2.79.  I got a $3 rebate.  I also got a coupon for $1.50 off 2 boxes and the rebate popped back up.  I went back Saturday and got 2 boxes.  They were a little more expensive–a little more than $3/box.  The cashier ran my $1.50 coupon twice, and took off $3.  I pointed it out to her, not wanting to cheat anyone, and she said she was leaving it, and have a nice day.  So, I ended up paying around $4, and will get $3 back for one box, making the average of the 2 boxes around 50c/box.  Today, the rebate popped up again, expiring in 12 hours.  I’ve sent Rob for one last box.  This is simply a new product that they clearly want people to try, and I’m delighted!  I’m sending some to Lovana in her next care package, since she eats vegetarian and it’s high protein, and am eating a box soon, since it’s gluten-free. With these high-value rebates and many other lower-value ones on things I needed to buy,  plus some bonuses I qualified for, I’ve been able to get my Ibotta account built back up again, which is awesome since I cleaned it out for some of the great holiday sales.  My comedy still continues–I went to the store at least 7 times over the past few days–no matter what I buy, I seem to out of something daily–odd things like Dijon mustard, cornstarch, cloves, curry powder, along with normal things like milk and eggs–we are just cracking up every time I announce that I’m now out of ____!  I guess I’d better start serving 99c pasta sauce on free red lentil pasta:)

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I’ve been able to do a little sewing lately.  This skirt was one I’ve had in progress for a while, but finally finished in time for Patsy to wear for Thanksgiving.  I got the top for only $10 at Fred Meyers and was super happy at how nicely it went with the skirt.  You cannot see in this picture, but there are pink buttons all down the front of the skirt.  I have so many buttons from a large boxful  Rob bought years ago at a yard sale. It was great to use some up and it kept the cost down.

I was able to get in on some great sales at JoAnn’s on Saturday.  I used up the last of 2 gift cards I still had from either my birthday or Christmas, and added some cash to get things like interfacing and some fabric for a few projects with the large discounts that were being offered this weekend.  It was fun.  I haven’t allowed myself inside of JoAnn’s much lately.  I was amazed at the carts piled to the top with fabric, AFTER the cloth was cut–not bolts before it was cut.  There are some ladies out there who are going to do some major sewing or crafting!  I’m sure they must be making blankets or other items for charity.  Or perhaps making something to sell.  Those are the only explanations I can think of for any one person buying that much fabric!!!  In fact, since I was not quite the early bird I planned on being, much of the calico was already in carts, or behind the cutting counter. But, I still found 2 pieces I liked at 70% off.  It was crowded, but people were patient and nice, and I had a good experience.

We had a wonderful holiday week with no school, lots of kids, a huge feast, and time with family and friends, but this week is back to normal.  The routine started again today.  That always feels good, too.  How was your week?

 

Thriving In My Thrifty Week–November 19, 2018

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I have worked on my berries 3 or 4 times, in small bits of time.  So far I’ve finished tying up the June-bearing raspberries, the Marion blackberries and cut down 1/2 of the every-bearing raspberries.  This year, I am going to cut down the entire patch of ever-bearing ones, as that is a choice.  Rob wants to re-string the wire that was there when we moved in.  It is in bad condition.  According to the internet, if you cut all canes down, you will get one large crop mid-late summer next year.  I’m fine with that.  The June-bearing ones are finally old enough to give me some berries in the first part of summer, and I’ll rely on the other patch at the end of the season.  It’s worth a try.

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It was a very dry summer.  I don’t think there are as many canes on the Marion blackberries as there would normally be.  Still, I’ll fertilize and care for what are there.  I can go to my sister’s house and pick wild blackberries if I need more next summer.  She always has lots of those.

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I have shopped until I’ve dropped!  I have been to the store so many times, I’ve lost count.  It’s become comical. I’ve purchased every sale and bargain item I regularly use from at least 5 stores that are near my house. I’ve bought hams, turkeys, baking ingredients, dairy products, goodies, produce galore, normal items such as sugar, treats such as peppermint mini marshmallows, and everything in-between.  Or so I thought.  I no sooner got home and began to make cucumbers (with marked-down cakes) and onions in a vinegar-sugar-salt and pepper mixture, which is a salad Rob likes to eat frequently, than I realized I was out of sweet rice wine vinegar.  I substituted, but went back for some the next day.  I got that, and no sooner got home than I went to make something….and I was out of cornstarch.  And, so it went. “I’m out of yogurt, honey,” was the next cry! I just had to laugh.  I was able to use all the grocery money and then some, my Ibotta money, my Bottle Drop money, and then some.  I actually had fun gathering all these things, but now, I’m tired of thinking, so will cruise along on what I got for the next few weeks, and only need to get produce and milk.  Or so I think:).

