Saturday, December 31, 2016

2017 goals and "support "

My goals...to be chaos and clutter free, to have the last 3 debts paid off and to rebuild the savings and to eat healthy. My "support team" of family and friends of Hubby, my youngest daughter, my middle son, and my sister (of heart). My "support team" of bloggers... Brandy over at The Prudent Homemaker , she's my go to for frugal ideas and making the pantry last. Dave Ramsey with his Debt Snowball Method which has worked for YEARS on digging us back out after losing 2 yrs of income. Jessica Fisher ...lifeasmom and goodcheapeats for her pantry challenges , revive course and her personal planner that uses post-it notes...my favorite and it actually will work for me. Marla and the Flybabies at Flylady.net... From Chaos to Clean in 2017 , monthly habits (Jan is shine the sink) and fling boogies etc. She has been there "for" me since 2001. Taylor Flanery at Home Storage Solutions 101 for her declutter 365. Ree at The Pioneer Woman...she's my go to for "man meals" so Hubby doesn't feel deprived plus I love Charlie. Katie over at goodlifeeats.com for recipes. Jaden at Steamykitchen.com, not only for recipes but for reviews of products she uses. They are who I look to when I have fog brain.

Pantry Challenge 2017

This is from Jessica over at GoodCheapEats.com . She does a pantry challenge twice a year that I try to at least do 2 weeks of.

This year I plan to do a lot longer...like MONTHS...why? The goal is to clear out and restock after I've defrosted deep freezers and to wipe down and restock the pantry with the FRESH garden stuff that will come in this year.IT is also a goal to pay off the final 3 debts and rebuild the savings account. ALSO I want another dehydrator for this summer and this is a good way to save for that purchase.

This is not an easy task for me, I get the shakes when I see empty spots where food was. BUT I know if I don't focus on clearing it out every other year completely I will end up with food being wasted.I went hungry growing up. We lived where if we didn't grow it we didn't have it. When my parents divorced there was no meat on the table because Dad hunted and fished. We didn't buy meat at all.

I have rules...can only eat out twice in during the month...that might go to 3 times if we go see our parents as we take them out to eat when we do and that depends on my health and the weather as they live over an hour away and we don't see them every month.

I have  a list of meals that is stocked that can be made within 20 min. That is about the time it would take us to drive to the closest fast food drive through and get back. I would like to focus back on eating out a something SPECIAL and being at a sit down restaurant.

I can get items needed off the basic weekly grocery list Hubby and I wrote out the other night. Basic vegetables (carrots,celery etc) apples and bananas (requirement of my diet due to health) and dairy and if needed baking supplies.Still we decided to go every 2 wks to the store as he can stop and get milk at the local little store on the way home from work. I chose to wait 3 wks this first time as I just stocked the frigs for the holidays. I do have a monthly basic list but it is mostly staples for baking etc and I stock it usually at Sam's club. I will limit grocery store shopping when I do it to either Aldi's or click list at Krogers (except for a milk run if needed and that will be the local IGA)...that keeps me (and Hubby as he ALWAYS checks clearance and markdowns) from getting the sales. Ads will be tossed before coming in the house. If I don't see it I won't want to get that SALE.

Menu MUST provide potassium, magnesium,Vit.D,Vit E,Vit.K,Vit A, B12,zinc,folate,calcium,iron and LOW fiber.  Thank you to a new GI that caught that my Crohn's was not letting me absorb these.

SO here is the pictures of the two refrigerators and their freezers...just a start as I have 300 sq ft plus pantry and a butler's pantry and onions in an upstairs bedroom hanging in the closet and produce that needs dealt with under the bed and kitchen table and in crates in the mudroom.ALONG with Monty, 27 cf deep freezer (Montgomery Ward AKA Monty) Newbie (21 cf deep freezer, it's new) in the basement laundry room and Baby the 7 cf deep freezer in the mudroom....please be sitting when you finally see the pictures when I post tomorrow and Monday.






This is the mudroom frig and it's freezer. We used to use it for condiments when I was working as a personal chef and then it was beverages and now it is OVER FLOW of what ever I am processing...right now there is turkey broth and beef broth to can and still some baking items that are needed to finish the Christmas candy and cookies that didn't get done due to me being in the hospital right before Christmas. The cookies and candy are to be delivered by end of Jan.

This is the kitchen frig and it's freezer. SIGH. I do have containers in this frig that has some of it organized but it is definitely overloaded and stacked up. Be back tomorrow with more pictures and the menu.

New Year's eve Frugal wrap up of the week

I loaded Mobisave, Ibotta and Checkout 51 to my phone for rebates. Already have around $20 in rebates.

I saved $90 in coupons and sales at Krogers not counting the fuel pts that we will use this coming month.

I found a place to get a discount for the supplement my GI doctor has ordered for me to take that is NOT covered by my ins saving over half and it's shipped from the mfg .

I transferred my Pinecone pay to cover the journals I ordered for myself.

I transferred my Swagbucks to Amazon to pay for our subscribe and save order.

I inputted my coke pts and also got a free calendar (had to pay shipping) as a gift from Coke and Shutterfly.

I got 4x4 picture magnet from Walgreens for 99¢ to give to my in laws for the frig. Its a "selfie" off my cellphone picture of Hubby and me. I will be mailing it to them this week.

We found LED Christmas lights to replace the ones we lost this year. We had priced them at $35 a strand before Christmas and paid less than $7 a strand AFTER. Being LED will help keep the electric bill down next year also.

I got next year's Christmas cards for 1/4 th the price.

I saved the ham fat from the ham. turkey fat from the turkey and beef fat from the prime rib roast. Now in freezer. IF I don't use it for flavoring I will use to for the birds

I "simmered" turkey carcass for broth, prime rib bones for broth and bagged the meat off those for meals like noodles or casseroles for the freezer.

I froze the leftover strawberries we were given after a party.

I dehydrated eggs.

I fixed appetizers yesterday since we were home and tired of eating all the "buffets" we were invited to. We will have what is left of that today. The ribs I was going to fix is going to be for tomorrow instead which means I now have 2 meals in the freezer that isn't going to be used this week.Not sure if that is good or bad since the freezers are filled to the brim and so is both frigs.

Happy New Year's


Wednesday, December 28, 2016

End of the year


A storm is what I feel like I have been going through the last month or so. I now have a new GI doctor that is more into doing what works for me than just prescribing meds. She made some requests for changes in what I eat with the understanding I wasn't not to put us in any kind of problem financially or health wise (if it bothers me don't eat it) and keep her updated through email of how it is going. I will eventually have to have surgery. My ilium in too small (birth defect that was just caught) and it causing "back" ups when blocked and the pain meds I have taken decades for the back pain pretty much is what triggered the Crohn's. She changed the meds to something that should help more and added a supplement to add good bacteria to my gut...HOPE PRAY AND DANCE IN THE RAIN...

Meantime between  coming out of the hospital, dealing with Christmas (still have 1 candy and 6 types of cookies to deliver late Jan) I used Kroger's pts and Wagner pts for fuel (lots of driving long distance since the kids and both sets of parents live over an hr from us and we visited a friend that was in to see her parents , she's from Montana.

I used the leftover prime rib to make broth and meat for beef and noodles (and probable a casserole).

I used the leftover turkey to make broth and meat for noodles (and a couple casseroles for next month).

I saved the wrapping paper of a couple gifts we were given to reuse next year.

We got ham for 97¢/lb. I got 2 and then Hubby stopped in a couple days later and got 2 more. We are giving one to his parents.

I found bulk food storage containers to replace what finally gave way including new ones for the brown sugar and powdered sugar to keep ants out. This past year has been a battle and I have had to throw sugars out due to ants...went right through the containers I was using that I thought were airtight...NOPE. The containers were on sale and I went through my Swag bucks so that is even better. I got free shipping also.

I found good thick work socks at Rural King for Hubby and got free shipping and used a coupon .

I ordered the new office supplies going through Swag bucks and got them on sale. I ordered enough I hope to make it to school supply time this summer.

We went over our 2017 budget and figured out we have a couple areas too tight due to increase of prices around here so we are figuring out where to shift that from without taking away from the increase in savings. My new meds is one of those costs.

I did gag gifts for the 12 days of Christmas for the kids and grandkids. Great grandson got toys and Christmas ornament of him, his dad and his great great grandpa.

For the 12 days I did
1st= pear fruit cup (Dollar tree)
2nd = plastic turtles (Amazon on sale and used Swag bucks to pay for it) along with dove candy from Odd Lots.
3rd =feather's from JoAnn fabric black Friday
4 th = note that said messages was left and 4 positive messages written out by hand
5 th gold rings made from gold pipe cleaners
6th 6 tsp of dehydrated eggs
7th  7 tsp of Dead sea salt (swans were swimming in the Dead sea LOL)
8 m packages of Swiss miss hot cocoa except for my granddaughter that doesn't do any choc and she got shelf stable milk. She put it in her emergency supply since they have their own place.
9 lady's dancing needed candy canes that was given to us from a friend that didn't need any more for her own gifts
10 lords leaping for joy over 10 brownie cookies
11 pipers piping...they were preschoolers that "pipes" were made from drinking straws
12 drummers drumming...kids got a hoot out of it. I saved ever popcap I could including asking a friend to save hers so I could make "drums" out of the caps and hot glued a circle of linen paper on the cap and 2 small match sticks for the drum sticks...kids thought it was funny I used what was my TRASH for their gifts and then got to thinking about how many pops I had to drink to give each of them 12 drums ( over 200 until I admitted I had taken caps from them that they didn't realize what I was doing. I do coke points so that's what they thought I was doing LOL
I used paper from my late mother to wrap and only bought tape.

