Sunday, August 13, 2017

Why I am the way I am.

Four hundred and one variety...that is different/variety things not number of things.

In my pantry when fully stocked there is 20,852 items...not counting what is in the freezers.

With 80% being what I grow or buy at the cheapest price and process myself to keep it frugal.

Why? because I have went hungry as a child. I went hungry as an adult but I made sure my kids didn't and in 2007 I watched my Hubby worry there wouldn't be food on the table when he went to 3 days a week (company didn't lay off full time workers and kept them at 3 day which is equal to unemployment but gave them health ins that wouldn't be available if they had laid them off. Temporary workers were let go. We lost both the house we lived in and the one our one daughter lived in. Now we are looking at retirement, with health insurance going through the roof and not sure what income we will have after he retires and we pay for the insurance.He has been offered part time, seasonal work with a couple companies owned by our landlord's families. Landord has made it very clear he would work with us just to keep us here, would prefer for us to live here another 10 yrs or more.

My parents grew up during the Great Depression. Hubby's parents weren't born yet, his dad grew up on farm(cattle/pig and grain) and his mom's dad worked for the electric company. Hubby grew up farming and all grocery money and bill money was on the farm loan so it was more of will the crops pay of the loan and if not what's the interest to roll over to the next yr's loan.His mom did some gardening but enough to go year to year.

 Daddy didn't know it was the Great Depression as he grew up in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains. Everyone was poor and ate pretty the same thing. Milk (evaporated milk) gravy and bread or oatmeal for breakfast and bean soup and bread for lunch and supper. Spring brought sassafras tea and wild greens, summer brought fish and the gardens. If there was enough money after buying his mother's medication they got shells to hunt with.

 Mother on the other hand, understood the difference. Her dad worked in lumber yard and rail road... and was without a job for 2 yrs. He refused to work the program that was offered and his family paid the price for his pride in the way of not having food or clothings at times. Mother finally got a job at the age of 10 working for a "junk man" cleaning up things for him. She made 5¢ a day that was spent on beans to feed her parents and siblings.

 There was never enough grown in the gardens with how big the family was to put any up for winter.Daddy did know how to dry food on a tin roof covered to keep the animals off the food but there wasn't enough food to do it often. Mother was clueless.

As a child my parents had decided my older brother would not only graduate from high school(first of both their families) but go to college the day he was born. Good thing he wanted to go because both him and I know he would have went even if he didn't want to. Both did whatever work they could often working 2-3 jobs to make ends meet, money went to pay off the mortgage and put money aside for his college education. Dad grew a good size garden and started hunting. One neighbor taught Mother how to can corn, tomatoes and green beans. Another neighbor showed her how to make and can grape juice as we had a very small harbor of concord grapes. By this time Grandpa(Daddy's side as Mother's dad had died when they first bought the house) was raising chickens and potatoes along with a huge garden for himself and his daughter that remained as his care taker.Grandma died when Dad was 16) So we would get eggs once a month when we went to visit, sometimes a chicken that wasn't laying and old and in season we would get 100 lbs of potatoes when Daddy went to help dig potatoes with Grandpa. Grandpa had an acre planted of potatoes and that was how he made his money to pay his bills.I would pick up cans and pop bottles for Daddy to take into recycle to get money to go towards my brother's college fund. Many times food was on the slim side when the garden didn't produce or Dad didn't get anything when he went hunting or fishing. If soup was on the table I knew not to ask for more than what I was given which usually was a 8 oz cup.Most times it was a water based soup.

As an adult when my late husband died I went through a time, almost a year where I wasn't sure what I was going to put on the table. He didn't have medical insurance (heart attack, ambulance run, ER, doctors, tests) and no life insurance  (funeral home, casket,open and closing of grave to be paid up front etc) and I had just left my part time job because it was costing us more for me to work with the kids in childcare than me to stay home. No income, didn't qualify for any assistance as it was based on what I WOULD get from SS survivor benefits that took 3 mos to get. Then I had to pay back the ones that lent me money to keep the home and bills paid. I made it Went from 130 to 75 lbs), kids never went hungry, though saw me count pennies many times for their lunch money (no help there and didn't qualify for health ins either) I sold everything I could that wouldn't affect my kids..The elderly neighbor gave me tomato plants to grow on my deck (lived in the city), my lawyer's secretary gave me corn and green beans. My Daddy brought me dried beans,potatoes, eggs and bar soap. Mother brought me ham, flour, sugar, yeast and toilet paper. I didn't have water in the kitchen but did upstairs. House was one step from being condemned when we bought it , he died 6 wks later. I finished bring it up before I remarried.It appraised for $120,000 right before we moved.