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I re-purposed a little container from last Thanksgiving, by putting a geranium start in it and placing it on the windowsill.  There were 5 tiny geraniums that volunteered in the compost heap, and this is one of them.  The other 4 went into a large pot, and I put that in the greenhouse to see if they will winter over.

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Jake planted some seeds my friend, Jeannie, sent him.  There is a little Columbine plant in the corner of the pot, just in case he forgets about the seeds and they die–he will have something, I hope.  That went in the greenhouse, too.

Last night, we had a slumber party with Jake and his older sister, Caitlyn.  (She’s in her 20’s and works full-time, so it was a treat to have her). Patsy played games with them after church, we watched the British Baking Show on Netflix, and ate sandwiches.  This morning, we went swimming at the YMCA, and I took Caitlyn to a natural store where she could get some gluten-free rolls she really enjoyed eating here.  (I bought gf cornstarch, for one thing!). We also hit up Winco for yogurt (much better price), and she got some groceries she needed.   We can’t beat the price of the $1.17/lb. ham they have right now.   It was fun to spend some time with her.  We used to spend quite a bit of time with her when she was little, but time has a way of passing, and those days are understandably rare any more, so it was special to me to have her spend a night on my couch once again.

I did some cleaning and organizing for Thanksgiving.  I started cooking the things that could be made ahead, such as cornbread I made and froze, to add to the dressing later in the week and some candied walnuts to add to the sweet potatoes.  We should have a great day on Thursday, and every day before that promises to have a little holiday fun in it as well!  I hope you week is shaping up well, also.

Thriving In My Thrifty Week–November 10, 2018

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These are only part of the jars we emptied this week.  It’s that time of year when we start using lots of the home-canned products.  I still buy groceries.  It would be hard to imagine what my grocery bill would be without my food storage. I’m glad to have it and am committed to using it.

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Turkey-Vegetable soup is one of the things I made.  I used frozen chunks of turkey, frozen green beans, canned carrots, broth and tomatoes, an onion, potatoes  and the rest of a sad stalk of celery.  I seasoned it with Italian seasoning and salt and pepper.  Simple, but good.

We also used home-canned taco sauce, salsa, jam, various fruits, canned green beans, frozen beef, and some French bread I had gotten for free and frozen a while back. (For Patsy).  Not long ago, I made spaghetti using my home-canned pasta sauce.

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Some of the family went to a great party at my friend’s house.  The girls helped little Danait frost pre-purchased cookies with icing and toppings, we feasted on Eritrean food, potluck items, root beer floats, and visited with lots of interesting people.  We were celebrating Harnet’s recent citizenship and her new apartment.  It was really fun.  Although many of us didn’t know each other, or had only met once or twice, it was a very eclectic, interesting crowd.  She has a lot of very nice friends.

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Danait loved decorating cookies, all the while wearing the purple mittens I got her at the Dollar Store.  My niece, Alissa, and I found the cookie kit on the clearance rack at Fred Meyers, and it was worth every penny of the greatly reduced price.  It kept Danait busy until her little friends arrived at the party, and then boy did they have fun!  Bless those big girls for helping look after them.  At one point, I guess the group of children were smuggling bowls of candy into the bedroom, and eating it all, and my big girls, who were kind of looking out for the kids, finally shut down that smuggling ring when they brought the 3rd bowlful into the room:). Kids!  After all, it was a party:), but still…..

I also got several other items on the “Whoo-hoo” rack.  The best deal was boxes of steel-cut oat packets.  They were $1.59 and there was a $1.50 rebate from Ibotta on each box.  I bought the 5 allowed, bringing the cost to 9c for each box.  There are 5 packets in each box, so that’s less than 2c each.

