Friday, April 29, 2016

Friday thoughts

I keep a copy of this picture (from somewhere on the internet) on my frig. WHY? because the kitchen looks close to the one I grew up in and loved (20 x 24) with a 40 inch range,(Mom's uncle built the house originally for the preacher). The woman looks like my Nonna and the apron in my favorite design of aprons.Mom had the dish drainer on the left  and Dad built a cabinet under the sink.

Mom passed about in Nov 2012 but I still have Dad, he has dementia but is doing well enough to still be living on his own.

I don't miss being a kid, life was very rough while I grew up. But I miss the routine of the home.Something I have struggled with since running a home when I turned 13 is getting my own routine of home care that I refer to as Home Blessing.

When the kids were little, no problem, when the kids were teens, no problem. When I worked out of state 2 wks out of every month for 8 yrs, no problem. When our grandson lived with us for a year, no problem.

Pushing 60, just the two of us and two dogs (four legged kids) BIG PROBLEM .

SO if you have the same problem, no matter what your are not alone. NO PROBLEM

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Frugal week and Amish produce auction

I got these on clearance for $4. The two red ones are my son's

I picked tulips for my kitchen window (in picture) and bathroom counter.
Dad let me dig these up in his yard last fall so I planted them.They didn't bloom well due to the weather. If I can get them growing better next year I will share them with my kids so they can have a part of their late grandmother and Dad.

My son gave us a pork loin since I had helped him do yard work at his home. He paid for my gas to come down (cheaper than hiring help) and bought me lunch which provided lunch for Hubby to take to work also. I made pork chops twice, a roast and cubed some for casserole. We have had 6 meals from it. Well worth the $8 he paid for the loin. He thought I would get 2 meals from it.

We cut the electric by 1/3 compared to the same time as last year.

We cut the heat by almost 1/2 of when we first moved in 5 yrs ago. I have 2 more rooms to deal with and it should come down farther.

I canned 4 pints of beef broth left over from a roast we had (bought on sale and put in freezer last fall).

I cut rhubarb from the garden and used it for a sauce for the pork roast and for dessert. This is the first from the gardens.

We went to the Amish produce auction for plants for the garden. Heavy turn out of people, not so much for the plants. The cold snap did a lot of harm in this area. We did get some lettuce, cabbage, bell and hot peppers, tomato plants and candy onion sets. The big tomato plants (3.5-4 inch pot that stood 2- 2.5 ft tall and had blooms cost us $3.50 average but we didn't pay over 25¢ per plant for the rest of them and most of them them was closer to 5¢ a plant, except the onions, that came out to being 1¢ a plant.  Candy onions are a sweet onion that store decent. I usually buy 100 lbs or more in the fall and put them in storage. They usually cost about $50 for 100 lbs. I got enough to grow that plus have green onions for the season and supply my kids (and probably their friends) for less than the cost of the 100 lbs...about half the price if not less than that as I estimated how many sets are in a flat.

I transplanted 4 sweet potato slips from the potato slip mother (as I call it) and  I have about 6 more to find places for.

I transplanted 2 "twigs" off the rose bush that Hubby dug out last fall and tossed in a pot of dirt. One looks good , the other not so much but it might be okay.

I transplanted a maple tree twig that I had started last year by seed in my one sq ft garden. It's about 5 -6 inch tall. I really hope it takes off well as it's from the tree the landlord's grandfather started and planted . That tree isn't going to last much longer and I've be trying to get a tree started from it the last 5 yrs.

I am to the point I can plant my straw bales, when this next weather system gets by. Tstorms and wind for the next few days.

I cleared a couple other sq ft gardens and will finish making the list of what still needs bought. I know I am going to need to get some garden dirt as I had a couple beds needed to be completely cleared due to an ant hill in them. I did that battle last year also.

I went to the store and got a few odds and ends, mostly fresh produce that won't be bought this summer. I spent less than $60 which keeps up in the budget of $300 every two weeks. Nonfood is coming down, since I started stocking up when I have coupons and sales instead of waiting until we need it.

Blessed be

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Frugal week big time last week

I turned off the furnace during the day and a couple nights.

We went to a near by community that was having their yard sales. We were able to get a couple tools we needed to replace, some odds and ends for the kitchen that needed to be down sized since it's just the two of us and I found 3 skirts, 1 skort and 1 pr of cropped jeans for a total of $9. The one skirt is a favorite style so I will make a pattern from it also.

We had 2 coffee makers die but with luck we found another on clearance and was within the budget I had set for replacement, actually it was $25 less.