Ask my kids what meals they loved as a child...beef veggie soup and noodles with homemade bread...both dishes were served when I was scraping the bottom of the barrel for food. I was shocked it wasn't the beef roast that I used the scraps for the soup or the roasted chicken that made the noodles. They still ask me to can veggie soup for them for Christmas, noodles dried and given at Thanksgiving.

My answer to those times it to have a large pantry that will feed my family for 2 years. Have variety as I understood my parents for years struggled to eat and enjoy bean soup. And to try to make sure I have a variety to also meet nutritional needs I have with my Crohn's.

Right now I could go 19 months with the holes I have in the pantry...the holes are 192 varieties that either are low or gone completely. Those holes are the last 5 mos I want in the pantry by Dec 31st.

My goal for the next four months it so have enough cash to pay 6 mos bills ahead of time, enough in the pantry to go 2 yrs and household items(cleaners. softener salt etc) and personal items to go one year and OTC meds to go 6 months and all prescriptions filled as of Dec 31st.AND pray the car holds together until AFTER Hubby retires because he qualifies for $5000 reimbursement if he buys a car through the program. We plan to replace Hubby's truck the following year.

Hubby is trying to save his vacation to cash out to cover some of the Jan bills, (he will get one paycheck before he retires out)when he retires but I am not counting on that due to he takes vacation when I am in the hospital with Crohn's.

Off to make zucchini bread pancakes for supper.

Blessed Be

Being frugal while filling the holes in the pantry

Top shelf is 26 pints of enchilada sauce and 26 half pints pizza sauce.Enchiladas one week, pizza or calzones the next.

Next shelf down is pasta sauce, red sauce( 32 qrts pasta and 12 pints red sauce)6 store bought alfredo sauce and 4 #10 cans of tomato sauce to change into pasta sauce or go in chili...chili will be first.

Third shelf down is diced tomatoes (60 pints) and 6 cans of stewed tomatoes my son gave us and 6 cans of Rotel tomatoes a friend gave us.

That bottom shelf was full of tomato juice that is old enough that I decided to convert it to pasta sauce that will be used first of the sauces and using this year's tomatoes to make fresh juice.

I have holes in a few places that make me leary of the coming year with Hubby retiring and insurance going through the roof, not sure how much money will be coming in and we have to live below what is coming in ( in the last year I've cut the budget by 50%)...but after inventorying all 401 varieties ( yes that is varieties not items....when fully stocked there is 20,852 items( yes you read that correctly) in the pantry not including freezers) in my pantry (not including 3 deep freezers and 2 refrig freezers) Hubby and I was able to pinpoint where my focus should be to fill in. FRUGALLY of course!!

Tomatoes... I need 20 qrts of pasta sauce  and at least 8 qrts of tomato juice. I should be able to get this from the tomatoes in the gardens. IF I get that and still get tomates I will make red sauce. I can bread and slightly deep fry some green tomatoes for the freezer or make green tomato sauce if it turns cold before they ripen.

I have NO chili. Hubby eats hot spicy and I eat mild. I can pints of these for quick meals or snacks of nachos.  I need at least 26 pints of each, 52 would be better...depends on the meat prices.The one small store near us does buy 3 lb sausage get 6 lbs free...if I can hit that sale it will be a definite big help.

Garlic powder. I grow my own garlic so I can dehydrate some of them and blend to powder.This will be done this fall as the dehydrator is running daily with other things now.

Onion powder. If we get bulk onions(25-50 lbs) at the Amish auction I can dehydrate and blend for powder otherwise...not going in the cabinet. My onions I grew this year did better but not enough to carry us through until the next season. We usually get 25 lbs for $5 sometimes in a bad year it might be closer to $15.

Applesauce, I have 36 qrts...that means we can have 1 qrt every other week. I would like to have 52 which is 16 more qrts but that depends on the price of apples and if anyone gives us apples.  More would be better as we used to eat it at every meal.but I haven't been able to find apples in my price range.