I could have done a lot better on the cost of the candy and cookies.... I didn't buy choc like I usually do so paid the price even with it on sale. Didn't make the run to Sam's club like I usually do and the costs showed it. Something I will have to change to handle that outlay this coming year.

We have to go visit Hubby's parents yet (tomorrow) and we have a neighborhood party tonight to take something to.

THEN it's take down Christmas , rest and start the New Year with new goals .





Monday, December 19, 2016

Christmas/Yule cookies and candy and Crohn's OH MY

My week started off good with being frugal. I got eggs at Kroger's for 99¢for 18, 2 lbs of xxx sugar for 99¢ and did that while going to the bank so it wasn't an extra trip.

I cooked up the 3 lbs of sausage we got for buying 2 lbs of ground chuck to make 3 meals of sausage gravy and 4 meals of sausage hash with sweet potatoes and 3 bags for pizza or calzones.

Amazon let me know my Subscribe and save amt was going to be about 1/3rd off what the sale price was when I ordered.

Our health ins offered a free magazine of our choice for a year and then offered up to 5 more for $2.00 for a year of our choice also. I got the Saveur for free (Retired personal chef) and the other 5 was Food and Wine, Real Simple,Kiplinger's Personal Finance,Bloomberg Business and Reader's digest. I will be sharing this with family after I read them.

I downloaded the Walgreen's app and Google Fit and connected it to the Veryfit I wear. So not only am I now earning points to keep my health ins costs down and providing info for my doctors. I am earning points at Walgreen's.

Hubby and I went over our 2017 goals to make sure we were on the same page and starting it out to have good results.

THEN I WAS IN HOSPITAL....

I have Crohn's. I've had it all my life just didn't have the name for it. Two years ago with a lot of push from my doctor I went to a GI specialist. I was in remission and had been for 2 yrs but was having kidney stones that due to what the Crohn's was doing.

GI doctor puts me on remission meds and I was okay, not better but not worse until this past fall.

Since Sept I have been in twice due to blockage. My original doctor left state and I scheduled an appt for the doctor I will be seeing that specialize in women's digestive...but I haven't seen her yet so I got the doctors that was on coverage at the hospital that flipped when they saw the meds I had been on....the meds I am/ was on was for colitis not crohn's....hum. I have a cyst on my liver, not cancer or life threatening and I have hiatal hernia. So now I am taking 18 pills a day to deal with the damage while the entire GI office is talking about my case trying to figure out what to do with me next as I am allergic to 95 % of the drugs that are for crohn's. At least this time I didn't pass a kidney stone or get an kidney infection. I usually do.

I have 7 appts between now and Dec 31st so that's more gas money going out. My primary doctor shifted my follow up appt with him to the day he knows we come to town anyways so I'm not making an extra trip then . The GI office it trying to work it out that I use my "meet my new doctor" appt for the follow up to save me gas money also.

Hubby ate all the leftovers but forgot the pan of tomatoes and a bowl of orange peel so those had to be tossed. Not actually a bad loss considering I went down in the middle of the night.

SO today I started bar cookies instead of the others and will do what I can about finishing getting Christmas wrapped up before Friday when we deliver.

It's nice to be home for Yule,Advent, Christmas Eve, Christmas and Boxing day.

Blessed Be


Sunday, December 11, 2016

finishing the garden and staying frugal

This is one of the pans of tomatoes I have stored under the bed to turn red that I just cooked up for juice. The pan on top is a 9 x 11 cake pan just so you know how big the sheet pan holding the tomatoes is.

I still have one pan of this size with partially turned tomatoes and another of mostly green tomatoes












This is the last of the bell peppers that was stored under the bed to turn also. I dehydrated them.

















I am writing down daily what we are doing to be frugal.It helps keep us focused on saving.

I turned in my coke caps and got a reward and then used the coke caps to make "drums" for the 12 days of Christmas gifts for the kids and grandkids.

I cashed in my swag bucks and my Survey pts to pay for our Subscribe and save at Amazon which saved us $49.33 this month( not including what I cashed in to pay for it) for what is a necessity for the house.

I did a pre-order of Nora Roberts Island of Glass and got is for half of the price when it came out.

I ordered the prime rib (the only thing Hubby asks for at Christmas, it was a tradition from his grandparents that are no longer living). I found it at a butcher shop for $3.00 less a pound if I pre-ordered it.

I returned a glue gun to Walmart that didn't work instead of just tossing it . Yeah,a bad habit I got from Hubby who also has a bad habit of not putting things back and then going and buying more when he can't find it.We are working on that this spring when we clean the garage out.I tape the receipt to what is being returned and put it on my purse.

I turn the printer off after using it. Our old one shut itself off after 30 min but this one doesn't. I give my empty ink cartridges to the local school. They use them to get things so they don't have to increase the taxes to cover more stuff.

I shut my laptop down after I use it and then shut the power strip down that it is plugged into . I found one I don't sit and waste the day on social media and two the electric bill dropped.

We had a few Christmas lights die so we replaced them with LED lights. I also picked up LED light bulbs for the closets we forgot about when we replaced the other bulbs with LEDs.

We are using Gasbuddy to find the cheapest gas  instead of just going to the one gas station. We check the area we are going to be in and what is around us at home.

We used Speedway card to get 3¢ off a gal.

We used Wagner's card to get 19¢ off  a gal.

We used Kroger's card to get 70¢ off a gal.I do the survey to get extra points.

We moved our daughter in one trip (instead of the 3 we feared) with the help of one of her friends that had a trailer twice as big as ours. She had a couple bookcases and some stuff that would fit in her car left. As it costs about $40 to go down and back that ended up being an $80 savings.

We dropped our electric bill another $15 compared to last year.

A friend gave us some candy that they won't use so we will add that to the gifts we give the family.

If I am using the oven I will put a tea kettle of water on the burner over the exhaust and heat my water for tea that way. Takes a while but a slow roast or a turkey in the oven can keep me in hot water  for the afternoon with no extra cost of the burner or microwave. Even a short amount of time will take the chill off the water as our water is cold due to coming from a well.

We are using "scrap " paper for notes and what ever that we get from expired coupons, envelopes and back of letters in the mail.

We ate home except for 2 meals. One meal Hubby's HAM radio group paid for and the other we got the special for pizza that provided meal all weekend. I think we are tired of pizza.

Hubby turned down Directv offer again. Even though it would not cost as any more that what we are spending for the home phone and internet the offer was only good for a year. We have already went through the " let's make a deal" more than once. We will just stay with our antenna.Don't really miss anything except Alabama football and his buddy will text him the scores as he lives down there. We are in OH.

We went to the grocery stores for sales. We got cake mixes (girls use them for cookies since they don't buy flour...I can't imagine not having flour) to give as gifts since they were under a dollar. We got smoke sausage for $1.59/lb . We got sausage for $1.92/lb and ground chuck for the same price.I got butter for $1.99/lb and lg eggs for 59¢ a doz. I got a turkey for 68¢/lb and pork loin for $1.39/lb.Depending on the freezer space I will pick up another turkey and a couple hams. I will get pork roast at New Year's. I got a rack of ribs the other day for 99¢/lb. One rack is all we need through this time of year.

One of us (including the dogs) has an appt every day this week so I plan to cook up some root veggies tomorrow that can be reheated to go with the protein of the day is. Will spend things up.

I know I will be having to buy gas for my car at least 4 more times this month. I usually only have to do once a month.That was figured into the holiday budget.

I am still working on the 2017 budget as we know there will be a change in health insurance (some of it will save us $180/month) but I figure there will be a down side somewhere.

We still have a hospital bill that is outstanding...kind of...the hospital is trying to get the ins to pay MORE because it was a necessity so our bill will be less. I hope we get that bill soon so I can get that done with for this year's taxes.

Blessed  Be





Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Frugal time

I am baking the cookies and making the candy for delivery to our kids and grand kids (and great grandson is too young) for this weekend. I am also finishing the gifts.

Since I wasn't going to deliver until closer to Christmas I dragged my feet about having the stuff to do it.SIGH

FRUGAL...
I went to Aldi's to do the bulk of the shopping, substituted somethings to keep the price down before finishing at Kroger's using my digital coupons to get the rest.

Found sweet peas and mixture of peas and carrots in freezer section of Kroger on sale. I got 5 of each as we use 1/3 of the bag per meal and I serve it twice a month. Neither of us like peas all that much. I use the peas and carrots in fried rice and pot pies.