I spent over the $50 I wanted to spend, and got my first turkey for  47c/lb.  I plan to do that at least one more time, maybe 2 times.  It depends on what I can use to fill the gaps in the pantry–if there are good enough deals of things that I need to spend that much.  I’ll look at the sales.  Right now, celery and bread are all that are on my list, but I know it will grow. It always does:). Because I want at least one extra turkey for the freezer, I’d rather go more than once and get them for 47c/lb than spend the $150 all at once to get a free turkey.

We are not finding the low ham prices I got last year.  I’ll keep looking.  If I find them, I’ll buy several.  Last year, I got some for 99c/lb and some for $1.29/lb.  The are quite a bit higher so far this year.

The strangest thing we did to save money this week was get a security system.  We were offered a deal from X-finity/Comcast if we bundled our internet, t.v., with an added security system the monthly payment would be lower than what we were paying for what we had already.  So, we did.  We are signed up for a 2-year contract, and there is a penalty if we don’t keep it that long.  However, we were told that all we had to do was keep 1 X-finity product, if we need to cancel for some reason and we would not have to pay the penalty. We have no plans to move, or stop having internet, at this time, although we have discussed stopping the tv service if we ever need to, so that was nice to know.  And, for now, we have it all for a lower price than we would have paid if we left things the way they were.  We did not add any “extras” but just stuck with the basic package that they were offering for free, plus a discount.  So, should any burgers want to steal my home-canned tuna, they’d better watch out!  They won’t get away with it:). We are secure!  (Now, I just have to learn how to use it, but it looks pretty simple and can be done from my phone)

This was a week of doctor’s appointments for me–using parts of 3 days.  Mine were all routine, including the dentist, but it is good that I’m caught up for now.  Rob got his appointments done, finishing up one set of physical therapy.  Again, we were very thankful that we have insurance!

How did your week go?

 

Thriving In My Thrifty Week–Nov. 4, 2018

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I went out to the garden and was amazed to pick these items!  Since most of the garden has been pulled out, and there are only a few bushes left, AND the weather has been so rainy, AND it was Nov. 2, I was amazed and happy!

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I made a stir-fry with some marked down mushrooms, an onion and the boc choi.  It was great!

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Thought I was done canning?  So did I.  Until, Rob realized how fast he was scarfing down the tuna, and we decided to go back down to the docks and get some more and can it.  We did that Wednesday.  The tuna season is almost over, so it was now or never.  We had a date day, but Patsy had an orthodontist appointment right after school, so it was a quick trip.  We did get to go out for lunch, though:). It was a great day.  Then, I filled the jars and Rob sat by the canner all evening, with me spelling him to drive Patsy back and forth to church for her event, and for me to hand out candy to the handful of trick-or-treaters we got at our door.  My 2 small bags of sale candy were more than enough and I was glad I had put them away in the shop so they were still there on Halloween night.

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Michaela spent the day on Saturday.  She helped me make apple-blackberry crisp for Sunday Family Dinner.

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Then Rob took her to the horse ranch where she volunteers, and then rides.  The horse was dressed in a costume of a blue cheetah for Halloween week.

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Jake had been with us since Friday morning.  We did quite a few things, including a science experiment, making Krispie treats, jello, and watching the Lego Star Wars movie twice.

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Rob and Patsy worked in the shop for a while.  She has a project she has been wanting to do.

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I put on a huge pot of beans to make refried beans.  We have eaten most of what I had frozen.   Patsy loves, loves, loves beans.  I also am going to make a nacho for a party this coming week.  We will use what we can, and I will freeze the rest for later when I’m in a hurry.

Another thing we finished this week were the little baggies of cooked brown rice I had frozen for quick meals.  Hopefully, I will get another batch cooked this week.  Making things ahead in large batches and freezing them in smaller portions saves me time and money.  Rob boiled a ham bone, and has broth and bits to freeze and make ham and beans from sometime in the next few days.

We have spent quite a bit of energy this week, getting our daughter, Lovana, off on her next big adventure.  She has flown away to Hawaii, and plans to live and work there for a while.  This opportunity has come up for her, a job was offered, and a couple of girls were available to share an apartment with.  While I will miss her, I am super happy for her. This is a time in her life where she is free to do something like this.  She has been planning and organizing for quite a while now, and it was finally time for her to go.  She had a friend travel with her (bless you Michelle) and they each checked 2 huge suitcases, plus the carry-ons they took.  That’s what she has from here.  She ordered some things from Amazon already, and found a store and bought basic groceries.  They even tried out a new church this morning already.