I have 12 half pints of butter canned.I got some butter at $1.99/lb. I'm going to can it(no room in freezers and I grew up with canned butter since we didn't have a frig for a while, neither parent had ice boxes growing up). Last week I saw butter at almost $5/lb. I don't eat margarine due to my health issues. We "Eat" 1/4 lbs a week, a half pint is almost 1/4 lb. BUT we use over 10 lbs from Thanksgiving to Christmas so hopefully the prices will be down by then or there are going to be some traditional foods not made or given.

Eggs... I got 5 dozen for 75¢ a dozen to dehydrate. We go through 5 dozen a month with me baking and making pasta and eating. I use 15 dozen at Thanksgiving and 15 dozen at Christmas ( 6 kids, 22 grandkids and one great grandkid). I have 12 dozen dehydrated right now. My goal is to have 20 dozen dehydrated by Jan when Hubby retires. Eating fresh eggs might become a treat instead of common meal. Though a fried egg on homemade bread is a pretty cheap meal but I've seen eggs hit over $3/dzn.

In the dehydrated cabinet the holes show the most...I need bell peppers (garden) tomatoes (garden) oregano(garden) rosemary(garden) carrots, celery, sweet potatoes, potatoes, mushrooms,ginger and pumpkin. I blend the pumpkin to powder, easier to add to dry mixes or water for pie filling/custard.

The root cellar is close to empty. I have a few potatoes and sweet potatoes left in it that will be dehydrated if I find them at reasonable price. I'll be calling the produce farm that grows potatoes at the beginning of Sept for prices along with looking at the Amish auction.

We will buy our winter squash from Hurley's produce market. They grow them organically and usually are the lowest price unless we can get them at the Amish auction.

Pumpkins will come from the Amish auction. We get a pallet (usually 25-35 pumpkins) to share with the kids. Last year we spent 50¢ per pumpkin and they weighed in at 25-35 lbs each. Depending on prices we will get sugar pumpkins (pie pumpkins) and jack be littles or wee be littles.... usually used for decorations but can be cooked for single servings.I love baking molasses custard in them.


I would like to learn how to make orange marmalade, lemon curd and lime curd,possible orange curd LOL, but that's low on the list and might end up being a Christmas present from my kids instead.


Sunday, August 6, 2017

First week of Aug

Frugal fail...sending Hubby to store for ice cream... he bought the expensive klondikes yes they are my favorite and yes I was craving chocolate which took half of the $20 budgeted for the month.His answer was they are medicine because I need to calcium and I'm not eating cheese, yogurt or drinking milk and it's chocolate to help with the cravings and it was DARK choc so that helped with the depression....Then on the way to Great Grandson's 1st birthday party that was 2 hrs away..we pit stopped at the gas station to potty and walked out with $21 of food because it was lunch time and I have to take my meds with food and we didn't think about bringing snacks as we knew we would eat at the party but the grandson let me know After we headed that way we wouldn't be eating until closer to 2 ...at least most of it was healthy and we brought half of  it home and I was able to cover it with the eat out fund that we put aside for the month.At least we thought to take water. We didn't eat on the way back l even though it was pass dinner time like we planned and ate mini eggrolls that was in the freezer instead since I had meds to take with food...I wasn't hungry but hey meds need to have food or I get sick.

I gave my great grandson his afghan made with yarn that matched his and his parents birthstone. I only had to buy one skein of yard due to his Mom being an Oct baby and I didn't have enough of that color of pink.



I think I will start looking for shades of blue to make him one for his 2nd birthday.

 We took water to the birthday party to drink, it was in park. I took my ice pack sling for my arm in case and instead of buying a bag of ice for the cooler to keep it cold I dug out every lunch box, medication ice pack etc I had tucked away and put that in the cooler. Did a decent job for being out 8 hrs, sling was still froze as it was on the bottom but the rest was starting to really get warm.

I scored at CVS between the coupons and sales I eliminated 7 more products I needed in the pantry. I budgeted $300 for these items...paid $144.04  with a savings of $155.96... not only am I happy about the savings but happy that I actually knew what to budget. My next goal is to finish stocking the personal care stuff and medical supplies. I've been watching the sales and have the coupons already.I don't buy name brand much but what I do I try to match coupons and sales. Like Pantene shampoo/conditioner... CVS had it buy 3 for $12. I had a coupon that was buy 3 save $5 and a coupon that was buy 3 save $2. I got 6 large bottles  shampoo/conditioner for less than $3 each...THEN I ADD 1/3 of water to them  so I will end up with over 2 bottles for free.bringing the price down to around $2 for a large bottle. Doesn't work as well with Sauve.