I have Chinese food in the freezer I will be pulling out tonight so fix so we have leftovers. I made 123 pasta last night with extra sauce. One I won't be tempted to order out since I am in cookie and candy mode and two, I have my back injections on Friday morning and was warned there would be at least 4 injections and I would have pain due to the inflammation that is there. SO I would probably be down 3-4 days instead of 1-2. BUT then I should be fine until late spring. That is my norm.

Saturday, Hubby will be delivering the stuff and helping our one daughter move. SO I will be on my own and need to "fix "myself meals...definitely leftovers.

I put plastic on the windows in one bedroom. I have all the winter curtains up now. I put a wool lap blanket rolled up at the bottom of the staircase that goes upstairs(not heated).

I close the curtains in the evenings and open them when it's daylight. We don't turn on all the Christmas lights until evening. Out door lights are on a timer.I don't have the tree up yet due to stopping to do cookies and candy.

We are looking into doing Click list at Krogers (input order online and pick it up in parking lot) or continuing with Aldi's. Might be , this is the sale but I don't want to go in because we pick up other things. LOL

Blessed Be

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Dec Groceries

I just made the bulk of the list as I will be finishing the Christmas candy and cookies to deliver to the kids this coming weekend.

regular choc chips
mini choc chips
brown sugar ( I will be completely out when done)
Crisco (for sugar cookies )
Butter (I will be completely out when done)
Eggs (I will be completely out when done)
some odds and ends to finish cookies and candy for delivery
Milk

I will order the prime rib roast for Christmas Eve.This is the only thing my Hubby asks for all year.

I would like to get a couple more turkeys and a couple more hams.

I might get (depending on money) some things to make some special items like sugar plums for stocking stuffers

I need white vinegar and apple cider vinegar but it is for the pantry not to use right away.

Blessed Be



Thursday, December 1, 2016

December 1 2016 Goals for this month

To have the last of the house winterized by Dec 4th.

To have the house done decorated for Yule and Christmas by Dec 5th.Hubby celebrates St Nick's day.

To have all the gifts, cookies and candy done by the 18th and delivered.

To see Hubby's parents and my dad.

To see a friend that is coming in from out of state that has spent this whole year fighting breast cancer.

To not stress out over the amount of medical appts I have this month. Keeping in mind that our ins is paying for it this year and they won't be paying as good next year.

To start and complete the afghan for my great grandson.

To do some sewing beyond mending.

To eat...yeah really , after 50 some years of only eating one meal a day and a high calorie snack and living on coffee ...I am focusing on eating and eating healthy,

To walk the dogs three times a day

To eat from our pantry. I know of three times we will be eating out. One a company party( no costs to us), another with our son when he comes to visit at his request (favorite restaurant) and once with my Dad who will want to go to Bob Evans for his sausage gravy and biscuits. I would like to hold it to that though I could see another one in there depending on time of travel and meeting our friend.






Friday, November 25, 2016

Frugal Black Friday

Last night we had Thanksgiving dinner in a friend's home. Their son and his lady came in late as they had dinner at her parents home. The talk was of shopping on Black Friday. They were getting up and going here and there and the scores they wanted to get and where...when the young lady stated it wasn't a big deal to her if she even went let alone got what she had listed. The silence that followed probably came from shock. Hubby turned to me and asked what I was buying on Black Friday. I calmly looked at him and said NOTHING. Most of my shopping is done, we do gag gifts, homemade cookies and candies (Buckeyes and snickerdoodles are required ๐Ÿ™‚) since we have so many. I give the gift on myself.

The best gift I (Hubby and I ) can give my family is our time. We live over an hour away from all of the family due to Hubby's work. So if I can go visit, even for an hour it's a memory they have . A lot of the children and grandkids that are now adults live in the same area so I can make the rounds. I just have to time it with their schedules (HA HA) and money for gas. Our parents live in the same area (over an hour from us and closer to hour and half from grandkids) so we make that a trip. I take food to our family, our parents are living on social security and the kids are trying to make ends meets with large families.

My parents on the other hand always went shopping Black Friday and on Boxing Day (day after Christmas) They shopped where my mother's sister worked and the store allowed the sister to use her employee discount for my parents as my parents had raised her and her twin. That was a frugal choice that allowed them to give a bit more to my brother and me.

I will say today we will be doing some shopping (me with a cane as I have sprained my ankle and now have tendonitis on top of it that has not mixed with my Cerebral palsy) We need a generator. Last couple years we have lost power which means we have no water as we live in the country. When we moved here the landlord had use of his uncle's generator when he bought this house from him until there was a spat between the two of them over not being honest about the condition of the house. After that we have borrowed a couple times from others that wasn't out of power. We found what we were looking for on sale and we have saved up enough to buy it so we will go get it today.I hope we don't have to use it.

Blessed be

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Nov Food thoughts after talking to Hubby

I told Hubby I posted my Nov shopping list and it was mainly for Tday dinner as the pantry was full.

He immediately asked if we need another small deep freezer as we have no turkeys in the freezers. Nor do we have pork roasts, pork loin(for roasts and chops) or beef roast after I make Tday beef and noodles.

So we talked it over, as I do not think we need another freezer and do not know where we would put one unless it went to the garage which is already full because the garden stuff is there since the landlord put baby calves (just off bottle) in the pig barn where we stored the garden stuff and I haven't had time to clear the farrowing house to move the garden stuff to it so I can get my car in the garage this winter.

ANYWAYS... HA HA. Sidetracked there. We decided on three -five hams and 3 turkeys if the price doesn't drop up to 6 turkeys if it drops enough. I will cook all the turkeys except one or two depending on how many we get and what room I can make by shifting things around.

Also we decided on 50 lbs of potatoes for Tday and 50 for our storage.We might pick up another 50 in December. Save a Lot here will allow us to order 50 lbs at a reasonable price that is lower per pound than 10 lb bags.

I took another look at the pantry. We have over 100 lbs of different rices, We have over 100 lbs of onions,plenty of frozen corn,home canned green beans, a mixture of zucchini, yellow squash, eggplant,broccoli, cauliflower,bell peppers and green and red tomatoes in the freezers along with the home canned tomatoes. We have delicata squash, spaghetti squash, acorn squash, butternut squash and jack be littles pumpkins for our winter squashes. I am okay on pasta over 50 lbs , a couple shapes I would like to have for certain dishes but I won't get them unless they are on sale.

We could use about 5-10 lbs more of sweet potatoes. Maybe more if I make sweet potato chips in the dehydrator.

I need about 6 bags of peas and carrots mixed. I will get it when they have frozen veggies on sale. I use them in my fried rice.A bag last us two months unless I serve them as a side and then it's one month

I need dried beans. I gave some to one of my kids when they lost their job and haven't replaced them yet.

We need canned 3 bean salad. They don't sell canned yellow wax beans around here or I would get that instead and make my own 3 bean salad.

We need canned pineapple. Crushed, chunks, rings yep...a case of all 3.

We need dried cranberries, they usually go on sale this time of year. Might grab a couple bags of fresh for the freezer because I am the only one that likes them,dried, Hubby will eat them.

Butter, I stock up on butter. I found a recipe to can butter that I haven't tried yet but I know we go through at least a pound of butter a month without baking

Blessed be





Monday, November 7, 2016

Making frugal choices

Every once in awhile I check out this site. Not that I base my food budget on it but it definitely shows the rise in the cost of food. https://www.cnpp.usda.gov/USDAFoodPlansCostofFood

It looks so empty now. The flowers are blooming quite well, the white thing is the row cover put over the eggplant.

We chose to go get the last of the LED bulbs we needed to replace, we figured we could either spend the money now or the next 3 months when our electric bill is at it's highest.So all of that is done. We have found that we can use the lower wattage and get a brighter light than what we were getting with the CFL so we are not turning on as many lights as we were.

We used the Kroger points to get 60¢ off (200 pts for surveys) for gas (truck)

We used the Wagner IGA points to get 25¢ off for gas (ford top off)

I have dehydrated eggs and cayenne peppers and roasted several eggplants(and put in freezer).

We cleared the gardens except for the herbs, lettuce and one lonely eggplant that had 2 eggplants on it that is not quite ripe. I covered them with a row cover to help protect it. If they don't ripen by this weekend I will have to let them go as we get our first hard freeze. I will finish the harvest before that frost is here. I covered the eggplant because I can buy lettuce out of season but I can't buy eggplants.Since I need all the colors of veggies and fruit , eggplant in the freezer helps keep the costs down for filling in that blue/black/purple.I have the green tomatoes on trays under the bed and about half of them sitting to be cut and dehydrated with seasoned salt. I have bell peppers that should turn red or yellow in paper bags also under the bed. I check these every two days so when they are about 1/2 turned I put them in the mudroom in the morning sun.

We had the furnace off during the middle of the day

curtains open when it starts getting daylight and closed at dusk

power strip turned off to computer.

I use the junk mail and envelopes for scratch paper.

We went out with friends for dinner , went at lunch time and used a coupon.