I used my coupons and got a shirt from Kohl's so I only had to pay taxes on it.

I used my coupon at Jo Ann fabric and got 50% off some sewing items I was out of.

There is a small grocery store that we shop at once a month for the sales...last week was a HUGE score. They had buy 2 get 3 free.... I got...

2-3 lbs of skinless, boneless chicken breast and got 3 free.. came to be 1.20/lb

2- 1 lb bacon and got 3 free ...came to be  $1.96/lb

2-1 lb kielbasa and got 3 free  came to be $ 2.11

2-14 oz smokey links and got 3 free ...came to be $1.60 ( I use this for entertaining in BBQ sauce or pigs in a blanket wrapped in homemade bread dough)

2- 12 oz smoke sausage links (like hotdogs) and got 3 free  ...came to $1.60( we take some to a friend's home when we do cook outs together, I cut 1 up for baked beans or 123 pasta I make)

2-8 oz shredded cheese and got 3 free ...came to $1.26

2- 12 oz light and fluffy noodles and got 3 free...came to 94¢ each

We also got...

5 lbs of russet potatoes, 5 lbs of red potatoes, 3 lbs of yellow onions, 2 lbs of baby carrots, and 1 lb of celery hearts in the buy 2 get 3 free so each was bought for $1.20

2 lbs of deli ham (chipped chopped) and got 3 sides free...$2.85 . We ate this for our lunch while checking yard sales since we had the coolers with us. Lot cheaper and healthier than the local fast food

I got 10 lbs of chicken leg quarts for 59¢ a lb I made 7 qrts of broth off this also

I got a turkey for 69¢ a lb (Half the price it was at Thanksgiving) I made 7 qrts of broth off this also

I got portibella mushrooms 2 for $4

I got pasta 10 for $10

and milk for $2.50 a gal

I got points for my fuel card ( 36¢ , kind of like Kroger's)

I got 30¢ off my total bill for having my own bags.

By time it was all done and over with I had saved 50% on what I bought, I had a few items that wasn't on sale.

Freezers are full, pantry is in good shape, staples are in good shape...

Blessed be

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Nasty weather, my garden and it's affects on my budget

There is snow drifting (not a lot, just enough to see it) down from the sky and it's below freezing outside. Great during the winter, but it's April 9th 2016 and I have plants that were growing and started to bloom before this hit.

A couple weeks ago we had 5 tornadoes in 1 day. Last year we had 7 during the season. Makes the local weather people worried about what is to as Hubby is a weather spotter.

Our local weather station has forecasted that we will have a warmer than normal late spring and a strong thought of warmer summer with temps reaching 90-100s and possible drought.

 I have to change what I plant and where to deal with that possibility. That means it will be doubtful if I can get any fall crops either as they require the cool temps like spring crops to grow.

Hubby and I looked at each other and he asked what the battle plan is ....he used to farm and he knows what this type of weather can do to the budget. Due to my health issues I have to EAT my nutrition NOT swallow a pill or drink something that has been processed.The old fear of running out of food before the next season curdled in my stomach.Been here and done that. I know I can carry us at least one full year from today. Yes we would go without some veggies and fruit so I need to focus on those, but over all we would be okay. Can I take us into 2 years.... MAYBE...That is what I have to look at.

I'm not thrilled that the 200 plus spring bulb garden even though covered won't be blooming this year even though we covered them (wind blew cover off  repeatedly)...but that's part of spring flowers. Plus I didn't spend much money on them as most was what was some where else and I dug up and moved.My summer wild flowers a 35 ¢ package took the hit hard as they weren't covered. I doubt if the rose bush or the lilac tree blooms much if at all. I don't want to think of the apple trees that have budded at my favorite orchard.

My fall planted garlic, my rhubarb and my strawberries are still covered. I won't uncover until the temps stay above freezing. Still I know they won't produce as much or as well.IF I can get the covers off this week.

Horseradish was left uncovered. We had planned for this to be the final year of growing it. With Mom gone , there isn't enough of us to eat it to make it worth the garden space it takes.

With "winter" hitting again, by time it warms up it will be closer to our summer planting in May spring crops means that won't be on the table or in the pantry. I can plant some green onions and lettuce and maybe some radishes in pots and put on the front porch where they will get the morning and early afternoon sun and I can move to the north side of the porch into the shade during the heat of the day.

Knowing the forecast for a drought possible...I know meat prices will rise...they need rain to grow the feed for the life stock and for the life stock. Some will sell now to try to get what they can and not take any losses.I have that part of my budget stretched.