I have spent some time gathering some things she forgot, or needed, and have already sent one package, and another one goes out tomorrow.  I saved a lot of money by using a flat-rate box and stuffing it very full.

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One thing I sent in the box that went out Friday was spices.  I buy them in bulk from Azure Standard or bulk bins mostly, and they are very inexpensive.  Rob had these little plastic bottles.  It is worth the postage for her to have them, since she plans to cook her meals and not eat out.  Since she eats vegetarian for the most part, but adds seafood as well at times, spices will really make her lentils and beans and rice taste better.

They are settled into their apartment, as of last night, but have quite a few things to gather up, yet.  I’m very excited for her, and so proud of her bravery in trying a new thing like this!

 

Thriving in My Thrifty Week–October 28, 2018

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I was given a very nice assortment of gluten-free items, and some baking supplies.  (Some has been put away already–there was more!). It was a very nice gift and I’m very thankful and am already planning some good things to make from it!  In fact, my oldest daughter was mentioning a wonderful recipe using coconut flour and I told her to send it to me–I had a bunch now:)

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I’m officially done with canning season!  I got the last 2 things done this week–more pasta/pizza sauce and the green tomato Salsa verde.  If you’ve read my blog for any length of time, you know I have a passion for canning and other food preservation.  But, let me tell you, even I am absolutely DONE for a little while, at least.  I am ready to move on to other projects, but am thrilled with what I got.  It really is amazing to me how much produce came from that little garden in the back yard.

We have been thawing items and opening jars right and left, starting to put all this goodness from the summer to good use.  I used the extra Salsa Verde that I did not can to make a green enchilada casserole for lunch today.  I paired that with canned green beans and a salad.

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There are a few more soup bones in the freezer I’d like to make broth from, but that can wait until I’ve had a little break from canning.

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Free entertainment!  Jake was licking the last of the whipped cream off his plate (I am the auntie, you know, so let him had some when he asked).  He sure enjoyed it.  It was the  end of a can from a LONG time ago, I didn’t even know I owned it, but it must keep, because he found it way in the back of the fridge, and loved having it.  (I tasted it, and it was fine!) He declares he is the best plate-licker in the nation:)

Rob was given some cedar boards to use when he helps Patsy make a bird house.  He spent quite a bit of time yesterday, cleaning in the shop.  It’s an on-going project, stemming from when we moved here with way more things than we could fit into our much-smaller house.  Every time he spends time out there, I can see a big difference.  We are at the place where it won’t be long until he can actually use the shop for his tools!  Hurray! !

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I spent an evening and a morning helping my friend move to a different apartment.  Her daughter was greatly amused by Patsy during the evening, which was a big help to us,  and she loved “swimming” while Rob hooked the tv back up to the VCR the next morning.  At one point, I heard her asking, “Uncle Rob, can I sit on you?”  It was so cute.  She just meant she wanted to climb up onto his lap.  At that point, he was perched on a sturdy coffee table, working closely with the cords and wires, and wasn’t able to oblige her, but enjoyed all her chitter chatter while she “helped.”  Thankfully, lots of other friends were coming by there after I left, as we did not get it all done, but we made progress.  I could not help at all beforehand, so was glad I could help afterwards.  I grabbed some taco ingredients to take, and we ate that while we unpacked, thereby cancelling the need to get pizza or anything else during the move.  I had come cookies in the freezer (out of sight, out of mind for us), and took them, and some soda, which she gave to the 2 young men who were driving the truck.

I’ve been choosing small areas to deep clean! Now that it has started to rain, I feel like working inside.  Boy, do I have a lot of messy areas!!  But, each place I clean makes me feel better, and I will get it done little by little.  I’ve even got a little of the garage cleaned up!  At Thanksgiving, I will seat several family members out there at the big, old table we kept, and I would like it to look a little tidy. (It won’t be perfect, I’m realistic)

I shopped mainly for protein and cheese this week, along with some items we finally ran out of.  I haven’t been at the regular grocery store much lately, but it was time, and I’m sure they were happy to see me:). Cheese was so inexpensive–$4.99/2-lb loaf of Bandon cheese, which is the same as Tillamook–so good.  I get several, and some shredded Lucerne cheeses as well.  I stuck to one store, and got what I needed.  I did redeem a couple of dollars from Ibotta.  I got 1 dozen eggs for free, but that’s all the freebies for this week.  I had a choice of a free item, and I chose eggs because we eat a lot of those and can always use them.