I changed some of what we will be serving to our Tday dinner to what I already have to keep the costs down.The budget is $800 So far I have less than $10.I am hoping for the price of turkeys to go down because right now we need 108 lbs and that comes to over $150.00 as they are running $1.39/lb. Last year I had four in the freezer but didn't restock those.I really really need space in the deep freezers so I am using some of the older stuff for our Tday.

I used the clothes line.

We no longer have to mow which saves us 5 gal of gas every 7-10 days. Since there is cattle in the barn here the landlord's sons will be clearing our driveway,not before Hubby gets home from work in the mornings as one is still in highschool and the other works second. So instead of buying a snow blower (unless we find a good used one we can afford) we will be buying a generator something we have been going without. Not good as when I lose power I lose the water since we are on a well.

What did you do this week ?
Blessed be

Friday, November 4, 2016

Nov Shopping plans

We have Thanksgiving day dinner the Sunday before due to several family member working and being a divorced parent, grandparent.

So the majority of my shopping is for this dinner as we provide most of the food. I will not be buying
green tomatoes or onions except green onions LOL 







as we have finished most of the harvest and pulled plants. I got the plants out to the field (we don't do much compost due to using sq ft gardens and straw bales) before they came through and disk the field for the winter.. Composted the field you could say.



As for the dinner we serve the average of 40. Most are big eaters or grazers that end up eating a lot also. We provide most the food. This year it will be at our son's as he bought his house and has the best parking area. I'll be going to his home to do the majority of the cooking there the week before (feel for him as I pack my kitchen stuff into his house LOL) My older daughter is bring ham and sweet potatoes. Another daughter and granddaughter is going to help prep if their schedules allow them to that is,We have deep fried turkeys (4-6 depending on RSVP and sizes) homemade noodles, turkey noodles and beef noodles, 30-50 lbs of mashed potatoes. several vegetables sides, around 40 pies (plus I make a dessert for each person to take home as part of their Christmas gift), mini cheesecakes , homemade bread and rolls and appetizers . Usually there is 100 different dishes including the desserts,I have most of the flours,eggs and veggies. Today I will be writing out what I still need and the schedule of cooking along with equipment I need to take.  I budget $800 for this meal. It came in around $750 last year even with the family growing.

Blessed be

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Last week of October


This is half the butternut squash that was at the Produce Auction. Since I don't need squash and there wasn't much of anything else in the amount I was will to buy I told Hubby I was getting some baked goods and we would get our apples else where. An elderly gentleman offered to sell me some of his apples that he had in the auction.Said it wasn't a problem at all for him. So I got 20 lbs of apples for 45¢/ lb. and baked goods at a good price so I won't be baking this week.

I started making the noodles for our Tday dinner (the Sunday before because so many of us work retail,food service, medical) It figured out to be 15¢ per person.

I bought a pork roast regularly $1.79/lb for 99¢/lb and ground pork regularly $2.99/lb on sale for 99 and more eggs for 79¢/ dozen. I was told that by the holidays get here eggs will be back up over $1.00/dozen. So I decided to dehydrate the amount I use in the holiday baking.

I dehydrated some pears and apples we weren't going to get used before they went bad.

We bought LED light bulbs. I've been saving as my son warned me they would cost a pretty penny, especially with the amount of lights we have here at the farm. We decided to replace the CFLs in the lights we use daily and go from there. Main amt of lights was 27. THEN we realized as we were changing them out we had forgot about ceiling lights through the entire house and 3 lights at the doors...that is 15.There is 24 in the out building that need changed. I suggested to Hubby we replace the rest in the house (which are CFL) and use them in the out buildings which is the old incandescent and then replace the outbuildings. That alone should save more money. We did save around 1/3rd the amt on the new bulbs by buying what was on sale (even though it was a less watt than we were using) so I was happy with that. I can take that savings and put it towards the next round of LED's we buy.

We got Subway one night we both of us was just too worn out and was thinking of just not eating.  We gave them our Subway card and told them to take what they could off it...we ate free.We were both shocked there was that many points on the card when we very seldom go to Subway unless we can get a special and have to eat out which isn't all that often.

With cold coming in, I have been closing the curtains as it's getting dark and waiting until the sun is out before opening them. I turn the furnace off  as long as the house holds at 68° during the time, when it drops to 67 I'll turn it back on.

I turned the dehumidifier off in the basement. By next month I will be turning on the humidifier on in the front room.

I'll be pricing 50lb bags of potatoes this week as there was none at the auction. I need it for us and some for the family (as early Christmas present) I will also be pricing beets, sweet potatoes and watching turkeys as I need to roast one early for the noodles since our dinner is the 20th.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

frugal week 10.23.2016



This time of year I make a lot of condiments. Like Balsamic vinegar syrup. It took two bottles of what is on the left to make the 4 oz bottle of syrup on the right.

I will also take 3 gal of apple cider to make apple cider syrup. I will end up with about 1 gal of syrup.


I have and will make more of my Mother's BBQ sauce also.

Apple peelings and cores from applesauce and dried apples will make apple butter, apple caramel jelly,apple jelly and apple juice.

Veggies are washed before peeled and the peels go in the gal freezer bag in the freezer until it's full and then I make veggie stock from it. Broccoli stems go in a separate bag for when I make broccoli soup.

Water I cook potatoes in is saved for making gravies and potato soup. The water is starchy so I need less starch/flour to thicken the gravy. Good for breads also when you need a bit of liquid.

I bought 15 lbs of assorted pasta for $14. I still need lasagna (both regular and oven ready), alphabet and couscous and that will give me enough to go the year or more without buying any more.

I got large eggs for 94¢ for 2 dozen , so I got 6 dozen. I still have some of the medium eggs I bought last time for 48¢ a dozen in the frig. I will dehydrate some to replace what I have given to family. A lot of it will be going into noodles I make this week for Thanksgiving. I will also make noodles to give as gifts.

I have worked out what the budget is going to be for 2017.I do this now as Hubby's employer has you sign up what you want your benefits to be at the first part of Nov.I'll finish working it out this week.

I've been closing the curtains before dark to help keep the heat in and reopening when the sun comes up. Been able to turn the furnace off about 10 and not turn it back on until around 5.

I've been doing good on the new diet. Only ran into a few issues when eating out with my Dad and then with friends last week. I needed green and Dad gave me pickles to eat when we got back to his house. I just filled in the "gap" when I got home after eating with our friends...we go out with them about every 6 wks. We pick places that have specials or we have coupons. They are retired and on a limited budget also.

I read The Prudent Homemaker blog every day. Someone always post something that helps.

Blessed be

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Frugal week 10.19.2016


Frugal hack.. the curtains I bought at yard sale didn't have the loops on the tie backs any more so I used paper clips

this is actually a cloth for a end table or what ever and I decided to use it this year on the kitchen window that I don't want to block what little light comes in. I used binder clips a friend gave me when they closed down a factory and he cleaned out the offices.

because of the decorative woodwork above the sink you can't even see how I hooked the lace to the rod at all.

Hubby needed a new winter coat for when we are going some where instead of wearing the work coat or the "barn" coat that really looks nasty with stains and worn spots.We found one on sale at the local hardware (only a couple places carry carhart coats which is what is worn in this area). When it was rang up it came out that the tag was wrong ($150 coat was on sale for $99.99 but the tag said $59.99)
They honored the tag. Actually they said of course they would honor the tag when we pointed the tag said less than the "scan" code did. Still, we would have paid the $99.99 as that was a good sale for that coat because it included the $30 hood that we have always had to buy separate.

I finished dehydrating the last of my herbs and gave the herbs their "winter" hair cut.

I cleared all the sq ft gardens and planted the fall onions and fall garlic. Found more onions so they are now curing. I still have a couple gardens on the south side and the north gardens(straw bales) to clear.

Harvested the sweet potatoes and they are curing.

Pulled the last of the bell peppers in south gardens. They will be loaded tonight in dehydrator. That way the house is warm from the dehydrator in the morning and I'm not having to turn the furnace on to take the chill off.

GI doctor changed my diet, have to eat magnesium,potassium,calcium combination (it's what makes your digestive system work the best) along with 1 serving of fruit/veg from each color ...colors are white/tan/brown , red. orange/yellow, blue/black/purple and green-lt/dark AND I'm to eat at least 1/2 cup of food every 2-3 hrs as NOT eating regular times can cause issues of digestive system shutting down.  I thought this was going to cost us a fortune...until I checked what is in the pantry... pretty much have all of it, might run out of the blue/black/purple but doc was okay with red/purple grape juice or V8 Fusion once a day.The only thing is I have to eat yogurt daily. I had some given to me that will last a couple weeks then I will most likely start making it myself.

We have ate from the freezers or pantry most the time, I think we have one time that each of us ate out by ourselves due to NOT being home and missing a meal...both of us spent less than $5.

I have started focusing on our Tday dinner...going to have to really go over the menu as the head count has almost doubled with YES WE WILL BE THERE. LOL.