I gave what few cucumbers we got that Hubby didn't want to eat for a friend that made refrigerator pickles so I would have pickles for myself since I can't handle canning with my arm in a cradle sling. I gave tomatoes that were going to go to waste to my ex son in law and his wife. Their tomatoes are still green.

My cucumbers and squash got hit with the squash bug... I won't replant as I have friends that are being ran over produce.

We turn the AC off every morning and open the house. THEN only turn it back on it's it's over 80 and there is no breeze. If there is a breeze. Ac stays off (hubby will use room AC while sleeping during the day) .Hubby has started turning the lights off without reminders and turns the tv off after the news as figured he didn't need to zone out with the tv on.

We ate from the pantry and ate Plan overs twice. We will be making the menu today for this coming week. We have enough pasta left over for tonight.

Our pressure switch went out on the water pump and the landlord showed me how to fix it and keep the water on until he got a new switch that he installed himself.Which was luckily to be the next day right after breakfast.
 
We put in the order for our propane and pulled the money to pay it. Put a hole in the savings but it's paid in full at the lowest price. It always seems to go up the 2nd week of Aug.

I am starting my winter produce list that I buy at the Sept auction.I can imagine that it will change weekly as I recheck the pantry.

I am looking at the Christmas to buy list also this week and making a list of what is still needed.Mostly there are 2 crafts I want to make that I don't have all the supplies for. I have a back up plan if the costs is above when I have budgeted.

I contacted Menards about a rebate that should have came in and hadn't and they traced it and it was sent. Glitch in their system.

My son bought 3 of the shirts I had bought (I bought 5) for when I was wearing the sling, I'm to the point I can put on a shirt over my head if I don't raise my hand, actually I lean over and put the bad arm in first.

We are working towards not using disposable items as much. I got rid of the paper napkins decades ago but Hubby's go to when he eats lunch or a snack is a paper plate. I told him I wasn't buying the better paper plates (as he won't do the thin cheap ones) for him to use when he retires so he needed to quit pulling the paper plates that are in the supply for the family reunion and Thanksgiving (because I don't wash dishes by hand for 100 people).., He is doing better.I caught he was doing it when he was on shut down and was actually home and the plates are stored on the shelf going to the basement which is an area I don't look much at. BUT since we ate lunch together every day I caught it. He also wants to use my freezer bags for things he is putting in the frig and going to eat later. I am reminding him to put it in a storage container

I transferred money to our Ally savings.

I checked our credit scores at credit karma

We used Gas buddy, Speedway fuel card with speedway fuel points and Kroger points for gas.

We look our Maybe buy house list when we are going some where to see if we can do a drive buy to save fuel.

 Other that noticing we are now having Oct weather in Aug everything is pretty steady on the frugal front...as long as I limit paper plates and buy the ice cream myself.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

first physical therapy


the black thing is the ice pack the hospital provided.It's almost as awkward as the cradle sling

It wasn't the nightmare others told. Maybe because I was in better shape, wringer washer, clothesline and 1200 sq ft of gardens is a lot of exercise.OR maybe it's because I actually did the exercises they told me to do after the surgery until I got into the physical therapy. Still looking at 11 more weeks unless the doctor changes the orders when I see him the 10th. I have a love hate relationship with the cradle sling.It's too big to fit me correctly and causes some raw spots from rubbing along with pinching nerves in my back shoulder area.

Due to the mess up of my therapy not being ordered until after surgery,my twice a week is scattered instead of the same days each week.Also the time is bounced around so a couple are in the afternoon when Hubby sleeps. A couple of friends had offered to transport me but can't due to other conflicting things.. So the doctor cleared me to drive myself. Still because of the bouncing of days and times we will be spending more on gas than I would like as there isn't anything else going on to combine with..

I would say the lack of decent sleep by having to have the cradle to my side is the biggest issue.The rash that started under my arm I was warned about was pretty much stopped because I had the meds here at 2 am when I woke with it and didn't have to wait until the local store opened at 9 am.I can do more than I thought, just slower and not some things like eat jello without issues.