How did your week go?

 

 

 

 

Thriving In My Thrifty Week–October 21, 2018

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It was our turn to feed the college-aged kids at church this week.  We made a giant sub sandwich, using a board Rob covered with foil.  We used 5 loaves of French bread, which were purchased for 88c/loaf at Winco.  We also found ham lunchmeat for $3.50 for 2 pounds!  We got 8 pounds and piled it on, along with a thin layer of cheese slices, put fancy toothpicks in it, cut it and lined up the pieces to look like one long sandwich.IMG_9545

We served chips, brownies, veggies and toppings for the kids to put on their sandwiches such as tomatoes, lettuce, olives, onions, etc.  There was a gluten-free option on the other end, using Udi’s French bread and Krispie Treats.  This meal was very well received.  Alissa and Patsy helped me the night of the event, as Rob ended up staying home.  We came in way below the budget and the kids were so appreciative as usual. They are fun to cook for!

This would be a very affordable idea for anyone who needs to have a party or other occasion to feed a large group.  It’s fun, too.  Even though it was a simple presentation, it made it feel special to the kids.  I could tell by their comments.

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I worked 3 different times, putting the garden to bed for the winter.  I’m still not done, but am gaining on it.  Now I need to make more pasta sauce and Salsa Verde with the tomatoes.  The green ones are for the Salsa Verde.

Rob was able to till up a portion.  I’m glad he did, since I cannot handle the large tiller.  However, his bad hip does not allow him to do that kind of thing for very long.  So, he did what he could, and will work on it again another time.  He bought 20 bags of something to amend the soil a while back.  I think it’s steer manure or garden compost.  We need to get that on.

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I didn’t need many groceries from the regular store this week, so we spent our money elsewhere.  I got cauliflower from farm stands–2 at each place, since I took the last 2 at the first place.  I also got 25 pounds of both onions and potatoes, and some hot peppers.  It’s hard to believe we have eaten almost every single one of all those onions we grew and every single potato as well.  I feel we grew so much in that garden, and feel great that we have used it so much.  It did save a lot of money over the summer, and the preserved food will continue to bless us during the winter.

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They were huge heads.  We ate a bunch, and I still got 16 quart-sized Ziplock bags full.

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The family likes it cooked with a little cheese on top, or in cauliflower-cheese soup.  I have also made some things using it chopped up in the food processor (riced) to make things more low-carb.  I did make cauliflower pizza crust last winter.

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Rob, I, Patsy and Alissa volunteered at the 4H bake sale on Saturday.  The girls especially enjoyed taking bins to the barns where there was a tack sale going on and selling the goods out there.  The 3 teams did very well.

Rob and I stayed back at the 4H building and helped package all the goods the clubs sent in.  Alissa and I made caramel corn to bring and every bit of it sold, which is a good feeling.  Patsy and Alissa made one batch of Muddy Buddies with Rice Chex right there at the sale, so the aroma would entice people to buy baked goods.  When our shift was up at noon, almost all the baked goods were gone–a wonderful position to be in.  The lady in charge was delighted. The sale continued for an hour or two after we left, but she figured they would run out, and she had someone coming in to buy anything that was left at the end.  Several hundred dollars were made, but I don’t know the exact figure.  100% of it will be used on 4H programs.

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I think our extra-warm, dry spell is about over, but the Patsy and Jake decided to have one more water balloon fight this afternoon after church.  They got out popsicles, and Patsy filled up 20 water balloons.  Then they started the games, and throwing them back and forth.

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We also went to the library on our way over here from church and Family Sunday dinner, and Jake and Patsy chose books and movies.  Michaela was with us, but she didn’t want to go in, so Rob stayed in the car with her. She also didn’t want to do water balloons.  That’s ok.  She had fun in her own way.   It was good to get the routine going again.  We have had one family member or another gone on vacation for quite a while now, and have had various ones get sick, so have been unable to get the crew together very often lately.  Hopefully, everyone will stay well now.

How did your week go?  Did you save money in some way, or do something that fed your soul and made you feel like you were thriving?  I’m expecting to have another busy, but good week.