Have a frugal week.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Oct 10 Monday morning frugal week

This is what I didn't use this week for the laundry. We pulled everything and I mean everything of the warm weather bedding,pillows and curtains and then everything of the cold weather bedding, curtains and clothes and loaded it up in the back of the pick up and hauled it all to the laundromat. Can't wash heavy bedding and curtains in this machine. I love my wringer but that is a big negative of having it. Hubby said he saw no reason to not just do it all when I am still recovering from being in the hospital (better but no where near normal energy wise or other.). I don't allow him to use the wringer washer , too scared he will force the wringer and break it.

Three hours later, 16 triple loads, 18 double loads (think about it 19 windows with a set of sheers and then regular curtains EACH, that's 57 curtains (I use the same sheers) to be washed) we were home and I was loading the dryer,drying rack and the 200 ft of clothes line. Took less than 24 hrs to get it all dried thanks to the wind being 15-20 mph as I reloaded the clothes line before going to bed . Hard to get the items on and off the line, well maybe not off as I kept having to go out and repin things to keep them ON. LOL

We had 4 throw pillows that matched our couch and love seat fall apart.Not surprised as they are over 12 yrs old. I used the fillings (after making sure it was dry) to restuff the cushions that are the backs of the couch and love seat. I will need to replace the throw pillows as we use them to support me as need to sit "forward" on that furniture because I am short.

I reused a couple bed pillows that fell apart also (closer to 7 yrs old) to make one pillow. Going to have to replace a couple of those also, but can make due until I find what we want and on sale.

Now my house is "covered" in laundry baskets as I sort what needs to be in storage and what is going to be used now.Financially it wasn't cheap on the other hand it made us think about what washer we should be looking. Do we want to continue to use the laundromat twice a year at over $150 each time (no dryers, used just washers) or do we want to put it towards a washer that can handle to bedding and curtains? Already looking at life cycles and limited computer parts as I went back to the wringer because I had 3 washers that the mother boards died.I will not do a front loader again either unless I am in a wheelchair.

While doing all of this I started the fall cleaning with Hubby's help. We focused on the bedroom first as we both feel that we do better if we can rest without seeing any messes.

Went to town and got caulking as I found air leaks when taking the curtains down. Got dog food on sale while there (almost same amt) that we been getting at Sam's club so that put off the trip until next month plus they had some canning stuff on clearance so I got that also to get off my list.

Our grandkids got their first apt so we are taking kitchen stuff down to them that I was getting rid of. Pretty much they will have something from everyone in the family. Surrounded by love is what they called it.We will combine the trip to drop off pumpkins and pick up anything the kids need us to get. Will save a us a second trip down which is a 3 hr round trip.

I dehydrated thyme, oregano,flat leaf parsley, curly parsley, garlic chives and chives. I canned 8 pints of pears.

Blessed Be

Thursday, October 6, 2016

October shopping plans

                                        Jack Wee be littles from the Amish produce auction.

This is what I want to shop for....with acknowledgement that it's going to depend on if there is money to buy it.

Since I will go back to baking most of our breads and stuff I need to restock the supplies. I had quit, didn't see the point with just the two of us and neither of us big bread eaters but that was one thing that was put in to my diet by the GI specialist, it just can't be whole grain. I do eat oatmeal without issues so I can make oatmeal bread (cook oatmeal first , Mary at Owlhaven recipe).Hubby eats bagels weekly and both of us eat English muffins. I just need space in the freezer to split it up so it doesn't start going bad (no preservatives so you have to eat it now)go into the dogs mouths as treats. LOL

Sam's Club: Dog food and carrots. I will walk the whole store to see if there is anything else but I pretty much already picked up the baking supplies. Might get oil for the deep fryers as Hubby deep fries our turkeys ever since the house burnt a month before Thanksgiving . I used the church kitchen to make the rest of the dinner and we had it in a house with the dining room and kitchen torn apart.THANKFUL we were all okay.

King Arthur Flour or Amish country store (no shipping and usually better priced): caramel coloring,asorbic acid,citric acid,pretzel salt,non-diastatic and diastatic malt,barley malt,baker's ammonia,Vietnamese cinn, cinn baking chips,vanilla bean paste,lemon juice powder, lime juice powder, orange citrus oil, boiled cider, dried buttermilk ,rye bread improver,easy roll dough improver,pizza dough flavor,special dry milk,deli rye flour, rye flour,pasta blend flour or semolina and durum flour(this is only for Thanksgiving noodles otherwise I use regular all purpose, this blend holds up better to sitting in crock pots through the day),fruit blend (KAF) Hubby prefers this in his granola bars and oatmeal. and sticky bun sugar.

Dollar stores etc. Candy that I can use for Christmas goodies along with tape and paper to wrap with odds and ends for presents.

Wagner's or Walter's butcher shop for sausage patties(by the case) smoked sausage (by the case) canned pork,canned beef and canned chicken . Both places butcher their own meat and can it so I know what is in it and where the meat is from. I will also buy dried beef in the jar. We use it at Thanksgiving for dried beef pickles and I use it for gravy and cheese balls through the winter and lard.

Amazon is been my best price for dog treats, (yeah I know I shouldn't but I do) I always check sales and coupons before I order.

Other groceries will be eggs (I'll use 20 dozen at Thanksgiving and another 20 dozen at Christmas) Crisco for sugar cookies and butter for baking. I need crushed pineapple, chunk pineapples and pineapple rings, yellow wax beans ( or 3 bean salad Hubby eats through the winter), yellow and white hominy, kraut, I need a bit more ginger root also. Storage needs sweet potatoes, white potatoes, apples ( citrus is Dec) and I will pick up celery, fresh mushrooms (if on sale and I have coupon) and colored bell peppers (I can't eat the green ones). I might get more beets depending on price as I would like to make beet chutney and beet chips.

We'll see how it goes.
Blessed be




Game Plan


This corn is now off in the fields around us.Depending on which way I look there are spots I can see 2 miles away. It's also the reminder that it's time to bring the harvest in and it's going to get colder here. I've seen that happen in a matter of days and since I am very limited with activities of anything that uses my core at the moment (okay probably a month or so) I am going to have to work smarter than harder.I am trying to work an hour and then rest 2 hrs. Some days if I have doctor appts etc I can only do 30 mins and I am done for the day. Immunity system is shot along with malnutrition now that I couldn't eat for over a week. I remember it's been worse before and I got through it, I will do the same again with my faith holding me tight.

We have started getting the medical bills in from where I was in the hospital (over $22000 so far and I've already made arrangements to get discount and payments on our share of the bill). I know there will be at least 5 more as I was in to the primary doctor yesterday and he ran more tests because I still have the urinary tract infection that didn't get cured while in the hospital for my Crohn's. I am thankful for health ins through Hubby's work, it's really good ins but as we all know ...it doesn't cover everything. PLUS he was off almost 10 days due to him being sick which means the paycheck won't have the extra $ of his shift/position etc , just basic hour wage, which we are grateful for because I have kids that don't even get that. The saving acct took a big hit.

SO working smarter.....house has to winterized BEFORE it hits (lesson learned) and the last of the gardens have to be taken care/processed and stored along  with planting the fall garlic and onions.

I need to start Thanksgiving prep and Christmas gifts/cookies/candy.

I paid the bills, looked at what was left and we decided that we had enough to take everything, clothes,bedding we are using, winter clothes, winter bedding and all the curtains (warm and cold weather) to the laundromat. Thankfully I used vacuum bags to store the winter coats or that would have been another 3 loads. I can use the clothes line and my dryer to dry, though we might use the laundromat to dry the pillows while the other stuff is washing. I will put them in first to make that happen.That will pretty much wipe me out physically for a day or so but it will be done. I can wash/caulk/tape/plastic what ever is needed on the windows as I rehang the curtains in the next couple weeks. Like one set a day or so.

We put some corner round in the one upstairs bedroom that needs caulked as I could feel a bit of a breeze today when taking the curtains down. Drafty old farm house LOL.

I plan to make the noodles this month and drying them for Thanksgiving dinner.I got medium eggs on sale for 48¢ a dozen. I use large to bake with but medium is fine for egg sandwiches,deviled eggs, noodle making etc.I'll use my Kitchen aid mixer and attachments to make the noodles instead of doing it by hand.

We hit the candy sale at the local store and got some of what we needed for Christmas on sale half price.I have a couple more stores I want to check on to see if I can get a few more things.I am making my own tags.We are still changing some of the ideas as we run across things that would be just as cheerful and yet less expensive for us. I need to finish painting the craft room (4 hrs left to finish) and set it up so I can work on this and not having it sprawling across the dining table.

I am harvesting/processing something every day. Dehydrator is cranking 24 hrs pretty much. I have finished all the herbs unless I find some basil in the north gardens. I'll check that tonight when this last batch is done.I would like to be able to can in the evenings after dinner but by time that comes around I am pretty wiped back out.

I am picking and choosing to what I can sacrifice if I have to let something go. I give it away most times, still there are times it doesn't get taken. It becomes compost in the fields. Feeds the critters that I don't want in my house AKA field mice. And speaking of field mice I will have to put out the bait for them in the basement and crawl spaces. Right now with it being warm and the cattle having corn in the barn and the gardens still producing they won't come in, get a nice cold snap and they will try to move in.

Do you prepare for cold weather ?








Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Storms in our lives

I have journaled for years. This happens to be the one I am writing in now.

Sept 11-15 I recovered from stomach virus, when you already have Crohn's this is even harder to go through.

We had a great day the 16th , even though I was "weak" at the Amish produce auction. I got 10-15 lb pumpkins for $1.25 each, pie pumpkins for $1 each and jack be littles for 25¢ each. I also got 10 lbs of Asian pears that were not ripe and 140 lbs of Roma tomatoes.I got Mums for the front porch. AND I was able to eat decent. I was able to stop at Wishing Well Farms and get winter squash (69¢/lb) and 10 lbs of apples (50 ¢ /lb)

I worked on some of the tomatoes on the 17th, went to the store and got groceries, stocking up on the fresh veggies and getting some stuff for our family reunion . We had 5 generations there  between my dad 89 yrs old  and my new born great grandson 1 month old.
Went home and thought, get up in the morning, and finish the tomatoes....well

Hubby caught the stomach virus through the night. By that evening I had it back and it was a down hill slide from there. He miss all week of work (haven't seen that ever in over 20 yrs) and I wasn't getting better myself. Not processing food, didn't want to "seal" it in canning and make us sick or sicker later. Neither us was doing much more than sleeping it off.

Sept 25th, at 3 am I wake Hubby and ask him to take me to the ER. My Crohn's was starting to kick up and I knew, just knew it was going to be bad.

At 5 am Sept 25 I was admitted....I got out the following Thursday Sept 29th in the late afternoon and had to do a pit stop at the Chiro's because I threw out my shoulder in the hospital. Also had to stop at the grocery store because a full liquid diet (mashed and mushed) isn't something I was keeping in my pantry but will for now on.

We lost food in the frigs, lost some of the produce and I have lost produce in the gardens. It rained for 3 days starting the day I got out of the hospital.Hubby lost 1 1/2 wks of work. He took vacation to cover it but that doesn't pay his TL , shift etc that makes a difference between just getting by in good times or having let alone being hit with medical bills. We have medical bills that will be coming in, granted most of it will be paid for but there is enough not paid for that is going to crush the budget big time.

Hubby is back up on his feet, tires easily , part of that is the stress of watching me fight for my life once again as my entire digestive system shut down (AGAIN). I'm slow at recovering. Has extremely low potassium levels and other stuff that was making the Crohn's even worse. Having your digestive system slowly start up is hard and painful at time. I haven't had a solid night's sleep since the stomach virus started. I do miss my nurse for the middle of the night conversations and laughter to keep me fighting and not just give up.

I had a long chat with my brother by text. Our schedules don't come anywhere close to being able to talk of the phone about what I was having to change. He thought that it was a simple change in diet and it would never happen again.....NOPE don't I wish?

I then called my Dad. At the age of 89 and already buryed 4 sons out of 6 and me being the only girl, he was heart broken, thought he had lost me this time and wasn't able to get to me to tell me he loved me and with his dementia just kept telling me I was his daughter and he was my daddy....he has been forgetting he has a daughter in the last couple years so it meant a lot to both of us. We talked about lifestyle changes that could help me (eating an apple a day to keep the doctor away is what will bring the doctor my way but he doesn't understand that) and that even with the loss of food,me getting my strength and health back was more important ( I was born with a bad digestive system and my parents were told I would die without surgery which since they had no ins and had just paid for my younger brother to have open heart surgery was out of the question ).

Everyday to make a priority of ONE THING that I NEED to get done. And only focus on it. THAT'S very hard when you see losses all around you. He also reminded me of the time he asked why I was canning 4 oz jars of veggies and I told him that was what had came in and I would lose it before more came in . Better a mouth full saved than a mouth full wasted. Might make the difference in that water soup(HA HA) I had more than one time had to make when I was single and on my own.

SO better a mouth full saved than a mouth wasted ...as I learn to dance in the rain.

Since I am still resting, we decided to go over the Tday dinner menu  and then Christmas gifts,cookies and candies. We do gag gifts  for Christmas and usually only give $10 (in ones) as we buy for about 40 (over half of that is our kids,grandkids and now great-grandson). We came up with the ideas....then over a couple days changed it to fit the budget we are now on.

We are not where we thought we would be sitting at this time of year nor is the pantry as full as I really prefer it to be...BUT I have winter sq, pumpkins and some sweet potatoes. I will have a few more tomatoes and from this dining room window I can see a bell pepper that is turning red. Another mouth full to save. We'll pick up potatoes next month and again in Nov. I just got to focus on that ONE THING and that ONE MOUTH FULL.

Blessed be, may you be healthy, wealthy with love, and wise.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

September frugal ?

In some ways yes...

I have mending caught up except for a sheet that the wind ripped the hem out of while drying on the clothes line.

I picked eggplant

I dehydrated onions that was going to go bad. I now have 1/2 gal of dehydrated onions. I put the dehydrator out side on the front porch table, didn't heat up my house and cause the AC to run more, dogs and I didn't get sick due to the odor coming off them (can harm pets) AND I found it actually cut the time almost by a 1/3rd for what ever reason.

I turn off the AC every morning and open the house open. One to air it out and two to save on the electric bill. I don't turn it back on until the older dog (Miss Kira) is starting to pant and she does come to me to let me know she is hot.(about 77-78°)

I have lettuce growing in the garden from it reseeding it's self....saved me from having to plant lettuce even though I prefer leaf lettuce and this is romaine. FREE IS FREE.

I picked up Pumpkin spice creamer so I won't be going to Speedway to get a cup or have Hubby stop every morning on his way home to bring me a cup.The bottle of creamer cost the same amt of a cup at the gas station and I figure I can get at least 30 cups of coffee out of it. That's over $30 in savings. Yes I could just not buy it at all but life without an extra is hard to deal with.

We both have cut our consumption of coffee in half. IF not more for Hubby as I used to make 2 pots a day for him alone and it's down to every other day now. NO we don't throw out "old" coffee, we either drink it or use it in cooking.

Hubby is now filling his "16 oz juice glass" (read mug that was bought for root beer floats ) with ice before adding juice instead of just adding a couple ice cubes to the juice.Juice consumption has went down from a bottle every other day to every 4 days. He is also eating what ever apple is the cheapest to buy instead of his favorite in his lunch. He will eat in season fruit if it is "solid" enough to carry in his lunch box. Peaches and such don't do well. I don't buy a lot of canned fruit.

We have switched to water instead of unsweetened tea. I have went to not having my mug of hot tea at 2 for a glass of water. I image that will flip back as cooler weather comes in. BUT I have a lot of teas that I can drink(some I raised) so I won't be buying tea unless it is one that my girlfriend and I both have drank for years . Then we drink it once a week  so a box goes a long way and we take turns buying it for each other (unless we see it on sale and have a coupon)even though we are over an hour apart...at the same time. Keep the connection going strong.

We are going to plant fall onions with the fall garlic using the onions that are the size of pearl onions from this year's crop. I was told they would do better for us if I planted this fall instead of waiting until spring.

I went to the store on Monday (Labor day and it was stocked and not busy) and picked up fresh chicken breast for $1.69/lb I have stuffed it (5 different ways) and precooked it and shoved in freezer. I thawed hamburger I had and made 2 meatloafs , porcupine meatballs, 125 meatballs and meat for lasagna and stuffed shells and manicotti that will be in freezer by Monday. I also put in a Philly steak slider casserole and  4 oz thin slices of chicken for either sandwiches or stir fry. I froze red beans soup. I put scraps of chicken that I cut off the breasts I was stuffing to make broth for soup and chicken to add to jambalaya. I have smoked sausage and shrimp in freezers.Goal was to put 2 meals (correct serving size as we are trying to eat healthy and balanced) in the freezer of each thing. Meatballs we use a lot of in different dishes  I can get 10 meals (2 servings for dinner and one for Hubby's lunch ) out of the meatballs.

I canned 8 pints of spicy chili for Hubby and 8 pints of mild for myself and then had 2-12 oz jars on mixed chili for like Cinncy spag or nachos.This will last almost 3 mos and I made it from dried beans instead of ordering the cans of chili beans with sauce we prefer since it's no longer sold around here. Saved over $30 by doing that.

Our main problem out here in the boonies LOL, is when I am too tired(thanks to Heart failure) that I am not up to cooking and Hubby isn't always able with getting around for work in the evenings. If I have the entree done, he can handle the sides and dishes before he leaves.

At this point we are at $420 for groceries and eating out, 3 times eating out, once with friends who go to the Hong Kong buffet maybe every 6 wks. We had a coupon for 10% off  and then once fast food when we realized we weren't going to make it home in time for eat before Hubby had to go to work and then tonight is pizza from town (a treat) from our favorite place as Hubby is working Home Land Security all day and is already in town and I'm down sick. Nothing serious just enough to having me falling asleep in nothing flat but not staying asleep because I feel like CRAP. Already had the virus that is going around. I thought allergies but now since my allergy meds are not helping I got a feeling its a sinus infection that Doc thought was ending, I think it was just beginning.