My physical therapy is stretches right now as they didn't think I would be in as good as shape as what I am. My baseline testing put me closer to the beginning of 3rd week instead of the end of 1st week . I am hoping that advancement continues and I get out of cradle sling sooner.

Blessed BE

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

one handed frugal $20 grocery for Aug


when you look forward to harvesting the gardens just to get out of the house that isn't concerning medical issues. I already found out walking outside in high humidity will help a sling rash under your arm to flare even bigger. Frugal side.I already bought stuff for it at the dollar store.I didn't buy all the gadgets that I was told I would need to survive with one hand for a month or so...maybe because we have several one handed family/ friends that get along with all that stuff?

Finger carrots, baby eggplant and one zucchini
There was 6 beets that I roasted,then realized I was hungry so ate 3 of them before this picture. Since hubby doesn't care for beets it made him happy and neither of us had figure out what I could eat for lunch.
Cherry tomatoes are starting , several had busted due to downpours.

large onions aren't mine but the small ones along with the cucumbers are. I'm thinking refrigerator pickles might be the easiest for Hubby since I'm stocked for dill pickles but don't have any bread and butter pickles.
These tomatoes aren't very big,there are some that are size of baseballs or bigger that are still green in the gardens. I mentioned fried green tomatoes to Hubby and watched his eyes roll...rough when your wife is a chef and down to one hand LOL.
















The now deceased mole destroyed my scarlet runner beans. I don't think they will recover in time to get beans off them.

We have August bills paid and the rent,electric and this coming winter's propane ( price right now is $1.29/gal and we use 900 gals to be paid in full at signing of contract this coming week) sitting in the savings until due.

The bad news is my car that I was going to sell to my youngest has a broken drive shaft. She's now looking for different car and I'm looking at a repair bill.It's still good enough for driving, just not the 2 1/2 hrs a day she does to work. Our mechanic, bless him and his, is willing to use used parts if they are good enough to put in his own cars and lets people make payments without holding the car until paid in full.

We know we have 4 outings that will cost us some money so I put that money back also added a bit more to it as we will be going to a friend's summer cookout and I'm not sure what I'll take.

Monty..the 27 cubic ft chest deep freezer (Montgomery Ward) is full to the point if you don't put things just so the top won't close. Mostly meat but the veggies have crept in.

Newbie the 21 cubic ft chest deep freezer (new freezer) is full of veggies, fruit and cooked meat.I could get some sliced cheese in there...maybe.

Baby the 7 cubic ft chest deep freezer(it's the littlest) that sits in the mudroom has some of everything but mainly it's breakfast or soup food. It holds this year's amount of corn as the one bin is the perfect size. I don't think a sheet of paper would fit. I really need to make chili but Hubby isn't thrilled with canning it.The meat for it is in Baby.

The kitchen frig is full,it's freezer has enough room left for 2 boxes of ice cream sandwiches,my ice packet for my shoulder and 2 ice pack refills for my shoulder.

The mudroom frig is seasonal fruit (local produce)and produce from the gardens.The freezer must be full as Hubby told me to NOT open it.That's usually the sign he put too much in it and it falls out when the door is opened. Since the door is held shut with tape, has been for years, it's hard to look and see with only one hand and not worth possible set back if I get hit with something.

The dry goods of the pantry are in good shape until Thanksgiving and will be wiped out by time Christmas/Yule is over with. I'll restock during the holiday sales.

The canned goods (home canned and store bought)...I would like more especially meat and fruit but right now I could easily stretch it for a year.Longer by eating the fresh as it is in season.

I'll restock pie filling,pumpkin,apples,winter squash,sweet potatoes in Sept.at the Amish produce auction and Hurley Farms. I also noted on my calendar to call the local produce farm that grows potatoes next month as they close the first week of Oct.

I'll restock ham,turkey and roasts this fall.Maybe pork loin as last year the prices were a bit too high.

We need personal items and some household items like water softener salt that costs $72 plus tax per fill but we will wait until there is a sale.I also want to add to the emergency  fund (and pay off car repairs). I figure $20 for the month of Aug for the day to day groceries.

We need to eat from the freezers so I have room for the fall meat.