 

 

Thriving In My Thrifty Week–October 14, 2018

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We decided on Tuesday that this weekend would be the perfect time to take the kids down to the beach for one last “hurrah” of the season.   We had mistakenly made reservations weeks ago, thinking there was no school on Thursday, then cancelled the trip when we found there was actually school for Jake.  But, we hadn’t cancelled the reservations, we realized, and worked out a plan so we could still go.  It was a little complicated, and involved 2 vehicles, with me driving down Thursday evening with Jake, but Rob and 2 of the girls drove down in the afternoon after he finished up working with Michaela, got all set up in the daylight, and were ready and waiting for us when we finally arrived.  Jake was thrilled.  He has been asking and asking to go camping again.  He loves it so much.  You can imagine we hustled around to get ready, but we made it simple this time.  We always leave the camper packed and ready with pantry foods, toiletries, bedding, etc. so all we had to do was grab the food that was in the fridge already, our current clothing, library books and movies, pillows and Jake’s suitcase, of course.

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We got gorgeous weather.  One morning, Rob took the kids down to the beach to play while I stayed back at the camper and made a taco dinner.  I was delighted to have a little time to myself, and be able to make dinner so we did not have to go out.  We always keep our change jar going between trips to save up for eating out, but decided to build it up a little more for another time.  We chose to get them a few things from a candy store and I got a couple of things for various ones at McDonald’s.  We had to replace our head of lettuce, as it was bad.  We had plenty of food and I actually skipped my weekly Friday shopping trip altogether, except the head of lettuce.  We will just eat what we have on hand this week, as I’m pretty busy, and buy extra next Friday if I need it.

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Patsy and I took a hike on a trail around the campground.  We went over 2 miles.  It was fun, and good exercise, as it had quite a few hills to go up and down.  The trees are getting gorgeous color.  We also found lots of wild huckleberries and we ate some.  I wish we had taken a container to pick some in, but we didn’t know we would be finding them.

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Jake likes it when we hide things in the camper and play “hot and cold” while he finds them.   He wants brand-new Lego sets for prizes.  That’s not exactly on the shopping list  for us right now to buy.  Thankfully, he had just as much fun finding a couple of simple, inexpensive toys, and one evening, played “hot and cold” for 30 minutes hiding and finding things with different family members.  We have a tradition of having the kids do glow sticks at night, and he loved those, as usual.  He especially enjoyed this little wooden airplane and played with it quite a bit.  We have some Legos that only live in the camper, and he played with those a lot, watched Shirley Temple movies from the library, and also “The Road To Avonlea,” which is an old tv show based off the Anne of Green Gables movie, also from the library.  We also finished an entire Carolyn Haywood book called “Penny Goes to Camp” and worked on “The Long Winter” some more.  He even got Ja’Ana to play a game with him, and played many with Patsy.  I took him on a short walk as part of the Junior Ranger program he was doing, and he has no idea he went over a mile.  He’s a good walker, but doesn’t know it sometimes.

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Before we left, we hustled around and finished up several projects.  These are cinnamon-candy apples.  I simply replaced 1/2 cup of sugar with red hot candies in the 4:1 syrup, so they are pretty, but still low-sugar.  (so 1/2 cup sugar, 1/2 cup red hots, 4 cups water) They have a very delicate cinnamon flavor.

The rest of the wood was all stacked.  We kind of had to stack it if we wanted to go.  It was blocking the trailer.

Rob made and canned beef stew with the last of the potatoes and many carrots from the garden.

I finished Patsy’s dress.  I took a couple of pictures, but am not happy with them.  I will take a better one soon and post it.  I am, however, very happy with how the dress turned out and how it fits her.  The homecoming dance is next Saturday, and I am very glad the dress is done.

It was a good, productive week, and I was happy to end it with lots and lots of sleep down at the camp ground.  I was pretty tired, but feel better now.  It’s a good thing–this next week is pretty full, as well!

 

 

 

Thriving in My Thrifty Week–October 7, 2018

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I was able to find more produce in the garden this week.  It’s looking really scraggly, many things are covered in powdery mildew or look crispy and dead–in short, it’s getting really ugly.  So, I’m delighted that there are still veggies out there.  I also bought a bunch of salad things to augment what I found out there.  Over about a week, I was able to gather enough tomatoes and got 7 quarts canned on Friday.  Now I feel like I have enough.  If I get a few more, it’s a bonus.