I don't just grow what we eat fresh, I grow what we eat during the year until the next growing season and sometimes in to the following year. Example 2013 was a bumper year of everything , 2014 was good with beans but not at the norm for root veggies or tomatoes. Last year was even worse and it was everything. I also grow for my own seeds and last year I didn't get a lot of seeds.

The Amish produce auction I go to will be limited, I don't know how well they were able to protect the plants they grow and  they only sell their surplus produce AFTER they have canned or dried what they are going to eat as they live from year to year like we do.

Farmers that sell their produce or life stock for meat and orchards that I pick my apples from will be limited.

That's just the food.

That drought means we have to be more careful with how we water the gardens even though we are on a well. We are careful pretty much on how we use our water from years of being in the city ( we lived where it was expensive and I really wished I had been reading The Prudent Homemaker blog at that time). The last thing we need is to run the well dry.

With temps 90-100 °  I will have to refocus to make sure the house stays cool (electric is very expensive in this house) to limit the use of the central air which I will need if the house temp goes over 85 °. Hubby will use the window AC during the day while he sleeps (3rd shift worker) along with the ceiling fan, he only sleeps about 5 hrs a day. I don't use the central air often even though it's only for the first floor. I need to get the landlord to have it checked out before the heat hits.I will have to recheck my fans and make sure they are in good shape also.

Both of our dogs are pretty much all black fur, I'll put a baby pool (which means I have to replace the one we have had for the last 5 yrs) of water in the garage for them to lay in as that's Rascal's favorite way to cool off and when it's really hot Miss Kira will stand in it. Miss Kira takes to either laying with her face into the fan ( I keep on in the front room) or laying on the vent( when its blowing cool air, Rascal does it when it blows hot) in the front room (until we see her and then she moves like she wasn't doing anything she's been told not to do. He doesn't move until you nudge him).

Usually in the warmer months I have sheers and light weight curtains up because we usually have a nice breeze...10-15 mph. with 20 mph gusts. I use window fans in the east windows to blow in and window fans in the west winds to "blow(suck)" out to create a wind flow in the rooms we are in and that helps cool the house. I binder clip (friend gave me over 1000, when they shut down a plant and was going to throw everything in the dumpster at $500 a load. By time he was through they didn't even have a full load...negative side of that, he is now in charge of most of the closings they do) the top part of the curtains together so only the bottom half (if that much ) is open to let the air move through the house. Afternoons the south and west side curtains are closed completely until the sun isn't on that side. A couple years ago I put foil up on two of the south windows to keep the heat out.

I'll be using the grill keep the heat out of the house including my canning (water bath canner works well on a gas grill).

I usually am in the gardens in late morning through the afternoons...with that kind of heat I will have to do the garden in the early mornings...big change to my summer routine.

This week I will spend looking at what to plant and what I need to prepare for the worst...and pray for the best.

Blessings be

Friday, April 8, 2016

What did I do this week?

Really I look around and wondered.Nose surgery recovery is going very slow but each day is better except when the low pressure triggers me...which is about every 3rd day right now.

I got the laundry done here at home in my wringer washer. SO we saved $80 from the laundromat.We went every 2 wks and had 14 loads. Regretfully our weather here in northwestern Ohio isn't being nice and I still can't use the clothes lines. I did dry some on the drying rack to help with running the dryer.

I ordered some fabric that was on sale at Joann's fabric. Most the time I prefer to not order online because I prefer be able to touch and see the fabric. BUT my recovery isn't up to driving 30 miles , shopping a couple hours and then driving back. SO I ordered online and found that I saved more than the shipping (or gas) would have cost me.I will be sewing skorts at least from this fabric. I still have aprons to make. I still have to primer and paint my sewing room. Everything is scattered in the other 2 rooms upstairs until I do.

I used baking soda to do some cleaning. Not sure if vinegar would trigger any issues yet and not willing to go backwards in recovery.

I pulled some of my sweet potato slips off the "mother" potato and put them in water to let the roots get bigger before planting them. The "mother" potato started growing more slips....GOOD because I had 3 "mother" sweet potatoes that didn't do anything but rot. The "mother" is from the sweet potatoes I grew last year.Type is unknown, the Amish gentleman that sold them to me didn't know, was what his grandpa (3-4 generations back) had raised.

I traded my son my small vacuum(comes apart to make a hand vacuum) that I was getting rid of for his dust mop that wasn't doing will with his grout in his kitchen. The dust mop has a washable head. He's happy also because he can use the hand held to defur his furniture from his cats.