Our health ins is changing. We are required to do certain preventive care and some activities to get it for free and they let us know it's changing it's policy but NOT what is changing except the preventive care remains the same. We talked about if it goes digital (they use fitbit) We will have to either suck up the cost to buy new cell phones and the bands or suck up the cost of the ins. Neither we can really afford at this time BUT the changes starts in Jan so we have time to save up if needed. Until Jan Hubby's company has set a program that everyone can do, it's eating more colors of fruit and veggies and more servings, drinking water and exercising more (steps to be exact) and weight goal through the holidays. Remaining the same weight counts.If you need to gain weight that counts also...it's not about losing weight but being healthy. Something as a retired personal chef I approve of and need to focus more on in my own life. I did get a list of the veggies and fruit for each color...and printed it off to see what I already had in the pantry and freezers and what I needed to look at getting put up to cover that activity Between what I have and what I normally buy, we are pretty well set except for fruit. .

I need to get back out in the gardens and clean them up, I saw blooms on a few plants the other day so I might get a second crop of tomatoes and such.

We have the last of the cash needed for Christmas gag gifts (almost 2 months early), and have started searching the internet once a week (otherwise we get sucked into pinterest for hours) for ways to give the cash that is different than what we have done in years past.

What have you done?




Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Frugal going into Sept

Corned beef hash bought for 70¢ a can. I did cook 3 cans , one for each of us and one for Hubby's lunch, ended up with leftovers for my bfast (love that) and fried green tomatoes from garden. Batter for tomatoes was Whistle Stop Fried Green Tomato batter ( reheated nice in microwave for Hubby and didn't get soggy)that I had bought some where on clearance. AND now am hunting for it  on sale or clearance because it's the favorite batter for all that we batter fry which isn't very often. I have found it at it's own store but still checking other places for it just to make sure it's the best price especially with shipping.

Leftovers have became breakfast and lunch.Appetizers have became dinner when we aren't really hungry for a full meal. We don't eat much soup as it doesn't transport well for Hubby to take to work and he takes leftovers from our dinner for his lunch.We also mixed a lot of leftovers with eggs for meals.

I had my back injections which brought processing tomatoes to a halt while I recovered and then got a flu shot which always brings me down a couple days also.I did get some older tomato juice etc cooked down for BBQ sauce and got that canned while recovering since I didn't have to stand on my feet much and Hubby could stir it for me. While down I sorted through 150 lbs of softball size candy onions for storage.I had to peel about 2/3rd of them to recure as they had drew moisture and would have rotted in storage also about 10 lbs wasn't good for storage, I am dehydrating some of them and will use the rest for fresh. Rather peel a layer or two and recure than toss an onion that went bad. At least with hanging them in panty hose with knot between each, the whole bunch doesn't go bad because of one.

I'm still picking up a few things that go on sale for our Tday dinner. I'm pretty close to just needing perishables and meat.

I am 2 mos ahead of where I usually am for Christmas savings and have started buying stuff for the Christmas candy and baking.

I have offered to help stock the kitchen for my grandson and his family when they get their first place. They stayed with parents (floated back and forth) while granddaughter was expecting but since Greatgrandbaby (LOL) is born they are looking to move out on their own once they have some extra savings up.I will help by using what we have in our own pantry.

I've not been doing any large shopping...mostly a few needed items that combine coupons and sales or milk. Haven't even bought bread as the last 2 loaves had to be pitched due to mold due to how long they sat there. Maybe when we get our 2nd frig back (son bought one finally, we just need to go get it). I'll bake some and we can store it in the frig.

I've started us eating from the pantry mostly....a couple months early for that but decided to go ahead and start it. I need freezer room for hams and turkeys this fall and right now I don't have any room.

Our trailer broke when we hauled our son's car to the mechanics (shifter broke and the mechanic said it was from resting his hand on it),. Our neighbor runs a fabrication shop and was willing to take a look to see if he could fix it for less than $500. He called today and it was less than $200 and ready for pick up. Better than the $1500 trailer we would have to buy to replace it and we use it pretty much weekly.

Propane is paid in full for the coming season. I still have some caulking and sewing to do to help keep that bill down.

Electric hit $120...still last year it was closer to $185. SO not bad with stove heating canners and the dehydrator running daily along with the AC which I usually don't run this much. I do shut it off in the early mornings and open all the windows to air out the house. We are looking forward to this coming weekend as it's suppose to drop almost 20° and we won't be running it at all.

I have been doing the laundry when I can use the clothes line.

Any thoughts of saving?








Saturday, August 27, 2016

End of August goals


It's the darkest corner of the pantry in the basement and the food we use the most.

It takes over 500 lbs of tomatoes (prefer Roma or paste tomatoes) to furnish a year's worth of tomato products for the two of us.

I now understand why my mother was so "short tempered" at this time of the year with green beans, (don't need anything this yr) corn (done and in freezer) and tomatoes coming in at the same time. I remember 1000 qrt jars and 500 pint jars in the cellar and cleaning it every spring when we planted the garden. Even with me being little (under  6 ) I was helping pick the food and prep it for the canner. I'm not sure she got any much sleep since she only had one water bath canner...FYI it takes 40 min to can tomato sauce in qrts and there is 7 to a canner.
1500 jars of veggies ( no fruit) lasted from Oct(Nov if the weather held and Dad could limp the crop into it) to March. When March came the cellar was pretty empty and Mom was looking for wild greens to put veggies on the table. We didn't go buy veggies at the store. We didn't grow lettuce but the neighbor did and she bartered the lettuce for potatoes that Grandpa grew that we would give her in the fall.

Filling these shelves with the home canned goods of tomato products is my goal this week.

.Final count should be the following:
 top left :enchilada sauce 26 pints (have 32) There is some RoTel and a couple cans of diced tomato with jalapeno sitting on top of it.

Top right: pizza sauce 26 -1/2 pints( have 29)

Second shelf...bought pasta sauce (we ran out of home made and hit the clearance rack with coupons for a good score even though I end up add mustard to counter the sugar in it .) #10 cans of tomato sauce (got on sale in case tomatoes don't do well or can't get them at auction) and a few of homemade pasta sauce that I did early this yr by reusing what I had, like whole tomatoes which I only do when I am tired and needing to get the tomatoes finished before they go bad.

Third shelf is some whole tomatoes that I will reprocess to make either BBQ sauce (12 pints as I use 1 a month) or pasta sauce (52 quarts needed besides what is there) I'll put diced tomatoes (need 104 but doubt if I will get that much unless I score Roma tomatoes at auction again) and the BBQ sauce on this shelf

Bottom shelf is empty...it will have the 52 qrts of pasta sauce.

IF and only if I can have enough of everything I might can chili sauce other wise the #10 cans will go to chili.WHICH I need to can also.

I am also cleaning all the shelves and inventorying what we have in this pantry.Moved some things around the other day and found stuff I didn't know we had and some things I didn't know we needed. I don't know which upset me more. I am half way through the pantry, even with just being down for back injections (still recovering and trying to not do so much and mess myself up) There is 31 shelves and I am down to 10 left to clean,organize and inventory. I plan to do 2 each day this coming week.

I plan to finish the rest of the tomatoes. We still have another good month of tomatoes coming in so I should get closer to the amt I need for the yr for the diced tomatoes.

I had 150 lbs of onions I have been sorting. I have 90 lbs left to go through so I figure 20 lbs a day this coming week to finish.Some need cured again due to having to be "peeled" because the skins got damp which will rot the onions while hanging( tied in panty hose and hung) in storage, better to lose a couple layers now than the whole onion later.I will dehydrate any that are going to go bad soon but most look good at this point. It's early for storage onions but that's how it is this year. I figure maybe by Dec/Jan I will have to be looking for other onions if I don't dehydrate any.

I'm restricted in the gardens (doc knows me so well ) that I can only be out in them with Hubby so I won't get side tracked and try to clean up the gardens in one or two days. We figure maybe 15 min a couple times a day until we see how the back hold, actually it's my neck that is causing the slow down as it's still swollen from the injections (not infection) and causing issues with looking down or up for any length of time.

I have cayenne peppers, mints and herbs to dehydrate and some eggs for noodles that I make at TDay. Eggs are still below 90¢ a dozen here.

What are your goals this week?






Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Staying on Task of being frugal


BLT's for dinner one night. I went in to Aldi's to get eggs (69¢/dozen) and milk and they had thick sliced bacon on sale for $5.99 for 1 1/2 lbs. I grabbed 2 packages and went out to tell Hubby and he went back in and got 2 more plus more eggs.We haven't had bacon in quite awhile, especially thick sliced. The lettuce and tomatoes came from the gardens.I started baking my bacon awhile back so I could actually sit down and eat with Hubby. I like my bacon crisp and he likes is not crisp (cooked but pliable?) I saved the bacon grease.


Last night we had ratatouille( this picture is BEFORE baking) with polenta. Polenta was on clearance at the grocery store awhile back for 25¢ a box. I took all the boxes they had since it was instant and made 4 servings. Most of the veggies came from the gardens.My yellow bell peppers aren't ready yet so that didn't get put in.I refrigerated the last serving of polenta in a flat pan and then cut it into squares to make fried mush from it.