I had very few immediate grocery needs this week, and intended to not shop.  Until….sugar was $1.25 for 4 lbs.  That is a good price here, and I got 20 pounds.  I also got 20 lbs of brown sugar for 50c/lb. I got milk and bagels for the niece and nephew, since Michaela was spending Friday night, and Jake was spending both Friday and Saturday nights.  I went ahead and used money from my Bottle Drive account to get the extra 20%, and paid the rest from my grocery budget, leaving me in great shape for the rest of the month.  I had been setting that Bottle Drive money aside for stocking up, so I did.  Rob picked up cheap lunchmeat from Grocery Outlet (87c/package) and we got some other things we could use. (bottle drop doesn’t work there, so of course, paid cash for that.)

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I have picked most squash that are out there, but still need to gather the Delicata that are next to the shop.  The dahlias are still lovely.  My sister brought 4 beautiful Butternut squashes for the family to divide, and the others either had some already, or didn’t want them, so I ended up with them all.  2 of them, I cubed and froze, we ate one already, and the other will store for a while.  Last year was the first time I ever froze raw squash cubes, but it worked well for the 2 little packages I froze, so now I have a few more for this year.

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I also love how the zinnias are still giving me such a cheerful spot of color out there.  Many were planted from Dollar Store seeds that only cost 25c/package.  The rest were volunteers, and they are mostly purple/raspberry color.  I am letting seeds drop into the garden from several items.   Some of the items I harvested from volunteers this summer included zinnias, lettuce, tomatoes, lemon cucumbers and green onions.  There was also dill, cilantro and parsley that self-seeded.  It will be fun to see what comes up next spring.

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I dried some parsley and chives.

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It’s amazing how much they shrink when they dry!

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Patsy suddenly decided that she might want to do some food preservation.  There’s not too much left to preserve, so I put her to work canning some apples.  I think we can use them in a cobbler/crisp or she can just eat them out of a bowl.

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Of course, Jake wasn’t going to be left out of that super-cool really fun apple project!

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Since apple slices aren’t something I usually can, I followed the directions in the Ball Blue Book, and we packed them in hot syrup after they cooked for 5 minutes in that syrup.  I actually had her make a lighter syrup than called for, 4:1, and I still think it’s probably too much sugar.  I like to try to follow the recipe the first time, anyway:). Thanks to Auntie for the apples!  I was glad to have something for her to can when she got the urge at this late date!  She got 6 quarts and 1 pint.

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She would like to try to do more 4H projects this year, as last year we were not able to accomplish the tasks needed for her to fully participate.  There are requirements for helping at a county level for each member to enter things in the fair, and we did not do them.  We also did not get very much project work done, and the county event that we signed up to help with was cancelled.  It was somewhat of a bust all around.  So, I told her we would try again this year, and if it doesn’t work, it doesn’t work, but it’s worth a try if she has an interest.  I know we can teach her practical skills without it, but the 4H program gives me more incentive to carve out the time to work with her.  She made a good start, I think.  In my mind, it’s about learning skills more than gaining ribbons, so I’m glad she canned something I hope she will like and use, which will bring her satisfaction from the process.  I feel if a kid wants to do a 4H project, they need to practice skills from that project over a period of time, not just the week before the fair–there are always lots of last minute projects to do then, regardless.

We had our first fires in the wood stove this week, as the weather turned rainy and cool, and it was in the 40’s and 50’s.  It felt good.

Rob and I got horrible colds (thank you cousins!) so laid low all weekend (to the best of our ability with so much commotion going on).  Besides the cousins, Patsy had this computerized baby from one of her classes at school which squeaked and howled like a real one at all hours of the night and day, and she had to “feed” it, “change” it, and so forth and keep a diary of what she did.  They can track her actions on the computer chip in the doll, and her grade will depend on how well she took care of it.  It goes back in the morning, thank goodness.  It had to be done, and I felt she did a good job of it, and now other kids will get their turn.

Jake never got to play so many electronics, hear so many stories, and watch so much tv.  He had a ball.  I  expect I will have some work ahead of me the next time he stays over, convincing him that it was a one-time occurrence!  He was so cute.  One morning, he said, “Now, why don’t I read all of you a story,” and proceeded to do just that.  I took him to the library and we stocked up on movies and books, and I think he enjoyed the ones we got.  I know I enjoyed mine!