We went out to eat with a couple that are close friends that are retired, they are frugal like us. We went to Hong Kong buffet (splurge). I had coupons for us and them to use. Even after tip it was less than a pizza from our local pizza shop. We go every 2-3 months during the cold seasons. During the summer when we are gardening it's more of eating at each other's house instead.

I reread Amy Dacyczyn's Tightwad Gazette...I have all 3 books, well really I have 3 copies of all 3 books. Thought my 3 kids could inherit them when I die and doubted if they would be in print when I did die.

We have a friend that burns old oil of any type in his shop heater. We gave him what we were holding for hazard disposal (we have to pay for it) from when we deep fried turkeys at Thanksgiving.

I have some volunteer flowers that have sprung up that I will dig and move later for either my own gardens or one of my kids. Might just put them in a pot to sit at the door on the front porch for next year.

Between sales and coupons I saved 30% at the grocery store, didn't get everything on my list even though I was under budget because of the store changing things around. Still we aren't going without anything. The money I saved is now in a savings account.

I wrapped my coins while down and took them to the bank. That money is for Christmas.

I started my Christmas shopping.... I started with the dogs since I had coupons and there was a sale on some things they love. Was lower than what I spent last year by half.

A friend that is living in Ireland right now , got me a discount on a nutrition class. It was $630 and she got it for me for $35. It's online and not as easy as I thought with the tests. Did you know that craving chocolate could be a sign of low iron? ME either.

We did realize that with me down,we don't nickle and dime the budget. AND we checked to see why that was...if I get hungry I have to eat immediately or I go down, if we are out and I say something about getting hungry Hubby immediately thinks buy food...I can't just eat anything with my Crohn's so it makes it harder. We have found since I've been pretty much in the house that I get hungry around 10 and again at 2 (tea time) and still eat dinner at 5. So for now on we know we need me to take something that I can eat (not protein bars)  if we are going to be gone during those hours. PLUS we have found that he will buy things for projects, not use all of it and forget to return it within the time of returns. He is going to bag it now and put it in his truck so he sees it and remembers to return it.

Blessed Be

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Frugal April LOL

April 1st I went in for my debridgement (nice word for cleaning out my nose HA HA). WELL, that was an experience I wished I didn't have to do again but most likely when I GO BACK in 6 weeks , it will happen again, it's what the doctor warned me of. Just not as bad. I still have 2 stents (thanks for that freaking news) that I didn't know about that wasn't ready to be removed.

ON the frugal side. Between our ins and our flex spending acct, the costs are covered. Our ins will go back to paying 100% after about $500 more co pays( we already have this amt saved ) and we will only have to cover prescriptions, eye and dental but nothing MEDICAL.So we'll be checking with the doctor over any Big ticket tests etc that we can get down this year to save us money next yr.That is being frugal.

Yesterday we talked about me going back to work outside the home (Hubby's running joke is I do work outside the home because we can't fit 1400 sq ft of gardens IN the home). Bottom line with his income we would lose more than we gain especially if I work some where there is health ins because his company won't pay for me if I have the option for ins some where else.

We also figured out that I save us $200/ month on veggies and fruit with my gardening (after expenses) and I was able to cut the budget by $300 a month since I am home and can do somethings instead of paying for it to be done.   That is more than I would bring home part time. I do some surveys that I can increase some of my time for to see it that will do better.

We canceled the Directv awhile back and now are going to put that money directly into savings.

We are going to take rebates and coupon savings and put that in the savings instead of leaving it in the checking to spend on something else.

We will be eating from the pantry to clear out the freezers and clear some shelves in the pantry BEFORE the harvest starts coming in. I need to inventory everything to see what to plant and what needs built up in storage.

I will be taking the grocery money for the gardens and processing needs .I already have paid for all my seeds that I didn't save from my own plants last year. April 15th we go to Scioto Valley Amish produce auction to get spring plants for the gardens.

Our non-food budget is twice of our food budget. We are still working on cutting that down. I've cut down on printing, can scan and send some things or take picture of and send through my phone or email. That has cut that area almost down to 1/4 of what it was. But still there are areas that could do better.

One expense is going to be bug spray. Ortho Home defense is what we use here. It's the only thing that works to battle the spiders and ants we get so bad.I will use what ever is left from last yr on the outside and new on the inside.

I noticed inventory on paper goods is running low so I'll watch for coupons and sales for it.

I just got some fabric on sale online to make some skorts and shorts for myself. So sewing ...when I can wear my glasses for more than 10 min ( face still swells from surgery) I'll start my sewing and mending.

Blessed be