I started working on "making" my craft/sewing room. I used primer that we had and will be using paint we also had instead of buying new.I found a picture on the internet of what I would love to have, not willing or even able to pay the $2000 to put it together so am looking at what I can find that we already have to set it up that way.

I mended a couple shirts for Hubby.

I harvest thyme,oregano, chives ,all the mints (again still some more SMILING)

I harvested tomatoes,lettuce, bell peppers,red bell peppers, and eggplant for meals.

I made rubber chicken (roasted first meal,then chicken and dumplings (which is actually making 2 meals as one meal is in the freezer for this coming Friday after we get home from the produce auction) and then added it to eggs for what we call big egg (frittata), I got some broth left over from it and some chicken fat to use later.

We didn't do any shopping except for Aldi's which saved us money even though Miss Kira and Rascal felt deprived as they are used to going for a ride two to three times a week.Which that saved us gas money as it's 15 miles one way to town.

Hubby rode the motorcycle all week to work. Not sure if that will happen this week as we have sever storms in the forecast.

I did some fall cleaning in what I call our canning area of the basement. It's where I store the canning equipment,baking pans and those items that there isn't room for in the kitchen (old farm house).  I  store the window AC, potatoes,sweet potatoes and winter squash in this area also so usually in Aug it gets a good cleaning before the AC goes back in storage. (we use the window AC for when I don't want to run the central air but Hubby works nights so he sleeps days. Bedroom gets hot). I had some boxes with what I thought was vinyl tablecloths we use at the reunion and Tday and curtains....well...that's what was on top, what was under that was several boxes of sandwich bags, long heavy duty foil and non stick foil.There is a few more boxes down there I need to check through before doing any shopping.

We redid our budget...then the landlord gave us the update about propane. Usually he just pays it (gets a discount and passes it along to us since he buys for himself at the same time). We usually own him a couple hundred as I make "budget" payments all year....we are paid in full. YEAH!!!! Also, we dropped more than I thought so I can lower what we budgeted for next year. He also let us know he changed electric providers and it dropped our electric bill down about $50 less of where it would have been. Aug is our worst month (hottest and most humid) followed by Dec (baking for Tday and start of Christmas lights and baking) then Jan (Christmas lights and the last of the baking).

My youngest and I have been going over the Tday dinner menu, figuring out what wasn't eaten, what is needed, sales etc.She acknowledged that it's pretty much cut as much as possible unless the kids start chipping in more.Right now the ones that can afford to do, we figure what we do is part of their Christmas.

 She's what we fondly say is the tightest person to do a budget or grocery shop with. I've actually had her argue with me that I didn't need to buy that 3rd can of corn because it was on sale when I needed something else.And don't tell her you have cable and internet when you struggle to pay electric, heat or buy food. She got SNAP for awhile while laid off  and was having to chose between paying rent and buying food and had to attend a class...where she told the instructor they were wasteful for buying rotisserie chicken and canned beans. She took the menu the instructor had, showed what to buy instead and provided recipes and doubled how much food they could get. I had several people tell me about it before she finally admitted the instructor was making her mad for teaching wasteful habits.

How was your week?








Saturday, August 6, 2016

August goals


Sit out on the front porch with my morning coffee (and according to Rascal, play ball).Miss Kira is still staying in the house, needs to cool off about 10° for her to want to be out much. She's over 11 yrs old so we don't fuss at her much about coming out with us.She does go out around the perimeter about 5:30 in the morning. I'm not ready to sit on the porch at that time.

I am still struggling adjusting my routine around my health. I am thinking of physical work one morning and then not doing any more physical work until the next day afternoon to give my body time to recover and hopefully get more done than what I am without causing a total break down where I am down for the count for weeks.

Keep up with the gardens coming in, tidy the gardens and plant some fall crops, not a lot just some.Clear the flower garden. Maybe get some fall pansys  for the front porch for this fall.

Reset the budget. We are coming out of a chapter 13 (Hubby went to 3 days a week for 2 yrs and we pretty much sold everything we could to survive until my medical bills with my heart failure hit and buried us).We know what we have to do to rebuild our credit BUT we also realize that by paying cash for most things we don't build credit that way.Our bank suggested a secure credit card through them that would be half of what we have/will have in savings then if we got hit with another 3 day a week work we would have the money to pay it off and not be in debt (we would pay it off before due EACH month anyways, Hubby learned that lesson) and it would help build the credit. They also suggested since we both have accounts (My son is connected to mine) that we split the savings between us instead of just in Hubby's and that way neither of us pays a fee(my son pays my fee but still).Other than that they felt we were doing really good compared to others customers that went through what we did as almost everyone in this area was affected by that 3 day work week.

Hubby is riding the motorcycle back and forth to work, truck takes 1 gal of gas to go to and from work,bike uses 1 gal to go 10 days to and from work. We do have to watch the weather, if storms are forecasted he doesn't ride, we had a friend get hit by lightening while riding to work and died.

We caught ourselves running to town 3-4 times a week and stopped that. I figured it was over changing when we went to the store to get double fuel pts and not changing when we ran errands plus we take the dogs to the vets for nail clipping (takes 2 people to hold them down to get them clipped and someone to clip them). So I am working on scheduling things when we will already BE in town.

Our youngest is helping me figure out where to cut the budget for the Tday dinner we have. We serve close to 40 people and we provide the most of the meal. I make most of it from scratch. Still through the years we have noticed the old favorites aren't getting ate and even though I don't mind the family taking home leftovers, I don't want to supply all the kids with a week's worth of groceries.Our one daughter has taken on some of the meat so that helps.

Continue to save one dollar bills for Christmas gag gifts (almost have enough). THEN it will be save for the gag gift , then the wrapping paper, then the scotch tape.

Also instead of both of us getting our eyeglasses the same year, we will rotate which one of us gets them.That dropped the budget $600 a year, I have big issues with my eyes . We already reuse frames unless the ins is paying for the frame. We go where our ins pays for the glasses but we both NEED the extras and the ins only pays for basic. My reading glasses (I wear 3 pairs, down from 4 prs) is my cheapest at $25. Our eye doctor runs my most expensive pair through ins first.

Our mechanic (He is a BLESSING) suggested we split getting tires as get 2 tires every 6 months and put the spares in that rotation. He does this for a lot of his senior customers and himself.He is good about checking things out and maintenance. Like telling our son that his tie rod will need replaced so the next oil change that will be done also as you have to remove the oil filter to remove the tie rod.

I talked to my 3 doctors, they have changed my medication so I am still being taken care of but keeping the costs down. My left thumb has a scar that peels regularly. They have prescribed different things that help some for awhile. My primary's daughter that is a doctor also that does missionary work told me to use petroleum jelly. They use it for open wounds etc in the missionary work. It has helped the most and for the longest.SO I need to focus on updating my knowledge of natural meds. Both my great grandmothers are probably rolling in their graves with lack of use I do. One was a "wise" woman (old Celtic) and the other a medicine woman (Cherokee/Black Foot).

I  am focus on keeping the electric bill down to $100 (that's the lowest it goes here and it was running $450 when we moved in, electric heat upstairs and no insulation) and I have already dropped the propane budget down another third from last year. Which is over half from what it was (heats 1st floor only).Landlord replaced the back door( it almost fell off) so that will help. I want to do some caulking on some windows, add batting or old blankets to old curtains to help and plastic the one bedroom window upstairs that is really bad but landlord isn't going to replace it yet.Farm isn't making enough to pay for the repairs.

Stock the non-food. For the first time I have a non-food list and I've been stocking it up with sales and coupons.I printed it off, highlighted with orange what was a NEED NOW, highlighted with yellow is going to need soon and highlighted with green with if on sale and have coupon. What isn't highlighted isn't needed. I do need some shelving to organize this. I have some barn doors that are coming apart, I am going to see if I can use them to make shelves.

Stock the pantry. SIGH..okay deep breath , first, stock the pantry so I can make cookies and candy for Christmas....When I got eggs for 49¢ a dozen I dehydrated 12 dozen for cookies. That's the amt I need to make them. Now eggs are 79¢ a dozen, I am going to get some to dehydrate to make noodles for Tday. They usually run over $1.29 a dozen. I have been matching coupons and sales for baking items.I know I use over 50 lbs of flour so that's on the list.

I updated my pantry list after the last buying session, I printed off only what is needed, if it's not on this list , I don't need to buy it even if it's on sale. My money needs to be stocking what is not already in the pantry at what I consider a "full" amt.I highlighted in orange what was needed now, yellow soon, green is coupons and sales BUT blue is buy in season...example is winter squash, potatoes,sweet potatoes and storage onions.Maple syrup and pie fillings at Tday. Pumpkin in Oct and Nov.Honey is starting to go up in price so I need to get it now.

I'll be moving some of what I store to other places so they store better. My Dad gave me some milk crates for my potatoes with the advice to hang them from the beams or put up on wood and not on concrete.

I plan to finish painting the craft room and set it up so I can do the sewing I want to get down and make the crafts for Christmas without having to keep clearing the dining table.